Is there an epidemic of pneumonia among soldiers in Leningrad Oblast?

Almost 1000 draftees from Leningrad Oblast have been hospitalized in less than two months, reports Ekho Moskvy. According to the radio station, most of the soldiers have been diagnosed with pneumonia.

There are no official statements about the apparent epidemic. Ekho Moskvy says that the sick soldiers are brought to the hospital in Saint Petersburg in other cars than ambulances in order to hide the number of infections. The report says that the sick soldiers come from at least five different military installations in Leningrad Oblast. …Continue reading

Knowledge increases support for women soldiers, says Estonian study

Andres Siplane in an ICDS report about Women in the Estonian Defense Forces:

“As an important observation, it has to be pointed out that support for women serving in the [Estonian Defense Forces] is much higher among active service personnel than in society in general.[…]
While in society in general almost half of the respondents were inclined to agree with the claim that women should serve in the EDF only in peacetime or that women are not suited to fighting a war, among active service personnel only under 30% held that view.[…]
It is interesting that the experience of instructing female conscripts significantly increases active servicemen’s support for the idea that women manage equally well compared to male conscripts.”

30 percent is still a large number, but it’s a lot better than 50. And women in Estonia have only since 2013 had the chance to volunteer for conscription, so many in the military still haven’t had the experience of working with female conscripts.

Use of rape as a weapon is the (disgusting) norm in civil war

Patrick Burke for War is Boring:

But not every civil war results in mass rape. In fact, only 64 percent of the 91 civil wars between 1980 and 2012 featured wide-scale or systematic rape, according to data from Harvard Kennedy School associate professor Dara Kay Cohen’s recent book Rape During Civil War.

Surprising use of the word “only”. I would have thought the number to be much lower. This is a truly disgusting figure.

The study finds that mass rape is a weapon of terror in a civil war, but that there may also be a socializing aspect among the groups that perpetrate the raping. This is especially true if the soldiers are recruited by force.

Highly resourced rebel groups are also more likely to perpetrate rape than poorly resourced groups. This may be because highly resourced groups do not rely on support from the local population, and because a carte blanche to exploit the chaos of war for personal enrichment attracts the worst of people.

Surprisingly, neither ethnic aspects in a conflict nor the level of gender inequality in the country seems to have a correlation with the persistence of rape.

Aren’t American soldiers supposed to protect the Constitution?

Mackenzie Wolf in Air Force Times:

Captain Sonny Hernandez, an Air Force Reserve chaplain for the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, ministers to thousands of men and women serving in the Air Force. He contends that Christians serving in the military “serve Satan” if they support other service member’s rights to practice their own faiths.

In a blog published on, Hernandez wrote: “Counterfeit Christians in the armed forces will appeal to the Constitution, and not Christ, and they have no local church home — which means they have no accountability for their souls.

“Christian service members who openly profess and support the rights of Muslims, Buddhists, and all other anti-Christian worldviews to practice their religions — because the language in the Constitution permits — are grossly in error, and deceived,” he wrote.

What a jackass.

Exercise scenarios tend to be a waste of time

The fictional scenario for Zapad 2017 has gone viral as a joke on social media, and that has led The Wall Street Journal to write a piece on the made-up settings that militaries use for training:

The U.S., its NATO allies, Russia and other militaries around the world use fictional scenarios to make their military drills more sophisticated. They require soldiers to understand the political environment and motivations of the people they are trying to protect, and defeat.

It’s hard to fathom the amount of time staff officers around the world spend drafting these sophisticated scenarios so that other officers can spend time trying to figure out what the heck the exercise is about. The funny thing is that for the most part the scenario is absolutely irrelevant to the desired learning outcome of the training. I say just make a good exercise and don’t spend time overthinking the scenario.

Denmark celebrates soldiers on flag-flying day for ninth time

Denmark celebrates its soldiers on flag-flying day for deployed personnel on September 5th. Historically, Denmark does not have a tradition for celebrating military accomplishments, and for many years it seemed against the national soul to openly acknowledge military contributions or personal achievements amongst soldiers. Instead, it was looked upon as inappropriate to commemorate events that involved suffering and hurt, and the morally appropriate perception seemed to be that soldiers should be satisfied with a personal knowledge of having done one’s duty in the face of necessity.

Since the end of The Cold War the attitude towards recognition of soldiers has changed, as the country’s engagement in military conflicts has created a growing pool of veterans. Denmark has instituted several medals in appreciation of individual service, and as the result of a grassroots initiative the annual national flag-flying day for deployed personnel was established in 2009.