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June 18, 2005

Saturday Olio

First up - SWWBO's The Carnival of the Recipes is up, hosted by Michele of Meanderings!

MCart buried this in the comments of the party thread - but it's too good for this former Dungeon Master to not put on the front page. This *is* the Castle, after all!

Gotta admit - the flight sim geek in me is drawn to this car...

Castle Adjutant Barb is turning into quite the journo!

Kat, the Kastle Philosopher is reading other people's mail again...

Punctilious has a Raven 42 roundup.

Cassie is *on a roll* as ever. She really should start shopping that stuff to magazines.

Over at Alan's - Beware the Luxembourger!

Snarkatron approaches the same topic Cassie does... from a different angle.

AFSis jumps in on the subject of Boobs. For that matter, so does ALa. There. That should send some traffic their way. Yes, guys, breasts. No tricks. heh. That cleared the room fast. So, ladies, now that the gents are gone, let's continue, eh?

Castle Contrarian Jack has been taking advantage of his work in France to do some traveling. This time - Prague.

SGT B is having a garage sale. Apparently at the Firebase, the nuts don't fall far from the tree...

Ry sent along this *very* interesting article for you guys and gals who have to carry rifles - and especially ones who wonder just how the heck we're gonna get rid of all the cables we're fiddling with now regarding digitizing weapons. This is one approach.

Some historical notes from the day:

1945 Lt Gen Simon B Buckner, Commander, Tenth Army, KIA, Okinawa. There have been only *two* Lieutenant Generals of US Forces killed in combat. Can anyone name the other one? If no one gets it - I'll provide the answer later. And how many among you knew that over half the combat troops at Okinawa were Army, and that an Army General commanded the ground forces?

1538 Treaty of Nice: "Peace" between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V & Francis I of France. Not this one... Forget proper French pronunciation - The Treaty of Nice for ending a war tickles me like the Diet of Worms does for a governing body.
1812 War of 1812: US declares war against Britain. Nyah nyah! You lost! We bored you to death.
1815 Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon defeated by Wellington & Blucher. The Castle collection includes shell fragments recovered from the area of La Haye Sainte.
1940 Winston Churchill says "this was their finest hour" Wotta man, was Winnie!


Rules of War, Part II.

H/t: Jim C.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The Rules of War--Col. Brett Wyrick USAF 15 June 2005

MILINET: The Rules of War

By Col. Brett Wyrick USAF

- The first rule of war is that young men and women die. The second rule of war is that surgeons cannot change the first rule.

We had already done around a dozen surgical cases in the morning and the early afternoon. The entire medical staff had a professional meeting to discuss the business of the hospital and the care and treatment of burns.

It is not boastful or arrogant when I tell you that some of the best surgeons in the world were present - I have been to many institutions, and I have been all around the world, and at this point in time, with this level of experience, the best in the world are assembled here at Balad.

LTC Dave S., the Trauma Czar, and a real American hero is present. He has saved more people out here than anyone can imagine. The cast of characters includes two Air Force Academy graduates, Col (s) Joe W. and Maj. Max L. When you watch ER on television, the guys on the show are trying to be like Max - cool, methodical and professional. Max never misses anything on a trauma case because he sees everything on a patient and notes it the same way the great NFL running backs see the entire playing field when they are carrying the ball.

Joe is an ENT surgeon who is tenacious, bright, and technically correct every single time - I mean every single time. The guy has a lower tolerance for variance than NASA. LTC (s) Chris C. was the Surgeon of the Day (SOD), and I was the back-up SOD. Everyone else was there and available - as I said the best in the world.

As the meeting was breaking up, the call came in.

Read the whole thing here.


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June 17, 2005

Heh.

Just, heh.


Those who know, know.

Stuff of interest...

1745 American colonials capture Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, from the French. Why is this significant? 1. It's the first time we Southrons (from a Canadian perspective) successfully invaded what is now Canada, and, (grump) the only times we've ever been truly successful is under Brit leadership engaging in French-bashing. 2. It set the stage for 1755, which marks the start of Cajun Cooking in what would become the US. The Brits expelled the Acadians (french colonists) from Port Royal... resettling them, among other places, in what is now Louisiana... "Cajun" is derived from Acadian (say it fast and drunk... ducking thrown crawdad heads).
1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. Okay, really Breed's Hill, apparently map-reading was problematic... Brit Regulars showed why they are so formidable... and found out that the Colonials could be tough, too. As General Howe observed, "A dear-bought victory, another such would have ruined us." Along with Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill would give the fledgling US Army a mythos to build on - much as Ric Locke refers to regarding the Fight of Raven 42.
1861 Battle of Boonville, MI - Colonel Phil Sheridan earns his Brigadier's star.
1870 USS Mohican takes and destroys the Mexican pirate ship Forward. Mexican piracy at this time is news to me!
1876 Where the Girl Saved Her Brother - the Battle of the Rosebud: Crazy Horse fights Gen Grook's column to a draw. The stage is set for Custer's last ride.

Ry sends along a link to this: Global Guerillas.

However, as tough as the the 4GW warrior is, it fails to account for the extreme resilience and innovation we see today in global terrorism and guerrilla warfare. We are also fighting on many more levels that merely the moral one. This implies that something has been left out of this analysis. My conclusion is that it fails to appreciate how globalization has layered new skill sets on ancient mindsets. Warriors, in our current context, are not merely lazy and monosyllabic primitives as Peters implies. They are wired, educated, and globally mobile. They build complex supply chains, benefit from global money flows, and they invest shrewdly. In a nutshell, they are modern.

Interesting premise, and site. I'll be forwarding it to buddies who like myself have to do scenario development - might be useful stuff here to help define the Current Operating Environment in wargaming. Read the whole post here.

To close, how about some Cannon Pr0n?

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The Armory doesn't have that particular mortar, we do have an inert round of that type...

Update: Damn her! Damn the Half-Vast Editorial Staff to the uttermost depths of a meaningless existence... something along the lines of Forum Moderator at DU!~

First - Cheeky Wench found the commercial I did when I played football! Hey! It was college, that was illegal! I wore a fake beard and wig so no one would recognize me... but, but, I needed the beer money for The Old Heidelberg after ROTC drill on Thursdays, man, it was an emergency!

Secondly - not enough that Cassie comes up with time wasters... no, that's not enough - now she has to have a weekly recurring one! Feh! Denizens are forbidden to participate. I may have to revoke her denizen status!

And, since CAPT H feels violated... Commonwealth Cannon Pr0n. A 5.5 inch gun at Larkhill, the Brit artillery school.

by John on Jun 17, 2005 | Artillery | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Historical Stuff
» Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated links with: Where we started…
» Quotulatiousness links with: Argghhh's History Post for Today
» MatthewMaynard.net links with: Fun Army Media

June 16, 2005

Echo Chambers...

The meme around the blogs yesterday was "Echo Chamber." See here and our own pet lefty Alan here for examples.

While the core denizens and periodic commenters at the Castle apparently share a fairly common core of beliefs - there is plenty of room for energetic disagreement on the margins.

The Terri Schiavo case was, I think, the most glaring of these fissures in the group. I was on the side of Terri's parents with several others. Several among us were on the side of Michael Schiavo. Most of you just skimmed past or watched from the bleachers.

My comment regarding Michelle Malkin's post on the autopsy was a poorly executed attempt at getting one of us out of his corner and back into the light (a decision he intimates I will regret later today...) But the one who came out of the shadows was not the one I was after, and he came out swinging, hard. I inadvertently stepped on Neffi's last nerve on the subject. So here, publicly, I'll apologize for that. The old "If I knew then what I know now defense" is all I have on offer, and it isn't sufficient. I'm sorry, Neffi.

Feh, what's life if it ain't about passion?

Losses like that can crush the faith and soul of anyone.

And make you angry when you hear people talk about shit that you *know* about. Especially when it's slightly flip, like I did. Like my lack of humor regarding John Kerry and his departure from Vietnam.

I still hold to my position as stated in earlier stuff - but I'll acknowledge that in this instance, Michael Schiavo was right.

Too bad he didn't have it in writing, or with at least another witness - and the parents were willing to take over the care and costs, that is where I was coming from.

I would have been on the other side had there been anything other than hearsay - as far as I knew at the time. My mother has a living will - she has it because she knows my father will be simply unable to pull the plug. So I'll do it, or my sister.

For my father - well, based on what I know about what my father feels, I might end up fighting my mother about pulling the plug - as in resisting the pull. I don't know, because it all comes down to the actual specifics of the case. I know where SWWBO stands on the issue, and will act accordingly - but the next time we update the wills - I'll get it in writing, just in case there are questions. I'll let her tell if she wishes. Not my place in this space (Hey, Mom wants everyone to know - in case you were wondering how I could square that circle).

But like I said in my comment in the post below, deciding to keep someone alive is a reversible decision, if the facts change, or my understanding of them changes. The other decision is not reversible, so I'm willing to have some tug-of-war over it.

Obviously, Jack and Sanger's mileage varies - but from what Neffi said in his note about his situation- we'd probably both have reached the same conclusion he did... which was to pull the plug on his son. So, here I am, again sitting in the mushy middle, reviled as having no principles at all by the Rush Limbaughs and Markos Zunigas of the world.

Well, tough noogies. Frankly, this is where most of us sit, on average. I generally can't abide hanging around with people who exist at either extreme.

And, if nothing else - the issue with Terri Schiavo is resolved, and the law on the underlying matter more settled. And from what the autopsy report says... Terri was probably unaware of anything, a blessing.

But sometimes you have to take a stand. Terri's parents did, Michael did. And so the issue is more defined, and more certain. I don't mind that. What I didn't like was letting it stay so murky and gray, because sometimes the great mushy middle isn't a good place to be, and too much can be done behind the curtains. As always, the Moonbats ruled both extremes and were really annoying. I don't recall having any Moonbats visit - though some sites linked that were infested with moonbats of both stripes (though the owners of the linking sites weren't).

Stay away, Moonbats. You aren't welcome here. But persons of good mind and manners are - even if they disagree.

And since I pay for this and have the ultimate editing privileges, that's the way it is. I'm the Bouncer of Argghhh!

And no - that doesn't mean Neffi was bounced - I pulled his comment at *his* request, and he's free to post it back verbatim, if he wants.

Looking around towards the end of the day...

I was pleased to see we made Blackfive's milblog list - and heartily endorse it!

Rusty, over at My Pet Jawa takes the Daily Kos to the woodshed for bad math (in terms of moral equivalence). Warning - Rusty pulls no punches and has some rough stuff in terms of pictures and descriptions. But *this* is what Raven 42 was fighting against...

I think I'll let Michelle Malkin be my spokesperson on Terri Schiavo's autopsy results. Nah, I won't. I put it in the comments, instead.

Liveblogging of a clandestine meeting of righty's in the Seattle Area! Peek into the heart of the beast...

For those of you who know the Admiral of the Moat Fleet - this will come as no suprise... his celebration of the 25th Anniversary of PacMan...


Raven 42.

Attention to Orders!

Announcement is made of the following awards, to the warriors of Raven 42. Another less-military-jargonated, perhaps more readable version of the story of Raven 42 can be found here, by W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

LTG Vines, Commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, presented RAVEN 42 the following list of awards today for their heroic actions on 20 March 2005 in Salman Pak, Iraq.


SPC Ashley Pullen is absent from the photo due to sickness. The other missing three, SGT Rivera, SPC Haynes, and PFC Mack, are recovering in Kentucky as noted under their awards.

Ric Locke made what I think is an excellent observation - so much so that I decided to pull it up out of the comments and put it here.

I see this as a big, big thing for the future Army.

One of the things that struck me as a Navy enlisted man years ago, and has impressed me since as an interested observer, is the degree to which myths and stories affect the confidence of soldiers and their unit cohesion. Medals are, in part, awarded in recognition of superior behavior because they add to those stories -- knowing of someone "just like me" who accomplished something great gives me confidence that I can do the same if the chips fall.

There haven't been any such mythic stories for women. That's mostly because there haven't been many women in combat situations, but it causes a problem. If there are no myths for women to tell one another and live by, many will just fall back on the welfare aspects of military service, and that's not helpful to anyone. At first, the story of Pvt. Jessica Lynch seemed as if it could be such a myth, and the Army tried to support it, but the underlying facts were weak enough for the press and other hostile actors to reduce the myth to a dirty joke. Not helpful.

Now we have not one, but two women who not only done good, they done real good. Other women can be inspired by their stories, which are real and confirmed. The result will be an increase in morale and consequent decrease in disciplinary problems with women soldiers. The problems won't go away -- Hell, they haven't gone away with men -- but having this turn into a "now this is no shit" story will help a lot.

And, with no disprespect to Jessica Lynch - it is a *much* better mythos! Lemme put it this way - compared to this group of troops, I'm a FOBbit. A REMF. My father, with a Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, 7 Purple Hearts... is a *peer* when it comes to the Brotherhood. That is what I mean by a *much* better mythos.

As Bad Cat Robot adds:

The mythos-change isn't just for women. Those men of Raven 42 now know in their hearts and souls the women they serve with are worthy of the uniform they wear in every respect. That those women will fight for and with them just like their male counterparts. Not just defensively -- but taking the fight to the enemy!

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a *fight*. All junior soldiers and leaders. *That* is a quality that other Armies envy. And, if you think there is medal-inflation going on here... read the link to the AAR, above. Silver Stars (or Bronze Stars w/V (for Valor) or Army Commendation Medals w/V) don't come cheap to anyone... and especially junior soldiers. For you normal, non-military types... the Order of Precedence for valor medals is:

1. Medal of Honor
2. Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross
3. Silver Star/Distinguished Flying Cross
4. Bronze Star (with V device)
5. Meritorious Service Medal (with V - rare)
6. Army Commendation Medal (with V - also rare)

A medal with a V device takes precedence over one without. #1 and #3 are always valor awards. The rest can be awarded for various levels of exceptional performance.

The medal with the red stripe in the middle of the ribbon is the Silver Star.
The medal with the blue stripe in the middle is the Bronze Star
The medal with the green ribbon is the Army Commendation Medal.
The medal with the bust of Washington is the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart, if you haven't run into that before, is awarded for wounds received in combat.

The jihadi's don't like the Raven symbol.

That is all.

Dismissed!

by John on Jun 16, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military | Something for the Soul
» The Jawa Report links with: Heroes
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: V for Valor, not Valedictorian
» Dean's World links with: Ten Kentuckians Vs. 50 Terrorists: Not a Fair Fight
» Assumption of Command links with: Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester Earns Silver Star
» Scotts Conservative News & Commentary links with: Friday Roundup
» Blog o'RAM links with: "Leigh Ann is a very good soldier."
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» triticale - the wheat / rye guy links with: The Ravin' Raven
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» Winds of Change.NET links with: Iraq Report, 20 June/05
» BLACKFIVE links with: Raven 42 and Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester
» AlphaPatriot links with: First Silver Star Awarded to Woman since WWII

June 15, 2005

CPL French and that Topeka Twit.

Joel, the submariner at The Stupid Shall Be Punished, attended Corporal French's funeral today. This would be the soldier's funeral that Fred Phelps and clan were there to applaud her death by IED. Thanks, Joel, for the report.

Anyone not familiar with what I'm talking about, my post (with links to others), is here.

Bottom line - Phelp's venal little clan were treated better by the people who make what they do possible than they karmically deserve.

Fred - I hope your afterlife consists of being in a cell with large man named Marcellus. And all that entails. Medieval. Come on by - we can chat about it!

OIF jargon. Angels.

Subject: Beyond the Rivalry.. Angel Hand Off to the Marines

(Thanks to Dick Catone CAPT USN Ret)

24 May 2005

Flying Angels

Today started out like almost every other day for me since I have been in Iraq. I got up at 0400, took a cold shower, and used my headlamp to dress in the dark so as not to wake my roommates. I walked just over a mile to the squadron hangar to receive the day's flight brief. I did not have time to eat breakfast as the chow hall had not yet opened. I picked up a nutrition bar laying on my desk and a bottle of water so I could eat and drink something before I went flying as I did't know if I would be back before lunch or not. I grabbed my flight equipment, M-16, and my emergency assault pack and proceeded to my helicopter. We pre-flighted the aircraft, started up, and taxied for take off. I assumed that today flight would be like yesterdays, and similar to the day before. Moving people and supplies from one part of Iraq to the other. We call it 'Ground Hog' day, after the movie starring Bill Murray. Every day starts to seem the same here. However, today was not like the others. Today was different. Today was real.

Our mission today was to extract Army soldiers from the field. They had been conducting operations to quell insurgent activities in their area of operations. Our Operations department had briefed us that the soldiers had been out patrolling for over two weeks. I knew the soldiers would be tired, dirty, and more than likely a little ripe! I also knew the soldiers would be very appreciative on getting a helicopter ride back to their base camp as they could get a well deserved hot meal and a shower. As a Marine, I like to give the Army a hard time. The Army seems to enjoy giving it right back at me. This is just good-natured professional rivalry. Every service likes to think they are the toughest, smartest, and best-looking troops in the world. I was looking forward to making a few pointed remarks to my fellow warriors over the intercom system and listening to their replies. However, I never got the chance.

Our mission was changed while in route. The extract was cancelled. Instead, we were to land at their base camp and pick up five 'Angels.' An 'Angel' is the brevity code we use to describe the deceased. Instead of picking up hungry and tired soldiers, we now were going to be flying out the same soldiers who were just recently sharing a laugh with their friends. The five Angels were carefully loaded on our aircraft one at a time. The Commanding Officer of the unit we were supporting helped load the Angels himself. He walked past the cockpit, and reached out his hand, as the senior pilot gave the Commanding Officer his hand in return. A quick squeeze of the hand, between two strangers, and two different services, over individuals we Marines never had the pleasure to meet. However, in that quick instant, the Army and the Marines Corps were one in the same. Fellow warriors had died! The simple squeeze of the hand between the two Officers let the Army know we understood their sorrow.

After the Angels were loaded, we completed our Take Off Checklist and began our departure from the camp. The unit stood at attention, over fifty rigid soldiers, saluting their fallen comrades as we exited the landing zone. I would be lying if I told you I did not shed a tear as I transitioned to forward flight. The Army was paying its last respects to their friends and brothers-in-arms. I was honored to have been a witness to this magnificent display of devotion. It is this dedication, commitment, and brotherhood, which make me proud to serve in our Armed Forces. Though the five Angels on our aircraft will never know it, they were sent off with dignity and honor. However, something tells me they
do know!

LtCol Jacques "Jackal" Naviaux II
Commanding Officer
HMM-764
Al Asad, Iraq

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men [and women] stand ready
in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - George
Orwell

H/t: Rich B.

by John on Jun 15, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Blond, Brainy, & the Persuit of Happiness ~A Conservative Vi links with: The Second Amendment
» The Gun Line links with: Heaven Bound...

Thank you, sir.

For all that you did. For your family, your Army, your Nation, and me. I know I'm late - I always was, eh? But I wanted to do this after the stone was set, and not when it would get drowned in other things.

And while you've left us - it's good to see the twins have got Dad around, finally.

Go find Bunker Mulligan, down there at Fiddler's Green. I'm sure you two have some stories to tell.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

June 14, 2005

Oh, yeah.

header.jpg

Though you wouldn't know it from all the plane pictures... but two thirds of the staff here at Castle Argghhh!!! are Army. Happy Birthday, Army! 230 years old and showing the wear and tear!


LogoBackHighRes.jpg


Heh. Typical of us, we decided to publish a field manual to commemorate the event, imaginatively titled, FM-1, The Army.

The Heartless Libertarian posts the actual resolution, here. Man, we were a *deal* back in the day!

Also on this day in history...

1645 Battle of Naseby, Cromwell's Parliamentarians defeat the Royalists. Flinty bassid, is Cromwell. Supported the killing of a King, he did. An action that was not appreciated by the Royalists...
1775 US Army formed from the New England forces before Boston - See Army Birthday, above!
1777 Congress adopts the Stars & Stripes, replacing the Grand Union flag - so it is also Flag Day.
1864 Congress orders that Black soldiers receive equal pay with whites
1942 Bazooka goes into production at Bridgeport, Ct. Oh wait - wrong one!
1942 German merchant cruiser Thor begins operating in the Indian Ocean.

1982 Argentines surrender to Britain on the Falkland Islands; 74-day war
ends
.

I have an album of Falklands pics here.


Argghhh!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feh.

H/t, Gryphmon via Mrs. Greyhawk.

More at Assumption of Command

And Banter in Atlanter.

We return you now to your regularly scheduled politesse.

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

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

Gitmo Redux...

The Dems picked a helluva time to mimic the Martians in Mars Attacks! when the good guys start playing Hank Williams, Sr. (Their heads explode into a gooey green mess, but you had to be there.)

Anyway, we seem to have generated quite a furball in the comments section of the last post. A nice furball, to be sure, but a furball nonetheless.

That's good.

I think some may have misunderstood my point in "A Couple of Thoughts about the Gitmo Flap..." I wasn't trying to say we should start tearing peoples' arms out of their sockets (messy). Rather, I think we just need, as a nation, to keep a sense of perspective about what we're doing right, and wrong, in the Global War on Terror.

Maybe Gitmo and its operation is a dumbass idea, but it sure as hell ain't Auschwitz, it's not the Hanoi Hilton...it's not even the El Paso County Sheriff's cooler. The comments so far have some saying that it might be a bad move in the long run...and they could be right. (Although I am getting a liiiiitle tired of the "we're fanning the flames of Muslim hatred against us in the Middle East" meme. Please.)

Maybe the perps in the terror war ARE merely (bad word--"actually" might be better) criminals and be treated as such, e.g., tried, convicted and punished or exonerated and set free. The ugly spectre of a fascist slippery slope ending in knocks on your door in the middle of the night was raised as a result of the, ahem, liberties taken at Guantanamo Bay. Personally, I think that's a stretch, but I understand the point. And it's a valid one.

The problem here and now, however, is that the Little Green Men the Dems have become have so utterly self-destructed intellectually (my head exploding analogy...Lileks, I'm not, OK? OK.) that any legitimate comments/critiques and "Now just a damn minute, here!" type stuff is almost sure to be ignored, thanks to an unrelenting rhetorical fallacy from virtually every well-known liberal, whether they be journalists, bloggers, or Congressmen/women.

When Charlie Rangel and company start using "Holocaust" and "Gitmo" in the same sentence, even marginally educated people say, "Eh?"

At least I think they do. OK, maybe I'm being silly, but I think the majority of Americans who feel their country is, by and large, pretty much a nice place to live. The fact that the death camp crematoria don't seem to popping up like mushrooms in the 'burbs has the net effect of making them all look, well, like complete idiots, once they start publicly losing it like Charlie has, effectively marginalizing those who truly do have a relevant, and even correct, counterpoint to current policy. They slide into irrelevancy, buffoonish caricatures of the "loyal opposition" and effectively undermining any legitimate critique of the Administration in power, Dem or GOP.

The Democrats are doing us a disservice in more ways than one and at this point they keep losing because they can't be taken seriously anymore (See: 2004 election for further details). Their job should be to constructively criticize, not hysterically overreact to what are to me, at this point at least, minor (very minor) errors in a war that started with 3000 civilian casualties on American soil.

Now that would be patriotic...

by Dusty on Jun 14, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» CDR Salamander links with: The "Peace Democrats" are back

Guest Post : A TINS*!

SangerM has few rantpeers in the blogosphere. He is also a TINS aficionado, both reading and recounting. He sent me this example a couple of days ago. If you ever thought the crewchief of an Army helicopter boring holes in the peacetime skies had a sweet deal, read on.

Not recommended for the underaged, the nervous, or the terminally queasy...

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

How I got my first Civilian Job.

It was the throwing up that did it.

In 1984 I was put in charge of a helicopter platoon. The platoon consisted of three old, but highly modified Huey helicopters. The equipment on board was designed to intercept, record, and if desired, jam the living daylights out of enemy radio transmissions. That two of the helicopters had actually been shot down in Vietnam (we had the log books to prove it) might give you some idea of how old, and how modified, these birds were. They were called "Quickfix" helicopters.

As a bona fide crewmember on an Army aircraft I was qualified to receive flight incentive pay, and to wear the coveted wings, as long as I managed to spend at least 4 hours per month in the air doing my job. This meant that I had to fly around in one of the crewmember seats listening to and tuning the radio, recording voice conversations, and so on, even if the flight was only for training. And believe me, 4 hours is a lot of time to accumulate in a month when there are 12 of you who need to get the time, only 2 seats in each aircraft, and there are no training exercises planned for the next two months. During an exercise we could each rack up 12-20 hours, but time does pass quickly, and it is important to take your flights when you can.

So it was that one day, a Major E. needed to get a check ride in a Quickfix helicopter. He was over from the states, and figured it would be as good a time as any to do his annual check ride, since we had a bona fide test pilot in our company. So the warrant officer and Major E. were going to go up. I asked if I could go too. No sweat, but hurry because launch is in about 20 minutes. They went off to pre-flight and I went off to change.

I kept a flight suit at work for just such an occasion, and in no time I was off. Being in a hurry, however, I made one of the biggest tactical errors of my entire life. I ran out to the helicopter with only my helmet. I did not wear my vest or take my helmet bag. This was the mistake. Why? Well, I get airsick. And I always carried a couple of ziplock bags in my helmet bag or in my pockets, or in my vest, so that I could do what I needed to, and not make everyone else miserable.

See, in the Quickfix birds, the crew members sit in high, padded, forward-facing seats, looking at a rack of equipment that stretches nearly to the top of the crew cabin. We could not see forward. Also, because the seats are so high, the top of the side-door windows come to about shoulder level, which means we could only see down, not out to the horizon. And a horizon is what I need to keep from getting sick. Also, we were not allowed to take dramamine or other chemicals when flying, and I did not know about ginger, so I paid for my love affair with helicopters almost every time I got in one.

This was a recipe for disaster.

About an hour into the flight, the Major called back over the intercom and asked me to look out the windows for an F-4 that was in the area. He wanted me to be an extra pair of eyes. No big deal, except I then did something that no one with experience would ever have done. I bent over forward in my seat and turned my head left then right to look out the windows. When I didn't see anything, I sat back up quickly. THAT was the mistake!

At that moment, time slowed to a crawl as my mind raced through the options. I knew I was going to barf in less than ten seconds. I did not however, have anything to barf into. Nothing! So I had three choices: I could barf on the floor, I could barf on the equipment racks (keyboards, radios, computers, etc.), or I could barf down the inside of my flight suit. Not much choice there, actually. I did not want to have to clean up the helicopter when we got back, so I pulled the neck of my T-shirt way out, and I barfed.

I hear you all going. Ughhhhhhh!

IT. WAS. GOD-AWFUL! AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHH!!!!

But it was done. So I carefully tightened and closed the Velcro fastener at my neck, and I leaned back in the seat and tried to think myself somewhere else. I even managed to tell the Major that I hadn't seen the F-4, but I did not mention my accident because I was embarrassed.

The next 20 minutes were awful, but the worst had actually passed. Or so I thought. It was not an unpleasant flight back to the field, but as we approached I remembered that we always topped off the fuel tanks upon return, and it was the job of the crewmember to do fire guard. Now this is a dumb-guy job, but it is important. The aircraft sits on the pad, running. Blades spinning at idle. The pilots remain at the controls while a fuel jockey connects a hose and does his job. And a crew member stands off to the side with a medium size fire extinguisher in hand. This is not to put out a burning helicopter, but to put out burning people. Really. If a fire starts, the fireguard is to help the pilots and the fueler get away from the plane. As I was the only crewmember on this flight, it was my turn.

Did I mention my flight suit was one of those sleek, one piece green things worn by every aviator in the Army? And did I mention that I wore my t-shirt outside my boxer shorts? Well, it was and I did, which meant that standing and walking was going to be ugly. So, I called up to the front and asked if they would be willing to drop me off at the hanger before they fueled up. But I didn't mention why (I couldn't bring myself to admit it), so they said no. Great.

Minutes later I was standing there, freezing in the rotor wash, holding the fire extinguisher nozzle in my left hand, and holding my right arm across my stomach. The front of me was a big wet circle that stretched from my chest to my thighs. And my misery was compounded when I saw the Major point me out to the test pilot, who started laughing himself silly.

After I climbed back in and got buckled up so we could go park the helicopter, the Major called back and told me that I should have said something. This was a helicopter after all, and he could have landed it anywhere to let me take a leak. To which I responded by telling him what really happened.

Stunned silence. No response. I saw the two of them look at one another in disbelief. Then the Major calls back and says, "You are one tough son-of-a-bitch." Then the two of them just laughed their asses off. I was not laughing.

After we got back, I went straight to the showers. I got undressed in the shower, and I washed up for at least 20 minutes. When I got out, I threw away my underwear and my socks. The flight suit never did lose the smell, no matter how many times I washed it, so I got it DX'd for a torn zipper. I walked back through the hanger to my office buck naked; I didn't care who saw me, but fortunately it was late in the day, and none of the women were present.

That night, we were having a going away party for the Major at a local gasthaus. I was not the first to arrive, so when I walked in the door, I was greeted with hoots and cheers, and I took a ribbing for that for the rest of the night. Thrills.

Now zip ahead two years or so. I am in the S-3 of an aviation battalion in Texas. I am the only one in the office, as I had decided to work through lunch. The phone rings, so I answered it, which the secretary would have done otherwise. It was, to my surprise, a colonel who I knew worked with Major E. I introduced myself and asked if knew where Major E. was. Yes, the now-Lt. Colonel was in Texas on another project, and he gave me his number.

Later, I called E., to see if he had any leads on jobs, since I was getting out of the Army in September of that year. He remembered me explicitly, we had a few laughs, and he gave me the name and number of a fellow in Virginia who might be interested in my skills and experience.

The following February, I started working for that fellow in Virginia. I was told I came with the highest recommendation as a person who could think quickly and who could make tough decisions. Right.

And THAT's how I got my first ever civilian job.


WARNING WARNING WARNING! Seriously disturbed and stomach-churning comments below. Peruse at own risk! Must have barf bag handy! Management not responsible for patrons choking or slipping on vomit... Enter at own risk.

Geez, Argghhh!!! has jumped the snark. Interservice vomit-rivalry. Thanks, guys. I am *soooo* proud!

by CW4BillT on Jun 14, 2005 | This is no Sh*t!
» There's One, Only! links with: Oooh... Urk*

June 13, 2005

A Couple of thoughts on the Gitmo Flap...

Blackfive asked a question... here's an answer.

I thought I was incapable of being any madder at the knuckleheads in Congress and the media that clog our airways and broadsheets with dishonest drivel on how we should close Gitmo, but the longer you listen to the radio, the more thumbsucking, bedwetting, piss-ant pontificators seem to come out of the woodwork beating their breasts and rending their garments over the "atrocities" at that island detention facility.

I call it a "detention facility" because I doubt there is a local, state or federal prison that paints footprints to guide the guards' steps so as not to disturb them during daily prayers. The floors could squeak, you know.

Nor do I know of a prison that caters to dietary needs as closely as this place does, or wear gloves when handling the Koran so as not to despoil the holy book (which begs the question, is this a tacit admission that we are, as non-Muslims, admitting our spiritual inferiority and inherent uncleanliness?).

I could go on...but I can barely see 'cause my eye's twitching so badly I can barely see. It does that when I'm REALLY pissed.

Trust me, what I went through during Hell Week at the end of my Doolie year at the AF Academy makes what's going on at Gitmo look very, very, very, very tame. Really tame. Babs Streisand talking about Bill Clinton tame. Really tame. Did I mention it is quite tame? And let's not go into Doolie Summer (I still hate the sound of a f---ing whistle...has to do with morning wakeup--ask a grad who's older than 40).

But that's not what really galls. What really galls is what the POWs in Vietnam suffered compared to what these murdering, lying, motley bunch of intellectually stunted, malignant bags of skin in that Cuban resort are "suffering" through. A damn sight less than Cubans, by God, but that's another story...

Remember, the oafish rhetoric from the likes of Rangel (racist), Byden (plagiarist), Kennedy (killer) and Kerry (oh, just a Silly Person) often pays homage to the ghosts of Vietnam--an inapt analogy if there ever was one. (NOTE: I'm not even going near Rangel's reference and comparisons between Gitmo and the Shoa (Holocaust)...I'm just not. There isn't enough Bourbon in the state of Colorado for me to calm down enough to address that obscenity.)

Anyway...I know a couple of POWs.

One sort of looks...funny (not ha-ha funny; weird funny). At first you can't put your finger on it but then it dawns on you: his body shape is, well, not right. His chest is pointy. Yeah, pointy. Well, the reason for that is his sternum split as he was dangling from the ceiling of the torture chamber in Hanoi, suspended by his wrists at the end of arms that had been bound so tightly behind him that his elbows touched. *Crack!* ...and when you heal without treatment, your bones knit strangley sometimes...hence a pointy chest.

Then there was this officer at the Academy when I was a senior. One day I asked him what his worst day was.

Mistake. OK, ladies, imagine you've been beaten so badly you pass out. No big deal. You see it all the time on"24," et al. But now imagine waking up and not being able to move your head. Paralysis, right? After 7years in captivity you think, "S**t, I came all this way only to have my neck broken..."

Not so fast--the story has a happy ending.

As you gradually rise from the depths of a fist/foot/[insert material here] rod pummeling stupor, the horror of permanent quadraplegia generates an involuntary full-body spasm and...suddenly...you can move.

You. Can. Move.

You're so happy, you practically pass out form relief, joy, the sudden unbearable release. "So why couldn't I move?!?!" A few exploratory slides across the face with swollen hands begins to fill in the picture.

Blood.

Blood, when it dries, as we all know, coagulates. When your injuries cause bleeding from every orifice above your neck--mouth, nose, ears, even eyes--while you are unconscious on the floor, it sticks your cranium to the concrete as nicely as Elmer's. One good jerk, however, in this case in utter, blinding, noiseless jibbering panic, and boom, no more stick-to-the-floor faux paralysis.

OK...now, given that perspective, someone needs to tell me again why:
Gitmo=Bad
al Qaeda residents (no, dammit, they ain't inmates)=victims
American soldiers=(all)crazed sadists who need to be reined in and punished
America=rogue nation that must do penance for such atrocious behavior

I'm sorry...what I know, what I've seen, what I've experienced, continuously reinforces my conviction that America has freed more people from tyranny than any civilization to have inhabited this planet. We've done it with our blood, sweat, tears and breathtaking, mind-boggling and wholly voluntary sacrifice. Do we make mistakes? Of course we do. But ONE bad bunch on ONE shift on ONE night in Abu Ghraib...or ACCIDENTALLY dropping a Muslim holy book on the floor...or whatever...does not a despotism make. I'm pretty sure about this.

Shame on those of us who cannot, nay, will not see that, honor it and press to victory in the bend-over-backwards humane way our people should rightly be renowned for.

God bless America...she's a lot better than our own Congress and press give her credit for...a helluva lot better.

by Dusty on Jun 13, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Cadillac Tight links with: Wow
» Heartless Libertarian links with: Some Proposed Interogation Techniques
» The Gun Line links with: Gitmo...
» Villainous Company links with: Road To Hell Paved With Moral Equivalence
» CDR Salamander links with: The "Peace Democrats" are back

Deployed Milblogs - the Rulez.

Want to know the official policy of the Multi-National Corps (I.e., CJTF-7 in Iraq) on blogging-while-military? Or civilian or contractor in support of the Corps?

Click here, and read the pdf.

Phil Carter of Intel Dump sent this out to the milblog world (so it's probably going to be everywhere, soon). (if you see it blogged, lemme know, I'll link it, it's an important subject).

It's been a subject of discussion over at Blonde Sagacity (go to the bottom of the post and read the comments, too), and I'm sure elsehwere, as some milbloggers are finding themselves shut down, shutting down voluntarily, or finding that the effort of trying to comply is too much. Sometimes the shut-downs are, frankly, deserved - such as the cases where soldiers (with good intentions but bad timing) are publishing casualty names before notification teams can tell the next-of-kin, let alone giving out operational information.

Reading it, I think it's as balanced an approach as is possible with the current state-of-the-art - and most importantly, recognizes the importance of the deployed bloggers. Since it's a scanned graphic I can't quote it - but read para 6. It works for me.

Your blog is subject to scrutiny quarterly, but you don't have to submit material for approval, either. But - you *must* register the blog. I don't have a problem with that, really, all things considered. Let's see if other people's mileage varies. But it will certainly keep candid discussions of leadership to a minimum.

But then, if you want to do that, there's the rest of us - the non-deployed/able milbloggers - we can always post those posts, if it makes sense to get them into the light of day, and it's not just a fit of crybaby pique!

As Phil said in his email:

...I think this policy strikes a pretty good balance, especially to the extent that it refrains from "prior restraint" (i.e. pre-publication review). However, a lot continues to depend on the willingness of commanders to allow these blogs, and the extent to which they exercise their lawful authority under Article 92 to quash them.

It's a tough question, and I think the leadership is trying to be even-handed on this one - and you can bet there are many in the weak-leader range who would like to squash the blogs.


Others blogging:

Cadillac Tight
Defense Tech.
CDR Salamander.

by John on Jun 13, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Cadillac Tight links with: Rules for deployed Milbloggers
» CDR Salamander links with: Retreat from the MilBlog high-water mark
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Blog Machine City links with: crackdown!
» Watch Your Six links with: Milblogger Regulations
» BLACKFIVE links with: Army Times - OIF MilBloggers Must Register
» Two Babes and a Brain links with: Milbloggers to be monitored

Inside Denizen Joke Post with Consolation Prize.

SWWBO's travel travails hopefully over, this morning's posting plan was uprooted due to unanticipated airport delivery requirements, hence little of value on offer (Quiet you! You too! Oh, all of you just shut up!).

So, based on the discussions in comments on CW4(R)BT's "Ratz" post - I decided to run with the Doghouse theme therein (hence the Denizen Insider tag)

Consolation Prize up front. Here - peruse one of my photo albums.

For the rest, a slightly naughty musical interlude... dedicated to Were-Kitten and Bill, who are trying to furnish their doghouse... hiding behind the curtain in the extended post...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

June 12, 2005

Finally!

First - ain't this a beautiful picture of Fort Monroe? Think about the feeding frenzy for those water-front homes when Monroe closes... that thing in the way is some new airplane or something.


OVER VIRGINIA -- Lt. Col. James Hecker flies over Fort Monroe before delivering the first operational F/A-22 Raptor to its permanent home at Langley Air Force Base, Va., on May 12. This is the first of 26 Raptors to be delivered to the 27th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker)

If you really wanna study the Fort or those quarters - or that thing spoiling the view - click here. (dial ups - be patient, it's *big*)

I see that the Pencil-necked, Sunken-chested Auld Aviator Geek Bill the Rotorhead finally bestirred himself (or KTLW is alseep) to pull his feathermerchant weight around here. (Did I get 'em all, Bill?) Now if we get Dusty to post today... a trifecta!

Having survived yesterday's slavery (WonderWife® v3.0 only uses the whip to point of welting, BlunderWife® V2.0 always, as she called it, "Went for the Ivory" and laid me open to the bone) and schlepped laundry and vacuumed, and picked up, and washed some glass... tabletop - I dont do Windows® - and then furniture shopping... I was rewarded with a joke! The Denizennes will like it, I'm sure - especially the eld(er) Denizennes (Cassie at Villainous Company, anyone? Here's yer trivet back... ziinnnnnng!) for whom gravity is truly a Force of Nature. For you delicate types - I've placed it behind the curtain. Now I think I'll go have a beer with Alan, Sergeant B (hey, Barb and Sergeant B scored Blackfive!), and Jack.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »