Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Military

Putin’s Conscripts

Tragic. It also indicates how dangerous a time we are in. Putin’s Russia has proven to be a paper tiger, but they still have WMDs – and not just nukes. Desperate people do desperate things.

The first batch of Russian conscripts began shipping out for Ukraine today, as Putin tries to plug holes in his armies after they were mauled at Kyiv’s hands.

 

Men – many of whom appeared middle-aged – were filmed waving goodbye to their families in the far-eastern province of Yakutia as they were loaded on to buses for the long journey west, to the killing fields of Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

 

Military commissars marshaled them away less than 24 hours after Putin declared the start of Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War in a desperate attempt to stop his brutal invasion from collapsing.

 

There were even reports that some of the 1,400 activists arrested last night for protesting the move were being handed conscription papers inside police stations, despite Putin’s promise to only send those with combat experience.

 

Analysts and experts have given the new conscripts little chance of survival, saying they are likely to be given little or no training before being thrown on to the frontline as ‘cannon fodder’.

40,000 Unvaccinated Army National Guardsmen Face Expulsion

My body, my choice and whatnot.

Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country – or about 13 percent of the force – have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine and could lose their jobs as Thursday’s deadline approaches.

 

At least 14,000 of the soldiers who have not had the inoculations have flatly refused to get them. According to data obtained by The Associated Press, between 20 percent to 30 percent of the Guard soldiers in six states are not vaccinated, and more than 10 percent in 43 other states still need shots.

Russian Atrocities

No matter how civilized we think we have become, humans always return to barbarism. It is one of the many reasons that I vehemently defend the 2nd Amendment.

The BBC’s Yogita Limaye is on the ground reporting on new evidence of atrocities emerging in areas around Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, after Russian forces pulled out.

She took the photo below of a shallow grave in the village of Motyzhyn, where four people allegedly shot dead by Russian forces were left. We have blurred parts of the picture.

Three of the bodies have been identified as members of one family, including the head of the village, Olha Sohnenko. The fourth body has not been identified.

Yogita is on her way to Bucha – a town where the discovery of many dead civilians has shocked the world, and seen Russia accused of war crimes.

 

Radiated Russian Soldiers Withdraw

Yikes. One can empathize for the soldiers while still condemning their nation.

Several hundred Russian soldiers were forced to hastily withdraw from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine after suffering “acute radiation sickness” from contaminated soil, according to Ukrainian officials.

 

The troops, who dug trenches in a contaminated Red Forest near the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, are now reportedly being treated in a special medical facility in Gomel, Belarus. The forest is so named because thousands of pine trees turned red during the 1986 nuclear disaster. The area is considered so highly toxic that not even highly specialized Chernobyl workers are allowed to enter the zone.

 

Energoatom, the Ukrainian agency in charge of the country’s nuclear power stations, said the Russian soldiers had panicked and fled.

 

“It has been confirmed that the occupiers who seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other facilities in the Exclusion Zone set off in two columns towards Ukraine’s border with Belarus. The occupiers announced their intentions to leave the Chernobyl nuclear power plant this morning to the Ukrainian personnel of the station,” the agency said in a statement on Telegram, adding that a small number of Russians still remained at the facility.

Front Line Generals

I wondered why the Russian Generals were in the line of fire.

Russia is believed to be sending its generals to the front line of its war in Ukraine in a bid to bolster low morale among troops.

 

According to Western officials, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has “largely stalled on all fronts”, with Russia making “minimal progress” and suffering heavy losses.

 

The Russian President is said to be frustrated at the lack of progress, which has seen his troops fail to seize any major cities despite heavy bombardment of them.

 

On Thursday Ukrainian officials claimed a fourth Russian general has been killed during fighting in the city of Mariupol.

Belarus and Russia Prepare for Western Push

Putin is a prototypical expansionist tyrant of the kind that the world has known since time began. He will keep expanding until he can’t. He is gathering his few allies to prepare for the next step.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says he expects to discuss the possible deployment of Iskander and S-400 defense systems to Belarus with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the coming days.

 

“[Thursday or Friday] we will talk with the President of Russia about how to strengthen ourselves here in the western direction,” Lukashenko told state news agency Belta Thursday.

 

“Today we consulted with the military, and we see that it would be desirable to put Iskanders [missile systems] there and place a battalion or two with S-400s somewhere so that we can actually monitor the situation all the way to Berlin,” Lukashenko said.

That is not an argument for direct U.S. military action. Russia is still much weaker than it was during the Soviet days. There is a decent chance that they blow their wad in Ukraine if the Ukrainians put up a fight. I’m not confident of that. The next layer is for Western European nations to defend themselves. I don’t think Putin is crazy enough to attack a NATO country yet, but if he has an easy time in Ukraine, he might.

The biggest worry for Americans is the acceleration of Russian cyberwarfare against America’s economy. They are stepping up that effort. This is not WWII. There are more battlefronts.

Brink of War

The blood is coming.

President Joe Biden reportedly told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday to brace his country for a certain Russian invasion.

 

Biden told Zelensky that an invasion is virtually certain and to ‘prepare for impact,’ CNN reported. He said Kiev could be ‘sacked’ by Russian forces.

 

He reportedly said Ukraine would not be getting significantly more military help, including reiterating that no U.S. troops would be deployed there, nor would there be preemptive sanctions on Russia or any progress with NATO.

Ukrainian official told CNN that the call between the two leaders ‘did not go well.’

 

The warning was not part of a White House readout provided after the call.

 

The two world leaders conversed on the phone as the Department of Defense was issuing a chilling warning that same afternoon that a Russian invasion into Ukraine ‘could be imminent’ amid a drastic increase in combat forces at the former Soviet state’s borders.

 

‘We continue to see, including in the last 24 hours, more accumulation of credible combat forces arrayed by the Russians in, again, the western part of their country and in Belarus,’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference.

 

Kirby also revealed that troops from Fort Bragg, Fort Carson and Fort Campbell have been placed on heightened alert to deploy to Eastern Europe as tensions in the region compound.

 

Vaccine Mandates Weaken National Security

This is insane.

Overall, 5,731 active-duty sailors remain unvaccinated, and at this point Navy officials say they believe most of those will likely continue to refuse the order, weeks after the Nov. 28 deadline for full vaccination.

 

“If a sailor gets their shot, we will honor that and make every effort to retain them,” Rear Adm. James Waters, the Navy’s director of military personnel plans and policy, told reporters. “On the other hand, those who continue to refuse the vaccine will be required to leave the Navy.”

 

[…]

 

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger was blunt in speaking with reporters during a roundtable at the Reagan National Defense Forum this month, saying “we’re not bluffing” in enforcing the order and removing Marines who refuse their shots.

Oklahoma National Guard Refuses to Mandate Vaccines Despite Pentagon Order

Good for General Mancino.

“No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo. The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force” – including the National Guard – must be vaccinated against COVID-19

[…]

 

“It is irresponsible for the federal government to place mandatory vaccine obligations on Oklahoma national guardsmen which could potentially limit the number of individuals that I can call upon to assist the state during an emergency,” Stitt wrote in a Nov. 1 letter to Austin.

 

“This mandate violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs,” Stitt wrote. “All of our national guardsmen take this calling very seriously. These are patriotic citizens who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect others in our communities during times of greatest need.”

Evers Calls Out National Guard In Case of Riots in Kenosha

If only he had done this last year.

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will stage outside Kenosha in a standby status to respond if requested by local law enforcement agencies. Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. As has been the case under previous missions, Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report.

12,000 Airmen and Airwomen Refuse Vaccine

Biden’s mandate is hurting national security.

Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected orders to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite a Pentagon mandate and officials say it is too late for them to do so by Tuesday’s deadline, posing a first major test for military leaders whose August directive has been met with defiance among a segment of the force.

 

The vast majority of active-duty airmen, 96.4%, are at least partially vaccinated, according to data from the Air Force. But officials have warned that, barring an approved medical or religious exemption, those who defy lawful orders to be fully immunized are subject to punishment, including possible dismissal from the service or they could be charged in the military justice system.

 

The challenge now confronting Air Force leaders – how to address potential large-scale dissent in the face of a top health priority that has been deeply politicized – is a bellwether for the dilemma that’s in store across the military’s other services, which have staggered compliance deadlines ranging from the end of November to the middle of next summer and in some cases have experienced far greater resistance to President Joe Biden’s mandate.

China Launched Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Missile

American intelligence asleep at the switch again. China is reaching parity with America’s technical capabilities and they have five times as many people. As their economy destabilizes, their totalitarian instinct will be to start a war to rally the people. We are in a very dangerous time.

China secretly tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile which orbited the globe in a terrifying display of military strength which left the US stunned.

 

A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle around the globe before cruising towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles.

 

The incident has left US intelligence officials stunned, sources say, as it shows ‘China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons’.

Spy Caught

They are caught dead to rights. Firing squad for traitors.

The FBI says the scheme began in April 2020 when Jonathan Toebbe sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government and wrote that he was interested in selling to that country operations manuals, performance reports and other sensitive information.

 

Authorities say he also provided instructions for how to conduct the furtive relationship, with a letter that said: ‘I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax.’

 

That package, which had a return address in Pittsburgh, was obtained by the FBI last December through its legal attache office in the unspecified foreign country.

 

That led to a monthslong undercover operation in which an agent posing as a representative of the foreign government made contact with Toebbe and agreed to pay thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for the information he was offering.

 

In June, the FBI says, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe, describing it as a sign of good faith and trust.

 

Weeks later, federal agents watched as the Toebbes arrived at an agreed-upon location in West Virginia for the exchange, with Diana Toebbe appearing to serve as a lookout for her husband during a dead-drop operation for which the FBI paid $20,000, according to the complaint.

 

The FBI recovered a blue memory card wrapped in plastic and placed between two slices of bread on a peanut butter sandwich, court documents said.

 

The FBI provided the contents of the memory card to a Navy subject matter expert who determined that the records included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors, the Justice Department said.

National Guard Called out to Bus Kids

I’m beginning to suspect that there is a bit of mission creep in the National Guard.

The National Guard has been mobilized in Massachusetts to ferry kids to and from school amid a nationwide shortage of bus drivers exacerbated by COVID.

 

Up to 250 members of the Guard will be activated to address the shortage, following a direct order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to deploy the servicemen, as school and state officials across the country have been forced to deal with the dearth of drivers.

The stated mission of the Guard is:

The Army National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).

Does a bus driver shortage really meet this threshold? Remember that members of the Guard have day jobs. They have to leave those jobs, travel away from their families, and give up their personal time when they are called into action. I expect that serving members are more than willing to do that to keep a city from being burned by rioters, helping recover from a hurricane, or going to actual war, but to drive kids to school?

Given the personal sacrifices that Guard members make whenever they are called up, we shouldn’t be so cavalier about it. They are not just a bunch of temp employees for the governor to use at will. They have a specific mission.

“Our 20 years of sacrifice worked”

It is unconscionable how we left behind so many people and so much equipment. Joe Biden turned a planned withdrawal into a defeat and armed a terrorist regime in the process. It’s a disgrace.

The Army released an image Monday of the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan as the Pentagon announced the last American forces left Kabul airport 24 hours ahead of schedule.

 

The XVIII Airborne Corps, whose forces go by the Sky Dragons, were among the last to step off Afghan soil as the total withdrawal of U.S. forces concluded Monday ahead of the August 31 deadline.

 

[…]

 

And some 100 to 200 Americans and thousands of Afghan allies left behind must fend for themselves now that the airport no longer offers an escape route.

 

[…]

 

Footage emerged on social media of Taliban fighters apparently making their way through Kabul airport, examining Chinook helicopters left behind by U.S. troops.

 

‘The last five aircraft have left, it’s over,’ Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul’s international airport, told the Associated Press.

 

‘I cannot express my happiness in words. … Our 20 years of sacrifice worked.’

Lost American Might

Biden claimed that this was all part of the plan… factored into the cost… so did he intentionally leave all of this firepower in the hands of brutal terrorists?

Billions of dollars of U.S. weapons are now in the hands of the Taliban following the quick collapse of Afghan security forces that were trained to use the military equipment.

 

Among the items seized by the Taliban are Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

 

Photos have also circulated of Taliban fighters clutching U.S.-made M4 carbines and M16 rifles instead of their iconic AK-47s. And the militants have been spotted with U.S. Humvees and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

Afghanistan Falls

A strategic withdrawal in the face of the enemy is one of the most difficult maneuvers to pull off. We did not succeed.

The Taliban has said they will declare an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the Presidential Palace in Kabul as militants posed in the office and the country’s president fled for Tajikistan, with thousands of Afghan nationals now racing to Pakistan to escape Islamist rule.

 

Taliban fighters stormed the ancient palace on Sunday and demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ as Kabul descended into chaos, with US helicopters evacuating diplomats from the embassy in scenes echoing the 1975 Fall of Saigon which followed the Vietnam War.

 

US-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country for Tajikistan, effectively ceding power to the Taliban in a move signaling the end of the 20-year Western intervention begun after the September 11 attacks, while thousands of Afghan nationals rushed to the Pakistan border.

I continue to think that ending the war in Afghanistan was the correct policy choice. I do think we could have maintained a force there for some time – like in South Korea or Germany – as a means of keeping active in a global hotspot for our own security. But the absolute debacle of this withdrawal and the speed at which the Taliban took power is the manifestation of bad policy and bad leadership. From the White House to the Chiefs of Staff, they blew it. Completely and utterly. And America bears the shame of a lost war and the sacrifice of our local allies. We will feel the reverberations of this for many, many years to come.

General Refused to Act Even When He Allegedly Thought Trump Would Launch a Coup

Yawn.

The country’s top military officer was so convinced that then-President Donald Trump would attempt a coup after his election loss to Joe Biden that he and other senior generals made plans to stop him, according to a new book.

 

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his deputies reportedly pledged to resign en masse if they were given an order by Trump that was illegal or unconstitutional.

If it’s true, then Milley is truly a coward for not making his knowledge public when it could have made a difference. In any case, if Milley really did believe that, he was wrong. This is just another political general looking to cash in on Trump hate.

Biden Administration is Abandoning Afghan Allies

This is a travesty and a stain on America. We must protect those who protected us.

Rep Seth Moulton, D-Mass., spoke at a rally on Friday to demand presidential action for American’s Afghan allies, such as interpreters who took great risks to help American troops and now are being left behind as U.S. military forces withdraw from the country.

 

Standing in Lafayette Square in front the White House, Moulton, a former Marine officer with multiple combat tours, said, “I want to thank veterans all across America, veterans of different political parties and different wars, who are coming together today and reminding Americans that we have a promise to uphold.”

 

The rally came one week after the New York Times reported that the Biden administration was notifying lawmakers that the U.S. would soon begin relocating thousands of Afghan allies to third countries while they await processing for their special immigrant visas. However, congressional members on both sides of the aisle have yet to receive details.

Outrage Over Making Military Women March in High Heels

Meanwhile, in Ukraine...

Plans by Ukraine’s defence ministry to have female soldiers march in high heels instead of army boots in a parade next month have caused angry reactions.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said it was sexism, not equality.

 

Ukraine is preparing to stage a military parade on 24 August to mark 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 

The defence ministry say the shoes are part of regulation-dress uniform.

 

Many in Ukraine expressed shock at the plan, with a group of lawmakers calling on Defence Minister Andriy Taran to offer an apology.

 

“The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace,” commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook, arguing that some officials had a “medieval” mindset.

Ms Gerashchenko said she initially thought the pictures of women soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black pumps with block heels was a hoax. She said it was sexism, not equality, and wondered why the ministry thought heels were more important than designing body armour tailored to women.

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