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Sunday, September 23, 2018
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How Every GOP Candidate Should Be Challenged (from Friedman’s “Trump and...

At one level, Trump's performance ("shameful," "disgusting," "treasonous") with Putin yesterday on the Helsinki stage contained nothing he has not shown before. But at another...

Clues Today’s Republicans Somehow Ignore (My Latest Challenge to the Conservatives)

This piece is appearing in newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06). ************************* It’s hard to figure whether today’s Republicans have lost their values, or...

Sunday News: Democratic Memo Demolishes Nunes B.S.; “This Snake Can’t Shed...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, February 25. Also, see below the clips for the...

Saturday News: “Mueller’s Indictment Ends Trump’s Myth of the Russia Hoax'”;...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, February 17. Special counsel indicts Russians in 2016 election...

Thursday News: Trump Meets Putin, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?; “Critics...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 6. Trump warns of ‘severe’ consequences for North...

Drain the Swamp: Trump’s team likely defines it differently than you...

Amid the unending miasma that is really @RealDonaldTrump and the 21st century GOP, the ever-present drive and need to ‘fill in the blank’ as...

Saturday News: Trump Attacks U.S. Intelligence to Defend Russia’s Hacking of...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, December 10. Also check out President Obama's weekly address...

Sochi, Security, and the Safety of Americans

 photo 9b10bb17-ce7c-428c-abe0-1de71a30e540_zps45f6d1b4.jpgSailing a couple of ships into the Black Sea accomplishes what?  One is there to protect the other. The other is there to command and control...nothing. This is grandstanding. If tragedy occurs and Americans are involved, this self-licking ice cream cone will be revealed. What to really watch for?

The Russian "ring of steel" illustrates the dilemma faced when confronting an asymmetrical threat. The choice to harden a target is the choice to uncover others. There is only so much mass to go around and Russia's focus has been around the main venues and Sochi itself. But the greatest vulnerabilities are the routes to the venues on the slopes miles from Sochi. These are perfect targets for remotely detonated improvised explosive devices, the types of which Americans leaned to counter in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for pragmatic reasons, the United States has not shared that technology with Russia. To compensate, thousands of Russian soldiers guard those routes; a miserable assignment with many distractions.

That lack of cooperation has not been lost on the Russians and the situation in the Ukraine has washed over this event. If it comes time to react (and that is all we would be able to do since we are not integrated into the force end of the security plan) we can only wait for clearance from the Russians to respond. Sadly, that may be too late. We have observed the "lack of finesse" by Russian forces in hostage situations involving insurgents. Their doctrine is more focused on killing the perpetrators than saving the victims.

Are we are supposed to be reassured by the staging of military airlift aircraft in Europe? They are hours away and would compete with aircraft from any and every other nation for clearance and space at the airhead(s) in Sochi. A real capability in the Black Sea would include air and landing craft that are truly expeditionary with forces to conduct an evacuation to ships with hospitals at the ready. Instead, after waiting to gain access to Sochi, American aircraft will serve victims that may or may not be Americans (we always have protocols with other nations in these situations) and who may or may not have been properly triaged. These aircraft will not all immediately have access to medical personnel and equipment for care during transit. Hard choices could be forced on the tarmac in Sochi. Do you evacuate victims who may not survive the long journey leaving persons who would survive vulnerable to further violence while waiting for later evacuation?