Guest Contributor – War Pig – The Killer Shrews – A Science Fiction Movie Review

Killer Shrews: Schlock at its finest. Poor special effects, hackneyed plot and ham acting. They used hand puppets of the giant killer shrews for up-close shots. They looked like an oversize stuffed mouse with chopstick fangs glued in and black ping pong balls for eyes. For action sequences, they used coon hounds with carpet and fur attached to them and never shot them close up. The coon hound shrews supposedly ate the token Black man in the movie, which would be protested today.

 

The premise is that a Swedish scientist was working on the then threatened coming food apocalypse. He had a Hispanic servant (Alfredo de Soto; more racist tokenism), a cowardly assistant (played by Gunsmoke’s Festus, Ken Curtis, who was an investor in the film and also a fine western actor and amazingly good singer), a beautiful Swedish daughter (played by the attractive Swedish actress Ingrid Goude) and an American assistant scientist played by Gordon McLendon. They are on an isolated island somewhere in the Atlantic hurricane zone so they can be left alone, especially by federal inspectors. James Best (most famous for playing Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrain on Dukes of Hazzard) plays the captain of the small motor ship bringing them supplies. With him is the faithful Black actor Judge Henry Dupree who is his first mate and apparently engineer, playing the character Rook.

 

A hurricane is approaching, so they have to anchor in the protected harbor and wait it out before unloading. The captain goes ashore to meet with the scientists while Rook runs extra anchors and has to tie the boat to a tree ashore. The captain is met by Ken Curtis’ character who is armed and takes him to the residence. There he is told what all is happening, that the experiment went astray and they accidentally created giant killer shrews who must eat their body weight daily to survive, that other animal food is running out, that the shrews are mostly nocturnal and that they will eat humans with gusto.

 

Poor Rook is chased and run up a tree by the coon hound shrews and the effects are so poor you can see the lines pulling the tree down supposedly under Rook’s impressive weight to his doom of being eaten alive. The shrews then surround the residence like the Little Big Horn and try to get in to eat the humans. They dig through the adobe walls and have to be shot or burned. One grazes the assistant scientist’s leg and they therefore find out that the shrews are also deadly venomous, as he dies shortly thereafter. The Hispanic servant also dies from a shrew bite. The shrews make a very distinctive noise that sounds something like “aaawk-ch-ch-ch!”. The shrews are also enthusiastically cannibalistic and will eat any form of meat, including each other, to quell their ravenous appetites.

 

The surviving humans decide they must escape and create a human-powered tank made of barrels roped together. Ken Curtis refuses as he is deathly afraid of the shrews and stays behind. Creeping in the tank the Captain, the Scientist and his lovely daughter make it, barely, to the water where the shrews, who cannot swim, leave them and go back to eat Ken Curtis who, instead of camping out on the roof and safe for a couple of days until the shrews turn on each other, stupidly tried to run off through the woods and he suffers Rook’s fate. As the shrews take him down he screams like a 12 year old girl with a spider on her face. The survivors swim to the motor launch and the Scientist declares; “In twenty-four hours there will be only one shrew left on the island, and he will die of starvation.”

 

This movie and it’s double feature The Giant Gila Monster made a surprising amount of money on the drive-in circuit. Although they were both low budget and schlocky even for 1959, I enjoyed the two movies at the drive-in. An amazing fact is that James Best reprises his role as the captain in the remake “Return of the Killer Shrews” in 2012, which was mostly a mockumentary of the original with even worse special effects and played for laughs. I am probably one of the very few people who have seen both movies. It is also a break of 53 years between the original and the sequel. Has to be some kind of record.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – SF&F Movie Review – EEGAH!

EEGAH!  (also known as; “EEGAH! The Name Written In Blood”)

A 1962 schlock sci-fi movie apparently shot on a budget in the double digits. It is notable for three things; first, being one of the 50 worst movies ever made. Second, introducing us to Richard Kiel who went on to star as the giant alien in the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”, and as the melancholy villain/henchman Jaws in the James Bond franchise. Lastly, it proudly introduced America to the dune buggy, a sort of hot rod with “tires filled with water for traction” meant to climb desert sand dunes. If you ever watched the cartoon Speed Buggy as a child, you’ll get the drift.

The comely Marilyn Manning plays the beautiful damsel and a forgettable Arch Hall, Jr as the hero with a DA haircut and a poorly recorded singing voice.

Kiel was the only decent actor in the lot and he played well considering what he was given to work with. I love the movie as I love all scholcky sci-fi movies, the worse, the better. Arch Hall, Sr drafted his son as the hero and himself played a part in the movie. Senior wrote it and headed the film company.

Poor EEGAH. He somehow survived in a cave from the caveman days to present, along with his mummified family. How he managed to live years in the area around Palm Springs without discovery is a mystery, but the movie glosses over all that. Fumes or something. He is in the road looking for roadkill and is almost hit by the comely heroine, who passes out at the sight of him and accidentally scares him off by honking the horn. An Easter egg is that there are sheep bleating in the background when EEGAH picks up a deer carcass and carries it off. She tells her father, a sort of amateur archaeologist or something, who goes out in a helicopter to be dropped off to look around. The chopper drops him off but that is the last we hear of the chopper. It breaks or something so the hero and heroine ride off in the new Dune Buggy to go look for dear old dad.

Dad is found, the hero sent off, and the heroine captured by the amorous caveman. She’s the best looking things he’s seen in 10,000 years and she smells good, too. The heroine tries to keep EEGAH interested enough in her so that he doesn’t kill them both, while at the same time keeping things from going too far. Pretty much like a date with a fratboy, I guess. She shaves her father for some unknown and inappropriate reason, then EEGAH wants a shave, too. So she shaves him while he tries to make zug-zug with her and eat the shaving cream at the same time. A hilarious scene for me.

At any rate, the hero returns from wherever, gets dad and daughter out of the cave, and there is the predictable chase scene with the three of them running away from EEGAH in the dune buggy back to Palm Springs in time for a pool party which allows the heroine to show off her bikini bod (and a rather good, one, too), then to change into a form fitting sheath dress for a later party. Poor EEGAH comes to town looking for his love and instead gets into a comical series of adventures with civilization which were apparently stolen straight from the caveman scenes in Dinosaurus, another sci-fi movie from two years earlier. Then he crashes the pool party, whips all the fratboys, tries to run off with his lady love like a good caveman will do although he carries her instead of dragging her off by the hair. But the cops arrive and that is the end of poor EEGAH as he finds out a good club and a 7’2” frame are no match for little metal pellets going 1100 feet per second.

This movie is so loaded with cheese that it’s really a comedy. Marilyn Manning has two other IMDB credits, one of which was the actually good Sadist. Pity, as Ms Manning was very easy on the eyes, especially in a bikini. She could have given me a shave any day, if I had shaved back in 1962. Cuter than Annette Funicello of the Beach Party movie franchise. Mr Kiel went on to do bit parts calling for a tall guy and also got some better roles. As mentioned, he was an alien in Twilight Zone and Jaws in the James Bond franchise. He also played the tall man in the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore. Overall, he has 82 credits on IMDB and had a successful career. Arch Hall Jr has a total of 9 IMDB credits, 6 of them his father’s films. He left acting to become a pilot. What happened to Marilyn Manning after her three movies is not known and I can find nothing really about her. She was a chiropractor’s receptionist in the same building as the film company for EEGAH! and was brought in because of her very good looks.

Overall, EEGAH! Is a hilarious send-up of sci-fi/horror movies. Like Plan 9 From Outer Space, it’s so bad, it’s good.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished!

This is what I posted over on the Washington Post. They had an article about the French billionaires pledging enough money to repair Notre Dame without touching a cent of public money, and how the advocates of the poor are now chastising them for their generosity.

 

“No good deed goes unpunished. If the wealthy had not assisted, they would be demonized. Now they have pledged the money, thereby saving taxpayers the expense, they are demonized for not ignoring Notre Dame and instead giving the money to the poor in France. Now even Brazilians mock them, for funding Notre Dame’s restoration and ignoring Brazil’s burned museum. Are there no wealthy in Brazil that they have to complain about France’s wealthy?

The poor always want all of it. As the song said: “tax the rich, feed the poor, until there are no, rich no more”.  The grasshoppers are always after the ants to give more and more to the lazy, crazy and incompetent. Charity is one thing, subsidizing and perpetuating misery is another.

San Francisco is generous with the poor. Their reward? The poor rush in, in great numbers, for the generosity and crap on the sidewalks at such a rate that they must have a web app to report feces for cleanup and for others to avoid. Public parks in San Francisco, once places for children and families and now taken over by the wretched, are filled with feces, garbage, the homeless and used needles. The homeless harass and threaten and attack people and you dare not allow children near the parks without an armed escort lest they be assaulted, raped and killed.

So I suppose we should allow all monuments and other great works to fall into disrepair and disappear. Instead we should give those resources to the poor to breed more and more poor until they consume it all.

Then what? Extinction?”

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Discussion on Death and Dying

Now scientists say you do know when you have died and your brain works for a short time after your heart stops beating. Most who have survived a death experience say they were not at all afraid. Perhaps this is a mercy given to us to ease the transition. That’s why I believe in hospice and palliative care. Humans don’t always die peacefully so I’m all for them dying on their own terms when they can.

My good friend’s brother had brain cancer. Very painful. But just before he died he entered a state of grace where the pain was gone and he could thank his sister for taking care of him in his final weeks at home instead of dying alone in a hospital bed.

My dear wife’s mother said the day that she died that her husband of many years was at the foot of the bed, beckoning her to go with him. He had been dead for four years by then.

My own mother said my father, who had been gone for 16 years, appeared before her in her room at the nursing home a week before she died. She said he was dressed in the clothes he wore as a plant supervisor at Rocketdyne during the moonshot program. That was when he was happiest. He had important work and he was in charge. She was also seeing cars from the 50s and 60s driving through her room that week before she passed. She wasn’t at all afraid. When she passed on, she was in a hospital room but in my daughter’s hospital with me, my brother, his family, my daughters and my grandson with her. She finally told the nurses to remove the PAP breathing machine. They told her if they did, she would die. She said that was already decided and it the mask was uncomfortable. So she passed on her own terms.

My wife passed when she took a nap with a headache. Died peacefully from an undiagnosed aneurysm.

I hope I am given the grace to go so peacefully as they.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – A Remembrance of Buchenwald

As I’ve written, my uncle was among the group who first entered Buchenwald and liberated the camp. He was never able, later, to describe in meaningful words the horrors he experienced at Buchenwald. Remember, the public had not been desensitized by Hollywood and video games to mass murder/senseless violence back then. And the smell – good God, the smell.

 

The few guards they captured in the area were brought back and handed over to the tender mercies of the former prisoners. It would have been kinder to shoot them, but my uncle and his comrades were not in a merciful mood. His unit did not take any SS prisoners the rest of the war. Shot them where they found them. Those of the SS who tried to hide among the ranks of POWs by putting on infantry or armor badges were quickly sniffed out, taken over a hill and machine gunned. Usually they were snitched out by the other POWs. Apparently a sizable number of regular German soldiers despised the SS.

 

Even preserving Buchenwald, Dachau and the rest is losing its effect. People forget. It’s ancient history to most today. There are the active deniers who are gaining strength and influence year by year as eye witnesses like my uncle and the prisoners themselves pass away. All the film and photos are being explained away by the deniers. As we have seen in Rwanda and elsewhere, genocide is apparently a human lust. Even when the aim is not genocide, mass murder in the millions happens. Chairman Mao murdered millions of his own people in planned famines. Stalin did much the same. Pol Pot murdered two million, apparently out of angst. If not for their nuclear weapons and (so far) support of the USA, the Israelis would be massacred, some 8 million people. The Islamics would wipe them out, root and branch in a genocidal frenzy eclipsing even the monstrous acts of Nazi Germany. Furthermore, if they could, they would also wipe out all traces of the Jews everywhere on earth. It would be as if they had never existed. On the other hand, Milosevic tried to kill all Muslims in his area.

 

I’m afraid we, as a species, are not done with genocide. It is always sitting under the staircase, like a beast, waiting with slavering jaws and hot, red eyes to loose itself upon us.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Let Them Hate Us as Long as They Fear Us

.  I do believe that by being such a “humane” military, we have lost some of the intimidation factor. An army is better feared (and that is the purpose of an army, to instill fear into the minds of the enemy), when they regularly drink from the skulls of their enemies. That is why so many Iraqis surrendered. They feared fighting the US military.

 

The Japanese had a lively fear of US Marines in WWII. They were told it was better to die fighting than to allow themselves to be captured and eaten by American Marines. That Marines were primarily recruited in mental hospitals from the ranks of homicidal maniacs. That we would lay down those we did not eat on the soon-to-be runways and grind them, alive, into the dirt with bulldozers and tanks. You would think that it led to fanatical resistance, and it did, but it also led to banzai charges where we did great execution upon the Japanese army. In most cases they went out, not to conquer, but to die – strictly from fear. Sort of a suicide-by-cop mentality. They charged straight into the teeth of interlocking machine gun fire. Much like in WWI, this tactic only led to massive casualties on the part of the attacker. Line ’em up and mow ’em down. In some cases, Marine machine gunners had to push piles of bodies away from the front of their guns to get an open field of fire. Corpses literally stacked up like cord wood.

 

So we want to be feared in battle, but also known for treating prisoners (the average Joe in the ranks) honorably. Much as we did in Desert Storm. Surrendering Iraqis were treated well, but those who fought died hard and cruel deaths. Many of them ere buried, alive, in their trenches by M-1 tanks with dozer blades on the front. Or they were cluster-bombed by B-52s from an altitude that meant they could not fight back, or were blown up and incinerated by M-1 tanks who they could not even see in their sights. The A-10 was called “silent death” as its quiet engines and supersonic 30mm shells meant the Iraqi tank crews were dead before they heard the jet roll in on them.

 

That is how the old pirates got their way. If a ship surrendered, they were not abused much. But if they resisted, they crew were slaughtered to the last man. Roman legions worked the same way. If a city surrendered, they survived. If the Romans had to fight for the city, they put everyone – men, women, babies, cattle, sheep – to the sword.

Strange and Inexplicable Things in a Combat Zone

These stories were comments that were sparked by an episode of the Twilight Zone called “The Purple Testament” about a soldier in WW II experiencing  an uncanny phenomenon. (photog).

 

“You can see some very strange and inexplicable things in a combat zone. Most of my senior male relatives have seen strange things and so have I. Maybe it’s all the physical and psychic stress that causes a tear in space-time and it allows “leakage” between realms? Who knows?”

“I can relate a few if anyone wants.”

 

(First Story)

“I was point on patrol in Vietnam. Going quietly and as safely as possible. All of a sudden, my tribal spirit twin appeared before my eyes, in full ceremonial dress. She put her finger before her lips in the universal “hush” symbol, then pointed out a VERY cleverly concealed tripwire. She then vanished. Saved my life.

When the patrol ended I wrote her and told her what happened, and described the dress down to a “T”. I may as well say that she is also an absolutely raving beauty. She had done the same thing and wrote me the day after it happened. Our letters crossed in the mail. She had suddenly swooned and when she revived she told her family that I had been in danger of some sort but that I was okay. She could not recall what kind of danger.

She had started that ceremonial, doeskin dress with the fancy bead work and dyed porcupine quills after I had left for Vietnam. She had never mentioned it in a letter nor in person to me. I was able to describe it down to individual colors and designs, and the fact that she wore a beaded headband to keep her long hair in place. I described the colors and patterns on the headband as well.

So tell me, how could I describe a fancy ceremonial dress in great detail without ever having seen or heard about it? Why did she swoon at the exact time and date she appeared before me in a vision? How did she know she had swooned as I had been in danger? Since our letters crossed in the mail, the letters could not have tainted our recollections.”

 

(Second Story)

“We were in our trench on the perimeter when we were mortared, then attacked. Charlie in the wire. Right in front of out trench was an observation tower/platform. It was put in after the trenches were dug or it would have been placed right behind us. It was a night attack and our guys were firing flares so we could see Charlie.

The firefight was pretty lively when the tower was hit by a mortar round. The tower was about fifteen feet tall to the floor of the platform with one ladder up. We were directly behind the ladder. The legs of the tower were wrapped in razor wire to prevent climbing up except by the ladder. The “room” was two sheets of plywood large. Eight by eight. It had a corrugated tin roof which was covered with sandbags. Sandbags also inside the inside of the corrugated tin walls to stop bullets. A guy was in the tower to call in our own mortars on Charlie in the wire and on into the edge of the woods 300 meters back. He could also call in artillery from the nearby firebase. He had a field phone and a Prick-25 radio in case the phone wires were cut by shrapnel or bullets.

When the tower was hit, we just knew he was dead. Me and one other guy climbed up to get his body down or to save him on the slight chance he survived. There was no body in the tower. It was only 8X8, less that that, really because of the sandbag armor. Nowhere for him to hide. I climbed upon the roof and he was not there, either. A hole in the roof where the mortar had hit and just a few scattered sandbags inside. We looked under them just in case but you can’t hide a full grown man under few sandbags a couple feet or so long. And the radio was missing. The field phone was junked so we got back down as there was nothing we could do without a phone or radio to call the mortar pit, and Charlie was consecrating fire on the tower, anyhow.

The firefight went on for another half hour, when all of a sudden, we heard the tower guy calling in mortar fire. We looked up and there he was with the Prick-25, calling in very accurate mortar fire. We were spooked but Charlie was keeping the dull times off so we didn’t have time to wonder – then. After the fight was over, we asked him what had happened. He said he was doing his job when all of a sudden he heard a huge noise and saw a blinding white flash. He thought he was dead as he couldn’t move, but after a while he could move again and he got up off the floor, grabbed the radio and started calling in fire again.

“Oh, by the way, I wanna thank you bastards for coming up and checking on me.” he said, sarcastically.

“Dude, we did!” and we told him what had happened. There was barely room for the two of us up there, there was no frigging way he was still in that tower, even under a sandbag. Nor on top of it. He and the radio had just flat disappeared. He then wanted us to explain how he was there with the radio, then. Ten guys witnessed it all, ten guys will swear that he disappeared and then reappeared. One guy says differently. There is no way he could have been blown out of the tower then climbed back up the ladder as the ladder was between us and Sir Charles and our entire attention was fastened on that direction. Let alone considerable lead passing back and forth. Until the day he rotated back to the world he would not believe us.

Twilight Zone? Did he phase out and back into space/time? I sure as heck do not know. Nor do the other guys if they still live.

Strange things in a war zone.”

 

PTSD and the Military

This nation does a terrible job of dealing with PTSD in the military. Anyone who has seen combat will have PTSD to some degree. It may not manifest itself until much later (as it did with me), and it may not be terrible, but we all have it.

My family is a military family. My father’s family arrived shortly before the US Civil War and fought for the Union. Mom’s people (Blackfeet) have been warriors since time immemorial. Both sides of the family served in and saw combat in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Global War On Terror and the Cold War. We have members in the US military right now and we have seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

All of the combat veteran members of the family I have been able to speak with have had experiences and memories that haunt them to some degree.

I had two great uncles and a very young uncle in WWII. My one great uncle flew P-51 Mustangs in Europe (3 confirmed). He was on a fighter sweep and latched on to a JU-88 and pumped fire into it. It flamed and he saw the crew hit the silk. However, one of the crew had a canopy on fire. My great uncle circled back, determined to do a mercy killing with his six, fifty caliber guns. However, the German beat him to it, drawing a pistol and killing himself seconds before his chute collapsed and his body fell several thousand feet to the ground. After that, my great uncle never pursued an enemy plane if they broke off and ran. He’d shoot at them if they attacked, but if they ran he let them go. He could not kill another man the way he saw the German die. The fact that he steeled himself to commit coldblooded murder as a mercy killing also bothered him no end. He did not want to machine gun the man, but it was a better death than falling five thousand feet to earth. While he did not have to do it, watching a man so desperate and so much in fear that he killed himself also haunted him. He never flew after WWII as a pilot or a passenger. He hung up his wings, as they say.

My young uncle was a tank crewman and later a tank commander under Patton. He went ashore after D-Day with Patton for the breakout. During the war he had I think three tanks shot out from under him and saw friends killed right next to him. That was bad enough, but he was one of the GIs who liberated Buchenwald and saw the horrors when they were fresh. What he saw in Buchenwald horrified him more than any combat or loss of fellow crewmen. When they found former guards in the area, they brought them back and gave them to the survivors who pretty much tore them limb from limb. After that, they did not take a single German SS prisoner for the remaining weeks of the war. They shot them where they found them. Buchenwald and what they did afterward haunted him the rest of his life.

My other great uncle was a Marine in the Pacific. He didn’t come back. He was on I believe Saipan (his wife was sketchy on the story as it hurt her and she didn’t remember or else suppressed details). The Japs counterattacked and he was wounded and could not get away. They dragged him back to their lines and used him for sword practice, trying to make him scream so they could scare the other Marines. According to his wife, the men in his unit said he would not scream in pain. He was a Blackfoot warrior. They recognized his voice as he cursed the Japanese until they finally got tired of him and decapitated him. When the Marines counter-counterattacked and pushed the Japs back, they recovered what was left of him. My great aunt despised Japanese for the rest of her life. She realized than modern Japanese did not kill her husband, but she could not get over how he died and never forgave them. She had PTSD, too.

My father served in the 101st Airborne in Korea. His sneak patrol was airdropped way off target (happened quite a bit in those days) and almost on top of a ChiCom infantry unit. In a four day running battle, his patrol fought their way back to Allied lines (actually, Australians). Only my dad and two others survived. On the first night, they had to lay quietly next to their dead buddies and watch rats eat them. If they made noise to chase away the rats, the ChiComs machine gunned where they heard movement and they fired flares to try and catch the Americans in the open or moving. After Korea, my father never flew on an airplane again. When he was transferred to Los Angeles from Ohio during the moon shot program (he was a machine engineer for North American/Rockwell), we drove to Ohio every year for vacation. Nor would he ride on a Ferris wheel or anything that reminded him of flying or parachuting. And he hated rats with a passion. We boys shot rats on grandpa’s farm and dad paid us a bounty on every dead rat we showed him.

I served in the Marines in Vietnam. I had just tuned 19 when I made it to 2/5 Marines and a week later Tet 1968 started and we were sent to Hue. I saw lots of men die. I killed people. Constant door-to-door combat. But the worst was when we were on a patrol after we had retaken the city and was ambushed. We called for extraction and the closest choppers were USAF. They landed and got us. My best friend was shot as we climbed aboard. I got off the chopper, picked him up and threw him in the chopper, covered his body with mine to protect him from more bullets and we got away, but he’d taken an AK burst. There was a medic on the chopper but my friend was leaking faster than the medic could patch him, then the medic found a bullet hole in his chest and stopped trying. His head was in my lap and he was begging me to save his life. I could not save him, no one could, and I could not take his place, although I would have if it had been possible. He died with his head in my lap and I held him until they came and took him away when we landed.

I had been so numbed to combat and death and killing after Hue that I did not properly mourn his death. Helluva thing to do to an 19 year old kid. I put it behind me to help me survive the rest of my tour. I went on to serve my tour, get out, stay out a while then join the Army and the Rangers. I have squeezed the trigger on people, I have used a knife, a garrote, and set off Claymore mines which turned men into strawberry jam. I have called in mortar, artillery and air strikes. I have even used my bare hands. Yet I slept well at nights and I was not self medicating on booze or drugs. When I retired I thought I had lucked out and not gotten PTSD. I thought I was too tough for PTSD.

I was wrong on both counts.

Almost forty years after my friend died in my arms I was at the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio with some cousins. I was in the Vietnam section. I’d seen it before and it didn’t really bother me. However, they had recently added a new exhibit to the Vietnam section. It was a USAF Jolly Green Giant helicopter. They put it back in Vietnam colors. I turned the corner and saw it and I stopped as if I had been poleaxed. In a flash I was back in Vietnam with my best friend’s head in my lap and he was dying, begging me to save him, in the belly of a Jolly Green… just-like-this-one. I stood there and began crying, hard but quietly. It took me about five minutes I guess to get control of myself and I completely soaked my bandanna/ handkerchief with tears and my running nose. I put my hand on the nose of the chopper for balance. One USAF youngster pulling duty in the museum came by and said; “You can’t touch the exhibits.”

I turned to him with what had to be death in my teary eyes and said; “You shut up!”

He left and I saw him no more. That’s when I realized NOBODY was immune to PTSD. I had now had the dubious honor of joining the club to which my older male relatives were members. I can now pass by the exhibit with no more than a sniffle and a little dampness in my eye. But I understand better what my senior relatives meant. I could no longer just sympathize, but empathize.

The efforts of the government to deal with PTSD are pitiful. Small wonder why veterans commit suicide at the rate of about twenty each and every day. Mostly the government ignored it. They covered up suicides after WWII, Korea and even Vietnam to prevent “shame” to the family. They even shamed men (and women) who had it. Brave men and women. A lot braver than me. Seeking counseling could cause you to lose security clearance and even miss promotion. Then they gave counseling but it was by doctors who had usually never even fired a rifle or had a fistfight as a boy, let alone seen combat. Ineffective. Then they over medicated it. Give them antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs and turn them loose to live on the streets then claim you did something. I tried to get treatment (counseling) for mine but I was told it was “too late after the war” for me to qualify, as if I was jumping on the bandwagon to try and claim additional benefits. I had to work through it myself.

I was lucky. I could have been one of the guys living under a bridge, self-medicating with booze and heroin until it hurt so bad that I took too much heroin trying to make the memories go away and wound up dead. Another statistic. We really need to do a better job of healing both the bodies AND minds of our returning warriors. We’re making some headway but not enough by far.

War Pig – The Future of War and Assassination

Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlO2gcs1YvM

The scary thing is that this is probably being developed somewhere as we speak. We can see where this will be possibly rather shortly. The US, Europe, China, Russia. This video is scary because within a short span of years, maybe this year, it WILL become reality. Then it will “fall into the wrong hands.” Imagine ISIS releasing 300 of those near Times Square on New Years Eve? Or the next Presidential Inauguration. Or the Super Bowl? If it is possible, it will be built. The appetite for these things will be so great you will not be able to suppress their manufacture or dispersal.

Technological advancement is coming so fast it will soon be out of our ability to control it entirely. Skynet. We can’t even secure the Internet, for crying out loud. Any nation with some money and the ability to grow their own or import technical expertise will be doing this sort of thing. Just as drug cartels bought and grew their own chemical engineering expertise, so will terrorist organizations (some of which are still well-funded). This is the future of terror, this is the future of asymmetrical war, this is the future of criminal cartels and groups to eliminate rivals and also politicians/ cops/ judges/ prosecutors with whom they have problems. The good guys could retaliate, but the faces of cops, judges, senators, prime ministers, etc are well known while most drug cartel members aren’t.

Major players in technology such as the US, China, Israel, Russia, India, Europe and South Korea probably already have the capability or will as soon as the art reaches that point. North Korea and Pakistan will not be far behind. Pakistan and the Chinese both will sell anything to anyone for enough money. Pakistan sold nuclear weapons technology and expertise to both Iraq, then later, Iran. Israel’s Mossad cannot kill them all. At least not until the Israelis, major technology players, make their own little death droids.

Any leader or any member of government can be killed almost assuredly. I could easily plan such an attack if the technology was available that would kill almost every member of congress, the President, VP, Supreme Court and anyone else in the chain of command of any of the three branches of government in one fell swoop. If I can, many more could plan it even better. We could end up with the Secretary of Agriculture in charge of the entire government and nation.

Defense? None that I know of if they are AI controlled and not in communication with a base station which could be jammed or hacked. Maybe all our politicians would have to wear Guy Fawkes masks 24/7? But the drones would simply kill anyone in such a mask. Besides, biometrics are already at the point where the face itself is not necessary to ID someone.

Results? Total anarchy.

War Pig – Chinese Admiral Shoots His Mouth Off

A Chinese admiral said to settle the US “problem” they should maybe sink two US supercarriers, causing up to 10,000 US casualties and the loss of two multi-billion-dollar assets.

Has he considered that it would be an act of war? An act of war against the single most powerful military on the planet? Commanded by a man who would love nothing more than to reply with massive retaliation?

Donald Trump is no Obama. He would not apologize to the Chinese for allowing them to sink two of our carriers. Trump will come out swinging for the fences. Literally anything short of nuclear weapons would be used. Maybe even tactical nukes, if that is how China attacks our carriers. I can’t think of another way they could sink two of them at once. Just because the Chinese admiral could care less about losing 10,000 sailors (there’s plenty more where those came from) does not mean Americans are so cavalier about the lives of our men AND WOMEN in uniform. He totally misjudges what the American response would be to such a dastardly attack. Kill off several thousands of our men and women in uniform in a sneak attack and we as a people begin to foam at the mouth and shout; “Kill ‘em all, and let Satan sort them out!” The last time someone pulled off a huge sneak attack in the Pacific, we firebombed their capital and nuked two off their major cities, as well as sinking most of their fleet. Making Americans so mad they can’t see straight is NOT a good thing. We are not safe to play with when we’re copping an attitude.

 

ECONOMICS:

How insane is it to contemplate committing an act of war against your largest trading partner? If the Chinese are not liking the current sanctions, they’d really hate a total embargo and blockade of all their ports. No ships in or out. Any naval vessels in port sunk, any naval vessels still at sea when the attack occurs would be sunk. Their merchant fleet would be chained to neutral harbors. Our NATO allies (basically the wealthiest group of nations on the planet outside of China) would be forced to seize any Chinese ships in their ports until the end of hostilities. Merchantmen and naval vessels (not many naval vessels outside of Chinese waters) alike would be impounded in port. Does the good admiral realize how much trade goes by water to both the US and NATO countries? NATO represents the wealthiest “club” on the planet. Trade with the US and Europe would be halted. Trade with UK Commonwealth nations would halt or be severely curtailed. Trade with South Korea, Australia, Japan, Brunei, the Philippines and India would also cease. China could not send goods to or from the Middle East either as the US fleet would see to that. China would suffer from extreme pecuniary strangulation not to mention loss of all imports of energy and raw materials that come by sea, which is something like 90% of their imports.

All China would be able to export would be either overland or by overland air routes that do not cross a US ally’s or Commonwealth member’s airspace. All of their seaborne trade would halt as the US navy still rules the waves, let alone the assistance of Australia, Japan, South Korea, the UK, et al, even if the NATO countries did not intervene militarily. Nothing in, nothing out. That would be a very effective way to ruin their economy and bankrupt them. Remember, the business of America is business. And when total economic war is declared we are very good at it.

 

MILITARY:

 

AMERICA: China is a paper tiger. In a sneak attack they may do some damage, and their submarines can be troublesome but the US and its allies will have air supremacy in short order. Look at US assets in the Pacific theater. Aircraft, bases, weapons. Strategically place to cut China off in a dozen places. Attacks against China proper can occur from almost any of them.

 

NATO allies are obligated to respond against an attack on any member. Even Canada responded after 9/11.  So, NATO member assets at sea will engage Chinese naval vessels and board and seize Chinese merchantmen. Any “neutral” ships bound for China would be ordered back to their home ports – or else they would also be boarded and seized. Any Chinese made or bound cargo would also be subject to angary, even from neutral shipping.

Sinking a US supercarrier is easy enough to say, but it is incredibly difficult to pull off. The US has not lost a carrier in combat since the Essex class was commissioned during WWII. US carriers are very mobile and very well protected. If one is attacked the rest go on full alert and anything which enters their area is attacked if not positively identified as friendly. That means anything which returns an echo underwater is going to get depth-bombed and/or torpedoed. Sorry, whales.

US supercarriers are designed to absorb punishment and keep on fighting, and their abilities to defend themselves are not to be despised. There are rings of defense that stretch out hundreds of miles in all directions, from the sea floor to the edge of space. Aegis class defenders can take down even the supposed Chinese “ship-killing ballistic missiles”. Lesser missiles pose even less of the threat as they have to pass through rings of aircraft, missiles and dozens of radars and other sensors. Right up to the various close-in last ditch defenses of Gatling guns and Rolling Air Frame missiles on the carrier itself. E2D Hawkeye aircraft are extremely capable in detecting threats and directing assets against them. The new F-35 variants are themselves very powerful detection and tracking platforms who can also fire on threats. The US fleet has very sophisticated counter measures as well.

Now let’s look at the opposing players. A US Carrier Strike Group (and we have eleven of them) commonly consists of (from Wiki):

A supercarrier, which is the centerpiece of the strike group and also serves as the flagship for the CSG Commander and respective staff. The carrier is commanded by an aviation community captain.

  • A Carrier Air Wing (CVW) typically consisting of up to nine squadrons. Carrier air wings are commanded by an aviation community captain (or occasionally a Marine colonel).
  • One or two Aegis guided missile cruisers (CG) of the Ticonderoga class—a multi-mission surface combatant, equipped with BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles for long-range strike capability, each commanded by a surface community captain.
  • A destroyer squadron (DESRON) commanded by a surface community captain (O-6) who commands the escort destroyers, with two to three guided missile destroyers (DDG), of the Arleigh Burke class—a multi-mission surface combatant, used primarily for anti-aircraft (AAW) and anti-submarine (ASW) warfare, but which also carries Tomahawk missiles for long-range strike capability. A destroyer is commanded by a surface community commander.
  • Up to two attack submarines, used to screen the strike group against hostile surface ships and submarines, but which also carry Tomahawk missiles for long-range strike capability.
  • A combined ammunition, oiler and supply ship (AOE/AOR), usually Supply-class (T-AOE); provides logistic support.

Currently, six of the United States’ eleven carrier strike groups are located in the Pacific. The US also has four Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) in the pacific. Each of those is also comprised of combat ships, a load of kick-ass Marines, along with attack helicopters and fixed wing, STOVL aircraft. They are transitioning from the Harriers to the new F-35Bs as I write this.

The US Pacific Air Forces are composed of the Fifth Air Force (Japan), the Seventh Air Force (South Korea) and the Eleventh Air Force (Alaska). That does not count long range, US based bombers such as the B1, B2 and B52 which can sortie from their bases worldwide to strike Chinese interests.

US nuclear submarines in the pacific are composed of 16 Los Angeles fast attack submarines, two Seawolf fast attack submarines, eight Virginia class fast attack submarines, two Ohio class guided missile subs and seven Ohio class ballistic missile subs.

And do not forget the navies of both Japan and Australia.

CHINA: They have ONE diesel fueled “aircraft carrier” of the old Kuznetsov class. It’s mostly been a harbor queen with very little blue water experience. Their aircraft are inferior in sophistication and numbers to the US fleet. The unrefueled strike range of a US carrier air wing is about 500 nautical miles. The Chinese carrier is a ski-jump launcher which means their combat jets must carry a reduced load of weapons and fuel to get off deck, reducing both their range and effectiveness.

China has sixty-odd submarines, the vast majority of which are diesel-electric. All of them are noisier than US submarines, making them vulnerable to our fast-attack subs.

China’s land-based air forces are unaccustomed to operating over water (so are their carrier aircraft, actually). They would be mostly ineffective if the US force stays a couple hundred miles offshore, well within the US strike range.

That leaves the much brayed-about Chinese “ship killer” ballistic missile. Its range is less than advertised and they have never tested it over water or against a moving target, let alone against a moving target with sophisticated countermeasures and effective antimissile weapons. Its ability to be guided en route is limited, US carriers are hard to find in the first place and they can steam at well over 40 knots in any direction they choose. Plus, as was mentioned they are defended not just by guns and missiles, but by very sophisticated electronic and other countermeasures.

 

STRATEGY:

The US need never strike the Chinese homeland unless they want to show it would be easy to do. An attack against a US carrier Strike Group would put all the US forces on high alert. Also, the naval and air forces of Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Since the Philippines have been spatting with China over islands, they may even get involved. The US can use Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from planes, ships or subs to decimate the naval forces in Chinese ports, and to mine the ports from 600 miles at sea. The US Navy would immediately engage any Chinese naval forces at sea. They would also sink or capture any Chinese merchant ships and then deny neutral shipping the ability to land cargoes on or near China. Chinese aircraft will not last long. Not only are US naval aircraft superior, the US 5th Air Force in Japan and he US 7th Air Force in South Korea would make life miserable for Chinese combatants and aircraft.

Now, the Chinese could take South Korea out of the fight by forcing North Korea to make some sort of demonstration, trying to widen the conflict. If so, the US can ask ally India to do the same. India and China do not get on well at all and the Indians would probably love an excuse to poke the Chinese while they are mostly busy elsewhere. India may also use the distraction to pimp-slap the Chinese client-state Pakistan a bit while the world is watching the US/China fight. The Chinese could also use the fight to justify an attempted invasion of Taiwan. Good luck getting a fleet of aircraft full of paratroopers or troop ships across the straits with the US Navy still in existence and against the Taiwanese air defenses and land-based sea defenses. Japan is quite capable of dealing with Chinese aircraft. The problem would be non-nuclear ballistic missiles. Doubtful the Chinese would launch nukes against either Taiwan or Japan as they are both under the US nuclear umbrella. But Japan has long range missiles of its own, which it has bought from the US and Norway, to reply to a Chinese barrage, and soon the Chinese would be too busy dealing with a very angry United States to spare much time and effort toward Japan or US bases on Guam.

What would be the limits of the North Korean effort to aid China? The Chinese may find that Kim would make a token effort. No missiles at US bases or at Japan, inviting a devastating reply from US forces. The US has fought a multi-front war before, and won.

Striking US forces on Guam would be an escalation that the Chinese may not want to try. Guam is considered US soil and we would likely react very robustly to an attack on Guam by perhaps attacking Shanghai in retaliation.

 

CONCLUSION:

It would be a very bad move for China to start a spat they are going to lose, and lose badly. The US would lead sanctions against them which would cripple their economy and return them to 3rd world status again. Trumps victory would almost guarantee him reelection and that means China would suffer harshly in economic sanctions. Their military would be decimated and wholesale executions of commanders would follow. Their vast land army would have made no difference in the short war, and they would be hungry and restless. Ripe for revolt. They would lose Taiwan permanently. There would be nothing to gain and much to lose.

Therefore, I believe the politicians in Beijing will shut this admiral’s mouth for him and no US carriers will be attacked.