Sunday, May 31, 2009


This story comes from India.

A long time ago, there was a small, weak kingdom in Northern India that bordered on a very powerful one. The king of this land was worried about what to do if one day the big kingdom attacked. So he shared his concern with his ministers.

It so happened that in a faraway city there was a powerful guru who knew many wonderful magic tricks. The king’s Astrologer suggested they ask this wise man for some magic. The king decided to go, and he brought with him four cabinet ministers, the astrologer, and the queen. The trip took many days by horseback.

The guru welcomed them. He was very kind and gave the king a magic bag, telling the King, “Keep this bag with you. Any time you are faced with danger, open it and you will see a piece of paper giving you instructions.”

The king thanked the wise man, and the group went home. But during the long journey home, they became lost in the jungle. After several days of wandering aimlessly, the astrologer reminded the king of the magic bag.

The king opened the bag and withdrew the piece of paper. The instructions said that the ministers should stand at the four corners of a rectangle, the queen in the center, and the astrologer and the king on each end. And in a chorus they should recite, “I become a tiger.”

Suddenly the whole group became a tiger. They were no longer afraid of starving, because the tiger could catch any small animal to eat. But they couldn’t recover their human form. They lost their human consciousness, and forgot about finding a solution for the kingdom.

That is exactly the case of the Obama Administration. The stimulus bill, bailout packages, and other programs - healthcare, energy cap-and-trade, etcetera – are the magic bag. The rationale is that this will save the American economy, but once put into place these programs will consume individual finances and freedom. The Government becomes the tiger; the small animals it feeds upon are the individual citizenry - you and I.

Socialism has no human conscience; individual freedom of choice is subordinate to the government’s priorities. Once implemented, it is nearly impossible to remove. It is unfortunate for America that Mr. Obama does not know the lesson of the Magic Bag.


Click HERE

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Over the years I developed this; twenty-five years of serving with some of the greatest soldiers ever walked the face of the Earth, refined, filtered and distilled down to three simple Rules. Meditate upon them.

Joe Snuffy can smell a lie a mile off. Once you’ve lied to your men, you are no longer the leader; you’re just the guy standing out in front of the formation.

Show your team you are willing and able to do every job on the team, no matter how low-down, dirty or dangerous.

Find logical, common-sense options out of by-the-book dilemmas; otherwise you will only set yourself up for ridicule and failure.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


“Snake Eaters” is a military slang term for Army Special Force (a.k.a. “Green Berets”), and YES we DO eat snakes. This is part of our survival training, although I have slayed and eaten snake in the field to supplement the rations, and because basically, snake tastes good.

I have encountered snakes (and eaten them) throughout my career. I have eaten cobra in Thailand (and drank the blood mixed with Mekhong whiskey), Eastern Diamondback in Mississippi and copperhead North Carolina. For what it’s worth, I prefer rattlesnake; tastes like chicken.

Back in '99 I did a six-month stint in the Ivory Coast. The base we stayed in – Camp Akuedo – was adjacent to the city dump; the place was overridden with vermin. Vultures, kites and ravens patrolled the skies. I didn’t have a solid bowel movement the whole time I was there, and every day we either killed a cobra, some kind of evil viper, or one of these lobster-sized scorpions that infested our Company area.

Well, we had this Warrant Officer Eric Red (best damn Warrant I ever worked with and one of the bravest men alive). For this deployment he was the Company XO, and he lived in the Company Supply room. The word around camp was he kept a mamba and a mongoose in there with him. Because he visited the Embassy a couple of times a week, Chief Red operated a check cashing service out of the supply room; he’d have us go in and stand in front of this desk he’d made out of MRE cartons, it was just like the old-time pay call.

One day I asked him, “So what’s this about a mongoose and a mamba, Chief?”

“Oh, I kicked the mongoose out. The damn thing moved his family in, and they kept me up all night with their fighting and scurrying about.”

“Uh-huh. So, uh, what about the mamba?”

“I kept the mamba – it keeps the Africans out.”

“But . . . it’s a MAMBA, Chief!”

“Yeah, but it’s only a GREEN mamba,” he shrugged.

Whenever I went in there to cash a check I always looked over my shoulder for the mamba.

A reader who does the 3d World Bush Tour quite a bit asked me for info on what to do in the event of a snake bite. This opened a can of worms, to coin a phrase . . .

As far as first aid goes, I refer to Army Field Manuel 21-76 SURVIVAL (which I helped write).

The advice from the SAS Survival Handbook, Vol I – Outdoor Survival by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman (HarperCollins Publishers, London 1996), stresses avoidance:

Snakes have excellent camouflage, only movement gives them away. In snake-infested areas you will pass many every day without ever noticing them.
The chances of being bitten are small and all but the worst cases recover. In Malaysia, more people are killed each year by falling coconuts and in India rat-bites produce many more cases for hospitalization!
A bite from a poisonous snake should always be taken seriously, but there are degrees of severity. When biting in self-defence, many snakes inject only a little venom, occasionally none at all. If the snake is out of condition or has recently bitten something else, its venom may not be fully potent and there may only be a little in its venom sacs. Clothing or shoes may have deflected the full force of the bite. In many poisonous snakes the dose of venom needed to kill a man far exceed the amount that can be injected in one bite.

Funny thing is, I’ve always worried about falling coconuts. Seriously. Never knew they were THAT deadly; I just always had a sort of feeling. Just goes to show . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Most of the world operates on the barter system, thus most people understand the mechanics of negotiation strategy. In America, other than buying a car, the majority of people (especially the upper middle-class) have limited experience in bargaining. As a consequence, much of our foreign policy negotiations seem to have more basis in altruism than realpolitik.

One would think Mr. Obama has never bargained with a rug merchant before, yet in his dealings with House Republicans over the stimulus bill he showed that he knows how to play hardball. With the Iranians, however, its been more like T-ball.

To advance their nuclear program, the Iranians have been playing for time. Mr. Obama opened his presidency by conceding them more. Now he is conceding the principle that Iran’s nuclear program can somehow be tied to Israeli concessions on West Bank settlements.

What we have gained by these opening gambits is less than clear. If you were seeking a successful conclusion to any endeavor, the very last thing you would want to tie it to is an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Since we are on a timeline, it is simply the kiss of death.

I'm beginning to think Mr. Obama is Iran's most skillful negotiator - experienced rug merchants that they are, they just don't have anybody in their corner near as good. And this after Iran's supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected Obama's "hand of friendship" out of hand. If Tony Blair was George Bush's lapdog, then Barack Obama is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's puppy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu shares none of these delusions. He understands quid pro quo, and isn't giving anything away. He is trying to keep the focus on Iran and off the Palestinians, and he is not willing to bargain with the security of the state of Israel as part of any deal with Iran. He knows that making any concessions at this point is only a sign of weakness that will encourage the enemy to stall for more time, break agreements, and circumvent sanctions. If Mr. Obama does not take care, Iran will likely enter the club of nuclear powers as a member with full voting rights. Mr. Obama, by tightening the noose on Israel, you have only encouraged Iran, Hamas, Syria and all the other agents of terror to proceed... nice move... don't forget your umbrella on the way out.

We Americans have such a desire for peace that we are often prepared to offer unconditional concessions in order to gain it. We expect that if, in the spirit of good faith, we make a concession, then, in the same spirit, the opposition will accept our terms. They might even throw in a concession on their part. In the Middle East, these illusions can be very costly. When you visit the nuclear souk, Mr. Obama, you had best come prepared to drive some tough bargains.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The question has been posed - "Is there a military option?"

There is always a military option. The question is not "Is there a military option?" Rather, the question is "Can we afford the price?"

Unfortunately, the primo window of opportunity to have launched an attack would have been BEFORE 9/11.

The fact remains we could still launch an attack on North Korea, although our resources are stretched mighty thin. Options include anything from commando raids - which are difficult to plan & coordinate - to air strikes, to full scale conventional military invasion - up to and including missile attacks.

Planning considerations must include the fact that the North Korean military is a fanatic organization that makes the Waffen SS look like Boy Scouts. They will fight to the bloody end. To complicate matters, the entire country is in hardcore defensive posture (beaucoup anti-aircraft artillery, anti-helicopter cables strung between mountains, minefields galore, and beach defenses a la Atlantic Wall).

And what do we get out of it? Heavy casualties, and another country we have to feed and take care of. Not to mention the fact that any American soldier who has spent time in Korea will tell you the true reason we are there is not to keep the North Koreans from coming South - rather it is to keep the SOUTH Koreans from going NORTH.

Of course, the threat of nuclear proliferation must be addressed, as with the Iran dilemma. To complicate matters, North Korea is backstopped by the world's most populated nation: the Peoples Republic of China. It suits Red China that North Korea pokes a stick in our collective eye socket; this is payback for us supporting Taiwan all these years.

I work with a Korean who is US Army retired. Whenever Kim Jong Il pulls one of his outrageous stunts, her comment is "Oh, they just want more rice."

Unfortunately, with North Korea a combination of containment and carrot & stick is probably our most workable policy. Likewise Cuba. The sad thing is, it is the ordinary people of those countries who suffer terribly, at the hands of their Communist overlords.


When I was young I read about the Trojan war; I studied Homer's writings for clues about such traits of personality or character possessed by the ancient heroes. I studied the Old Testament Book of Judges. Fascinated, I watched the film To Hell And Back; the story of Audie Murphy, Medal of Honor recipient and most decorated soldier of World War II.

I am not a hero but I have served in the company of heroes. More and more it seems nowadays we are living in an era of heroes.

In the latest conflict there have been heroes, as there have been in any and all wars of the past, mostly anonymous. Just recently I learned of a friend's stepfather's funeral at Arlington. A company commander in World War II, he fought with Patton; in a near ambush he was wounded by Germans three times on the same day, then returned to serve with his men on the front lines. For this heroism he received a single Purple Heart medal. He went on to serve his country in other capacities, working out of embassies in Africa and Southeast Asia. I didn't know it at the time, but while I was escorting his daughter to high school dances, this man was a prisoner of the Pathet Lao Communists. If I could have made it to Arlington that day, I would have worn my dress blues to honor of this hero.

Three names immediately come to mind:

Captain Chesley N. Sullenberger, the nerves-of-steel pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 who safely his disabled aircraft in the East River and saved his entire compliment of passengers and crew from certain death.

Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk-Alabama, who put himself in harms way, offering himself as hostage to the Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his crew.

Colonel, US Army (Retired) Rick Rescorla. Born and raised in England, join the British military at age sixteen and fought against Communists in Cyprus and Rhodesia, then came to America, enlisted in the US Army and went to Vietnam with the 7th Cavalry - Custer's old outfit - and fought in the legendary Battle of Ia Drang. On Sept. 11th 2001, Rick Rescorla was vice-president in charge of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. His office was on the forty-fourth floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. The firm occupied twenty-two floors in the South Tower. After the plane hit his building, the Port Authority told him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

Instead, Rescorla ensured that every one of his firm's employees was safely evacuated, then took some of his security men back INTO the burning building to make a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side, but only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated. In this final act of heroism, Rick Rescorla saved the lives of over 2600 employees of Dean Whitter.

Of course, there are the 4900+ men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the subsequent campaigns of the Global War on Terror.

Some 640,000+ gave all in the wars of the 20th Century: 25 Somalia (including 18 in the Battle of Mogadishu); 113 Gulf War I; 24 Operation JUST CAUSE Panama; 240+ Lebanon peacekeeping operations; 19 Operation URGENT FURY Grenada; 13 Operation POWER PACK Dominican Republic; 58,000+ Vietnam; 36,500+ Korea (latest casualty US Army CWO David Hilemon in 1994); 416,800+ World War II; 116,708+ World War I; 4100+ the Philippine War; 2900+ Spanish-American War;

Some 675,000+ Americans who died in the wars preceding: (including 620,000+ KIA or died of wounds and disease in the Civil War; 13,200+ Mexican War; 700+ Texas War of Independence; 17,000+ War of 1812; 24,000+ American Revolution).

The numbers listed above do not include Americans killed in politically-motivated terrorist acts, to include the 18 American servicemen & civilians killed during my time in the Philippines 1988-1989.

They are all heroes. We must honor them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Profiles of Valor: 10th Special Forces Group

On 10 September 2007, a team of three Army Green Berets led by Capt. Matthew A. Chaney, along with nine Iraqi police, began an assault from two helicopters near Samarra, Iraq. The team was targeting Abu Obaeideah, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in the area. The field designated for landing was covered with water, so the helicopters had to land closer to the insurgents' safe house, where they came under heavy enemy fire.

Practically blinded by dust from the second helicopter, the Iraqis were all but taken out of the fight from the start, so Chaney, Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Lindsay and Staff Sgt. Jarion Halbisengibbs led a charge against the building where the hostile fire was originating. Halbisengibbs threw in a fragmentation grenade, killing two, and the soldiers rushed in. Lindsay was hit in the throat by an AK-47 round, and Chaney took a hit to the pelvis. Then both were thrown from the doorway by a grenade blast. Lindsay, who couldn't raise his rifle, fired at the enemy with his pistol. Chaney couldn't feel his legs, but he kept firing, killing a jihadi.

Halbisengibbs "continued to clear the structure in complete darkness as his night vision goggles and personal radio were all destroyed by enemy gunfire at point blank range," the official narrative read. He was shot in the thumb and knocked down by a grenade blast but continued fighting, killing another terrorist. As he moved back to the courtyard to protect his wounded comrades, Halbisengibbs was shot through the abdomen but managed to kill another jihadi on his way to the ground. He then directed the Iraqi police to finish the fight. Obaeideah was killed, along with 12 other insurgents, six by Halbisengibbs.

All three Green Berets have recovered from their injuries. Chaney and Lindsay were each awarded the Silver Star; Halbisengibbs received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest combat medal.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Q: What is the mission of your blog?

A: The intent of Blog Stormbringer is to stimulate thought, to explore history and philosophy with a military approach, and to sometimes launch a bit of humor . . . I especially enjoy the history of Ancient Greece and Rome, and drawing parallels to our modern experience, hence the submissions Caligula’s Horse and View From Within the Phalanx.

I have visited Greece and Rome several times, and other locations throughout these ancient empires and what is known as the "Holy Land". In high school I studied Latin under a very impressionable Italian woman whom to this day I am convinced was a secret admirer of Benito Mussolini.

Q: Did you develop a charter for your blogs, is it just observations, or a journal?

A: In the early stages of the Global War on Terror I used to get involved in heavy email political discussions / arguments; over time this became tiresome and since the ’08 election it is simply redundant. After firing funny jokes and other material his way, Theo Spark over at Last of the Few suggested I get into blogging. There are still some technical hiccups I am working out, and Theo is providing guidance. I might lighten up on politics and concentrate more on history, philosophy and military themes. The crude humor stays; I hope we never get to the point where we cannot laugh, especially at ourselves.

Q: What is the origin of the name Stormbringer?

A: One of my favorite bands is Deep Purple, of course, and one of their great songs is Stormbringer - inspired by the science fiction / fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock. A good friend who is also a reader introduced me to these books a long, long time ago. Whenever I went to the desert I always named my GunVee “Stormbringer” - I’m not really into the swords & fantasy genre, I just like the sound of that name; STORMBRINGER. It's got a ring to it like some kind of heroic Viking saga. That’s my GunVee in the photo across the top of the blog.

Q: Who IS Sean Linnane - the man behind the pseudonym?

I am not a hero, but I have served with heroes . . .

For legitimate reasons involving my current employment, I use the pseudonym Sean Linnane - for the same rationale I studiously AVOID commenting on certain subjects. It is probable that I will reveal my identity at some future point; the situation is dependent on my work. There are some issues I will never discuss, of course; unlike some, I take the non-disclosure statements I signed seriously.

One thing about me is that I am not politically correct. Another thing about myself: I am a practitioner of a mystical desert sect which happens to be the most persecuted religion on Earth; that is, I am a Christian. But I don't discriminate: when I was in Jerusalem, in '86, I visited the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, up on the Temple Mount, on a Friday. There I was, wearing the robes and surrounded by Arabs at prayer, contemplating on how this place was the site of the original Temple, and also served as the first headquarters of the Knights Templar. On Saturday I attended services at the Great Synagogue on King George Street, and on Sunday I went to St. George's, the Anglican Cathedral (which looks like a Crusader fortress, complete with Crusader flag flying over it) in East Jerusalem, because I am an Anglican. Personally, I don't see any contradiction in this; like the Arabs say, "We are People of the Book".

Q: What am I the reader, to take away from reading it?

A: Philosophy is the study of concepts such as existence, justice, knowledge, truth, beauty, mind, and language. The original Greek meaning of the word is "love of wisdom". Individual character development is essential to our society, if we are to prevail over the destructive forces that are not only out there on the far-flung fringes of the Empire, as it were, but also within the gates. Stormbringer is about education, information, and thought-provoking opinion, based on the experiences of my life and the extraordinary people I've encountered along the way.

A theme I wish to explore is Leadership, which I define as Planning, Decision-Making and Risk Management. Immediately after I retired from active duty, I found there was a great thirst in the business world for the kind of management and organizational skills that are formally taught in military leadership schools. Encouraged by a friend who is also a sort of mentor, I wrote a series of articles on the subject and developed Military Leadership Applications for Small Business Owners & Mid-Level Managers, which I’ve already presented at seminars. I presented Murphy’s Laws of Combat last week as introductory background material for my readership, in the Leadership department. There will be more material like this forthcoming.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Look carefully at the B-17 (below) and note how heavily damaged it is - one engine dead, tail, horizontal stabilizer and nose all shot up. It was ready to fall out of the sky. (This is a painting done by an artist from the description of both pilots many years later.) Then realize there is a German ME-109 fighter flying next to it. A family friend - A World War II vet out of England - sent me this story. I think you'll be surprised . . . . . . If anybody has any more detailed information about these aircraft, the date of their mission, target, etcetera, please add comments below.

B-17 ‘Ye Old Pub’

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

BF-109 pilot Franz Stigler and B-17 pilot Charlie Brown

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and slightly over, the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe. When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

When asked why he didn’t shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn’t have the heart to finish those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”

Both men died in 2008.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This guy really DOES have sh*t for brains . . .


For once I'm speechless . . .



We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


. . . is the enemy’s main attack (Murphy’s Law of Combat; Rule #14). Murphy's Laws apply equally across the tactical to the strategic level; they work all the way from the lowly grunt in the foxhole right up to generals and Field Marshals leading armies across the plains of Europe and Asia.

While the Nancy Pelosi waterboarding soap opera develops and Obama’s socialization of the economy continues to dominate headlines, our strategic opponents are moving to outflank us on two significant fronts: Russian moves in the Arctic, and Chinese advances in cyberwarfare.

In August of 2007 a Russian a deep sea submersible descended 14,000 feet and dropped a titanium Russian tricolor onto the seabed, formally laying claim to the North Pole:

The prize sought is the Arctic’s vast energy resources; according to some estimates up to a quarter of the world’s untapped energy reserves. Because of the Global Warming phenomena, these resources may now be more accessible than ever before.

The last time a modern nation pulled an eighteenth century-style land grab, the result was the 1982 Falklands War. Moving with creeping incrementalism, in May of 2008 Russia sent a fleet of nuclear-powered ice breakers into the Arctic.

Canada has accused Russia of annexing the Arctic for oil reserves. This past September President Medvedev called on his security chiefs to establish a formal border in the region, claiming a vast section of the Arctic has “strategic importance” for Russia.

Tensions in the Arctic are heightening; hardly a week passes without Russian aircraft flying over the North Pole, simulating strikes on "enemy" bases and shipping. Russia’s demonstrated ability to enforce a physical presence in the hostile Arctic environment has unnerved its international rivals. Canada's Defense Ministry intends to build a special fleet of patrol boats - eight armed ships capable of cutting through the ice - to guard the North West Passage. Canada also plans to open an army training center for cold-weather fighting at Resolute Bay and a deep-water port on the northern tip of Baffin Island, both of which are close to the disputed region.


. . . most Americans are not aware that we are ALREADY engaged in a war with the world’s most populated nation:

As was vividly demonstrated to the world on September 11th, 2001, modern wars do not require the seizing of territory or taking of cities. The early stages of a “cyberwar” are developing between China and the United States. In March, the security firm Solutionary detected 128 cyber intrusions per minute. More recently, China began installing a more secure operating software, known as Kylin, on its tens of millions government and military computer systems.

Kevin G. Coleman, a private security specialist who advises the government on cybersecurity, states that the deployment of Kylin is significant because the system has "hardened" key Chinese servers, making its networks impenetrable to U.S. military and intelligence agencies, thus limiting U.S. offensive cyberwarfare capabilities

Of course, Murphy's Law of Combat Rule # 14 is followed by Rule # 15:
15. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: A) when they are ready, and B) when you are not.

The ball’s in your court, Mr. Obama; you’re the President of the United States – what are you gonna do now, Mister President?

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This post represents the beginning of a series on Leadership. I was first exposed to this brilliant piece of wisdom as a private, when I signed into A Company, 1st/325 Airborne Infantry Regiment (known throughout the 82nd Airborne as the infamous 'AlphaTraz'). There was a copy of these Murphy's Laws over the CQ Desk, decorated with a skull in a maroon beret over crossed M16's. Over the years I've seen a few different versions of this, but the core Laws remain the same - SEAN LINNANE

1. Friendly fire – isn’t.
2. Recoilless rifles – aren’t.
3. Suppressive fire – won’t.
4. You are not Superman.
5. A sucking chest wound is Nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
6. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.
7. Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo.
8. If at first you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.
9. If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
10. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
11. Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
12. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
13. If your attack is going really well, you’re walking into an ambush.
14. The enemy diversion you’re ignoring is their main attack.
15. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: A) when they’re ready, B) when you’re not ready.
16. No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
17. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
18. Five-second fuzes always burn three seconds.
19. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
20. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
21. The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
22. The easy way is always mined.
23. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.
24. Don’t look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known as bomb magnets.
25. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
26. If you are short of everything but enemy, you are in the combat zone.
27. When you have secured the area, make sure to inform the enemy.
28. Incoming fire has the right of way.
29. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
30. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
31. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
32. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
33. Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren’t.
34. Things that must work together, can’t be carried to the field that way.
35. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
36. Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.
37. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
38. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.
39. Tracers work both ways.
40. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
41. When both sides are convinced they’re about to lose, they’re both right.
42. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of dangerous amateurs.
43. Military Intelligence is a contradiction of terms.
44. Fortify your front; you’ll get your rear shot up.
45. Weather ain’t neutral.
46. If you can’t remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
47. Air defense motto: shoot ‘em down; sort ‘em out on the ground.
48. Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it’ll go.
49. The Cavalry doesn’t always come to the rescue.
50. Napalm is an area support weapon.
51. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
52. B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
53. Sniper’s motto: reach out and touch someone.
54. Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.
55. The one item you need is always in short supply.
56. Interchangeable parts aren’t.
57. It’s not the one with your name on it; it’s the one addressed “to whom it may concern” you’ve got to think about.
58. When in doubt, empty your magazine.
59. The side with the simplest uniforms wins.
60. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
61. If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
62. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
63. The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.
64. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
65. Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel’s HQ.
66. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
67. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.
68. A clean (and dry) set of BDU’s is a magnet for mud and rain.
69. The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.
70. Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
71. The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.
72. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon’s operator.
73. Field experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
74. No matter which way you have to march, it’s always uphill.
75. If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.
76. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism (in boot camp).
77. Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.
78. When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.
79. The tough part about being in charge is that the troops don’t know what they want, but they know for certain what they don’t want.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On Lt Gen McChrystal replacing Gen McKiernan - The situation is comparable to Lincoln’s search of a replacement for McClellan; there are a lot of officers out there who know their stuff on paper but putting it together under field conditions - even in training - is another thing altogether. Leaders who are able to field and lead forces against an enemy willing to stand and fight calls for very unique leadership capabilities. This is something I know about. LTG McChrystal has proven himself in this department: as commander of JSOC he got al-Zarqawi's scalp and nailed it to his lodge pole.

During spring of 2007 McChrystal led JSOC, attached forces and other government agencies in a series of highly effective covert operations in Iraq that coincided with the troop surge. McChrystal's forces employed a concept dubbed "collaborative warfare": a range of tools from signal intercepts to human intelligence to find, target, and kill insurgents. It has been suggested that it was this effort, not the well-publicized surge, that was responsible for the drop in violence in 2007–2008

McChrystal got egg on his face in the aftermath of the Pat Tillman Silver Star fiasco. Former professional football player Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004; McChrystal approved a posthumous Silver Star for Tillman. The day after sending the paperwork forward, however, McChrystal apparently sent an urgent memo warning senior government officials not to quote the phrase "in the line of devastating enemy fire," in the citation because it "might cause public embarrassment" if Tillman had in fact been killed by friendly fire, as McChrystal suspected.

McChrystal was recommended for discipline by a subsequent Pentagon investigation but the Army declined to take action against him. I personally have a hard time forgiving him for this. A friend of mine, Brigadier General Gary Jones, took a hit on this when the US Army Special Operations Command made him one of the scapegoats, after the fact. Jones was retired but they let McChrystal walk. To me the whole thing smacks of officer CYA after-the-fact; why did McChrystal sign the citation if he suspected friendly fire?

As long as I stood in formation and wore jump wings on my chest – 25 years – the Army always told me the worst thing you can do is screw up a military funeral. You can screw up anything else and we’ll cover for you, but a veteran's funeral must be pulled off without a hitch. McChrystal was a key player in the Tillman tragedy of errors, so he must be pretty good for them to keep him around and now put him in charge of the main effort of the GWOT, or whatever it is we’re calling it these days.

To me, McChrystal is either a Ulysses S. Grant or he's a George Armstrong Custer. Grant climbed all the way to the top via a list of quantifiable achievements; Custer was a politician and a ticket puncher and we all know how that ended. Let's hope LTG McChrystal is the former not the latter.


Sunday, May 10, 2009


We are forced to intervene in many directions simply because we have to be on our guard in many directions; now, as previously, we have come as allies to those of you here who are being oppressed; our help was asked for, and we have not arrived uninvited.
- THUCYDIDES, The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian War spanned twenty-eight years (431-404 BC); in the end Athens surrendered to Sparta. Completely devastated, Athens never regained its pre-war prosperity.

If the war we are in is no longer to be known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT, then why don’t we call it the One Hundred Years War? If it is not that, then it is certainly at least the Thirty Years War. (These nicknames for the war, by the way, have been American GI wisdom since at least 2002.)

Our enemies are myriad; committed friends and allies few. Thousands of dedicated Taliban fighters swarm throughout the Northwest Tribal Areas of Pakistan, with their complimentary propaganda / indoctrination organizations, Sharia tribunals and enforcers, political wing, logistics, support, etcetera.

The Obama Administration’s response is to dedicate 20,000 troops to the Afghan theater of operations – but the enemy’s main effort is across the border, in Pakistan. We have limited forces located in Pakistan of course, but they are not deployed in sufficient numbers or troop configurations to decisively engage the Taliban.

Two weeks ago we were all going to suffer and die a horrible death at the hands of the Swine Flu Pandemic. As it turned out, this seems simply a crisis of convenience, a diversion readily lapped up, regurgitated and magnified a thousand fold by the Obama Administration propaganda machine a.k.a. the Mainstream Media. The Swine Flu story served to divert attention away from the Obama Administration’s nationalization of the banks and the auto industry.

And so while our enemies swirl around us, consolidate their forces and prepare for the next terrorist offensive, Barack Obama has committed the nation to a trillion, or three trillion, or ten trillion-odd dollars over the next four to ten years. Perhaps only ten percent of this incredible amount is to provide stimulus to the economy; the rest represents the greatest growth of government agencies and projects in the history of the Republic. This unnecessary expansion will require running the printing presses, of course – there is no other way to produce the required funds – and this will inevitably bankrupt us, of course, via a combination of hyperinflation, taxes, and high interest rates.

That's a Hell of a way to prepare the nation for a decades-long global conflict, Mr. Obama.

Friday, May 8, 2009


(written by an unknown Pastor's Wife)

And it came to pass in the Age of Insanity that the people of the land called America, having lost their morals, their work initiative, and their will to defend their liberties, chose as their Supreme Leader that person known as "The One".

He emerged from the vapors with a message that had no meaning; but He hypnotized the people telling them, "I am sent to save you. My lack of experience, my questionable ethics, my monstrous ego, and my association with evil doers are of no consequence. For I shall save you with Hope and Change. Go, therefore, and proclaim throughout the land that he who preceded me is evil, that he has defiled the nation, and that all he has built must be destroyed."

And the people rejoiced, for even though they knew not what "The One" would do, he had promised that he would bring change, and they proclaimed "Yes We Can".

And "The One" said "We live in the greatest country in the world. Help me change everything about it!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Change is good!"

Then He said, "We are going to tax the rich fat-cats," - And the people said "Sock it to them!" and "Redistribute their wealth!"

And then He said, "Redistribution of wealth is good for everybody"

And the people said, "Show us the money!"

And Joe the plumber asked, "Are you kidding me? You're going to steal my money and give it to the deadbeats??"

And "The One" ridiculed and taunted him, and Joe's personal records were
hacked, publicized, and ridiculed; though no crime could be found.

One lone reporter asked, "That shouldn't be, isn't that Marxist policy?"

And she was banished from the kingdom!

Then a citizen asked, "With no foreign relations experience and having
zero military experience or knowledge, how will you deal with radical terrorists?"

And "The One" said, "Simple. I shall sit with them and talk kindly to them and show them how nice we really are; and they will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! We are safe at last, and we can beat our weapons into free cars for the people!"

Then "The One" said, "I shall give 95% of you lower taxes."

And one, lone voice said, "But 40% of us don't pay ANY taxes."

So "The One" said, "Then I shall give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Show us the money!"

Then "The One" said, "I shall tax your Capital Gains when you sell your homes!"

And the people yawned and the already slumping housing market fully collapsed.

And He said, "I shall mandate employer-funded health care for EVERY worker and raise the minimum wage, and lower the white collar wage. And I shall also give every person unlimited healthcare and medicine and even transportation to the free clinics."

And the people said, "Give me some of that!"

Then he said, "I shall penalize employers who ship jobs overseas."

And the people said, "Where's my rebate check?"

Then "The One" said, "I shall bankrupt the coal industry, and perhaps even the oil industry (Cap & Trade /Carbon Tax) and though electricity rates will skyrocket, we shall soon build wind farms and solar power stations and drive green cars that I shall mandate in Detroit!"

And the people said, "Coal is dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don't care for that part about higher electric rates."

So "The One" said, "Not to worry. If your rebate ($10/week) isn't enough to cover your extra expenses ($3,000/year), we shall bail you out. Just sign up with ACORN and your troubles are over! Only the fat cats will have to
> pay."

Then He said, "Illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let's grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches, free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing..."

And the people said, "Hallelujah!!" And they made him King!

And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers; though they sold much less of their products. Others simply gave up and went out of business, and the economy sank like unto a rock dropped from a cliff. The banking industry was destroyed. Manufacturing slowed to a crawl. And more of the people were without a means of support.

So "The One" again blamed the prior administration, extended unemployment benefits to a year, bailed out his favorite banks, and then took over the banks and auto industries. "The One" said, "I am the "The One" – The Messiah - and I'm here to save you! We shall just print more money so the government will have enough! Surely one trillion dollars will make everyone happy."

And immediately the Fed complied and the money presses roared.

And China reconsidered their one trillion dollars of loans to the US, and threatened to call in their debts. Other foreign trading partners said unto The One, "Wait a minute. Your dollar is not worth a pile of camel dung! You will have to pay more for everything as your dollar becomes worth less."

And the people said, "Wait a minute. That is unfair!!"

And the world said, "Neither are these other idiotic programs you have embraced. Lo, you have become a Socialist state and a second-rate power.
What factories are not owned by your government are owned by us. Now you shall play by our rules!"

And "The One" said "Americans are arrogant, divisive, and derisive! We will listen."

And the people cried out, "Alas, alas!! What have we done?"

But yea verily, it was too late. The people eventually set upon "The One" and spat upon him and stoned him, and his name was dung.

But the once mighty nation was no more; and the once proud people were without sustenance or shelter or hope. And the Change that "The One" had given them was as like unto a poison that had destroyed them from within, and like a whirlwind that consumed all that they had built.

And the people beat their chests in despair and cried out in anguish, "Give us back our nation and our pride and our hope!!"

But it was too late, and the once-glorious "Home of the Brave and Land of the Free" was no more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It's like we’re sitting in a room with not one, but several ten thousand pound gorillas that everybody wishes really were not there. Iraq is not the “lost war” Democrats in Congress claimed it was two years ago, but Afghanistan might very well become so. Darfur is still an anti-Christian genocidal mess about which we continue to do nothing. Not much visible progress on the Somali pirate issue. There’s the nascent nuclear threat from Iran, and of course there’s the nascent nuclear threat from the Taliban.


That’s right; the Taliban insurgency in northwest Pakistan has obviously moved from the Latent and Incipient phase to Guerrilla Warfare and even limited War of Movement. These are technical terms used by professional military and political science types to describe the phases of an insurgency. Once an insurgent organization is established and starts its activities, it progresses through phases in its effort to overthrow the government.

If the Taliban has achieved the latter phase – War of Movement – then it is urgent that the Whitehouse get focused, fast. The target of this insurgency just so happens to possess nuclear arms.

In other words, the original casus belli for the 2003 invasion of Iraq – that Saddam Hussein actively sought to acquire nuclear/chemical/biological capabilities, and the risk that he might hand such weaponry over to our terrorist enemies was intolerable in a post- 9/11 world – has just been met; with the Taliban situation in Pakistan. Remember, there was overwhelming, near-unanimous bipartisan support for this rationale in 2003. Where is that same sense of urgency now?

If our new Commander-In-Chief has an actionable plan, he is yet to show any kind of original thinking, beyond handing our enemy captives the keys to their confinement facilities.

King’s bishop to Queen’s bishop 4; it’s your move, Mr. Obama.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (A.D. 12 - 41) a.k.a. “Caligula” – the mad emporer of Rome - represents a low point in the already morally decadent sewer that was Imperial Rome. His sexual depravity is well known – Caligula carried on incestual relationships with his sisters, killed for amusement, turned the Imperial Palace into a brothel and prostituted the wives of the Senators. Perhaps his most extreme outrage was his attempt to make his horse Incitatus a senator and a priest.

Witness in our own time the election of the clown AL Franken to the United States Senate.

Franken’s outrageous utterings include “Porn-O-Rama!” - an article he wrote for Playboy magazine described as “sexist, crass and vulgar,” so “demeaning and degrading" that even Democratic leaders expressed personal and political discomfort. Other writings include the books “Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot” and “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” – hardly objective titles. A photograph of Franken making the rounds on the Internet depicts him reclining, wearing enormous bunny ears, an adult diaper and sucking from a baby’s bottle.

Franken’s (predictable) liberal views include pro-choice on abortion, stricter gun control laws, legalization of same-sex marriage, and prior to November 2008 he called for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Past tax difficulties establish Franken’s bonafides with the Obama crowd.

The entrance of Al Franken into the United States Senate will represent a new nadir of the American Civilization. Caligula’s horse had more leadership bearing in the rear 30% of his body than this disgraceful darling of the left.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Many thanks to English Hero and infant terrible of the Blogoshere Theo Spark of Last of the Few who created the glorious new masthead of STORMBRINGER (seen above). The creative process went something like this:

From: Theo
Subject: Header
To: Stormbringer

The office pic is great but the background colours mean that it is hard to get the text to stand out. Do you have any pics of a desert background or something with vehicles in it?

From: Stormbringer
Subject: Header
To: Theo

Here you go Theo try this one . . . I like the military stencil lettering . . .

From: Theo
Subject: Header
To: Stormbringer

How's this? When you upload to your site make sure you click the instead of title and description. Ignore shrink to fit I have made it the same width as your template

From: Stormbringer
Subject: Header
To: Theo

This is nice . . . is there any way to get the quote in there?

"That Which Does Not Destroy Us Only Serves to Make Us Stronger." - Nietzsche

From: Theo
Subject: Header
To: Stormbringer

Try this

From: Stormbringer
Subject: Header
To: Theo

PERFECT . . . . Thank you British Hero ! ! ! STORMBRINGER SENDS

From: Theo
Subject: Header
To: Stormbringer

My pleasure. Your sidebar seems to have slipped down a bit.

From: Stormbringer
Subject: Header
To: Theo

Ah yes I am trying to grow them into the Tom Jones / Engelbert Humperdink look, but some how the Ambrose Burnsides lambchops effect eludes me . . .

From: Theo
Subject: Header
To: Stormbringer

Ha ha.

I think I finally achieved that dry English sense of humor ! ! ! This is a major accomplishment of cross-cultural communication . . . right up there with the time I pulled off the perfect Gallic shrug . . STORMBRINGER SENDS


I don't know how CROSS of IRON failed to make my earlier list . . . I guess including Caligula on a dare knocked this epic off the list . . . Sam Peckinpah's masterful depiction of hellish World War II combat on the Russian Front - seen from the German point of view - was the source of so many memorable lines. Leading the cowardly Prussian officer Hauptmann Stransky (Maximillian Schnell) into the final maelstrom of combat at the film's end, Unteroffizier Steiner (James Coburn) utters the immortal words, "Come with me, I will take you where the Iron Crosses grow . . . "

Saturday, May 2, 2009


How's this for a movie angle on the news: Obama, Democrat House and Senate majorities, and the Liberalization of the Supreme Court = The Perfect Storm

Here's the movie angle:

A crew of fishermen struggle to support themselves and their families on a catch that gets progressively smaller. Their charismatic captain persuades the crew that everything will change, and he will deliver them a huge catch. They give him carte blanche, and throwing all caution to the wind he takes their boat far beyond where they have fished before. They catch loads of fish and revel like men who have just had a Federal Government bailout. Blinded by hope and greed, the crew does not realize just how perilous a position their captain has led them to. A massive storm gathers and a huge wave (debt payments, cap-and-trade vouchers, nationalized health care, Wall Street bailouts, etc.) hits their ship of state and the boat and the crew are wiped out. Despite a rescue effort, only a few pieces of wreckage are ever recovered.

Here's the news:

Obama revelling in U.S. power unseen in decades

Friday, May 1, 2009


From Days of Caves in Living Rock
of Stone-Tipped Spear and Tomahawk
From Saber Tooth and Mastodon
through Years of Bronze and Years of Iron
Crossbow, Sword, and Battleaxe
Dungeons Deep and Torture Racks
To Gunpowder and Musketry
Bayonet and Artillery
Thor Frowned and Then
Poison Gas in the Ardennes
Machinegun Belts and TNT
Tank Columns and Infantry
Phantom Jets and Flak-Filled Skies
Napalm and a Child Cries
Pestilence, War, Famine,
it’s Armageddon
When at Last We Face the Beast
I Sing the Song of the Warrior Priest!

PJC, 1991