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August 28, 2006

H&I* Fires 28 Aug 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


Bad luck for the writers and producers of the Emmy's last night (worse for the passengers and their families though) - but one wonders, if the crash had occurred at LAX, or Ontario, would they have run with the skit? I'm not the only one who wonders, I see.

Rumsfeld visits Alaska to check out the missile interceptors. (I'd have really been impressed had he visited in, oh, January, but I digress and am just being snarky). He was cautiously optimistic...

He alluded to his own skeptical nature. "I want to see it happen," he said, "A full end-to-end" demonstration is needed "where we actually put all the pieces" of the highly complex and far-flung missile defense system together and see whether it would succeed in destroying a warhead in flight.

"That just hasn't happened," he said, adding that some elements of the missile defense system are yet to come on line, including some of the radars and other sensors used to track the target missile.

Dang Beltway Bandits! (Except me, of course).

Moving on to Iran... some people find exercises like this provocative - I (and lots of people like me) just see them as data collection opportunities. I can't help but wonder - in Iran, at least, are their Universities actual useful teaching and research institutions, or are the bulk of their engineers trained elsewhere, and spend their energy importing, copying, and tweaking other people's stuff? I dunno - I'm asking, given that I've read that a once vibrant learning and explorative culture has been smothered by religiosity. Y'know, just like Christian Universities were hampered pre-Enlightenment.

Apropos of my comments about Feckless Window Dressing comes this bit of information about how UNIFIL went about it's business during the recent dust-up in Lebanon. -the Armorer


Actually, I suppose this will make the people who so like to call anyone who supports the war who isn't fresh from the box, in the box, or about to deploy to the box a chickenhawk to push the theme even harder...

At Fort Jackson, the Army's largest basic training center, graying recruits are even joining up with their sons and daughters.

For the older troops, enlisting in the Army is an opportunity to pursue a dream that's been set aside because they had to support a family.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Pfc. Russell Dilling, 42, a father of four, including two sons who are in the Army. "I've been living with regret for 23 years."

Read the whole story here.

Heh. Okay - this from a website, Capitol Hill Blue, that tags itself "Rational Reporting of Politics Without Partisanship":

From Capitol Hill Blue

Army officer admits role in Iraq bribery scheme
By Staff and Wire Reports
Aug 28, 2006, 06:07

In the latest example of widespread corruption among the millions of dollars wasted by the U.S. government in Iraq, a former U.S. Army Reserve officer admitted Friday that he steered millions of dollars in Iraq-reconstruction contracts in exchange for jewelry, computers, cigars and sexual favors.

Bruce D. Hopfengardner, 46, of Fredericksburg, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

Hopfengardner served as a special adviser to the U.S.-led occupation forces, recommending funding for projects on law enforcement facilities in Iraq.

He admitted conspiring with Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania, Robert J. Stein Jr., a former Defense Department contract official, and others to create a corrupt bidding process that included the theft of $2 million in reconstruction money.

Hopfengardner is the first military officer to plead guilty in the conspiracy. Bloom and Stein already have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

Okay, fine as far as it goes... except that, aside from these three bozos, they don't offer any other data, links, references, zilch, nada, zip - to support the "widespread corruption" meme. Perhaps that's true, perhaps not (and KBR certainly has it's problems here) but it's not supportive of their, ahem, self-image there. Of course, with a website that has a FUBAR category... it can't be *all* bad. -the Armorer


If you haven't read Smash's Abu Samoud al-Americani's latest, you should. -the Armorer


Heh. Here's an interesting analysis... All those Corporate Fat Cats give more to the Left than they do the Right - even though they get accused of, and excoriated for... funding the Right. I can't wait (well, yes, I can) to see a liberal rebuttal of this study. I frankly will leave it to someone else to dig into the methodology. Of course - that result doesn't really surprise me - IIRC, Democrat candidates tend to get their money from these same sources, while Republicans, while mining the same groups, get a lot more "little money," i.e., the type I give. -the Armorer


Cassandra covers the bombshell in the Valerie Plame case.

Your good news for the day - FbL

Heh. I guess Randy Newman was right after all! *cue music track for "Short People"* ~AFSis


The Salamander has a great video of singing griping Marines on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. As you listen to the words, keep in mind Iwo Jima was one of the ships that helped evacuate American citizens from Lebanon. - FbL


*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to that particular topic. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".