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    The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America

    KUWAIT CITY—This has been a classic week in the defense procurement industry. The armed services are trying to boost their worst aircraft, the totally worthless F-35, by trashing their best, the simple, effective, proven A-10 Warthog. The A-10 is popular enough that the USAF had to come up with a reason for wanting to get rid of it, and the one it produced is the sort of thing that would make any psych-therapist chuckle with glee: The…
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    The War Nerd: Murder on the Orientalist Express

    A few days ago, a Hungarian-American woman was stabbed to death in Abu Dhabi. The cops are saying they’ve made an arrest in the case now, but for a while, this looked like it was going to be the most exciting murder mystery in the Gulf for generations. Killing a Western woman is unusual here—well, intentionally killing one. Traffic accidents are another matter.  But it was where she was killed that really scared my fellow expats. The victim, Ibolya Ryan,…
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    A War Nerd Thanksgiving: All you drunks, be thankful you’re not in Kuwait

    KUWAIT CITY—Alcohol is illegal in Kuwait. That doesn’t mean there’s no alcohol here. The place is swimming in it. It’s just illegal. And that’s where the grim fun called Prohibition gets down to business. My favorite thing about the booze ban is watching you drunks stumble around embarrassing yourselves worse than any druggie trying to score in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Shame, humiliation—that’s one thing about Prohibition that most people don’t get. It’s just so goddamn embarrassing. And back in the…
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    The War Nerd: Why Sherman was right to burn Atlanta

    KUWAIT CITY — There are times when the sheer ignorance and ingratitude of the American public makes you sick. This week marks the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to the Sea, which set off on November 16, 1864—the most remarkable military campaign on the 19th century, the campaign which got Lincoln reelected, broke the back of the Confederacy, and slapped most of Dixie’s insane diehards into the realization they were defeated. You’d think our newspaper of record, the…
  • war-nerd-martyr

    The War Nerd: “Martyrdom” — What’s the Payoff?

    If you’re an American, you don’t like the whole idea of “martyrs” much. The first quote you’re likely to think of is George Patton’s great line rejecting the whole idea of martyrdom in war: “No son of a bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor son of a bitch die for HIS country.” It’s a great line. Is it true? If I had to give a simple yes-or-no answer,…
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    The War Nerd: Farewell Islamic State, we hardly knew ye

    Suddenly, Islamic State just can’t fall fast enough. All summer, the press has been saying IS will soon be accepting the keys to every city on earth, an unstoppable jihadi juggernaut. And now, after six weeks stalled out against a local militia in Kobane and going exactly nowhere in the over-hyped drive on Baghdad, even the mainstream press, represented by America’s paper of record, the New York Times, is saying what I said months ago: IS is just…
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    The War Nerd: Crunching numbers on Kobane

    How many Islamic State fighters have died in Kobane? That question isn’t as easy to answer as you might expect. In fact, nothing about Islamic State’s numbers really adds up. How many fighters does IS have in the first place? Even that isn’t easy to answer. Islamic State expands and contracts in the press according to its own propaganda requirements, and the fear-level of Western correspondents. IS has been very good at hiding its dead. Oh yeah, jihadis love to…
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    The War Nerd: How do you deal with wannabe jihadis? An upgrade to business class

    KUWAIT CITY—It’s been a busy week for Canada’s home-grown jihadis. Monday, October 20: Martin Rouleau, a French-Canadian convert to Islam, ran down two Canadian soldiers with his Nissan Altima, then led the RCMP on a chase that ended when he rolled the Nissan, came up out of the wreck waving a kitchen knife, and got himself shot to death “like he wanted to.” Wednesday, October 22: Michael Zehaf-Babeau, also Quebecois and a recent convert, shot a soldier standing…
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    The War Nerd: Nobody could have predicted Islamic State’s retreat from Kobane (except me)

    KUWAIT CITY — A strange thing happened in Kobane, the Kurdish border town besieged by Islamic State: It didn’t fall. In fact, today the BBC reported that Islamic State, the supposedly invincible jihadis who have been besieging Kobane, is retreating from the city. Nobody expected that. Well, nobody except me. I’ve been saying for a long time that IS(IS) was the most overhyped military force on the planet, and that IS has been attacking Kobane for fifteen months—fifteen…
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    The War Nerd: Technology, culture wars & jihad

    KUWAIT CITY — Islamic State is advancing unstoppably into the Turkish border town of Kobane—or not, depending on which story you read this morning—and the US, always desperate for something to be scared of, has decided to go officially insane about a West African virus with a mere single-digit KIA count. But here in Kuwait, there’s no talk about jihad or disease. What matters is that we’ve got a holiday this week—Eid el Adha, commemorating God’s sadistic…

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