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A Public Service Announcement for all of my Great Readers out there in The Windy City!

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Russia’s Catastrophic Oil & Gas Problem

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German DM22 Directional Anti-Tank Mines In Ukraine

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Finally: Ukraine Use Krab Howitzer To Destroy Russian Artillery

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The PBI’s Best Friend!

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1. Battleships

Once thought to be the cornerstone of naval power, the advent of Naval Aviation and the rise of the aircraft carrier in WWII was the beginning of the end for the large-gunned ships of the line. Though battleships saw continuous combat in WWII and Korea, the US Navy was left without an active battleship upon the decommissioning of the USS Wisconsin in March 1958; the first time since 1895.

Most military enthusiasts are familiar with the Reagan administration’s 600-ship Navy and the reactivation of the battleships USS IowaMissouriNew Jersey and Wisconsin. USS New Jersey would be the first to fire her massive 16-inch guns at enemy targets again during the Lebanese Civil War from 1983-1984. USS Missouri and Wisconsin would return to combat in 1991 during the Gulf War. However, USS New Jersey was brought back into active service once before.

3 times the military brought back ‘obsolete’ equipment
USS New Jersey bombards communist positions near Tuyho, late March 1969 (US Navy photo)


Following the beginning of Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965, the loss of US aircraft over Vietnam increased exponentially. The planes that took part in the sustained aerial bombardment campaign were exceptionally vulnerable to sophisticated Soviet-made surface-to-air weapon systems provided to the North Vietnamese.

In an effort to alleviate these air losses while still delivering ordnance payloads, USS New Jersey was brought out of mothballs in April 1968 and modernized for active service in Southeast Asia. The only active battleship in the world, New Jersey, joined the gun line off the Vietnamese coast on September 25. Five days later, she fired her first shots in over 16 years during an engagement against PAVN targets near the DMZ at the 17th parallel. She would go on to fire 14,891 5-inch shells and 5,688 16-inch shells during the war in support of ARVN, US and even Korean troops.

2. M14 Rifle

An evolution of the famed M1 Garand of WWII and Korea, the M14 battle rifle became the standard-issue rifle for the US military in 1959. Firing the 7.62x51mm NATO round, the M14 was meant to streamline logistics efforts by replacing the M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 carbine, M3 submachine gun, M1928/M1 Thompson submachine gun, and M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. While the M14 exhibited outstanding accuracy and stopping power in its semi-automatic setting, its full-power cartridge was deemed too powerful for the submachine gun role and its light weight made it difficult to control during automatic fire as a light machine gun.

3 times the military brought back ‘obsolete’ equipment
Mk14 EBRs in action with the Army in Afghanistan, September 2010 (US Army photo)


Though the M14 was replaced by the M16 as the standard-issue rifle in 1968, it found a new role as a precision rifle platform. It served as the basis of the M21 Sniper Weapon System introduced in 1968 and M25 Sniper Weapon System introduced in 1991. Though both weapon systems have been largely replaced by the M24 Sniper Weapon System, the M14 lives on as the Mk14 Enhanced Battle Rifle. Introduced in 2002, the Mk14 is a truer reincarnation of the M14. Where the M21 and M25 were restricted to semi-automatic fire, designated as Sniper Weapon Systems and saw more restricted issuance as a result, the Mk14 sees the return of selective fire, the designation as a battle rifle for both designated marksman and close combat roles, and issuance by the Army to two riflemen per infantry platoon deploying to Afghanistan.

3. Guns on fighter planes

With the advent of radar-guided and heat-seeking air-to-air missiles, like the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder, and the new threat of high-altitude, long-range Soviet bombers, US air combat doctrine called for the elimination of gun armament on fighter-interceptor aircraft. Though dedicated attack and fighter aircraft like the A-4 Skyhawk, A-7 Corsair II and the F-8 Crusader retained 20mm cannons for ground attack and close-range aerial combat, interceptors like the F-86D Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger and the F-4 Phantom II dispensed with any type of gun armament in favor of rockets and missiles. The idea during the late 50s and early 60s was that these types of aircraft would engage in long-range combat without visual contact of their target and, even if they did get close enough to see the enemy that the new Sidewinder missile would be able to dispense with a hostile fighter with ease.

3 times the military brought back ‘obsolete’ equipment
A USAF F-4D Phantom II equipped with a 20mm gun pod mounted centerline with the fuselage (US Air Force photo)


This idea proved to be fatal for pilots over the skies of Vietnam. For Phantom II pilots in particular, who escorted bomber flights over North Vietnam, the lack of a gun often left them without offensive options during a dogfight. A Marine Corps General recalled, “Everyone in RF-4s wished we had a gun on the aircraft.” As any Top Gun fan can tell you, the American air-to-air kill ratio in Korea was 12:1. According to the US Naval Institute, the Navy’s kill ratio in Vietnam was just 2.5:1. The drop in kill ratio was attributed to poor missile accuracy at just 10% and lack of dogfighting skills. The latter resulted in the creation of TOPGUN while the former resulted in the addition of an external gun pod to the Phantom II. An internally mounted gun was incorporated on the later F-4E models.

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MISTER Shock Wave is NOT your friend!

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Rising Crime, Self-Protection, and Finding Honest Martial Instruction

Since the horrible summer of 2020, crime has risen precipitously in cities throughout the United States. This alone should be sufficient to convince decent American citizens to train in self-protection. Those interested in doing so should be cautious, however, lest they fall victim to, as Richard Feynman referred to it, “the ignorance of experts.”

It doesn’t take much of a critical eye to discern that the overwhelming majority of the martial arts instructors on YouTube convey, at best, mixed messaging. At worst, they are demoralizing.

In any event, they set their students up for failure.

A particularly instructive illustration of this phenomenon is a recent exchange between two skilled martial artists, former Navy Seal Jocko Willink and Tim Kennedy, an Army Ranger. Kennedy was a guest on Willink’s podcast. A viewer asked the two special operators how a “non-fighter” should train for self-defense.

The host turned the query over to his guest. “Anything is better than nothing,” Kennedy insisted. Even “CrossFit training,” given its self-defense component, is a viable option. While there is no right or wrong course of action to take when it comes to training in self-defense, there are “degrees of better.”

For Kennedy, one can’t go wrong with the “foundational martial arts”: wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, and Jiu-Jitsu. Elaborating, he said: “You know, you step up against a guy that has a little bit of knowledge in any one of those . . . they’re a pain in the ass. And if he has a little bit [of knowledge] in all of them or he’s really good at one of them? Just kiss your ass goodbye. You’re going to sleep.”

Willink unequivocally agreed. Yet he also informed his sizable audience that they already have a “natural defense,” which is to “run away.” If someone comes at me and “you’ve got a knife, or whatever,” Willink said, “I’m going to run from you. It’s OK. It’s defense. I’m being defensive. I’m running away from you.”

Kennedy replied: “I 100 percent agree with you.” He added that if someone came up to him and demanded that he give him his wallet, Kennedy would reply: “You’ve got to catch me first.”

Kennedy and Willink are representative of an attitude that pervades the contemporary world of martial arts. While martial artists generally, and Tim Kennedy and Jocko Willink specifically, are good guys, the attitude they’re exhibiting isn’t just lamentable—it’s outrageous. It’s outrageous because decent human beings, recognizing, as they do, the Kennedys and Willinks of the world as authorities on the subject of self-protection, turn to them for assistance in helping them surmount their own fears of being preyed upon.

Their advice is terrible, in more ways than one.

A capable martial arts instructor must ask and answer for himself the following questions:

1) What is a martial art?

Let’s get back to basics and remind ourselves that “martial,” as in martial art, means “of or pertaining to war.”


The martial arts, then, are, historically and etymologically, the arts of war. 

Martial arts instructors, then, have a singular task vis-à-vis their students: They must instill martial prowess, i.e. the skill and the will to incapacitate the enemy by whatever means necessary. The violence for which a student of a real martial art trains is the violence that is necessary to prevail in a conflict that could become lethal.

2) What is the context within which martial arts students will prepare themselves to use violence?

Given the definition of a martial art, the only appropriate mode of training is one that prepares students to unleash violence within the context of a potentially life-threatening attack launched by a determined assailant against innocents, whether those innocents are students themselves, their loved ones, or other innocents who can’t fend for themselves.

Put another way, martial arts students should not be training for duels, matches, contests, bar fights, or street brawls. They should not train to brawl at all. Like soldiers, students of the martial arts should train to dispatch potentially homicidal assailants with ruthless efficiency.

Students pursuing self-protection training in a martial art should be trained to encounter, not “opponents” but, rather, “enemies.

There are only enemies, anti-humans who have divested themselves of their humanity by choosing instead to become bipedal predators who feed off of the blood of innocents.

3) Against whom am I preparing students to use the skills that I instill in them?

To repeat the last point: Students should be training to become as capable as possible of destroying the enemy. And the enemy is anyone who won’t think twice about raping, robbing, bludgeoning, and murdering innocents in order to get what he wants.

Let’s put this another way: Students are not training to win contests. They’re not training for sport. The enemy is not likely to be an athlete, a boxer, or another martial artist. Nor should students be training to kick the ass of some guy who is acting like a douchebag.

In other words, boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—the arts Tim Kennedy and Jocko Willink recommend for those who are interested in learning self-protection—presuppose a context fundamentally other than the context of a martial art, the context of war. They presuppose an opponent, someone with whom one can “square off” or with whom it is safe to go to the ground. This assumption is at once wholly intelligible and appropriate within the context of a sport. It couldn’t be more inappropriate, more dangerous, within the context of a possibly deadly confrontation, of war.

As far as grappling is concerned, most of the pioneers of World War II close-quarter combatives were grapplers. So too were many of their students. And yet they have always insisted, forcefully and repeatedly, that the ground is the last place to which one wants to go in a real violent confrontation—however masterful a “ground game” one may have achieved. The ground, given its solidity and the potential it has to be uneven and strewn with debris and broken glass, isn’t remotely as accommodating as a mat in a dojo. And considering the likelihood that the enemy could have a weapon and/or fellow belligerents waiting in the wings to whom a defender will be that much more vulnerable while on the ground, training in a grappling art leaves much to be desired for the only kind of (non-sportive) confrontation for which decent civilian adults should ever prepare.

When we turn to the standing arts, things are not much better. The conventional fighting stance that students of boxing and many other martial arts are taught to assume reinforces this fiction—an invidious fiction—that it is some single opponent against whom they’ll be “squaring off.” Yet squaring off, putting up one’s dukes, is likely to be neither necessary nor desirable against a scumbag or gang of scumbags who are resolved to cave in the side of your skull with a crowbar or a tire iron, or who sucker strikes you in the back of your head with a rock.

The point is that the only type of violent transaction for which it is both morally and legally permissible for adults to engage occurs everywhere but comes from nowhere. It is a life or death situation, whether or not the assailant or assailants intend to extinguish the lives of their targets. There’s nothing sporty or organized about it.

Since microseconds count, it should be obvious that there is no time for a person targeted to square off. Not only is it not likely that there would be time to do so while under attack. Even if there was time to do so, it would be a waste of time, for it takes more time to stand in a guard position and then strike than it takes just to strike!

And by throwing up the hands in front of one’s head and face prior to pre-empting the enemy’s assault, one renders exponentially more difficult to sustain any argument from self-defense one may try making upon severely injuring or killing an assailant. This is because if one had time to assume a conventional fighting stance, then, presumably, one had time to walk away or otherwise diffuse the confrontation. In squaring off, one consents to “fight.”

Again, in a ring or within the context of sport, this makes sense. In the context of self-protection, it most assuredly does not.

So, to put it simply and contrary to Tim Kennedy’s suggestion, a person is not likely to be violently attacked by a practitioner of boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, or Jiu Jitsu. One must train accordingly.

4) To whom will I impart this training?

The people most likely to pursue training in an art of war for the sake of defending themselves and their loved ones generally possess various peculiar characteristics.

First, while they may be of any age, those who are seeking training in a combat art tend to be older. Since they want to learn how to maximize their odds of being able to successfully defend themselves within their unique bodies, they are not aiming to compete, so styles and systems that specialize in flashy, choreographed, but largely impractical techniques are not going to appeal to them.

Second, they are not, then, likely to be especially athletic, if they’re athletic at all. Every drill, every habit sown, must be conducive to the end of making students ever more efficient at neutralizing those who would prey upon them.

Third, they are most definitely not troublemakers. They don’t need their instructor to repeatedly warn them against using the skills they acquire in their training for nefarious or otherwise illegitimate purposes.

Nor do they need to have the very fears that motivated them to pursue martial training in the first place reinforced by the people—their instructors—to whom they turn for help in surmounting their fears!

What this means is that instructors who go about with a long face, as if they lament having to train their students in the use of violence, who indiscriminately (without any attention paid to circumstances) tell their students to run, and who deluge them with ominous tales of the “prison-trained monsters” up against whom they may come further ensconce the anxieties, and possibly the trauma, that motivated their students to take up the study of self-protection.

They do their students a grave injustice by failing to deliver the goods.

5) What motivates people psychologically to pursue training in martial arts?

To reiterate the last point, it is fear, the fear of not being able to successfully defend oneself and one’s loved ones from verminous bipedal predators that fundamentally accounts for why your average person, particularly your average adult, takes up the study of a martial art. This being the case, instructors have an obligation to help their students manage and channel that fear for the purpose of annihilating the enemy, if the occasion should ever demand this course of action.

Instructors who fail to know their students by strengthening this fear fail their students.  

6) How will I do right by my students in satisfying this longing?

Instructors fulfill their calling by refusing to peddle fear porn consisting of tales of invincible bad guys, life imprisonment for decent people who defend themselves and their loved ones from the bad guys, and orders to run from the bad guys!

Yet they have a duty to do more. Martial arts instructors need to spare no occasion to instill in their students both the physical skill and, critically, the moral will, the mental focus, to excise from the planet like the malignant cancer they are, any and all who would imperil the innocent.


The enemy is not invincible. He’s mortal. Whatever his race, religion, or tribe, and whether he is a drug kingpin, a terrorist, a mafia hitman, a gangbanger, or an ex-con—the enemy bleeds, breaks, and dies.

He can be critically injured, maimed, and killed.

Instructors should continually remind their students of this axiomatic truth. Students of the martial arts, specifically, the arts of war, don’t need to be told how dangerous such lowlifes are (as if they would go around looking to pick “fights” with these types, or any types, once they got a little training in a warrior art under their belt!). They need to have it drilled into them that the godless are not only mortal but will in fact be forced to come to terms with their mortality if the evil are ever so stupid as to attack them!

This is the martial spirit. We need more of it in the world of martial arts.

And those American citizens who are willing to assume responsibility for their own protection by pursuing the study of a genuinely martial art should take care to seek out an instructor who has asked and answered the foregoing questions.

About Jack Kerwick

Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. His work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications, and he recently authored, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front. Kerwick has been teaching philosophy for nearly 17 years at a variety of institutions, from Baylor to Temple, Penn State University, the College of New Jersey and elsewhere. His next book, Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism is pending publication. He is currently an instructor of philosophy at Rowan College at Burlington County.

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Howitzers, Helicopters, Humvees Headed to Ukraine BY C. TODD LOPEZ, DOD NEWS

An additional $800 million drawdown package of security assistance is on its way to Ukraine. Efforts to get the newly authorized equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian military will begin immediately, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby.

“As you’ve seen [it] go in the past, from the time the president authorizes drawdown until the first shipments actually start landing in the region can be as little as four to five days and then another couple of days once they’re there to get processed and actually in the hands of Ukrainian frontline forces,” Kirby said.

The Defense Department is still delivering equipment from the last $800 million package for Ukraine, and Kirby said that’ll likely be complete by the middle of this month. But the shipment of new equipment will begin immediately, he said.

“We’re not going to wait,” he said. “We’re going to start getting these articles on the way, as well. So, we will literally start right away.”

This most recent authorization is the seventh drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, Kirby said. About $2.6 billion in security assistance has been provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.


A large gun fires at night.


According to Kirby, the array of equipment that will be sent to Ukraine as part of the new drawdown package is broad. It includes 18 155 mm Howitzers, along with 40,000 artillery rounds. Also included are the AN/TPQ-36 counterartillery and AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radar systems.

To move Ukrainian troops around the battlefield, the package includes 100 armored Humvee vehicles, 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, and 11 Mi-17 helicopters. The helicopters will augment the five Mi-17 helicopters sent to Ukraine earlier this year.


Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby speaks to a group of people from a lectern with a tv monitor showing info on the side.


Additional Switchblade drones, Javelin missiles, medical equipment, body armor and helmets, optics and laser rangefinders, and M18A1 Claymore mines are also included in the package.

“Some of [these capabilities] are reinforcing capabilities that we have already been providing Ukraine and some of them are new capabilities that we have not provided to Ukraine,” Kirby said. “All of them are designed to help Ukraine … in the fight that they are in right now.”


A combat vehicle sits in a garage.


In addition to gear, the Department expects that there will need to be training provided as well. So far, much of what has been transferred to the Ukrainians have been systems they are already familiar with. An exception to that has been the Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial System. For those, the Department trained Ukrainian servicemembers who were already in the U.S. for other kinds of training, allowing them to train others upon their return home.

This latest round of security assistance includes new kinds of capabilities the Department believes the Ukrainians may need training on before putting it to use. That includes the Howitzer system, the two radar systems, and possible the optics and laser rangefinders as well as the Claymore mines. There may also be additional training for the Switchblade system.

Because the Ukrainians are in an ongoing fight, any training will likely follow a “train-the-trainer” approach, to ensure the least impact, Kirby said.

“We’re still working our way through what that’s going to look like, where, when, how many,” he said. “It’s more likely than not that what we would do, because they are in an active fight, is a ‘train-the-trainer’s’ program. So, pull a small number of Ukrainian forces out so that they can get trained on these systems and then send them back in.”


Two helicopters fly across a desert landscape.


It’s also expected that specific types of troops will be trained on specific types of systems.

“It’ll likely be tailored,” he said. “We’ll pull troops out that, for instance, are artillerymen, to learn the Howitzer and then go back in and train their colleagues, rather than take an artilleryman and make them responsible for … training everybody on all these systems.”

Right now, it’s unclear where such training might occur, Kirby told reporters, though he said it might happen in “multiple locations.” Additionally, training on these systems by U.S. forces would likely happen with forces already in the region.