Category Archives: War

General of the Army?

by Leveret

Okay, so one weird thing quitely bouncing around the news at the moment is the debate as to whether Gen. Petraeus should be given a 5th star – the American equivalent of being promoted to Field Marshall. See this WSJ op-ed by two of his 101st Airborne veterans.

This is an exceedingly rare honour in the American military – there have only been nine 5-star officers in US History, including such greats as ‘Generals of the Army’ Washington, Grant, MacArthur, Pershing, Bradley and ‘Fleet Admiral’ Nimitz.

Petraeus has rescued America from defeat in one war, and is currently working to turn around the Afghan theatre of the War on Terror, but is a fifth-star really merited. His veterans make the case thusly: Continue reading


Chinese stealth fighter: a show of strength.

by The Rhetor

The Washington Post reports the first test flight of China’s new J-20 fighter. As reported this coincided with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao. Both men have reason’s to be concerned.

Gates may need to go back to the drawing board and revisit the halt on production of the F-22 to expand the USAF’s fleet of 187 of the air craft. One of the main reasons for curtailing the government’s order was the perceived technological gap between the U.S. and its main rivals China and Russia (though one flight test doth not a development programme make).

Hu is due to step down and this test was as much a sign to China’s politicians as it was to the U.S. Defence Department. China’s military is demonstrating its importance to the oligarchs who control the country’s government.

Clearly America cannot afford to become complacent in regard to its technological edge nor the apparent stability of the Chinese regime.

Is New Zealand still at war with Poland and China?

There are a couple of things you really should know about the Korean War.

  1. It was authorised by the United Nations (because the Ruskies were boycotting the Security Council over the non-inclusion of Red China); and
  2. It never ended, there’s merely been a ceasefire in place since 1953 – never a formal peice.

Now, international law is not my forte – so I am open to correction on this, but:

  1. New Zealand participated in United Nations operations pursuant to Resolution 84.
  2. China, the USSR, and a whole bunch of soon to be Warsaw Pact countries joined the Norks as beligerents.

Question: Is there an argument to be made that we are still legally at war with those beligerents that still exist?

RE: Time for action in Korea

by Leveret

T.R. you may well get your wish as the US Envoy seems to have agreed that the six party talks are the way to go.

Time for South Korea and/or Japan to get the bomb I say.

Time for action in Korea

by The Rhetor

When did the free world become so limp wristed? It seems half a century of prosperity has turned us into a fractional and inactive collective of nations. Every day the UN drifts further into the hands of despots and bigots. How many provocations before we tell the DPRK that enough is enough. So you have political freedom and protection against unjust trials, what about your fellow-man? The fight for freedom didn’t end when your rights were secured!

Perhaps in a world where we look across our fences with suspicion at people we used to call neighbors it is futile expecting the free in our world to act in a unified manner. But unite we must lest we find our selves alone when the wolf knocks on our door.

RE: Pirates face justice but not yardarm

by Leveret

US jury grants Somali pirates lifelong vacaction in response to Navy attack

H/T – The Feed

Return to Waterloo

by Leveret

One of the most underrated American periodicals is the City Journal which has been put out by the Manhattan Institute each quarter for the last 20 years. To mark its second decade, the Winter quarter is themed around the past, present and future of cities.  It’s all online here.

Anyway, the reason I bring up City Journal is that it has a fascinating article by the classicist Victor Davis Hanson on the future of warfare. Hanson is a true lover of Western civilisation and heavily promotes the restoration of Classical Studies. I know The Rhetor owns his seminal work Who Killed Homer? and is favourably disposed towards VDH (despite his rejection of Queer Theory)

Anyway, as a military historian, VDH’s bona fides are questioned by no-one. The thesis of Tomorrow’s Wars is that we cannot discount the possibility of decisive pitched battles between large armies (a la Stalingrad, Waterloo or Hastings) being resurrected in future wars.

I remember some years ago when Antony Beevor published Berlin and he was asked by some interviewer if it could ever happen again. Beevor dismissed it out of hand saying that large conscript armies were a thing of the past – made redundant by new technology. VDH basically concurred.

So what’s changed? Well basically VDH points out that we have gone in and out of periods where pitched battles were rare before, and cites several geopolitical scenarios that might drag us back into an age of decisive confrontations. To wit:

Waterloos or Verduns may revisit us, especially in the half-century ahead, in which constant military innovation may reduce the cost of war, or relegate battle to the domain of massed waves of robots and drones, or see a sudden technological shift back to the defensive that would nullify the tyranny of today’s incredibly destructive munitions. New technology may make all sorts of deadly arms as cheap as iPods, and more lethal than M-16s, while creating shirts and coats impervious to small-arms fire—and therefore making battle cheap again, uncertain, and once more to be tried. Should a few reckless states feel that nuclear war in an age of antiballistic missiles might be winnable, or that the consequences of mass death might be offset by perpetuity spent in a glorious collective paradise, then even the seemingly unimaginable—nuclear showdown—becomes imaginable

Read the whole thing here