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September 04, 2004

Lawmaking Shenanigans around the Country.

Via Say Uncle we go to Freedom Sight - to learn a bit about Ghost Voting in California, and some legislators who feel the laws are for you, not them. Especially laws passed by you, and not them.

by John on Sep 04, 2004 | Gun Rights

On the limits of "Soft Power"

For the Matthew Yglesias' of the world:

Not Good... [NB: all emphasis mine, not Matthew's] ... busy as I've been with the convention, I haven't been following the story of the Russian kids held hostage that's now reached its awful conclusion. Worse, even, than the reality of the crime is the knowledge that things will get worse. The situation, clearly, can only be resolved by Russian concessions on the underlying political issue in Chechnya. At the same time, in the wake of this sort of outrage there will not only be no mood for concessions, but an amply justified fear that such concessions would only encourage further attacks and a further escalation of demands. I don't see any way out for Russian policymakers nor any particularly good options for US policymakers. Partisanship and complaints about Bush's handling of counterterrorism aside, this business is a reminder not only of the horrors out there, but also that terrorism is a genuinely difficult problem -- I think we've been doing many of the wrong things lately, but no one should claim it's obvious what the right way to proceed is.

Matthew followed up later with this:

See the intelligence discussion in the comments at which tends to confirm my despair. It's easy to say "no compromise with terror -- we must kill the killers." At the same time, Russia already has taken a very tough line against Chechen separatists in the past, deploying significantly more brutality than the US or Israel does in its own counterterrorist operations. As we've seen this week, it hasn't been brutal enough to stop the onslaught. Russia certainly does have it in its capacity to simply kill all Chechens, but I think the ethical problem is clear enough.

But the other side of this issue is also right. If you respond to the slaughter of hundreds of children by trying to give Chechen separatists what they want, then you're opening a pandora's box of terrorism.

Matthew is crushed between the rock of his compassion and intellect driving his commendable desire to find a different way to resolve of these seemingly intractable problems and the hard place of history as a brutal teacher when it comes to religious fanatacism. Any fanatacism, really. Thus far, history shows the best solution is to kill enough of 'em that the rest of them lose heart - for the true believers see concession as weakness and something to be taken advantage of - and heartened by - and to then demand more. Just because my way is the old way, the hard way, and yes, the brutal way, doesn't make it wrong.

The following essay lays it out - saying what I've been saying for a while now.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Crush or be crushed

The writer is professor emeritus of political science at Temple University in Philadelphia and author of Peaceful Conflict and Soldiers, Scholars, and Society.

Events in both Israel and Iraq prove that the winning-hearts-and-minds approach to ending wars and insurrections has the same success rate as getting rain by praying for it. If it were indeed the key to victory, armies would have exchanged their weapons for public relations kits ages ago.

The ancient Persians conquered the Babylonians, and the Greeks the Persians, and the Romans the Greeks, and the Turks the Byzantines, and the British the Turks not by capturing their hearts and minds, but by overwhelming them with so much might that they lost their will to fight and surrendered.

Swords, not sermons, swept Islam quickly from the Middle East to Africa and the Far East. Swords, not sermons, enabled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to rid Spain of 700 years of Moorish rule. And it was swords, not sermons, that stopped the Muslims at the gates of Vienna.

During the Revolutionary War, Great Britain's King George III did not relinquish his American colonies because General George Washington had somehow won his mind and heart. Similarly, England's Duke of Wellington didn't prevail at the Battle of Waterloo because he won the heart and mind of France's Napoleon Bonaparte.

And the South didn't surrender and end the American Civil War because Union General Ulysses S. Grant won the hearts and minds of General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate troops.

Nor did the Allied powers vanquish the Axis powers in 1945 because their brilliant propaganda and psychological warfare tactics captured the latter's hearts and minds. Germany and Italy surrendered because they knew in their brains and their bowels that they had been beaten by slow, sustained, and superior force, applied over a number of very bloody years.

And the Empire of Japan surrendered not because US navy captain (later admiral) Ellis Zacharias, a specialist in intelligence and psychological operations, was able to broadcast our surrender terms in fluent Japanese, but because Japan had already taken the measure of America's atom bomb.

IN 1970, Canada presented an excellent, if forgotten, example of force prevailing over hearts and minds.

French Canadian terrorist separatists had kidnapped James Cross, the British trade commissioner, and Pierre Laporte, Quebec's minister of labor. They later murdered Laporte. Instead of trying to win their hearts and minds, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, himself a French Canadian, got parliament to proclaim a War Measures Act and suspend Canadian civil liberties.

Then he ordered Canadian troops and mounties to search the streets of Quebec house by house. They arrested 500 people and crushed the terrorists.

The Cold War did not end in the 1980s because Voice of America broadcasts or State Department exchange programs eventually got to the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. It ended because the Kremlin leadership finally realized that president Ronald Reagan, with the backing of most of the American people, was ready to use all means, including economic strangulation and military prowess, to end communist domination of Eastern and Central Europe.

On the other hand, since the Korean War was at best a draw, and the United States did not win in Vietnam, many Americans no longer accept war as part of the human condition. So they seek to appease with nonmilitary approaches enemies who cannot be appeased.

Neither can these Americans fathom that when a nation does go to war, it is entirely proper, as US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill knew so well, for it to sacrifice one in order to save 10, ten to save hundreds, hundreds to save thousands, and thousands to save millions.

Islam does not look kindly upon infidels who lose. So the issue confronting Israel and the United States is not whether one is pro-Bush or anti-Bush, pro-Sharon or anti-Sharon, for or against the invasion of Iraq, or for or against Israel's leaving the Gaza Strip unilaterally. The issue is how can the United States and Israel defeat their foes?

The Ba'athists and the jihadists will not stop fighting the Great Satan because they have been made to like, respect, or fear the United States. They will stop fighting only when they are convinced that America's Vietnam trauma is over and that America is once again willing and able to use crushing force.

And Israel, the Little Satan, will prevail over its existential enemies only when it realizes that in order to survive it must fight by the rules of the neighborhood in which it lives.

In short, America's and Israel's struggles will end favorably only if they follow Churchill's dictum: "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

~ JFKennedy (Inaugural Address - 1961)

by John on Sep 04, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #5
» Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) links with: Weekend Reading

Russia's 9/11?

I'm not going to blog extensively about what just happened in Russia. Others are doing it effectively, and I have nothing useful to add to the discussion. If you've been visiting this blog for any length of time, you know my attitude.

Wahabism Delenda Est - Wahabism must be destroyed.

As Ralph Peters notes (link below)

September 4, 2004 -- THE mass murder of children revolts the human psyche. Herod sending his henchmen to massacre the infants of Bethlehem haunts the Gospels. Nothing in our time was crueler than what the Germans did to children during the Holocaust. Slaughtering the innocents violates a universal human taboo. Or a nearly universal one. Those Muslims who preach Jihad against the West decided years ago that killing Jewish or Christian children is not only acceptable, but pleasing to their god when done by "martyrs."

It isn't politically correct to say this, of course. We're supposed to pretend that Islam is a "religion of peace." All right, then: It's time for Muslims to stand up for the once-noble, nearly lost traditions of their faith and condemn what Arab and Chechen terrorists and blasphemers did in the Russian town of Beslan...

And, despite what the barking moonbats in the anti-war left mindlessly spew:

Well, the cold fact is that Western soldiers, whether Americans, Brits, Russians or Israelis, do not take hundreds of children hostage, then shoot them in cold blood while detonating bombs in their midst. The Muslim world can lie to itself, but we need lie no longer.

But, as a public service, here's what others are saying about it:

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. While you're there, go to the post below and check out the Silver Star story (no, not JfK's).

Ralph Peters.

Jeff Quinton

Armies of Liberation.

Airborne Combat Engineer.

The Command Post.

David Kaspar.

Susie at Practical Penumbra.

The Queen of All Evil.

No Pasaran!

Hell in a Handbasket.

Silflay Hraka.


She Who Will Be Obeyed.

Boots and Sabers.


Cam Edwards.

Say Uncle.

Feces Flinging Monkey.

Silent Running.


Little Green Footballs. Start here, move down.

Smallest Minority.

Western Standard (posted by the Flea)


The Common Virtue.



Update: LaughingWolf has this compilation of pictures and commentary.

September 03, 2004

Room clearing.

Click the pic for hi-res.

In this post, Nicholas of Quotulatiousness offered this comment:

Ah, yes, the Sten. Best room-clearing device since the Mills bomb. Just put in a fresh magazine, cock the bolt and throw it into the room. Oh, and make sure you're behind something bullet-resistant. Fortunately, by the time I was issued a sub-machine gun, they'd upgraded to the Stirling SMG instead, so I never had the opportunity to find out if this was actually true from first-hand experience.

This comment isn't as silly as it sounds (though I'd argue the penetrative capacity of the 9mm round... but Kim du Toit does it sooo much better). The Stirling has a positive safety on the grip that interrupts the ability of the trigger to trip the sear. The Sten does not. The Sten has the same kind of safety that the MP40 has - a notch in the receiver. That's it. In firing configuration, it looks like this.

So, it *is* theoretically possible to load it, cock it, and toss it in the room. But - not only does it have to hit on the butt (gotta move the bolt to the rear) it has to hit hard enough to move the bolt back against the spring with enough force to hit the back of the notch and move down into the full slot - and the sear has to be worn enough to not stop the bolt on it's movement forward (notice how the bolt in the second picture is stopped forward of the notch). A weapon in that bad a shape probably was a candidate for replacement or refurbishment anyway... Doesn't mean it didn't happen - but it would take a soldier brave stupid enough to throw away his weapon hoping for a little blessing (actually, a large blessing) from the Gods of Statistics, who are a famously fickle bunch. I'll stick with a Mills Bomb.

Anybody got good stories about it being used this way - especially published ones, I'd love to hear them! And to meet the man who did it - especially on purpose!

Need to add to your own arsenal?

But yer broke? Kids in college? Saving for that downpayment?

Gunner at No Quarters has some help for you!

Update: Don Sensing has a little something for your arsenals, too. Beretta's new shotgun. I'll wait until it's fifty years old before I get one. Just being consistent.

by John on Sep 03, 2004 | Gun Rights

Do good, and good will come to you.

I did a joke post about DoD recalling retirees, that featured a pretty funny graphic. I asked if anyone knew where the graphic originated, and a retired Marine living in Kansas clued me in.

That lead to a nice email exchange with the clowns (Vietnam Force Recon vets) who were the originators.

I've also mentioned that I have a patch collection.

Well, now, because I was a nice and honest guy (preen) - I have two more patches for the collection. Thanks, Jon!

Since the copyright belongs to these guys (I'm using it by permission) I wouldn't steal this and shop it around!

September 02, 2004

Too Much Politics!

Need gun fix?

Here ya go.

Click the pic for hi-res.

Some STENs and a PPSh 41.

Cohesion, building of.

From CAPT H comes this little tale.

A three-star general says soldiers from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry should be allowed to wear the shoulder patch that traces the battalion's lineage to World War II.

Lt. Gen. James Helmly, who heads the 209,000-member Army Reserve, said the issue was raised yesterday morning when he met with members of the 100th Battalion for nearly two hours at Schofield Barracks. He was asked why the 100th Battalion had recently been told to remove its shoulder patch and replace it with one worn by the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade.

Here's a graphic of the offending bit of embroidery.

A little context - the 29th Separate Infantry Brigade , Hawaii National Guard, is being federalized and sent to Iraq, so this isn't some peacetime squabble. In this case, 'separate' means the unit is not part of a division.

COL Chaves, the brigade commander, is responsible for welding this grouping of units into a team and taking them into combat. The 100/442nd Infantry is a unique unit in many respects. Aside from it's descent from the Japanese-American regimental combat team of WWII, one of the most highly decorated units in the war, it is also unique in that it is one of the few deployable combat arms units left in the Reserve after the post-Desert Storm reorganization of the Army. COL Chaves does not normally command and control this unit, and has some others he gets upon mobilization as well. So, he's trying to foster unit identity.

Brig. Gen. Joe Chaves, who commands the brigade, wants all of his more than 3,000 soldiers to wear the same shoulder patch to help develop a "sense of unity," said. Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman.

Anthony said the 29th Brigade not only includes the more than 600 soldiers who belong to the 100th Battalion and live on Guam, American Samoa and Saipan, but it also has soldiers from California, Oregon and Minnesota.

"Gen. Chaves wants everyone in the brigade to have the one team, one fight attitude."

Napoleon said "Men will die for a bit of ribbon." He was referring to medals - but the point applies here, as well. The truth is men will not die for a bit of cloth, whether it be a flag, a ribbon, or a shoulder patch. Men will kill and die for symbols, and for each other. The latter part is the most important part. The bond of shared objectives and experiences will weld the 29th SIB into a team to be feared by it's opponents.

The way for COL Chaves to build his formation into a unit is to train them hard, and train them smart, and train them together. Not strip away a bit of identity that links a unit to it's past, to substitute one for which they have no affinity. You gain affinity through experience. So, COL Chaves, bust their asses in training, setting team objectives that can only be obtained through cross-tasking and teamwork, and you will meld your brigade into the hammer of our foes. And not be the subject of newspaper articles containing gentle rebukes from general officers, nor noticed by Canadian soldiers, and blogged about by old fart 'Murican soldiers.

LTG Helmly gets it:

"The thing that keep (sic) soldiers alive in combat," Helmly said, "is small-unit bonding and teamwork. ... They identify with their colors and their patch represents their colors."

Do you, Colonel? Actually, by now, I'm sure you do - and if you don't, it's going to be a long year while you learn there, boss.

September 01, 2004

Speaking strictly for myself...

... I won't put words in Dusty's mouth - I'm getting less and less interested in 'understanding' the Islamofascists, except as a tool to infiltrating their organizations and killing them.

Now the anti-heroic bandits of Chechnya have taken over two schools and are threatening to kill the children if they don't get their way.

I'm sure, as Sting put it, the Russians "love their children, too." But, unlike the premise of Sting's song - the Islamofascists seem to be a nihilistic suicide cult, and are willing to sacrifice the children, anybody's children, to service their dark and terrible god. Hearts are hardening 'round the Castle.

The story is here.

Update: The Mistress of Castle Argghhh! is tougher than I am. She's downright mean - but then, she's a Mom, and Mom's can be like that where children are concerned...

Public Service Announcement

This is the Emergency Blogcast System. This is not a test. Attention Commissary Shoppers! We bring you this public service announcement as a service of this blog... from Nate at Wasted Electrons comes this:

I've already sent this to several different groups but your readers might need to check this out also. There was a problem with the debit charging system at DOD commissaries over the weekend. The debit system was deducting funds from accounts as it was supposed to, but not reporting back to the cashier that the transaction processed. In my case, the cashier then asked if she could run the charge on the credit billing side, processed that transaction and sent me home with my groceries.

But I discovered last night that I was charged for both transactions. And the Commissary supervisor, informed me that I was about caller number 7500 with similar circumstances from this past weekend!

I always use my checkcard as a credit card. If you were in the Commissary using one of those little perks of military life that Congress periodically looks askance at - might want to check your accounts to see if DECA is sitting on some of your cash. While I'm sure that the good folks at the Defense Commissary Agency are working diligently to return your money - the only one who cares deep down in their bones is you!

August 31, 2004

Wahabism Delenda Est.

#*$%^$@ cowards. This is even worse than usual. Don't watch the video, take my word for it.

A lingering, painful death can't come too soon and last too long for these vermin, but I'll let them find that out on the other side.

Via Jeff Quinton, at Chris Short's. Read it, but don't watch it. Take my word for it - a new low, even for these spawn of Shaitan.

Days like today make me wish I could go back into uniform. It's stuff like this that makes it very, very hard as an officer to be professional and keep control of the troops when dirtbag oxygen wasters like this surrender.

It's stuff like this that caused me to don the uniform in the first place.

People that the DU Moonbats 'understand their pain' and implicitly support their actions. And equate, equate! to Graner and the Abu Ghraib idiots.

They want their shot at Paradise. It's our job to arrange their earliest possible arrival.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Soldiers Must Be Warriors

New AAR (Unclas, of course) from the Sandbox.

This is 4th ID's latest Lessons Learned document coming out of OIF. The first one, covering their actions during the Major Combat Operations phase and right after, is here.

There is some Good Stuff in here, though the cynical among you will go "D-uh, dudes. It was self-evident from the time Moses soldiered..."

For those of you who have been soldiering long enough to remember what it's like not to be in An Army At War, there are some satisfying observations in here. Like this (which some of us trained our soldiers as all along - but was tough in an Army Not At War...:

Soldiers must be Warriors. This does not mean all Soldiers must be infantrymen - a unique core competency.

If the commander of the 507th Maintenance Company and his senior commanders had held this as a core value - we might never have heard of Jessica Lynch, and the Captain commanding might have a Bronze or Silver Star for fighting through the ambush - thus qualifying him for the Presidency on a Democratic Party ticket...

Another good little snippet:

Creating combined arms synergy requires tactical rather than technical solutions.

Amen! Tech should enable, not supplant. Too often weak commanders want it as a crutch, not a tool. Some people, like JD Mays at An Army of One, have been all over the Services for not procuring and developing tech to defeat IEDs. JD is correct - they should, and are. But more important, is how do you adapt and use the tools at your disposal, and invent new ones within the scope of your immediate assets to address the issue while the tech is developed? Too many people sit on their butt waiting on the boffins. Good commanders know that many of the tools and skills are already there - either in the force, or in the history of the force. Take IEDs and counterfire as an example, like this slide shows.

To view the whole thing, click here to go to the album. While in the album, if you click on idividual slides, they will pop-up in an easier to read form. These are jpgs. If you would like it in powerpoint, email me at armorer (at) and I will send it along.

August 29, 2004

Light-Heavy Doctrine conflicts -- Redux

(N.B. - since SWWBO asked, others may too - CAS is Close Air Support, ALO is Air Liasion Officer, a Zoomie trapped with grunts)

It doesn't take long to discover that prudence isn't one of my strong points.

But right now I don't have the same constraints John faces. Plus, I think the discussion is an interesting one and invite others to weigh may help someone, somewhere who's nugging through trying to reinvent the Army.

By the way, for all our faults, in all the Services, you'd be surprised how much we are learning organizations...not perfect, and often the wrong lessons get learned, but there are a lot more Sam Damons than Courtney Massengales in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. These discussions are, at least for me, for the Sams out there (and there's a pun in there somewhere for the guys at Leavenworth...the school, not the prison).

Jason van S-plus 10 is no fool. He's a great read and, if not always right (How should I know? I just fly...OK, flew...jets.), he's an engaging commentator on an eclectic subject mix--just go look at what he thinks of First Command Bank...heh. One thing you shouldn't get from what follows is that I would presume to think he doesn't know most of what I said in my email to him. But some things need to be said over and over and over again in Joint ops (trust me). The other thing to remember is that I am in no way trying to discount the preeminent role of light infantry in the scenarios he point is focused on supporting, not supplanting, them. The text of my note to Jason follows:


"If, in the next battle, tanks are engaged from the tops of highrises, the distances will preclude CAS. Helicopters will be able to drive the enemy from the roofs and top floor or two. But in order to surround and clear a large building, you're still going to need the infantry."


CAS is what happens when 1) you are operating in CLOSE PROXIMITY to friendly troops and 2) the close proximity mandates DETAILED INTEGRATION with the ground commander's scheme of maneuver. (Something tells me you knew this, but a good ALO continuously repeats himself.)

The rest is in the Flash Traffic!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Dusty on Aug 29, 2004
» uruloki's lair links with: More First Command

Light-Heavy Doctrine conflicts.

Since my work is directly involved in this, I'm not going to comment, for personal and professional reasons.

But Jason over at IraqNowBlog has an interesting post discussing a NYT article that questions the way the Army is trying to take it's doctrine.

I find Jason's arguments as interesting as I find the NYT article, well, lacking perspective. Jason's perspective is informed by his experiences in Iraq, and are worth the read. Yeah, I have opinions, but since I'm paid to have these opinions, I'll have to figure out a way to express them without compromising my job. Right now, that doesn't look possible.

Dusty may or may not weigh in with a comment here, as he's been having an email exchange with Jason on the post.

Peace is busting out all over...

War Making Headlines, but Peace Breaks Out

Sun Aug 29, 1:55 PM ET

By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent

The chilling sights and sounds of war fill newspapers and television screens worldwide, but war itself is in decline, peace researchers report.

In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.

All despite the best efforts of Bush to make war a Good Thing.

Obviously, the world is responding to Kerry's foreign policy initiatives.

Read about it here.

How about a different calculus, fellas? The nature of war has changed, too. You guys are all about rejoicing in the shift of hi-intensity wars to low-intensity conflict... but have you thought about measuring the effect of the displacement?

Not that a net-downcheck in combat-related deaths are a bad thing... but should that be the seemingly sole criterion applied?

Congrats to all the Olympians!

Especially those who went to Athens and exceeded their expectations!

Big Hoo-ah! to the US team for their 35 Gold, 39 Silver and 29 Bronzes.

Special Hoo-ah! to the Women's basketball team for showing the men what Olympic competion means, and that if you are a pro athlete who left your professionalism behind, next time - let someone play for the US who gives a shit. Well Done Argentina and Italy, for putting those pampered hosers in their place.

Tip of the hat to the Russians and Chinese - but big, Big, BIG back slap to Australia! 4th in the standings - with a population of 20 Million, ya kicked the Big 3 in the butt in medals per 100K of population!

Oh, and BTW -

Happy Birthday to Dusty's Alma Mater...

The United States Air Force Academy, born this date, 1958.

However, dude - except for that Chapel thing, and the mountains, and Colorado Springs, and the skiing, West Point has a far cooler campus!

by John on Aug 29, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» uruloki's lair links with: Nice to be noticed...