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February 28, 2004

Fun with Tankers...

This is an example why zero-illum (night with no moon) force-on-force missions at the National Training Center were so exciting for Observer/Controllers, riding our steeds of steel/fiberglass among the brigade or task force in the attack.

Things like this sound to a tanker like running over an aluminum can on the highway sounds to a truck driver.


When we switched to HMMWVs we at least had a steed that could get out of the way faster!

by John on Feb 28, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Communist Blogs

February 26, 2004

And, we hear from the Junior Senator from New York on items of interest to gun owners nationwide.

February 25, 2004

Canaseraga, New York 14822


Thank you for your letter and for sharing your thoughts about guns control. New York has a long and proud tradition in which hunters and sportsman have used guns responsibly; protecting the Constitution and the Second Amendment is vital to that tradition. I also believe, however, that we must do all we can to ensure that guns are kept safely away from children and out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. That is why I support strengthening laws concerning gun shows, and believe we need to give law enforcement agencies the resources they need to enforce existing gun laws in order to apprehend and prosecute violent criminals.

Hmmm. In writing, the Second Amendment is important. As long as we limit you to weapons available when the amendment was written. After all, wasn't that the intent of the Founders? Nice to know she's interested in enforcing the law. Some question of that back in the day. Of course, would that include the provisions of the Patriot Act, as well?

Closing the gun show loophole would help prevent criminals having easy access to guns without the background checks that are required of gun purchasers at regular licensed dealers. It would also help protect our children and families from the crimes that result when criminals acquire firearms from gun shows in many states that do not require this common sense safety measure. Although New York State requires background checks on gun buyers at all shows, New Yorkers are still at risk from guns trafficked from other states with more lenient laws. Because state borders do not stop criminals, a loophole anywhere is a loophole in New York - and everywhere else in our nation.

Aside from the dig at Federalism, the Funny Thing here is - not really true. The gun show 'loophole' has been in effect since the '84 change in the law - and, (especially after controlling for the gang wars in the late 80's) the gun violence trend has been down, not up. At least according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at any rate.

firearmnonfatalno.gif firearmnonfatalrt.gif percentfirearm.gif

So, not only are the absolute numbers dropping - given the 10 million or so increase in population over the period - the rate is dropping as well. So, lets expend more effort on a meaningless gesture that makes us feel good, regardless of whether or not it works. Almost a perfect definition of the modern liberal, vice, say, Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, or Harry S. Truman.

I also support making permanent the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, which is set to expire on September 13, 2004. Such weapons are not needed for legitimate hunting and gaming purposes and instead can cause great harm to New York.

From the 1999 Justice Department report on the effectiveness of the ban: "Given the limited use of the banned guns and magazines in gun crimes, even the maximum theoretically achievable preventive effect of the ban on outcomes such as the gun murder rate is almost certainly too small to detect statistically..." Hat tip to Say Uncle and AWBANSunset.

Lastly, I wanted to give you my position on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Proponents of this legislation claim that it will prevent frivolous lawsuits and protect firearms manufacturers, dealers, and distributors from being held responsible for the actions of criminals. A close examination of the bill, however, reveals that it would deprive gun violence victims of their legal rights by terminating pending and prospective civil cases involving a wide range of industry misconduct. The bill would rewrite well-accepted principles of liability law, which generally hold that persons and companies may be liable for the foreseeable consequences of their wrongful acts. It would give the gun industry legal protections no other industry enjoys. For these reasons, I oppose this legislation.

I don't have the energy to respond to this. Others no doubt will take care of it.

Again, thank you for sharing your views about gun control. As the legislative agenda of Congress proceeds, please continue to let me know how you feel about this and other issues important to New York and our nation. For regular updates on this and the many issues being debated before the United States Senate, I encourage you to visit my website at

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

It would almost be worth it to move to New York, just to vote against you. But I'll leave that up to New Yorkers.

by John on Feb 26, 2004 | Gun Rights
» Say Uncle links with: John on Guns

Head's up for Illinois gun owners.

Ya'll might want to come to turret defilade and start firing off the letters. I dunno if this is an annual ritual for you guys or if this is new. No, I don't know what what "...and any one of five additional characteristics" references.

Illinois Senate Bill 2561 Would Outlaw Virtually All Semiautomatic
Firearms -- And Would Seize The Guns You Now Own!

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

February 26, 2004

Just when it seems likely that Congress may sunset the
unconstitutional federal ban on new semiautomatic firearms, anti-gun
members of the Illinois Senate in Springfield are pushing
legislation that would make Washington, D.C., look pro-gun by

Illinois Senate Bill 2561, sponsored by anti-gun zealot Senator
Antonio Munoz, would outlaw virtually all semiautomatic firearms --
whether or not covered by the federal ban -- and would require that
all banned guns be immediately relinquished.

What would be banned under the Illinois law? Under section 5 of the
bill, banned firearms would include:

* any semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine of any size
and any one of five additional characteristics;

* any semiautomatic pistol with a detachable magazine of any size
and any one of five additional characteristics;

* any semiautomatic shotgun with a folding or telescoping stock, a
protruding pistol grip, a fixed magazine capacity exceeding five
rounds, or an ability to accept a detachable magazine.

After 90 days, possession of all of these firearms would be
outlawed. If you fail to turn in, remove, or incapacitate your
semiautomatic firearm, the police could come and seize your firearm
-- at gunpoint, in the presence of your family -- and you would be
guilty of a Class 3 felony and subject to imprisonment.

ACTION: Contact your state senator. Tell him or her to oppose the
unconstitutional gun ban contained in Illinois Senate Bill 2561. A
roster of senators and phone numbers, as well as a pre-written
message, appear below. If you do not know your district, you can
find it at by
plugging in your zip code. Note: Illinois state senators do not
normally maintain public e-mail addresses.

by John on Feb 26, 2004 | Gun Rights

Interesting factoid.

From David's MedientKritik:

Duty in the US Army in Iraq presents a lower suicide risk (13,5 per annum per 100,000 ) than service in the German Bundeswehr (17 per annum per 100,000)…

Alright then Bundeswehr: Time to hurry on down to Iraq!

BTW: a suicide rate of 13,5 per annum per 100,000 is within the bottom third of the European countries! Very remarkable: France's average is 19,25...

Not denigrating the impact of suicide in the force, just offering up some context.

I just do prefer 'controlled numbers' rather than raw numbers. I.e., 'rate per hundred thousand' because then you are comparing apples to apples. Both sides of any debate cheat in this fashion, especially when large numbers are involved, because large numbers sound better/worse than truly comparative numbers.

That's why, for example, I am never impressed with a number like (made up ffor this example), 25,000 gun deaths a year in the US, 350 gun deaths per year in Germany, until they've been controlled by conversion to a common factor. That would convert to 8.9 per hundred thousand in the US (using 280mil as the population figure) to 0.3 per hundred thousand (using 82.4mil) in Germany. So, while in the example it's still a large difference, it doesn't have the same visual/visceral impact. And you can further subdivide from there. So, a pro-gun control person is going to use the 25,000 figure, an anti-gun control person is going to use the controlled figure, saying the same thing, but camouflaging their data relative to each other for maximum advantage to the audience.

There's more, but: [/Lecture]

February 25, 2004

Wendell, this one's for you...


I don't *always* pick on tankers.

You need the sound on. It's work safe. It's hilarious. It's a 2 meg .wmv, so if you've got dial-up, that's going to be tough. Better go read.

PLEASE=PLEASE=PLEASE 'right click" and "save as" rather than spawn it from my host server! Not only will it overall be faster, it'll just be better overall.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Royal Marines in "Low-tide Landings Suck"

They didn't have a hair on their chest if they didn't take the opportunity to test the ability of the SA-80 to shoot in those conditions. Well, that and the way they prove that the life jacket 'auto-inflate' feature does, in fact, work.

I think the part I like best is the lemming-like way they just keep coming!

Wendell - if you or anyone comes up with an artillery 'blooper-reel' I'll post it.

Hat tip to Duane H. for the movie!

by John on Feb 25, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» A Collection of Thoughts links with: Around The Blagosphere
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Friday Foray

Ya know - 'bout them WMD's...

Here's an interesting article on discovering "lost tanks" in Bosnia, which is far more densely settled (and vegetated, to be sure) than Iraq. Doesn't mean we'll find WMD's, just as an example of how easy it is to stumble across stuff that you'd think would be more obvious.

Photo: Rob Knight, 2 PWRR.

T-55 found at Stefanovici Farm near Prnjavor and recovered by UK SFOR troops.

by John on Feb 25, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Sick of American Guns

Little footnotes to history.

1919 League of Nations set up by Treaty of Versailles. That went well, didn't it?

1932 Austrian Immigrant Adolf Hitler belatedly obtains German
citizenship - in time to be elected Chancellor in 1933. Kind of puts a different spin on the "No immigrants can be President debate," doesn't it? Arnie is an Austrian too. Completely unrelated, just one of those little connections my brain makes when I have had too much coffee in the morning.

Hat tip to Strategy Page.

Even allowing for hyperbole...


...the military situation in the Great White North is Not Good. Unless you are a classic lefty-lib, in which case it is a Great Thing. No quick easy fixes there, either. And closing the northern bases (which do have military significance to the US) isn't something done lightly. If they are truly shut down, the elements are going to tear them apart quickly and they'll be expensive to replace.

Some excerpts from the National Post article by Chris Wattie:

'Bankrupt' Forces may shut 5 bases Internal reports say $500M shortfall may cause closures from Winnipeg to Labrador

Canada's army, navy and air force are facing a funding shortfall of up to half a billion dollars, defence sources told the National Post, and the military is recommending drastic measures to make up the difference, including closing some of the largest bases in the country...

...The military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the reports foresee a situation so dire that they recommend curtailing operations, dry-docking ships and mothballing vehicles or aircraft and closing at least four Canadian Forces bases.

Unless additional funding is awarded by the government, the air force is suggesting closing bases at Goose Bay, Nfld., Bagotville, Que., North Bay and Winnipeg, the sources said.

Further, the air force report says that unless its fleet of ageing CC-130 Hercules transport planes is replaced or modernized, the main transport base at Trenton should be closed within 10 years. "There won't be enough Hercs flying by then to justify keeping that base open," one air force source said.

The navy predicts it will not be able to live up to treaty obligations to NATO and other alliances and cannot carry out enough patrols of Canadian waters to comply with agreements with other government departments such as Immigration Canada or Fisheries and Oceans.

"We will not be able to meet our domestic defence obligations," one naval officer said.

The army is said to be in the worst financial state of all three branches of the Canadian Forces. "Everyone knows that the army's broke and has been for a couple of years," said one military source familiar with the reports...

"This is a look forward ... at what they need in order to keep the army going," he said. "Nobody has ever seen a bankrupt military in a developed country.... This year I predict we will see that in Canada."

I might argue that point among some of Europe's smaller forces.

The Liberal government reduced defence spending by 23% and cut the number of regular military personnel to approximately 60,000 from 80,000 between 1993 and 2000. There were 120,000 people in the Canadian military in 1958.

In 2003, the defence budget was increased $800-million to $12.7-billion, the single largest increase since the Liberals came to power. But that still left the total below that of 1991, when the Mulroney Conservatives committed troops to the Gulf War and the defence budget stood at $12.8-billion.

Of course, the reason Canadians (and to a slightly lesser extent, Europeans (including neutrals like Sweden) can operate this way to sustain their socialist spending habits? The 1st (US) Armored Div, 1st (US) Infantry Divsion, 1st (US) Cavalry Division, 82nd (US) Infantry Division (Airborne), 101st (US) Infantry Division (Air Assault), 1st (US) Marine Division, (US) Air Combat Command, 5th (US) Fleet, and even more of late, the 49th (US) Armored Division (TxARNG), 69th (US) Infantry Division (Va/MdARNG), 48th (US) Infantry Brigade (Enhanced) GaARNG, and all the other elements comprising the US military - and the US taxpayer, who funded that edifice, and continues to do so, and has the economic surplus to do so - while these other nations don't or won't. Nothing personal here guys - I've worked with warriors from many nations and most do amazing things with not very much - but those socialist governments live in a world made possible by the US taxpayer and their shield, the US Department of Defense. All for the privelege of being lectured by many of them.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

February 24, 2004

Thought for the day.

Don't bring a nickel-plated toy to a gunfight.

Looks like a kid who either needs help, or is a candidate for, as the Emperor would put it, Cloroxing out the gene pool.

by John on Feb 24, 2004 | Gun Rights

February 23, 2004

Hitchens is in fine form.

Christopher Hitchens is no fan of politicians of either stripe, and I don't agree with all he has to say about things - but his piece in Slate is a good read.


Here's a teaser to get you interested.

A war fought with weapons of indiscriminate slaughter, and accompanied by racist rhetoric, with a conscript Army deployed against a highly evolved revolutionary movement is as different as could possibly be from a campaign of precision-guided munitions, with an all-volunteer Army, directed at the overthrow of a hideous and dangerous tyranny, and then taking the form of a drive for free elections and a constitution. If people say that it's "reminiscent" of Vietnam, it means they don't remember Vietnam.


The whole piece is here.

February 22, 2004

If it's possible...

Jennifer is even more annoyed with Kerry.

Right now, I'm too tipsy from having toasted Spot to heaven to care - but Jen sure does!

Saddam Gets Red Cross Visit, Writes Family Letter

speicher1.jpg initials4.jpg

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Red Cross officials visited Saddam Hussein on Saturday for the first time since U.S. forces captured him in December and said they would pass on a letter he wrote for his daughters... (major snippage)

...He said Saddam, who has three daughters, wrote to them on a "special form...used everywhere by prisoners of war and detained persons, where the person could to reassure family members of his health condition, of his situation."

All I can say is, "That's a hell of a lot more than Scott Speicher or his family got. Or these people."

Screw you people who still don't think there is much to choose from between us and that sorry b@st@rd.

Then there are these gems from Saddam's daughter Raghad (from a different article):

“We want an international, fair and legal trial,” she said in a voice chock-full of emotion, adding that his family would appoint a lawyer to defend him.

This would be along the lines of the justice all those Kurds and Marsh Arabs got at your father's hands, right? Can we use that aspect of the Iraqi legal system? Only with his victims as judges? Wouldn't bother me to see your father lowered feet-first into an industrial shredder - though it would be a bad precedent for the new legal system - I'll settle for a nice public hanging.

“I am really proud that this man is my father. We all know the reason why he was displayed in the way he was. Where is the democracy, where is the immunity that presidents enjoy?”

"The democracy" is trying to work it's way there, you silly git, with your father's supporters doing their level best to kill anyone trying. Presidents may or may not enjoy immunity. Dictators usually enjoy exile if they are lucky, or a submachine gun to the belly if they aren't. Job hazard of being a dictator, lady.

But she lives in an odd world where having your father shoot your husband and the father of your child is ok. Saddam's family looks like Don Corleone's family - without the trappings of honor and loyalty, however thin those may be in real mafia families.

The whole article on the Red Cross is here. The bit with Saddam's daughter is here.