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January 08, 2007

Tension in the Ranks in Blighty

CAPT H sends: Colonel sacked for rebuke over visits to injured.

Sean Rayment, writing in the Sunday Telegraph:

A high-flying Army officer has been sacked for rebuking a senior commander who failed to visit injured troops in hospital.

Col Julian Clover, 43, was dismissed from his post as a staff officer at the Army's Land Command headquarters after clashing with his superior over the need for senior officers to visit troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq at the Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

His sacking has sent shock waves through Land Command, the biggest Army headquarters in Britain, and has raised concerns that some senior officers are "out of touch" with the concerns of the rank and file.

There's more to the story.

Brig Bruce Brealey, 47, who had previously served in the Royal Artillery, was on a rota of senior officers who had been asked to visit Selly Oak hospital in November to check up on the soldiers' welfare and to deal with any complaints they might have. It is understood, however, that before he was due to travel to the hospital he delegated the visit to Col Clover, who at the time was an assistant chief of staff with responsibility for media operations at the headquarters.

After visiting the hospital, Col Clover had a meeting with Brig Brealey in which he expressed his view in a "forthright and uncompromising manner" that it was not acceptable for senior officers to delegate the responsibility of visiting injured troops to junior officers. The two officers were known by colleagues to have had a difficult working relationship.

Brigadier Brealy is referred to by a fellow officer as a "process man" whilst Colonel Clover has made a career in unconventional operations. A clash of personalities.

I'm no Brit, so I may be wrong, but I read this rather as Brigadier Brealy is a Stuffed Shirt Rule-bound Garret Trooper, while Colonel Clover is rather more results-oriented. I can see, being a Brigadier, how your schedule might be pretty full and it's hard to carve out the time to do things like that. Who knows what the travel time is to the hospital?

Of course, that's why you have a vehicle with a driver, and a cell phone, etc - and a laptop. No reason you can't work while in the vehicle going to and fro. And I suspect the hospital might just allow you some leeway in visiting hours, so you could go after work.

And, I suspect, this incident was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the Brigadier, what with that unruly subordinate. The Brigadier undoubtedly has a story.

Absent any more information, however, I frankly don't care. Bad Brigadier. Sit, stay! You can't find time in your schedule to go visit soldiers? To show you actually care for soldiers - and make the hospital people know you care for soldiers, especially wounded ones? If you can't muster that kind of professionalism, then, in my book, you are unworthy of your commission.

Worse, the man's a Gunner. An Artilleryman. A Redleg (which no doubt was *some* of CAPT H's motivation for sending me the story).

Meaningless as it is, I shun you, sir. I call upon Saint Barbara to withdraw her patronage from you.

Unless you've got a far better reason than the story indicates. If so, I'm sure Saint Barbara will take that into consideration. However, if I hear of you suffering a horrible accident involving a barbecue gone wild... or something similar - well, we'll know Saint Barbara's opinion, won't we?*

This isn't about Colonel Clover - wronged or not. He's getting by on his 70K ($135K USD) salary just fine.

This is about the soldiers, wounded soldiers, you didn't have time for.

Shame, Brigadier. Shame.

You can read the whole story here.

If someone can show me the Brigadier's side of the story, I'll be happy to run with it.

*Note to unbalanced personalities. Don't help the Saint. She doesn't need it. Let her be the judge. Don't you do a thing. -the Armorer

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

November 16, 2006

Oh good golly gee, save me from the Crusaders.

And no, I don't smoke.

Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking By Dana Yates, Daily Journal Staff Belmont is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere else.

The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one’s car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

Yep. I didn't make that up. It gets better, though.

It's the attitude.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image [sic] how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

I'm betting he said "Imagine" and the paper just spell-checked themselves into that corner.

Okay - let's do some imagining. First, let's change the quote a teensy bit.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [fill in the blank] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

Alrighty then. Would not then, all these statements be true? Where *do* we draw the line.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [drinking] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [drug use] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [gun ownership] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [vehicle ownership] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [bathtubs] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [fill in the blank] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [being overweight] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [unprotected sex] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law against [fast food] as we can, I would like to make it illegal,” said Councilman Dave Warden. “What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter.”

Go ahead, come up with your own. I've made this a Denizen post so Denizens can add to the post directly, not just via the comments.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 16, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

September 17, 2006

Pope Benedict and Manuel Paleologus...

SWWBO, Chief Catholic here at Castle Argghhh! has been all over this.

So, the Pope has apologized.

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn't reflect his personal opinion.

Over this:

In his speech on Tuesday, Benedict quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

Works for me - he's sorry that a bunch of ignorant punks took remarks out of context and got their panties in a twist.

Guess what? I'm sorry they're a bunch of ignorant punks, too. And I'm not just talking about the Imams and their congregations deep in the Muslim world who can be expected to have a profound ignorance of Christian and Western history and, fed by a sound bite secularist western media, only heard the remarks out of context, and then behaved in the (to my eyes) childish ways they have become so famous for... torching churches, tossing firebombs, the usual reaction of certain practioners of the religion of peace to words, any words, that might be perceived as... oh, I don't know, critical. Yet they look at you uncomprehendingly when you ask them about their criticism of, oh, judaism or christianity.

No, rather, I'm saving my greater contempt for the MSM and their reporting of he issue.

But I also like the fact that Benedict didn't apologize for the remarks, just expressed regret people got their panties in a twist.

Muslim reaction was mixed...

Mahmoud Ashour, the former deputy of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni Arab world's most powerful institution, told Al-Arabiya TV immediately after the pope's speech that, "It is not enough. He should apologize because he insulted the beliefs of Islam. He must apologize in a frank way and say he made a mistake."

What, quoting old dead white men to illustrate a point in how things have morphed over time is a mistake? Hmmmm, better check to see if this guy is on faculty at a Major University... He didn't make a mistake, he quoted from history to support a point. And if you aren't adult enough to work with that... okay.

There's no pulling the wool over the eyes of this academic, Mohammed al-Nujeimi, a professor at the Institute of Judicial and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, he got the point...

The pope does not want to apologize. He is evading apology and what he said today is a repetition of his previous statement," he told Al-Arabiya TV.

But the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, takes a more laid-back approach,

But the leader of Egypt's largest Islamic political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said that "while anger over the Pope's remarks is necessary, it shouldn't last for long."

Of course, why does he take a laid-back view? He senses victory in the long-term...

While he is the head of the Catholic Church in the world, many Europeans are not following (the church) so what he said won't influence them. Our relations with Christians should remain good, civilized and cooperative," Mohammed Mahdi Akef told The Associated Press.

Methinks he sees Europe as ready to accept dhimmitude, following a template laid down by Vichy France.

I mined this article for the quotes.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Sep 17, 2006
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Pope apologizes for comments on Islam
» Flopping Aces links with: Oh, The Outrage!
» Flopping Aces links with: Oh, The Outrage!

July 28, 2006

Tagged. Gollum Style.

Dang it. Why did Trias tag me with this ‘what do you’ thing? You’se a cruel man Trias. Posting it here because Kat’s Place (middleground) is so serious, unlike Argghhh!

1) What scares me:
a) Losing my physical faculties, which I’m already starting to do.
b) Losing my mental faculties (I know what you’re thinking, but no, not yet.).
c) The idea that the inmates are running the asylum the world over.
2) People who make me laugh:
a) Pro-comedians(Bill Cosby, Billy Connley, Gabriel Iglesias)
b) People who do the same crap over and over with the expectation of a different result.
c) Myself. When you do as much stupid chit as I have you have to laugh.
d) My wife, Jess. How anyone so smart and so sophisticated can be so into silly stuff like Pokemon and the anime Fushigi Yugi just astounds the heck outta me.
3) Things I hate the most:
a) Elitism. This is the fastest way to piss me off in the world. That means much of the political left (since they seem to be so smug in believing that they are morally superior in just about every instance while those of us who disagree just aren’t capable of understanding their ideas.) and many comedians have lost me from the word go.
b) That I wasted 15 years of my life studying the wrong subject. Your vocation and avocation should be matched horses. Mine ain’t.
c) When my uber-liberal in-laws meddle or get ‘that look’ when I take a stand contrary to theirs. You aren’t my parents and life would be so much simpler if you understood that and acted that way.
4) Things I don’t understand:
(I don’t think there are enough slots to list that which I don’t understand, so I’ll just go with the top four.)
a) Willful ignorance.
b) Braniacs who have nothing but contempt physical activity and jocks.
c) Elitism.
d) The Church of Oprah.
5) Things I’m doing right now:
a) Thinking about whether the fuel budget can handle me driving up to Fowler to visit the VFW they have there.
b) Thinking about how to turn something The Armorer sent me last night into a meaningful blog post (impossible mission).
c) How I’m going to get my professional life re-tracked and how I’m going to get my grubby little hands on the materials (books, lectures, and ultimately some kind of certification) and the money to do so.
6) Things I want to do before I die.
a) Make Jess really happy for a really long time.
b) Be the son my Mom and Grandmother and Mrs. E raised me to be. Not there yet.
c) I should want to be more than a good husband, a good man, and a good son?
7) Things I can do:
a) Drive really long distances in a single sitting.
b) Distil hexane like there’s no tomorrow.
c) Know the direction of the four points of the compass even at night. Decent skill to have.
8) Ways to describe my personality:
a) Vitreous.
b) Immature.
c) Misanthropic.
9) Things I can’t do.
a) Convince my Wife to learn to drive.
b) Convince my Wife that firearms are not themselves inherently evil.
c) Convince my In-Laws that I really do know what I’m doing more than a quarter of the time, and that they should leave Jess and I the hell alone.
10) Things I think people should listen to:
a) Bill Cosby’s comedy album ‘Bill Cosby: Himself’
b) “Amazing Grace” played on the bag pipes at least once in their lifetime.
c) Yourself. You usually know what’s best for you.
d) Detractors. Sometimes they’ve got a point.
11) Things you should never listen to:
a) Grievance Mongers. They don’t want justice. They’re just narcissistic jerks who only want power for the sake of power.
b) Communists/revolutionaries. See above.
c) Guidance councilors. They may mean well, but these people usually haven’t a clue.
12) Favorite foods:
a) Pizza with chicken, Alfredo sauce, green onions, garlic, and a mix of mozzarella and other soft, white cheeses.
b) Coke-a-Cola.
c) Apple Fritters with milk. Easiest way to pacify me is to plop that down.
13) Things I’d like to learn:
a) Chinese, Korean, and get my Japanese back up to par.
b) How to do literature searches well. Seems more like an art than a science, and I’m not that artistic (with apologies to JTG. Autistic? Yes. Artistic? No.)
c) The true meaning of Grace.
14) Things I normally drink:
a) Filtered water.
b) Milk (2%, can’t stand 1% and non-fat. Blech.).
c) Coke, sometimes with lemons or cherry flavoring, and typically straight, right out of the refrigerator out of the can. Ice waters it down and drives off the carbonation. Ick.
15) Shows I watched as a kid (I watched a lot of tv, are we only allowed three?).
a) Popeye the Sailor, right before and right after Mass on KTLA channel 5 with Chris van Patton as the host.
b) KTLA channel 5’s weekend movies, hosted by Chris van Patton. Typically was either a war movie (like Tora! Tora! Tora!, Midway, or Battle of the Bulge) or the Godzilla movies of the 60’s and 70’s (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Destroy All Mosters, stuff like that). Did sit thru Dr. Zhivago, once. Not easy for an 8 year old.
c) Robotech and Voltron on channel 13(3:30 and 4:00. Right before Mom would get home from working at Target in the inventory department(the docks)).
16) People I’m tagging with this?
Nobody. We’ve emberassed enough people for the week with this, doncha think?

by Denizens on Jul 28, 2006

July 21, 2006

Some people are just obtuse b@st@rds.

Heh. I hate piously sanctimonious field grade officers. Yeah, I know, that means I'm punching myself a lot.

Imagine this.

You are a holder of the Medal of Honor. On the advice of your superiors, you donate your Medal to a Divisional Museum, for safekeeping and preservation.

Over the years, you go visit the museum and you get the Medal and wear it for ceremonial occasions.

Then your age and infirmities put you in a position where you can no longer do that.

You're dying, and you'd like to wear your Medal again before you die.

And some piously sanctimonious field grade a$$hat says:

‘Tulbahadur Pun’s medal has been donated to the museum by his regimental association. We have a duty of care to ensure this medal is available to the public to see and it is secure.’

As if, in the cosmic scheme of things, the "Public" truly gives a flying flip in this regard. My guess is, Major Davies, if you were to poll the public as they filter through the doors, they'd be aghast at your attitude.

I am.

I'm sure there are rules and regulations to be followed. I have no doubt of that. I used to be a US Army paid military historian with staff responsibility for what amounts to a regimental museum here in the US.

And I would have found a way to get that Medal back to the guy whose name is on the back of it. I might have had to do a little fundraising to go to the extreme of actually sending someone with it, to bring it back, but I would have moved heaven and earth to get that Medal (in this case, a Victoria Cross awarded to a Gurkha soldier) back to its named recipient.

In this case, Honorary Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun, VC, of the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

© Crown Copyright Imperial War Museum (Ref MH2606)<br />

As the author of this post notes:

It’s a shoddy way for an old, dying man to be treated, after the part he played in our eventual victory. This man is one of only 12 VC winners still alive, so you’d think he’d be granted a little more respect and honour. I have e-mailed the Major at the museum with a link to this article and I will let you all know what his response, if any, is. Whilst I appreciate heritage being preserved, this all smacks of red tape, callous neglect and short memories. I simply can not accept that the logistics of reuniting Mister Pun with his medal one last time are unachievable.

In this country, when Sergeant Alvin York through poverty sold his Medal of Honor, a subscription drive was raised to re-purchase the Medal and restore it to him.

Surely something similar can be done (and I would argue Major Davies should be doing it) to grant Lieutenant Pun a chance to wear the Victoria Cross with his name on it.

Shame, Major Davies, shame for giving such a staff wallah bumf-driven reply.

Should you wish to share your thoughts with the museum on the subject: curator@thegurkhamuseum.co.uk

by John on Jul 21, 2006

May 16, 2006

Another TSA story.

From a comment to the TSA post below. I just thought it should see the light of day.

The TSA really amazes me, they go out of their way to avoid charges of profiling and go overboard on other people. Travelling home on mid tour leave I had my body armor and helmet with me as carry on luggage. At that point I had been in combat for eight months, with all that implies. I had been in firefights, I had used C-4, hand grenades, AT4s, and since this was 2003 (before EOD was a handy phone call away) had had to dismantle the occasional IED. You could imagine my shock and surprise when my gear popped hot for a wide range of explosive chemicals when it was scanned. I can understand this causing questions, but the Uniform, ID card, leave form, fact that I am pretty sure most of the public was aware that a war was in progress and the obvious lack of any amount of actual explosives should have made it easy... But no, two hours of explaining myself and a missed flight later I was finally allowed through security...

Like I said - some judgement *is* required...

by John on May 16, 2006

May 14, 2006

Heh. The TSA strikes.

First thing up in the mailbox this morning. My first reaction? Exactly the one of my emailer: WTF?

MSIG/OPREP-3 SIR/21-06/1STMARDIV//

SUBJ/SERIOUS INCIDENT REPORT 21-06//

REF/A/MCO 5740.2F//

NARR/REF A IS MCO ON SIRS//

POC/SGT CASTILLO/1STMARDIV CASOC/DSN 365-5006//

RMKS/1. AT APPROXIMATELY 1200 20060503, WHILE ESCORTING THE BODY OF SGT MILLS, LEA R. (OIF 05-07 USMC DECEASED) FROM DOVER AFB TO THE FINAL RESTING PLACE IN GULFPORT, MS, SGT STOCK, CPL BIGALK, CPL SCHADEBURG WERE STOPPED BY TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA) IN THE PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND TAKEN INTO SMALL ROOMS SET ASIDE FOR SEARCHES.

THEY WERE FORCED TO REMOVE THEIR BLUE DRESS UNIFORM BLOUSES, BELTS, AND SHOES. THE SECURITY PERSONEL SCANNED ALL THE ITEMS AND ALSO PATTED DOWN THE MARINES. TSA ALSO TOOK SGT STOCK'S SHOES OUT TO THE X-RAY MACHINE AND THEN DIDN'T RETURN THEM; HE WAS INSTEAD REQUIRED TO FIND THEM HIMSELF.

ALL THE MARINES SAID THEY FELT HUMILIATED BY THIS TREATMENT. THE MARINES HAD ORDERS IN HAND THAT TASKED THEM TO SERVE AS OFFICIAL CASUALTY ESCORTS. SGT STOCK WAS CARRYING SGT MILLS PERSONNEL EFFECTS, AND CPL SCHADEBURG WAS CARRYING THE FLAG FROM SGT MILLS' CASKET. THESE ITEMS WERE IN HAND AND IN PLAIN VIEW.

2. MAJ SHAFFER, KEITH E., STAFF SECRETARY, 1STMARDIV

3. VICTIMS

A. SGT

A. CPL

A. CPL

B. STOCK, JOHN C.

B. BIGALK, AARON J.

B. SCHADEBURG, JASON A.

C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]

C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]

C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]

D. 3RD AABN. 1ST MARDIV

E. WHITE/MALE/XXXXXXXX [DOB deleted]

E. WHITE/MALE/XXXXXXXX [DOB deleted]

E. WHITE/MALE/XXXXXXXX [DOB deleted]

F. GULFPORT, MS

4. N/A

5. PAO HAS BEEN NOTIFIED. LOCAL & NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE POSSIBLE BUT NOT ANTICIPATED.

6. NO.

7. INVESTIGATION IN PROGESS. SUBSEQUENT REPORTS WILL BE PROVIDED AS REQUIRED.

8. SGT. STOCK, CPL. BIGALK, AND CPL. SCHADEBURG HAVE NOT DEPLOYED ISO OIF.

Now, bare of information, that just begs questions. So, what'd I do? First up, I called Pendleton PAO. That's dumb, it's Sunday, they're not open. I could call the duty spokesman, but, let's do some checking, first. So, now that the coffee is really down the hatch and processed, I check the dates. Okay - over a week old. I'm probably pretty late to this and others are *all* over it. So, while I'm in the cyber-area, I check the DTIC Press Release site and see if the casualty name is legit. It is. Off to Google. "TSA Mills Marine" that ought to do it. And what pops up on that? The middle of the Blogosphere. Not the big buys, but the middlin' to small ones - you know, guys like us.

Such as, Beth of MVRWC, Liberty Post, TSA-Screeners (bandwidth exceeded at the moment), Woman Honor Thyself, The Sierra Times, Lone Star Times, The Academic Submariner at Unconsidered Trifles...

The one "MSM-equivalent?" The Marine Corps Times, which has a pretty even write-up.

The trio had to go through the terminal’s security in order to reach their flight that would take them to Houston and make sure that Mills’ body was properly placed on the airplane. While their uniforms likely would trigger the metal detector, they had figured they would be able to zip through the screening process and get on with their business.

“Wearing the blues, the metal detector is going to go off,” said Sgt. John Stock, a mechanic, who was accompanied by Cpls. Aaron Bigalk and Jason Schadeburg.

But as the Marines went through the initial screener in their dress blues, they were stopped by several TSA agents. Each was told to remove their dress uniform blouse, belt and black dress shoes, which were scanned by the detector, as the agents scanned them with hand-held detecting wands.

“They had me take off my shoes and ran them through the screening,” Stock said, speaking by phone May 5 from Gulfport, where the men are helping with Mills’ family and funeral support. “We all got searched.”

Then they were taken to a nearby room, where TSA workers patted them down.

At one point, Stock’s shoes disappeared, leaving him to frantically search for them and retrieve them from a TSA agent. Separated from their belongings, which included the flag that they bore that would drape Mills’ casket for the rest of the journey home, they worried about getting to the gate in time to ensure his safe placement in the airplane.

Time, it seemed like a half-hour, clicked by. “I was like, hey, we need to be on the tarmac,” Stock recalled. “It just took longer than it should have had to take.”

The agents said nothing to explain why all three were singled out for additional search and the Marines didn’t protest. “We were just trying to get there as quick as we could,” he added.

In all, it was a humiliating experience that left them angry.

It looks like over-zealous following-of-rules, with a lack of judgement on the part of individuals. I've said this before to hoots of derision, and this case is similar to one we covered last month, Leave No Man Behind, Ever, but the fact is, TSA *shouldn't* have auto-exclude groups of passengers. Just as they *should* have auto-include groups of passengers, as they do - just perhaps not inclusive enough.

The TSA is obviously aware of the remains that are passing through the transportation system. There are in fact, procedures in place to facilitate the movement of remains and escort teams. I would bet, based on what I've dug up, the Marines (and hopefully, by extension, *all* the services) are now working on some form (if it doesn't exist already) of expediting credential that is hard to fake, because troops in Class A uniforms and low-quarter shoes aren't going to get through the metal detectors without setting them off.

Say what you like about the utility of searching little girls and grandmothers - but the fact is that the bad guys are watching. And they've shown themselves completely capable of using innocents as bombs-carriers. And well before the current unpleasantness. Remember this? The point being, the bad guys will flex and adapt. And if they thought they could use a casket... that would be a big bang. My point is not that TSA is doing a great job or not - evidence indicates plenty of problems, and they really shouldn't trumpet their successes - but that the processes need to be under constant modification and change - if they are to have any deterrent effect at all.

Nature of who I am and what I was, I watch the screening process at airports - for the precise mental exercise of "How would I test that, in order to try to defeat it." I am pleased that now and again, changes have been made that would have caught me, were I to try something like that. Guess what - that's what terrorists do, when intel gathering on a target. Which is why truly random and seemingly random changes, though they inconvenience the people who pass through, are good. Lemme tell ya, it's a real pain when they do a 100% ID vehicle check at the Fort, especially on the Monday after I went shooting Saturday and still have ammo, though no weapons, in the trunk. They note it, ask some questions, note that everything else is in order, and let me go. As it should be.

What's my point? The TSA should explain the reasons and make a public statement (if only on their website). They have, rather, chosen to ignore it and hope that it will go away.

No, they shouldn't tell us (nor should the Marines) what, if any, changes are being made. They should just make them. And slap that inspector in Philly on the back of the head.

Apparently there are some in the Midwest who could use a cluebat, too. Let Bloodspite draw his sounds on your screen.

by John on May 14, 2006
» You Big Mouth, You! links with: TSA Fools

May 11, 2006

The Fran O'Brien's Issue on CNN

[Posting this as a separate entry because it's time-sensitive]

Update II: The video that introduced the interview with Jim Mayer is up on the CNN website. It's well worth seeing--it's got a lot of quotes from wounded soldiers about what Fran's has meant to them.

Update: Andi has seen it and says "YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS. If you do not have tears in your eyes, and you are not committed to boycotting Hilton over this, nothing will move you." She reports that the segment airs about 40 minutes into the program (see below for times).

Jim Mayer, the wounded Vietnam veteran and friend of Fran O'Brien's co-owner Hal Koster who encouraged Hal to begin the free dinners for wounded troops will be on CNN tonight. Andi reports in an email:

I know it's late, but I just got the word that Jim Mayer is being driven to the CNN studio right now to do an interview with Glenn Beck that will run on CNN Headline News as follows:

TONIGHT on CNN Headline News with Glenn Beck at 7 p.m. [Eastern] and again at 9 p.m. and midnight. Jim Mayer is being taken to a studio right now to be interviewed remotely and will air later tonight.

I don't have Cable TV, so I won't be able to watch. If anybody who sees it can report, please let me know.Andi also adds that milbloggers are getting some significant appreciation for their work on publicizing the fight for Fran O'Brien's, and shares her thoughts about their impact:
While the email campaign didn't save the restaurant, it did let them know veterans and troops care a lot about this issue. The top three executives had to shut down their email addresses ... I'm sure costing their IT department some bucks and unnecessary headaches. Plus, a PR firm had to [be] involved. They don't seem too successful in squashing the negative press.

It's really nice when you can use your blog as a way to do something good and help those who deserve to be helped. I don't think milbloggers are finished with this story. We still need to help Hal and Marty get on their feet. I should learn more tomorrow night about how we can do that [after attending the Fran's Friday Dinner hosted in another DC hotel]. Thanks to everyone for all you've done already.


So, stand by. It looks like there are still ways we can help. - FbL

by Denizens on May 11, 2006

May 05, 2006

Now hear this.

[This post will be up top all day, because I want to make sure everybody gets a chance to read it. New stuff comes in below here.]

And I mean it, people.

This would be a Cease and Desist order, except it would imply that I gave an "Execute" order.

While SWWBO and I appreciate the loyal support of our readers (and the cautionary advice, as well) there are limits to how I will conduct my blogspat with Debbie Schlussel.

I was bcc'd this note this morning, from someone who is trying to be *supportive* of SWWBO and I in our little blogspat with Ms. Schlussel:

Enjoy your tea today?

Maybe you and Joe Wilson could book passage on a ship for Niger. I hear the cake is yellow, like your spine.

Quit bullying my friends, Deb.

You want a war? You'll get a war. Only I fight by the old rules.

In other words, I always win.

You can take my life, but you'll never take my freedom.

The next time you threaten a lawsuit against one of my friends, your home address goes up on every jihad website from here to Tehran. Along with the Google Maps versions of 8X10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining each one.

Capiche?

I did *not* ask for this kind of thing, I do *not* endorse this, and I'm telling you if this is how you intend to show support for SWWBO and I...

Don't.

This.isn't.support. While it may have been satisfying to send, and you may think it no lower than dropping the threat of a lawsuit every time a dog barks, as far as I am concerned, it *is* worse than the threat of a lawsuit. I don't fight my fights this way. I like a good rant, and clever invective - but I prefer reasoned argument and don't sink to this level. Sure, we're not as entertaining, but it also keeps the moonbat population down.

It's unacceptable conduct. I have no authority other than moral here - but I am mustering all of that that I have.

Do.not.do.this.again. Any of you. Ever. This is *not* the behavior I have built this space for. I don't tolerate that kind of stuff here, and I will not tolerate it being done in my name. In the post below about Mayor Bostick and his illegal holding on the money of the dead Marine, I told everybody to be polite.

Like this:

If you choose to contact the individuals or city, do so in a polite, civil manner. [Don't bother them, the message has been recieved] The Armorer does not approve of spittle-flecked rantings - especially at people who are only tangentially involved by association, and not direct action. For the record - be polite to the Mayor, too. Even if he does seem to be the villain here.

And later, this:

That doesn't mean we shouldn't gently and politely remind Mr. Mayor Bostick to follow through - and that means we need to follow-up. A gentle heat, that would be "simmer" on your blog-stove.

That is how it is done at Castle Argghhh!!!.

Capiche?

Because what you have really done is kill all the fun I was going to have with it. I had some nice graphics (all original artwork) that was going to play the satire and parody card.

Now they are going into storage. Because that's about the only way *I* have to cut this off at the knees.

For the record - I don't *ever* need that kind of support, and if I change my mind, I'll let you know.

Don't hold your breath.

by John on May 05, 2006

May 04, 2006

One wonders what the story is in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

Or if it is just as it seems? That Mayor Jim Bostick is an asshat?

The mother of a U.S. Marine was grieving for her dead son when she found that his savings account had been claimed by the director of the funeral home. It was money that he had no right to and despite a court ruling, the funeral director refused to pay. What's even more puzzling is that he's not just any debtor, he's the mayor of the small town and a member of a City Council that has financial responsibility for the city's budget.

Jason's body was returned to Colorado for burial. Records show that the funeral was paid, in full, by the Marines. But after closing out her son's accounts, Jason's mother realized that the probate court had sent the proceeds of Jason's savings account to the funeral home, which is run by Jim Bostick.

In addition to his duties as mayor and member of the Ft. Lupton City Council, [Jim] Bostick also owns two funeral homes. In his role with the city, he is heavily involved in overseeing the finances of the town.

Do take the time to read the *story thus far* which is seedier than it looks.

As the Puddle Pirate (whose tip this is) sez:

OK, milbloggers. Let's close ranks and charge.

City of Fort Lupton
[city data remove based on the update]

Indeed. Let's shine a little light in this corner of Colorado and see what scurries out.

If you choose to contact the individuals or city, do so in a polite, civil manner. [Don't bother them, the message has been recieved] The Armorer does not approve of spittle-flecked rantings - especially at people who are only tangentially involved by association, and not direct action. For the record - be polite to the Mayor, too. Even if he does seem to be the villain here.

Mayor Bostick - I'll be happy to post any reply to this you have that is more substantive than that you gave The Denver Channel's 7NEWS Investigator John Ferrugia (story linked above).

Oops. Immediate update. It seems that shining lights (and not from here, just having hit "post" two minutes ago...) had the mostly intended effect. But I really wish people would quit the whole death threat crap. Besides being criminal, it's just stupid.

FORT LUPTON, Colo. -- The mayor of Fort Lupton, who operates two funeral homes, has been afforded police protection after receiving death threats following a 7NEWS investigation that revealed he has refused to repay money illegally kept from the family of a U.S. Marine who died.

"I've been getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of different people, a lot of threats," said Jim Bostick, the mayor of Fort Lupton.

Bostick is worried about his personal safety and that of his business and he now admits he made a big mistake.

"It's my fault ... I will try to do whatever I can with Mrs. Sepulveda to get this issue put to bed," Bostick said. "As soon as I get the money, it's hers. I mean, fast. Because, you know, I can't keep putting up with the threats against myself and my family."

Well, I know that no Castle Denizens are yet involved in death threats. And none better be. I'll revoke your status.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't gently and politely remind Mr. Mayor Bostick to follow through - and that means we need to follow-up. A gentle heat, that would be "simmer" on your blog-stove.

Why? Because Bostick would appear to be a deadbeat.

While he may be sincere this time, Bostick claims he doesn't have the $7,500 a Weld County court said he owes Elis Sepulveda.

Sepulveda is the mother of a U.S. Marine who was killed in a car accident and brought back to Fort Lupton for burial. Jason Sepuldeva's savings were sent to Bostick's funeral home. It was money Bostick had no right to but he refused to return it.

"He was the person who received the money," said Magistrate Rebecca Koppes Conway. Conway assessed the judgment against Bostick in small claims court but can't force him to pay.

But lay off the City, folks. T'ain't their fault, and if the Mayor won't resign, one can hope the voters will fire him.

Several city officials are urging the Fort Lupton mayor to pay the Sepulvedas as soon as possible, hoping that the firestorm, which has nothing to do with city business, will subside.

As one official put it, "This has nothing to do with the Marines vs. Fort Lupton. This is about how Jim Bostick is doing his private business."

Indeed.

The follow-up story is here.

April 27, 2006

Feh. National Preparedness and Response Authority

Senate panel recommends the elimination of FEMA.

WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina's latest fatality should be FEMA, the nation's disaster response agency, a Senate inquiry concluded in calling for a government overhaul to avoid future failures like those the devastating storm exposed.

Okay. Hey, I'm all for reducing non-functional organs of the Federal government (though I don't happen to think tossing FEMA is a rational solution). I have some perspective in this arena. My last job on active duty as a Military Support to Civil Authority (now DSCA, or Defense etc.) planner at 5th Army (now ARNORTH) in San Antonio. We worked closely with (really, *for* in a sense) FEMA when acting in our MSCA role.

One thing the Clinton Administration did *well* was put Jimmy Witt in charge of FEMA. One *huge* failure of the Bush Administration was devolving FEMA to an organ of Homeland Defense. The whole Homeland Defense construct is *still* dysfunctional, and that lays squarely at Bush's feet. FEMA is a shadow of its former self - with no bad cess to day-to-day FEMA employees in general, I know they are still struggling to make it work. The upper structure of the agency and the structure of it's over-sight agency is at fault.

In this, the panel has it correct.

The recommendations conclude that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is crippled beyond repair by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding.

That is this administration's fault - though that is ameliorated somewhat because they were focused on 9/11 style responses that they lost the bubble about the more common disasters... like hurricanes. So, what do the Senators recommend?

They call for a new agency — the National Preparedness and Response Authority — to plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters.

Okay. Really. I am *so* impressed. It just gets better.

The new authority would communicate directly with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress. But it would remain within the Homeland Security Department and would continue receiving resources from the department.

Okay, at this point, I throw the bullshite flag. This is a perfect example of "Change is the Illusion of Progress."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led the inquiry by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the new authority would be "better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster."

She described FEMA as a "shambles" and said the change "will help ensure that we do not have a repeat of the failures following Hurricane Katrina."

Really? It will? Aside from the fact that DHS is busy trying to digest all those lessons from Katrina and implement changes, how is it going to make a huge difference?

It's not like the current FEMA employee base and structure won't be the basis of the "new" agency. Ya *really* gonna start from scratch? Nope. Didn't think so.

Unless you are *really* going to break the paradigm, this is simply taking a tire, scraping the "year" of "Goodyear" off, and painting on "rich" to make it a "Goodrich" tire.

An opinion shared by Homeland Defense, and, Michael Brown, the hapless director of FEMA during Katrina.

But the proposal drew disdain from Homeland Security and its critics, both sides questioning the need for another bureaucratic shuffling that they said wouldn't accomplish much.

"It's time to stop playing around with the organizational charts and to start focusing on government, at all levels, that are preparing for this storm season," Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who resigned under fire after Katrina, said the new agency would basically have the same mission FEMA had a year ago before its disaster planning responsibilities were taken away to focus solely on responding to calls for help.

"It sounds like they're just re-creating the wheel and making it look like they're calling for change," Brown said. "If indeed that's all they're doing, they owe more than that to the American public."

Indeed, if that's all they got, can we get our money back for that study?

The whole story that fired me up is here.

I'll go hunt up the recommendations and see if this is what it seems, or if it's just incomplete reporting on the part of the AP, missing the forest for the trees. I guess I owe the Senate *that* much.

Update: Here's the Exec Summary. No, I haven't read it yet.

Okay - I've read it. The AP did a singularly carp job of reporting.

I think it's evenly written and apportions blame all 'round, with pretty much nobody but the Coast Guard and some unnamed private firms getting a pat on the back.

The "Seven Foundational Recommendations" are a ringing condemnation of this and previous Administrations and Congresses.

The weaknesses laid out with recommended solutions are *not* new, nor did they suddenly appear because of the Bush Administration. The FEMA personnel I worked with in 1998-2000 (where we were focused on terrorism and Y2K) were aware of the flaws in the system - and the lack of money for dealing with them (and this was after Hurricane Andrew and similar other disasters)

These fissures were thrown into stark relief by the effects of the redirection of effort due to the focus on prevention of and response to 9/11-style events drained money from on-going efforts to improve and enhance response to large-scale natural disasters.

After a surface read, I like it. I can understand why DHS does not - much of what is being proposed is on-going, I know for certain in DoD. Northern Command, the DoD agency responsible for this is a new command, still standing up and getting organized - but will provide a full-spectrum headquarters to coordinate the DoD response, overseeing a JTF Headquarters that would come out of ARNORTH in San Antonio. The function of Defense Coordinating Officer, until recently an additional duty of Regional Training Brigade commanders, is moving to a permanently assigned active duty Colonel, with a reserve component Deputy, who will have a mixed civilian/military planning and execution staff, who will be aligned with and located with or close to, the FEMA Regional Headquarters. All of this is intended to streamline and enhance the DoD response capability. Similar things have occurred within Pacific Command, which has responsibility for Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific dependencies of the United States.

DHS no doubt does not wish to see another powerful department head created, and in fact think they've got this under control. Perhaps they do - but I've long thought that FEMA was under-graded so to speak, and so I am supportive of this direction.

Nice to see the Senate understands that they, along with the House, and the Administration, have been remiss in their duties themselves... though for the most part they only mention the Administration.

by John on Apr 27, 2006
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA

April 26, 2006

Four More Days for Fran's

Have you done all you can for Fran O'Brien's and the family they've developed to support severely wounded troops?

Rumor has it there are still conversations going on between lawyers, so not all hope is lost. What we need right now is to help Hilton understand it is to their benefit to give Fran's enough time to find and establish a new home so that Fran's can make a smooth transition for the sake of the wounded soldiers, and for the employees and volunteers who have been trained in supporting the wounded and have established relationships with them. For example, Fran's employees were given cell phones and have been "on call" for anyone who needs a ride, an encouraging word, or anything else that can be offered.

Friday Night at Fran's isn't just a dinner, it's an entire community centered around that restaurant. The wounded know they can drop by on any day and find at least one person who cares and can "be there" for them. The night I was at Fran's, I watched one particular very young wounded soldier spend a lot of time in the bar. I didn't know his story, but as several others I spoke with noticed, his body language made it clear he was having a tough time. I saw Hal Koster put his arm around him and talk to him. Other people I knew were vets and lived in the DC area also came up to him and put their hands on his neck as they put their faces close to his, making deep eye contact and earnestly talking to him. By the end of the evening he was clearly more relaxed, and even smiling a bit. The community had obviously recognized his need and rallied around him, lifting his spirits.

I received a comment on my post about the SSG's speech from someone with intimate knowledge of the community that has developed around Fran's (we've corresponded). Lawrence Kelly had previouly commented at Andi's about the "salon-style" aspects of the dinners at Fran's, and pointed out the poltical implications of Hilton's behavior. He has since written in comments at Fuzzilicious Thinking:

...what happens on Friday nights at O'Briens is more than the sum of its parts. Some people get that, most, lacking the opportunity to see it in person, don't. When I think of O'Briens, I don't really think first of Hal or Marty. My thoughts go to [Vietnam veteran, double amputee, and volunteer peer counselor at Walter Reed] Jim Mayer, and how he birthed and raised to maturity the universe that Fuzzy describes. By urging the 2003 and 2004 seriously wounded to follow through on making it better for the next person in a bed on Ward 57 [the amputee ward at Walter Reed], Jim created an ethic for this generation of amputees and seriously wounded. With all due respect to Hal and Marty, the dynamic that Fuzzy observed at O'Briens is largely the residue of this incredible young generation of volunteer military and Jim Mayer's singular efforts in bringing the wisdom and experiences of his life to the task of bettering and motivating this generation in their recoveries.

To be fair to Hal and Marty, everything came together at O'Briens. Jim. Hal. Marty. The families releasing pent up hospital frustrations. Life on a grand scale. A place to enjoy and start thinking about the future. Young men and women readying themselves for their next chapters.

If there is a clear victory from Iraq and Afghanistan, it is in the work Jim did in creating the conditions for these young men and women to succeed in life on that same grand scale. One of the places it is on display now is Fran O'Briens. In the future, the entire country will see the results of his handiwork in the careers and contributions of these young men and women. If there is a Medal of Freedom to be awarded by this administration for true success in the advancement of freedom, it will rightfully be awarded to Jim Mayer

Therefore, when I heard that Hilton managers hung up on Jim when he called, I shook my head at their ignorance. Hanging up on Jim Mayer. You can't even put that on a truck scale to weigh the level of stupidity. It underscores that there is a wide gulf in America between those heroes (like Jim Mayer) who teach by example, and those individuals and organizations which fail to grasp why they would need to listen.

Closing Fran's (even if they manage to reopen in six months) and having the dinners at various locations is certainly better than nothing, but it will cripple (ironic word) the Fran O'Brien's community. Soldiers' Angels Germany has more (scroll down). We have spent a lot of time focusing on what a loss the end of Fran's will be to the wounded, but it will also be a tremendous loss to our country, as anything that "replaces" Friday Night at Fran's will not have as extensive an impact on those who participate. And we will be much the poorer for it.

So, what have you done to support and save this community that has comforted the broken, inspired recovery, and developed tomorrow's leaders? Andi has your orders, and Laughing Wolf sets an example (more contact info here). Don't forget to sign the petition. Only four more days to save this amazing community...

- Fuzzybear Lioness

[Background on the Fran O'Brien's story here.]

by Denizens on Apr 26, 2006

April 21, 2006

OPSEC of a different kind.

Here's a thought for you high-powered business types out there, who have their cell phones surgically implanted. You know the type - the Cyborgs, with the glowing blue phones where their ear used to be...

OPSEC.

When you shout out your end of the conversation, *someone* might be listening. Someone who knows what he's hearing.

Like that contract for the Army your (firm) is bidding on. The one where you are competing with (firm). The one where your boss, (name redacted) who doesn't know policy from shinola, is screwing the pooch on. You know, the one where your Level of Effort is 2 man years, being billed on a multiple of 2.6, is going to get you creamed, because the competition is going to come in under that.

Yeah, you remember that conversation, right? The one on the shuttle to the airport? The one that if you had mentioned *my firm* I'd have been on-line in a flash, seeing who was working that contract, and then calling corporate legal, to make sure it was okay to pass on what I heard... and then passed on some *very* good intel. And, since I haven't been in this area since 2001, nor am I a corporate bigwig, I know that was not a clever little disinfo op.

Hope your flight out of Reagan was pleasant.

Just hope those guys from Northrup-Grumman (firm> aren't sitting in any seats around you.

Yer suffering from the ID10T fault.

Well, that's probably unkind. You're just completely clueless, like a lot of your wired bretheren, that when you start blabbering out loud in public, those of us who have no choice but to share your conversations may be taking notes.

by John on Apr 21, 2006

April 20, 2006

Leave No Man Behind. Ever.

Since I'm about to get on an airplane - I found this story of interest:

The Transportation Security Administration bagged a terrorist in Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday, or so they thought. Daniel Brown's name came up on their no-fly watchlist, so they dragged him into interrogation and grilled him, despite the protestations of Brown and his fellow travelers, who swore they could vouch for him.

Yep. The bureaucrats of the TSA (and I'm a former government employee who still gets a check from the government, I'm inclined to offer the benefit of the doubt - but I've had better interactions with the IRS and VA than I have TSA...) kept us safe - by holding up (and, since he's on the no-fly list, by implication, saying he can *never* fly) Staff Sergeant Daniel Brown, USMCR. The flight they stopped him on?

His return home to Minnesota with his Reserve MP unit. From 8 months in Iraq.

Mind you - he had orders, ID card, and was traveling *with* his unit. The story doesn't say - but I'm betting he was in uniform, too.

Y'know, I don't mind a little zealousness. I really don't. What drives me to distraction is mindless adherence to guidelines as an excuse for the avoidance of a tenth-of-a-degree temperature rise in their cranial cavity caused by a little rational analysis and decision-making. It just drives me crazy when confronted with full-of-their-power drones who fail to avail themselves of the joys of synaptic activity.

So, how did Staff Sergeant Brown find himself on the list? On his previous flight *out* to Iraq, he was discovered to have gunpowder residue on his... wait for it... combat boots. You know, those things we wear to the range when qualifying before we... deploy. To a combat zone. But hey, I guess he can leave, we'll just make sure he can't come back. Good grief. Here's a tack the Brady Campaign can use to harass gun owners. Get 'em on the no-fly list because they... use their legitimately-owned implements. But I digress.

Yet another story of mulish government employees not properly trained, equipped, and supervised (since the supervision suffers the same deficits, that's not likely to offer much improvement anyway) isn't really a story, is it?

This is.

Ultimately, the TSA screeners figured out that Brown really was a Marine, and no threat to his fellow passengers, and let him board a later flight. When he deplaned at MSP, his unit's bus was waiting -- his fellow Marines in it.

Marine 1st Sgt. Drew Benson explained why. "We don't leave anybody behind. We start together, and we finish together." All 26 Marines waited for Brown -- even though their families were waiting for them at a scheduled welcome-home bash at Fort Snelling.

Brown's mother Terry was glad they did. "They all come back together... no matter what it takes and I think that's very important," she told WCCO-TV.

Good on 'em. Hand Salute to 1SG Benson and his Marines. Semper Fi!

The whole, sad story is here, with a tip of the hat to one of the people who feeds my habit, John S.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Apr 20, 2006
» Quotulatiousness links with: Another anti-terrorism triumph
» Quotulatiousness links with: Another anti-terrorism triumph

April 19, 2006

The Latest on Fran O'Brien's

Thanks to Andi's World, the general manager of the Hilton in which Fran O'Brien's currently resides agreed to answer questions submitted by milbloggers. The results are in.

Despite Capital Hilton's statement that this was "just business," it's obvious it was bad business. Those with some training and skills in managing or analyzing businesses have been weighing in. Read about it here, here, and here.

There is still hope, though. Hilton has the right to make their business decisions and we have a right to respond as consumers. Here are some ideas for supporting the continuation of the Friday-night dinners and helping other companies who may see this understand what their customers expect from them:

  1. Follow through on the threats that were made to the Hilton brand. The decision to toss Fran's was made at the local level. It was a bad business decision [3 separate links], and the corporate offices are likely to recognize that. If they hear from you (#5 below) and see that they have lost you as a Hilton customer, there is still a chance they will intercede at the Capital Hilton.
  2. Sign the petition. I don't think this will change the local hotel's actions, but it is part of getting corporate Hilton's attention.
  3. Donate to the charity that has been set up to fund the dinners at an alternate location.
  4. Contact your congressional representatives, as Lex has long suggested [Clarification: I am not suggesting congress should be regulating Hilton's behavior on this, but that a congress member might be interested in drawing attention to this situation during an election year, etc.].
  5. Write to Hilton's corporate offices. If you haven't yet written, or you contacted Doyle or Kelleher, you were dealing only with the local Hilton (Capital Hilton). Now is the time to take it to the corporate level (see Flash Traffic). We overwhelmed the Capital Hilton with email and phone calls; we can do it again at the corporate level.
Barring a breakthrough development, this will probably be my last Fran's post at the Castle--I'll include Fran's news in the H&I Fires. You can check Fuzzilicious Thinking for any other updates. - Fuzzybear Lioness

[Corporate Contacts for Hilton are in Flash Traffic below.]

Background:
Save Fran O'Brien's
Fran O'Brien's Update
Hilton Replies
Hilton's Behaviour, In a Nutshell
The Inner Circle Speaks
Kelleher Answers Blogger's Questions

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by Denizens on Apr 19, 2006

April 15, 2006

Fran O'Brien's, Part 4

[Sorry for the possibly-excessive use of your generous posting privileges, John. But you know me well enough not to be surprised that I'm not gonna let up on this unless you tell me to. And then I'll just take it back to my place and hang onto it like a pitbull, haha!]

Update: The Italian Connection.

Lots happening on the "Save Fran O'Brien's" front.

Hilton's response has left Lex unimpressed and encouraging us to contact our congressional representatives, and Greyhawk swearing (scroll down) and issuing a call to arms. In the comments on Greyhawk's "swearing" post, Buzz Patterson is reaffirming that restaurant co-owner Hal Koster says there were no negotiations, contradicting Hilton's claims.

The story has also made it to the front page of the "City" section in the Washington Post, and now Michelle Malkin is onboard.

[Updates as the story develops]

by Denizens on Apr 15, 2006

April 14, 2006

Update on Fran O'Brien's

[Background here]

Update III: Hilton Replies.

Update II: Hilton has repeatedly said that the eviction of Fran's had nothing to do with the Friday Dinners for wounded veterans. If we accept that at face value, it would make sense that they have plans for using the location in a new way, or have another customer in mind. This now seems highly unlikely. World Net Daily has an article quoting a regional spokesperson for Hilton:

Cole would not say specifically why the lease was terminated or what the hotel will do with the space after April.

"We don't have anything that we're definitely going to do with the space," she said.

The more I read, the less impressed I am with Hilton. [h/t Blackfive]

Update: more contact info courtesy of Buzz Patterson's comments at Blackfive. Remember, keep it civil (Lex's advice on tactics is very good).

Kathy Shepard
Vice President - Corporate Communications
Hilton Hotels Corporation
kathy_shepard@hilton.com

Atish Shah - Vice President - Investor Relations
atish_shah@hilton.com

Linda Bain - Vice President of Group Communications
Linda.Bain@hilton.com

Madeleine Kleiner - Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel
madi_kleiner@hilton.com

Andi's World points us to information that clarifies the lease situation. As we already know from the emails Greyhawk posted, Fran's is not going willingly. Local media in DC have picked up the story:

A two-year tradition for wounded war vets is about to go by the wayside. A downtown DC steak house that’s catered to injured troops every Friday night is about to close.

Fran O’Brien’s landlord is forcing out the steakhouse of the same name.

“We're not feeling very good about leaving and especially the Friday night dinner,” O’Brien said.

The short article and video confirm that the restaurant is being forced out, and though there are attempts to arrange something similar to the now-traditional "Friday Night at Fran's," it's very much up in the air.

I hesitate to make assumptions, but it's appearing more and more that Hilton has made a very poor business decision based on surface-level analysis of profit/loss (as Lex has theorized). And it's also becoming clearer that they have treated Fran O'Brien's very shabbily, possibly to the point of not negotiating in good faith. One email sent to Hilton sums it up pretty well:

All I ask is that you deal with the owners openly and honestly, not dissemble, lead them on, and then hit them with a two week eviction notice.
Apparently that has been too much to ask in this case.

To be fair, Hilton has said they want to find some way to continue an activity for the troops on their site. However, they are promising nothing at this point:

A Hilton hotel spokesperson says they are -- on some level -- hoping to keep the Friday night alive without Fran O’Brien’s.

And if it's not the free Friday night steak dinner for injured veterans ... The same statement from the hotel concludes: "the Capital Hilton prides itself on its involvement and service to the community and will continue to support these organizations in the future."

I really think Hilton has missed a great opportunity here. Instead of forcing out Fran O'Brien's in an unprofessional manner that included assuring Fran's they were developing a new lease while they apparently had no intention of doing so and then giving them only three weeks to leave, they could have cooperated with Fran's and then publicized their "great civic-mindedness."

The story of what Fran O'Brien's has done and what it means to the wounded who participate is pure gold. The first time I saw a news report about it I cried. It was so wonderful to see the expressions and hear the laughter and words of the wounded who said that going to Fran's made them feel "normal" for the first time since their injuries. Cooperating with Fran's to ensure the restaurant's continued association with the hotel would have given Hilton the kind of PR that money can't buy...

The owners of Fran O'Brien's are expected to make an announcement of some type this morning.

--FbL

[The Armorer interjects: Hilton has the right to do what they wish with the space they control, within the context of contract law. In other words, absent some tortious malfeasance on their part, what they did was perfectly legal.

Just as what Fuzzybear Lioness and others have done is perfectly legal - which is attack both the decision and (this is more my problem) the shabby way in which this was done. Hilton wants to change their property, they should be able to. And if they were going to do that - why not just say so with enough time for the owners of Fran O'Brien's to make other arrangements, as Hilton seems not to have done?

That's the lesson learned here. In time of war, *especially* in the era of the Blog, messing with recovering wounded soldiers, however indirectly, can land you in hot PR water - and it didn't have to be that way, if a little Golden Rule had been applied to the issue. Make no mistake - this story has the legs it does not so much because of the restaurant - as it is the patrons on that night.

This is a Story That Should Never Have Been.

That said, I suppose those of us attending the Milblogger Conference ought to go do dinner there, eh?]

[FbL adds: I'll second what the Armorer says. I think that had Hilton handled the lease issue more professionally, this would hardly be a story: Fran's would be moving to a new location in the DC area with plenty of time to make the transition, and while people would lament the disruption, Friday Nights at Fran's would be likely be continuing at their new location while a few people might shake their heads at Hilton's lost opportunity.

Instead, many of us now have a lower opinion of Hilton for how they "negotiated" with Fran's, and will long remember the Hilton name in association with this event.

(And yes to the to the dinner suggestion--with healthy tips to the waiters who donated their labor on Friday nights and will soon be out of work.)]

by Denizens on Apr 14, 2006
» Welcome To Andi's World links with: Hilton Responds to the Fran O'Brien's Matter

February 15, 2006

Blogging with thin skin...

Is dangerous. For the same reason being a thin-skinned politician is dangerous. Or any Public Person.

I ran into some illustrative examples yesterday.

You see, I blog out my a$$. A Public Person who blogs and is a media maven told me so.

First up. If you blog or want to blog, read this. Why I Hate Weblogs. Written tongue-in-cheek, with bite. BTW, I scored "normal" on the quiz in Appendix A. The whole thing is good for keeping your perspective (which most of us lose doing this, at one time or another). The key to losing it is to keep in in-house, and not share it around with everybody.

Kinda like Gary Trudeau, vice Ted Rall. Heh. Were I Ted, I would have talked to my lawyer first, before soliciting advice from my readers. But at least he was smart enough to collect pledges, and not money. Too bad Ted isn't willing to put his own money where his mouth is, he prefers instead to redistribute it from his readers. But voluntarily. He didn't suggest that the government collect the funds for him and deposit them in his account, so that's progress, coming from a lefty like Ted.

We on the right have our own thin-skinned people. For the record, if you'd like to complain to me about something I've written, this is *not* the approach I recommend.

I read your post about my "whining" to the idiot rottweiler. Do you always blog out of your a$$? You have NO IDEA what I said to the idiot because he lied and didn't post my e-mails to him. Why do you think he changed what he wrote and posted a "retraction"? I NEVER threaten to sue anyone over being offended. Believe me, his site, which I never before visited and won't again, is NOT worthy of my time and attention. I've been called a lot worse by more worthies and ignored it. But defamatory, LYING speech is NOT protected anywhere, much less so in your precious Denmark. I find it interesting that you are willing to write a blog entry, when you haven't a clue and you never read my e-mail. Like a true idiot . . . .

Debbie Schlussel

You know, she's right. I didn't know any of that. Nor, for the point I was making (see the blurb up early in yesterday's H&I that starts with "The Rottweiler") did I really need to. My point was simply that picking a fight with Misha, especially if that's the tone, just feeds the beast that is Misha's patented invective. Heh. That and the fact that I haven't really been all over supporting Denmark lately, but what the heck, she was on a roll.

Misha was, well, rather rude to her in his post. Okay, being mostly otherwise on the same team (or even if not, what the heck, honey gets more than vinegar) go tell him how hurt and annoyed you are and how inappropriate his comments were, and ask him to retract them and give him a chance to retreat gracefully. But toss invective at him? *That* helps. Not.

So, I responded.

Debbie -
1. Do you always email out your a$$? This email would seem to indicate yes, at least when you're annoyed. You should always reread and take a deep
breath before you send something like this.
2. If he never published your emails, I couldn't very well have read them, but that's a different issue.
3. My advice still stands. Whining at The Rottweiler just feeds him, basically the point of my post. I stand by what I said. Mistake, Debbie. None of which
has anything to do with the merits of your claim. A nice, measured email laying out your side of the story would go farther than "Do you always blog out of your
ass?" will. Just as I'm guessing a similar approach with Misha might have produced a slightly different response from him - but maybe not. He *is* the Rott, and that pretty much was the point of my post.
4. Small detail, I live in Kansas, not Denmark, I have no idea why you thought I might live in Denmark.
5. Your reading preferences are, of course, your right. I don't read him but once a week now either, mostly to see what the moonbats he attracts (in this
case, I'm not lumping you in, but if you were to continue in this tone, I might) but I do like a good rant, if only for variety. If you were to check any of the services that track such, you'll find that I'm not a prolific linker to him - though he was the first high-traffic blogger that linked to me, back in the days when I was getting started.
6. My blog entry, despite your personal angst over your tiff with Misha, wasn't really about you. It was about "Don't feed the animals, it just keeps them
hanging around." Now you're running around and kicking me in the shins.

So. Now my conundrum. Do I post your email and my response, or not?

Decisions, decisions. I'm of a mind to.

Obviously, we see what my decision was. In retrospect, my temper wasn't as under control as it might have been, either. I did edit the typos and for the PG-17C, btw. Mind you - I did edit my post, though perhaps not entirely to her liking.

I'll take the rest of the to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry in the interest of my long-suffering dial-up customers.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Feb 15, 2006

February 13, 2006

Cheney @ The Range.

Obviously, someone was out of position when the Veep went hunting yesterday. Whether it was the Veep or the Victim, the Veep has ultimate responsibility as the trigger puller, unless the victim was behind some bushes taking a leak or something. I'll leave that for others to settle.

It certainly didn't take long for the jokes to appear, once it was clear Mr. Whittington would survive.

Owen Dyer, in an email to me, observed it was a good thing that Cheney was a Republican, and therefore hunting with fatcat corporate lawyers. If he'd been a Democrat, those would have been personal injury lawyers...

IMAO has a contest going.

Go forth, Denizens, find the good, the bad, the ugly jokes. Find the Moonbat Howls at the Moon from the anti-gun, anti-Cheney, anti-anything-not-me crowd.

If you have posting privileges, slap 'em in here. If you don't, put 'em in the comments. Lets be a Cheney@TheRange clearinghouse!

For the record - after the investigation is over, based on whatever evidence is gathered and what the laws of Texas provide for - Cheney should suffer whatever consequences fall out from that. No more, no less. And no, a hunting accident is no more justification for confiscating weapons from law abiding citizens than car accidents are justification for banning car ownership.

Speaking of investigations, The Keystone Cops go Hunting.

CHENEY STATEMENT -- ON THE LICENSE, NOT THE SHOOTING [Byron York]

Vice President Cheney has not yet made a public statement about the incident in which he accidentally shot a fellow hunter in Texas Saturday, but his office has just released a statement about the issue of whether he had the proper license to be hunting quail:

It has been brought to the Vice President’s attention by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department this afternoon that, although he had acquired a 125 dollar Texas non-resident season hunting license, he lacked a 7 dollar stamp for hunting upland game birds. To address any questions about the licensing:
-- A member of the Vice President’s staff wrote a check for 140 dollars understanding that this would purchase a Texas non-resident season hunting license that would permit the Vice President to hunt quail in Texas. It appears now that the license itself cost 125 dollars, and an extra 15 dollars covered the cost of a Federal migratory bird stamp. The Vice President did not need the Federal stamp, as he already possessed one.

-- The staff asked for all permits needed, but was not informed of the 7 dollar upland game bird stamp requirement.

-- Because the requirement is new, the Department has informed us that it is issuing warnings, and the Vice President expects to receive one. He will take whatever steps are needed to comply with applicable rules.

-- In the meantime, the Vice President has sent a 7 dollar check to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which is the cost of an upland game bird stamp.

Sigh. Amateurs. In my case, that would be a literal truth when it comes to hunting in Texas. In the Veep's case, he's been let down by his staff, *and* Ms. Armstrong, on whose ranch the hunt was conducted (if it's done as a business, anyway). No, I *don't* expect the Veep to take the time to personally check on all these details - that's what the staff is for. But he *should* take the time to clear his target area.

by Denizens on Feb 13, 2006
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Around my blogroll

February 07, 2006

Janis Karpinski

As I said in my post yesterday, former General-now-Colonel Karpinski pole-vaulted the shark. BTW - today *this* post will be the top post all day. H&I Fires will be underneath, and any new stuff will come in under that one.

In case you're new to this - read Greyhawk.

Co-blogger Bill added this in the comment to the previous post:

Some more Karpinski history from Eric Rasmusen:

"Near the town of Mahawil in southern Iraq, U.S. Marines uncovered a mass grave site holding the remains of some 15,000 Iraqis. They were slaughtered for taking part in the Shia uprising against Saddam in the early 1990s. Saddam’s agent responsible for conducting the mass killings was Mohammed Jawad Anayfas; the grave site is on land owned by him.

"In July 2003, Anayfas was captured by US forces and turned over to the Military Police Brigade under Karpinski’s command. The Brigade Headquarters managed to lose his paperwork -- so instead of contacting her superiors, Karpinski ordered Anayfas set free [emphasis mine].

"Soon thereafter, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz came to Iraq and visited the Mahawil gravesite, where he was informed by Marine Lt. Gen. James Conway how outraged the local Iraqis were over Anayfas’ release. Visibly upset, Wolfowitz vowed Anayfas would be recaptured and tried as a war criminal. Anayfas is still at large and Karpinski received no reprimand.

"When confronted by the Iraqi public outcry -- for Anayfas was only one of several war criminals whose paperwork was lost and she released-- Karpinski proceeded to evade responsibility..." [again, emphasis mine].

And this from CBS News, of all places:

"The Army's inspector general investigated four allegations against Karpinski: dereliction of duty, making a 'material misrepresentation' to investigators, failure to obey a lawful order and shoplifting. Only the shoplifting and dereliction of duty allegations were substantiated.

"A government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Karpinski was accused of shoplifting a cosmetic item [note: Air Force accounts say that it was a $22 bottle of perfume]from a shop [note: the BX] at a domestic Air Force base [note: MacDill AFB] while she held the rank of colonel. Karpinski didn't report her arrest for this misdemeanor on a later background check, the official said."

And she was promoted to Brigadier General shortly thereafter.

Somebody at the Pentagon is in serious need of a a$$kicking. A long, continuous, size-thirteen a$$kicking. And knowing how John feels about Dysfunction in High Places, he's welcome to relieve me when my leg gets tired...

Karpinski's reduction to Colonel, sadly, stems not from her role in Abu Ghraib (which was one of dereliction, along with a lot of minions in the chain), but was administrative. Because of the arrest and failure to report it, her promotion to Brigadier was legally null and void, as it was obtained under false pretenses*.

Unfortunately, I suspect both because of evidentiary issues as well as the publicity, a decision was made to *not* prosecute Colonel Karpinski for dereliction. Based on what she has presented thus far for a defense, absent any more info, *I* would vote for conviction. But then I'm something of a witch-hunter on this matter and don't think enough senior heads have rolled publicly, though I am aware of a few private career executions, albeit only by hearsay - which is why you don't see any names in this space.

But with her latest actions, she's taken on the role of a military Mother Sheehan.

I wondered why. Oh, I know why, she's in huge denial and trying to salvage her tattered reputation, so now she hangs out in her own little bubble of moonbats who feed her the line of soothing bullshite she so desperately needs.

Just like someone else we know. Chronicled by Jay Dyson over at Sacred Cow Burgers.

karpinskimediwhoring.jpg

Just to show that Karpinski *still* can't get it right - she was overheard shouting exultantly at the sky... "Cindy, You Magnificent Poltroon, I read your book!"**

Update: Fuzzybear Lioness provides this link to a nicely done look at how not only did Karpinski fail, but it would appear the senior leadership facilitated it by their own bad judgement.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Feb 07, 2006

February 06, 2006

Ahem.

Note to Colonel Karpinski. It's time to resign that commission you are no longer worthy of.

Well, it had to happen. A military version of Cindy Sheehan.

Gad. It's almost enough to make *me* resign, simply so that my name won't be on the same style commissioning document hers is on.

Way to long jump the shark, ma'am.

You disgrace the uniform you wore. *Again*.

by John on Feb 06, 2006
» Cadillac Tight links with: Oh Jumping Jehosephat

January 15, 2006

Heh. Just, heh.

What part of the linkages of Prohibition, The War on Drugs, and Banning/Restricting Guns doesn't this guy get?

Worried that measures to limit smoking don't go far enough, Elk Grove Village officials are considering banning the sale of cigarettes, apparently the first time that has been seriously proposed in Illinois, experts said.

Mayor Craig Johnson said the village would be hypocritical to consider a current proposal to restrict smoking in bars and restaurants without going after cigarettes themselves.

Heh. Note that the great waves of gun control legislation came in the country after waves of gun violence - which came after Prohibition, and the War on Drugs, as the criminals moved into to take over previously legal enterprises that the bulk of the population in fact, support, at some level or another, even if they won't go against the glitterati who speak about in favor of such measures.

Even Europe doesn't go to this level of insanity... do they?

by John on Jan 15, 2006

December 23, 2005

Oh, let's have some Grinchiness...

We hafta be fair and balanced, right? Sez so in some penumbra or emanation somewhere...

Watch out, fat man! H/t, CAPT H.

Heh. Just, heh. As a conservative who moves in Charitable circles... I could tell some stories. As a property-rights advocate, the owner can do what he wants, IAW whatever contracts may be in place - but this is just small-minded, mean, petty, and childish. And shows the owners true colors.

And, in a spectacular display of my bad taste - though there are some that are badly done, I don't think all the targets here look all that bad. Though I'd hope, if I was a neighbor, they got turned off around 10PM or so... Ours are on a timer to shut off around midnight - but the left and right neighbors are protected by foliage, and the high school across the street is unoccupied save for people with bad intentions...

Dolt. There is a time and a place. What an arrogant poltroon.

Update: I'd like to thank the bearded fat guy (no, it wasn't a mirror, nor Santa) who, sharing a few moments in proximity to me while I was headed away from Westlake's Ace Hardware (their fault, too - it was their Christmas Muzak he was singing along with) who left me with this damn earbug... Fleas on my dog.

For those being Net Nanny'ed from the site... check the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Dec 23, 2005
» Stop The ACLU links with: Merry Christmas To All

December 05, 2005

H&I Fires.

Snerk! Snerk snerk snerkity-snerk!

Murray of Silent Running (buy his stuff, like the Gnome Homes I did!) invites you to visit this Kiwi Blog and join in the discussion...

by John on Dec 05, 2005

November 25, 2005

Rulez.

Comments should be topical to the post, or at least tied to the inevitable drift. Yesterday, Ray B. posted an inapt screed in the comments of my "Happy Thanksgiving" Post. I emailed him about it, and he apologized. Then he does it again this morning on the post about Beth emailing me to get coffee. So I wander over to the brand-new blog he posts on and find what he's actually doing is posting his posts in my comments. This one to the Happy Thanksgiving post, followed by this one on the "emailing for coffee" post. Both comments since deleted but you can read what he had to say in the links.

I don't mind people emailing me links to their posts in the hope I'll link to them. But when you dump off-topic stuff into comments, that is just a copy of a post on your blog - that fits my definition of spam. It's rude. And it's using my bandwidth, paid for by me, to advertise your product, without my permission, and for free. I don't provide this space, nor have open comments, for that purpose.

It's using *my soapbox* for your own purposes. And it basically constitutes unauthorized advertising on my site - I have a policy for that - Raymond technically owes me $1000.00 right now (check the right sidebar, Raymond).

While I have nits to pick with what Raymond says in his posts, he's got a right to his opinion and they aren't moonbat - but I'm getting royally pi$$ed he seems to think this is a billboard for his work, and doesn't even do me the courtesy of asking. Note to new bloggers - this is *not* the way to impress people.

Stop it, fella. NOW.

Yeah, I know, I just gave him links and everything. Maybe now he'll leave me alone, or at least play nice. That or he's going to get banned, and the only other person banned from the Castle is Beth's stalker. It's not company you want to be in Raymond.

by John on Nov 25, 2005

Interesting email...

Speaking of spam - here's today's postable winner from the junk email folder:

canonicalization: hot euro models diddling themselves

I had no idea that was the definition of canonicalization.

by John on Nov 25, 2005

November 01, 2005

Pugnacious Stupidity...A Demonstration

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Dusty checks in:

What follows below is an all-too-frequent and all-too-common example of how the Left sounds when it lets it guard down and speaks its heart and mind.

I just saw this on Jason von Steenwyck's site, Countercolumn.

Jason's response was, as ever, pithy and to the point, but allow me to offer mine as well. Before I go on, I think it needs to be made clear that my comments are really not for the military reader...I hope our civilian visitors get to see this because they need to hear it, again and again from all of us. Alas, for the more well-known milbloggers like Jason, there just isn't enough time in the day to Fisk every fool that comes up with the drivel below. Frankly, I doubt if many of us even get mad any more when they read this crap. That said, I think it's important to occasionally spell out the counterpoints that, while obvious to us, may not immediately spring to mind to those not in our business but who are nevertheless interested in the discussion.

[from the the above-mentioned post]

The funny part is when the psyops geeks tried to taunt the Taliban, as it's always funny to hear the world's biggest cowards try to accuse someone else of cowardice, a typical example of what a psycologist [sic] would call 'projecting'.

"...world's biggest cowards..."

Eh?

Many of the boots on the ground enlisted after 9/11 (a certain football player comes to mind). So, they volunteered to go into harm's way with eyes open and as quickly as possible. Some gave up lucrative careers, some didn't, but all decided that personal sacrifice and exposure to potentially mortal danger was preferable to doing nothing. This does not strike me as "cowardice." True, you may enlist, fully expecting to go to The Sandbox and end up in Okinawa, but that's not the point. You made your little pink (or brown, or olive, or [insert appropriate shade here]) body available for a personal peek at the elephant. Did this writer? And if not, why not? Was it a political decision or personal, based on self-preservation? Hmmm... (Note: The chickenhawk argument won't work on me, or John or Bill...you can check with the VA for details.)

I ask you, has anyone ever seen a more pusiillanimous, cowardly bunch of wretches than the sissyfags of the U.S. "military" who call in air support every time a car backfires or when someone slams a door loudly? They encounter three or four Rebels and instead of fighting like REAL infantry and using fire & maneuver tactics, they instead scream for air support while they're hiding in a shellhole, then after the Air Force flies in and does the killing they "bravely" raise their head up out of said shellhole and proceed to beat their chests about how "brave" they think they are. Disgusting.

OK...let's first review the adjectives and verbs:

-"pusiilanimous" [sic] (and minus 5 for spelling)
-"cowardly" (he's redundant, too)
-"sissyfags" ("sissyfags"? Obviously a homophobe.)
-"military" in scare quotes, meaning they aren't martial enough, I guess. Must take more than uniforms, weapons, a vertical organizational hierarchy and intentionally risking life and limb in combat to qualify.
-"hiding"
-"bravely" in scare quotes, meaning "cowardly"...again, I think he's developing a theme here...
-The one-word last sentence, "Disgusting."

Well.

Let's talk CAS for a minute here. I figure I can, having effing done it for 20+ years.

First, there is no such thing as a "fair fight" in war. Using fire and maneuver has no qualifying phrase other than that associated with the Laws of Armed Conflict. Fires is fires. Killing with air is probably fine by most Infantry commanders I know, assuming it'll get the job done without exposing their subordinates to unnecessary risk while, at the same time, achieving the tactical objective within the bounds of the Rules of Engagement and is appropriate for particular environment in which they find themselves. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Second, last time I checked, REAL infantry used close air support rather extensively in: WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I and Gulf War II (and most other times, with varying degrees of success). I mean, if Patton relied on it--granted, he was Armor, but tankers need their infantry, and Third Army sure liked 19th Air Force--then I don't quite see how using airborne firepower delegitimizes one's infantry-ness. Army guys: can you tell me if calling in air disqualifies you for the CIB? Just askin'.

Oh yeah, Army dudes, isn't "hiding" another way of saying, "Taking cover"? That's another one of those military thingies that I don't think you get professionally dinged for in battle, yes?

Now then, in general, the last time I checked, the Army and Marines have been doing "most of the killing" for over a year. Moreover, the last Michael Yon photo of Erik Kurilla I looked at showed a US Army Lieutenant-effing-Colonel going down after taking three AK-47 rounds (I'm assuming it was a Kalashnikov) at near-point-blank range. Firing back as bullets torn into his skin, muscle and bone, he urged his men on and continued to direct the fight until they dragged his swiss-cheesed ass out of danger and pumped him full of morphine. Yep, real pussy there.

"Disgusting?" That would be you, sir, not Kurilla, his men, his Service, or the US defense forces of whom he is a part.

Try fighting like a REAL army instead of a bunch of glorified forward air controllers before you start calling an opponent "cowardly", because the whole world is laughing at the U.S. "military" and its aversion to real fighting. Just be glad you're not up against a REAL army, like North Korea's or China's or Iran's because the U.S. "Army" would be a grease spot.

[Armorer inserts: Okay. How about here? This one, Raven 42? Anyone remember the killer gurl Sergeant with the Silver Star?]

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Marine 1SGT Kasal after using the assets of a Marine Air Wing (or is that a Beretta M-92, I'm not sure...) to save a wounded Marine and incidentally, kill a few bad guys with some well placed 9mm Parabellum rounds from a passing F/A-18... Not.

"...because the whole world is laughing at the U.S. "military" and its aversion to real fighting..." Don't confuse us with the Belgians.

Oh, please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please give us a shot at the nKA and the Republican Guard!!!

Just to review, the nKA sort of bit the big one in the early 50s, and that was when they had food. What we forget is that Pusan was about to see a major breakout and Inchon, while brilliantly conceived and executed, as much accelerated the result as precipitated it.

The Republican Guard? Well, methinks the terrors of Teheran may have second thoughts about resistance when the objective isn't the public hanging of 16-year-old girls or flogging of homosexuals and instead going toe to toe with the best equipped, trained and recently combat tested western land and air forces...in the Iranians' own backyard.

China? Nah. Why pick a fight with one of our premier trading partners?

And this is the part that just boggles my mind...a number of, well, breathtakingly dumbass memes seem to run through the Leftoid thought process when it comes to the military:
1) You guys don't fight like "real men"--you cheat with technology, all-media fires, aggressive tactics and refuse to trade body for body in achieving tactical, operational and strategic goals
2) You guys have never really been tested...and if you were, you'd get your asses kicked...and we'd enjoy that (this seems to be a Daily Kos, et al., specialty)
3) We really care about our troops and don't want to see them hurt...so never employ them (unless a Democrat is in the White House)...but if you must employ them, see "1)"

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Soldier shown controlling stacked A-10s armed with Snake and Nape while clearing a house in Ramallah...

Jason concludes:

"I guess it's a good thing that this ignoramous has gotten a chance to lead such a sheltered life thanks to the sacrifices of others.

It's also a good thing that he doesn't have the courage to provide his own name.

For the record: My own battalion, the 1-124th Infantry Regiment, took more than fifty wounded in and around Ramadi. And we didn't call in a single airstrike.

It's better, anonymous, to keep your mouth shut than to put your ignorance on a stage.

"

Here's my one comment on Jason's rejoinder: I would hope the reason he didn't use air was because he couldn't use air. Either because it wasn't there or he couldn't bring to bear the massive firepower fixed and rotary-wing assets possess due to the terrain, the timing, the weather, or whatever. I'm assuming, but I figure it's a good assumption. That said, I'm also assuming that, had he asked, and the jets were there, they would have engaged, with relish.

Instapilot sends.
P.S. Having had the honor of commanding a theater full of enlisted Tactical Air Controllers and their ALO officers, I respectfully submit the phrase "...glorified forward air controllers..." is a redundancy...kinda like "brave infantryman" or "courageous Marine."

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Note these 1st Infantry Division Artillerymen obviously using their big guns to clear houses from a safe distance...

by Dusty on Nov 01, 2005
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Blog o'RAM links with: I Have Nothing To Say
» NIF links with: The morning after ...

October 14, 2005

Sorry, Fellas.

We *do* have Gun Pr0n here, but not this kind. From the Activity Log:

2005.10.13 19:11:50 62.252.0.9 Search: query for 'sex free trailers'
2005.10.13 19:11:52 62.252.0.9 Search: query for 'sex free trailers'
2005.10.13 19:12:13 62.252.0.9 Search: query for ' free trailers of sex'
2005.10.13 19:12:23 62.252.0.9 Search: query for ' free trailers of pornstars'

Now when you search, you'll find this post - which tells you, "Sorry Dudes, we don't have that kinda stuff here..."

Ya want that stuff... go look here.*

Now, to make this more interesting for *normal* visitors...

Today in History - The last successful invasion of England culminated in the death of Harold the Second.

In honor of Yom Kippur, now is a good time to point out sometimes the sheep don't go easily to the slaughter.

And in 1986 the Nobel committee showed that is doesn't *always* make PC, feel-good picks for the Peace Prize. They gave it to Elie Wiesel.

Of course, upon reflection, perhaps the "free trailers of sex" searchers are actually looking for *this* article... and had a different kind of trailer in mind... and figure this is a milblog, so we must cover this sort of thing. Heh. Now we have.

*Not!

by John on Oct 14, 2005

September 01, 2005

How thin the veneer of civilization is...

...and how fragile the social contract.

SNIPER FIRE [Jonah Goldberg] CNN Reporting: Charity hospital in New Orleans is taking sniper fire. Good lord. Posted at 03:24 PM

The Guard is coming, fellas. Then you'll be playing Army with the Big Dogs. Don't make 'em send in the 82nd and Marines.

On the flip side - and I admit I'm isolated where I work - I know the government is mobilizing, and having been on the planning and execution side of that I have some idea of what is happening.

And I understand that the MSM actually *needs* to keep a sharp spotlight on the tragedies and pathos... the higher level decision makers need to feel that heat - but how about some sense of organized reportage on what *is* being done?

If it's there, I've missed it, which is possible. And I don't fault the MSM nearly as much as you might think - but the Public Face of Governance, City, State, Federal, should be shoveling out gigabytes of data, with photos and video, of what is being done where.

Is that being done? Or are we just getting (as I am from my limited internet access due to infrastructure issues directly related to Katrina and the response (i.e, the military networks are abuzz with planning and execution traffic - and several key paths are down or damaged because of the hurricane) all the horror, but not any coherent sense of what's being done?

Because I've been emailing and IM'ing with "Friends in the business" and I *know* stuff is being done... but I've gotten no sense of it from the news.

Just curious. I know some of you are probably living in front of your TV sets. Whassup?

by John on Sep 01, 2005
» NIF links with: American Red Cross
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Where's the News?

August 31, 2005

Normal blogging will continue...

This space (at least for me) is *not* going to become "All Katrina, all the time." We'll leave that to the news bloggers, bloggers in the area, and those who have sources.

That shouldn't be taken as we don't care.

We've got the donate button up, in a post *and* in the sidebar, and SWWBO and I have made, and will continue to make, targeted donations. And while we'll leave the Project Valour-IT button up, we won't be flogging that as hard now, either. Frankly, the rescue and clean-up from Katrina is more important in the near term.

Food for thought, however. As someone who sits on the board of a significant local charity, it will be a chore keeping up the needed cashflow to support the day-to-day local work, as people's charitable dollars understandably and usefully flow to the South. I'm not going to make the job any harder!

That's a simple reality.

Consider that as you scrape up spare change for Katrina victims - the needs in your local community don't diminish. If all you do is skip a movie, DVD rental, night out a month, you don't sacrifice much at all, and the local charities can do great things. Keep that in mind - there are a *lot* of people who will be sacrificing and suffering in the weeks and months ahead - but most of you who read this won't be among that group. $5 in the right place goes a looong way in the right hands. Don't just give to the disaster de jour, give locally! And yes, give more than you are used to. We're at war, we've just had the equivalent of an Army march through Louisiana and Mississippi, and you *still* have the local day-to-day needs of your communities. How many of you look at your parents/grandparents through the lens of the "Greatest Generation"? You know what made them that? They went through trying times, pulled together, and did what needed to be done. Guess what? Now is that time for us. We may not have to give as much as they did - but we should certainly give.

Oddly enough in my experience - the people who will feel it the most... also give the most, sometimes in absolute terms, not relative.

That said, I may, however, have my head explode over tripe like the German newspapers and government officials are putting out, or this little gem from RFK, Jr, where he blames Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, for the hurricane. *As if* the Kyoto Protocol is a magic wand that if ratified, would have *prevented* the hurricane, or reduced it's severity, this early in Kyoto's intended lifecycle... not that the purported effects at the far end of the Protocol are all that impressive. The Protocol is more a piece of 'feel good' legislation that has costs far outweighing any putative benefits accruing therefrom, than it is a piece of good science.

The staggering damage totals have far more to do with the increasing urbanization of the coasts, and the gamble that New Orleans has *always* been, than it is a product of the weather patterns.

A lack of historical perspective on hurricane patterns over time, and local government happy to have the people and tax revenues, land owners and developers wanting to make a buck - but no one willing to impose any sane restrictions on type of construction and where construction will be allowed. I'm all for the free market and making a buck - but sometimes we need to take mother nature into account, too - or not whine about it. I live in tornado country, and my house reflects that reality, as does my insurance. Just sayin' that when we rebuild, let's do it smartly, and not just recreate what we had in place last Friday. Let's rebuild it with an eye to yesterday...

If we aren't willing to impose any controls, then we get to pay the piper. Of course there's a balance to be struck... but short-sighted local and state public officials who can't see beyond the next election - and the public which punishes them for trying, are as much to blame here as the President. And guess what, Bobby Junior... they haven't all been Republicans.


Update: As Boudicca notes, even though New Orleans is going to be the spotlight, don't forget Mississippi and Alabama.

by John on Aug 31, 2005

August 21, 2005

Supporting the Military... Part 1

Part 1. How to Support the Military, if what you want to do is *not* support the Military... and, indeed, wrap up a whole buncha stuff ya wanna castigate in one, neat little package.

I'm a San Francisco City Supervisor. I want to demonstrate my support for the military.

Hmmm. Where to start, where to start, where to start?

Okay. I know! I know!

Let's start here. We'll say "no" to docking the USS Iowa as a museum and memorial.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision."

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel _ the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

See! See! Fooey on you military guyz! *That's* how I support the military! I don't! Neener neener neener! Wow! I'm gonna dine out on this for *months!*

Snerk. Twits with no vision, I say. So wrapped up in short-term thinking and their own predjudices, they can't think outside the box, and instead, give us the same tired old refrain, over and over again. So do the Rolling Stones, but at least they're entertaining.

Heh. Why wouldn't they want the Iowa?

Good lord, I'd have thought they'd have *jumped* at the chance to have the Iowa. For *exactly* the reasons they cited they *didn't* want it!

They could have turned it into a huge, pink/rainbow colored floating museum castigating war, rumors of war, and homophobia! All with an artifact wrapped in gauzy remembrances of same.

Good lord, Dudes, you are *not* strategic thinkers! Drop me a line, the firm I work for specializes in that kind of stuff.

Oh, wait. Never mind. We *also* do work for the military, so, nah. We are a very progressive firm on Rainbow issues, however. We managed to reconcile the two, which you guys can't. Snerk.

Anyway -

You could have shown how the diversion of the immense amount of resources to build the ship affected impoverished children starving in Appalachia! And probably was responsible for the famine in Biafra in the 70's - and that probably led to the rise of Islamofacism!

Hey, c'mon, you don't need any real causal link - it just has to seem possible, and show right wing politics and economics in a Bad Light®, right?

You could have shown how it was used to kill poor Japanese soldiers who were merely responding to America's economic tyranny, forcing them to go to war for natural resources. Not to mention that when those rounds landed, they damaged the ecosystem and Disturbed Small Critters®! All the Japanese wanted was some wood, rubber, and coal - and here we forced them to conquer half of Asia for it - when if we had only properly embraced gov't funded mass transportation, we wouldn't have needed all that rubber and petroleum... which the Japanese could have had. And then the timber! Why, if we all lived in nice, enviro-friendly arcologies, we wouldn't have had that wasteful sprawl, either (more on that later!). And if we hadn't fought the Japanese, well, we wouldn't have made The Bomb®, either, right?

Bad enough the Iowa was used to kill those poor Japanese! At least they were capitalist pigs themselves, only worthy of support when we can Bash America®!

But then, *then!*, the Iowa was used to kill North Korean peasants and their Chinese brothers, Good Communist Peasants® all, who were simply trying to shine the bright light of Maoism to those poor, benighted, *gasp* capitalist-running-dogs of South Koreans, Lickspittle Sidekicks® of the American Hegemonists®! Heck, if the Iowa was a good ship, she'd have turned her guns on them! And those bassid 'Muricans in there with 'em!

Thankfully, this horrible machine of evil didn't hurt any of Uncle Ho's® children, but that shouldn't have stopped you guys from devoting some berthing space to how horrible we were in Vietnam - besides, some other Iowa-class BB's *did* shoot at Uncle Ho's® kids, so yer kewl there, too!

And then, you can highlight how the Iowa was used (the horror!) in Desert Storm - and this is a beaut - and therefore was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom - which we hateses, we does - so the ship is in fact the root of all that is Eeeeevilllll in the world, and it was The Chimp's® father who sent it there! And we hateses the Bush we does! Hateses it!

But wait! There's more!

You can do the whole Turret Fire thing. You can spin it as Gaia's Revenge®! Karmic Balance®! The ship *knew* she was being used for Eeevviiiillllll and tried to take herself out. And this is the Piéce de Resistance! You can slam the Navy for shoddy investigation, and the a$$-covering framing of an Innocent Man®, and they did it with a disgusting display of homophobia, by spinning the tale that Gunner's Mate Hartwig* killed himself and 46 others because he was broken-up over a Failed Gay Relationship®!


But wait! There's More!

C'mon, admit it - you guys really really really despise us Red Staters and hell, even Blues in the Flyover. Face it, If You Ain't Coastal, You Ain't Hip®! You can use one of the mess facilities on board for exhibits that show how Iowa, and other states like it, should be depopulated and allowed to Return to Nature®, with African Wildlife Reserves established, so that the Great Plains can become The World Zoo, and, following the instructions of the Sainted Native American® (oops, well, not exactly Native American®) Ward Churchill, only Native Americans (and select, properly screened Blue People®, of course) to occupy the land. But - even better - you'll keep the states as states, but now, only populated by Blue State Approved People®, you will *own* the Senate! And we inconvenient Red Staters can reopen Manzanar (as the Donella Meadows Arcology and Education Center - ooo, a double-entendre even!) and be bused in to clean houses and stuff while we get re-educated. And you can sneak in stuff about why Manzanar for Japanese Americans was Bad®, but under your administration would be Good®!

Hmmm. I guess I'm glad you guys have no Vision® after all.

Besides, the Bay Area already has the USS Hornet and USS Pampanito, which vessel you have seem before as the USS Stingray.

However, if you'd like to help the Veterans of the Iowa keep the ship in San Francisco (they seem a little miffed about Stockton), go visit them here!

*The author intends no disrespect to Gunners Mate Hartwig or his 46 comrades who died in the fire on the Iowa. Sometimes satire gets rough to make a point.

by John on Aug 21, 2005
» EagleSpeak links with: USS Iowa Banned from San Francisco, Moves to Stock
» Don Surber links with: SF to the USA: Drop Dead
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Kerfuffles links with: Shunned By San Francisco

August 12, 2005

Building on Yesterday's rant...

...about Code Names. I gotta plug Commander Salamander's rant - he was channeling me, which, sadly, portends badly for his promotion chances...

The whole naming thing started out as a security measure. It gave a shorthand way to refer to something in messages, whether a weapon system, troop movement, location, operation, intel asset, etc , so people in the know would understand what you meant, without larding up messages with a lot of text, as well as revealing info to interested eavesdroppers. Jargon for security.

Like the Manhattan Project for the atomic bomb. Operation Overlord for the invasion of Europe. Utah Beach, Operations Olympic and Coronet for the planned invasion of Japan. "Tank" for the Tank. (crates with the first tanks in them were marked "Water Tank" - the name stuck.) Infinite Justice Enduring Freedom - the take-down of Afghanistan. The military aren't the only ones, either; e.g., Microsoft's "Longhorn" which is now officially "Windows Vista."

As we are continuously lectured "Words have meaning." The development of code names is a Big Deal, hence NORTHCOM/NORADs angst. As no less a master of the english language Winston Churchill observed in Closing The Ring (vol 5 of his WWII history):

[1.] Operations in which large numbers of men may lose their lives ought not to be described by code words which imply a boastful or overconfident sentiment,. . . or, conversely, which are calculated to invest the plan with an air of despondency. . . . They ought not to be names of a frivolous character. . . . They should not be ordinary words often used in other connections. . . . Names of living people--Ministers and Commanders--should be avoided. . . .

2. After all, the world is wide, and intelligent thought will readily supply an unlimited number of well-sounding names which do not suggest the character of the operation or disparage it in any way and do not enable some widow or mother to say that her son was killed in an operation called "Bunnyhug" or "Ballyhoo."

3. Proper names are good in this field. The heroes of antiquity, figures from Greek and Roman mythology, the constellations and stars, famous racehorses, names of British and American war heroes, could be used, provided they fall within the rules above.

LTC Gregory Sieminski wrote an interesting article called The Art of Naming Operations in the US Army War College Publication, Parameters, in which he lays out some of the history of naming - and the pitfalls contained therein. In addition to "Ballyhoo" and "Bunnyhug" noted by Churchill (both names just illustrative, never under consideration) there was real objection to naming the 1943 raid on Ploesti "Operation Soapsuds", violating the "Bunnyhug Rule." The mission was eventually named Tidal Wave.

General Ridgway got in trouble in Korea for naming an operation "Killer"... LTC Sieminski pretty much wraps up the whole purpose, process and problem of naming in these three paragraphs:

China's intervention in the Korean War helped Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway see what MacArthur had not. Ridgway took command of the Eighth Army as it was reeling southward under relentless Chinese attack. His first task, he realized, was to restore the fighting spirit of his badly demoralized command.[47] One way he did this was by giving decidedly aggressive nicknames to the series of counteroffensives undertaken from February to April 1951: Thunderbolt, Roundup, Killer, Ripper, Courageous, Audacious, and Dauntless. Because these names were not classified once operations began, they were widely disseminated among Eighth Army soldiers to boost morale.[48] Ridgway's unprecedented use of meaningful combat operation names set the tone for one of the most remarkable transformations of any military organization in history. The reinvigorated Eighth Army pushed the Chinese back to the 38th parallel.

If Ridgway's names contributed to success on the battlefield, they were not nearly so successful on the home front. Ridgway had publicly announced not only the start of his first major counteroffensive, but also its nickname: Operation Killer.[49] In doing so, he may have imagined that he could boost the morale of the public in the same way he hoped to inspire his troops. After all, the news from the front had been bad for months--so bad, in fact, that the US Far East Command had suspended communiques dealing with operational matters the previous fall.[50] It was probably no coincidence that the communiques resumed the day after the start of Operation Killer.[51] Certainly some of Ridgway's troops thought that Killer and other names had been chosen with the media in mind.[52]

In any event, more than a few observers objected to Ridgway's operation name, which was prominently displayed in many newspaper and magazine articles.[53] One critic was the Army Chief of Staff, General J. Lawton Collins, who informed Ridgway that "the word `killer' . . . struck an unpleasant note as far as public relations was concerned."[54] Certainly public relations suffered: several writers criticized the name directly or implicitly in letters to The New York Times;[55] the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union issued a report in which the name served as the rubric for the entire conflict, which it called a "phony" war emergency;[56] Republicans pointed to the term as evidence that the Truman Administration had no other aim in Korea but to kill Chinese;[57] and the State Department objected that the name had soured negotiations with the People's Republic of China.[58]

Shelby Stanton, in his book Anatomy of a Division, noted that in Vietnam the 1st Cavalry Division relearned the "Killer" lesson - when it named an operation "Masher." President Johnson got pissy because it didn't reflect the "pacification emphasis" he was after. General Westmoreland, in his memoir added that the President objected because it gave ammunition to carping war critics. Both considerations still valid, perhaps even more so in the pervasive media environment we live in. Like NORAD is finding out via the blogs... though I still don't think Admiral Keating lost any sleep last night because Salamander and I pinged him, and Lex only gave him a lukewarm defense.

After Vietnam, we went to a computer generated system - to improve randomness. But they still got filtered. And anything big, well, as the last 15 years have shown, anything big gets parsed for marketing considerations. Sometimes badly.

If you'd like to try your hand at computer generating some code names, give this site a whirl. The ones I generated weren't too bad! Distant Thunder, Intrinsic Jewel, Nomad Tree, Shepherd Sentinel (though that last might offend PETA).

Just goes to show there *is* a reason for NORADs madness (and madness it still is... lest ye think I've gone soft on 'em!). But like any idea, when carried to an extreme... it just gets silly. And even after doing the research for this post... NORAD's decision is... SILLY.

But let's get to the point of this! Keep those nominations coming in! Then, this weekend, SWWBO and I will select the Top 20. And put up a poll - winner gets their choice of Stuff From The Castle Store, up to a $15 value. I'm feeling generous, I'll cover shipping... Before you submit - check out the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry - therein lies the List Thus Far. Also downloadable here.


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Aug 12, 2005
» TacJammer links with: Sleepy Weasel
» NIF links with: Sorcerer of The Wonkavator
» Quotulatiousness links with: Military code names and national character

August 11, 2005

Argghhh!

This is an astral projection of me, I'm still being lazy.

Earth to NORAD: I am a farking Warrior. And a Soldier. And Soldier-Warriors are Brave. Celts were Warriors. Angles were Warriors. Burgundians were warriors, too, just for a few non-Native examples. And many were also Soldiers. And they used Shields. And Arrows. And Bows. And Spears. Many used Feathers in their accouterments. And *gasp* rode Horses. And there were a *Hell* of a lot more of them in aggregate than there have *ever* been Pre-European-Arrival residents on this continent. And, in other words, represent the ethnic heritage of a *lot* of white, and, dare I mention Asian, residents of this piece of dirt. But, because someones panties get in a twist, all of a sudden, *that* whole heritage goes out the window? Get a grip.

I.DONT.GIVE.A.FLYING.FLIP.IF.THERE.IS.SOME.NATIVE.AMERICAN.
SOMEWHERE.WHO.FEELS.LIKE.THESE.WORDS.ARE.SOMEHOW.
THE.EXCLUSIVE.DOMAIN.OF.NATIVE.AMERICANS.AND.HAVE.
THEIR.PANTIES.IN.A.TWIST...

BUT I WONDER...

But, do they? Really? Got a petition or something? No, I don't think you do... and I bet there are far more Native Americans who actually like that kind of thing than resent it. In many aspects, those names can be gestures of Respect, warrior to warrior. But we can't have that, can we? Nooo.

"We did change them because of the references to Native Americans," Sgt. Tomassi said. "And the initiative wasn't U.S. or Canadian. It was just NORAD. We are sensitive to such issues. We don't have a professional sports team like the Washington Redskins. But we still are sensitive to the same sorts of issues that those organizations are. When Admiral Keating arrived, the staff was already in progress, saying this was an initiative we wanted to take on, and Admiral Keating embraced it."

And I bet the PAO staff let poor SGT Tomassi be the spokesman because there wasn't an officer willing to have their name in the Washington Post attached to this article.

While I think the recent NCAA decision is dumb, this is so mind-crushingly, spirit-draining dumb as to be beyond words. (for an interesting and surprisingly readable view on the mascot issue - go read this Kossack)

Oh, please, please, please - release the Staff Study you guys put together for this. I would *love* to see it.

Admiral Keating, I know you don't give a flying flip - and I doubt you're going to see this screed, nor care if somehow you do - but this is embarrassing.

I can understand Operation Indian Brave, or Cherokee Forge or somesuch (though, again, show me the significant number of Native Americans who are just sent round the bend by that) - but now Operation Certain Shield and Victory Spear are out... and I guess that the "Brave Rifles" of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment are just chapping your collective pansy asses there, seeing as how they are based at Fort Carson, just down the road from your Hole-in-the-Mountain... I mean, gee, just look how insensitve their newsletter is... Blood and Steel? I hope you can do something about that, too, while you're at it, Admiral.

Admiral Keating, I christen thee the NORth American Sensitivity Supervisor.

And for you sailors who read this space... howinthehell did you breed this guy?

This rant is all SWWBO's fault.

Anyway - A Contest! Let's open up a list of Non-Offensive Operation/Exercise names that we can forward to NORAD to help them in their Quest for Sensitivity!

Remember - nothing bold or warlike... because someone, somewhere, might get offended.

Have at it.

Update: BTW - according to my source in the Canadian Forces... CAPT H, they don't seem to mind the name Warrior...

And, sadly for the Admiral - the Army Just Doesn't Get It, what with that new UAV, and the Warrior Ethos and all... heck, they're even pushing movies with it...

I'm sorry, NORAD, this is just frickin' pathetic.

**BREAK BREAK BREAK - GUIDONS GUIDONS GUIDONS - THIS IS FUSILEER 6**

After you make your clever opname submissions - Click the graphic and Join the Castle Argghhh! Fighting Fusileers for Freedom! in support of Project Valour-IT! I suppose that ought to be renamed too, because it might shame those so famously chapped by Shakespeare's Henry the V,

"...And Gentlemen in England still abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speak that fought with us upon St. Crispin's Day..."

imparmwantsyou.jpg

(BTW - if you're supporting this effort but haven't had a ping show up - drop me a note, I'm building a blogroll)

And don't forget - even though the cartoon is gone - don't forget to Click for Cathy!

**FUSILEER 6, OUT**

by John on Aug 11, 2005
» Techography links with: No one can Rant
» Techography links with: I Don't Know but I've been Told!
» PA Pundits links with: I'm Offended That You're Offended
» CDR Salamander links with: Ward Churchill takes over as head of NORAD
» Scotts Conservative News & Commentary links with: NORAD Runs Up Proverbial White Flag
» Da Goddess links with: Growing Legs
» Red State Rant links with: Not just the NCAA

August 10, 2005

*dig-dig, delve-delve*

Kate the Luddite Warden is undergoing an out-of-house experience, but unfortunately, it's only temporary. In the meantime...

Jay of StoptheACLU sent me an interesting alert -- seems the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said today it will no longer accept funding from the United Way. *Whoa,* thought I, *The bottom-feeders are turning down money? Hades hath become the Ross Ice Shelf!*

Nope. They just don't want to inform the gummint -- in writing -- that they are *not* dating anyone on a Federal Watch List. The full story's here...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From Bloodspite comes this Intel: His Extremeness Fred Phelps and his delusional Kool-Aid Drinkers are at it again, this time protesting the interment of SGT Jason T. Palmerton, 3rd SF, at Arlington.

The update is at Jack Army's hootch. If any of you have the misfortune of observing the antics of these clowns, I would suggest ignoring them with all the dignity you can muster. And Barb has her own thoughts on the matter, as is her wont...

by CW4BillT on Aug 10, 2005

August 04, 2005

New tricks for an old dog.

SWWBO sent me out to get dinner last night. Due to our competition, this meant the Price Chopper salad bar for rabbit food vice two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickle-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun as it might have in years past.

Heh.

Anyway, 6PM is apparently rush hour at Price Chopper, but not sufficiently so that we open up idle registers.

No problem. I have two plastic boxes full of rabbit food, they have an express lane, "about 12 items or less". I guess the "about" is to stop the bean counters from starting fights or something. Not that it matters, in the event.

Here's my lesson. If you have a cart full of 50 or so items (I quit counting) and you don't want to stand in line at the other registers (where it is 5-6 carts deep) you just sail right up to the express register and inform the cashier that you have 3 different orders as you are shopping for your friends and so it's okay, just start ringing it up.

And then, about one third of the way through, you stop her and pay.

Again at roughly two thirds.

And at the end.

With the same credit card.

Each time.

And it appears there was little overlap in your friend's needs, either. Only of you needed bread, only one vegetables, only one cereal, etc.

I suppose it's *plausible*... but I throw the BS flag. If nothing else, the pugnacious, "I know you think I"m a butthead" looks and overall defensive posture were not conducive to a charitable reading of Sally Shopper's motives.

Talk about relying on everyone else's sense of politesse to ease your way through life.

by John on Aug 04, 2005

August 01, 2005

Pugnacious Stupidity: Brit Police Edition...

Brit police, in an astoundingly dense rule laid down to show respect for Muslims whilst (heh) breaking in and searching their homes...

...will now do it in [drumroll, please] ...stockinged feet.

Someone please tell me this is a Sun Online satire piece...


{scene shifts}

News Item: New Home Office proposed legislation: Ownership of Jacks is now prohibited in the United Kingdom.

{scene shifts}

Jihadi feverishly searching Ebay. "Allahu Akbar! I found what we seek!"

Caltrops.

"But Achmed - we can get them here, no problem!"


Heh. Even the Arsenal at Argghhh! has three different types of caltrop.

Puh-leeze.


H/t, Jim C.

by John on Aug 01, 2005
» Confederate Yankee links with: And Now For Something...
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Banter in Atlanter links with: You Have Got to Be Kidding

July 27, 2005

Hark! A Snark!

Just because I wanted to make *sure* you guys went and checked it out... Commander Salamander noted my note on the change of GWOT to GSAVE. Now - go check out the 'Phibian's take on that - GETEM!

And if ya think it's funny too, don't link to here unless you *also* link to the Salamander - he deserves the credit! I'll be happy to stand back and watch.


BTW - the Castle Store has been updated with Art of the Liberated! items...

Oh, yeah - and Rammer thought he was gonna sneak through where I work at Fort Leavenworth and not get caught? Puh-leeze! Busted in yer seekrit meeting! (No, Rammer/Punctilious, I *don't* want to know how many times he's already done it! [hands over ears] La-la-la-la-la-la-la!) You are, however, welcome for the break my interruption provided.

While looking for things on Blog O'Ram to link to, Punctilious pointed me to this, at Sondra K's... Why I Am Here? Perhaps Alessandra Stanley, of the NYTs, would care to read that post, if she's so hard put to find news of the warrior.

by John on Jul 27, 2005
» Techography links with: Wow!
» Blog o'RAM links with: Oh the Horror!

July 24, 2005

How do you tell you *don't* live in an Army town?

I covered how to tell you *do* in this post.

Here's how to tell if you probably don't. People have to send out press releases (even to medium traffic milbloggers) like this:

>>> "I LOVE AMERICA" ART EXHIBIT To counter anti-American art Featured at Attorney General's Office

>>> Pro-American Art Exhibit & Rally
Downtown Sacramento, 13th & I Streets - Thursday, July 28 3:30 - 10:00
PM


(SACRAMENTO) - The controversy surrounding the display of an anti-American, anti-military, anti-Christian "art" exhibit at the publicly-funded California Department of Justice building in downtown Sacramento will take a turn in a different direction this week.

The offensive anti-American art can be seen here.

Move America Forward, a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, California that supports our troops and their heroic fight against terrorism (website: www.MoveAmericaForward.org) will be organizing a pro-American counter art exhibit, titled, "I LOVE AMERICA" on the sidewalks outside of the anti-American exhibit.

"The offensive material displayed at the Department of Justice building sends the message to the terrorists around the world that American morale is low. Having just returned from Iraq I can tell you that our soldiers and Marines reported that every anti-American news story is used as a rallying cry by the terrorist insurgents as evidence that they are winning the war for hearts and minds," said Melanie Morgan, Chairman of Move America Forward.

"We are not saying people do not have a right to produce and display such offensive art, but it should not be sponsored by a taxpayer funded official and displayed in a taxpayer funded building. Does the Attorney General not have any shame by promoting a display that undermines American forces when we are in an armed conflict in the war on terrorism?" asked Morgan.

While the Attorney General has tried to distance his involvement in the affair, Move America Forward has obtained the press release showing Lockyer's sponsorship of the exhibit. Lockyer said he was "honored" to sponsor the exhibit, praising the display's "style" and "beauty"

See Press Release Here.

"Instead of simply protesting that the display is in a taxpayer funded facility, and sponsored by the taxpayer funded Attorney General and California Arts Council, we wanted to do something pro-active and positive. And that's when we came up with the idea for the 'I LOVE AMERICA' art exhibit," Morgan said.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
PRO-AMERICAN ART EXHIBIT: "I LOVE AMERICA"
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The "I LOVE AMERICA" art exhibit will be featured in front of the California Department of Justice building (located at 1300 I Street in Downtown Sacramento) from 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM this Thursday, July 28, 2005. The pro-American art exhibit will be directly in front of the offensive exhibit on display on the first floor of the California Department of Justice building.

Members of the public are invited to contribute their own artwork to the exhibit. Move America Forward asks that entries be approximately 8.5" x 11" and be accompanied with a note of support for our troops serving in Iraq & fghanistan, either on the back or on a separate piece of paper.

After the display is taken down Thursday night, Move America Forward will pack each individual display, along with note of support to our troops, and will ship them to the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as a morale booster.

Each piece of artwork will be accompanied by a shipment of premium ground coffee and cookies as part of Move America Forward's "Cookies & Coffee for Our Troops" program. Local Sacramento coffee roaster, Cornerstone Coffee, is the official coffee supplier for this program.

Move America Forward and Sacramento radio host, Mark Williams of KFBK 1530 Sacramento, will be the hosts of this event, however we are working with talk radio hosts from around the country to promote the exhibit.

Already, artwork has been arriving from around the nation. The very first piece arrived via overnight mail from Key West, Florida with a poignant message in support of our troops.

= = = = = = = = = = =
PRO-AMERICAN RALLY
= = = = = = = = = = =

Additionally hundreds of people are expected for a pro-America rally that will take place simultaneous to the art exhibit.

The rally will take place in front of the California Department of Justice building at 1300 I Street in Downtown Sacramento (corner of 13th and I streets).

Participants are invited to bring American flags, and signs showcasing their support for our troops and America's heritage of democracy and liberty.

"We want to send a message heard round the world that Americans stand united with our troops and the fight against terrorism. And we want to make it very clear that those who constantly howl about how bad they think our nation is are but a very small minority," Melanie Morgan said.

The event will also be carried live on KFBK 1530 AM in Sacramento from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM on Thursday, July 28.

For more information on these two events visit www.MoveAmericaForward.org.

Also, details of the "I LOVE AMERICA" art exhibit and pro-American rally will be discussed from 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM each day on the "Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Show" on KSFO 560 AM in northern California and during the evenings from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Mark William's "Night Talk Live" on KFBK 1530 AM.

CONTACT: Mark Washburn
Mark@REMOVETHISMoveAmericaForward.org or (916) 441-6197

Edited to create hyperlinks.

Members of the public are invited to contribute their own artwork to the exhibit. Move America Forward asks that entries be approximately 8.5" x 11" and be accompanied with a note of support for our troops serving in Iraq & fghanistan, either on the back or on a separate piece of paper.

If any of the Castle Readership would like to create some art I encourage you to do so - and if you can put it into digits, I'll post them here, too. If you can only do it in time to get to them - send it to them! If you make some thing that can't get there in time - send it along. If we get anything, we'll put it up!

by John on Jul 24, 2005

July 23, 2005

Talk about coincidence...

While I was working on the "On Nuking Mecca" post below - before I published it - this came in an email. Of course! How could we not realize that if the US gets nuked - Bush and Rove will be behind it! Silly me!

TINS - I cleaned out most of the extraneous html - the sender apparently copied source code. The sender also didn't make a personal statement, so I don't know if this was sent for my edification of Rampant Moonbattery, or is a statement supported by the emailer. Hence, I won't name them. If they are a reader, they can elaborate in the comments. The name at the bottom is *not* the name on the email, however. I did do some googling, but didn't find this anywhere on the web... but I didn't look too hard, and have to go run food and coffee out to SWWBO who is working a horse show today.

WHICH AMERICAN CITY WILL BUSH NUKE?

THE NEOCOMMS ARE DESPERATE TO KEEP POWER, AND A NATIONAL EMERGENCY OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD ENSURE THEY KEEP IT.

9/11 DIDN'T QUITE DO THE TRICK.

WILL IT BE SAN FRANCISCO?

THEN BUSH COULD SITE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SODOMITES AS PROOF THAT THE LORD HATES DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS.

AMERICA, AS A CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY, IS SOON TO BE NO MORE.


IN JESUS’ GLORIOUS AND HOLY NAME,

DEAN BERRY – REAL AMERICAN

by John on Jul 23, 2005
» Dirty Kafir links with: Why Stop there Kerry?

July 07, 2005

Compare and contrast:

George Galloway, Buffoon, MP, Fallujah:

We extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.

No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.

The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.

We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.

We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.

Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.

George, you ignorant putz. Oh, not really. You are honest. Once bought, you stay bought, eh?

"Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence."

Ah, George, you clever man. The 'innocents abroad' in Iraq who died at the hands of your pal and mentor, Saddam Hussein, they were just the victims of "needful violence," in order to preserve the perks and style of your buddies regime, eh?


Compare George vice the Socialist Mayor of London, Ken Livingston:

"I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today — this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old … that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted fate, it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder."

"They seek to divide London, they seek Londoners to turn against each other ... this city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack."

"I know that you personally do not fear to give your own life in exchange to taking others ... but I know you do fear you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society ... in the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railway stations ... you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world, will arrive in London to become Londoners, to fulfill their dream and achieve their potential … whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

Way to rise to the occasion, sir. Much more Winnie-like than Mr. Blair, too.

Update: It occurs to me, that today, in London - more "avatars of ourselves" are having that brief, shining, transcendent moment. The everyday heroes.

by John on Jul 07, 2005

June 14, 2005

Argghhh!!!

I live in Kansas. An Army Brat who did a lot of growing up overseas, I really think of myself as an American, rather than a citizen of any particular state. Today, I'm really, really, really glad I think of myself that way.

Frĕd Phĕlps, you lying sack of voided matter from the bowel of a diseased marmot. You are a disgrace to your nation, your state, your city, your church, and, most especially, your God. You self-absorbed sanctimonious pile of worm-ridden dung. You single-issue megalomaniacal twitterpated embarassment to the profession of Pastor.

You aren't fit to pick nits off the infected dung of the diseased fleas on the scrofulous dog that followed the broken-down toothless nag you rode in on.

Your dark, twisted little room-with-no-doors excuse of a soul is an argument for atheism.

You almost make me want to be gay, just so I can be your declared enemy. that would annoy SWWBO, however.

Wait! 'Reverend' Phĕlps - since you think that IEDs are punishment from God... of the United States for the bombing of your little nest of hatred there in Topeka, I guess I *am* your enemy. You'd think your version of God would be a little more accurate, and go for those Washburn students you blame rather than slaugthering all those Iraqis... but, I guess not, eh? Apparently your God took back the promise of the New Testament and is 'going all Old Testament' on our ass. You certainly aren't taking a "Christian" view of things... that would require the presence of Christ in your Crusade - not something I see there. A bit of Baal, perhaps. Are you sure you haven't been reading the Koran lately? The "jihadi edition?"

You pathetic little weasel. Which is a disservice to weasels.

You A$$hat. [totally unrelated note: FbL: Textbook example of wordy vice concise...]

What, me mad? Why would I be spitting-fire angry? Annoyed? Irked? Enraged? This is why. Really - this stark raving moonbat thinks Iraq is all about himself and his church. Celebrating the deaths of soldiers - apparently only if they died by IED, being shot or mortared or rocketed is all about something else...

Frĕd - since you have lumped me "government and populations [sic] of the USA" as a perp of the attack on your Church - I must demur. I assure you, little man, had I been involved, there would be no Frĕd Phĕlps to spread this manure.

No, that's not a threat. You aren't worth going to jail over. And I may kill this post just because it gives you exposure. And, over the years, you've shown you are one cockroach who *thrives* on exposure, unlike most of your misbegotten spawn of Shaitan.

Note to Frĕd: Dhimmi is dhimmi. They *aren't* your friends. And God may well not be on our side - but, unless the New Testament is all a hoax, I suspect He most certainly is not on yours. I suspect your ancestors cringe to watch your actions - and at some point, when your poison has faded in your line, your progeny will, as well.

BTW, Frĕd, remember all those inconvenient Gospels? The message of which is precisely the opposite of what you preach? God doesn't hate *anyone* Fred. He hates Sin, but not the Sinner. Apparently your Bible reads differently from the ones here at the Castle, both the King James and the Catholic.

Feh.

H/t, Gryphmon via Mrs. Greyhawk.

More at Assumption of Command

And Banter in Atlanter.

We return you now to your regularly scheduled politesse.

Hey! A trifecta! All three of us on the same day! Woo-woo!

by John on Jun 14, 2005
» The Stupid Shall Be Punished links with: "I Don't Agree With What You Say..."
» Mudville Gazette links with: Fred Phelps
» Random Fate links with: A post for John
» The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill links with: Disgusting display of asshatness...
» No Pundit Intended links with: This Guy Is Sick
» The Gun Line links with: Certain Rabid Animals...
» Villainous Company links with: The Last Word Caption Contest
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Balance Sheet links with: Corporal Carrie French - Rest in Peace
» The Kommentariat links with: It's too bad murder is illegal...
» No Pundit Intended links with: The NPI "Thank God for PDs" Campaign
» Winds of Change.NET links with: Iraq Report, 20 June/05
» Overtaken by Events links with: 1st Place: Use of the Strike Tag

June 09, 2005

Oh, Krep...

My respect for the American Soldiers and Marines--fighting and dying for their countrymen, now-free Iraqis, the Middle Eastern individual who yearns to be free, and humanity as a whole--knows no bounds.

Yet it increased when I heard this.

Why?

Because they keep fighting as fiercely as the first day of the war, despite the appalling statements people, who are proported to be their representatives, make.

What Rangel said was so repulsive it was breathtaking. Of course, what do I know, being a White Male who thinks like the rest of the Republican Borg Collective?

The Democratic Party, and many of its followers, have rendered themselves incapable of understanding what evil is. When that happens, the likelihood that you will experience it increases dramatically. Lucky for us, the American people and their sons and daughters in faraway places, still understand that.

P.S. For those of you wondering where I am, I'll back brief you as soon as I can. Put simply, I'm living the Nike ad...just doing it. Will elaborate soonest. Cheers.

by Dusty on Jun 09, 2005

May 06, 2005

Continuing Bill’s theme of Good News, Bad News…

First, the Good News. Last night I represented my Rotary Club at the Leavenworth High School JROTC Awards ceremony, where we sponsor an award… (d-uh). LHS has had a Corps of Cadets for 108 years, and was the*first* official JROTC program in the country – still going strong 88 years after the founding of the program. One of the things I *liked* about Leavenworth Public Schools is that I live across the street from a public school with a rifle range in the basement, and weapons and ammo stored there. And no one worries about it. More on *that* later.

Lots of STRAC*-looking (okay, there were a *few* for whom the uniform is *still* a mystery), well-behaved kids getting recognized for doing Good Things, from Most Improved This, Best That, etc. I got to hear the Theme from Star Wars played by the buglers of the Drum and Bugle Corps (amazing what you can do with a bugle), and a simply *excellent* performance by the Unarmed Drill Team.

We met two soon-to-be West Point Plebes, an AF Academy Doolie, and whatever the Coast Guard Academy calls a first year Midshipman. I lost count of the 3 and 4 year ROTC scholarship awardees, and we gave a standing ovation (initiated by spring-butt Yours Truly) to the 5 kids going directly into military service after they graduate this year. We heard about some of the projects the cadets worked on as a part of their 5500 hours of community service activity during the academic year. Some during class time, most before, after, and on weekends.

Rotary of course was not the only organization represented. The Lions, VFW, American Legion, Military Order of the World Wars, Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonists, Optimists, Sons of Union Veterans, and probably some others I don’t remember. Via the American Legion I got to meet a rare bird… a holder of a two-star Combat Infantryman badge – a soldier who fought his way across Northern Europe, up and down the Korean peninsula, and in the A-Shau Valley.

It was long, but fun.

Now for the Bad News. Stupid General Officer decisions. While I can’t find a linkable story – one of the college ROTC programs in Missouri had a shooting accident on their indoor range, which led, I’m told but can’t verify, to the death of a student. Okay, things happen. In the service, when things like this happen, as Bill can attest, we stand down, examine the incident, and determine what, if any changes need to be made as a result. Often, the only change that needs to be made is to summarily execute some people who were not following established procedures. In other cases, the incident uncovers systemic problems that need to be addressed. You take the appropriate action, and then resume training.

Not in General Byrne’s TRADOC. Even though Cadet Command went in with a brief suggesting exactly that, retrain, re-emphasize, and restart – GEN Byrnes has said JROTC cadets can’t shoot anymore.

Wrong message General. Set aside the fact that we’re at war, this is the wrong message to send regardless. I.am.baffled. Simply Wrong. Rumors of the NRA trying to weigh in to get the decision changed are floating around. GEN Byrnes hands over TRADOC to LTG Wallace this summer. LTG Wallace is the current Commander of the Combined Arms Center here at Fort Leavenworth, and commanded V Corps during the March Upcountry. I wouldn’t bother with GEN Byrnes, I’d wait until LTG Wallace assumes the duties. Note to NRA: I’ll finally buy that Life Membership if you go after this aggressively and succeed.

Time for some letter-writing to the Congressinal delegation. I haven't bothered them in, oh, weeks.

*STRAC= STRategic Army Command, one of the several incarnations of what is now called Forces Command, FORSCOM. Back in the day of STRAC, spit shined boots and laquered helmet liners, blood-drawing creases in starched khakis and fatigues were the order of the day - and "STRAC" evolved from all that as a way of saying "Squared Away".

I date myself.

by John on May 06, 2005

April 15, 2005

Stupid Officer Tricks.

I'm generally a fan of Ralph Peters, and I still am. We have much in common except he's smarter, richer, and has a lot more access, readers and influence. Which is why it was sad to see him lose his temper two days ago, and sink to the level of the people he's peeved at. His vitriol, which undermines his point as his anger dominates, simply serves to further harden stereotypes - such as those held by the Army Colonel sent out the piece in an email he obviously thought his mailing list would be sympathetic to (by the way, Colonel - the proper word is "on a roll" not "on a role," but I digress). Such hyperbole *does* keep up the readership! In his op-ed in the NY Post on April 13, Ralph lays into the Air Force.

Here's a teaser:

Morally bankrupt, the Air Force is willing to turn a blind eye to the pressing needs of soldiers and Marines at war in order to get more of its $300-million-apiece junk fighters. With newer, far more costly aircraft than the Marines possess, the Air Force pleads that it just can't defend our country without devouring the nation's defense budget.

Meanwhile, Marine aviators fly combat missions in aging jets and ancient helicopters, doing their best for America — and refusing to beg, lie, cheat or blame their gear.

Okay. Strong words. Wanna read the rest? You know you do. You can do so by clicking here.

There is much to pick through here. The budget having a limit, there is *always* tension between the services. The very different nature of this war from the ones we've fought prior does have this dichotomy of the ground arms up to their waists in combat, while the other two legs of the military force triad, naval and air, find themselves somewhat at loose ends (though the elements of those guys in Transportation Command are probably giving me the hairy eyeball right now). Which means that they look to the future, as both are doing. The ground arms are also trying to keep an eye on that ball - I make good money doing just that for the Army - but they *are* understandably a bit distracted by the killing and dying in the present... as the near daily *ping* in my mailbox of a DoD casualty announcement attests.

But Ralph just loses it here. I confabulated with my friends in the Air Force and Army, honorable men all. What follows is a synthesis of their thoughts, set off in a blockquote to emphasize the fact that while I may have merged and edited, they are not my thoughts, nor are they a direct quote. All emphasis in the blockquote is mine and any comments are in brackets, not parentheses).

Since this is in the NY Post, it's already being worked by the Air Staff, I'm sure. I think this is a fairly typical attitude among most Army officers anyway, so the USAF may just ignore it. Then again, he might hear from a number of people who take umbrage. I'm sure some senior Army guys loved it, but I don't think they'll have the balls to cheerlead publicly for Peters' position [no, they'll just forward it through email]. Frankly, I think Ralph might end up regretting writing this. It sounds so loony. Interestingly enough, the second-highest casualty rate in the Second World War, after the US Marines, was the United States Army Air Corps. [A bit of a defensive non-sequitor, but a true fact, nontheless - the average infantryman in Europe had a better survival rate than bomber crewmen.]

The USAF took no losses in Iraq. I wonder what an acceptable number of Air Force deaths would have been? Is Mr. Peters willing to give us a number? As a retired Army officer, it's apparent he still has that old "need to bleed" attitude that I find just...weird. [There's some truth to this, we Army types can get sensitive on this issue, somewhat irrationally, right after some Air Force jock has just snarked us about something... much like that twit AF general in the article - our 'defensive non-sequitor' that is also true]

The Marines have old equipment. True statement. Should they not ask for new gear? Is asking for new gear somehow unprofessional? Unmanly? Today's A-10 fleet is 30 years old...older than the F/A-18 that most Marines fly. The F-15 is older than the F/A-18 (and maybe the Harrier, not sure). So is the F-16. And just because the Army lost some major programs to Transformation pressures, doesn't mean that *everybody* has too, from some bizarre idea of equity.

I think he's right about two very important things:

IF it in fact took place, the USAF GO who asked the heinous rhetorical question about "dominating battlespace" is a guttersnipe, pure and simple...and he's DEAD. F**KING. WRONG. The Army and Marines have no-shit DOMINATED every frickin' "battlespace" they've encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fallujah looked bad, but the Marines kicked the living crap out of the enemy, not only unquestioningly but quickly, too. The paragraph just proves that generals can be breathtakingly, pugnaciously and blindingly stupid, too.

Point #2: Yes, the career fields he mentioned are second-class citizens...BUT...saying it today is really unfair to John Jumper. No one since...well...ever, in modern USAF history at least...has done more for the ETAC, Combat Controller or SOTAC. As far as his championing the F/A-22, that's sort of his job, I think--trying to get the best jet he can for his combat pilots. Both sides have good arguments over the way ahead vis-a-vis major weapon systems like that, but it was that attitude--try your damndest to get the best for your troops--that helped win both cold and hot wars.

This was written to make Army officers and Marines feel better. At least that's what my personal experience tells me on the inside. The Army I knew thought we were cowards and just didn't do enough dying. It's one of the reasons I'm gonna jettison this job as soon as I can--too close to a cloistered society that's really, really sick, doesn't know it, and never will. I'll bet COL Xxxxxxx [officer who started the email] loved it.

I should add that the officer who provided that last para has lived and worked among the deployed Army for years.

Aside from a little editing for language (a few asterisks), that looks like a pretty good reply to Peters. I agree with these guys, btw, as do all the artillerymen I hang around with. I snark the AF about beds and a/c, but never about the dying. I do the same to Army aviators (right Bill?) - pretty much anyone who sleeps in a hole in the ground has that attitude about everybody who is 6 feet or farther to the rear... an increasingly less-useful concept itself, given the casualty rate amongst the Combat Service Supporters in this war.

I *do* have a personal message for the "Guttersnipe"... quoting from Ralph:

I heard the con directly from one of the Air Force generals who tried to sell me on the worthless F/A-22. The poison goes like this: "The Air Force and Navy can dominate their battle space. Why can't the Army and Marines?"

General, it wasn't *that* long ago you were claiming the ground war *as* your battlespace, and inferring all the Army needed to be was an occupation force. Forgotten the squabbles of the 90's? That talk is all gone now... I wonder why? Perhaps because when you have the benefit of the largest economic engine in the history of the world, and the tech base to go with it - and in your battlespace you've not had to face a peer competitor in some time - and when you do get to perform that mission, it's generally in a civilian-free zone, so the rules of engagement are pretty easy - bad guy, shoot to kill, it's easy to dominate that space. I do believe if we ever do go up against a peer competitor, AF pilots will go in with skill, dash, and daring - and win. And fight hard, and die hard. But, as we all re-learned, taking and holding ground without killing everything on it requires an 18 year old with a bayonet - and you guys just don't wanna fight like that.

But it's a much easier tactical paradigm General, than what the average ground troop faces. When you go nose to nose with a fighter, it's a joust between professionals. The ground war is different - you can't just kill anything that fails an electronic IFF check. And, unlike your mid-twenties and older, college grad pilots, our decision makers on the ground are fresh out of high school in a target-rich enivronment in which the targets hide among the non-combatants... and if you don't think the March Upcountry and Battle of Fallujah don't represent a watershed of military history - you're as blind as you are bigoted - not too mention failing the "Jointness Test." *Nowhere,* *Nowhen* in history has a ground force fought it's way through an urban environment - a knife fight - with such targeted killing and destruction, with such a comparative minimum of damage and non-combatant deaths. If Fallujah had been covered by the great journalists of WWII who witnessed the fighting in Manila, Cologne, Berlin, Kiev, Kharkov, Stalingrad... they'd have written much differently about Fallujah than journalists with little sense of proportion.

To me, the most critical sentence of this whole post is this:

It's one of the reasons I'm gonna jettison this job as soon as I can--too close to a cloistered society that's really, really sick, doesn't know it, and never will.

Because in many respects, it's true. And it was written by an Air Force officer whose career was dedicated to supporting soldiers. Who lived among us, and hung his ass out for us. And *that* Ralph, is an *Army* problem. Which you, and the Senior Leaders who are spreading your calumny around - are *NOT* helping. There are good journalistic reasons for not revealing the name of that General, and GEN Jumper knows who it is anyway - mebbe if we get lucky, there will be a surprise retirement, I dunno. But how about offering a solution next time Ralph, rather than just bitching to world like a bunch of tired dirty officers clustered around a HMMWV hood drinking coffee thinking no one's listening?

What say you? I like CDR Salamander's comment!

by John on Apr 15, 2005
» Neptunus Lex links with: Ralph Peters, Again

April 07, 2005

Danger Area "Foxtrot"... and a bleg.

As these Canadian soldiers amply demonstrate...

That is why you stand over here, when you are firing one of these... even if you are a cute furry critter.


Bleg=Blogger Beg.

I am *simply* overhwhemled trying to keep up with my reading these days. If you are a blogger, esp. a milblogger, and you've got stuff you are proud of - email me a link. Don't be shy. If you are a reader and see stuf... I may not link to eveything I get sent - but I *do* read 'em, and if they fit the theme for the day, or just catch my fancy - send 'em along. If it's Air Force, send 'em to Dusty, if it's Gurls or hellafloppers, send 'em to Bill. I really appreciate those of you who take time to point stuff out, whether it's websites, blogposts, news articles, sending pics, gun stuff, funny stuff, whatever! I guess I need reporters...

Please, keep the cards and letters coming in - and recognize that I can't use it all - but I will use a chunk of it. This work thing, and that life outside the blog is just getting in the way, eh? But it's fun hosting the Castle, too!

Ya know, things like this, which just popped into my inbox from Barb. Another coupla ribbons to go in the "I was there rows" which are getting pretty thick for some of you!

No. 337-05 Apr 07, 2005 IMMEDIATE RELEASE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DoD Announces Criteria for Two New Campaign Medals
The Department of Defense announced today the creation of two campaign medals for Afghanistan and Iraq.

Presidential Executive Order 13363 established the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals to recognize members, who made specific sacrifices and significant contributions in these areas of operation.

Service members authorized the Afghanistan Campaign Medal must have served in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom on or after Oct. 24, 2001, to a future date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense or the cessation of the operation. The area of eligibility encompasses all land areas of the country of Afghanistan and all air spaces above the land.

Those authorized the Iraq Campaign Medal must have served in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on or after March 19, 2003, to a future date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense or the cessation of the operation. The area of eligibility encompasses all land area of the country of Iraq, and the contiguous water area out to 12 nautical miles, and all air spaces above the land area of Iraq and above the contiguous water area out to 12 nautical miles.

Service members must have been assigned, attached or mobilized to units operating in these areas of eligibility for 30 consecutive days or for 60 non-consecutive days or meet one of the following criteria:

Be engaged in combat during an armed engagement, regardless of the time in the area of eligibility; or

While participating in an operation or on official duties, is wounded or injured and requires medical evacuation from the area of eligibility; or

While participating as a regularly assigned air crewmember flying sorties into, out of, within or over the area of eligibility in direct support of the military operations; each day of operations counts as one day of eligibility.
Service members qualified for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by reasons of service between Oct. 24, 2001, and April 30, 2005, in an area for which the Afghanistan Campaign Medal was subsequently authorized and between March 19, 2003, and Feb. 28, 2005, in an area for which the Iraq Campaign Medal was subsequently authorized, shall remain qualified for that medal.

Upon application, any such service member may be awarded the Afghanistan or Iraq Campaign Medal in lieu of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for such service. No service member shall be entitled to all three medals for the same act, achievement or period of service.

The awarding authority for the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals shall be the prescribed by the member's respective military service regulations. Both medals may be awarded posthumously.

Only one award of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal may be authorized for any individual. Service stars are not prescribed.

Individuals may receive both the medals if they meet the requirement of both awards; however, the qualifying period of service used to establish eligibility for one award cannot be used to justify eligibility for the other.

The Afghanistan Campaign Medal shall be positioned below the Kosovo Campaign Medal and above the Iraq Campaign Medal. The Iraq Campaign Medal shall be positioned below the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and above the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Each military department will prescribe appropriate regulations for processing, awarding and wearing the medals and ribbons for their service members, to include application procedures for veterans, retirees and next-of-kin.


by John on Apr 07, 2005

News you can use.

"It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, that has given us the freedom to demonstrate," said Adiofel Mark Mendoza, a sophomore from San Diego who came in his ROTC cadet uniform.

Yep

Instapundit adds. Money quote from one of Glenn's emailers, Bart Hall:

The rarely-mentioned dirty secret of it all is that the military are increasingly disinclined to recruit in such places to begin with. They did not push to reinstitute ROTC at places like Harvard and Middlebury because "frankly, we've found that students from such institutions tend to perform poorly as officers," to quote an officer (O-4) in a position to know.
(Hat tip to CAPT H.)

Good on yaz, Perfesser.

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:

We've never been considered soft on the Clinton Administration or its leading personalities. So we hope we'll have some credibility, especially with our friends on the right, when we say that the misdemeanor plea bargain struck by the Justice Department last week with former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger looks to be a reasonable outcome.

Nope. Dudes - *because* of his prominence, the penalty should be harder. "To whom much is gven , much is expected." I have a *higher* standard of performance for Sandy Berger, not a lesser. I am of the same mind when General Officers get slapped for things lesser mortals come spend time at Leavenworth over. Not Acceptable. Undermines Good Order and Discipline. Sorry, guys. You're Wrong. Yes, the story is perhaps less sinister than it appeared before.

Nonetheless.

I spend long hours where I work because I can't take my classified work home with me. And I know how to turn the documents back in. If I got them from someone else's safe, I give them back, and initial off on the register. It's that simple. The man was smart enough to be the National Security Advisor... but couldn't handle classified? Gimme a break.

I hope the judge smacks him. What Berger did was worse than what Stewart did. And guys, if this was some no-name Sergeant, would you feel this way?

It's worth noting that Mr. Berger will still have to explain his actions to a judge at sentencing--a judge who could reject Justice's recommendation and give him to up a year in jail. We hope the judge does insist on a full explanation of motive. Lesser officials have received harsher penalties for more minor transgressions, so a complete airing of the facts will show the public that justice is being done. But given the minimal damage from the crime, this looks to be a case where prosecutors have shown some commendable restraint against a high-powered political figure.

New topic. Note the complete lack of Irony:

However, a new study gives a more wholesome picture of the invasion, revealing how the far north was colonised by Viking families looking for somewhere new to set up home, especially those from the western seaboard of Norway where fertile land was in short supply.

Kinder, Gentler, Vikings. That Blood Eagle thing? Ah, no worries!

Good. (Hat tip to CAPT H for both Telegraph links)

MetalStorm at Picatinny. They're moving along smartly, these guys are. Link might not work from behind a .mil firewall. There's some good video (you should download it, much better quality than the preview stuff).

This is for Origen Plotinus - if she still visits! A look inside the Swiss Guard. Cool uniforms. If I ever install Men-At-Arms for Castle security...

Can someone explain to me why it's anything other than pandering to the Catholics among their consitutents that Pro-Choice, anti-just-about-everything-he-stood-for Senators Kennedy and Kerry are headed to the Pope's funeral?

Heh. Pardon me if I'm sceptical, Mr. Secretary.

Wondering what all this FCS stuff is about? Try here. It *is* an Army website, so don't expect a whole lot of negativity - but there is a lot of info on what they are trying to accomplish. Feel free to snark away.

Nothing is simple, soldier. See ya in the Sandbox.

Sometimes, timing is everything. Discipline is key. From my perch, justice was served here. Your mileage may vary.

Good Grief! Has this taken long enough?

USA Today April 7, 2005 Pg. 3

Court-Martial Of Army Sergeant Begins

By John Bacon With Staff And Wire Reports

Jury selection began at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the court-martial of a sergeant accused in a grenade attack that killed two U.S. military officers in Kuwait in the early days of the Iraq war. {snippage} It is the first time since the Vietnam War that a soldier has been prosecuted on charges of murder or attempted murder of another soldier during wartime.

This is only fair. If we're doing it to them, they can properly do it to us. Sad that it's come to this, though.

Missed this story. This unit looks like it may have had a serious leadership problem.

The bad guys aren't stupid. They flex and adapt, too. It's a dance.

"Un-American and Immoral," so says the ACLU calling for criminal sanctions against a school board for allowing prayer before a baseball game (scroll down to last item). While that seems a *bit* harsh, you should also see the ACLU's-eye view of it. Looks like some eye-poking going on from both directions. Amazing what a difference *perspective* makes, eh?

by John on Apr 07, 2005

March 29, 2005

You want trust? You want confidence?

Try something where you have to trust the people who designed the gear, the people who trained you, the people who packed it, they guys flying it, and the guy who tells you... "GO GO GO!"

Airboooooorne!~

Don't forget to have your sound on.

by John on Mar 29, 2005
» Conservative Friends links with: Hoo Ahh!

March 19, 2005

Sigh.

TSA stops troops from invading SFO Airport KCBS News Radio Website ^ | 3/17/2005 | KCBS

TSA Does Not Allow Military Personnel to Get Off the Plane at SFO Source: kcbs Publication date: 2005-03-17

(KCBS) - Military personnel returning from Afghanistan did not get a warm welcome when they touched down in San Francisco. KCBS reporter Margie Shafer learned that soldiers fighting the war on terror were not allowed to disembark this week, because of security concerns.

The soldiers landed on a chartered ATA aircraft, but were forced to remain on the plane for three hours, while it refueled.

"There are some security issues involved here. They have weapons," said Ed Gomez with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "They have weapons, and we have to secure the weapons. We have to secure the airplane. We have to communicate properly."

Generally, unloaded weapons are guarded as military personnel go into the terminal to get drinks, call home or stretch.

But a KCBS source at the airport said a TSA official told the airline that if the soldiers got off the plane, the terminal would be evacuated.

I remember when traveling in uniform got you waved through customs. Happy Saint Patricks Day, fellas.

by John on Mar 19, 2005
» Conservative Friends links with: TSA shows no respect for soldiers

March 11, 2005

That hum you hear...

...is probably Lane Kirkland spinning in his grave. I'll get to that in a minute...

Before I go further, be advised I've been in defilade, immersed in company efforts to convince potential clients to transfer taxpayer wealth to us instead of someone else. Long story, boring and I'll stop now...

As for the peace offering below: accepted. For what it's worth, I wasn't mad at John for a second; just the buffoon who thinks it's cute to snipe at fellow pilots 'cause they don't wear the same uniform. Trust me...about 50% of the officers in EVERY service need to reflect on the phrase "Grow Up!" now and then and then get back to work on becoming truly Joint, focus on killing the enemy, and figuring out better ways to help their brothers and sisters in the other Services.

Rant #1 over...

Now then.

Got this from Lileks this morning.

You know, up until today, I thought the blinding, breathtaking stupidity of the Democrat Party was pretty much reserved these days to Howard Dean, Ted Rall, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy. After watching the "loyal" opposition's response to our successful liberation of...Fifty. Million. People..., it wouldn't surprise me at all to turn on C-Span to see Ted and Bob standing naked in the Senate chamber with tin foil-wrapped collanders on their heads shouting about how the BushitlerRoveChthulu monster is eating peoples' brains. OK...OK...picturing Byrd naked might be a bit much for people to handle. Let's say he's appropriately attired in white.

But, krep, the UAW telling Marines they can't use the parking lot anymore because they drive Nissans and HAVE BUSH FOR PRES BUMPERSTICKERS ON THEIR VEHICLES?!?

Well, Sieg Heil to you, too brother.

NOTE: OK, so Kirkland was AFL-CIO, not UAW, but still...

My Honda...I think I'll keep her.

Putzes.

Rant #2 over.

by Dusty on Mar 11, 2005

February 26, 2005

Hey! Let's go help Deb at Marine Corps Moms.

JarheadDad points us to this editorial from The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, a college online newpaper. I sent a response. Since their comments are moderated, I have no idea if it will post or not, so I'll post it here. The first (and as of this writing, only) response is up and is *not* supportive. Hopefully mine will post.

Ah, so through mindless acts of vandalism you assuage your guilt.

And you think it's an act of principled protest.

I don't use the yellow ribbon meme. I support the troops in a different way - one which will inspire you to push my car off a cliff.

I help them be more effective - as I determine it, not you - at their jobs.

Just a thought - unless you renounce the use of military force in any form, anywhere, anytime - then yes, you *can* support the troops and not the war.

If you think Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement ala Bosnia, Kosovo, fill-in-the-blank is a supportable use of the military, then you can, indeed, support the troops even if you don't support this particular use of them.

Only if you completely eschew military force in any form can your position be supportable and logically consistent - though you are still engaged in childish vandalism and wrapping yourself in a faux patriotism that you mock in others.

Just sayin'. The troops don't choose where they are sent or for what purpose. They only choose to make themselves available, and let the civilians make the big decisions.

So, your argument isn't with the troops, it's with the government, so, focus your effort where it belongs, and spare us the sophomoric justification for your petty
vandalism.

Deb, at Marine Corps Moms, has, shall we say, carried the fight to the foe, a certain Mr. Thomas Naughton.

Feel free to join in - but as Castle Denizens, be on-point, and don't descend to pointless, pottymouth personal attacks - as some of Mr. Naughton's detractors seemingly already have. The Armorer does not approve of that form of discourse, as it only serves to make the pretentious preen even more, sure of their moral superiority when their opponents can only muster a response that impugns the messenger, vice the message.

Mr. Naughton offers a defense of his column there, which I find a little disingenuous, but, hey, it's a polite defense. So, go offer some polite counterpoints.

by John on Feb 26, 2005
» Villainous Company links with: Thomas Naughton: Great American Patriot

February 21, 2005

How about a little U.N.-bashing?

I know, I know, easy target - just like any bureaucratic process-driven entity. JMH sent along a link to an column by Peter Worthington in the Toronto Sun last week. (I have a 'blog fodder' folder where I save this stuff to help kick-start the Muse - if you send me something and it doesn't show up immediately doesn't mean it won't - nor that I don't appreciate it!)

Anyway, the title of the column is of itself provocative, as it challenges the received wisdom, always a Bad Thing when dealing with the Establishment, liberal or otherwise...

Rwanda was not about race

He goes on.

Of all the movies nominated for this year's best picture Oscar, none matches the harrowing power of Hotel Rwanda.

While unlikely to win, it serves two valuable purposes: It dramatizes the horror of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in a way news stories can't, and it graphically shows how impotent the UN was. [emphasis mine]

The UN didn't/doesn't *have* to be impotent. It chose/chooses to be. Just as it did in the Balkans when NATO, pressured by the US, the USGOV itself under pressure from interest groups, finally chose to act in it's own backyard. Given what it took to get anything done in the Balkans (whether we should have done what we did how we did it in the Balkans is a different discussion from this one, please) by the people who lived next door to it, can we be surprised that virtually *no one* was prepared to act, especially after the fact, in Rwanda? That doesn't have to be racism, active or passive. It's inertia.

Reality is, the United Governments is pre-disposed to *not act* - as most actions outside of what it routinely does day to day involve dealing with failed states and governments... and the members of the United Governments are not disposed to dealing with that, because it sets the precedent for meddling in their own affairs. Just as police, absent great external pressure are not disposed to investigate themselves in an open and forthright manner... or, as in our own government at the moment, intelligence services and their umbrella organizations. Unlike the rest of us, for whom government, through it's police and judicial powers, acts as that external pressure, the UN, and most governments, do *not* have that external pressure. Ones which are truly periodically subject to public validation (however messily in the event) do have that pressure... the rest, don't. The UN is mostly composed of governments that, don't.

I'm a Calvin Coolidge kind of guy - most problems coming down the road will roll off into the ditch by the side of the road without strenuous effort or intervention on our part, as he so famously noted. However, that doesn't mean that you don't keep an eye on them - and act to nudge the more dangerous ones off into the ditch a little sooner when their inertia is less, rather than wait for them to bound towards you like a cannonball to a rank of soldiers - one of whom puts his foot out to stop the ball... which doesn't notice the foot, except as a flying body part that very briefly slows it's progress. (Napoleonic and US Civil War abound with stories of green troops trying to stop slow-rolling cannon balls... how much better to have snuck into the opposing army's camp and soaked their gunpowder...).

The argument is made here that Rwanda was such a rolling ball... that could have been stopped with a little water on the powder. The UN mission in Rwanda was a flying body part. Always acknowledging that hindsight is 20-20... but what's the purpose of studying the past, unless you just *like* living Groundhog Day?

Actor Nick Nolte's performance as the colonel commanding the inadequate UN force was modeled on Canada's Romeo Dallaire -- then a brigadier-general, and since promoted to Major-General and Lieutenant-General, and decorated for his service.

Gen. Dallaire's emotional collapse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been well documented, both in the news and in his Governor-General's Award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil. He has since left the army and become something of a poster-boy for PTSD, and is Canada's special advisor on war-affected children. [Old soldiers never truly leave the Army... not really. It is too much a part of us. Ask MacArthur]

In his book, Dallaire acknowledges that his mission was a failure and that he was the wrong man to command in Africa -- his first UN command. [emphasis mine]

Why would this be so? By all accounts, General Dallaire was a competent soldier and leader, a man for Canada to be proud of. Which they generally are, I should hasten to add, lest you think I meant otherwise.

To continue with Worthington's piece.

This is no reflection on Dallaire -- a sincere, decent man who got no support from UN superiors and was out of his depth in Rwanda -- in Africa, even. [emphasis mine]

When Dallaire was sent to Rwanda, it was considered a Cyprus-style peacekeeping mission, not the powder keg it became.

Dallaire's request for more troops was refused. When a high-level informant warned him of an impending massacre, he asked the UN's New York headquarters to okay a preventive raid on a secret weapons cache. Again denied.

So, who was the UN's civilian-in-charge for this event? Kofi Annan. General Dallaire insists that racism was the cause of the world's failure to act. I would argue it was benign neglect, and a reluctance to act until it's all very obvious. Bureaucrats are like that. One does not rise to high office in an institution like the UN with a reputation as a risk-taker. Worthington continues:

When Dallaire was sent to Rwanda, it was considered a Cyprus-style peacekeeping mission, not the powder keg it became.

Dallaire's request for more troops was refused. When a high-level informant warned him of an impending massacre, he asked the UN's New York headquarters to okay a preventive raid on a secret weapons cache. Again denied.

Worthington suggest had a different Canadian, General Lew MacKenzie - with more experience in UN operations - been in command, things might well have proceeded differently.

A reason why Dallaire wasn't taken seriously was because this was his first real field command, and the senior UN military advisor in New York was Maurice Baril (later to become Canada's chief of defence staff) who likely told Kofi Annan that Dallaire was inexperienced in command.

If MacKenzie had been in command, it's unlikely his reports would have been dismissed so casually. With nine UN missions on his record, he was the world's most tested UN Commander -- the hero of Sarajevo.

Herein lies the great frustration of guys on the ground who have no support from the guys on high - of course the flip side *is* the frustration of guys on the ground who are being micromanaged from on high... by people who don't understand the situation on the ground - and won't listen.

And here is the difference between good soldiers and great commanders. Risk-taking. As Worthington notes:

First, MacKenzie knew New York was (is) hopeless for quick decisions. As he did in Sarajevo, he would have gone to Rwanda with more weaponry and reserves than authorized by the UN.

Most significant, he wouldn't have asked permission to stage a preventive raid on a weapons supply.

Arguably, that was Dallaire's greatest failing -- he already had a mandate to do whatever was necessary to ensure security. With none of MacKenzie's field experience, Baril would not have dared second-guess Canada's most celebrated UN commander.

On such seemingly simple things do great events turn...

Worthington closes with this thought:

It's academic now, but Rwanda's genocide might not have happened had a more experienced Canadian commander been in charge. And it has nothing to do with racism.

While I won't argue with that in and of itself... Worthington is taking the journalist's lesson from it - and he's right as far as it goes - except that someone had to take the initial risk on MacKenzie and put him in Sarajevo... and then supported him in that very difficult mission. But I would add a new dimension.

No, for me, the other lesson is in how we raise, train, develop, and nurture our leaders. General Dallaire's failure was one of nerve - not personal courage, but in the moral dimension, when you, as the man on the ground and with the final responsibility, act. Or not act - and in so doing, bump up the problem to a different level.

I don't know how I would have acted in General Dallaire's shoes. I too, might have foundered in that situation - which would simply mean that in that instance, that place, that time - I was bumping up against my personal Peter Principle. And, if General Dallaire *had* acted, and prevented the Massacre - he might well have been ruined for not being a team player... because No One Would Have Known What He Prevented... and the facts might well support sacking him.

My point? Them's the breaks, especially for Officers, in the Service. Which is why a good moral balance and grounding are critical. I'm not talking about being religious fanatics or moral philosophers here - I'm talking about Doing What's Right as you see it when you see it - and let the chips fall where they may, recognizing you may be wrong. And that tends, more often than not, to be the place at which Generals fail. Good men and women, but when faced with that one tough decision - they fall back to the safe answer, rather than the hard one.

Peacekeeping is a tough business - and I'll note that more often than not, Canadians have been pretty good at it.

Again, hat tip to CAPT H for sending that along. And if anyone has a link to General MacKenzie's column, please pass it along.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Feb 21, 2005

February 16, 2005

Department of Cluelessness

As a Hollywood Journalist conflates the controversy over Eason Jordan's remarks about the US military targeting journalists with the controversy over Chris Rock's remarks regarding the upcoming Oscar fest (which, like the Grammy, I ain't watching).

Really, Mr Richmond - you don't really see a difference?

t isn't easy being the token liberal voice of reason, particularly now that the United States appears to be turning into a second-grade classroom. If you use a naughty word or subscribe to any line of thinking that isn't in the nation's accepted curriculum, you get sent to the principal's office for a good, long lecture.

I actually agree with the second-grade classroom analogy... I just think the piece falls apart from there due to an "unfortunate miscalculation of scale."

CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan discovered this the hard way when he was reprimanded -- and ultimately privately pressured to resign -- for comments made Jan. 27 in Switzerland regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq and his purported implication that American troops had purposely targeted them. The 23-year CNN veteran was roasted on conservative blogs and finally abruptly stepped down Friday.

Chris Rock knows how Jordan feels. He has been having fun taking shots at the Academy Awards and its status as an untouchable pillar of entertainment culture. But he should know that this is no time to speak freely. Those days are history. Sticks and stones no longer are required to inflict pain everywhere you turn.

No Rock doesn't. He's a comedian, and he's playing it for all he can get. He's not going to lose work over it. Mr Jordan already has.

And you're right, Mr Richmond - firing Rock from the gig probably is a bad idea - if the Academy didn't know what they were buying when they hired him... the hirer should be fired.

And as for "particularly in an age when speaking one's mind can be hazardous to one's career health" - sorry dude, Eason Jordan was speaking professionally, in an official capacity, and in a fashion that properly called into question his fitness for the job. He earned his firing.

[shakes Etch-a-Sketch]

In a completely unrelated, post-saving fashion...

Heh.

by John on Feb 16, 2005

February 15, 2005

Easongate

Hugh Hewitt on the CNN scandal...

"Three of the folks who put together Easongate --Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail, Chester of the Adventures of Chester, and Blackfive-- are veterans, and they were ticked off. It is one thing for civilian supporters of the military to take exception to Jordan's double slander, but I doubt these men would have flagged in their efforts to get the tape released and reviewed, or have halted their research into Jordan's past statements like the slander in Portugal. Chester was himself a member of the forces that swept into Iraq and brought an end to the dictatorship and is still there fighting the insurgency. In a very real way he was fighting for the reputation of his friends and his own reputation. Either Jordan or CNN must have figured out this one wasn't going to blow over."

My take...

The irony here is that if Jordan as a "journalist" himself had been caught in the middle of a firefight in Baghdad, I would bet a month's pay Bill, Chester and Matt would have been equally willing to mount a rescue, without even thinking about it.

I would, because it's the right thing to do. This is a novel concept among today's post-Modernist Left, I think.

Granted, Jordan may have been a boon to his captors had he been snatched by the al Zarqawi crowd, as a willing chronicler of their, um, "position on the issues," but you can't assume that.

So, you hang your ass out to cover a non-combatant and, frankly, don't think about his politics...you're worried most about his longevity.

Would I expect him to change his views, or express sincere thanks. Change of view--doubtful; a "thank-you"--50/50 and probably qualified ("What took you so long?") but, again, irrelevant.

It's this dismissive contempt and wholly baseless charge that probably steams these guys more than anything--the conduct and motivation of Americans committed to a cause at the risk of their lives...the risk that their wives and children may very well become widows and orphans...is never seen in its true light. Instead, the Jordans of this world attribute to them the very behavior and worldview these men are desperately (and often thanklessly) fighting to erase.

Instapilot

by Dusty on Feb 15, 2005
» CDR Salamander links with: Chief of the Boat: Get me a corn broom!

February 14, 2005

Abu Ghraib.

The wheels of justice grind slowly on.

I've still not seen enough on the damage taken by more senior people, and, because it will most likely be handled as 'personnel matters,' protected from FOIA requests, we'll only be able to infer it from the *lack* of subsequent careers.

Of course, scantily-clad female interrogators are a far more interesting story - I'm guessing now-Private Davis will miss being rubbed up against by scantily clad women for the next six months, and now-Private Krol for ten.

I'm still looking for officer hides. The following info is from he article linked above, which is on the Army's public website - just thought you should know that. Added emphasis is mine.

Compared with former Spc. Charles Graner Jr.'s defense during his court-martial at Fort Hood in January (that military intelligence was in charge and responsible), Davis' contention was the environment and atmosphere at the prison contributed to his actions.

Former Army Sgt. Kenneth Davis described Abu Ghraib to Bergrin and the panel, saying, "It was hell on earth."

One defense witness, Maj. David DiNenna, operations officer, 11th MP Brigade, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib from July 2003 to February 2004 said, "The conditions there (Abu Ghraib) were deplorable. It was always challenging."

Bergrin also had two expert witnesses, one an expert on the various forces and influences leading to violence, testify about what transpired at Abu Ghraib after reviewing official reports.

"Iraqis showed ingratitude while American Soldiers were sacrificing their lives, this devalued the lives of the Iraqi prisoners," Dr. Ervin Staub, professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said.

Both experts cited a famous Stanford study from the 1970s and drew parallels between that study and how the lawlessness and horrendous conditions at Abu Ghraib set up the potential for prisoner abuse by Soldiers as the atmosphere deteriorated sociologically and psychologically.

"The environment was a kind of anything goes attitude,"

Staub said. "Supervision is crucial in this environment. Rules don't mean very much if you don't enforce them.

"There was tremendous social disorganization at Abu Ghraib," Dr. Stjepan Mestrovic, functional sociologist, professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University. "According to the reports, MI was not sure what MPs could do and vice versa."

Davis made an un-sworn statement before the panel. He described Abu Ghraib as something akin to the "Mad Max" movie come to life.

"There were more detainees than MPs," Davis said. "We were trying to help people and they're trying to kill us.

All the above still leaves me asking the question - when is the *leadership* of the 11th MP Brigade (and higher, if need be) going to be called to public account - not just as witnesses... but sitting in the dock, to defend their actions (more importantly, their lack thereof?)

Of course, we have to recognize that what seems obvious in reportage is not the same thing as sufficient to prosecute. And that a prosecution that ended in acquittal would possibly be more damaging in the battle of opinion than seemingly doing nothing.

But it's frustrating to not see any rank above Sergeant going through this process.

by John on Feb 14, 2005

February 13, 2005

Sigh. It's Early, I'm crabby...

...and I run across *this* in my email. It's a comment to a post I made on SWWBO's blog.

Although your story is both unbelievable and hillarious, threatening to kick your cats "ass" was revolting. Animal Abuse in neither a humorous or light-hearted issue, it is a serious problem facing our society. You should be ashamed of yourself even if your threat was empty. I have nothing but true sorrow for your cat because he must be miserable living in constant fear of being abused.

posted by Jared on February 13, 2005 01:10 AM

Feh.

1. The story is completely true. 2. I'm staff, you too-tightly-wound, humorless busybody.

I told him in a generally testy but mostly polite email response that if he thought that post was a horror, he should come visit here.

I wonder what he'll make of this? (Pic taken for an upcoming post - while I was being supervised by... Hal.

I gotta get SWWBO to the airport.

Okay. I got her there. On her way to Bangor, Maine. Now I can stock up for the party while she's gone...

Oh, I guess I should identify the thing in the picture that isn't a cat - that's a canadian farming tool adopted by Canadian Vickers gunners (and officially adopted) for clearing brush for fields of fire, position enhancement, etc.

Two more things. I was sent this picture and asked to help identify the vessel

Problem is, I don't see any ship in the picture.


Lastly, Dean (not Esmay) sent me this picture, with the note that I probably don't have one. Dean's correct. I don't. Once the artillery gets to that size, I prefer it to have a prime mover and mount that isn't me.

I can only imagine what this thing weighs, how much kick there is to handle, and how hard it is on the guys to the left and the right with that pepperpot muzzle porting.

Upon a good look at the photo, I see that it apparently comes from Airborne Combat Engineer - so I wandered over there and took a look - and while the ACE needs to get more easily searchable (dude!), I googled his post on the pistol. The Armorer will pass on this cannon. Besides, it's too new.

Okay, just to save on posts, I'm gonna keep using this one today.

I'm a little late with this one, but the retired Submariner at Unconsidered Trifles is keeping an eye on Academic Moonbats. You may have already visited via Michelle Malkin - if not, go take a gander.

Frequent commenter and Kitty Korrupter Dbie sends along this note:

It was a tanker's dream; an engineer's paradise. It was: FALLUJAH! Check out this video by Red Six & crew. I think you'll enjoy it! Dbie

She's right. Though I'm not sure it was a Tanker's Dream... it was an Engineer's Paradise ! Great job by Red Six and crew!

UPDATE: And the link is fixed! (Don't leave out those http://'s campers. Confuses the html-gnomes!)

Watt K. pointed out this little video that will make the Instapilot all twitchy with envy, as this guy slips the surly bonds of earth to dance the sky on laughter-silvered wings...

Available via the RENSSELAER AERONAUTICAL FEDERATION download webpage.

*However* - this Hog Video will cause the Instapilot to suffer a 'wardrobe malfunction.'

Lastly (for the moment, 'til the mood seizes me again) - we aren't quite ready for automatically controlled, pilot-free passenger aircraft.


Ooo! Ooo! As pointed out by CAPT H, Kate at Small Dead Animals directs us to a website where the UN is trying to enhance their image...

by John on Feb 13, 2005
» Cowboy Blob links with: Who Are These Guys?

February 11, 2005

Heh.

Here at the Castle we tolerate polite dissent. We don't care for flame wars, other than ones that are tongue-in-cheek, and we are generally respectful of the dissenters who occasionally stroll by.

Then there are clueless moonbats. One visited today, leaving a comment on Dusty's "Who's this guy" post.

looks to me like he's an "infantryman" (glorified forward air controller) who wears kneepads so he doesn't hurt his knees when he's sucking his lieutenant's c**k to try to get a promotion... also helps when he's hiding at the bottom of a shell crater from a guy with a 30-year-old rifle, screaming for air support rather than actually fighting as infantry... most COWARDLY, PU$$IFIED military in the world. americans should be ashamed.

He did get the "Forward Air Controller" part correct, right out of the starting gate, if for all the wrong reasons.

It appears that Jeremiah is of the "Heroic Combat" school of warfare, where the performance of individual champions is the measure of success, and Armies and Soldiers who don't subscribe to that theory are inferior, less-than-manly. I'm sure Hercules and Achilles would agree - and that's about the last time that was a useful paradigm for a miltary serious about its job.

I recall the Germans and Japanese felt the same way. In fact, so does Osama.

Anyway, the doors to the Arsenal are open wide. Take your pick. Ready on the left? Ready on the right? Ready on the firing line!

At the Dancing Moonbat, you may commence. Full auto is authorized, magazine fillers are available. Please take a number for the belt-fed weapons, limit of three belts, per, please.

Due to fire danger today, only 60mm and smaller mortars may be used. Recoiless rifles and rockets may only be fired from the concrete pad firing points. There will be a noon Cease-Fire so that the Aviators can strafe and bomb, no cluster munitions are authorized. If Fire Fighting equipment is available, an exception will be granted for napalm.

Any sailors or non-aviation Zoomies wishing to try their hand, Army and Marine instructors are available to assist. Warning - the weapons in the Arsenal do recoil, unlike the .22s you are used to! Former Battleship sailors are invited to try their hands with the reckless rifles, submariners report to the mortars.

Persons wishing to enter the impact area to go hand-to-hand do so at their own risk. Body armor is recommended, but not required, but the mortars are area fire weapons, and Mk82s have a large bursting radius, so be careful.

Keep it polite now! Passion is fine, but let's not get all potty-mouth trash-talky. Y'know, like Jeremiah.

Oops. Jeremiah added more:

P.S.- anybody notice how the "big bad a$$" "world's only superpower" reacts when somebody stands up to it? Take yesterday (10 Feb.) for example. Notice how quick it was to resort to military "force" against little Iraq but where are the threats against Iran or North Korea?? Hmmmmm??? Where's the swaggering, lectern-pounding cowboy now???? He instead has Kindasleazy Rice say "Please, North Korea, please return to the 6-party talks". Then the bitch makes the hollow threat of sanctions against Iran which everyone knows would get vetoed in 2 seconds by Russia and China. So my question is, why the hair-trigger response against oil-rich little Iraq who they thought would be a walk-over, while going to any length to AVOID a REAL fight with a REAL threat like North Korea or Iran??? The whole world (outside of retarded chicken-sh*t america) knows why. It's because like every bully, america is, at heart, a PUSSY that can't take a punch!!! Stand up to it and it cowers, makes excuses, runs away. F*ck america. It is the WORLD'S BIGGEST SUPERPU$$Y!!!!!

Sigh. And Jeremiah, you're from where? You serve/d with what Army? In what war? Doing what? Just curious what informs your in-depth knowledge and deeply thought, if badly expressed, opinions?

Jeremiah responds to another post! And doesn't read his email! Nor has he read this post, obviously.

Comments:

Thank you for demonstrating once again how limited and anemic is
america's concept of "freedom of expression". If I wrote some garbage about those pu$$yfags being "defenders of liberty" or some nonsense then my post certainly would have stayed up forever. But since it was a dissenting viewpoint that, by the way, you obviously could not even attempt to disprove, it got erased in 5 minutes, along with the whole thread (and picture of the kneepad-wearing douchebag)! Amazing! Looks like america's definition of "freedom" is "the freedom to express a cookie-cutter mainstream opinion that the rest of the sheep are expressing" but conspicuously does not include DISSENTING views! I can't think of a more COWARDLY, PUSSIFIED country than america!!! No wonder the world hates it!!! F*ck you and your pussy bully nation!!!

Jeremiah - your stuff is still there. In fact, I moved it up to where *everybody* could see it. In fact, while I don't expect it - I can only hope lots of people link to it - so we can share your wisdom 'round the globe. I'm sure it will go over well at DU.

As for moving off the front page - that has to do with how blogs work. I have a set number of posts that display on the front page. If you'd bother to go check, not only is everything you wrote still there... I've actually created a whole new post with it, and put it on top.

And, BTW - Freedom of expression? This is a private venue - I no more have to keep your views on my page than the New York Times has to print your letter to the editor. They've never printed one of mine, but I don't feel they have stifled my freedom of expression. Ya want to express yourself - go start a blog on Blogspot. It's free.

The First Amendment applies to the government, not me. I have no obligation to provide you a forum - though I am at the moment. I do reserve the right to edit for taste, though I've not touched your substance.

And since when does "Freedom of Expression" extend to your mindless cursing (which only serves to undermine your argument) in what amounts to my home?

Dude!

Uh-oh. The quality of your discourse is slipping, child.

P.S.- do the doctors truly cut off americans' balls at birth of do they simply shrivel up and fall off as they are utterly useless to you bunch of cowards?

No, in my case it was the prepuce. The twins are still vigorously present, thank you. Ask SWWBO.

Update: Jeremiah's email address is legit, and I assume his. Perhaps he'll come by and see that he was not, in fact, censored. I'll give him upfront credit for using a real email address. Most people who comment in the vein he did do not.

by John on Feb 11, 2005
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: Warriors and Soldiers
» Techography links with: To Arms!

If this isn't true... it should be.

Email from a friend. If this isn't true, well, it should be. Because it *is* true in a cosmic sense. It's all so neat and tidy, it probably more along the lines of Aesop's fables... but those were instructive, too, n'est ce pa?


Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Jan. 22, 2005) - Sailors man the rails and render honors to the USS Arizona Memorial as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls into Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ronald Reagan's first port visit to Hawaii is in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian operation effort in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 1st Class James Thierry

And, as a Disaster Response planner for DoD in my last job on active duty - that's *exactly* how we looked at aircraft carriers. They can also (as can numerous Naval vessels) produce a LOT of electrical power - and are purpose- built to distribute it dockside, along with the water.

Subject: Today, I was "Unprofessional"... Varifrank, January 4, 2005

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro colleagues tossed this little smart-comment out to no one in particular:

"See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, there's a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier...

After which he and many of my Euro colleagues laughed out loud, and then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -"Hmmm, let's see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster? Now what kind of ship would we want? Something with its own inexhaustible power supply? Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?"

"Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it? Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies? Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier? Well 'Franz', we peasants in America call that kind of ship an 'Aircraft Carrier'."

"We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that's right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we don't like."

In fact, if memory serves, once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us. Do you know who those people were? That's right Franz, Europeans."

There is a French Aircraft carrier? Where is it? Oh.. Right where it belongs! In France of course! Oh, why should the French Navy dirty their uniforms helping people on the other side of the globe. How Simplesse... The day an American has to move a European out of the way to help in some part of the world it will be a great day in the world, you sniggering little snob..."

The room fell silent. My Hindi friend then said quietly to the Euros:

"Can you let your hatred of George Bush end for just one minute? There are people dying! And what are your countries doing? Amazon.com has helped more than France has. You all have a role to play in the world, why can't you see that? Thank God for the US Navy, they don't have to come and help, but they are. They helped you once and you should all thank God they did. They didn't have to, and no one but them would have done so. I'm ashamed of you all..."

He left the room, shaking and in tears. The frustration of being on the other side of the globe, unable to do anything to assist and faced with people who could not set aside their asininity long enough to reach out and help was too much for him to bear. I just shook my head and left. The Euros stood speechless. Later in the break room, one of the laughing Euros caught me and extended his hand in an apology. I asked him where he was from, he said "a town outside of Berlin". He is a young man, in his early 20's. I asked him if he knew of a man named Gail Halverson. He said no. I said "that's a shame" and walked away to find my Hindi friend.

For those of you who may not remember, Gail Halverson was the transport pilot responsible for the "candy drop" during the Berlin airlift. They called him the "Candy Bomber" as he dropped goodies for all the Berlin children.

Matt Archer
BOEING
Flight Operations
Transport Test Pilot

Hat tip to Mr. Greenjeans! And there, Boudicca, I found a use for your pic!

Update: Murdoc has his own take on the sujbect.

And this apparently hit the internet first, here.

by John on Feb 11, 2005
» EagleSpeak links with: Ronald Reagan Tsunami Help
» Murdoc Online links with: A couple of Friday quickies

February 09, 2005

Journalists targeting civilians?

Maybe Eason Jordan was projecting (scroll down to the Powerline part)...

Instapilot

by Dusty on Feb 09, 2005

February 01, 2005

And now, for the rest of story...

Remember these two?

Well, guess who was on Oprah (further research) Jane Pauley, grumping about how awful it was to be separated from your family, etc. (Which is true, it is awful)

Hint. It *wasn't* Colonel MacKenzie.

Just because the saying is "What goes on TDY stays on TDY" doesn't mean that it works.

Sure - this is entirely possible, even probable, that all there is to the story is what you see here. People under stress blowing off steam - and nothing else happened. Dance was over, and the two dancers went their ways.

The point is - like it or not, whether you think it's fair or not - the world has gotten smaller, and you need to consider your actions in light of it. A friendly warning.

Update: As Cassandra so aptly notes in her comment below:

You only have one reputation.

Word.


****Update on a Previous Story*****

Remember the bit on the Germans potentially forcing women into prostitution under their new welfare laws? There is more (or rather, less) to the story, perhaps. While technically possible, it appears rather less likely... but the underlying premise is there, regardless. Hat tip to XLRQ, where you should go to read the rest of the story.

by John on Feb 01, 2005

January 24, 2005

As the Blogfather notes...

...END OF WESTERN CIV PART 876,098,677C

Waaahhhh! Waaahhhh! Waaahhhh! So, don't take the honors courses, pansy.

We all have to make choices. Dumbing down Honors Courses so you can have a kewl summer really shouldn't be one of those choices. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it, too!

I'll entertain any arguments in favor of this lawsuit, that are serious, anyway. I"ll just laugh at the others.

Unrelated note: Since I'm home for lunch (putting the dogs out) I can blog this... I got my first *at the office* telemarketing scam-to-avoid-the-law call.

Woman calls, asks for someone named Ashley. Hasn't been an Ashely 'round these parts in living memory. Ask the caller to confirm the phone number. Yep, that's my number all right. A number that has *always* been on the PBX here. And it's not a published number, either.

Anyway, I tell her, sorry, no one here by that name. She then starts, "I'm calling from ****** (I didn't catch it) in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a courtesy call to tell you that you have been selected to receive..."

"Um, pardon me - but I'm not the individual in question, ma'am."

"Oh, that's alright! You've been selected to receive..."

"Ma'am - I've been selected to receive nothing, nada, zilch. This is a cold-call marketing scam intended to try to skirt the restrictions of the National No-call List, which I know for a fact this number is on, having registered it myself. Congratulations, you have reached a secure US government facility, and while this call has *probably* not been recorded, the number you are calling from has, and will be turned over to our security personnel so that..."

"*click*"

Hmmm, that worked so well I may use it at home, too!

Another Unrelated Note. Michael Moore still has no comment on his armed bodyguard. C'mon Mike - tell us how you feel!

by John on Jan 24, 2005

January 16, 2005

Random thoughts.

Scanning Drudge today, I saw the ad "Condi vs Hillary, 2008."

Can you imagine setting up a contest with more likelihood to sink to the uttermost and vicious depths the extremes of the left and right can sink to?

Gad, I'd probably try to find a task with my firm that would take me to Mongolia or Uzbekistan!


Beth has some observation on societal cognitive dissonance.

Then there are all these fine examples of the party of sweetness, light, inclusiveness, diversity and respect. Don't think there are too many Republican commenters in this sampling.

Oh, yes, the Right has it's share of these people, with whom I have no knowing truck - but at least with them, they are living down to the low expectations the left has of them. What's the Left's excuse for their vermin?

Apropos of nothing else in here... well, that's not true, I guess. Apropos of the left's hatred of everything Bush and Right...

In case we find ourselves starting to believe all the anti-American sentiment and negativity about our government and its policies, we should
remember England's Prime Minister Tony Blair's words to his own people. During a recent interview, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain was asked
by one of his parliament members as to why he believes so much in America. And does he think America is on the right track?

Blair's reply -- "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in and how many want out."
by John on Jan 16, 2005

January 14, 2005

Stupid soldier tricks department.

This fits the pugnacious stupidity category Dusty instituted. Larry out in Junction City, Kansas (one block over neighbor around here), home of the soldiers of the Big Red One at Fort Riley sends along this little gem of an article from the Daily Union.

MILFORD — A Geary County Sheriff's Department deputy found two more military-style weapons Tuesday in the Milford Lake area, Geary County Sheriff Jim Jensen said today.

Jensen described the weapons as two smoke-grenade launchers, which were found at the entrance of West Rolling Hills by Milford Lake.

"They did not appear to be operational," Jensen said. "They were not in very good condition."

Jensen said the launchers were not loaded. He said the launchers were usually used on military vehicles to conceal soldiers' position.

"One of my deputies found them while on patrol," Jensen said. "They were off to the side of the road."

He pointed out the launchers were not hidden and were quite noticeable from inside a vehicle.

Jensen called Fort Riley's Criminal Investigation Division and handed over the launchers to CID. Jensen said he did not know how long the launchers were at the entrance of West Rolling Hills.

"I have no idea how long they were out there," Jensen said. "They could have been there the night before. They could have been there a few days. We don't know, and I'm not going to try to guess that."

Five Fort Riley machine guns -- an M-240, a 5.56-mm and three Browning .50-caliber guns -- were found Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 near Madison Creek Bridge, three of them by area residents.

Here's the kicker.

CID reported last week that the machine guns were not serviceable and were not illegally missing from any of the post's units. Jensen said CID has not told him why military weapons are turning up near Milford Lake.

"They are not telling me what is going on. However, they do respond when we call them, so I am pleased with that," Jensen said. "I am pleased that they respond because I don't need that kind of stuff. I don't need those things in my evidence (locker). It is their property, and they need to come and take care of it."

So - what do I think is going on? The firearms and smoke launchers were declared unserviceable/combat losses in Iraq, dropped from accountability, but no one ever turned them in for disposal - or someone diverted them, hoping to do something with them later. They could also be combat drops/stolen from other units not at Fort Riley picked up in Iraq and brought home.

When the unit(s) got back, personnel found them, said "oh sh*t!" and dumped 'em. Alternatively, someone was trying to take 'em off as trophies or more nefarious reasons, chickened out, and dumped 'em.

CID ain't talking about it because they are tracing the numbers to the units, and someone is following the paper trail. And lots of interviews are going on in any Fort Riley units that could have 'touched' those weapons.

Dumb dumb dumb. I can actually see a semi-honest mistake in failing to turn in disabled weapons - armorers want to hold on to them for parts, you have them for a while, you forget about it, pack 'em up, ship 'em home, do that inventory and ...oh sh*t!

I collected a few trophies in my time - but modern weapons like that can no longer be picked up and 'amnestied' onto the books, as DEWATS (DEactivated WAr Trophies) much less live. And there are no legal dummies out there you could claim ignorance with. There's nothing there but 10 years in a Federal Institution of Adult Supervision. That's it. Not worth it from a memorabilia perspective, and you aren't going to get enough money from it except from a crook who's dumber'n you. The Daily Union is a subscription site - the whole article is in the Flash Traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 14, 2005

January 05, 2005

Moonbat alert!

Ya gotta see this.

Did New York Orchestrate The Asian Tsunami?

With Afghanistan and Iraq already lost, the Wall Street bankers were all desperately looking for other ways to control our world, when suddenly and very conveniently, the Sumatran Trench exploded. Trick or Treat?

Copyright Joe Vialls, 5 January 2005

(snippage)

"Others are engaging even in an eco type of terrorism, whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes or volcanos remotely, through the use of electromagnetic waves." American Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, April 1997.

Big surprise! Presumably Cohen already knew that a nuclear weapon generates what he refers to obliquely as "electromagnetic waves". Despite having a huge number of tsunami victims in its own State of Tamil Nadu, India completely converted the survey ship INS Nirupak into a 50-bed floating hospital in less than 72 hours, then sent it unarmed to help the desperate people of Aceh in Indonesia. . By direct comparison, America sent combat ships and armed Marines. The US Navy has two 1,000 bed hospital ships, the 'Comfort' and the 'Mercy', but neither one was dispatched. Though the USNS Comfort was deployed to New York when 3,000 Americans died in September 2001, this current lack of action sends a strong signal that 150,000 (mostly Muslim) dead in South East Asia, and half a million injured, are of no concern whatever to the power brokers in New York.

The Indian Government knew full well that this was not a "normal" earthquake. On 27 December India refused to join George Bush's planned exclusive 'club of four', which would have effectively pulled this Asian nuclear power out of its new coalition with Russia, China and Brazil. On 28 December the Indian Government politely warned the American military to stay clear of Indian sovereign territory, and on 29 December the India Daily Editorial publicly questioned the nature of the event: "Was this a showdown by a country to show the region what havoc can be created?" ... "Given the level of devastation and given the fact India is a regional power in South Asia, [the] Indian Navy has an obligation to investigate and tell the world what they found."

Yep, boys and girls. *We* did this. On purpose. To keep the teeming hordes in their place, and let them know who the big kid on the block is.

Really. It says so here. And it's nice and technical, so it must be true.

Moonbat? Or misunderstood man who has single-handedly penetrated the corridors of power of the New York Power Brokers, Illuminati, and Masons? You be the judge.

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Hey, I'm a combat veteran on a disability pension, too. Mebbe I'll see if Paypal stops me from putting up a donate button.

Hat tip to CAPT H, whose surfing is ranging far afield these days!

by John on Jan 05, 2005
» sheepdog.blog-city.com links with: Too stunned to speak

November 20, 2004

Dream Job...

It's no secret I'd like a job with the majors, but I'd settle for this one in a heartbeat...

Heh.

Instapilot

by Dusty on Nov 20, 2004

November 09, 2004

A Waste of Oxygen...

I've added a posting category (sorry John, couldn't help myself).

Here's entry #1...and it isn't even the worst example.

Feh.

Instapilot

by Dusty on Nov 09, 2004