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June 18, 2004

Wahabism Delenda Est

So, again.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

We're sorry Mr. Johnson. We truly are.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - An al-Qaida group said Friday it killed American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr, posting an Internet message that showed photographs of a beheaded body that appeared to be his.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

The assholes said:

"In answer to what we promised ... to kill the hostage Paul Marshall (Johnson) after the period is over ... the infidel got his fair treatment," the statement said.

Johnson, who worked on Apache helicopter systems for Lockheed Martin, was kidnapped last weekend by militants who threatened to kill him by Friday if the kingdom did not release its al-Qaida prisoners. The Saudi government rejected the demands.

Right. Fair Treatment. Just trying to help Arabs have a future. Unlike what you promise, which is only death, and darkness.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - The leader of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia was believed killed in a raid in the capital Friday, hours after his group claimed the beheading of an American engineer, Saudi security officials said.

This is only a good start.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Two suspects escaped, he said, said one Saudi security official who took part in the raid.

Hunt those two down. Kill 'em.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Nothing has changed. The War should continue, until the last vestiges of Wahabism are extirpated.

Not the last Wahabist, though we will certainly keep running the 72 Virgins Dating Service, but Wahabism.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Root and Branch.

Leaf and Twig.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

As President Bush notes:

I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Paul Johnson. We send our prayers and sympathies to them during this very troubling time.

The murder of Paul shows the evil nature of the enemy we face. These are barbaric people. There's no justification whatsoever for his murder, and yet they killed him in cold blood. And it should remind us that we must pursue these people, and bring them to justice before they hurt other Americans. See, they're trying to intimidate America. They're trying to shake our will; they're trying to get us to retreat from the world. America will not retreat. America will not be intimidated by these kinds of extremist thugs.

May God bless Paul Johnson.

Root and Branch.

Leaf and Twig.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Kathryn Lopez of NRO relates this story:

A MOTHER'S BRAVERY, AN EXAMPLE FOR A COUNTRY [KJL] This comes from Karl Zinsmeister's hot-off-the-presses book, Dawn Over Baghdad: How the U.S. Military is Using Bullets and Ballots to Remake Iraq There are times when the best response, perhaps the only response, to the hard blows of existence is to embrace each lump as a badge honoring the determined striving that produced it. In 1918, Teddy Roosevelt’s son Quentin (who had left Harvard during his sophomore year to serve in World War I) was shot out of the sky in one of aerial warfare’s early dogfights. German propagandists took photos of his maimed body amidst his plane’s wreckage and, hoping to dampen American morale, sent one to Mrs. Roosevelt. Rather than let herself be cowed, however, she insisted that the picture be framed and displayed over a mantelpiece, a symbol of her family’s sturdiness and their pride in sacrifice for a high cause.

As I traveled across Iraq with our soldiers, I thought of this incident. What Edith Roosevelt did was both a very hard and a very soft thing. She pushed aside her own grief and expressed admiration and undying love for her son by celebrating his bravery--and by refusing to abandon his fight.
ME: Mrs. Roosevelt saw probably the worst image imaginable--a mother having to look at the remains of her son, sent by gleeful, evil people--and she wouldn't let anyone forget it. May we react similarly to the murders of Mr. Johnson, Mr. Berg, Mr. Pearl. We should react similarly to the scenes of torture of Iraqis. And to the memory of everyone who was murdered on September 11. And to everyone who has been murdered at the hands of the terrorists who would have us all dead.

High and low, big and small, in all the nooks and crannies.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Andrew McCarthy further observes:

MEMO TO DEMOCRATS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, & CO. [Andy McCarthy] Every time you parade the Abu Ghraib photos, every time you parrot the patently ridiculous pretension by these repulsive murderers that decapitations are motivated by what those photos depict -- rather than by a belief system that exudes hatred and murder -- you are guaranteeing that there will be more Daniel Pearls, Nick Bergs and, now, Paul Johnsons. You are telling these monsters that they get a free ride: They get to kill, which they would do anyway, and they get to have you tell the world that the proximate cause of the killing is the U.S. government rather than militant Islam. Scorecard: al Qaeda - win, win; America: lose, lose; Americans: die, die.

There are two possible story lines here: choice (a) Paul Johnson was viciously beheaded today, becoming just the latest of thousands of victims slaughtered by a menace that cannot be managed, need not be culturally understood, and must be totally eradicated; or choice (b) Paul Johnson died today; an Arabic website, upon first breaking the news, explained that his death was retaliation for the scandalous abuse of Iraqi prisoners by occupying U.S. forces in Baghdad, where the Bush administration is alleged to have employed harsh interrogation tactics -- in violation of the Geneva Conventions -- in order to press for intelligence about weapons of mass destruction which have yet to be found.

Anybody have the slightest doubt which choice we'll be reading and seeing?

If you ain't with us, yer agin' us.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Tony Blair gets it. Do you, Mr. Kerry? Mr. Chirac? Mr. Schroeder? Mr. Annan?

"The first thing to say is to express our shock at such an act of barbarism. It shows the nature of the people we're fighting. People who can do that sort of thing are not people you can negotiate with. They're people you have to defeat.''

Wahabism Delenda Est.

by John on Jun 18, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Drink this... links with: Too much naiveté on this...
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Reality Sucks

Some more on weapons development.

This time, the XM107 Sniper rifle. Note to gun rights people: I know this brief plays into the hands of those who want to ban the .50 cal rifles altogether - the whole purpose of this rifle is long range materiel destruction. But before you excoriate me for posting it - they're already running with that meme and have this info. Save your typing skills for something else! This just gives you a window into how the Army does this stuff.

Click the pic to view the briefing.

Victor Hanson reads my mind...

...and expresses it better than I do. Though, to be fair, he's the paid thinker, so I'm probably reading his. Wait! I am - as expressed in today's NRO article.

Some snippets:

All this spin hides the real problem, which has nothing to do with Bush. The ethicists of Europe don't want to see success in Iraq, since it might be interpreted as a moral refutation of their own opposition to Saddam's removal. So let us in turn stop begging old Europe, NATO, and the EU to participate in the rebuilding or policing of the country. To join or help, in the collective European mind, would be to suggest that an emerging democracy far away was worth our own sacrifice to rid the world of Saddam Hussein. Liberating Iraq, shutting down Baathist terror, and establishing consensual rule, after all, was a dangerous — and mostly Anglo-American — idea, antithetical to all the Europeans have become.
It was moving to commemorate the Normandy invasion on its 60th anniversary, but politely left unsaid amid the French-hosted celebrations was the real story of 1944 and 1945. We owe it to the dead, not just the living, to remember it with some integrity and honesty. Most of the Nazis' own European subjects did little to stop their mass murdering. There was no popular civilian uprising inside Germany or out. Most Germans were hostile to the onslaught of American armies in their country, preferring Hitler and the Nazis even by 1945 to so-called American liberators. When they did slur the Fuhrer it was because he brought them ruin, not the blood of millions on their hands. When they did stop fighting the Americans, it was because the thought of surrendering to the Russians was far worse.

Of course, in their defense, it's almost always a small group of people who mobilize the larger - as in our Civil War, for that matter, the Revolution, as well. The difference now seems to be - they have no small groups of people willing or able to mobilize... except on the wrong side.

But with European war, massive American aid, and Communism no longer present realities, the Atlantic world reverted to its natural tensions. Along with the Berlin wall, our NATO-inspired alliances also had a great fall. Well before George W. Bush assumed office, America and the Europeans split over differing ideas about liberty, free markets, class, race, and religion. And these shards are not going to be simply glued back into their proper places to reconstitute the fragile trans-Atlantic whole. As Europe addresses its demographic time bomb — with ever-increasing entitlements, less and less defense spending, and ever greater schizophrenia as it vacillates between paranoid repression and dangerous laxity — its angst about the freewheeling and upbeat United States will only grow.

I lived among the French and Germans for over 14 years. Hanson speaks truth here. While we share a common heritage and several core values, there are fundamental differences between us - greatest being the perception of the power and role of the state. Which isn't surprising, since most of the people coming to this country were fleeing the European paradigm for a better life elsewhere. And I suspect, should you look deep, it's the native-born scions of privelege in this country who look most approvingly upon Old Europe (in other words, becoming that which their forbears fled in the first place), while much of our immigrant population, to include the western hemisphere hispanics, do not. Not that we don't need to knock a little "el jefe'ism" out of their cultural basket, so they too can avoid the trap most of their former national governments are in.

We seek not to punish Europe by our departure, but to save it from itself. The problem is not just that our troops are doing nothing in places like Germany, or merely that they are more needed elsewhere — they do real damage by their presence in enabling an increasingly strident and opportunistic pacifism and an anti-Americanism fueled by dependency and ignited by resentment.

A little 'tough-love' is in order. Of course, that too, is fraught with a different kind of danger...

I fear that we should expect over the next 50 years some pretty scary things coming out of Europe as its impossible postmodern utopian dreams turn undemocratic and then ugly — once its statism and entitlement economy falter; Jews leave as Arabs stream in; its shaky German-French axis unravels; its next vision of an EU mare nostrum encompassing North Africa and Turkey begins to terrify Old Europe; and its pacifism brings it real humiliation from the likes of an Iran or China. Indeed, despite Europe's noble efforts to incorporate the former Warsaw Pact, we are already seeing such tensions in the most recent EU elections.

We all like the Europeans and wish them well in their efforts to create heaven on earth. But in the end I still think we Americans are on the right side of history in Iraq — while they are on no side at all.

I like most europeans I've met - until we get to politics and the role of the state. Then, oddly enough, I have more in common with the Eastern Euros I've met, and (still) many Brits.

They were our parents, and we in a sense owe them a debt of gratitude - but we've also been paying for their time in the rest home, too. It may be time for a little cost-shifting back across the waters.

The whole piece is here. You owe it to yourself (and Hanson) to at least skim the whole thing and make sure I didn't mangle him!

192 years ago today...


WAR! Congress declares "Mr. Madison's War" on June 18, 1812. It may have cost a huge remodeling job on the White House, but we once again bored the British into preferring French-bashing to dealing with fractious colonials, and they dropped the idea of re-absorbing us into the Empire. And we *still* failed to beat-up the Canadians after three tries, the fall-out of which I deal with periodically as they drop by and go "Neener-neener-neener!" The animation above was shamelessly stolen from this website about the war, which you should go visit!

64 years ago, Sir Winston Churchill stood in Parliament and delivered a sobering recitation of military failure after military failure, concluding his speech with one of the most famous bits of oration in the english-speaking world:

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'

Go read the whole thing - it makes the last paragraph even better. Dubya's speechwriters would do well if they could write something like this speech.

June 17, 2004

Why we win, when we fight.

(Graphic courtesy the Imperial Animatrix)

SGT Hook, even as you read is flying in the 'Stan, represents the epitome of the NCO corps, and why the Army can fight and win, even when burdened with officers such as myself.

Top is always looking around, and SEEING things, whether it's his troops, his birds, or the people he's risking his life to help establish a different, and hopefully better, future for themselves. He's got the barbecue fund for his soldiers, now he wants to do something else. Shoes. For Afghan children. Help him out, if you can. If you want to help SGT Hook raise money to fund barbecues for his soldiers... well, if ya want to - here's a link to reward ya for finding out how! (I'm assuming a mostly male readership here - with no disprespect to my lady visitors, who are also, bemusingly, my most prolific commenters)

Warming to a different topic - but the same subject, in a sense... here's something the Army is doing to try to help SGT Hook out - give him a new door gun. This is the 1SG's current model.

Here's what they are working on to give him a new one. Click on the pic to see the rest of the brief.

June 16, 2004

Gunner was pretty close!

He originally thought the picture below was two grenades in a display. It was a blow-up of two grenades, and a launcher, in a display.

On the left, an uncut US Vivien-Bessiere grenade. On the right, a cut-away French V-B, behind, a US 'tromblon' V-B launcher. You can tell it's US because it twists to lock around the front sight, vice the French launchers, which slip on straight and use a locking ring. In this case (not as obvious) it's for a US M1917 Enfield rifle, and was a Chateau Thierry battlefield recovery.

If you've the time or a fast connection, here's a high-res shot.

by John on Jun 16, 2004 | Grenades

Just a coupla snippets.

Little bitty bits of some things going on in the soldier weapons world. New shotgun to attach under the M4 carbine barrel, and a new optic, better suited for close-combat fighting in cities - while still able to handle the long shooting tasks.

Just click the pic to go to the brief.

UPDATE: Something I meant to mention, that will only be noticed by those of us who have been on the combat/materiel development/procurement side of the house... In the third slide - it says TRADOC needs to approve the ORD, or Operational Requirements Document. ORDs are what *used* to formally start the process, in that they were a formal codification of the 'operational requirement' as laid out in the Mission Need Statement (MNS - pronounced 'mins') which was the true genesis of the project. There are two things that are noteworthy - we're getting the job done as we are supposed to, in that we are taking the request from the field and running with it, catching up on the paperwork later. Secondly, the ORD process and TRADOC's ability to manage them (manning and process issues) is still broke, and can't keep up. See OldFan's comment in the post below about the XM307 for a further discussion of that!

June 15, 2004

Now ain't this just cool?

A Vivien-Bessiere grenade cut-away. More about this (and this type) of grenade sometime in the near future.

by John on Jun 15, 2004 | Grenades


A while back I posted some pics and data on the XM307 multi-purpose machinegun currently under development. Most of you who commented were, well, *not* impressed.

I've found some more data, all unclas and not FOUO that adds to the picture. Those of you who were not impressed, well, I suspect you still won't be.

It certainly does look like a weapon designed by engineers, for engineers, that will not simplify the parts system nor make life easier for ammo dogs - I'm undecided if it will help the soldier, the primary customer! I would note that the expected production costs are less than for a shootable Vickers MG these days.

Click the graphic to be taken to the (edited to remove personal info like emails and phone numbers, as well as the actual fielding plan - hey, ya don't hafta know everything) briefing. I just wish I had gotten the embedded videos (those slides are missing from this brief)! You may need to 'doubleclick' your browser 'back' button to escape out of Fototime. They really don't want you to escape!

High res version of the slide is here.

June 14, 2004

Everybody is doing it! we'd better do it too!

Army gets new combat uniform

By Sgt. 1st Class Marcia Triggs

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 14, 2004) - The Army will be fielding a new combat uniform designed by NCOs and tested by Stryker Brigade Soldiers in Iraq since October.

Meet the new Army uniform, unveiled today.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Myhre, the Program Executive Office NCOIC, sports the Army Combat Uniform, the recently approved wear for Soldiers. It contains 20 new improvements.

Zippers. Velcro (for when that zipper fails). Got rid of the lower pockets on the blouse and moved 'em to the shoulders (still room for patches - can't look like the Marines!). Must annoy the Marines, to have adopted the "Hey-look-at-our-new-digital-cammies-so-we-don't-look-like-the-Army" uniform... if they'd just waited, they'd have been unique! But no, they went first, so we copied 'em!

There were 20 changes made to the uniform, to include removing the color black and adapting the digital print from the Marine Corps uniform to meet the needs of the Army, said Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Myhre, the Clothing and Individual Equipment noncommissioned officer in charge.

Perhaps most interestingly... the Army has rediscovered the Hush Puppy suede boot. Just like it did in WWII (when the Sergeants-Major made sure they got spit-shined anyway) and just like before Korea, when they tried again (and the Sergeants-Major made sure they got spit-shined)... sorta like the BDU, which was never, ever, supposed to be starched (which the Colonels and Sergeants-Major made sure got starched, if lightly, anyway).

At $88 per uniform, about $30 more than the BDU, Soldiers will eventually reap gains in money and time by not having to take uniforms to the cleaners or shine boots.

At least deployed, as most of 'em are these days. But, when the garret-troopers reassert themselves...

All snarkiness aside - and a wince at the $30 increase in cost - it's got that Star Trek look - but it does look like they've done a pretty good job so far. Good thing it's not red... since we all know what happened to new guys with no name who wore red shirts on the Enterprise!

If you'd like to read the whole article go here (I recommend it)

Happy 229th Birthday!

Today marks the 229th Year of the existence of the greatest threat to world peace greatest force for liberation ever known. Sorry, channeling a moonbat.

Sixty years ago, in the Army’s birth month of June 1944, our brave Soldiers stormed ashore at Normandy to begin the final thrust to liberate Western Europe. While that beachhead was expanding, our Soldiers liberated Rome, made gains against Japanese invaders in New Guinea, struggled against terrain, weather and a tough enemy in Burma, and reinforced the U.S. Marine Corps on Saipan.

From the POTUS (and yes, moonbats, I will post a letter from the POTUS next year, even if it isn't Bush...) The President is the President, even if we don't like him.

The message from the Chief and Acting Secretary.

Our Army is strong, and this strength comes from our greatest asset: the American Soldier, whose courage, compassion, and determination have for generations been the bedrock upon which our victories have depended. In all that the Army has accomplished, and all that it will be called upon to do, the American Soldier remains the single most important factor in our success. We are proud of you, our Army family—Soldiers, civilians, retirees, veterans, and your families, and you are always foremost in our prayers and in our actions. Thank you for your service, for your sacrifices, and for your steadfast devotion to duty. Your courage, dedication, and selfless service to the nation are the hallmarks of the United States Army.

And those of you who don't fit that bill... welcome to the USDB at Fort Leavenworth!

You know you always wondered...

...why it was called cordite, didn't you?

You know you did. Now, you know. Look at the propellant in the cartridge case.

Corded. Ergo, cordite.

As in this bit, from this warrior turned peace protestor in Canada (I felt it rude to just snip his bit and not let you read the rest of his message...)

Mostly the memories which came back to me are not the sounds and the sights, but the smells: the smell of diesel exhaust from the tanks as we made our way up the spine of Italy is one smell that stays with me; the smell of cordite as we passed near heavy artillery sites soon after a barrage; the choking sweet-sickly smell of dead tank crews in burnt-out tanks in Italy; the distinctive smell of dead farm animals and tote-mules in the river valleys of Italy; the offensive odour of dead soldiers in Okinawa as I followed a truck of casualties being transported to the US embalming unit in the rear area. I had shoved these deep into my dead files. However, I'm afraid they've all come up again.

First off, I agree with him completely on the smell issue. The smell of burning powder, diesel exhaust on a crisp cold morning, ripe roadkill - those will all trigger memories, some good, some rather nasty. I know I sometimes attract looks on a cold morning if I'm anywhere near a running diesel and I stand there and take a good sniff... though every now and then someone standing near me will say something like, "Just like the DMZ, ain't it?" Or Graf, or Hohenfels, or Hof, or fill-in-the-blank, where-ever they spent a cold military morning with idling diesels. For aviators it's kerosene.

"The smell of cordite" has worked it's way into the vernacular, even though cordite is no longer routinely used as a propellant - unless you, like me, are shooting surplus ammo. It's a cliche'.

And now ya know what it looks like - at least in a WWI-era .303 Brit bullet. In tech jargon:

CORDITE, the name given to the smokeless propellant in use in the British army and navy. The material is produced in the form of cylindrical rods or strings of varying thicknesses by pressing the material, whilst in a soft and pasty state, through dies or perforations in a steel plate by hydraulic or screw pressure, hence the name cordite. The thickness or size of the rods varies from about I mm. diameter to 5 or more mm. according to the nature of the charge for which it is intended. The smallest diameter is used for revolver cartridge and the largest for heavy guns. When first devised by the Ordnance Committee, presided over by Sir Frederick Abel, in 1891, this explosive consisted of 58% of nitro-glycerin, 37 % of gun-cotton, and 5% of mineral jelly. This variety is now known as Cordite Mark I. At the present time a modification is made which contains gun-cotton 65%, nitro-glycerin 30%, and mineral jelly 5 %. This is known as Cordite M.D. The advantages of Cordite M.D. over Mark I are slightly reduced rate of burning, higher velocities~ and more iegular pressure in the gun, and lower temperature.

If you'd like to read more, go here.

If the picture above is too small for you, then hie ye here!

by John on Jun 14, 2004 | Ammunition