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January 05, 2007

H&I* Fires, 5 JAN 2007

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. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


Zenpundit is someone I always wish I read more often. He's always a portal to lots of good stuff, as well as his own commentary and observations. This post is just one of those portals to good chit for us wannabe (and you actual) theorists.


One of the fun things about what I do is that I get to hang around and look at all the "good ideas" coming down the pike. Because I work on it, I don't talk about it too much - but this one is safe, it being something I have nothing to do with, but still can keep an eye on via my network. Behold - Heinlein's Mobile Infantry is closer than you think. -the Armorer


Interesting poll from Gallup: Majority of Americans View Media Coverage of Iraq as Inaccurate. The really interesting part is which "side" of inaccurate they think it falls on.

The Jamil Hussein story moves sideways. More from Michelle Malkin, who is in Iraq. In a related matter, Flopping Aces has some thoughts about Reuters stringers. UPDATE: Cassandra has a great post on the AP Hussein issue.

Mogadishu is celebrating its newfound freedom. - FbL


Most times, a typo is a typo. Sometimes, it just may be our subconscious tossing something into the light. Like this bit from Brit Hume and Fox News...

It turns out that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's vow not to seek a second term wasn't the half of it. Maliki tells The Wall Street Journal that he regrets accepting the job in the first place — and wishes he could get out of it early. Maliki was sworn in for a four-year term last spring. He says he only agreed to the job to serve the national interest. His goal was to reign in secular violence, but the fighting has increased and Bush administration officials have questioned his ability to govern.

Emphasis added. -the Armorer


Meanwhile, across the pond... Tom Newton-Dunn, writing in The Sun:

THE Army is facing a massive crisis as troops in frontline fighting battalions quit in droves over poor pay and slum homes.

All but one of 39 bayonet battalions are undermanned — and overall they have only three-quarters of the men they need.

Yet some of the worst-hit units are STILL being sent on dangerous operations to do the job expected of a full-strength battalion.

A whopping 14,560 troops left the Army last year, with the infantry suffering by far the greatest losses.

Recruiting is also falling short of targets after years of Government underfunding and “overstretch”.

Many battalions have done three six-month tours in Iraq or Afghanistan in as many years.

The shocking state of the Army is revealed in a classified document leaked to The Sun.

Read the rest, here. Come along, Mr. Blair. Lead. Or get out of the way. -the Armorer


Fresh off the presses The Moat Monster Rules. - BOQ


Dangit! We've got Microsofters amongst our readership! Where's yer loyalty! How come we Denizens didn't get in on this? I want my Vista Laptop! Yeah, we aren't tech-bloggers... so what? 8^D Waidaminnit! The Bassids! They're Indian-Givers! (oops, was that offensively non-PC?) Some people were not amused. Ah, the heck with it - I'll still take a free laptop. -the Armorer


More from across the pond - this time the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy commanders were in uproar yesterday after it was revealed that almost half of the Fleet's 44 warships are to be mothballed as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-cutting measure. Senior officers have said the plans will turn Britain's once-proud Navy into nothing more than a coastal defence force. The Government has admitted that 13 unnamed warships are in a state of reduced readiness, putting them around 18 months away from active service. Today The Daily Telegraph can name a further six destroyers and frigates that are being proposed for cuts. A need to cut the defence budget by £250 million this year to meet spending requirements has forced ministers to look at drastic measures. MoD sources have admitted it is possible that the Royal Navy will discontinue one of its major commitments around the world at a time when Sir Jonathon Band, the First Sea Lord, has said more ships are needed to protect the high seas against terrorism and piracy. News of further cuts to what was once the world's most formidable fleet comes as critics say failings across the Services are becoming increasingly apparent. More details are emerging of the near-squalor that soldiers are forced to tolerate in barracks when they return from six months of dangerous overseas operations. Questions have also been raised about the poor pay for troops and equipment failures which continue to dog operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From one angle, the Decline of the West continues. Viewed from the other side, "About time we made it impossible for these people to go adventuring."

Read the rest here, in The Telegraph. -the Armorer


Meanwhile, enjoy your tax filing for this year. The Dems are clearing the decks for next year. Larry Kudlow notes in The Corner:

John Fund reports today in Opinion Journal's Political Diary that the new Pelosi House has opened the door to tax hikes. Yesterday's package of new rules to govern the lower chamber erases the three-fifths majority that was required to raise taxes under the old Republican House rules. The new rules allow tax hikes through a simple majority vote. This is a bad sign. I wonder if today's stock market decline isn't picking up this high tax threat.

And... the New Kids On The Block are firing another one over the President's bow? Off of Drudge right now: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have sent a letter to President Bush saying 'surging forces' in Iraq is a failed strategy and calling for phased redeployment instead... DEVELOPING... -the Armorer


The Letter:

January 5, 2007

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do not believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.

Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction. Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution.

Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

In a recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, our top commander for Iraq and the region, said the following when asked about whether he thought more troops would contribute to our chances for success in Iraq:

“I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement. In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close. We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq. We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.

Sincerely, Harry Reid
Majority Leader

Nancy Pelosi

-the Armorer


The letter above just set me off. For what it's worth (and not much, at that), I had to rant about it. So, my own "translation" of the Pelosi-Reid letter. - 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. 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".

Nope, he ain't dropped an Acme anvil on me head yet. But I know it'll happen. That's why we sleep with one eye open 'round here.--ry

[THWOCK! -the Armorer]

Comments on H&I* Fires, 5 JAN 2007
Laurie briefed on January 5, 2007 10:58 AM

Typo, or double entendre?

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 5, 2007 11:00 AM

Well, in a sense, yes. But I rather suspect typo with subconscious component than deliberate.

Oldloadr briefed on January 5, 2007 12:08 PM

I suspect Spell-Check dependancy...

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 5, 2007 12:11 PM

Well, certainly, for it slipping through.

I'm trying for Deep Meaning for it showing up at all!

MajMike briefed on January 5, 2007 12:26 PM

to get the full effect of that Future Force Warrior briefing, you really need to have seen it done in an auditorium with Prince John Abrams doing the talking and then showing the film clips....

completely blew me away.

was just waiting for someone to call "Johnny Rico" in the middle of it.

FbL briefed on January 5, 2007 12:50 PM

John, please stop updating this post. The ones about the British military are enough to make me want to... well, it's not something good. :(

*going off to mourn the decline of Britain as a world power of any significance*

What a bunch of fools must be in charge over there...

BillT briefed on January 5, 2007 01:07 PM

Natick Labs has been touting the Super Soldier (formerly "Robosoldier," "Soldier 21," and a couple of other codenames) ensemble for almost twenty years -- only difference is that a lot of the gear's finally been *invented*.

I figure by the time they finally get it ruggedized sufficiently, it'll weigh 75 pounds and cost $1.8 billion for each set -- which will then have to be individually fitted to the wearer immediately after the six-week block of instruction on where to find the batteries and how to change them.

And, with the Dems in charge of the budget, we may be able to field two full squads (one Army, one Marine), but we won't have the cash to buy any ammo.

"The side with the simplest uniform wins..."

FbL briefed on January 5, 2007 02:47 PM

Re: "The Letter"


John, I warned you to stop posting on this! ;)

ry briefed on January 5, 2007 03:00 PM

I thought someone reported that LandWarrior was axed(wasn't it DefenseTech?)?

Maggie briefed on January 5, 2007 03:28 PM

Re: The Letter

Can I suggest that "W" take a page from MacAuliffe's book?

Barb briefed on January 5, 2007 03:55 PM

Hey - 100% of the Microsofties in the Denizen crew would have loved a laptop, too! We're not the 'right kind' of bloggers, John.

Then again, I've been running Vista on my own hardware at home since RC1, as have thousands of other people who downloaded it from the web.

kat-missouri briefed on January 5, 2007 04:05 PM

I object to:

"Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain."

No Strategic Gain? Are they speaking about Iraq internally or our position in the region?

I also object to the generic:

"A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement."

Within the region is clearly in regards to their continued push to "talk" with Syria and Iran.

Bull Frogs!

Some aspects I don't totally disagree with such as phased redeployment and focus on training. However, I disagree on the time frame and I am sure I would disagree on the number of troops to be "redeployed" in that time frame. The training is already being done, but would like to see an even larger effort. However, being more realistic than the Dems, I know there is a limit to the number of trainees and the amount of training they could sustain in a given time period. This would take a great deal more time and troops than the Dems are expecting. We would also require the focus of our forces being trained and deployed to be greatly reduced to "how to train foreign forces", which is already a problem for us.

Further, the Dem theory leads us directly to Vietnam type withdrawal that would lead to leaving the Iranians with virtual control of Iraq.

Not something I am willing to contemplate.

I don't think the Dem strategy has been any better planned out than any other strategy. it is strictly an internal political move so they can claim to have ended the Iraq war in the next election. clearly they believe that the fallout from such a move would be minimal or ...

I don't seems fantastical to believe that global diplomacy could effectively minimize the effect of an Iranian dominated Iraq that would also change the power leadership within OPEC to be an Iranian/Venezuelan/Iraq (everybody hating our guts). What sort of economic fall out would that cause once they consolidated their votes to decrease the flow of oil?

Not only economic, but it would mean they would effectively control our ability to deploy militarily by controlling oil and thus fuel required.

Which, i suppose the Dems don't mind because they want to cut the military and go back to clintonesque response to attacks and threats.

What a bunch of .

On the flip side, there are some things I may agree on peripherally:

Putting more emphasis on Iraqi control and security is something that everyone has been talking about. Giving them more responsibility may be an answer. For sure, an Iraqi kicking down the door and accidently shooting someone has a lot less ramifications than if a US marine did the same. Or, if an Iraqi stomps a suspected terrorist into the ground.

Secondly, a small power vaccuum may cause Iran to put more resources and money into Iraq to try to gain more influence. We need to make it as expensive as possible for them. A little misadventure in Iraq could help create a little financial fiasco that would destabilize the Iranian mullahcracy.

also, a little lawlessness gives us an opportunity to send some money, guns and trouble the other way, if you no what I mean. ;)

Trias briefed on January 5, 2007 04:46 PM

I've known GB was in decline but had no idea it was quite so accute.

Bush talked about bipartisanship for what reason? Neither he nor the new House really intend to get along.

FbL briefed on January 5, 2007 05:07 PM

Trias, you lost me. Why are you mentioning Bush and bipartisanship when the letter is from Reid and Pelosi?

FbL briefed on January 5, 2007 05:27 PM

Upon further thought, I think I understand, Trias. Are you saying that Bush should be compromising with the Democrats instead of going in a different direction than they want?

If so, it seems you are holding "bipartisanship" above all. If Bush and his advisors firmly believe a "surge" is in the ultimate best interests of the U.S., are you suggesting he adjust his military plans simply for the sake of cooperation with his political opponents?

That's one of the things that drives me nuts about politics today--the fact that in wartime even military strategy is just part of the game. There are rights and wrongs here (I don't claim to be an expert on either of them), and they have powerful consequences. I am not impressed with the idea that military strategy must be negotiated with people whose preferred strategies the person in ultimate responsibility believes would be detrimental to the country.

kat-missouri briefed on January 5, 2007 07:26 PM

I just realized that the Dem letter (as usual) is frankly an opportunistic bunch of *bleep* meant to take credit for something the military already said it wanted to do.

I forgot how to leave a link so here's the long version:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. commanders in Iraq expect to have handed over full control of the country's security and armed forces to the Iraqi authorities by the end of this year, a U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Major General William Caldwell, a spokesman, also told a news conference that Iraq's military and police planned to buy hundreds of armored vehicles, as well as helicopters, under a $150 million agreement signed last month with the United States.

Describing 2007 as the "Year of Transition", Caldwell said that by summer all 11 Iraqi army divisions to have been formed by that time would be directly under the command of the Iraqi government and by autumn all of Iraq's 18 provincial governors would be in charge of security in their regions.

"By the end of this year, the dynamics will be entirely different," he said. [snip]

However, it is in line with remarks in recent months by General George Casey, the U.S. commander in Iraq, about when he believes Iraqi forces will be able to cope largely without U.S. help.

Caldwell said the United States would continue to provide logistical and intelligence support, as well as work to ensure the "loyalty" of some units of the Iraqi forces -- many in Saddam Hussein's once dominant Sunni Arab minority accuse some of being loyal not to the government but to sectarian Shi'ite militias."

They can't even come up with their own d*m plan. The only thing they want is to piggy back "talking to Iran" on an existing plan.

What a bunch of *bleep*

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 5, 2007 08:23 PM

Fuzzy - I think you are overthinking what Trias was referring to.

If I read Trias correctly - he's referring to Bush's speech where he talked about bipartisanship where he probably doesn't mean it, and my list of little things the Dems are doing (and all those things I didn't mention).

In other words, Trias is just being like most of us - quit being mealy-mouthed (on both sides) and say what you mean, not what you think we all want to hear.

Or something to that effect.

I didn't come away with any deeper meaning that a Trias-like "A pox on both your houses!"

But I'm sure he'll defend himself if he feels it needs defending.

FbL briefed on January 5, 2007 08:41 PM

Fuzzy - I think you are overthinking...

Well, that would certainly be novel for me! ;)

BillT briefed on January 5, 2007 09:11 PM

Ry - LandWarrior was the original "system of systems" approach, with each GI having a flat screen GPS slaved to an IFF embedded in his tac vest, "smart" cammo that used a helmet-mounted, rearward scanning camera sending digits to a processor that sent 'trons to itty-bitty LEDs woven into the fabric to match the GI's background. And the whole thing was water-cooled. Oooops -- *glycerine* cooled.

The helmet had a short ballistic faceplate that was supposed to meld imagery from an IR camera, a low-light camera and the GPS to augment the squad radio conformally mounted on the side to give the wearer "complete" situational awareness. In actually, it just gave the testers headaches.

And the weapon (they called it the Buck Rogers up at Picatinny) was an over-and-under job combining a one-off shoulder-fired 20mm cannon and a Son-of-Stoner that fired 3mm needles (caseless, of course) at something like 3,000 rounds-per. And weighed forty pounds. With integral bipod. The fuzes of the 20mm rounds were electronically set by a laser rangefinder, so they'd produce airbursts over an enemy position. The system wouldn't function in precipitation of any kind.

Would have scared the bejeebers out of the bad guys, but the only thing that worked with any consistency was the squad radio. Supposedly, one of the engineers at Pic took the whole kit and kaboodle (except for Buck Rogers) home so his kid could pretend to be a Space Marine every Hallowe'en...

haji0matic briefed on January 5, 2007 09:13 PM

1)I have read STARSHIP TROOPERS about a dozen times.

2)The Army tried some of this stuff earlier (beta version) came in at a ball-busting 100 lbs...and that was before adding in carrying beans and bullets.

3)Live by the battery...die by the battery...

4)MORE BOOTS ON THE GROUND....I'm just sayin is all.....

Trias briefed on January 5, 2007 11:16 PM

Fuzzy: I mentioned it because recently Bush made a speech about bipartisanship between the house and himself.

I'm not saying what Bush should do. It's up to Bush if he holds bipartisanship or the military goals above all. One way is disasterous the other nearly impossible. I do not envy his position. I'm basically saying call it how it is, not just for Bush but for the Dem's in the House as well.

DoesNotMatter briefed on January 6, 2007 07:27 AM

Here's a forum thread which I stumbled upon yesterday. Contains some rather amusing stories, mainly from enlisted soldiers. Warning it's rather long, 120 pages atm, and has attracted some of the ususal idiots which pop up in any thread military. Though not as bad as the post above me.

Link Here

[This comment is in response to a since-removed piece of troll-scat. We try to keep the Castle clean. Honest disagreement is encouraged, mindless flinging of poop is removed. -the Armorer]

AFSister briefed on January 6, 2007 08:08 AM

If only I was a uber-popular techblogger I wouldn't have to worry about replacing the screen for my laptop right now! DANG IT! I closed it up Tuesday night with a pen in a groove on the keyboard and cracked the screen.... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

DoesNotMatter briefed on January 6, 2007 08:16 AM

Uhm, my first post does not refer to trias but rather a since then banished troll which discovered caps-lock

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 6, 2007 08:43 AM

"Cindy" who is a Muslim in Germany, doesn't really like us much.

He uses a real email, oddly enough.

He's no better in email.

I sent him a note expressing my sincere hope that he achieves the martyrdom he so avidly wishes on others, or is he one of those wimps who sends others to do his dirty work?

BloodSpite briefed on January 6, 2007 09:49 AM

Uber-popular Tech-Blogger.....

*whistles innocently......and hides*

Ok ok so the latter may apply but the former doesn't. Except in Israel (Don't ask me why but half our hits each month come from there)

What type of laptop is it AFSis? Sent me some notes, specs etc etc etc. I might be able to either get you some parts or help you find a decent repair guru in your area.

fdcol63 briefed on January 6, 2007 01:06 PM

As we say in the mental health biz, iris has "some serious issues". LOL

Either that, or she's tripping on some of the same blue microdot acid that I saw floating around the billets in the early '80's. LOL

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 6, 2007 01:45 PM

I assure you, everyone, there were *no* drugs in our barracks.

Fdcol is, I'm sure, *mistaken*.



fdcol63 briefed on January 8, 2007 08:48 AM

You're right, John ..... absolutely none! LOL

Musta just been a bad dream ... kinda like that one I had about a Beavers post-wide formation on the parade field in front of 6/14 FA, and those MP and Polizei vans whizzing through with those loud, yappy canines! LOL

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 8, 2007 09:00 AM

...and the subguns. Polizei with subguns.

That was my last big formation as Adjutant before I moved up to the D/A S4 shop. And the D/A S4 was an aviating Infantryman. Yep.

ry briefed on January 8, 2007 06:22 PM

I always screw this up. 2 is intel. 3 is supply(or is it personel?)? 4 is ops? (Sigh.) I really needs a better edumacation than I'm able to give myself.

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 8, 2007 07:13 PM

US Usage.

S1 = Personnel and Administration
S2 = Intel
S3 = Operations and Training
S4 = Logisitics
S5 = Civil Military Relations.

There are others, but really, only geeks like me deal with them.

S = Brigade and below Staff.
G = General Staff (Division and Above)
J = Joint Staff (Joint Commands, not just the JCS)

ry briefed on January 8, 2007 07:58 PM

Ah, thankee.

Wait, what's that falling? Owwww-uh!

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