Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Invades the Vatican (Peacefully)



Trump has arrived in Vatican City to meet with his holiness Pope Francis.  The two leaders will discuss how to spread peace as the world confronts the threat of global terror.  The United Kingdom has been placed on high alert anticipating another attack.  Many suspect that a sophisticated bomb maker is still on the loose in the UK.

St. Peter's, Vatican City
Surprisingly, Americans have, in a sense, invaded the Vatican.  We wrote about it in the Vatican City chapter of America Invades (www.americainvades.com)...

"The Vatican city, a small enclave within rome that is home to the pope and the central administration of the Catholic Church, is an actual state. It’s not a member of the UN, but it does have observer status there.

Swiss Guards
It’s hard to say whether we’ve ever invaded the Vatican. We’ve never been at war with the Vatican, and during the Italian campaign, as Roosevelt himself emphasized, Allied airmen had been specifically informed of the borders of the Vatican City and instructed to make sure none of their bombs fell within its borders. However, the pope owns a variety of sites in Italy, which are outside the borders of the Vatican City but have extraterritorial status. Some of these were a lot closer to the action than the Vatican itself. For instance, the pope specifically complained about Allied bombs falling in the vicinity of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo and killing refugees there.

And, when American troops of the Fifth Army liberated Rome in June 1944, some of them ventured into the Vatican. A photograph, for instance, shows Fifth Army’s Lieutenant General Mark Clark parked right outside the front of St. Peter’s in a jeep with another jeep behind him and American soldiers in full uniform, including helmets. And just over a week after the capture of Rome, on June 12, after a number of instances of armed Allied vehicles entering St. Peter’s Square inside the Vatican City, barricades were having to be put up across the end of the Bernini colonnade to prevent any further such occurrences. If it was any kind of invasion, though, it was an entirely friendly one.

On June 12 alone, the pope is said to have received fifteen hundred Allied troops."


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America Invaded is coming in 2017!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Invades Israel (Peacefully!)



As President Trump now visits Israel it is time to reflect on our military engagement with the Jewish state.  Hopes for middle east peace are now being raised on one hand even as an appalling act of ISIS terrorism strikes the United Kingdom with the Manchester concert bombing.

How have Americans interacted with Israel over the course of history?

This is what we had to say in the Israel chapter of America Invades (www.americainvades.com...

"Due to religious, cultural, and ethnic links, America has long had a strong, deep, and lasting commitment to this land.
Mark Twain
American Invader (Tourist)?

And for a long time, Americans have been going there. On an 1867 visit to the Holy Land, Mark Twain and a group of American tourists were shown some of the holy sites: “We visited the places where Jesus worked for fifteen years as a carpenter, and where he attempted to teach in the synagogue and was driven out by a mob. Catholic chapels stand upon these sites and protect the little fragments of the ancient walls which remain.”

Most pilgrims feel blessed just to experience the sanctity and beauty of such sites, but some of Twain’s pilgrims on that occasion went too far with their enthusiasm. “Our pilgrims broke off specimens ... Our pilgrims would have liked very well to get out their lampblack and stencil-plates and paint their names on that rock, together with the name of the village they hail from in America, but the priests permit nothing of that kind.”

But it was during World War II that our forces first arrived there. US air crews used the RAF based at Lydda (which later became Lod Airport and eventually Ben Gurion International Airport) for air transport and air- ferrying missions. And during the fighting between Rommel and British/ Commonwealth troops in nearby Egypt to the west, American bombers were based at a number of locations in the Palestine Mandate with, for instance, B-17s at Lydda and B-24s at Ramat David.

Truman recognized Israel 11 minutes in
After the Second World War, Britain eventually announced its withdrawal from a fractious Palestine Mandate, and on May 14, 1948, the modern state of Israel was launched. The US government recognized the state of Israel only eleven minutes after Ben Gurion declared its independence. Fighting intensified between Arabs and Jews, and neighboring Arab countries invaded.

Foreign volunteers, or Machal, came from a wide range of countries to help Israel, and American volunteers played a role in that war as they have done in other wars involving Israel. Most were veterans of World War II, including the famous Micky Marcus, a colonel in the US Army who went to Israel, became a brigadier general, and helped break the Siege of Jerusalem in 1948.

We had some official US involvement as well. In June 1948 when the US consul general was killed by sniper fire, a marine force from the USS Kearsarge was ordered to Jerusalem. And on July 23, flying a UN flag, the USS Putnam evacuated UN team members from the Israeli port of Haifa.

By 1949, Israel had joined the United Nations.

The Holocaust had created massive American sympathy of the concept of a Jewish homeland. American arms and financial support began flowing to Israel during the Truman administration. A tradition of shared training and military exchange between the United States and Israel was established.
Eisenhower
Grosvenor Square, London
US government support for Israel, however, was not automatic (or unconditional). For example, in 1956, President Eisenhower refused to endorse the invasion of the Suez Canal and Sinai by forces from Britain, France, and Israel. U-2 intelligence gave the president vital information on what was happening on the ground at the time. In the end, Israel withdrew its forces from the Sinai.

During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel delivered a preemptive strike on the Egyptian air force destroying most of its Soviet-made aircraft while they were still on the ground. The conflict more than doubled the amount of territory under Israel’s direct control, including the addition of the Sinai Peninsula. On June 8, 1967, units of the Israeli air force and navy attacked the USS Liberty—an intelligence-gathering ship, which was cruising in international waters off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Thirty-four Americans were killed. The Israeli government apologized for the tragic mistake and paid thirteen million dollars in compensation.

In the 1973 Yom Kippur War (October 6‒24), Israel was attacked by Egyptian forces near the Suez Canal and by Syrian forces near the Golan Heights. After recovering from the initial surprise, Israeli forces managed to counterattack across the Suez Canal and were soon driving towards Cairo itself. The Nixon administration, though crippled by the Watergate scandal, flew over twenty-two thousand tons of supplies to Israel in Operation Nickel Grass. The Soviets resupplied the Arab forces. On October 24, Moscow announced the mobilization of seven airborne divisions for possible deployment to Egypt. The next day, US armed forces were moved to DEFCON 3—planes ready to launch in fifteen minutes. Yuri Andropov, KGB chief, declared, “We are not going to start the Third World War.” Egypt withdrew its request for Soviet troops, and a UN truce was soon agreed to.

American shuttle diplomacy eventually helped to secure the Camp David accord of 1978, which significantly reduced Middle East tensions when a “land for peace” agreement was hammered out between Egypt and Israel. The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt, and Sadat broke decisively with his former Soviet ally. Billions in US aid soon began flowing to Egypt, as well as to Israel.

During the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein launched Scud missile attacks on Israel, which killed two and wounded hundreds. He was desperately trying to drive a wedge between coalition forces by prodding a neutral Israel into a military response.

Prior to the start of the 1991 Gulf War, the Israeli government agreed to allow a US Army Patriot unit into Israel—the first time that foreign troops had ever been stationed in that country. And in the end, Israel did stay out of the conflict.

More diplomatic action followed the Gulf War, again with extensive US involvement. In 1994, President Clinton was there when a peace deal between Israel and Jordan was signed, and in 1995, the Oslo II agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.

In 2006, war broke out in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, and the United States offered Israel extra fuel and munitions.

Today, the search for a complete end to the Arab-Israeli conflict continues, and so does the search for a solution to problems over Iran’s nuclear research. In the desert in southwest Israel is located a small US military installation operated by US personnel with hugely powerful radar watching what goes on in the region.

In the context of all the uncertainties about the future in the Middle East, America’s partnership with Israel on a wide range of exercises, training, planning, supply, development, intelligence, and other military matters remains a central part of our strategy."


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America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil 

will be published in 2017!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

USA and Saudi Arabia



As President Trump touches down in Saudi Arabia it is interesting to reflect upon the history of relations between the USA and the Saudi kingdom.  No, we have NOT invaded Saudi Arabia but we Americans have had a deep and longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia.  And the matchmaker who ignited the USA / Saudi alliance was quite a surprise!

In America Invades (www.americainvades.com) we wrote this in our chapter on Saudi Arabia...



"Saudi Arabia seems to have been in the American news quite A LOT over the last couple of decades.  During World War I, Lawrence of Arabia was active in part of what is now Saudi Arabia, working with the leaders of the Great Arab Revolt to attack Ottoman troops and drive them from the area. A character made famous in more recent times by Peter O’Toole in the Hollywood epic, Lawrence, although British, was made famous by an American, Lowell Thomas. Along with cameraman Harry Chase, Thomas, as an American journalist, turned up in the Middle East to meet Lawrence and film him. When Thomas got back to America, he turned Lawrence into one of the first war-media superstars, giving lectures accompanied by films at Madison Square Gardens and then around the world.

The United States began diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in 1933. That same year, the California Arabian Standard Oil Company (later ARAMCO) was formed to develop Saudi oil resources.
Mussolini: the Matchmaker
During World War II, Saudi Arabia remained technically neutral but also supplied Allied forces with masses of critical petroleum products. This fact did not escape the notice of the other side.
Mussolini’s Italy joined the Axis side in 1940, and on October 19 of that year, four Italian bombers (Regia Aeronautica) took off from the island of Rhodes and attacked Saudi oil facilities in Dhahran.

B-25B Mitchell Bomber
Mussolini’s air attack on the Saudi oil fields was a kind of Axis version of Doolittle’s Raid. Doolittle’s Raiders launched their B-25 bombers from the decks of the Hornet to attack Japan. Mussolini’s Regia Aeronautica took off from an unsinkable “carrier,” the Isle of Rhodes. Doolittle’s fliers did not conform to the traditional bombing structure of take-off, fly to target, release bombs, and return; instead, after bombing Tokyo, most flew to China. The Italian bomber pilots bombed oil refineries in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and then flew on to airfields in Italian East Africa (Eritrea)—the longest bombing run in aviation history at the time and one that exposed Saudi Arabia’s military vulnerability.


The Doolittle Raid’s physical impact on Japan was minimal, but its psychological impact was enormous; the Midway campaign was launched in order to extend Japan’s defensive perimeters and prevent another American attack on the home islands. The Italian raid on Saudi Arabian oil
refineries did little damage, but its psychological impact on the kingdom and its future links with America were significant.

World War II saw the real beginning of our military involvement with Saudi Arabia. For instance, the Saudi Kingdom allowed us to operate an air transport facility at Jeddah as part of a network that stretched across Africa and the Middle East. And Saudi Arabia permitted the construction of a US air field near Dhahran, which it operated from 1945 to 1962. Saudi Arabia, though neutral, also received about twelve million dollars in lend- lease, mostly in silver dollars.

FDR
Grosvenor Square, London

In 1945, FDR, on his way back from the Yalta Conference, travelled on the USS Quincy to the Great Bitter Lake on the Suez Canal. He was there to meet three important regional leaders—Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, King Farouk of Egypt, and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. On Valentine’s Day 1945, a goat was slaughtered and eaten on board the ship to celebrate the kingdom’s new links with America. The American military would protect the Saudi kingdom, while their oil would help fuel the tanks, planes, and ships of the US military. The broad outlines of America’s pact with Saudi Arabia, despite profound differences between our two nations, have now lasted seventy years through many tumultuous times.

During their discussions the Saudi king warned Roosevelt that the Arabs would fight if Jewish settlements in what was then the British- controlled Palestine Mandate expanded. Thus, the creation of Israel in 1948 with American support put strains on our links with Saudi Arabia, particularly during the Arab-Israeli Wars of the Cold War era.

However, America and Saudi Arabia still had shared interests. For instance, during the Yemen Civil War, royalist, conservative Saudi Arabia clashed with Nasser’s revolutionary, Communist-supported Egypt, and each ended up supporting a different side in the war. JFK threw US support behind the Saudis. USAF planes were mobilized to deter Nasser’s Egypt from further action against Saudi Arabia.

Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia reached a low point after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, but eventually the relationship stabilized again. The Iranian revolution created a new power feared by both Saudi Arabia and the United States, and in the 1980s, America and Saudi Arabia found themselves jointly immersed in arming and helping the Afghan mujahideen fight the Soviets in Afghanistan and the Afghan regime they supported.

During the Iran-Iraq War, Saudi Arabia backed Iraq. On June 5, 1984, a US AWACS plane detected an Iranian fighter approaching Saudi’s offshore oil facilities in the Gulf. Saudi aircraft intercepted the Iranian plane and shot it down.

Bush 41
National Naval Air Museum
Pensacola, FL
However, when we really went to war in Saudi Arabia, it wasn’t Iran that was the problem. Instead, it was Iraq. In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia (see “Kuwait”). President H. W. Bush led an international coalition that responded with Operation Desert Shield. In late January of 1991, Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi forces to attack across the Saudi border. Saudi and Qatari troops, aided by US marines, artillery, and airpower, fought the Battle of Khafji. The Iraqi forces were repulsed at a cost of twenty-six American lives and eighteen Saudis.

American airpower based in Saudi played a decisive role in the First Gulf War. A-10 Warthogs, championed by the maverick USAF Colonel John Boyd, flew missions from Saudi bases destroying over nine hundred Iraqi tanks.

A-10 "Warthog"
IWM Duxford
American Hangar
In the course of the First Gulf War, over half a million US troops were deployed to Saudi Arabia. Many stayed after Iraq was expelled from Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm. For instance, thousands of US troops stayed on to help enforce the no-fly zone over neighboring Iraq in Operation Southern Watch. The Saudi king and government supported the American alliance, but many in the Arab street were troubled. To some, of course, this represented an American occupation of the Muslim holy land and was one of the grievances behind Osama bin Laden’s attack on 9/11. Indeed, fifteen of the nineteen hijackers in the 9/11 attack and their mastermind were Saudi nationals.

Attacks on US personnel took place in Saudi territory too. For instance, in 1996, a huge truck bomb destroyed part of the Khobar Towers complex and killed nineteen US servicemen. And in 2004, the US consulate in Jeddah was attacked.

The USAF operated Prince Sultan Air Force Base from 1990 until 2003. It was equipped with air conditioning and all amenities, including Baskin-Robbins and Burger King franchises, although female personnel were expected to wear an abaya when going off base.

Most American military personnel left Saudi Arabia in 2003. Small numbers are still based there, some of them apparently connected with the campaign of drone strikes in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia remains a significant ally of the United States. The two countries share, interests in oil and nervousness about Iran. Military links continue to be strong. For instance, the United States has been actively training Saudi defense forces from 1953 to the present, and the Saudi military has purchased large quantities of weaponry and military equipment from American manufacturers, including aircraft, armored vehicles, and air defense weapons.

In 2011, the corpse of Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi national, was offered for burial to Saudi Arabia, which declined in favor of burial at sea."



You can find signed copies of America Invades here...www.americainvades.com

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America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil 
will be published in 2017!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Memorial Day 2017 (Play it Again, Uncle Sam)

Commander K. at the Luxembourg American Cemetery


Memorial Day this year calls on all Americans with particular significance. It calls on us to look backward at our past and forward to the many uncertainties and challenges facing our nation overseas. Important anniversaries over the course of the year have served as powerful reminders of that past.

To the Memory of Woodrow Wilson
Founder of the League of Nations
Geneva, Switzerland
This past April, we commemorated the centennial of the American entry into World War I. President Wilson led us into the “war to end all wars,” ending America’s traditional isolationism (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/world-war-i-centennial.html). Over a hundred thousand Americans would be killed in World War I, a war that claimed around 17 million total victims. Wilson conceived of the League of Nations as a means of ending costly and wasteful wars, but the US Senate balked at joining the League. The harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles then created a twenty-year truce rather than a lasting peace. Appalled by the cost of war and intoxicated by the Roaring Twenties, many Americans retreated back into an isolationist attitude, embracing Charles Lindbergh and the America First movement.

But in 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, plunging the world into the costliest war in human history. Over the course of just under four years, over 16 million American men and women served in some capacity in the war. Today, fewer than a million World War II service vets are still alive.

Jimmy Doolittle
IWM Cambridge, American Hangar

This year, 2017, is the 75th anniversary of perhaps the most significant year in World War II, for 1942 was essentially the turning point in the war. That year featured Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/doolittles-raid-75.html) and the battles of Midway, El Alamein, and Stalingrad. Up until 1942, the Axis was victorious on all fronts. After 1942, Axis forces were in full retreat. Where were you in ’42?


Seventy-five years ago this year, the classic film Casablanca was released. When asked about his nationality, Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, replied, “I’m a drunkard.” But Rick could not remain neutral when confronted with the brutal reality of fascism. The premiere of Casablanca, which won the Academy Awards’ Best Picture of the Year in 1942, was rushed forward to capitalize on the American landings in North Africa in Operation Torch. Casablanca helped to explain to skeptical Americans why World War II (especially in Europe) was America’s fight.

Americans responded to the call and went overseas to fight in record numbers. Just over 400,000 mostly young Americans would never return from their duties in the Second World War. This Memorial Day, many Americans will visit cemeteries such as Arlington in Virginia, and many more around the nation and the world.
Afghanistan Memorial
Washington State
This fall will mark sixteen years that American troops have been engaged in Afghanistan fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban – a war of unprecedented duration. There are soldiers serving in Afghanistan today who were only toddlers when the Twin Towers in New York were struck on Setpember 11, 2001 by hijacked commercial airliners – an event that changed our world. Over two trillion dollars have been spent trying to bring a measure of stability to Afghanistan. Over 2,000 American soldiers have been killed there, and over 20,000 have been wounded.

Even as we commemorate the past, we must consider the many dangers we are confronting today and those that lie ahead. In the Middle East, we must face the challenge posed by ruthless ISIS operatives who have waged a war against the West. The Syrian civil war has claimed well over 300,000 lives and created the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Syria’s president Assad has, on at least two occasions, used chemical weapons against his own people. Putin’s Russia continues to rearm, supports the Assad dictatorship, and threatens its neighbors, including NATO members in the Baltics.  The bluster and posturing of Kim Jong-un are increasingly worrisome as the North Korean dictator attempts to gain the technology to develop intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking our homeland. Our political and military leadership must carefully balance the dangers of action and the dangers of inaction in the “hermit kingdom.”

Memorial Day imposes a duty on all Americans to remember the sacrifice of our fallen heroes, and to reflect prayerfully on how we can best steer a course through our dangerous and turbulent world. We are compelled to remember the necessity for American engagement in the world, but also its staggering price in terms of blood and treasure.

Thanks Air Force Times...www.airforcetimes.com/articles/memorial-day-2017-remember-the-sacrifice-of-our-fallen-heroes

Thanks Florence News Journal...http://www.florencenewsjournal.com/opinions/editorials/item/memorial-day-2017-play-it-again-uncle-sam?category_id=15

Thanks War History Online...www.warhistoryonline.com/guest-bloggers/memorial-day-2017-america-remembers-made-ultimate-sacrifice.html

Thanks Small Wars Journal...http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/memorial-day-2017-%E2%80%98play-it-again-uncle-sam%E2%80%99

Thanks Highland Community News!...http://www.highlandnews.net/news/political/memorial-day-play-it-again-uncle-sam/article_10f3b862-40da-11e7-9070-a781c76deb76.html

Thanks Military Times...http://www.militarytimes.com/author/christopher-kelly

Thanks The Express...http://www.lockhaven.com/opinion/columns/2017/05/memorial-day-play-it-again-uncle-sam/


You can find signed copies of America Invades here...www.americainvades.com

Regular Copies can be found here on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427



America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil 
will be published in 2017!



"Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock have once again pulled off a remarkable feat of fascinating scholarship. What an inspired idea to look at how warfare has touched each state of the Union individually, reminding us simultaneously of the proud American warrior tradition and of the sometimes brutal and bloody birth pangs 
of the USA.'

Prof Andrew Roberts, author of 
'Napoleon; A Life'