Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Military

Biden’s $320 Million Pier in Gaza Sinks

While it is easy to laugh and/or roll your eyes at yet another expensive, wasteful, ridiculous stunt-gone-bad by our hapless president, there is a real worry here.

TEL AVIV — The U.S. military has been forced to suspend aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip by sea after its temporary pier system off Gaza suffered damage in bad weather, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday.

 

[…]

 

The damage is the latest setback to the temporary pier system, which President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address in March and became operational just two weeks ago.

 

Over the weekend, four small U.S. military boats involved in ferrying aid broke from their moorings in bad weather, U.S. Central Command said. Two of them washed up on the coast of southern Israel near the city of Ashdod, while the other two beached in Gaza.

 

An American service member also remains in critical condition in an Israeli hospital after having suffered noncombat injuries on the pier last week, a U.S. defense official said. Two other service members sustained minor injuries.

 

The temporary pier, known in military parlance as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability, was designed to get more aid into Gaza and help fend off famine, which the U.N. says has broken out in the north of the besieged Strip.

While the policy to put this pier in was idiotic, we should expect our military to be able to execute it well. They did not. Our mighty American military appears incapable of an engineering feat that should be well within their abilities. We’ve been building temporary piers for the purpose of landing supplies in a war zone since the Civil War. Yet it’s sinking within a week? What if there were Americans under fire on the other end of that pier waiting for supplies?

The policy was bad, but the execution should have been flawless.

Russians Launch Another Space Weapon

Well, that’s disconcerting.

The United States has assessed that Russia launched what is likely a counter space weapon last week that’s now in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed Tuesday.

 

“What I’m tracking here is on May 16, as you highlighted, Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we that we assess is likely a counter space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Ryder said when questioned by ABC News about the information, which was made public earlier Tuesday by Robert Wood, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

 

“Russia deployed this new counter space weapon into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite,” Ryder continued. “And so assessments further indicate characteristics resembling previously deployed counter space payloads from 2019 and 2022.”

 

[…]

 

When asked if the Russian counter space weapon posed a threat to the U.S. satellite, Ryder responded: “Well, it’s a counter space weapon in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite.”

Aid Stolen Before Reaching Gazans

Garsch… Who could have possible predicted that supplied would be stolen before ever reaching the intended people. /shockedfface. Despite the effort by CNN to sanitize the report and attribute the thefts to “desperate Gazans,” only Hamas has the internal force to affect such interceptions. Once again, Hamas is stealing from their own people.

None of the aid that has been unloaded from the temporary pier the US constructed off the coast of Gaza has been delivered to the broader Palestinian population, as the US works with the UN and Israel to identify safe delivery routes inside the enclave, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

 

Several desperate Gazans intercepted trucks delivering aid from the pier over the weekend, leading the UN to suspend the delivery operations until the logistical challenges are resolved.

 

[…]

 

Asked whether any of the aid has been delivered to the people of Gaza, Ryder said, “As of today, I do not believe so.” He added that aid had been held in an assembly area on shore, but as of Tuesday had begun getting moved to warehouses for distribution throughout Gaza as alternative routes have been established.

 

[…]

 

Over the weekend, as trucks began moving the aid delivered off the floating pier, CNN reported that a group of men in Gaza intercepted the aid, saying they did not trust that it was actually meant for the Palestinian people.

Iran Escalates War

This is going to get worse before it gets better. It’s telling that Saudi, Iraq, and Egypt are on the sidelines.

For the first time ever, Iran has carried out strikes against Israeli territory.

In the middle of Saturday night, air raid alerts went off in Israel, residents were urged to seek shelter while explosions were heard as air defences were activated.

 

Interceptions lit up the night sky in several places across the country, while many drones and missiles were shot down by Israel’s allies before they reached Israeli territory.

At least nine countries were involved in the military escalation – with projectiles fired from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and downed by Israel, the US, the UK and France as well as Jordan.

Biden Reluctantly Agrees to Release Munitions to Israel Despite Antisemitic Opposition

Good.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. in recent days authorized the transfer of billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel, two sources familiar with the effort said on Friday, even as Washington publicly expresses concerns about an anticipated Israeli military offensive in Rafah.

 

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, said the sources, who confirmed a report in the Washington Post.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to Israel, its longtime ally.

 

The package comes as Israel faces strong international criticism over its continued bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza and as some members of President Joe Biden’s party call for him to cut U.S. military aid.

Invasion of Rafah Would be Bloodbath

Ya know… there is a way to prevent this. Hamas could surrender.

The doctors warned about a potential “bloodbath” with “apocalyptic” consequences if Israel carries out its planned invasion of Rafah, a southern city by the border with Egypt where over 1.5 million displaced civilians are currently taking refuge.

 

“This is probably the worst crisis that can happen within this war,” Sahloul said.

 

[…]

 

Although international leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have publicly shared their concerns, a senior Israeli official told ABC News on Wednesday that “there is no world” in which Israel does not go ahead with its Rafah offensive, a military operation they claim will destroy the last battalions of Hamas left in the south.

 

The doctors affirmed that the situation is already dire and called for a cease-fire.

Frankly, Israel’s care to provide paths to safety, warnings, and humanitarian care for civilians as they prosecute the war is admirable. They do it at great risk to themselves and knowing that their enemy would not – has not – do the same for them. Hamas has a long history of using civilians as shields. There is one reason that civilian Gazans continue to be in the middle of a war. That reason is Hamas.

U.S. Prepared for Nuclear War in Ukraine

Why is this a revelation? We have a rogue nuclear power going to war against an enemy who difficult to defeat by conventional means. If the U.S. had not game played and prepared for the possibility of nuclear war, it would have been a derelict of duty.

In late 2022, the US began “preparing rigorously” for Russia potentially striking Ukraine with a nuclear weapon, in what would have been the first nuclear attack in war since the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nearly eighty years before, two senior administration officials told CNN.

The Biden administration was specifically concerned Russia might use a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon, the officials said.

I first reported US officials were worried about Russia using a tactical nuclear weapon in 2022, but in my new book, “The Return of Great Powers” publishing on March 12, I reveal exclusive details on the unprecedented level of contingency planning carried out as senior members of the Biden administration became increasingly alarmed by the situation.

Biden Loves His Balloons

Are we really doing this again? Shoot it down and if it ends up being some hobbyist’s toy, then WGAF?

CBS News first reported that the military was tracking the balloon as it traversed the Western U.S. earlier in the day. NORAD, the military command responsible for air defense over the U.S. and Canada, later confirmed it had detected the object and said it was floating between 43,000 and 45,000 feet. Its presence prompted enough concern that the command sent aircraft to investigate.

 

“The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security. NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon,” NORAD said in a statement. “The FAA also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety.”

 

One U.S. official told CBS News the balloon was expected to be over Georgia by Friday night. The official said the balloon appeared to be made of Mylar and had a small cube-shaped box, about two feet long on each side, hanging below it. Its origins and purpose remain unknown.

2×2 box… could be surveillance equipment; or a bioweapon; or collecting trajectory information at altitude for future use; or just a middle finger from a foreign power to show they can do it. I don’t care. Shoot it down.

Navy Lowers Qualifications…. Again

Feeling safer?

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is starting to enlist individuals who didn’t graduate from high school or get a GED, marking the second time in about a year that the service has opened the door to lower-performing recruits as it struggles to meet enlistment goals.

 

The decision follows a move in December 2022 to bring in a larger number of recruits who score very low on the Armed Services Qualification Test. Both are fairly rare steps that the other military services largely avoid or limit, even though they are all finding it increasingly difficult to attract the dwindling number of young people who can meet the military’s physical, mental and moral standards.

 

Under the new plan, Navy recruits without an education credential will be able to join as long as they score 50 or above on the qualification test, which is out of 99. The last time the service took individuals without education credentials was in 2000.

Defense Secretary Has Cancer

A couple of days ago, the Pentagon was insisting that Austin went in for an “elective” surgery. That was a lie. Now we learn that he has cancer and never even told his boss about it. Austin’s judgment is incredibly flawed and he has allowed our national security to be threatened by his selfish behavior.

President Joe Biden was only told that US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was being treated for cancer on Tuesday, the White House has said.

Mr Austin, 70, was admitted to hospital on 1 January and then to the intensive care unit for complications following surgery in December.

He has faced criticism for not telling senior officials about it for days.

 

[…]

 

At a press briefing on Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that President Biden was only informed that day about the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

“Nobody at the White House knew that Secretary Austin had prostate cancer until this morning,” he said.

 

[…]

 

Doctors for Mr Austin said a check up in December 2023 “identified prostate cancer which required treatment”.

 

Mr Austin underwent a “minimally invasive surgical procedure” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the nation’s top military hospital, on 22 December to remove the cancer. He was under general anaesthesia for this procedure.

He returned to hospital on 1 January 2024 after experiencing “complications”, and an evaluation revealed a urinary tract infection. He was transferred to the intensive care unit the next day for further treatment, including for “abdominal fluid collections impairing the function of his small intestines”.

Secretary of Defense Hospitalized for Days Before Anyone Notified

This is a severe national security issue and a massive failure of professionalism. Biden should sack Austin immediately.

CNN — 

President Joe Biden was not aware for days that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was hospitalized, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan ultimately informed Biden late Thursday afternoon, soon after Sullivan himself learned that Austin had been hospitalized, that source said. Austin was admitted to the hospital on New Year’s Day due to complications from an elective surgery.

The Pentagon announced the hospitalization Friday. Austin issued his first statement Saturday, five days after being admitted to the hospital, saying he could have done a “better job” of notifying the public.

[…]

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks periodically assumed the duties of the defense secretary while she was on vacation in Puerto Rico during the time Austin was hospitalized, two US officials said. Hicks had arrived in Puerto Rico prior to Austin’s hospitalization.

U.S. Navy Sinks Attacking Boats

Um… we appear to be in yet another war. May our servicepeople stay safe.

Four vessels from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen fired upon the Maersk Hangzhou and got within metres of the ship, the US military said.

Helicopters from nearby US warships responded to a distress call – and, after being fired upon, sank three boats “in self-defence”.

The crews were killed and the fourth boat fled the area.

Warships Shoot Down Houthi Attack Drones

The Iranian-supported Houthi have effectively shut down one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. Only the Saudis, and maybe the Egyptians, are willing to wade into Yemen and put a stop to this. But Iran has essentially frozen them into place with the Hamas attack on Israel.

LONDON — A U.S. warship shot down 14 suspected attack drones over the Red Sea on Saturday, and a Royal Navy destroyer downed another drone that was targeting commercial ships, the British and American militaries said.

 

Houthi rebels in Yemen have launched a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, and have launched drones and missiles targeting Israel, as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to spread.

 

U.S. Central Command said that the destroyer USS Carney “successfully engaged 14 unmanned aerial systems” launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

 

The drones “were shot down with no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries,” Central Command tweeted.

 

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that HMS Diamond fired a Sea Viper missile and destroyed a drone that was “targeting merchant shipping.” The overnight action is the first time the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial target in anger since the 1991 Gulf War.

Zelensky Coming to America to Shake Down American Taxpayers

No more.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is going to Washington DC to try to rescue a threatened US defence package to Kyiv worth billions of dollars.

The aid has become embroiled in US domestic, partisan politics.

 

It will be Mr Zelensky’s third visit to the US since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The week is a crucial one for Ukraine, with the European Union also deciding whether to open formal talks on its accession to the bloc.

Few thoughts…

This war shows no sign of ending any time soon, and no sign that Ukraine can win, without a massive infusion of people, material, and cash from someone like us. There is no political will in America to spend American blood on this war.

The only thing that will be different if they negotiate an end to the war now versus 1 year from now is that Russia will likely push into even more Ukrainian territory in a year. It appears that Ukraine has blown its offensive wad. They can fight a long, bloody defensive war almost indefinitely.

Through the entire war, Zelinsky has shifted to full tyrant. He’s canceled elections, imprisoned political opponents, silenced political speech, and is now assassinating ex-pat opponents in foreign countries. There seems to be very little daylight between the ruling style of Zelinsky and that of Putin. This is no longer a fight for the freedom of the Ukrainian people. Democracy has died with Zelinsky and will not be revived even if he wins.

Also, we cannot overlook the American Taxpayer -> Ukraine -> Hunter – > Joe money laundering that has clearly been going on for years. We cannot trust that the Biden Syndicate is acting purely out of the interests of America and not their own personal interests. Do Zelinsky have the goods on Biden and is blackmailing him? Is the taxpayers’ investment in the Ukrainian War just an investment in the Biden family’s generational retirement plan?

Finally, I do understand the stated American interest in this war beyond the role of America supporting Democracy anywhere. There is a reasonable fear that this is similar to Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland and such in the 1930s. If we allow Putin’s territorial seizures to go unanswered, he will spread into Europe. And if he does that, then it will trigger our NATO obligations to defend Europe with American blood.

That was a reasonable fear at the beginning of the war, but less so now. Even if he wins in keeping half of Ukraine, this war has bled Putin’s war machine and his domestic political strength with it. Putin will not be able to muster enough force and domestic political support to take on a NATO country for many years, and he is an old man. He doesn’t have many years. Hitler was in his 40s when he began stealing territory. Putin is in his 70s. Russia was expecting an easy seizure of territory like they did in Crimea. It didn’t work. America’s national interest has been met in blunting Russia’s ability to engage in expansionist territorial adventures for some time to come. It is time for peace.

Terrorists Launch Missiles at U.S. Warship

Nothing to see here, I guess.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels allegedly fired missiles at a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen in a ‘significant escalation’ – after American troops freed an Israeli-linked chemical tanker from them.

 

The USS Mason warship responded to a distress call on Sunday from the commercial tanker, named Central Park, in the Gulf of Aden that had been seized by armed rebels. 

 

The rebels, from Yemen’s Houthis, were officially recognized as a terrorist organization in the US under the Trump administration – until Biden removed the militants from the list in 2021.

 

[…]

 

According to Fox News citing two senior U.S. officials, the Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at the USS Mason after the Navy arrested the armed hijackers.

 

USS Mason tracked the missiles – which both fell short and landed in the water.

 

America at War

We appear to be at war.

The U.S. military on Wednesday said American warplanes struck a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria that officials said was being used by Iran-backed militants responsible for dozens of drone and rocket attacks against American troops in the region over the last three weeks.

 

It was the second such strike in the past two weeks.

 

“Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense strike on a facility in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “This strike was conducted by two U.S. F-15s against a weapons storage facility. This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates. The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.

 

“The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities. We urge against any escalation. U.S. personnel will continue to conduct counter-ISIS missions in Iraq and Syria,” he said.

 

“Between October 17 and November 7 … U.S. forces have been attacked at least 40 times,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday.

US to Hold Iran Responsible for Attacks

We’re drifting into a hot war.

The Defense Department ratcheted up its rhetoric against Iran on Monday, saying it will hold Tehran ultimately responsible for a spate of recent drone and rocket attacks on American troops in the Middle East.

 

While the Pentagon does not have information that the government of Iran “explicitly ordered” the attacks on U.S. forces in the past week, the groups responsible for the incidents are backed by Tehran, DOD spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Monday.

 

A number of U.S. troops were injured during the attacks, which spanned several days and bases in Iraq and Syria, and an American contractor died of a cardiac episode while running from a false alarm at al Asad air base in Iraq.

“By virtue of the fact that they are supported by Iran, we will ultimately hold Iran responsible,” Ryder said.

Hamas Attacks Israel

Unconscionable.

In a surprise attack, Palestinian militants fired at least 2,200 rockets toward Israel, the IDF said. Hamas claimed at least 5,000 rockets were fired, all landing in southern and central Israel.

At least four American citizens were killed in the attacks in Israel over the weekend, senior administration officials told top House lawmakers on a call Sunday evening, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

 

That figure could rise in the coming days, the Biden administration officials told Congress. The administration is also still investigating unconfirmed reports of American citizens being taken hostage by Hamas.

The Non-Spy Balloon?

Baloney.

It was surely the most bizarre crisis of the Biden administration: America’s top-of-the-line jet fighters being sent up to shoot down, of all things, a balloon – a Chinese spy balloon that was floating across the United States, which had the nation and its politicians in a tizzy.

 

Now, seven months later, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells “CBS News Sunday Morning” the balloon wasn’t spying. “The intelligence community, their assessment – and it’s a high-confidence assessment – [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon,” he said.

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