ISIS and I don’t mean the warrior princess

I don’t to often delve into politics on my blog other that a few rants over the course of the last couple years here and there.  Now my friend and I? get us in a vehicle and we can solve all the worlds problems in an hours drive. Almost all our discussions end with us shaking our heads in disbelief at the lack of action by our current Government.

When I say Government I am including all political parties, and bureaucrats alike. But ultimately in my book the large majority of responsibility falls on the complete lack of engagement by our executive branch. I have been convinced that current administration since it’s beginning in 2008 has set an environment of putting people in charge of  three letter government departments not based on ability but loyalty to the party.  Ineptitude breeds a very bad work place. With lack of responsibility or accountability. A lot of this sounds like the Soviet Union doesn’t it? Or any autocratic society for that matter. Protect the King, Dear Leader, “President” at any cost. Deflect everything, blame and change the narrative.

Here are a couple things that has saved this country from total wreckage so far. First off the Constitution. It is pretty hard to get around that with so many eyes watching. The Press, unless you control the press it is pretty hard to control the message. Attempts have been made at controlling the press, but they have screamed the loudest. The Legislative and Judicial branches. Say what you want about Congress and the Senate, they both suck on so many levels right now, but they look pretty good considering the alternatives. Judicial, I’m on the fence.The population as whole. When you view your constituency as simpletons and they don’t act the way you expect it is hard to pursue your agendas. What we have witnessed the past six years is the purest definition of insanity, attempting to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Should I give a few examples? Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, Obamcare, administrations involvement with ACORN, and the New Black Panthers, or MoveOn. How about the latest 60 minutes interview were the Intelligence community was to blame for the lack of updates about the currents events in Syria and Iraq? The failure is 0nly attending 40% of your intelligence briefs and then picking and choosing what you want to hear? The Southern border.The latest Secret Service debacle over a vet jumping the fence and running around the White House with a knife? Granted every administration in the past has had scandals but seriously? When you lead with grand visions and only give broad brush strokes on how to accomplish them it is no wonder everyone is running around trying to cover their asses so they don’t end up in the political gulag.

xena

OK this is Xena not Isis

Unless you have been under a rock lately, everyone (everyone = the press) is all up in arms over the rapid expansion of ISIS, or ISIL or IS depending on what talking head is filling your TV screen at any particular moment. Lets be frank,what ISIS has been doing lately is purely medieval by any standard, whether your perspective is from a Western or Eastern point of view. This loose organization of religious zealots is a well put together and trained group of single minded criminals that hide behind some distorted view of Islam. They have taken a page straight out of the 2nd Century chapter of history during the rapid rise of Islam that happened across vast swaths of the Mid East, Africa, and large parts of Asia. Either you convert of die by the sword. Is there no wonder that the Crusades happened? Europe took the threat seriously enough to stop Islams advance. Only using their religion as a guise.

I am not attempting to diminish their capability as a organization on any level. They are as hard core as hard core can be. And fanatical religious fighters are the worst. There is no surrender, only 72 virgins on the other side. How do you fight a belief when the vast majority of your converts are under or uneducated, no skills, no jobs, or a economy to build upon and the alternative heard is by following Islam (viewed through a sadistic prism) all your problems will go away? its the infidels fault, the Shia’s fault and on and on. Sound familiar?

Like most radical Islamic organization’s they think regionally and not strategically or globally. I will state that there have been egregious attacks here in the US and across the globe as isolated incidents. I take this view based on this thought, unless you want anything other than press and do not follow up your attack(s) you are just drawing attention to yourself and not causing any real damage to the entity that you are attacking. Some will disagree with me, but show me other than the press coverage what has Al Qaeda done to really harm the West?  There is also an attempt by those to create psychological damage to their opponents. Hence the latest spate of be heading’s. The press is not covering the daily beheading of the average Iraqi, just the Western journalist.

Like I stated above, unless there is a follow-up assault you are not really accomplishing  much. When ISIS states that there will be retribution for the air attacks on their infrastructure. How? A terrorist attack on some part of our country? It is foolish to believe that there are not already cells planning attacks in the US today, as I write this. The FBI has already publicly stated that there are at least a dozen jihadist training camps in the US. A Jihadist only has to make his way to Venezuela (Venezuela has had a very cozy relationship with Iran and its acolytes for years. Where do you think Iran has received its shipments of uranium from?)   and follow the path to Texas along with other illegal immigrants, not undocumented but illegal. There are coyote’s that will do anything for cash and never ask who their cargo is or destination.

If ISIS or any other fanatical group wants to make a concerted or sustained attacks on the US they need the backing of the population with the ability to blend into that population. The arrogance of the average jihadist will not allow himself to shut up and be quiet until he is needed. There is always his machismo nagging him to stand out above the rest. Do you not think eventually someone would not turn on the cell. The issue is would our bureaucrats listen? The Boston bombers where on the FBI’s radar for years and only reacted after the fact.

The other side of the equation is the size of this country along with its resources. Most ignorant (ignorant in the context of our country not in education) jihadist have no concept of our shear geographic and economic size and capabilities. If you’re para dime is I can drive from point A to point B in 8 hours I can be at the end of the country and crossing into another. Our my tribe covers from this town to that town and I haven’t been beyond those boundaries,your view is small. Most of us would be hard pressed to cross the state of Texas in that amount of time let alone a portion of the east coast or California for that matter. The disbursement or our infrastructure would be mind boggling to attack without very good coordination or air power.  Without a doubt psychological trauma initially would cause havoc and it would be a fair amount of time before the law enforcement community reacted, but the underestimation again of the jihadist is in the ability of our resources to draw upon. A jihadist’s current working environment is one where there is a vacuum politically, economically, and militarily. There is not one here.

One could say that the way to bring down a elephant is through small bites and not trying to kill with one devastating blow. With the press beating the war drums and our Government on vacation I think things are a bit blown out of proportion. I am not sure if our President dreams of A Brave New World every night and doesn’t want to be bothered with the details or if his ruby glasses are so dark that he can’t see anymore through them. I believe it is the former. His head is so wrapped around his own ideology and he is dreaming of greater social causes that he fails to see the barn door is open and the horses have left nothing but a pile of manure.

Will there be a ISIS attack on our soil? I don’t have a crystal ball, but ISIS is already advocating lone wolf attacks knowing they don’t have the resources to wage a full on war/attack/engagement. We all know there isn’t a standing Army in the world that can go toe to toe with us.  But those flea bites can take their toll.

So full circle, can you go without food, water, or power for a week if your local infrastructure was disrupted? We all know the urban areas are going to take and require the majority of resources. Those in the rural areas? your on your own for awhile.

 

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Rolling your own, a large (ish) medical aid bag

How many of us carry a first aid kit  in our vehicles? When was the last time you looked at it? If you came upon a severe auto accident would your kit be able to stop a large head laceration from bleeding? How about an ace bandage for a sprain? Maybe a pet was injured on a hike? Or cutting yourself with a knife or hatchet while camping? I’m not advocating packing an ambulance worth of gear just enough of the right stuff.  I also understand you can’t prepare for every kind or medical emergency but why not some of them?

The end of August WF and I took a 7 day round about trip through Texas and Arkansas, mostly for fun, and mostly we had no agenda or anyplace to be at any particular time. Before we left I took a few moments to think about what we absolutely needed, what would be nice to have, and what I wasn’t going to carry.

In the past I have had one of the above mentioned small store bought first aid kits slid under the drivers seat of the truck. While the kit is adequate for day to day cuts, splinters, maybe even small burns, it was missing items that I felt might be needed.

I have a small jump bag that I originally used as a range bag until I out grew it, and I tossed it on a shelf. Out of sight out of mind.  I thought since we were going to be driving some place different almost everyday and tromping through the woods it might be prudent (in my best Bush 1 voice, it wouldn’t be prudent.) to not have some extra medical items available. I did not put anything fancy in the “new” kit like a sutures kit or a AED (like I could afford that) Just stuff for wound control,etc until I could get to a hospital or  medical facility in the event of something occurred that is beyond my medical  skill level.

All of the items came from our pantry and there was no need to run out and buy “stuff”. Most larger trauma type medical kits I have looked at online and even at guns shows run in the $300 to $400 range. I don’t have that kind of cash laying around. Here is what I put together.

 

DSCN0462 DSCN0463  DSCN0465Since the pictures where taken I have added more 4×4 bandages, trauma shears, anti-diarrhea medication, a few more rolls of gauze bandages and a roll of duct tape.

Fortunately we didn’t have to use anything in the kit on our trip but it was pretty nice to have in the back seat. Cheap insurance that didn’t cost anything up front, just some time to put together.  Its a nice compact bag that holds a lot of supplies. Glad I was able to add it to my overall preps.

War gaming, Deep Futures

I ran across an article today about using water as a weapon of war, actually a couple weeks past and the irony for me is WF and I were in Arkansas looking at property. Arkansas in of itself has a pretty large supply of water, lakes, streams, rivers etc. There are a number of large springs that belch millions of gallons an hour in some parts of the state and truly phenomenal to see. The clarity of the water in some of the lakes are crazy. Seriously, Walleye spear fishing!.

I had proposed a question to WF one evening after chow and we were sitting around going over some of the MLS sheets., (logistically and materially aside) what if a water poor state such as California or Texas came into Arkansas and rightly or wrongly, hook or crook started to claim Arkansas’ surface water? Claim the rain water? and then pump it westward?

Totally out of the realm of reason? Crazy you say?

city

The first article I ran across was this over at the Captain’s Journal , Using Water As A Weapon Of War . Interesting no? The author sites Syria presently and even (cue music) Toledo Ohio! Not just water but all the things that make us a 1st world country, electricity, sewer infrastructure. When one goes the others are close in order to fail. Everyone loves to site Katrina as an example of a total infrastructure failure. In New Orleans case it was not a lack of water but the opposite. What ever the order of dominoes in the end it will be the same.

Then at lunch I found this article: Army war gamers name top 3 threats facing the military in 2025 and beyond. Some pretty crazy numbers listed in there. 60% or the population in mega cities, crime, gangs, a total Judge Dredd world less Sylvester Stallone riding a Harley. The companion article Pentagons top three threats in the next 30 years goes into more detail.

I try pretty hard to keep things in perspective and not conspire about what “ifs” and tin foil hat crap. I have a helluva time just thinking about how to shuffle money around to pay off bills than to sit and think of a Judge Dredd world coming down the pike.

But one does have to ponder and only slightly peel the first few layers off the onion of human history to not wonder if it is possible again.

In my reality I am only 2 generations removed from outhouses, a well pump at the back door, cholera, measles, mumps, and the Spanish Flu. It would only take a few years to fall back to those early 20th century problems if the right set of events took hold.

Think Syria and Iraq presently. Only 5 and 10 years respectively to achieve the distinction of a failed state . Each is a total basket case. Somalia? gesh, they are on their second decade of a complete collapse. Funny how they go quicker now?