There’s a problem with this latest underwear bombing, and it’s not that this poses some sort of significant threat against the people of the United States. Logistically speaking, and I say this in a strictly hypothetical sense as someone who is highly trained in planning and executing military operations: I wouldn’t build a bomb halfway around the world (especially Yemen) and then transport it to its target destination. Any half decent terrorist is going to steal it locally. Several news organizations mention the bomb is using PETN, which sounds really fancy until you learn that it’s actually the main ingredient in Semtex, a general use industrial explosive used by mining and demolition companies all over the world. Which is convenient, for a terrorist.
It’s what any competent insurgent would do. Take it from someone who’s actually fought these guys face to face in their own backyard. They know how to operate effectively. Even without the TSA, it takes years of planning and training to pull off a significant attack like September 11th. What’s worse is that the TSA is taking this opportunity to tell the public how safe it is, that their full body scanners would have detected this one. We know, TSA, your body scanners can detect if a woman is 3 days pregnant! Flying in commercial aircraft is still safer than driving on the highway by an order of magnitude.
Let’s not get caught up in the hype. The CIA found a bomb in Yemen, which is just surrounded by all sorts of warfare, poverty, and conflict, and we’re supposed to believe it’s headed to the US? I don’t buy it. The BBC states that the gentleman dispatched by Yemen-based Al-Qaeda was, in fact—drumroll, please—a double agent. So he’s undercover and volunteers for an assignment where he can take a single bomb back to the US as a “foiled plot?” Shit, in Iraq my squad once found about 30 artillery shells rigged as IEDs, and that wasn’t even the biggest find that week. Hell, a single suicide vest wasn’t a big find. An underwear bomb would have been a joke. Twenty underwear bombs would have been downright hilarious.
Go ahead. Put it on, faker.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn has ruled the Stolen Valor Law unconstitutional. Wait, what? In an unprecedented display of “Freedom of Speech”, the Judge dismissed Rick Strandlof’s charges under the stolen valor law on July 17th. This is insulting.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the case, Mr. Strandlof was a US Marine. Annapolis graduate. Survivor of the September 11th attack on the Pentagon. Three tours in Iraq. Purple Heart. Silver Star. Or so he claimed… Continue reading
Poppies in Afghanistan
Up to a third of Afghanistan’s poppy harvest this spring? Dead. Killed by a mysterious disease wreaking havoc on the country’s primary source of income. The Taliban’s public relations strategy will say that the U.S. has introduced this disease to destroy the farmer’s crops, even though US forces have significantly decreased efforts against the poppy harvest. The Taliban PR machine is fast and efficient, and while the US and NATO investigate the cause of the blight, Afghan farmers are quick to lay blame.
This doesn’t bode well for public image. Continue reading
Peter Bollinger | Popular Science Magazine
Former Marine Colonel Roosevelt Lafontant first pushed the idea of a Marine space plane in 2002. Long a sci-fi fantasy, it’s becoming a reality, sooner than you think. With the Air Force launching a space plane this week, the Marine Corps has issued a ConOps, or Concept of Operations regarding a space-bound aerial drop platform for the Marine Corps.
It seems I got out of the Corps too early. That’s uber-badass. Continue reading
I know it’s been about a month or so since I have posted. I’ve been working hard on the book, and here is the official status update. As you can see here, I’ve finished the cover design. I designed it all myself with the input of a few authors I get together with every month. Continue reading
Soldiers inside a cave complex captured by a Pakistani offensive
After a long offensive in the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan, Paki forces declared that they had seized a large network of caves in the Bajaur tribal area—a final militant holdout. This network of caves is just four miles from Asadabad, where I was stationed in 2005. While there are strongholds remaining along the border, at a press conference Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan stressed the tactical importance of this victory.
I finally watched The Hurt Locker last night. I was sorely disappointed. For a movie that has been receiving awards left and right, I expected more. A lot more.
Let’s start with the portrayal of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal tech, Sergeant James. He’s a cavalier, reckless, careless, adrenaline junkie. He disregards all safety, tactics, techniques, and procedures, to just walk up on IEDs, brazenly clear buildings, and save the day. Bullshit. Continue reading
Starkey / AP
Marines are now encountering stiff resistance in the northern part of Marjah, reports say. Three more coalition troops have lost their lives in the battle, bringing the tally to 11. While more casualties are mounting than previously, it’s still significantly less than what coalition officers had prepared for. The Taliban have also deployed new tactics. Snipers.
Patrick Baz / AFP / Getty Images
First off, sorry for the delay in postings, everyone. I recently bought a house with my wife up in the mountains of Colorado, and we’ve been moving in and getting settled. Let’s get down to business.
The Marine Corps, NATO, Afghan, and other US Forces stormed Marjah this last week. My cousin is amongst the Marines serving with battalion 3/6. Semper Fi, Ryan. After using the “Shredders”, the Assault Breacher Vehicles, to clear the lane to the city, they encountered little resistance. Just before they shipped out, I told my cousin I predicted that the Taliban would run. But what comes next? Continue reading
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in custody - courtesy EPA
(EDIT: See my post on the 2012 underwear bombing here) On Christmas Day, 2009 Nigerian citizen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got on board a flight bound for America. He had a bomb in his shorts. The bomb consisted of an unkown amount of PETN, or pentrite (pentaerythritol tetranitrate for all you sticklers), and some sort of firing device, like a blasting cap. He exposed a fatal flaw in the American Airline security system. Let’s discuss. Continue reading