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The Friday 10: Edition #9
Malcolm Nance, for the love of God.
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Malcom Nance: Pipe-hitter extraordinaire.
Oh, Malcolm. Malcolm, Malcom, Malcom.
To preface, I want to make it clear I have no interest in belittling any person who makes an effort to help Ukrainians, and that this isn’t meant to be a “take-down” of Mr. Nance. But I’m going to call it like I see it.
When I first learned about this — that MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance had “joined the Foreign Legion to fight in Ukraine” — I was very surprised, but appreciative, even though Mr. Nance is most well-known for tweeting this the day 13 service members were killed in a suicide bombing during the soup sandwich Afghanistan withdrawal:
(That you’d even have this thought manifest mere hours after the bombing took place is reprehensible.)
Nance retired in 2000 after serving 20 years in the Navy. He's an esteemed counterterrorism analyst who served as a naval cryptologist. That’s an important field within the realm of information warfare, but at the risk of sounding imperious, I want to underscore that a “naval cryptology officer” is about as far away from being a grunt — an infantryman, a ground pounder, a foot soldier, or anyone who even carries a rifle for God’s sake — as it is possible to be.
According to Wikipedia:
Nance took part in combat operations that occurred after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, was peripherally involved with the 1986 United States bombing of Libya, served on USS Wainwright during Operation Praying Mantis and was aboard during the sinking of the Iranian missile boat Joshan, served on USS Tripoli during the Gulf War, and assisted during a Banja Luka, Bosnia air strike
I was unable to find any details regarding Nance and the “combat operations that occurred after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings.” Probably because we never really launched a retaliatory attack—we weren't entirely sure who to go after, and had nowhere near enough evidence to accuse Iran of being involved. Other than some naval barrages and air strikes to “interdict continuous harassing fire from Druze and Syrian missile and artillery sites,” there were no military operations. Which is to say that Nance was not walking around anywhere with a rifle and playing infantry like he is now, and I found nothing to suggest that he even has any past, decades-old training.
Here’s a picture of a “Cryptologic Naval Technician Area”:
Well-lit. Clean. Quiet. Safe. Air conditioning and heating. Nice chairs. Probably snacks and such tucked away in some drawer or other.
Notice (and infer) what’s missing, and what working in an environment of this sort does not entail. There’s no mud, no rain, no weapons, no freezing cold or sweltering heat, no loud noises, no shitting in a hole, no sleeping outside or sleep deprivation or hunger or thirst or smelling like death incarnate due to wearing the same uniform for so long that it stiffens and turns white from sodium chloride, no carrying heavy shit or running or crouching or diving or throwing or anything else that might require even the most minimal of physical exertion. Nance’s naval NEC was basically the epitome of poginess.
Am I suggesting he never worked in a different capacity or environment? Of course not. What I'm saying is that Nance is nearly 61 years old and not in good enough physical shape to be anything other than, at best, a nuisance and annoying, and, at worst, a liability; he's wearing OCPs and gear that he wasn't issued, seeing as he retired in 2000 and the Army didn't roll that uniform and camouflage pattern out until 2015; and to be blunt, I think he's being dishonest.
Speaking of the uniform: It's so new, so clean, so unused that it looks like he's wearing a costume. He resembles nothing so much as a grown man on his way to Comi-con. Viscerally cringeworthy.
It’s a bit harder to notice his impeccable cleanliness if you’re looking at the picture that he slapped a black/white filter on, very probably a not so subtle attempt to conceal how vividly fresh his outfit is. I think I can even spot the price tag on those
gun gloves mittens—which are so big and so over-the-top as to be clownish; one wonders how the hell he thinks he's going to fit a finger in the trigger guard of that rifle with those bad boys on.
Now, per Mr. Nance's interview — which it turns out was in Lyiv, approximately 1,000km from the closest front, a rather glaring discrepancy in itself that I suppose explains why he's outside at 0200 during “an air raid” even though it's universal standard operating procedure to go dark during an air raid as opposed to shining TV-grade key, fill, and back lights on yourself — he’s been in Ukraine for a month, during raputitsa when it's so muddy that armored vehicles are often abandoned after getting stuck and everything outside is more or less constantly wet, “fighting with the Foreign Legion.”
So, you've been in the field, in this case in the Donbas since that’s where the theatre shifted as of a couple of weeks ago — right? — and where fighting positions are defensive-postured and trench-based — like, in the ground, Malcolm; deep, long ditches that obviously aren’t all that conducive to drainage and are notorious for collecting stagnant pools of water, meaning it's virtually impossible to remain as clean as a boxed GI Joe action figure, as you are — but you look fresh as a fucking daisy. No weight lost, either. You've even managed to maintain upkeep of your facial hair. Remarkable!
Let's talk about that rifle. I've never seen anyone sling a rifle like that, with the strap over your head like a necklace so you can hold it against your belly. Fascinating. But why, pray tell, do you need a rifle with a mag for a TV interview 1000km from the nearest front? And what's up with that magazine, friend? AK mags have a front lip that has to be seated before rocking the mag in. If you look closely, you can see that the front lip on his mag isn't inserted properly, meaning that if he were to rack that rifle, it'd instantly jam. Oh dear, and what do you have to say about that safety—why is your weapon on full-auto? With the bolt closed…? Is the mag empty?
That uniform and gear, to boot. Why are your mag pouches empty? Actually, why is your chest rig completely sterile? Why isn’t your American flag subdued? And that flag should be worn on your sleeve, stars forward, with (I think) the Ukrainian flag on top. Then we have the pinkish “keep calm and return fire” patch you’ve chosen to display so prominently. It’s cute. Nice little bit of flair on your OCPs. It’s also fucking stupid and the sort of thing a 12 year old airsoft aficionado would do, just like the photo you had someone take so you could share it on social media.
One other thing: I tried to count how many tweets and re-tweets Nance has sent out in the past 48 hours to gauge whether he's doing real shit that's prohibitive to phone use — like, say, “fighting,” or doing anything that would require an OCP uniform and a rifle (with just a single, unseated magazine and an empty TAP… clearly ready to put some lead downrange), and I lost track twice. Then I looked back even further on his timeline. Suffice it to say that this dude has been tweeting and re-tweeting at a pace that would've rivaled Donald Trump in his prime.
To be sure, if Nance is in Ukraine in some other supportive capacity, actually being of service, he's to be commended for that. But he should've specified his purpose, his role, instead of affecting the pipe-hitter persona. You are a 60 year-old former naval cryptologist and linguist, not a trigger puller.
Bottom line is that if this wasn't about ego or attention or a new book deal or some other self-serving grift, he should've emulated the silent professional. No performative, posturing interviews with your beloved MSNBC that reek of self-aggrandizement and pomposity, and which take place 1000km from the front. No theatrics or ostentatious airs. Nobody should even know you're there, and if the word gets out organically, then lead by example and be quiet and focus on why you are in fact there. You can seek the spotlight when you're finished. That's your prerogative. Go for it.
This is pure speculation on my part and I’m no doctor, but…
I think Putin is sick, that he might have Parkinson’s disease, or maybe vascular dementia, or maybe some other neurological issue. This “interview” (more like a talk; that’s his defense minister, Shoigu) was recently released, and if you watch, he appears to grip the table with his right hand the entire time. That could be a way to hide a tremor (might be in his right leg, too, since he seems to casually lift it up and down; possibly suffered a stroke).
His posture is notable as well. My understanding is that, as Parkinson’s progresses, one’s head will begin to look as though it’s resting, rather than held upright by the neck.
But vascular dementia would be very bad for reasons that needn’t be explained:
Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain. You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don't always cause vascular dementia. — Mayo Clinic
Edit — I came across this, too:
Seen in downtown Los Angeles:
Very significant development.
Russian TV news showing off “captured” American anti-tank weapons… They’re just empty containers for missiles that have already been fired.
Definitely not a partisan issue.
The hubris is stunning.
Dude, you guys can’t even handle Ukraine, but you’re going to stand there with a straight face and talk about waging war on the entire world? “No mercy.” Stop.
Mariupol has been decimated; they’re not having school classes. Plus, the girl looks terrified. Shabby photo opp.
Motorcycle helmets > Kevlar
Musk is clearly out of control.
I just thought this was interesting; no message intended by sharing.
Thank you, fact checkers, for your selfless endeavors to ensure the truth is known!
I’ve watched this at least 5 times.
This is an actual photo used by NY Mag in a profile on the new Times editor.
Dude. Besides having some serious Doug Stamper vibes… what are you doing? Why are you on the floor? There’s literally a chair right next to you. Is this supposed to be like a sassy juxtaposition kind of thing? Newest commissar of The New York Times relaxes on the floor, casually, in chic business attire.
Worth reading this entire thread.
Because you and the CDC are above the law, eh Fauci?
Frankly, if you're unable to see the difference between a mandate forcing people to do something and the lifting of the mandate so that the decision, the agency, and the personal autonomy are returned to the individual, you have a critical thinking problem.