Category: Military

Inspector General: The U.S. Government Left More Than $7 Billion in Military Equipment to the Taliban

Defense Department Inspector General has released its long-awaited report on what the Biden Administration left behind in Afghanistan. It is an unbelievable list of equipment left to one of the most violent groups in the world with a history of supporting terrorist organizations. I opposed the long war in Afghanistan, so I was not among those critical of Trump or Biden in pushing to leave the conflict. However, no one has ever explained why the Biden Administration left this equipment in Afghanistan as opposed to removing it or destroying it. Continue reading “Inspector General: The U.S. Government Left More Than $7 Billion in Military Equipment to the Taliban”

British Man Convicted After Sending Drunk Tweet About Dead Soldiers

There is a new free speech controversy in the United Kingdom after Joseph Kelly, 36, was convicted of posting a “grossly offensive” tweet about a war veteran. Kelly has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service. The conviction is another blow to free speech in the UK in a case of clear political speech.

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Putin or Peace? International Economics Rather Than International Law May Prove the Answer

Below is my column in the Hill on the limits of international law in face of a “war of aggression” by Russia. Indeed, it will likely be international economics rather than international law that will drive the outcome of this conflict.

Here is the column:

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Yes, Foreign Fighters in Ukraine are Covered Under the Geneva Conventions as “Combatants”

We have been seeing new reports for foreign volunteers joining the Ukrainian forces, including Americans, to fight against the Russian invasion. There now appear a sizable number of such volunteers in a modern version of the Lincoln Brigade that fought against fascism in Spain before World War II. The similarities to the Spanish Civil War are striking with the fascists controlling the skies, fielding advanced weaponry, and engaging in war crimes.  Back then, Russia supported the Republican forces against fascism. Now, however, Russia is declaring that foreign volunteers are not considered covered “combatants” under the Geneva Conventions. That is not true. Continue reading “Yes, Foreign Fighters in Ukraine are Covered Under the Geneva Conventions as “Combatants””

Does the Filming of the Russian POWs Violate the Geneva Conventions?

I recently wrote a column on why I believe that the Russians are now committing flagrant war crimes. Ukraine is the victim of those crimes and the images from that country are truly sickening.  Vladimir Putin and his government now stands as not just a pariah among nations but criminal actors who have shattered the most basic principles of international law and the Law of War. In that context, it is difficult to raise questions about the response of Ukraine, which is facing annihilation at the hands of a tyrant. However, Ukraine is reportedly showing videotapes of Russian POWs. While it pales in comparison to what is being done by the Russians, the practice may violate Article 13 of the Geneva Conventions. Despite my strong and ongoing support for Ukraine in this struggle, it is important to flag such potential violations when they occur. It also has bearing on the media in using such images.

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Is Russia’s “Meat Grinder” Multiplying War Crimes?

Vladimir Putin may be the greatest proof of John Steinbeck’s claim that “war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” For most of us, there seems no plausible endgame for Putin in his invasion of Ukraine other than death and destruction for both countries. Putin seems to be thinking in a different century but using this century’s weapons.

For criminals, there is often a calculus of risk that is done in looking at the costs and penalties of a crimes. The same is true for most war criminals and Putin is clearly now in that class of criminals. There is mounting evidence of war crimes, particularly in attacks on civilian areas.

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China Arrests Former Journalist for Criticizing Film on Korean War

There’s an old comedy skit of a haughty art expert giving a museum tour and explaining the meaning of an abstract painting. When he finishes, a woman in front says, “I don’t like it” to which the expert responds “well you’re wrong.” The skit is funny, of course, because art is in the eye of the beholder . . . unless you are in China apparently.  This week, former journalist (and businessman) Luo Changping was arrested. Unfortunately, that is not uncommon in the authoritarian state. However, his crime was saying that he did not like “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” a $200 million film about the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. In China, it is a crime to defame “political martyrs.”

This story combines two of my favorite subjects: free speech and military history. Unfortunately, neither survives unscathed.

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Milley’s Mutiny? A New Book Raises Equally Serious Questions For The Pentagon and the Press

Below is my column in the Hill on allegations concerning Gen. Mark Milley in the final days of the Trump Administration. Milley is expected to answer questions in full this month before Congress.  However, if true, the statements made to subordinates and his Chinese counterpart would constitute serious violations for a military officer. What is striking is how many on the left applauded an account of the military unlawfully assuming control of such decisions to negate or countermand a sitting president. Much like the embrace of censorship, the embrace of such alleged a military challenge to civil control would once be viewed as anathema on the left.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Milley’s Mutiny? A New Book Raises Equally Serious Questions For The Pentagon and the Press”

Weekend Photos: Tale of Two Cemeteries

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

In my travels over the past week I took to an occasional diversion I sometimes make by visiting small and noteworthy cemeteries that come by once in a while. The two I visited recently presented two different perspectives on how we as a culture lay our loved ones to rest. Each of these have their own virtues and like most things in life one is not necessarily better or worse, but is so often according to the views of the beholder.

Here we find two of the same; different but not opposed.

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“To Support and Defend The Constitution of the United States”: Micheal Flynn’s Crisis Of Constitutional Faith

Below is my column in USA Today on the disturbing comments of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in favor of a military coup. He later insisted that he was misquoted but the videotape confirms that he was for a military coup before he was against it last week. It is certainly positive to see Flynn deny support for a military coup, but the incident is the latest example of our growing addiction to rage — and the loss of our common constitutional faith.

Here is the column:

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Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone and a thanks to all of those who have sacrificed for our nation.  On this day, I often think of my late father, Jack Turley, who served in the Pacific in the Navy during World War II.  My grandfather Ed Turley served in World War I with the Fighting Irish out of New York and New Jersey. I hope everyone has a chance to spend time with their families and friends today. Continue reading “Happy Memorial Day”

Behold Your Afghan Air Fleet: How U.S. Paid $549 Million For Defective Cargo Planes and Then Sold Them For $40,257 Of Scrap Metal

If you want to know why waste and conflicts of interests are so prevalent in the United States, you need to look no further than the recent report of he Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on the so-called G222 program. I wrote about this program in 2013 but we now have the result of the criminal investigation. Under the program, the United States Air Force spent $549 million to buy 20 Italian-made cargo planes for the Afghan government. They were found to be unreliable and turned into scrap metal for $40,257. No action was taken against the company, Alenia North America, or the Air Force General responsible for the outrageous contract (despite a finding of a conflict of interest).  The Justice Department refused to take action because such cases are “unheard of.” Perhaps, but government officials and contractor heard the message loud and clear: there is virtually no contractual waste that you can commit in the United States military that will result in sanctions. This picture from SIGAR is what remains of over half a billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money.

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The Big Sleep: CEO Mike Lindell’s Notes Reference Imposition of Martial Law

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has long been a diehard supporter of President Donald Trump. Indeed, on the day of the infamous speech preceding the riot in the Capitol, Lindell told media that he was confident that the day would bring vindication for the President. The statement left many of us scratching our heads since the certification of the victory of Joe Biden was only hours away. Now, the Washington Post has blown up the notes of Lindell leaving the Oval Office, which appear to refer to the Insurrection Act and the imposition of martial law. Media reports state that President Trump “cut short his meeting with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell within minutes, after the entrepreneur was spotted at the White House brandishing notes referencing martial law.”

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“How Scared Should We Be?”: CNN’s Jake Tapper Leads Show With “Conspiracy In the Oval Office” On Possible Declaration Of Martial Law

Yesterday, the media erupted with the latest bombshell stories of how President Donald Trump is discussing plans for martial law and the appointment of former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell as a Special Counsel. It was a familiar bomb and bust pattern. A fair basis for coverage on the meeting quickly mutated into what bordered on panic coverage on the threat of a military takeover. This morning Jake Tapper headlined his show with “Conspiracy in the Oval Office” on how Trump discussed imposing martial law. He asked “How scared should we be?”  The answer is not very on either count. President Trump publicly denied the report as “fake news.”

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Former DNC Official: “We Should Give Eric Swalwell The Congressional Medal Of Honor For His Conduct”

There continues to be a virtual news blackout on coverage of the scandal involving House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell reportedly having a long intimate relationship with a Chinese spy named Fang Fang.  Some however were not content to simply ignore the story.  In a more worthy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brad Woodhouse, the former DNC Communications Director, went on Fox News not to bury Swalwell but to praise him.  Asked whether Swalwell should have been left on the House Intelligence Committee after an alleged intimate relationship with a Chinese spy, Woodhouse declared Swalwell did everything right after being notified by the FBI. He then added “we should give Eric Swalwell the congressional medal of honor his conduct.” As a military history buff, the comparison did not sit well with me, but it was particularly odd coming from Woodhouse. Continue reading “Former DNC Official: “We Should Give Eric Swalwell The Congressional Medal Of Honor For His Conduct””

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks