After World War II, Hitler’s top commando, Otto Skorzeny — the man who rescued Il Duce, became a globe-trotting businessman and general purpose p.r. man and re-entry resource for old Nazi soldiers. He even promoted movie-making on them to slight success. While a biographical war movie about himself was deep-sixed, Skorzeny was successful in helping gather interest for making a Hollywood blockbuster, The Battle of the Bulge, a partial character study of a leading German panzerman, and getting a retired Wermacht officer a job as a consultant to it.
Robert Shaw, years later better known as “Quint” in Jaws, was cast as ruthless German army tank commander “Martin Hassler.” But “Hassler” was a dodge. The part was originally to be Jochen Peiper, a Waffen SS tank commander whose unit was responsible for the Malmedy massacre of American prisoners of war. Realizing members of the VFW-American Legion wouldn’t think highly of such a movie, the Peiper part was replaced by a composite ringer, Hassler, who was portrayed in the regular Germany army. The Battle of the Bulge was an atrocious bomb redeemed by the odd twist that it can now be viewed as comedy, a monument to stumblebum movie-making employing Hollywood’s A-list.
Starring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas as American heroes, the battle starts in the winter. Or at least shows snow and pine trees. By the end though all historical pretense is abandoned. A climactic tank battle takes place on what looks like a dusty summer plain — in Franco’s Spain. Where there were plenty of American tanks to use as German panzers.
NAVY SEALS attempted to conduct another raid inside Yemen earlier this month but aborted the mission at the last minute, according to a senior U.S. military official.
Members of SEAL Team 6 deployed to Yemen in early March for a ground assault targeting suspected members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group U.S. officials view as the most dangerous branch of the terrorist organization. The aborted mission followed a botched January 29 raid in the village of al Ghayil, in al Bayda province. That raid left a Navy SEAL dead and two others seriously injured, and killed more than two dozen Yemeni civilians, including at least 16 women and children.
But why Otto Skorzeny, the reader may ask. Why not? If you need a reason: Because SEAL Team 6 has degenerated into nothing more than a deadly and never-ending shaggy dog story.
In a bunch Skorzeny’s men ran into the entrance of the hotel and collided with a stream of Italian soldiers, struggling with their weapons and helmets, trying frantically to get outside. The Germans cut right through them and booted the support from beneath a machine gun set up in the hall.
Skorzeny ignored the Italians. He butted his way through them: they were too close and too intermingled with his own men to allow him to use his machine pistol safely. He ran up the nearest flight of stairs, and at the first turn of the landing saw Mussolini, guarded by two young Italian officers.
Skorzeny hesitated. The two Italians were similarly hesitant. Lieutenant Schwerdt came through the door behind the CO. At the nearest window two faces appeared, surmounted by the brimless German paratroop helmets. His men had shinned up the lightning conductor. The Italian officers realized that they hadn’t a chance of fighting it out, and raised their hands in surrender.
The Italians were hustled out and Skorzeny posted Schwerdt as the Duce’s new bodyguard. Now dragging in the two men, Holzer and Benz, he stared out at the scene below. Radl, followed by his team, was running towards the hotel, and behind them crawled Obersturmführer Menzel, who had broken his ankle during the landing. Some way off the men from Glider No. 5 were also rushing towards the hotel …
There was some bewildered shouting, then a bareheaded, moustached colonel appeared.
‘I ask your immediate surrender,’ Skorzeny said in French. ‘Mussolini is already in our hands. We hold the building. If you want to avert senseless bloodshed you have sixty seconds to go and reflect.’ Skorzeny waited anxiously, watching the terrain for signs of further Italian resistance. But he need not have worried. Before the minute was up, the Italian colonel reappeared, and in both hands he carried a glass of red wine. With a slight bow he proffered the big German commando the token of surrender. ‘To the victor,’ he said simply.
Skorzeny thanked him and drank the wine; he was thirsty anyway. Outside there was the sound of cheers. Someone had flung a white bedsheet out of an upper window as a sign of capitulation, and the hotel was theirs.
Skorzeny thanked him and drank the wine; he was thirsty anyway. Outside there was the sound of cheers. Someone had flung a white bedsheet out of an upper window as a sign of capitulation, and the hotel was theirs.
At last Skorzeny had time for Mussolini. The Duce was unshaven and wearing a blue-grey suit that was too big for him, but there was no mistaking the joy in his broad face. Skorzeny clicked to attention. ‘Duce,’ he proclaimed formally, realizing that this was an historic moment, ‘I have been sent by the Leader to set you free.’
From Otto Skorzeny: The Most Dangerous Man in Europe by Charles Whiting.
Otto Skorzeny, the Third Reich’s top commando, didn’t go on missions for fifteen years. After the war ended he became a globe-trotting businessman, consultant and something of an ombudsman and one man p.r. operation for old Nazi soldiers. But more on this a bit later.
From the New York Times a couple days ago when Andrew Bacevich, one of the few military men who writes honest pieces on the state of the greatest nation in world history, contributed:
What are we to make of the chasm between effort expended and results achieved [in Afghanistan]? Why on those increasingly infrequent occasions when Afghanistan attracts notice do half-truths and pettifoggery prevail, rather than hard-nosed assessments? Why has Washington ceased to care about the Afghan war?
The answer, it seems to me, is this: As with budget deficits or cost overruns on weapons purchases, members of the national security apparatus — elected and appointed officials, senior military officers and other policy insiders — accept war as a normal condition.
That our impulsive commander in chief may one day initiate some new war in a fit of pique is a worrisome prospect. That neither President Trump nor anyone else in Washington seems troubled that wars once begun drag on in perpetuity is beyond worrisome.
Andrew Bacevich is just about the best writer we have on the modern US military and its never-ending employment in decade-and-a-half-long campaigns.
When “worrisome” is the best word NYT editors will let him employ in describing the state of everlasting war that runs itself, everything can be said to be broken. Language fails. There really is no way out and no end in sight.
From Hitler’s Warrior, on Otto Skorzeny (he’s not the book’s primary subject):
Thw SS colonel was still in touch with Otto Skorzeny, who was wheeling and dealing in the scrap metal business from Spain when not jet-setting with his wife, Ilse, to South America, Paris or the Alps. Even if unspoken, Skorzeny always made it known to Jochen Peiper that should things get too bad in Germany, there was always a haven for him under Franco’s protection in Madrid. For his part, Skorzeny was living completely open, unafraid, and a publicity hound. Amazingly Skorzeny was working with a literary agent in Los Angeles, attempting to bring his life story to the big screen in Hollywood: Commando Extraordinary! Warner Brothers and United Artists nearly bit on the script. But such cinematic planning halted suddenly when focus groups revealed a shortcoming in brilliant contrast to the box office smash of George C. Scott as Patton; the new story would glorify a Nazi hero! In the end Skorzeny’s efforts to portray himself as an apolitical commando hero disintegrated…
In 1953, inspired by the success of his performances, Lehrer paid $15 for some studio time to record Songs by Tom Lehrer. The initial pressing was 400 copies. At the time, radio stations would not give Lehrer air time because of his controversial subjects. He sold his album on campus at Harvard for $3 (equivalent to $27.00 today), while “several stores near the Harvard campus sold it for $3.50, taking only a minimal markup as a kind of community service. Newsstands on campus sold it for the same price.” After one summer, he started to receive mail orders from all parts of the country (as far away as San Francisco, after The Chronicle wrote an article on the record). Interest in his recordings was spread by word of mouth; friends and supporters brought their records home and played them for their friends, who then also wanted a copy. Lehrer later recalled, “Lacking exposure in the media, my songs spread slowly. Like herpes, rather than ebola.”
The album—which included the macabre “I Hold Your Hand in Mine”, the mildly risqué “Be Prepared”, and “Lobachevsky” (regarding plagiarizing mathematicians)—became a cult success via word of mouth, despite being self-published and without promotion. Lehrer embarked on a series of concert tours and in 1959 recorded a second album, which was released in two versions: the songs were the same, but More of Tom Lehrer was studio-recorded while An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer was recorded live in concert. In 2013, Lehrer recalled the studio sessions:
“The copyist arrived at the last minute with the parts and passed them out to the band… And there was no title on it, and there was no lyrics. And so they ran through it, ‘what a pleasant little waltz’… And the engineer said, ‘”Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,’ take one,” and the piano player said, ‘”What?”‘ and literally fell off the stool.”
“The U.S. has been providing logistical support and refueling to the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis and other rebels,” reads an NBC News report. The Houthis are the ones being bombed by the Saudis — with the best US-made weapons and training their money can buy.
This most recent exhibition of American military might came about as a result of a missile attack that badly damaged a United Arab Emirate ship conducting operations off Yemen.
NBC news describes it this way:
An Emirati-leased Swift boat came under rocket fire from Houthis in the area last week, suffering serious damage. The United Arab Emirates described the vessel as carrying humanitarian aid and having a crew of civilians, but Houthis said it was being used as a warship.
And here we see the American news media being somewhat deceptive, as is its fallback position when something uncomfortable has been uncovered and judged necessary to finess.
Because the “leased Swift boat” doesn’t quite pass muster as a humanitarian ferry. In fact, any web survey of it (the ship is designated HSV-2, paradoxically, similar to the mouth/venereal virus) shows it has spent most of its years as a logistical support unit in the US Navy.
And even the densest among us will have to concede something that looks like a warship, even if only a logistical one, is fair game in a bitter civil war.
As a consequence of the attack on the HSV-2, we sent two warships into the area, probably knowing full well they’d draw some manner of attack. Which they did. This, in turn, can lead to what our Sec’y of Defense, Ashton Carter, weirdly might call a virtuous cycle, one in which the US military deliveries retaliations upon mostly defenseless targets all out-of-proportion to the nature of whatever insult to American power has previously occurred.
Virtuous cycles, a much better term than hit jobs, right?
On the latest Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland as President Tom Kirkman is confronted with a crisis: Michigan, Michigan (!) under the governor, cast to vaguely look like the guy who poisoned Flint, won’t recognize the federal government and its governor has ordered a pogrom against Muslims which results in the a young man being beaten to death by batons, captured on smartphone. Plus there’s a general roundup of Muslims, one vignette with a B-list character getting a stop-and-frisk.
Kirkman gets the governor to order his police force to stand down and release its prisoners by telling a lie, that undercover Feds have been jailed and must be set free to continue their investigations.
Remarkable that the President can make a video conference call and get this done. Too bad the country can’t jump into the Hollywood script and order a stop to street executions, eh?
The second installment of Designated Survivor continues down its awkward path of unintentional cognitive dissonance. I’m sure Sutherland and a few other cast members are acutely aware of it, too.
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that technological advances have made it easier for terrorist and criminal groups to obtain materials needed to make weapons of mass destruction, and some are actively trying to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to target civilians …
Gregory Koblentz, director of the Biodefense Graduate Program at George Mason University, said there are several emerging technologies that present challenges to international efforts to curb WMDs, including gene editing.
“Instead of gene drives being used to eliminate disease, they could be used to introduce new diseases into plant or animal populations,” he told the council.
Other potentially dangerous emerging technologies include the use of drones and the use of the Dark Web, which can only be accessed using special encryption software, guaranteeing anonymity to its users.
Koblentz said that in 2014 the U.S. arrested two people who had sold the toxins abrin and ricin — ricin is classified as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention — to customers in Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, India and the United States via a Dark Web marketplace called Black Market Reloaded.
“The global reach and anonymity of the Dark Web provides a new means for criminals and terrorists interested in dual-use equipment or materials to do business,” he said.
Black Market Reloaded was fairly quickly infiltrated by US law enforcement. Agents subsequently used identities on it to initiate sting operations involving the promised sale as well as the buying of poisons like ricin and abrin.
Considering the nature of the investigations and the results (there were about half a dozen arrests coming off BMR), the continued belief that the Dark Web provides anonymity in such instances is rather laughable.
In response to terrorist attacks around the world, Memorial Stadium will only allow fans to bring clear bags into the venue during football games, starting with the this season’s first home game on Sept. 17.
The new policy was adopted to increase security in the stadium after high-profile attacks in Europe and Asia. UC Berkeley Associate Athletics Director Wesley Mallette said the changes in policy are in line with security measures adopted in stadiums for professional baseball and football.
The same security measures will be put in place at Haas Pavilion, starting with the volleyball season this month. Eight of the PAC-12 stadiums have implemented similar policies.
Texas Tech fans going into Jones AT&T Stadium for Red Raider football games starting Saturday should keep one thing clear: their bags.
Texas Tech athletics department officials, along with local business owners and managers, have been reminding Red Raider fans that only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be allowed into sporting venues after Tech officials announced the new policy ahead of this football season.
The clear bags must be smaller than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or fans can bring a 1-gallon clear plastic freezer bag to carry their belongings.
The list goes on and on. It’s nationwide. Not a coincidence. Someone issued an order.
Now does this look to you like the American Wehrmacht’s bombing of the Middle East is making life better?
Note the exploding market for Homeland Security-approved public gathering and event plastic I-am-not-a-terrorist bags.
To reflect on this longest of American wars is to confront two questions. First, why has the world’s mightiest military achieved so little even while itself absorbing very considerable losses and inflicting even greater damage on the subjects of America’s supposed beneficence? Second, why in the face of such unsatisfactory outcomes has the United States refused to chart a different course? In short, why can’t we win? And since we haven’t won, why can’t we get out?
With regard to the first question, one explanation stands out above all others. In stark contrast to the Cold War, American purposes and U.S. military policy in the Islamic world have never aligned. Rather than keeping threats to U.S. interests at bay, a penchant for military activism, initially circumspect but becoming increasingly uninhibited over time, has helped to foster new threats. Time and again, from the 1980s to the present, U.S. military power, unleashed rather than held in abeyance, has met outright failure, produced results other than those intended, or proved to be largely irrelevant. The Greater Middle East remains defiantly resistant to shaping.
Not for want of American effort, of course … — Andrew Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East
A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of Wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process. — Chris Hedges, The Illusion of Freedom
Wehrwirtschaft: “The principle or policy of directing a nation’s economic activity towards preparation for or support of a war effort, esp. (Hist.) as applied in Germany in the 1930s.”
The United States has the best military in the world today, by far. U.S. forces have few, if any, weaknesses, and in many areas—from naval warfare to precision-strike capabilities, to airpower, to intelligence and reconnaissance, to special operations—they play in a totally different league from the militaries of other countries. Nor is this situation likely to change anytime soon, as U.S. defense spending is almost three times as large as that of the United States’ closest competitor, China, and accounts for about one-third of all global military expenditures—with another third coming from U.S. allies and partners…
Precision-guided bombs accounted for about ten percent of the ordnance used in the Gulf War. In recent conflicts, they have accounted for about 90 percent, with a dramatic impact on the course of battle. As a result, Pentagon officials now talk of a “third offset”—the hope, championed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, among others, that it will be possible to rely on modern-day ISR and precision assets to counter, say, larger Chinese missile, aircraft, ship, and submarine forces in the waters of the western Pacific.
For all this progress, however, there are limits to what standoff warfare and advanced technology can achieve by themselves. To make precision bombing effective, for example, targets need to be located accurately—something that can be difficult if those targets are in cities, forests, or jungles, or are concealed or underground … — David Petraeus & Michael O’Hanlon — America’s Awesome Military
Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later. — Dwight Eisenhower, 1949, in St. Louis
Some Generals der Flieger and Hauptmanner responsible for the American Wehrmacht’s proxy war via Saudi Arabia in Yemen have quietly being withdrawn. Don’t chalk it up to doing the right thing or aerial refueling, targeting services, intelligence gathering and replenishment for Saudi Arabia & Co’s US-armed military would have been stopped after a week or two, probably sometime last year.
The U.S. military has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning, U.S. officials told Reuters.
Fewer than five U.S. service people are now assigned full-time to the “Joint Combined Planning Cell,” which was established last year to coordinate U.S. support, including air-to-air refueling of coalition jets and limited intelligence-sharing, Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Bahrain, told Reuters.
That is down from a peak of about 45 staff members …
But wait, wait, wait, there’s no taking of responsibility. Quite the opposite.
“The U.S. officials said the reduced staffing is unrelated to the growing international concerns over civilian casualties in the 16-month civil war that has killed more than 6,500 people in Yemen, about half of them civilians,” reads Reuters.
“The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that as the strikes intensify again, the U.S. might decide to readjust its support.”
Sources deny the US aids in Saudi targeting, an unverifiable assertion.
Nothin’ makes America’s Wehrmacht stop doing what it does except, hmmm, orders from the Commander-in-Chief?
Presumably, this news story, or leak, was furnished because, finally, the pool of blood from fucking the dog on the global stage for the sake of counter-terrorism operations and “strategic alliances” has grown too big to totally ignore.