Repost: Life is Risk

I’m at loose ends this morning. There are a number of topics that I could opine over but none strikes my interest. The NorKs apparently have finally created a working nuke after numerous fizzles. Iran is thought to be six months away from building their first nuke. The likelihood of a theater-level nuclear exchange, the risk of war within five years has just increased—greatly increased while the idiots in Washington blow on the embers of a future war.

Life is risk.

That thought drove me to this old post from 2010. I wrote it three years ago today. It’s a life lesson. A lesson those in DC never learned.

Life is Risk

Mrs. Crucis had lunch with her cousin today. That allowed me to escape and spend some time at one of my favorite greasy spoons. While I was eating, one of the waitresses came over to talk a bit.

I’ll call her Tanya. Tanya isn’t the brightest bulb on the string. She dropped out of high school “because it was too hard.” She’s married and has two kids. One is her 11 year-old son, Sonny. (You can see I’m very original making up names.)

Tanya sat down across from me and said, “I’m mad!” It seems her son and some friends had built a bicycle track completed with jumps and potholes in a vacant lot. They were racing. Sonny jumped a ridge and on landing, his front wheel dug in. Sonny’s face met handle bars. His nose was broken and the bone just below his nose containing his front upper teeth was broken and caved in. Sonny will require surgery for a complete recovery.

Tanya wasn’t mad at Sonny. Nor was she mad at his friends for building the track. She wasn’t mad at the bicycle manufacturer. No, she was mad at the bicycle helmet manufacturer. She felt they should have made the helmet with a full-face shield.

She continued in this mode a bit while I finished lunch. I don’t like being in these positions. I’m a private person. I like eating lunch alone with a book for company. But Tanya wanted to talk and I’m a patient listener. I finally had enough. I asked her, “Do you think Sonny will be bicycle jumping again?”

“No,” she replied, “he doesn’t want to race anymore.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, he doesn’t want to get hurt again,” she said.

I was hesitant to ask my next question, but sometimes I just have an urge.” “Tanya,” I said. “If he did have a full-face shield on his helmet and hadn’t gotten hurt or only bruised, would he have continued to bike-jump? Maybe getting hurt worse the next time?”

She thought on that for a bit and finally said, “Yeah, he would.”

“He learned a lesson, didn’t he?”

“Yeah.”

“Consider this. Yes, it was painful and he’ll have to have surgery to fix everything. It’ll be expensive. But, he’ll know better next time.”

“Yeah.”

“So, isn’t it better that he learns that lesson now rather than sometime later—maybe in more dangerous circumstances? Maybe when driving a car?”

“But he’s my baby!”

At this point she was almost at tears. We continued talking for awhile longer. I explained that she couldn’t protect her kids every moment of the day. Growing up means learning skills, learning how to live, and learning what is dangerous. If she protects him too much, he’ll never learn what is dangerous and what isn’t.

I think she understood some of that. Life is not without risk nor consequences. Freedom is freedom to learn. Freedom is also the ability to grow and plan, to risk and if necessary, to suffer the consequences. Risk is also the means to succeed because without risk, success will never occur.

Tanya is a good parent. Like all parents, she doesn’t want her children to come to harm. Life, isn’t, unfortunately, without risk and the potential for harm. Risk can be good and the process of growing into maturity is learning the ability to weigh risk. Weigh the effort, the potential rewards, weigh the cost and the possible loss and consequences.

I fear that the forces behind the Nanny State have forgotten these lessons—if they ever knew them at all.

Coming Conflicts

If you read history, you’ll discover that national and international conflicts appear to be cyclic. Take a look at the 20th Century. The Spanish-American War ended just before the start of the 20th Century. The Boxer Rebellion in China climaxed in June, 1900.

In June 1900 Boxer fighters, lightly armed or unarmed, gathered in Beijing to besiege the foreign embassies. On 21 June the conservative faction of the Imperial Court induced the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled in the emperor’s name, to declare war on the foreign powers that had diplomatic representation in Beijing. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they stayed for 55 days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops, to take out the Boxers.Wikepedia

World War I started with the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. World War II started twenty-five years later. The Korean War started on June 25th, 1950 and the 60th Anniversary of that war will occur on Friday of this week.

Korea was followed by other conflicts around the globe. For the US, there was the intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and the gradual buildup in Southeast Asia. History documents the War in Southeast Asia covers the period from 1955 with the French through 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

The next military operation was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 follow by the invasion of Panama at the end of that decade in 1989. Panama was quickly followed by Gulf War I with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The point of all this is that there were few periods in the last 100 years when the United States was not in some military activity. Even the period between WW1 and WW2 was not totally peaceful. The US Marines were involved in suppressing “bandits” in Nicaragua in the 1920s.

The United States military faced armed opponents in every decade of the 20th Century. And, looking at the beginning of the 21st Century, that trend appears to be continuing.

As I stated above, the 60th Anniversary will occur this coming Friday, June 25, 2010. It is prudent to remember that conflict is NOT over. We have been in a period of armistice since the cease-fire in1953. Recent actions by North Korea, such as the torpedoing of the South Korean Patrol Boat Cheonan by the North Koreans indicates that conflict may resume. The South Korean Navy has retrieved fragments of a older Soviet designed torpedo that sank the ship. Those torpedoes are only used by North Korea.

As a blatant warning to the North, South Korea with the US, will conduct a reenactment commemorating the 60th anniversary this coming Friday.

South Korea brings out big guns for battle re-enactment

Seoul – The Korean War is now referred to as the ‘The Forgotten War’ 60 years after it began, but some South Koreans are hoping to change that as they prepare to re-enact one of its early battles this week.

As the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the June 25, 1950, start of the war, which ravaged the Korean Peninsula, the government, military and civilians are working together to re-enact the conflict’s first naval engagement in the port city of Pusan, about 450 kilometres south-east of Seoul.

‘This is the very first victory that South Korea achieved in the war, so we want to shed light on what happened in the past,’ said Park June Su, head of public affairs at the Pusan office of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Called the Korea Strait victory celebration, the event commemorates South Korea’s sinking of an armed North Korean steamer carrying 600 Korean People’s Army troops about 29 kilometers off Pusan’s coast, Park said.

But Korea is not the only hotspot. Israel has intercepted smugglers attempting to breach the quarantine of Gaza. Hezbollah has been attempting to bring in additional arms and rockets to the militants controlling Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid. The initial incident used Turkish ships. The militants hoped that using ships from a NATO member would cause Israel to allow them to proceed.

That didn’t happen. Of the six ships, five allowed peaceful boarding and inspection. The sixth, however, attacked the Israelis. That ship was the one containing contraband. Ten of the militants were killed when they attacked the Israeli boarding party.

Anger over Ship from Turkey which carried contraband

It appears the International humanitarian aid ship stopped by the Israeli Navy had contraband used to build rockets and harden bunkers.

The Islamic militants used this event as propaganda fuel. Iran was the hidden sponsor and revealed itself by proclaiming they were provide a military escort for the next smuggling attempt. A futile boast since Iran has almost no Navy and of those, most of the vessels are made up of coastal patrol boats.

However, Iran’s boasting is not being taken likely. Drudge contained this headline over the weekend printed in red.

US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran

Tammuz 8, 5770, 20 June 10 06:08

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(Israelnationalnews.com) Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.

One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.

International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Despite Egypt’s reported refusal to block the canal to Iranian boats, the clearance for the American-Israeli fleet may be a warning to Iran it may face military opposition if the Iranian Red Crescent ship continues on course to Gaza.

The warships may exercise the right to inspect the Iranian boat for the illegal transport or weapons. Newsweek reported that Egyptian authorities could stop the ship for weeks, using technicalities such as requiring that any official documents be translated from Farsi into Arabic.

The magazine’s website also reported that the Iranian navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. Tehran has already backed down from announced intentions to escort the Iranian ships with “volunteer marines” from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian news site Hamsayeh.net reported, “The move might be in connection to U.S. self-inflicted embargo against Iran aimed at inspecting Iran bound ships for suspected goods related to the country’s nuclear program.”

Another battle on the high seas may involve one, and possibly two, Lebanese vessels that are aimed at challenging Israel’s sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. Hizbullah, gearing up for a reaction to a possible clash between the Israeli Navy (pictured) and the Lebanese boats, has deployed rocket units near Lebanese ports, according to unofficial military sources.

Israel has warned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel will use force, if necessary, to stop the boats, one of which is carrying approximately 70 women passengers and crew organized by Hizbullah supporter Samar al-Hajj. Her husband is one of several jailed suspects involved in the assassination of former Lebanese anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah has denied it is connected with the Lebanese flotilla, but it has been reported that Al Hajj met with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month.

I’m not sure what constitutes an “armada.” Eleven ships is about the size of a Carrier Battle Group. It’s obviously a show of force. Whether Iran and Hezbollah heed the warning is another issue. Past actions have shown that militant Islamics are not sane using the definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result.

Iran thinks that developing nuclear weapons will make them the leader of the Islamic world. More likely, if Iran uses or threatens to use those weapons, Iran will become a radioactive wasteland along with other locales in the mid-east.

It’s not hard to foresee the coming conflict with Israel remembering the holocaust of WW2 and the Islamics who think they are impervious. Whatever happens, we will be dragged into the conflict whether we wish it or not.

Coming Conflicts

If you read history, you’ll discover that national and international conflicts appear to be cyclic. Take a look at the 20th Century. The Spanish-American War ended just before the start of the 20th Century. The Boxer Rebellion in China climaxed in June, 1900.

In June 1900 Boxer fighters, lightly armed or unarmed, gathered in Beijing to besiege the foreign embassies. On 21 June the conservative faction of the Imperial Court induced the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled in the emperor’s name, to declare war on the foreign powers that had diplomatic representation in Beijing. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they stayed for 55 days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops, to take out the Boxers.Wikepedia

World War I started with the assassination of ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. World War II started twenty-five years later. The Korean War started on June 25th, 1950 and the 60th Anniversary of that war will occur on Friday of this week.

Korea was followed by other conflicts around the globe. For the US, there was the intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and the gradual buildup in Southeast Asia. History documents the War in Southeast Asia covers the period from 1955 with the French through 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

The next military operation was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 follow by the invasion of Panama at the end of that decade in 1989. Panama was quickly followed by Gulf War I with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The point of all this is that there were few periods in the last 100 years when the United States was not in some military activity. Even the period between WW1 and WW2 was not totally peaceful. The US Marines were involved in suppressing “bandits” in Nicaragua in the 1920s.

The United States military faced armed opponents in every decade of the 20th Century. And, looking at the beginning of the 21st Century, that trend appears to be continuing.

As I stated above, the 60th Anniversary will occur this coming Friday, June 25, 2010. It is prudent to remember that conflict is NOT over. We have been in a period of armistice since the cease-fire in1953. Recent actions by North Korea, such as the torpedoing of the South Korean Patrol Boat Cheonan by the North Koreans indicates that conflict may resume. The South Korean Navy has retrieved fragments of a older Soviet designed torpedo that sank the ship. Those torpedoes are only used by North Korea.

As a blatant warning to the North, South Korea with the US, will conduct a reenactment commemorating the 60th anniversary this coming Friday.

South Korea brings out big guns for battle re-enactment

Seoul – The Korean War is now referred to as the ‘The Forgotten War’ 60 years after it began, but some South Koreans are hoping to change that as they prepare to re-enact one of its early battles this week.

As the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the June 25, 1950, start of the war, which ravaged the Korean Peninsula, the government, military and civilians are working together to re-enact the conflict’s first naval engagement in the port city of Pusan, about 450 kilometres south-east of Seoul.

‘This is the very first victory that South Korea achieved in the war, so we want to shed light on what happened in the past,’ said Park June Su, head of public affairs at the Pusan office of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Called the Korea Strait victory celebration, the event commemorates South Korea’s sinking of an armed North Korean steamer carrying 600 Korean People’s Army troops about 29 kilometers off Pusan’s coast, Park said.

But Korea is not the only hotspot. Israel has intercepted smugglers attempting to breach the quarantine of Gaza. Hezbollah has been attempting to bring in additional arms and rockets to the militants controlling Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid. The initial incident used Turkish ships. The militants hoped that using ships from a NATO member would cause Israel to allow them to proceed.

That didn’t happen. Of the six ships, five allowed peaceful boarding and inspection. The sixth, however, attacked the Israelis. That ship was the one containing contraband. Ten of the militants were killed when they attacked the Israeli boarding party.

Anger over Ship from Turkey which carried contraband

It appears the International humanitarian aid ship stopped by the Israeli Navy had contraband used to build rockets and harden bunkers.

The Islamic militants used this event as propaganda fuel. Iran was the hidden sponsor and revealed itself by proclaiming they were provide a military escort for the next smuggling attempt. A futile boast since Iran has almost no Navy and of those, most of the vessels are made up of coastal patrol boats.

However, Iran’s boasting is not being taken likely. Drudge contained this headline over the weekend printed in red.

US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran

Tammuz 8, 5770, 20 June 10 06:08

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(Israelnationalnews.com) Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.

One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.

International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Despite Egypt’s reported refusal to block the canal to Iranian boats, the clearance for the American-Israeli fleet may be a warning to Iran it may face military opposition if the Iranian Red Crescent ship continues on course to Gaza.

The warships may exercise the right to inspect the Iranian boat for the illegal transport or weapons. Newsweek reported that Egyptian authorities could stop the ship for weeks, using technicalities such as requiring that any official documents be translated from Farsi into Arabic.

The magazine’s website also reported that the Iranian navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. Tehran has already backed down from announced intentions to escort the Iranian ships with “volunteer marines” from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian news site Hamsayeh.net reported, “The move might be in connection to U.S. self-inflicted embargo against Iran aimed at inspecting Iran bound ships for suspected goods related to the country’s nuclear program.”

Another battle on the high seas may involve one, and possibly two, Lebanese vessels that are aimed at challenging Israel’s sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. Hizbullah, gearing up for a reaction to a possible clash between the Israeli Navy (pictured) and the Lebanese boats, has deployed rocket units near Lebanese ports, according to unofficial military sources.

Israel has warned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel will use force, if necessary, to stop the boats, one of which is carrying approximately 70 women passengers and crew organized by Hizbullah supporter Samar al-Hajj. Her husband is one of several jailed suspects involved in the assassination of former Lebanese anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah has denied it is connected with the Lebanese flotilla, but it has been reported that Al Hajj met with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month.

I’m not sure what constitutes an “armada.” Eleven ships is about the size of a Carrier Battle Group. It’s obviously a show of force. Whether Iran and Hezbollah heed the warning is another issue. Past actions have shown that militant Islamics are not sane using the definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result.

Iran thinks that developing nuclear weapons will make them the leader of the Islamic world. More likely, if Iran uses or threatens to use those weapons, Iran will become a radioactive wasteland along with other locales in the mid-east.

It’s not hard to foresee the coming conflict with Israel remembering the holocaust of WW2 and the Islamics who think they are impervious. Whatever happens, we will be dragged into the conflict whether we wish it or not.

Korea: Too Quiet

As usual, the bombasts from North Korea continue after they were exposed of committing an act of war against South Korea by torpedoing a South Korean Patrol Boat in international waters. However, the climate in the North Korean Worker’s Paradise is not all that it may appear. There is an underlying rumble and it isn’t directed towards the South. A report appearing on the Strategy Page website has this bit of information.

Too Quiet

June 14, 2010: Up north, morale, and respect for the government, continues to decline. For over half a century, the communist government had successfully brain washed the population into believing that North Korea was a workers’ paradise and the rest of the world sucked. This attitude even survived the great famine of the 1990s (that killed over five percent of the population and left a third of the children with stunted growth). But the currency devaluation last November, which wiped out the savings of so many North Korean entrepreneurs, was different. After the 1990s, the government allowed a bit of capitalism, in the form of free markets. At first, these were mainly to distribute food supplies more efficiently. But soon the markets contained, well, everything. The old-school communists in the government disliked this, and started shutting down the markets. The currency switch last November was intended to finish off this potentially troublesome middle class, but instead it caused a general collapse in support for the government and the ruling family (Kim Jong Il and his clan). People now openly criticize the government and Kim Jong Il. Bravery borne of desperation is the order of the day, and the secret police and prison camps aren’t so scary anymore. This has made the ruling elite very nervous. A few percent of the population lives well, while everyone else suffers. The elite have the guns, but not the numbers and, worst of all, they are no longer scary. At the moment, the situation is quiet up north. Too quiet.

The UN has admitted that most of the worlds nations do not enforce UN sanctions on North Korea (or most other nations). If the sanctioned nation is discrete and willing to bribe the right people, the sanctions can be circumvented. Energetic efforts by Western nations that do enforce the sanctions, tend to create unpleasant diplomatic situations when sanctions evasion is uncovered.

As a result of the sinking of the South Korea corvette Cheonan last March, a South Korean government oversight agency has recommended that 25 senior military officers and officials be punished. This made public long standing complaints (by South Korean and American military officials) that the South Korea military leadership had gotten complacent and sloppy. Now these accusations are out in the open, and action is demanded. Action may not be forthcoming, as the generals tend to protect each other, no matter what. It’s an old problem in South Korea, and North Korea as well.

But this isn’t the only situation that is facing North Korea. They’ve managed to piss off their supporters in Communist China. If China refuses to support and back militarily North Korea, it would leave them open for retaliation from South Korea—and the South would win hands-down.

The Strategy Page continues…

June 8, 2010: A June 4th shooting of four Chinese civilians, on the North Korean border, has become a major issue. As word of the incident, which left three Chinese dead and another wounded, spread in China, the Chinese government was forced to go public, and demand a public apology from North Korea. The four victims were in a boat, on the Chinese side of the Yalu river, when the North Korean border guards opened fire. The North Korean border guards have been rather more trigger happy of late, as they are under pressure to stop people from escaping, or smuggling goods out of North Korea. A particular irritant to North Korea is the high price of scrap copper in China, and the subsequent rampant theft of copper in North Korea. This is often taken from closed factories (most of the nations’ factories are closed because of electricity shortages and general mismanagement), which renders these facilities in need of expensive repairs if they are ever to reopen. Border guards have orders to shoot to kill if they spot anyone trying to get copper wire out of the country. But they are only supposed to shoot North Koreans. The June 4th incident was a case of mistaken identity. That doesn’t happen often, because Chinese, even those of Korean ancestry, appear better fed and dressed than North Koreans. But this time, the border guards screwed up, and China wants their heads, and a public apology. The former is possible, the latter less so.

Definitely an Oops!

Isreal vs. Islamists and The Koreas

Islamists attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas in Gaza and fail to heave-to when caught. When boarded, they respond with clubs, knives, guns and steel bars to Israeli’s armed with non-lethal paintguns. It was a great propaganda coup for the Islamists. Anti-Semites around the world rejoiced including those in Washington and the White House.


In other news, Israel sends cruise missile capable subs to the Persian Gulf and Iranian coast. Speculation has it that those 1500 mile cruise missiles are armed with nukes.

Israel is planning to permanently station a submarine carrying nuclear cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
Israeli submarines have visited the Gulf before, but the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

The paper claims that the government has decided to station at least one of three submarines armed with nuclear missiles permanently within striking distance of Iran in the Persian Gulf.

On the Korean peninsula, the Norks are exposed as the ones sinking a South Korean patrol boat—an act of war.

People tend to forget that the Korean War is not over. It was an armistice that was signed in 1953, not a peace treaty. The Norks threaten to attack the South if there is retaliation. Truth be told, the armed forces of South Korea are not the puny para-military units that existed in 1950. They are now a well trained, well funded and well equipped military force. Opinions from those who know say that it’s not a question of who would win in a renewed Korean conflict but how quickly South Korea would reach the Yalu River—the China border. The real danger here is not North Korea but China who wants a buffer between them and South Korea and their allies.

With tinderboxes on both sides of the world, what does Obama do?

Nothing.