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Diplomacy & Crisis News

Turkey Will Soon Have Russia's S-400 (And Is Stockpiling F-16 Parts)

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 07:00

Dario Leone


Turkey has been stockpiling parts for F-16s and other military equipment in anticipation of a U.S. sanction for acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system.

Bloomberg report says Turkey has been stockpiling parts for F-16s and other military equipment in anticipation of a U.S. sanction for acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system.

Two anonymous officials from Turkey who spoke to the news outlet refused to clarify on what types of spares were accumulated, how much was acquired and how long they can last.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated over the course of the Syrian civil war, when the U.S. armed a Kurdish militia that Turkey views as a terrorist group, and in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan that his government blames on a Turkish imam residing in the U.S.

NATO member Turkey is determined to acquire ballistic missile technology, and aims to co-produce the next generation of the S-400, the officials added, citing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdogan said his country will take delivery of the S-400 within days.

“The first batch of S-400s will be delivered in a week or 10 days,” Haberturk newspaper cited him as saying in a report Monday. “I’ve clearly told this to Trump, Mr. Putin also said it.”

The U.S. argues that the pivot to Moscow could allow Russia to collect critical intelligence that would weaken NATO and compromise the American F-35 stealth fighter, which Turkish companies are helping to build. Yet while Congress is drawing up potential sanctions plans that at their harshest would cripple the Turkish economy, U.S. President Donald Trump has cast Turkey as a victim in the saga.

At the Group of 20 nations meeting in Japan on Saturday, the U.S. president said Erdogan was treated unfairly by the Obama administration when he sought to buy the U.S. built Patriot air-defense system. While the S-400 deal is “a problem,” the U.S. is “looking at different solutions,” he said.

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Donald Trump Seems To Love the A-10 Warthog and F-35 Stealth Fighter

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 06:00

Dario Leone


POTUS shares his insights while in South Korea. 

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has to hold on to the A-10 Warthog attack aircraft President Trump told airmen in South Korea on Jun. 30, 2019.

As reported by Air Force Times, during his visit to Osan Air Base after his visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Trump cheered plans in the Pentagon’s budget to buy 78 more F-35s, 24 new F/A-18s and eight F-15EX fighter jets, before pivoting to the Warthog.

“By the way, the Warthog right behind me is not so bad,” Trump said. “I’ve got more people asking us to keep the Warthog. They say it’s sort of running out, but we’re fixing up — you know, we’re going to keep them as long as we can.”

“But people love them. Are they that good?” Trump said to applause.

Trump also gave a hat tip to Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who flew A-10 Warthogs in the USAF and has consistently advocated for keeping the airplane.

“Every time I see her, she said, ‘Please don’t let the Warthog go,’” Trump said. “It’s just a very great machine, and we’re looking at ways that maybe we can keep it around a little bit longer.”

During the Obama administration, since it was bringing on board the F-35 fleet which required more people and resources the USAF repeatedly sought to mothball the A-10. The Pentagon ran into resistance on Capitol Hill, however, and the A-10 Warthogs stayed.

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Why Terrorists Sometimes Apologize for Their Actions

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 02:03

Ioana Emy Matesan, Ronit Berger

Security, Europe

They do what?

Such sensitivity to public perception may explain why the New IRA offered its “full and sincere apologies” after public condemnation of the killing.

Armed groups often rely on violence and instilling fear to show strength and resilience. And yet, every so often, they are willing to apologize when things go wrong.

The New IRA recently apologized for killing Lyra McKee, an investigative journalist, during a riot in Derry. The group’s targets, which they described as “enemy forces,” were officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

As scholars of conflict, we both study a variety of armed groups, from nationalist and separatist liberation movements to Islamist opposition groups. When we were graduate students at Syracuse University, we shared a cubicle and often compared stories of attacks that did not go as planned.

Over time, comparing anecdotes turned into a systematic investigation of armed attacks, in order to address an understudied question: Do rebel groups ever apologize for their mistakes?

If such groups were ever willing to apologize for their actions, we wanted to understand when and why they would do so. We hoped it would help us find ways to negotiate resolutions during conflicts.

From Wisconsin to Nigeria

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Surprise China, More Patrol Planes are Coming to the South China Sea

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 01:36

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

A big deal.

“The defense chief said he will soon make a formal request for the acquisition of the American aircraft,” according to a Philippine government news release. The purchase would be made through the U.S. government’s Excess Defense Articles Program.

In a move that won’t please China, the Philippines is planning to acquire U.S. P-3 long-range maritime patrol planes.

“It will be good if we acquire even one P-3 Orion,” said Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. “Provided it has all its original equipment. Otherwise it will just be another transport plane. We will find out if we can get one or two.”

Lorenzana said the patrol aircraft would enhance the Philippines to monitor the region. The Orions would be “very important as our domain awareness will be greatly enhanced,” he said.

(This appeared in June 2019.)

“The defense chief said he will soon make a formal request for the acquisition of the American aircraft,” according to a Philippine government news release. The purchase would be made through the U.S. government’s Excess Defense Articles Program.

Currently, the Philippines has a limited maritime patrol capability. The Philippine Navy has five TC-90 patrol planes donated by the Japanese navy in 2017 and 2018. Based on the ubiquitous Beech King Air civilian turboprop aircraft, the TC-90 has a range of about 1,200 miles.

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An Aircraft Carrier Armed With Nuclear Weapons? Why the Navy Said 'No Way'

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 00:00

Sebastien Roblin


Do you think they regret it?

In the United States, it was assumed that nuclear weapons would be widely employed in future conflicts, rendering conventional land armies and fleets at sea irrelevant.

(This article appeared earlier this year.)

In the wake of the mushroom clouds that blossomed over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it swiftly dawned on political and military leaders across the globe that warfare between superpowers would never again be the same. But what exactly were the implications of nuclear weapons when it came to planning military force structure?

In the United States, it was assumed that nuclear weapons would be widely employed in future conflicts, rendering conventional land armies and fleets at sea irrelevant. The newly formed Air Force particularly argued that carrier task forces and armored divisions were practically obsolete when (ostensibly) just a few air-dropped nuclear bombs could annihilate them in one fell swoop.

The Air Force touted it soon-to-be operational fleet of ten-thousand-mile-range B-36 Peacemaker nuclear bombers as the only vital war-winning weapon of the nuclear age. This logic resonated conveniently with the postwar political program mandating sharp cuts to U.S. defense spending and force structure—which the Air Force naturally argued should fall upon the Army and Navy.

The Army responded by devising “Pentomic Divisions” organized for nuclear battlefields, with weapons ranging from nuclear-armed howitzers and rocket artillery to bazooka-like Davy Crockett recoilless guns. The Navy, meanwhile, sought to find a way to integrate nuclear bombs into its carrier air wings. However, early nuclear bombs were simply too heavy for World War II-era carrier-based aircraft.

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Sneaky: America's F-22 Stealth Fighter Snuck up on an Iranian F-4 Phantom

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 23:00

Robert Beckhusen

Security, Middle East


It was a close call.

Back in 2013, Pentagon press secretary George Little said that an Iranian air force F-4 Phantom combat plane attempted to intercept a U.S. MQ-1 Predator drone flying through international airspace near Iran.

As we reported back then, one of the two F-4 Phantom jets — in service in Iran since the Shah — came to about 16 miles from the Predator, but broke off pursuit after two American planes escorting the drone broadcast a warning message.

It was a close call.

The March 2013 episode happened only a few months after a two Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes operated by the Pasdaran (the informal name of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) attempted to shoot down an American MQ-1 flying a routine surveillance flight in international airspace some 16 miles off Iran.

After this attempted interception, the Pentagon decided to escort drones involved in reconnaissance missions with fighter jets: either F-18 Hornets embarked on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, currently in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, or F-22 Raptors like those deployed to Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates.

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Why Attacking Iran Is an Insane Idea

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 22:00

Robert Gaines, Scott Horton

Security, Middle East

Chaos here we come.

Figures such as former CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and organizations like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), still insist that an operational relationship exists between Iran and Al Qaeda. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as claims like these are a staple in pre-war propaganda campaigns.

Undeterred by decades of carnage and the disastrous outcomes of prior conflicts, ideologues within the Trump administration are clamoring for military action against Iran. The exact basis for this escalation varies. Common among the allegations are concerns over Iran’s civilian nuclear program, in spite of Iranian compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) and their Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. Other pro-intervention voices decry Iran’s alleged sponsorship of terror organizations or cite a general concern for U.S. interests in the region as a pretext for action. This view of the Iranian regime is overly narrow and ahistorical. Iran is a conservative state in a region otherwise awash in radicalism. Any military action undertaken by the United States or its allies against the regime in Tehran will represent a grave error.

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So You Wanna Build Your Own AR-15 on the Cheap?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 21:00

Gun News Daily

Technology, Americas

A how-to guide.

So there you have it. That’s pretty much everything you’ll need to know in order to do a fast and smooth DIY AR-15 build.

As I’ve said before, there are a lot of great AR-15s out there at a variety of price points, but maybe you’re like me and you want to get your hands dirty and try your luck at making one of your own.

Building a fancy, customized precision sniper rifle is something that can be done by hand, but it might take some time and money. For the more frugal beginner who wants to create their first build on a budget, I’ve got you covered.

Today, I’ll show you just how simple it is to build a dependable AR-15 at home for hundreds less than what you would spend on a pre-built model.  All you need to do is accumulate everything you need separately, from the upper receiver to the lower receiver to the trigger to the magazines and so on.

Before we jump into it, let’s go over just what you’ll need when planning for your AR-15 build.


  • Cost of Parts

  • Cost of Tools

  • Overall Time

The first thing you should think about is the price of the parts necessary for your build. The various components that comprise the AR-15 are the essential area of consideration as this is what will make your build functional.

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The Army Has a Shiny New M1 Abrams Tank

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 20:00

Dan Goure

Technology, Americas

The finest.

The leadership of the U.S. Army is taken with the idea of transforming how and with what the Army fights.

The U.S. Army is on an intensive quest for an array of new technologies with which to design and build new armored fighting vehicles, particularly a replacement for the long-serving Bradley. However much it might yearn for a new tank, the Army lacks the critical technologies that would justify the time and expense pursuing such an objective. Moreover, it doesn’t need to make the effort. The Army’s current main battle tank, the Abrams, is the tank of the future.

The Army is just beginning to receive the first of the latest Abrams upgrade, the System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3), with additional upgrades in development. Instead of searching for the elusive Holy Grail of ultralight armor or laser weapons, technologies that would justify building a brand new tank, the Army would be best served by aggressively pursuing a major redesign and improvement program for the Abrams, an M1A3.

(This first appeared in June 2019.)

The leadership of the U.S. Army is taken with the idea of transforming how and with what the Army fights. They particularly want new armored fighting vehicles. And not just another family of metal boxes with a turret and cannon. Technology enthusiasts, including many in the Army’s new Futures Command, wax eloquently about the potential for hover tanks that shoot laser beams and are autonomously guided by artificial intelligence housed in quantum computers.

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Is China's J-20 Stealth Fighter a Ripoff of Russian Technology?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 19:00

Mark Episkopos

Technology, Asia

What we know.

TASS, Russia’s leading state news agency, echoed Sputnik in noting that a number of J-20’s currently run on the AL-31F engine and that the J-20 shares a distinctive “duck-like” aerodynamic design with the MiG-1.44, but stopped just short of claiming that the Chinese directly consulted the Russian fighter’s design in building the J-20.

As the Su-57 enters serial production in much larger quantities than previously expected, Moscow is making a concerted effort to pitch the fifth-generation fighter to major arms importers including Turkey, India, and China.

Over the past several years, Chinese defense media has been particularly keen on following the Su-57’s development; their--mostly positive commentary--has long been taken as one bellwether of Chinese import interest.

(This first appeared in June 2019.)

But the question is rarely asked in reverse: namely, what does Russia think of China’s own J-20 fighter?

Whereas Chinese defense commentary has been largely complimentary of the Su-57, their Russian counterparts have been much more tepid about the J-20. In a recent article on the “mutual benefit” of a China Su-57 import deal, prominent Russian defense outlet RG concluded that the Su-57 is neither better nor worse than the J-20 but fulfills an altogether different operational purpose. The J-20 was designed as a stealth missile platform that can penetrate sophisticated air defenses in order to target critical infrastructure or military assets. The Su-57, on the other hand, excels as an air superiority platform that trades stealth and ground attack features for raw dog fighting potential. Thus, RG aptly characterizes the thrust of the Russian export argument: China’s air force should buy the Su-57 not as a replacement, but as a complement to the J-20.

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Spy Sub Down: How a Secret Russian Nuclear Submarine Caught Fire

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 16:40

Mark Episkopos


What we know at the moment. 

A fire broke out on a Russian research submarine earlier this week, killing fourteen sailors in what is Russia’s worst submarine disaster since 2008.

Russian authorities have remained tight-lipped on the nature of the data being collected by the submarine and the circumstances of the fire. "On July 1, fourteen submariners - sailors died in Russian territorial waters as a result of inhaling combustion products aboard a research submersible vehicle designated for studying the seafloor and the bottom of the World Ocean in the interests of the Russian Navy after a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements," reads the Defense Ministry’s press release.

As of the time of writing, the Russian government and its official channels have abstained from naming the submarine in question; however, it is widely believed to be the Project 210-- also known as AS-12, with “AS” referring to “nuclear deepwater station”-- Losharik special missions submarine. Losharik is speculated to be a pillar of Russia’s deepwater intelligence gathering program, headed by the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, or GUGI.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since spoken on the matter, but only to express his condolences. Putin added that the submarine was an “extraordinary” vessel, manned by “a highly professional crew.” Seven of the fourteen sailors held the rank of captain and two were “heroes of the Russian Federation” (Russia’s highest honorary title), corroborating the speculation that Losharik occupied a high-level role within GUGI.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the vessel was saved from sustaining irreversible damage “thanks to the self-sacrificing actions of its crew” and can be fully repaired in the near future. Russian news reports have focused on what they describe as the heroism of the 14 sailors, who allegedly sealed themselves off in a section of Losharik to prevent the fires from engulfing the entire submarine.

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Gut Check: A Good Guide to the Use of Military Force?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 16:30

Paul Slovic, Amichai Cohen

Security, Middle East

Here's what American voters think.

As expected, the decision to support the strike felt much more difficult when one or more Americans had died.

Why did U.S. President Donald Trump recently call off a retaliatory strike against Iran?

The answer was proportionality: Trump said the American response to Iran’s downing of an American drone should be on a similar scale.

That decision, Trump said, came from his “gut.”

Because the drone was unmanned, Trump said it would be disproportionate for a U.S. strike to result in approximately 150 Iranian deaths, the estimated number of likely casualties.

The decision to call off the strike at the last minute may have been the right one. But years of research on valuing human lives, conducted by us and many others, make a compelling case that deciding what is proportional based on gut feelings is a profound mistake.

A decision-making process that relies on intuitive feelings, rather than careful deliberation, invites a host of biases that make bad decisions, and disproportional consequences, far more likely.

Valuing proportionality in conflict

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China Likely Tested Missiles That Can Kill Aircraft Carriers in the South China Sea

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 15:13

James Holmes


What does that mean for Asia? America's allies? How can Washington push back? 

Earlier this week China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force most likely tested a DF-21D or DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missile—sometimes know as "carrier-killers"—in the South China Sea. Details remain sketchy, as Chinese spokesmen have remained close-mouthed about the exercise. The test came on the heels of news last May that PLA weaponeers had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef, west of the Philippine Islands. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told CNBC that this week’s missile test contradicted China’s “claim to want to bring peace to the region and obviously actions like this are coercive acts meant to intimidate other South China Sea claimants.”

Col. Eastburn has it half right. Beijing clearly wants to coerce others. But the test was entirely consistent with its claim to want to bring peace to the region. It does want peace; it simply wants to transform the nature of that peace, and force is a means to that end. If Chinese Communist Party prelates in Beijing get their way, they—not foreign governments or international institutions—will make the rules in the South China Sea. They will issue laws or policy decrees mandating or proscribing certain actions in regional seaways, and others will obey. Peace will prevail.


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Will Legal Restrictions Prevent Mark Esper from Being Secretary of Defense?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 14:51

Task and Purpose

Politics, Americas

It is more complicated than you think.

It's unclear what happens if we hit the 210-day deadline with no confirmed secretary, and without a nomination sent to the Senate, but the timeline is getting tighter by the day.

It's a good thing we're not racing headlong into a war with Iran or some other equally daunting geopolitical catastrophe, because the task of actually filling the Pentagon's top job is starting to look like an increasingly messy task.

After Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan withdrew from consideration for permanent secretary, President Donald Trump tapped Army Secretary Mark Esper to take over as his second Acting Secretary of Defense in five months.

But unfortunately for both Trump and Esper, a federal law from 1998 puts a number of legal hurdles in their way.

As Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas who focuses on national security and constitutional law, among other things, pointed out on Friday, the period we've gone without a Senate-confirmed defense secretary is three times as long the previous record.

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Whose Idea Was It to Send 1000 Troops to the Middle East?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 14:46

Task and Purpose

Politics, Middle East

Confusion at the Pentagon.

The latest deployment comes little more than three weeks after the Defense Department dispatched about 900 additional troops to the U.S. Central Command region and extended about 600 service members already there.

The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.

While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.

At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.

U.S. Central Command has identified a boat from which men detached one of those mines as belonging to Iran, but they were unable to say how that was determined. The boat has no distinctive markings and is flying no flag in pictures released by the Pentagon.

Yet Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced late on Monday that he is sending roughly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats."

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan said in a statement.

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Ultimate Weapon? Sanctions on Iran's Supreme Leader Really a Game Changer?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 14:45

Stratfor Worldview

Economics, Middle East

We find out.

Despite the limited reach of the United States to directly affect some areas of the Iranian economy with sanctions, it does have room to add effective secondary sanctions.

The United States, reacting to the shooting down of a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle last week, launched two sanctions-related salvos against Iran on June 24. It layered sanctions on top of those already targeting commanders in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which are unlikely to have more than a limited effect on the Iranian economy. The second set of sanctions, targeting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his appointees, could bite much deeper than typical sanctions issued by the United States by hampering Iran's engagement with the world and damaging its economy.

An Executive Order Lays the Groundwork

An executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump freezes all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction that is held by Iran's supreme leader or the supreme leader's office. In addition, the order allows the U.S. Treasury Department to similarly sanction any person or entity the supreme leader, or his office, appoints, such as a state official or the head of an entity such as a company leader. The order also extends that connection a step further, allowing sanctions to be placed on any appointment made by an appointee of the supreme leader, as well. It also threatens sanctions against anyone who provides support for people or entities sanctioned under those designations.

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Cat and Mouse: A U.S. Destroyer Shadowed a Russian Warship in the Caribbean

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 14:00

Task and Purpose

Security, Americas

The great game continues.

The U.S. military said recently that it is monitoring the Russian ship's activities.

One of Russia's most advanced warships is sailing around in the Caribbean, but it's not alone: the U.S. Navy has dispatched a destroyer to keep a close eye on it.

The Admiral Gorshkov, the first of a new class of Russian frigates built for power projection, arrived in Havana, Cuba on Monday accompanied by the multipurpose logistics vessel Elbrus, the sea tanker Kama, and the rescue tug Nikolai Chiker, the Associated Press reported.

(This first appeared in late June.)

The Russian warship made headlines earlier this year when Russia reported that it was arming the vessel with a new weapon — the electro-optic Filin 5P-42 — that emits an oscillating beam of high-intensity light designed to cause temporary blindness, disorientation, and even nausea.

The U.S. military said Wednesday that it is monitoring the Russian ship's activities.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham was operating roughly 50 miles north of Havana as of Tuesday morning, USNI News reported, citing ship tracking data. The Navy told the outlet that it was monitoring the situation.

Admiral Gorshkov entered the Caribbean Sea via the Panama Canal on June 18. The ship departed its homeport of Severomorsk in February and has since traveled over 28,000 nautical miles, making stops in China, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Colombia, and now Cuba.

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Did This Congressman Admit His Unit Killed Civilians in Iraq?

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 13:00

Task and Purpose

Politics, Americas

In his own words.

"So how do you judge me?" He responded. "I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians, if not scores, if not hundreds of civilians. Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged too?"

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is at it again. And by "it," I mean willingly offering up information about questionable stuff he did while he served as a Marine.

In an interview for Barstool Sports' Zero Blog Thirty podcast, Hunter was asked about his support of Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher, who has been accused of war crimes including stabbing a captured ISIS fighter to death.

Hunter responded that he "frankly [doesn't] care" if the ISIS fighter was killed, and that "even if everything the prosecutors say is true in this case, then Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break, I think."

"I just feel like it's such a slippery slope, and it goes against our honor so egregiously if that is the case," one of the hosts, also a former Marine, said to Hunter.

"So how do you judge me?" He responded. "I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians, if not scores, if not hundreds of civilians. Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged too?"

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Falklands War: The Time British and Argentine Aircraft Carriers Nearly Fought to the Death

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 12:00

Sebastien Roblin


It would have been catastrophic.

All that stood in the way of potentially the most destructive air/sea-battle since World War II—and the only to occur between aircraft carriers—was a stiff breeze. Or rather, the lack of one.

On the afternoon of May 1, 1982, crewmen on the deck of the Argentine carrier Veinticinco de Mayo (“May 25”) scrambled to load six A-4Q Skyhawk attack planes with four Mark 82 bombs each.

The subsonic jets were to be the tip of the spear of Argentine Navy Task Force 79 as it attacked a British Royal Navy fleet roughly 140 miles away, including the carriers Hermes and Invincible, eight escorting destroyers and fifteen frigates.

The opposing fleets were facing off over the sparsely-populated Falkland Islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina. A month earlier, Argentine troops had seized the disputed archipelago. Now the British warships were covering amphibious forces moving to take the islands back.

Few of the half-dozen Argentine aviators expected to survive the attack, dubbed “Banzai Night” after the famous Japanese battle cry. In the book A Carrier at Risk by Mariano Sciaroni, the Skyhawk squadron’s leader Rodolfo Castro Fox reveals the grim calculations behind the planned attack:

By using the table of probabilities, considering the capabilities of British anti-aircraft defences, of our six initial aircraft, four would get into position to drop their bombs and only two would make it back.

Of the sixteen bombs that we would release, there would be a probability of impact of 25 percent, in other words, four bombs of 500 pounds. This could neutralize the carrier and the loss of four aircraft would be acceptable.

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Firepower 5: The 5 Best 9mm Guns on the Planet

The National Interest - Sat, 06/07/2019 - 11:00

Gun News Daily


Tell us what you think.

Alternatively, if you want to keep your handle length short, check into double stack magazines if your pistol will accept one. Double stack magazines are great for packing in more ammo, but all those extra bullets require more room so this type of magazine does come at the expense of a wider profile.

Concealed carry guns have been growing in popularity in the last few years, and more people now than ever before have their concealed carry licenses. That means that gunmakers are having to keep up with the demand and in the area of compact .9mm pistols.

Anytime there is such a large demand or surge in popularity, it usually also tends to lead to some really cool innovations. When talking about firearms, those innovations can come in the form of upgrades and size reduction to some of the classic full-size models you have come to love over time. If you are an avid gun enthusiast or just have a favorite make and model of pistol, you should have no problem finding a compact version that you enjoy just as much. Maybe even more.

If you still need a little help though, we have rounded up a few of our favorites for you to browse through to help you narrow down your choices.


The Walther PPQ M2 is a semi-automatic 9mm with a compact frame. It is almost the exact same build as the original PPQ, with the only real difference being that the PPQ M2 incorporates a thumb release push-button for the magazine release. It holds a total of 15 rounds of 9mm caliber Luger ammo.

This pistol is only slightly larger than a Glock 19 and has a total length of 12 inches. And weight is also a non-issue with the PPQ M2, weighing in at only 3.5 pounds.

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