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January 22, 2005

So, how do you know...

...that you have passed unrecoverably from "young adult" to "hopelessly middle-aged?"

When you are at Barnes and Noble, and you pass up Best American Sex Writing 2004 for Simon Winchester's, The Meaning of Everything. The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, and you think to yourself, "Heh, that'll make a good blogpost, too."

Pathetic, ain't it?

Urrr, urrr, urrr, ahrr, ahrr, ahrrr...

I gotta admit, whenever I see pictures like this, or get to sneak into places like the cannon lathe building at Watervliet Arsenal, I get all bandy-legged, knuckle-dragging, Tim-The-Toolman-Taylorish...

I dunno where this picture was taken, but if forced to choose - I'd say Vicker's Elswick works, though hell, it could be the Clyde or Barrow works too. All did cannon building. I suppose it could also be Armstrong's before they merged with Vickers.

by John on Jan 22, 2005 | Artillery

Whew! Lotsa captions to wade through.

And some lurkers turned into commenters. Kewl. Down side to the success... I hafta wade through it all and see which one I like best. I might try an online poll for that one.

Here's a reward for weekend visitors, as my posting habits will probably push it off the page before the new week gets cranked up: some more combat video. This is work-safe except in anti-war offices. No goriness, this is nice technical destruction.

Reason #4594 and 4595 why you need to really pay attention to your maintenance, and not sleep during those camouflage and concealment classes.

Guys (and gals) like Dusty and Bill the Rotorhead. (Right click and "save as" the link)

Really. If you cammo'd up, they, being aviators, woulda gone for something easier - Dusty especially, with the speeds and altitudes his ROE put him at. This guy is in violation of Rule #1 in combat. Look unimportant.

Though actually, in the film clip - this looks like an insurance kill. The tank is probably abandoned due to damage/casualties from the bomb/artillery hit visible to the left rear, on the road.

by John on Jan 22, 2005

January 21, 2005

Heh.

MSM Anchors Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, NPR Reporter Cokie Roberts, along with a paratrooper assigned to protect them, were hiking through the desert in Iraq one day when they were captured by Iraqi murder bombers and others of unsavory ilk. They were tied up, led to a village, and brought before the leader. The leader said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting the condemned a last wish; so, before we dismember and kill you, do you have any last requests?"

Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili." The leader nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Peter Jennings said, "I am Canadian, so I'd like to hear the song 'O Canada' one last time." The leader nodded to a terrorist who had studied the Western world and knew the music. He returned with some rag-tag musicians and played the anthem. Jennings sighed and declared he could now die peacefully.

Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job till the end." The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder and Roberts dictated some comments. She then said, "Now I can die happy."

The leader turned and said, "And now, Mr. Paratrooper, what is your final wish?" "Kick me in the a$$," said the grunt. "What?" asked the leader. "Will you mock us in your last hour?" "No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the a$$," insisted the soldier. So the leader shoved him into the open, and kicked him in the a$$. The troop went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a Desert Eagle .40 S&W from inside his DBUs, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he leaped to his ruck, pulled out his M4 carbine, and sprayed the Iraqis with gunfire. In a flash, all the insurgs were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the paratrooper was untying Rather, Jennings, and Roberts, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you in the a$$?"

"What?" replied the exasperated troop, "And have you three a$$holes call me the aggressor?"

Hat tip to Mike L.

Coupla things...

1. This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up at CalTechGirl's place. (Hmmm, just how gay *is* a tiled background of a naked guy with sword (non-expansible) and funny hat...?) Not that the Castle would mind having the funny hat and sword. Shield, either.

2. SangerM points us to Bill Whittle on Michael Moore. I like Whittle's analysis of actors...

3. Beth obliquely discusses Andyism. Andyism is a polite philosophy, if a touch too narcissistic for my taste... But it *is* a tolerant philosophy, as long as you acknowledge him as Supreme High Being, Master of the Universe. Which isn't as bad as it sounds, 'cuz the SHB will most likely be playing video games, so if you don't unplug anything, he's not gonna mess around with you.

At Pool of Thought, Brad is spitting nails, however.

4. Marine Bumper Stickers.

5. Sorta Happy Birthday to the National Guard - in 1903 the Militia Act established the Guard in it's modern form.

6. Caption Contest. If I get 20 or more entries to choose from (no more than 2 from any single person will count, though you can submit more) gets a Castle Mug or Mousepad, what the heck.

January 20, 2005

Gratuitous gun pic.

Since I'm killin' time, waitin' for the time to head to the airport to pick up SWWBO, watchin' CSI on Spike, had too much wine, here's the flip side of the Inglis pic downstream.

The Castle's Hi-Power being shy. Here she is all demure in her stock... out back on the deck.

Y'know, the little bottles of wine (1 liter may be cheap, but it ain't a lot...) but SWWBO's big glasses, well, you can knock down the bottle in only two glasses!

Good thing I've got three hours! Hic!

And for the curious, it's an Aussie wine, Yellow Tail Merlot. $6.25 a bottle at the Class VI. (Military liquor store) Not being much of a wine drinker, I do like the Aussie reds.

by John on Jan 20, 2005 | Pistols

Interesting day in military history...

Sometimes I hate the guys at Strategy Page. Here I am, working on a largish post, and they cover the topic for me. With a brevity I'll never indulge in. The subject? Something about the same people who bitch about $5000 hammers also bitch about the fact that we don't design everything to meet every contingency, imaginable and unimaginable. You know, Congressmen. And people like them.

There's also a little bit in there about how winning wars like the one we are in now is both a long, and frequently bloody, process. It's just a long, hard, slog.

Today in Military History... well, not exclusively military.

Event

1265 Parliament meets for the first time
1778 First American court martial begins, Cambridge, Mass
1914 USN opens a school for aviators at Pensacola, Fla. (there went the property values)
1942 Nazi officials hold notorious Wannsee Conference on "Final Solution"
1955 USS Nautilus launched at Groton, Conn.
1981 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days freed. Oh, and Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, too.

While I'm sure there's more to this than meets the eye...

...stories like this, this, and this do make me assume the RCA Victor Dog pose.

If you've only got time for one, go with the last one.

I'm not a judge, though I've been one before, in UCMJ terms. But I suspect I'd have handled this differently.

But why am I not surprised to find Ramsey Clark in the muddle [sic] of it?

Hat tip to CAPT H.


Unrelated note to save posts... Some of you are being mean and using dirty language dealing with Chadrock over at Simon's place (check the comment stream). Naughty naughty! I thought I'd taught you better manners than that!

Update. I think I won my debate.

by John on Jan 20, 2005 | Defending the Homeland | Politics
» Electric Venom links with: Un.Freaking.Believeable!

America, and its unreasonable fears...

Of course, no one should be allowed to own guns.

Unless, of course, you can afford to hire someone to do it for you.

That's different.

Be interesting to see what, if anything, he has to say about it.


On a different gun-related note, Say Uncle points us to Les Jones' sometimes weekly gun links... which this week focuses on AKs and their clones...

But it also has a link to a funny bit on photoshopped guns over at Something Awful.

Of course, the Castle has some of it's favorite photoshopped firearms.

Behold.

Guns

For

Gun

Grabbers.

(From top to bottom, visually modified (not by me, but Italian artist Guido Poggi) Belgian pistol, French M1892 Ordnance Revolver, Soviet Nagant Revolver, Czech CZ1938)

by John on Jan 20, 2005 | Gun Rights

A little Naval Perspective on Tsunami Relief.

A little whiny, but worthwhile all the same. Gotta be frustrating.


01-20-2005

Guest Column: No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln

By Ed Stanton

It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26|tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I'd like to say that this has been a |rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces

What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln's wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ship's company officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end.

What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland.

My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight.

As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of "Nice china, really makes me feel special," in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.

My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to escort a group of them. It turns out that they had come to Indonesia to "assess the damage" from the Dec. 26 tsunami.

Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the damage was total devastation. When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N.. was calling the United States "stingy" with our relief donations.

As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these "relief workers" from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default.

When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, "We aren't paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to."

In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around| |reporters and various low-level "VIPs," which further wastes valuable helolift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV.. I doubt if we'll get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., one day. Everyone wants in on the action.

As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they don't want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.

To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.

What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it.

An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of very demanding skills and they are highly perishable. We train hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other missions â€" not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at sea.

Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship. Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get our pilots off the deck.

In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s. There were no relief workers on that one.

I"m all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was supposed to be home on Feb.3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here. American taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out of it. As a result, we will come home in a lower state of readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while supporting the tsunami relief effort.

I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my doubts.

Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group.

Hat tip, Rich B.

January 19, 2005

Assault Rifle Ammunition

JMH sends along this link to an interesting article on 6.5 Grendel.com comparing and contrasting the developmental history and choices in choosing/designing ammunition for the assault rifle genus.

Perhaps of equal interest to me (and any other ammo collectors out there) is the homepage of the author of the article, Anthony Williams - CANNON, MACHINE GUNS AND AMMUNITION... looks like my kinda guy!

Hey Everybody!

Go visit Simon. He's not impressed with our quality of work here at the Castle.

However, someone who managed to get banned by the Democratic Underground can't be all bad.

So, go visit Simon and give him a little traffic boost. However, if you are surfing from work, ya might wanna watch yer six... Simon is a bit of a pottymouth. While his rants aren't entirely pointless or off-base given his perspective, he does allow invective to substitute for substantive comment from time to time.

But heck, he gave us two trackbacks - we owe him a traffic bump.

Gratuitous Gun Pic

Since I'm pimping Canadian ordnance today - let's go with a little eye-candy.

The Castle's Inglis Hi-Power. A Chinese-contract pistol that never made it to China, having been diverted for use by the Canadian Army. Complete with the Chinese stock-holster, and sporting custom wood grips. On display in the case, he sports his proper black plastic grips.

Hi-res here.

The Answer to the Question.

What was the question? Go read here!

The answer is 11. There were a few of you who answered with that number, but as I observed earlier, we'll have to wait for Bill to get back from his short trip this week to give us the definitive winner.

I got 10 - but, I didn't get the right 10 (and I dithered a lot over whether or not the damage in the upper left corner of the door was a hit or just a ding. I also counted at least one rivet, which, based on the numbers some of you put in, you did too. I also allowed for about four possibles - one of which *was* a hit, the other were, as I suspected, rivets.

Anyway - here's the annotated picture with the answer. This picture was taken not long after landing from the mission that provided the punctures - and Bill was flying this aircraft - in the left seat, the side with all the holes.

Hi-res here.

This annoys me, for some reason.

Even though I spent my adult life in the mode of defending the homeland - the notion of having to do so here is, well, maddening. I really prefer doing it elsewhere, at the source of the problem. Of course, there are some (of the stripe now sporting blue wristbands and the like - the Democratic Underground Wing of the left) who would suggest we are at the source of the problem, we just have the weapons pointed in the wrong direction.

The military has deployed anti-aircraft missiles within range of the Capitol as part of security enhancements for tomorrow's presidential inauguration.
Full story here.

Of course, this is irrational - here at Fort Leavenworth, up through the late 60's, we had a battalion of Nike Hercules missiles. A battery at the Fort, a battery north of Kansas City near Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, and another one south of Kansas City at Lone Jack, providing coverage for Lake City, Allied Signal (where nuclear bomb triggers were made), the line of communications (rail, road, river and telecoms) infrastructure, as well as Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, the Marine Corps Finance Center, and the Federal Reserve Bank, enough high-payoff targets to make the place worth hitting. But, still.. pictures like this irk me.

While in contrast, I have no problems with this one - the Statue of Liberty. I like the visual - Liberty stands on an old harbor defense fort - a visual representation of the contention of many old-school political theorists about Liberty - it rests on a solid defense of the principles against those who would be tyrants, for "good" (see Nanny State) reasons or bad.

Toys for the Castle Garage.

CAPT H, ever a shill for Canadian defence (sic) industries, opines that rather than Chinese amphibious jeeps of unknown safety and quality, or rather-hard-to-get-parts-for obsolete WWII German jeeps and tanks - I should go for a nice, North American made, Grizzly.

To which I respond, if I was gonna go Canadian, rather than the minivan he proposes, I'd go with the tricked out SUV, complete with back-up camera (or look into the next county camera) and all the other bells and whistles, the Coyote.

Either way, a new garage would be required.

January 18, 2005

Seeing As How John's Complaining About His Weight...

Tim Blair has a solution...

Instapilot

A White House Response

Got this from my mother-in-law...

Some liberal wrote a letter to the White House complaining about the treatment of a captive taken during the War in Afghanistan.

Here’s how they should have considered responding…

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20016

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of theTaliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Our administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. It will likely be necessary for you to hire some assistant caretakers. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.

Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome these character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. He will bite you, given the chance. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We suggest you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group.

He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him. Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him, and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will undoubtedly recommend as appropriate attire. I'm sure your wife and daughters will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka over time. Just remind them that it is all part of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs" - wasn't that how you put it?

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you, who know so much, keep us informed of the proper way to do our job. You take good care of Ahmed - and remember...we'll be watching. Good luck!

Cordially,
Andrew Card
Chief of Staff


Update: Vodkalanche! Hey, and welcome! Feel free to poke around a bit before you head back to the Weblog of Tomorrow! If you aren't enamored of things military, you might at least like this bit of fractured history, or this bit of police humor.

by Dusty on Jan 18, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Blog o'RAM links with: The Way It Oughta Be
» Sworn Enemy links with: A White House Response
» VodkaPundit links with: All's Fair
» Simon and the Lefties links with: More conservative story crap
» EagleSpeak links with: Not happy with the way we do it? Here, try it your
» EagleSpeak links with: Not happy with the way we do it? Here, try it your

I do solemnly swear to defend and uphold...

...and a Regular commission is technically for life, so yes, I've done this (yes, Beth - I did it right after 9/11). However due to my disabilities and the fact that artillerymen and sims geeks are not in high demand, I have *zero* expectation of getting a call - but I agree with the spokesman in this piece- it's not scraping the bottom of the barrel - it's leveraging experience and training you already paid for.

And it ain't the great deal you might think. If you retired 5 years ago, and are recalled, after you re-retire, your retired pay is recalculated for years of service (so you do gain the 2.5% bump per year) but it is calculated based against your last pre-retirement pay scale. Meaning it's not calculated against the pay scale you were being paid against when you were serving during the recall.

In my case, there would be close to a $35K hit in the annual income. The active duty pay against what I make now for working is just about a wash, but I'd lose the pension and disability payment. Which means to not take a serious hit I'd *have* to get deployed overseas, to get the combat zone exclusion and the hostile fire pay, etc, which would offset (not eliminate but offset) a chunk of the pay cut.

But I'd do it in a heartbeat - not that they are going to ask fat, disabled me. I don't think they'll let me get away with wearing the PT uniform all the time, which is all I fit in at the moment.

From USA Today:


USA Today
January 13, 2005
Pg. 5

Program Permits Army Retirees To Re-Enter Active Duty

By Gregg Zoroya, USA Today

WASHINGTON - The Army, stretched thin by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, is dipping into one of its last resources for wartime duty: retirees on a military pension.

The Army is expanding a little-known program to bring back retired officers and enlisted soldiers who expressed a willingness to join again, particularly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At least 320 retirees signed up last year under this program. Probably more than 500 will go back on active duty this year, says Lt. Col. Karla Brischke, a personnel manager. They range in age from mid-40s to late 60s and possibly older, and each has at least 20 years of military service.

"It doesn't mean that we're scraping the bottom of the barrel," says Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for the Army personnel department. "It means that we're doing a prudent thing with American resources."

After 9/11, about 15,000 retired soldiers contacted the Army to offer their services. From that group, the Army last year assembled a list of 4,500 who completed the application process.

In a separate program, Hilferty says, the Army compiled a list of 3,000 retired soldiers and began asking whether they would volunteer to be recruiters or civil affairs officers. The Army has found 616 retirees willing to fill 442 jobs as civil affairs officers in and around Iraq. They would help rebuild schools, hospitals and roads. At least 10 agreed to rejoin as recruiters.

The Marines have a similar program and have rehired 66, 1st Lt. Darlan Harris says.

Activating retired soldiers is the latest step by the Army to bolster troop levels. Other efforts include extending overseas tours from 12 to 15 months, tripling bonuses for new enlistees and National Guard members who re-enlist, and mobilizing about 4,000 soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve. The IRR is an infrequently used pool of former troops who still have contractual obligations to the military.

"I'm no spring chicken," says James Barren, 54, of Detroit, who is rejoining the Army to train Iraqi police. "I think training is something that I can have some impact on. If I can do something to save one person's life, that's my motivation."

The Army told the retired Detroit policeman last month that his skills are valuable now in Iraq. "If they have that much confidence in me, I thought I would give it a shot," Barren says. He could be in Iraq as early as February.

"I think it's just another signal that the Army is stretched very, very thin, if not overextended," says Bob Scales, a retired Army major general and former commandant of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. "It's amazing how creative everybody has been lately in trying to sort of patch this Army of ours together."

The 4,500 retirees fall into three categories. The most valuable to the Army are 1,000 healthy retirees who have been out of service less than five years. A second group of 2,000 are in good health, out of the military no more than 10 years and 60 or younger. The third category of 1,500 retirees are older than 60 or have disabilities.

Retired soldiers who rejoin would serve up to a year, although they could agree to more or volunteer for another assignment.

"Here I am, in the golden years of my life at 70, still hoping that I can help somehow," says Gerald Garcia of Spokane, Wash., a retired chief warrant officer in the National Guard. "I want to be part of it, before it's too late for me."

Garcia - 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, about the same as when he was a soldier - volunteered last year and is on the Army's list but hasn't been called up. "I still do my 25 push-ups every night. I do a lot of walking and get a lot of exercise," he says. "Hopefully, I can get involved."

Hat tip to DJ via ML.

Update: AFSister asks, in her comment:

Do you think they're relying to heavily on the Reserves to fill empty spots? I heard on the radio this morning that two Louisiana Congressmen are all up in arms about the over-use of Reserves. It's a common thought, along with criticism of stop-loss programs.
Just wondering what you all thought about that...


My response? Off the top of my head:

We're partially in a guns 'n butter issue against the analyses that say by the time we get an increase in active duty endstrength recruited, trained, and integrated, the requirement will be drawing down - and we'll end up having to fire people and spent money that would essentially be wasted... though they could re-infuse the Reserve, I suppose.

Plus, we're caught on the horns of the dilemma of Transformation - which was supposed to increase combat power while at the same time decreasing manpower requirements.

But Transformation as then-envisioned and as currently being implemented, is all about warfighting, and not about occupation while you try to re-establish a functioning government and civil society. In other words, it really didn't go far enough - but in defense of the thinkers, it takes time to work that stuff out (I make a living helping do it) and the whole process was overtaken by events. Unlike building the military that did Desert Storm, we didn't have almost 18 years (72-90) virtually unmolested to work it out - the 90's were a hell of a busy time for the services.

That's probably the huge strategic miscalculation of OIF - and they are trying to hold it together long enough with what we have that we can back away from it without a huge force increase. Which we may yet be able to do - which will take some of the strain off of the Reserve Component. But Rumsfeld was still right to say "You go with the Army you have." And, as important as this war is, it doesn't have the looming imminent threat present in WWII, so it shouldnl't, and can't, be prosecuted with that level of intensity, either. We have to re-design and rethink ourselves in light of an unanticipated (by either Democrat or Republican administrations) security environment.

But if we can't, then yes, we're going to start breaking the RC, as LTG Helmly said.

Regardless - through the next iteration of development of the National Security Strategy and the National Military Strategy that supports it - if we are going to find ourselves in the 'breaking nations and rebuilding them' business, we have to really re-think the military approach to the problem... which means a lot more people organized differently (Thomas Barnett's [The Pentagon's New Map] suggestion as an example of one approach) if we're going to do it alone, or a lot more allies... all of whom will then expect (rightfully) a yes/no vote on something we consider a vital piece of national security.

No easy choices, and the future is a murky thing to peer into, as in Patton's 'Through a glass, darkly" (okay, he was talking about the past, but I wanted to work this in here!).

Choices that seem obvious to the current crop of Armchair Generals and Strategists are only clear in hindsight, hard as it is to convince people of that when they have other agendas to advance.

Whadda all y'all think?

To protect and to serve... and to lip off, now and then!

Update: Welcome to all the Cops and others from the SIG Forum! Check around - ya might like the Gun Pr0n and firearms related archives over there on the left. Or click that Castle or the picture of the Maxim machine gun for easy navigation. Which, I just noticed, depending on how you came in, to possibly scroll up.

Anudder update: Heck, why should the SIG'er's have all the fun? They're adding to the funny stories... go read 'em!

From an email today:

Police Quotes

The following were taken off of actual police car videos around the country.

"Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch out after you wear them awhile."

"Take your hands off the car, and I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."

"If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."

"Can you run faster than 1,200 feet per second? In case you didn't know, that is the average speed of a 9mm bullet fired from my gun."

"So you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"

"Yes, Sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh .. did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"

"Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."

"The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"

"Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy, and step in monkey sh*t."

"Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."

"In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC."

"Just how big were those two beers?"

"No sir we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want."

"I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."

and the best one . . . . .

"You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't. Sign here."

Hat tip, Rich B.

January 17, 2005

A little fractured history...

I can't wait to see what Allen has to say...

Today's History lesson is on evolution of Conservatives & Liberals.

Subject: Evolution of Conservatives & Liberals.

Division of the human family into 2 distinct political groups began some12,000 years ago. Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains in the summer & would go to the beach & live on fish & lobster in winter.

The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer & the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization & together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals & Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered it required grain & that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking & killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as "the Conservative movement." Other men who were weaker & less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's & doing the sewing, fetching & hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became
known as 'girleymen.' Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy & group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat & beer that conservatives provided. Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, & French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood & group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat & still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, soldiers, athletes & generally anyone who works productively outside government. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers & decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tame & created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history.

Hat tip to Mr. Green Jeans!

by John on Jan 17, 2005 | Historical Stuff | I think it's funny! | Politics
» Pass The Ammo links with: Evolution of Conservatives & Liberals.
» Thoughts of a Medic links with: The Divergence of Conservatives and Liberals
» Simon and the Lefties links with: More conservative story crap

Man, who needs to blog, when your commenters do it for you?

SangerM is honing his rhetoriblogular* skills... and, once again, they shouldn't be hiding in the comments. Of this post, if you'd like the context. Jack, I'll offer equal access for a response, should you wish.

"Trends are important, as are appearances.."

Yes, they are, but we are at war, and some folks will avoid coming here until the war is ended, and the enemy's propaganda decreases, and there is less chance the new arrivals will actually be thought of as Americans (=targets).

Even so, even if there is only one more person who wants in than wants out, then we are on the up side, which is so not true of most other countries. For example, who really wants to emigrate to China, or Japan, or Europe these days. I've lived in Europe for years at a time, and frankly, I wouldn't trade any backwater podunk town in this country for any place in continental Europe for more than a few months. Why? Because Europe is owned and run by Europeans, who tend to think that their little countries are the equal of ours in every way just because theirs have been around for a thousand years more. As if.

The problem with that line of thinking is that it assumes the people in Europe today are the recipients, beneficiaries, and proud owners of the accumulated wisdom from thousands of years--that, as a whole, they are smarter, wiser, and more able to see the right of things than we are because they have been there before. In fact, the folks who actually live in Europe now are no wiser because of their long histories than are the people in this country, because most places in Europe have been razed several times within the past thousand years, and a good number of the people there have been slaughtered. And by who? Well other Europeans, mostly

While America certainly did its share of sending Europeans to the grave, I'd guess more Europeans have been slaughtered, maimed, tortured, molested, raped, swindled, and abused by Europeans than by all the Americans who've ever been there. We all know the history. Every time some country got a little ahead of the others and decided it wanted a bigger vineyard, or a port, or a few acres, it just tried to take it from the neighbors. What's so great about that kind of history? And what did they learn from that 1900 years of modern history. Bigger and better ways to kill one another, but little else that stuck.

Where was the wisdom that should have prevented WWI and WWII? Where
was the vaunted wisdom that should have tossed Chamberlain in the Thames?
Or that couldn't see into the future past the end of their collective noses to know that the Treaty of Versailles would lead inexorably to WWII. As we all know, if it weren't for this country--poor, sorry, evil, imperialistic, stupid America--the French would be speaking German instead of working so hard to pretend English doesn't exist and that anti-headscarve laws aren't discriminatory.

As I said, I lived there, and I traveled, I got to know a lot of people there. What I found was that the only thing Europe as a whole is really good at is hate and recrimination. Individually, Europeans are wonderful, friendly people (well, except for the French who have a reputation to uphold, and the Flemish who all treated me and my wife like crap), but when you scratch the surface, as I did with many of my friends, you will find most of them full of hatred for all the same peoples their parents hated, plus some new ones. And they don't really know as much about this country as they think they do. Really, they don't.

And the intensity of the hatred Europeans feel toward one another transcends anything I've encountered in this country. Yes, we have old wounds that are hardly healed, but we don't have the hard-shell coating on the hatred that can only come with centuries of misdeeds and marauding, with layer upon layer of emotional, financial, and physical destruction.

And one cannot even say the hatred over there is so old that they don't know why they hate one another. That would be pure rubbish. A good many people in Europe today can remember quite vividly and quite well why they hate who they hate. WWII wasn't that long ago yet and every year there is another Beslan or a bridge at Most. The wounds over there never get to heal.

Anyway, again, I agree that trends are important, but one has to consider that we are talking about people and countries that haven't been able to put or keep their own houses in order for more than a few years out of the last 11 decades without our help. If people don't want to come here, it's because they are choosing to believe all the bad they hear, not because we have changed for the worse or because this country is worse than it was. I daresay the opposite is quite true and that in spite of the endless self-flagellation by Europhile apologists, this is a far better country for people to live in than it has ever been.

And I'm not interested in any of that crap about the Patriot Act, the restrictions of liberties, and all that nonsense. 1) We are at war with an implacable enemy who means to win by any means possible, and who is getting plenty of outright help from both our mainstream media and the confused leftist mass. 2) The enemy-within ALCU and other organizations of its kind are still going full tilt persecuting such evils as the Boy Scouts and prayer in school, but avoiding important issues like repression of free-speech on college campuses. 3) Many of the universities in this country are slowly turning diversity-speak into
conformance-fascism. And 4), anti-white male gender bias has become so great that frat houses and other male-only organizations have been forced to let women in, but woman are still allowed to have woman-only organizations, and so are people of color.

As far as I am concerned, the notion that this country might be a worse place for people in general or minorities or women to live today than it was when I was a child is absurd. Anyone who believes it just doesn't remember or know the past. And as for Europe, well, the Balkans are just about where they were in 1909, except now we're there keeping folks from killing each other.

Us good ole' sorry Americans.

My ass.

-SangerM

*New word. If it ever makes it into the OED - researchers, it appeared here first!

I'm Not Dead...

...just a tad busy.

Two thoughts that illustrate why I'm in defilade:

God bless people who take care of those with dementia. They go to the same heaven burn ward nurses go.

The 737-200 WILL do an aileron roll...heh.

Back as soon as I can...

Cheers to all.

January 16, 2005

Sir, No issues.

As I have mentioned before, in addition to all the other good work that Rotary does (such as being the mainspring in the Polio Eradication campaign), and of course, tsunami relief. Rotary International, our parent organization, does not directly contribute to on-going efforts in Iraq. Rotary is a world-wide organization, with clubs all over - many in nations where people don't necessarily support the US approach. However, unlike trade unions and student activity fees in the US, Rotary International chooses to in effect for clubs to fund actions in Iraq that they do not support with funds from the Rotary Foundation. However, Rotary does not forbid local clubs from acting, and acting as members of Rotary. My local club supports some Civil Affairs activities of the Stryker Brigade units. Specifically, we ship school supplies to the Brigade to distribute to schools in Mosul.

You'd think that would be a simple thing, yes? From our end, it is. We've raised thousands of dollars to pay for shipping (average cost per shipment is $1K in postage) as well as to buy supplies and we also receive much in the way of in-kind donations. All we have to do is wander around the district, make our pitch, cash checks, pack boxes, and go home to a beer.

At the other end, it's a little different.

Sir,

Thanks so much for the school supplies. I am still trying to send you those pictures. We were on our way to deliver the first batch of school supplies and we got ambushed, were in a two hour firefight. Things have heated up a little but it is not as bad as the media makes it. We are still fighting the good fight and killing the enemy when he decides to fight (we also seek him out occasionally).

We would love to support you on the Christmas thing. Here is my CSM's address and our S1 rep.

{snipped as un-needed}

Hope this helps, let me know when they are inbound so I can keep a heads up, we have had a mail lag! Thanks again for your support and your prayers, continue to pray that God will grant us the strength to slay our enemies!

See y'all on the high ground!

CPT Matt Y

3-211IN BN FSO
GIMLETS!

But they still soldier on. And continue to do so, handing off from one soldier to another, to keep the project going.

Sir, No issues, I have already made the coordination. It looks like I will be sticking with this unit a little longer, so there is a chance I might be here when they get here anyway. I am sure you know how things change around here. If I am gone by the time they get here then CSM W and CPT H know what to do. Thank you very much for the supplies. We are winning hearts and minds and killing the enemy. Good stuff. Take care.

CPT Y

by John on Jan 16, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: linky love

Something for our Air Force Fans.

Hat tip to Rich B for sending this along.

Dusty has been in cranial defilade of late. He's got challenges at home with ill parent. He has challenges at work because I know who he works for... and he's still pursuing his dream of transitioning from the desk he flies now back into a cockpit - which requires paying some currently serving IP for in-cockpit instruction... not to mention the cost of getting into a simulator with him. I can't imagine what it might cost to get into an actual cockpit.

So, he's not been here much of late. This is one he'd of posted if he had it, so I'll sub for him!


(*Picture credit in extended post)

Subject: I LOVE THIS JOB

From one of the 'True Blues' in the land of sand and sunshine. This is a great story, particularly if you like mixed metaphors. The guy ought to write for a living.

===========================================================
There I was at six thousand feet over central Iraq, two hundred eighty knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here nor there. The night is moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a Steven King novel. But it's 2004, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown out by the fighter boys.

Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd? At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight.

These NVGs are the cat's ass. But I've digressed. The preferred method of approach tonight is the random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air-missiles and small arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my pink ass on that theory but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it. We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop down to one thousand feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred eighty knots. Now the fun starts. It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herk to six hundred feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree left bank, turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading. As soon as we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two hundred seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some aeronautical genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy."

Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to configure the pig for landing."Flaps Fifty!, Landing Gear Down!, Before Landing Checklist!" I look over at the copilot and he's shaking like a cat shitting on a sheet of ice. Looking further back at the navigator, and even through the NVGs, I can clearly see the wet spot spreading around his crotch. Finally, I glance at my steely-eyed flight engineer. His eyebrows rise in unison as a grin forms on his face. I can tell he's thinking the same thing I am.... "Where do we find such fine young men?"

"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aimpoint and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on NVGs, it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad air. The huge, one hundred thirty thousand pound, lumbering whisper pig comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet. Let's see a Viper do that! We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam's home. Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F, 9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm not in the Army. Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess?" Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your ass. Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there too. But now is not the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to get out of this shit-hole.

"Hey copilot, clean yourself up! And how's 'bout the 'Before Starting Engines Checklist?"

"God, I love this job!"

Word.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

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."

Okay. Now, how about the rest?

The wheels of justice grind somewhat slowly, but they do grind.

This is good.

However.

While not wishing to second-guess the chain-of-command, I would still like to see the evidence of destroyed careers and disrupted lives extending *UP* from former Specialist Graner.

It *may* be that Graner is the highest-ranking individual involved against whom sufficient evidence can be gathered to proceed with a criminal prosecution.

However.

The chain of command is professionally culpable. I don't care how nice Brigadier General Karpinski may be. I don't care how otherwise competent she and her underlings were.

It was on her watch - and she didn't need help from her superiors to deal with it.

Nor did most of the field grade leadership below her.

There may be other actions in the works, or actions that, being undertaken in the realm of 'personnel actions' are not releasable to the public. But yes, I think there should be a collection of NCO and commissioned scalps somewhere.

Anybody know where they are stored?