“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

“Perpetuating the war for the greater Middle East is not enhancing American freedom, abundance and security. If anything, it is having the opposite effect.”

After 15 Years of ‘Milestones,’ War in the Middle East Still Has No End in Sight

The Pentagon’s recent “successes” don’t bring the United States any closer to ending its military entanglements. 

We have it on highest authority: The recent killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour by a US drone strike in Pakistan marks “an important milestone.” So the president of the United States has declared, with that claim duly echoed and implicitly endorsed by media commentary—The New York Times reporting, for example, that Mansour’s death leaves the Taliban leadership “shocked” and “shaken.”

But a question remains: a milestone toward what exactly?

Toward victory? Peace? Reconciliation? At the very least, toward the prospect of the violence abating? Merely posing the question is to imply that US military efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world serve some larger purpose.

Yet for years now that has not been the case. The assassination of Mansour instead joins a long list of previous milestones, turning points, and landmarks briefly heralded as significant achievements only to prove much less than advertised.

One imagines that Obama himself understands this perfectly well. Just shy of five years ago, he was urging Americans to “take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding.” In Iraq and Afghanistan, the president insisted, “the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance.”

“These long wars,” he promised, were finally coming to a “responsible end.” We were, that is, finding a way out of Washington’s dead-end conflicts in the Greater Middle East.

Who can doubt Obama’s sincerity, or question his oft-expressed wish to turn away from war and focus instead on unattended needs here at home? But wishing is the easy part. Reality has remained defiant. Even today, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that George W. Bush bequeathed to Obama show no sign of ending.
Like Bush, Obama will bequeath to his successor wars he failed to finish. Less remarked upon, he will also pass along to President Clinton or President Trump new wars that are his own handiwork. In Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and several other violence-wracked African nations, the Obama legacy is one of ever-deepening US military involvement. The almost certain prospect of a further accumulation of briefly celebrated and quickly forgotten “milestones” beckons.

During the Obama era, the tide of war has not receded. Instead, Washington finds itself drawn ever deeper into conflicts that, once begun, become interminable—wars for which the vaunted US military has yet to devise a plausible solution.
The Oldest (Also Latest) Solution: Bombs Away
Once upon a time, during the brief, if heady, interval between the end of the Cold War and 9/11 when the United States ostensibly reigned supreme as the world’s “sole superpower,” Pentagon field manuals credited US forces with the ability to achieve “quick, decisive victory—on and off the battlefield—anywhere in the world and under virtually any conditions.” Bold indeed (if not utterly delusional) would be the staff officer willing to pen such words today.

To be sure, the United States military routinely demonstrates astonishing technical prowess—putting a pair of Hellfire missiles through the roof of the taxi in which Mansour was riding, for example. Yet if winning—that is, ending wars on conditions favorable to our side—offers the measure of merit by which to judge a nation’s military forces, then when put to the test ours have been found wanting.
Not for lack of trying, of course. In their quest for a formula that might actually accomplish the mission, those charged with directing US military efforts in the Greater Middle East have demonstrated notable flexibility. They have employed overwhelming force and “shock-and awe.” They have tried regime change (bumping off Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, for example) and “decapitation” (assassinating Mansour and a host of other militant leaders, including Osama Bin Laden). They have invaded and occupied countries, even giving military-style nation-building a whirl. They have experimented with counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention, retaliatory strikes and preventive war. They have operated overtly, covertly, and through proxies. They have equipped, trained, and advised—and when the beneficiaries of these exertions have folded in the face of the enemy, they have equipped, trained, and advised some more. They have converted American reservists into quasi-regulars, subject to repeated combat tours. In imitation of the corporate world, they have outsourced as well, handing over to profit-oriented “private security” firms functions traditionally performed by soldiers. In short, they have labored doggedly to translate American military power into desired political outcomes.

In this one respect at least, an endless parade of three and four-star generals exercising command in various theaters over the past several decades have earned high marks. In terms of effort, they deserve an A.

As measured by outcomes, however, they fall well short of a passing grade. However commendable their willingness to cast about for some method that might actually work, they have ended up waging a war of attrition. Strip away the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel reassurances regularly heard at Pentagon press briefings or in testimony presented on Capitol Hill and America’s War for the Greater Middle Eastproceeds on this unspoken assumption: If we kill enough people for a long enough period of time, the other side will eventually give in.
On that score, the prevailing Washington gripe directed at Commander-in-Chief Obama is that he has not been willing to kill enough. Take, for example, a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed penned by that literary odd couple, retired General David Petraeus and Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon, that appeared under the pugnacious headline “Take the Gloves Off Against the Taliban.” To turn around the longest war in American history, Petraeus and O’Hanlon argue, the United States just needs to drop more bombs.

The rules of engagement currently governing air operations in Afghanistan are, in their view, needlessly restrictive. Air power “represents an asymmetric Western advantage, relatively safe to apply, and very effective.” (The piece omits any mention of incidents such as the October 2015 destruction of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz by a US Air Force gunship.) More ordnance will surely produce “some version of victory.” The path ahead is clear. “Simply waging the Afghanistan air-power campaign with the vigor we are employing in Iraq and Syria,” the authors write with easy assurance, should do the trick.

When armchair generals cite the ongoing US campaign in Iraq and Syria as a model of effectiveness, you know that things must be getting desperate.
Granted, Petraeus and O’Hanlon are on solid ground in noting that as the number of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan has decreased, so, too, has the number of air strikes targeting the Taliban. Back when more allied boots were on the ground, more allied planes were, of course, overhead. And yet the 100,000 close-air-support sorties flown between 2011 and 2015—that’s more than one sortie per Taliban fighter—did not, alas, yield “some version of victory.” In short, we’ve already tried the Petraeus-O’Hanlon take-the-gloves-off approach to defeating the Taliban. It didn’t work. With the Afghanistan War’s 15th anniversary now just around the corner, to suggest that we can bomb our way to victory there is towering nonsense. 
In Washington, Big Thinking and Small
Petraeus and O’Hanlon characterize Afghanistan as “the eastern bulwark in our broader Middle East fight.” Eastern sinkhole might be a more apt description. Note, by the way, that they have nothing useful to say about the “broader fight” to which they allude. Yet that broader fight—undertaken out of the conviction, still firmly in place today, that American military assertiveness can somehow repair the Greater Middle East—is far more deserving of attention than how to employ very expensive airplanes against insurgents armed with inexpensive Kalashnikovs.
To be fair, in silently passing over the broader fight, Petraeus and O’Hanlon are hardly alone. On this subject no one has much to say—not other stalwarts of the onward-to-victory school, nor officials presently charged with formulating US national security policy, nor members of the Washington commentariat eager to pontificate about almost anything. Worst of all, the subject is one on which each of the prospective candidates for the presidency is mum.

From Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford on down to the lowliest blogger, opinions about how best to wage a particular campaign in that broader fight are readily available. Need a plan for rolling back the Islamic State? Glad you asked. Concerned about that new ISIS franchise in Libya? Got you covered. Boko Haram? Here’s what you need to know. Losing sleep over Al Shabab? Take heart—big thinkers are on the case.

As to the broader fight itself, however, no one has a clue. Indeed, it seems fair to say that merely defining our aims in that broader fight, much less specifying the means to achieve them, heads the list of issues that people in Washington studiously avoid. Instead, they prattle endlessly about the Taliban and ISIS and Boko Haram and al-Shabab.

Here’s the one thing you need to know about the broader fight: There is no strategy. None. Zilch. We’re on a multitrillion-dollar bridge to nowhere, with members of the national security establishment more or less content to see where it leads.

May I suggest that we find ourselves today in what might be called a Khe Sanh moment? Older readers will recall that back in late 1967 and early 1968 in the midst of the Vietnam War, one particular question gripped the national security establishment and those paid to attend to its doings: Can Khe Sanh hold?
Now almost totally forgotten, Khe Sanh was then a battlefield as well known to Americans as Fallujah was to become in our own day. Located in the northern part of South Vietnam, it was the site of a besieged and outnumbered Marine garrison, surrounded by two full enemy divisions. In the eyes of some observers, the outcome of the Vietnam War appeared to hinge on the ability of the Marines there to hold out—to avoid the fate that had befallen the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu slightly more than a decade earlier. For France, the fall of Dien Bien Phu had indeed spelled final defeat in Indochina.

Was history about to repeat itself at Khe Sanh? As it turned out, no… and yes.
The Marines did hold—a milestone!—and the United States lost the war anyway.
In retrospect, it seems pretty clear that those responsible for formulating US policy back then fundamentally misconstrued the problem at hand. Rather than worrying about the fate of Khe Sanh, they ought to have been asking questions like these: Is the Vietnam War winnable? Does it even make sense? If not, why are we there? And above all, does no alternative exist to simply pressing on with a policy that shows no signs of success?

Today the United States finds itself in a comparable situation. What to do about the Taliban or ISIS is not a trivial question. Much the same can be said regarding the various other militant organizations with which US forces are engaged in a variety of countries—many now failing states—across the Greater Middle East.
But the question of how to take out organization X or put country Y back together pales in comparison with the other questions that should by now have come to the fore but haven’t. Among the most salient are these: Does waging war across a large swath of the Islamic world make sense? When will this broader fight end? What will it cost? Short of reducing large parts of the Middle East to rubble, is that fight winnable in any meaningful sense? Above all, does the world’s most powerful nation have no other choice but to persist in pursuing a manifestly futile endeavor?

Try this thought experiment. Imagine the opposing candidates in a presidential campaign each refusing to accept war as the new normal. Imagine them actually taking stock of the broader fight that’s been ongoing for decades now. Imagine them offering alternatives to armed conflicts that just drag on and on. Now that would be a milestone.


  1. "Our militarism has been a seventy year foreign policy disaster."

    1. 70 tears without a nuclear exchange sounds pretty good to me.

      Stir in the fact that the Imperialist Soviet Union is no more, and all those captive European nations are free (when they finally got the chance they all headed to the EU and NATO as fast as their diplomatic legs could carry them) and I'm forced to deny your statement, and declare it foolish.

    2. 70 YEARS, not tears dang it....

    3. Do you not recognize absurdity?

      We are on a planet that is 4 billion years in the development, two billion with life and we are pleased that in the past seventy years we didn’t blow it up with nuclear weapons and it is some point of honor and satisfaction that the tens of millions of lives destroyed were not done in a way that would have driven it to the hundreds of millions using the nuclear weapons we own.

    4. .

      The simplistic suggestion that somehow the fruitless wars we have conducted over the past 70 years somehow contributed to the fact that there hasn't been a nuclear war or that they are the reason the USSR broke apart is absurd.

      Truth be told the USSR went broke trying to match US military spending and by waging the same fruitless wars we are conducting now.

      In fact, after the fall of the USSR, Bush's war of choice in Iraq exposed the US as a paper tiger, the world's only hyperpower yet one that could be fought to a standstill by a few fighters with Kalashnikovs and IED's.

      That is unless there is anyone here who actually believes we are winning the WOT.

      The reasons you see so many countries trying to arm up with nukes is precisely because of US actions. Bacevich is right in saying the US has no discernible strategy. Everything is ad hoc. And when you never know what the most powerful country in the world is going to do these countries should be nervous.

      Mubarek was our friend until he wasn't. Ghaddafi was our enemy until he was our friend until he was our enemy. The Taliban were terrorist until we designated them a resistance movement and god knows what they are now. We are fighting ISIS in Syria yet arming groups affiliated with ISIS. Is it any wonder people get nervous when the US comes calling?



    5. Not sure what the age of the earth has to do with it.

      Yes, I'm happy we haven't blown ourselves up. We were doing a great job of killing one another in the early parts of the last century, and that sort of madness seems to have receded.

      And I'm extremely pleased that Europe is out from under Soviet Imperialism.

      As to the absurdity of our current situation, I mentioned that myself just yesterday....but the big war hasn't occurred in those 70 years.

      Which is more absurd......

      Our current situation




      1 Battle of Mons

      5 Battle of Liège

      7 Battle of the Frontiers

      15 Battle of Cer

      26 Battle of Tannenberg


      5 First Battle of the Marne

      6 Battle of Drina


      19 Battle of Ypres

      31 Siege of Tsingtao


      16 Battle of Kolubara



      18 Battle of Jassin


      3 Defense of the Suez Badick

      7 Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes

      19 Dardanelles Bombardment


      10 Battle of Neuve Chapelle


      12 Battle of Shaiba

      22 Battle of Gravenstafel (part of Second Battle of Ypres)

      24 Battle of St Juliaan (part of Second Battle of Ypres)

      25 Anzac Cove

      25 Landing at Cape Helles

      28 First Battle of Krithia


      1 Eski Hissarlik

      6 Second Battle of Krithia

      8 Battle of Frezenberg (part of Second Battle of Ypres)

      15 Battle of Festubert

      19 Turkish attack at Anzac Cove

      24 Battle of Bellewaarde (final part of Second Battle of Ypres )

      31 Capture of Amara


      4 Third Battle of Krithia

      18 Attempt to Force the Narrows

      23 First Battle of the Isonzo

      27 Battle of Nasiriyeh

      28 Battle of Gully Ravine


      12 Attack on Ache Baba

      18 Second Battle of the Isonzo


      6 Suvla Bay

      6 Battle of Lone Pine

      6 Battle of Sari Bair

      6 Battle of the Nek

      17 Great Retreat (Russian)

      21 Battle of Hill 60

      21 Battle of Scimitar Hill


      Langemark German war cemetery, in Belgium. This is a German war cemetery, consisting of a mass grave and other individual and group graves, as well as a memorial to the German missing of the war.
      25 Third Battle of Artois

      25 Battle of Loos

      25 Second Battle of Champagne

    6. 28 Battle of Es Sinn


      14 Morava Offensive

      14 Ovče Pole Offensive

      18 Third Battle of the Isonzo


      10 Fourth Battle of the Isonzo

      10 Kosovo Offensive (1915)

      22 Battle of Ctesiphon


      7 Siege of Kut-al-Amara

      18 Evacuation of Gallipoli



      5 Montenegrin Campaign of World War I

      6 Battle of Mojkovac

      6 Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad

      13 Battle of the Wadi

      21 Battle of Hanna


      21 Battle of Verdun


      8 Battle of Dujaila

      9 Fifth Battle of the Isonzo

      18 Battle of Lake Naroch


      5 First Battle of Kut


      15 Battle of Asiago

      15 Trentino Offensive

      31 Battle of Jutland


      4 Battle of Lutsk

      4 Battle of Khanaqin


      Canadian soldiers going 'over the top' at the start of the Battle of the Somme.
      1 Battle of the Somme

      14 Battle of Bazentin Ridge

      15 Battle of Delville Wood

      15 Battle of Fromelles

      23 Battle of Pozières


      3 Battle of Romani

      6 Sixth Battle of the Isonzo

      6 Battle of Gorizia


      3 Battle of Guillemont

      14 Seventh Battle of the Isonzo

      15 Battle of Flers-Courcelette


      10 Eighth Battle of the Isonzo


      1 Ninth Battle of the Isonzo


      14 Battle of Maghaba

      13 Second Battle of Kut



      9 Battle of Khadairi Bend


      26 Battle of Nahr-alKalek


      11 Capture of Baghdad

      13 Samarrah Offensive

      19 Seizure of Falluja

      25 Battle of Jebel Amlin

      26 First Battle of Gaza


      9 Second Battle of Arras

      11 First Battle of Bullecourt

      22 Battle of Doiran (1917)


      3-11 Second Battle of Bullecourt

      12 Tenth Battle of the Isonzo

      14 Battle of Otranto Straits


      7 Battle of Messines


      The ruins of Ypres, after its three battles. The battle of Ypres was also known as the 'Battle of the Bulge,' because of the bulge effect it had on the lines of allied trenches. Due to Ypres' strategic importance, the battles fought over it had huge death tolls.
      31 Third Battle of Ypres

      31 Battle of Passchendaele also known as "The Battle of the Mud"


      19 Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo

      20 Battle of Liege


      28 Battle of Ramadi


      24 Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo

      24 Battle of Caporetto

      31 Third Battle of Gaza

      31 Battle of Beersheba


      5 Capture of Tikrit

      13 Battle of Mughar Ridge

      20 Battle of Cambrai


      8 Fall of Jerusalem



      21 Second Battle of Somme/Operation Michael


      9 Battle of the Lys/Operation Georgette

      23 Raid on Zeebrugge


      27 Third Battle of the Aisne/Operation Blücher-Yorck

      28 Battle of Cantigny


      1 Battle of Belleau Wood

      18 Battle of Chateau-Thierry

      15 Battle of the Piave River

      18 Action of 18 June 1918


      4 Battle of Hamel

      14 Battle of Abu Tellul

      15 Second Battle of the Marne

      18 Battle of Soissons

      21 Attack on Orleans


      8 Battle of Amiens

      27 Battle of Ambos Nogales

      31 Battle of Mont St. Quentin


      12 Battle of Havrincourt

      12 Battle of Saint-Mihiel

      18 Battle of Epehy

      19 Battle of Megiddo

      26 Battle of the Argonne Forest

      27 Battle of the Canal du Nord

      29 Battle of St. Quentin Canal


      8 Battle of Cambrai

      17 Battle of the Selle

      23 Battle of Vittorio Veneto

      23 Battle of Sharqat


      4 Second Battle of the Sambre

    7. "Truth be told the USSR went broke trying to match US military spending"

      That was part of it, to be sure.

      As a Pole, Quirk, you should get off your high horse, kiss the American flag, and be damned glad your old countrymen are free, and show a little gratitude to the USofA.

      I notice Poland, like all the others, rushed to join the EU, and the USA led NATO.

  2. "When armchair generals cite the ongoing US campaign in Iraq and Syria as a model of effectiveness, you know that things must be getting desperate."

    Our General '4th of July' Rufus comes to mind.

    1. "Smartest military campaign of my lifetime."

      General '4th of July' Rufus.


    2. Our troops continue wiping out ISIS without engaging them.

      IraqiNews Agency

  3. .

    Strip away the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel reassurances regularly heard at Pentagon press briefings or in testimony presented on Capitol Hill and America’s War for the Greater Middle Eastproceeds on this unspoken assumption: If we kill enough people for a long enough period of time, the other side will eventually give in.

    To anyone who lived through Vietnam that stale bromide should sound familiar.

    The problems, of course, are that they breed faster than we can kill them and in killing them we merely turn them into martyrs which acts as a recruiting tool for generating more of them.

    The first law of holes should tell us that Mr. Bacevich is right.


    1. And so your solution is to let ISIS win ?

      What about the women, Quirk, and the Christians, if any are left ?

      What is your solution ?

      Have you run the human suffering involved on all sides out even thirty years through your Quirk's Human Suffering Calculating Machine ?

      I suspect you have no idea what you are talking about and are just putting on a moral strut for display.

      We need some numbers.

      I am patiently awaiting your number crunching.

    2. Worst 10 Battles of WWI

      1. Hundred Days Offensive1 (1,855,369 total casualties)

      Hundred Days Offensive

      With the failure of the Spring Offensive, the Germans were left in a weak position, having gained ground that they could not adequately defend and having spent most of their best troops trying to break the Allied lines. The Allies, on the other hand, were battered but not broken, and had the advantage of thousands of fresh troops from the United States, under the command of General John “Blackjack” Pershing. The Allied supreme commander at the time, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, decided that the Allies should go back on the offensive, and agreed to a plan proposed by British commander Sir Douglas Haig to attack the weakened German Second Army at Amiens. The attack, known as the Battle of Amiens, was a success, forcing the Germans to eventually abandon the lines at Amiens2. The Allies launched another series of offensives, including the battles of Second Somme, Second Noyons and Second Arras. The result was a spectacular success; the German lines were eventually broken and the Germans were forced to retreat back to the Hindenburg Line, a series of defensive works protecting the German homeland. The Allies then started attacking the Line with a series of offensives directed at achieving final breakthrough. The weakened, exhausted Germans put up a fight, but were unable to defend the lines, and eventually, the Allies broke through the Hindenburg Line at the Battle of Cambrai. The Germans eventually sued for peace, and an armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, bringing the bloody battles of World War I to an end. The Hundred Days offensive was a spectacular success for the Allies, but they paid for it dearly; the Allies lost a total of 1,069,636 casualties, including 127,000 Americans. The Germans lost 785,733 casualties, but perhaps the greatest loss was the collapse of the German Empire and the crushing peace terms the Germans were later forced to accept.

      The Spring Offensive and The Battle of the Somme were real bitches too.

      I suggest, and pray, the development of nuclear weapons has ended these absurdities.

  4. Despite unprecedented levels of funding, the US Department of Defense says it is not getting enough money. Figuring out how it is all being spent is next to impossible, as the Pentagon is the only government agency unable to pass an audit.

    At $602 billion, military spending accounted for 16 percent of the federal budget last year, and 54 percent of the “discretionary spending” controlled by Congress every year, according to GovTrack. Depending on the final provisions, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will fund the Pentagon to the tune of anywhere between $602 and $610 billion.

    With the 2017 NDAA, the Pentagon is on track to have a budget greater than the next seven countries in the world combined, and bigger than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War arms race. Yet the Department of Defense continues to complain about being underfunded, citing the so-called “readiness gap” – lack of money for troop training and maintenance of legacy weapons – even as it buys new and expensive weapons systems.

    1. {...}...In this year’s draft of the NDAA approved by the House, $18 billion from the OCO is allocated to additional F-35 and F-18 aircraft that the DOD did not ask for.

      This is good news for arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Boeing, but bad news for troops that will once again come up short for training and maintenance funds, writes Hurting, author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.


      The US actually spends up to $1 trillion a year on “national security” matters, including homeland security, veterans’ affairs and Department of Energy nuclear warhead programs, according to the analysis by the Project on Government Oversight. The problem is not the lack of money, but how it is being spent, Hartung argues.

      “The Pentagon has so many budding programs tucked away in so many different lines of its budget that even its officials have a hard time keeping track of what’s actually going on,” Hartung wrote. “As for the rest of us, we’re essentially in the dark.”

    3. The only war the Pentagon has won in 70 years is the war against the budget.

  5. The Surprising Upside of Herpes

    Posted by Ross Pomeroy

    Herpesviruses get a bad rap. Their poor reputation isn't entirely undeserved. Widely maligned for causing cold sores, mononucleosis, shingles, chickenpox, and the overly stigmatized genital herpes, the eight herpesviruses that infect humans can't really bemoan their sinister status. One in five adults in the U.S. is infected with genital herpes, typically caused by herpes simplex type 2.

    Herpesviruses are also some of nature's most notorious squatters. When their infectious antics are halted by the immune system, they linger on within their human hosts in a latent phase, often for life. Their rent-free stay is almost always innocuous, but the little blighters sometimes flare up at opportunistic moments when the immune system is taxed by illness or bodily stress. One herpesvirus, the cold sore-causing herpes simplex type 1, may slightly increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Roughly two-thirds of Americans aged 12-70 have had an active cold sore infection, and likely still host the latent phase of the virus.

    Herpesviruses do have a few upsides, however. Scientists have long wondered whether their prolonged stay inside their hosts imparts any beneficial effects on the hosts themselves, and a couple studies hint that it does! Back in 2007, a team from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis infected young mice with a herpesvirus similar to the strain that causes mononucleosis in humans. After the mice beat back their initial infections, the invading viruses entered their latent stage. The team then infected the mice with pathogens that cause encephalitis, meningitis, and plague. Turned out, the mice with herpes showed more resistance to the bacteria than mice without the infection!

    Mouse studies are useful, but they don't always translate to humans. Last year, however, a study revealed that a type of herpesvirus called cytomegalovirus (CMV), which infects 50 to 80 percent of all 40-year-olds, enhances the immune response to the influenza virus. Critically, the researchers behind the study achieved the same results in both mice and humans.

    Scientists are now doing more than just analyzing the effects of a latent herpes infection; they're actively enlisting the virus in the fight against cancer. Last summer, an international team announced that they engineered the herpesvirus that causes cold sores to instead attack cancer cells. The therapy, called T-VEC, worked wonders in a phase III clinical trial involving 436 patients afflicted with late stage melanoma.

    “Patients given T-VEC at an early stage survived about 20 months longer than patients given a different type of treatment," University of Louisville cancer researcher Jason Chesney reported. "For some, the therapy has lengthened their survival by years. ”

    In T-VEC, the modified herpesviruses cannot replicate in normal cells, but they gleefully infect and destroy cancer cells. What's more, they release antigens that enable the immune system to target cancer cells.

    Mere months after the success of T-VEC was announced, the FDA approved the therapy for primetime use. Melanoma patients can now turn to the herpesvirus for some small glimmer of hope in their fight against cancer.

    The scientists behind T-VEC are hopeful that their herpesvirus can be further modified to attack all sorts of cancer cells. What a fascinating turn of fate: that such a maligned virus can transform from pariah to potential savior!

  6. The Pentagon has modified a contract with Boeing to add USD1.457 billion for additional Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits as munitions have been expended at higher-than-expected rates during the campaign in Iraq and Syria.


    Aside from improving the accuracy of in-service bombs by integrating them with a GPS/INS guidance kit, the JDAM programme recently added a semi-active laser guidance kit to provide a Laser JDAM (LJDAM) capability as well.

  7. The recent Austrian was a fraud perpetrated through mail-in ballots.

  8. Remember Harambe !

    Justice for Harambe !

  9. Free Quirk !

    Donate Now !

    (Send Cashiers Checks to: Free Quirk - P.O. Box 000001 - Detroit, Michigan)

  10. This video is what is happening in France today. (Paris)

    Quirk of course is proud that the French police did not use rubber bullets, let alone live ammo on these folks. The same ideology folks that are "peacefully protesting" against Israel.

    The virus of Islam is spreading.

    Someday soon?

    It will be in Quirk's home town, Deuce's Philadelphia, my Ohio and everywhere in between.

    The real question?

    What is the proper response to the folks willing to throw rocks, fire bombs and arson in our civilization.

    I say the response will be, "live fire"...

    It's coming...

    You can COUNT on it.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Quirk is hanging by a slender thread in seeking refuge at my place in Idaho, but you got carte blanche reservations if the need arises, WiO.

    3. Sounds like a slander thread, Mr. Bob.

    4. “This site is dedicated to preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

    5. What, prey tell, did Q type without remorse, and then remove?

    6. Most likely some pithy put down of me, until he realized that it made him look dumber than usual


  11. Iraq's Fallujah Op Slowed By ISIS Resistance

    Commanders said another factor slowing the operation is the resistance they are meeting from jihadists fighters.

    A police colonel on the outskirts of Fallujah said "every time our forces try to push in, they encounter really tough defense systems set up by Daesh".

    The closest Iraqi forces have come to moving into the centre is from the south, where they entered a suburb of Fallujah but were pinned back by a massive counterattack on Tuesday.

    Iraqi commanders say they have killed dozens of IS fighters since the start of the operation on May 22-23 but have been coy about releasing their own casualty figures.

    Yet the number of coffins being sent back to some of Iraq's southern provinces and of burials reported in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf suggest that the anti-IS camp is also paying a heavy price.

  12. So Hot!

    1. Good Grief


      You of course Doug are always welcome to seek refuge at my place in case of muzzie outbreaks, though for security lava tubes are hard to beat. We got the big Canadian wolves out here, you know.

  13. Trump secures the coveted Kim Jong Un endorsement

    posted at 8:01 am on June 1, 2016 by Larry O'Connor

    The totalitarian, communist government of North Korea has endorsed Donald Trump for president. Seriously.

    Reuters has the details:

    A column carried on Tuesday by DPRK Today, one of the reclusive and dynastic state’s mouthpieces, described Trump as a “wise politician” and the right choice for U.S. voters in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

    It described his most likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as “thick-headed Hillary” over her proposal to apply the Iran model of wide sanctions to resolve the nuclear weapons issue on the Korean peninsula.

    Trump’s position on talks with North Korea is more accommodating. In May, he said, “I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,” referring to Kim Jong Un, the communist nation’s dictator. “At the same time, I would put a lot of pressure on China because economically we have tremendous power over China,” Trump added.

    Indeed, earlier this year Trump came close to offering praise to “the maniac” from North Korea:

    Trump called Jong-Un a “maniac” during remarks about North Korea’s nuclear program during a rally at Ottumwa, Iowa, but conceded, “You gotta give him credit.”

    “How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Trump said. “It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him.”

    The press agency for the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) went on to praise Trump for suggesting the US pull its military presence from South Korea:

    DPRK Today also said Trump’s suggestion that the United States should pull its troops from South Korea until Seoul pays more was the way to achieve Korean unification.

    “It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate,” said the column, written by a China-based Korean scholar identified as Han Yong Muk.

    Strangely, there’s a tangential connection between Trump’s reality show, Celebrity Apprentice, and Kim Jong Un. Former contestant and NBA freak show Dennis Rodman befriended the ruthless dictator in an awkward effort to bring professional basketball to the prison state.

    He even sang Happy Birthday to him: VIDEO

    So did The Worm put in a good word for his former NBC cast mate? No telling, but stranger things have happened in this campaign.

    It should be said, Trump has recently suggested that the assassination of Kim Jung Un wouldn’t be so bad. So, it’s not like there’s a whole lot of warm and cuddly relations between North Korea and a potential Trump administration. He told CBS in February:,”I would get China to make that guy [Kim Jong Un] disappear in one form or another very quickly.”

    Asked whether he was implying an assassination of the dictator, Trump said: VIDEO

    “Well, you know, I’ve heard of worse things, frankly. I mean this guy’s a bad dude — and don’t underestimate him. Any young guy that can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably wants the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated.”

    So… there’s that.

  14. Bezos eating Goat Penis and Sundry Insects.

  15. June 1, 2016

    Did Obama pay a ransom to Iran for our captured sailors?

    By Rick Moran

    Answer: Yes, he did.

    1. State Dept. admits intentionally altering video of Iran press conference

  16. How much more fucked could we be?

    Jen Psaki

  17. Obama stutters when he has no Teleprompter.

    1. It'sitititsitsitiitit's cause he's on drugs ?

      It'sitititsitsitiitit's cause he's coming off of drugs ?

      That was really awful, OKyDokey....?

    2. Forgot the ifififififififiif if we....

    3. They fawning press thought OKyDokey was laugh worthy.

  18. Transparency

    Clinton IT adviser to take 5th at depo, wants no video....DRUDGE

  19. Haramde Lives !

    Slain Cincinnati gorilla likely to live on in genetic 'frozen zoo'....DRUDGE

  20. 20,000 people have already signed the Pledge to Occupy the Democrat National Convention.


    1. size matters

      Why do Greek statues have such small penises?

      By Olivia Goldhill May 21, 2016

      In ancient Greece, the most impressive men had small penises. (Creative Commons/ National Archaeological Museum of Athens)

      Don’t pretend your eyes don’t hover, at least for a moment, over the delicately sculpted penises on classical nude statues. While it may not sound like the most erudite subject, art historians haven’t completely ignored ancient Greek genitalia either. After all, sculptors put as much work into penises as the rest of their artwork, and it turns out there’s a well-developed ideology behind those rather small penises.

      In ancient Greece, it seems, a small penis was the sought-after look for the alpha male.

      “Greeks associated small and non-erect penises with moderation, which was one of the key virtues that formed their view of ideal masculinity,” explains classics professor Andrew Lear, who has taught at Harvard, Columbia and NYU and runs tours focused on gay history. “There is the contrast between the small, non-erect penises of ideal men (heroes, gods, nude athletes etc) and the over-size, erect penises of Satyrs (mythic half-goat-men, who are drunkards and wildly lustful) and various non-ideal men. Decrepit, elderly men, for instance, often have large penises.”

      Statue of the satyr Silenus, a companion of the god of wine. (Grant Mitchell/ Athens Archaeological Museum/ Creative Commons)

      Similar ideas are reflected in ancient Greek literature, says Lear. For example, in Aristophanes’ Clouds a large penis is listed alongside a “pallid complexion,” a “narrow chest,” and “great lewdness” as one of the characteristics of un-athletic and dishonorable Athenian youths.

      Only grotesque, foolish men who were ruled by lust and sexual urges had large penises in ancient Greece. Art history blogger Ellen Oredsson notes on her site that statues of the era emphasized balance and idealism.

      “The ideal Greek man was rational, intellectual and authoritative,” she wrote. “He may still have had a lot of sex, but this was unrelated to his penis size, and his small penis allowed him to remain coolly logical.”

      In this regard we recall our irrational, immoderate, pallid, narrow chested, lewd satyr QUIRK shamelessly bragging about the size of his hands and length of his ring fingers right in public on this very blog.

  21. Egyptian authorities have said they believe terrorism is more likely to have caused the crash than equipment failure, although no militant group has so far claimed responsibility.

    Some aviation experts have said the erratic flight path reported by Greek authorities suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit.

    Leaked data has indicated a sensor had detected smoke in a toilet and a fault in two of the plane's cockpit windows in the last moments of the flight.

  22. .

    Most likely some pithy put down of me, until he realized that it made him look dumber than usual

    You should learn to quit when you are behind, WiO.

    You should know by now that pithy comments aren't really my thing.

    The comment I took down was in response to your posted remark...

    Quirk of course is proud that the French police did not use rubber bullets, let alone live ammo on these folks. The same ideology folks that are "peacefully protesting" against Israel.

    I only took the comment down because I was up early today and a nap seemed more inviting than another argument with you. But the point of my comment is easy enough to reconstruct. As I recall, it went something like this.

    [Proud? Seems like a rather odd word choice. Why would I be ‘proud’ of what the French police did? I'm not French.

    I would say that after watching that video it seems to me they they showed amazing if not admirable restraint; but, unlike the instances I applauded recently of the police in California, IMO they didn't appear to have enough manpower to manage the crowd much less make any arrests.

    Obviously, there appears to be plenty of video of the rioting. Hopefully, they will be able to locate a good number of the perps and arrest them.

    As for your reference to me, I merely suggested that given the differences in our views and even in the way we process basic information I think it precludes you from offering any meaningful opinions on how I might think or feel. And instead of throwing out bullshit comments about what you think I would say or do it would probably be better if you direct your comments directly to me so that you and I can can get into it directly.

    For instance, I don't ever recall making any comments here about rubber bullets. The same would apply to bean bag cartridges, tear gas, tasers, or any other 'non-lethal' means of crowd control.

    Since, as I pointed out your statement is a bit confusing and you then followed it up with what appears to be a justification for using lethal force as the preferred method of crowd control, I can only assume the reason you went out of your way to mention me was in follow-up to our conversation the other night where you were trying to justify the shooting in the back of an unarmed Palestine teenager by an Israeli sniper as the kid was walking along. Not to mention the two other unarmed teens the sniper shot. And then there was your effort to defend the IDF soldier who cold-bloodedly summarily executed a terrorist as he was left lying on the ground wounded and incapacitated.

    Thus my suggestion that you speak to me directly lest there be any confusion.]


    1. I recall you talking about your rubber duckies, though.

    2. And with them, too.

    3. ah yes, the unarmed palestinian teenager...

      So by your standards, when America bombs isis, the people we must be bombing are unarmed at the very moment of the lethal force?

      The so called unarmed palestinian teenager, if you did some research was for hours, using a sling shot, which is lethal, in attacking soldiers.

      But again, your bias as to supporting the jihadists shows clear.

      i can only hope that someday, your grand daughter, wife, relative, is in a car, when some jihadists decide to do to them what they do across the globe.

      then you will find your balls, or not...

    4. Goliath discovered the lethality of a well aimed stone from a sling shot. And he was a big brut, too, and armored up.

  23. Our country is f**ked.

    “Decolonize”: Yale students circulate petition opposing white male “Major English Poets” requirement

    posted at 10:31 pm on June 1, 2016 by Allahpundit

    Via Reason’s Robby Soave, who captured the campus activist mindset succinctly in another recent post about insanity at a different school. “The students … seem to think they’re not at college to be educated,” he wrote, but that “they are at college to educate everyone else.”

    We have much to learn from these adult babies, my friends.

    [W]e oppose the continued existence of the Major English Poets sequence as the primary prerequisite for further study. It is unacceptable that a Yale student considering studying English literature might read only white male authors. A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity. The Major English Poets sequences creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.

    When students are made to feel so alienated that they get up and leave the room, or get up and leave the major, something is wrong. The English department loses out when talented students engaged in literary and cultural analysis are driven away from the major. Students who continue on after taking the introductory sequence are ill-prepared to take higher-level courses relating to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability, or even to engage with critical theory or secondary scholarship. We ask that Major English Poets be abolished, and that the pre-1800/1900 requirements be refocused to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.

    It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings.

    No request for “dialogue” on campus is complete without a threat — these aren’t really requests, after all, they’re demands — and that comes later in the petition when the English department is warned that they’re “not immune from the collective call to action.” A writer at Slate cited by Soave tried reminding the students that Shakespeare and Milton et al. are canonical for a reason and that to read them is to lay the intellectual foundation on which one’s broader understanding of literature, western and otherwise, is built. But that misses the point. Again: They’re not there to learn. They’re there to teach, and teaching begins with an assertion of authority. (“We have spoken. We are speaking. Pay attention.”) Or maybe I have the cause and effect mixed up. Maybe it’s the assertion of authority that’s important and educating the educators is merely the pretext for asserting it....

  24. Since the crash, small pieces of the wreckage and human remains have been recovered while the bulk of the plane and the bodies of the passengers are believed to be deep under the sea.

    A Cairo forensic team has received the human remains and is carrying DNA tests to identify the victims. The search has narrowed down to a five-kilometre area in the Mediterranean.

    "It's terribly important to find the black boxes, because if they don't find them, they will know nothing about the aircraft," said David Learmount, a consulting editor at the aviation news website Flightglobal.

  25. What Fascism Is And Isn't

    For Ash

    Nationalism Is Rising, Not Fascism

    May 31, 2016

    The claims of an increase in fascism in Europe and the U.S. derive from a misunderstanding of the term.

  26. The crumbling of democracy and the rise of introverted nationalism are the greatest threats currently facing Europe, Kristi Raik, a senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, argues in her guest contribution to Kaleva.


    “Substituting free trade for protectionism would not promote the well-being of Europeans. Closing borders would damage the economy but would not stop transnational crime.

  27. Judge Presiding Over University Case Is Member Of La Raza [The Race] Lawyers Group....DRUDGE

    The Donald had it more or less right, and should move for a new Judge, if he hasn't already.

    The Judge was born in the USA but belongs to the Hispanic racist superiority group, La Raza.

    Where is the white equivalent ? - (La Raza Blanca) - It doesn't exist, not in any meaningful numbers, like La Raza.

    And if it did everyone would be screaming bloody murder.

  28. For Smirk

    Canadians Are Better than Other People

    Alone among Western nations, our country has completely rejected the global trend toward shrill nativism

    by Jonathan Kay

    May 20, 2016 • 1,368 words

  29. MUST SEE VIDEO=> Wow! Obama Tries to Trash Donald Trump and Turns into a Stuttering Mess

    Jim Hoft Jun 1st, 2016 4:50 pm —2232 Comments