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July 02, 2005

Caption Contest!

We here at Castle Argghhh! hope you are having a good time this 4th of July weekend. Bill has hit the road, and I'm about to - I don't know what Dusty is up to this weekend. I'm off to visit family today and tomorrow. Taking the laptop... but who knows?

This is a Party Thread for any denizens and visitors who wanna play. Just behave, and don't make the PG-17c too twitchy!

Here's a pic to caption:

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I'll start you off:

The Air Force reveals it's new campaign to appeal to Metrosexuals with it's first ad in Maxim! "Dude - You're cleared in hot! Squeeze that pickle!"

And now, a little video.

Be safe this weekend... and if you are out playing with fireworks... pay attention to the bursting radius!

Belated H/t to ChillyWilly for the pic - aggressive email management caused me to delete after I saved the pic... and of course promptly forgot who sent it!

July 01, 2005

All right... since a lot of you are taking off early...

...for the holiday (and, since the Armorer's father has just had surgery (he's fine), Armorer-posting will be light... so perhaps Dusty and Bill will take up the slack (hint, hint).

Meantime - here are two relatively rare cartridges. Grognards - state your determination in a comment *then* check the comments and see what other people think. All six (maybe) of you who will try, anyway! 8^D

These cartridges are interesting in themselves, and represent special or rare applications.

This is the easy one (I think):

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This is harder, though I'm sure the Googler's will score it - there's enough info in that headstamp to lead you to the answer. Boq will probably get it without the assistance of Google.

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Here they are with a Win 32.20 for comparson.

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Since they've *both* been indentified - might as well give a shot of the bullet hiding in the depths of the Nagant round:

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Hmmm. I think there's a post in there somewhere... with pictures of Nagants, cartridges... and just how *does* a gas seal revolver work...

Trivia note: Actual fire command given in Soviet manual for the pistol:

At the fleeing deserter - Fire!

by John on Jul 01, 2005 | Ammunition

Fusileer Alert! and other stuff.

Geldof and Co. will be having Live8. Let's face it, they're going to raise scads of cash. But there *is* an event competing for your dollars... and I encourage you to drop by Brainshavings, and plan on leaving a little cash with a fundraiser that will benefit the troops at the "Rear Echelon" blog-a-thon!

Publicola notes we have Buy A Gun Day, National Ammo Day, but no day to shoot all that ammo through all those guns, so he proposes American Range Trip Day, to take all those guns out and burn that ammo. He proposes the day of June 23rd, to mark the day the Supreme Court told Ms. Kelo that her house was only hers as long as some developer didn't want it, too bad, so sad. I say, let's not wait a year, go ahead and spend *this* years allocation this weekend! And write letters to your state officials about Eminent Domain abuse. Back to the subject... Publicola notes - any day that ends in "y" is a good day to go shoot!

In fact, I sent Publicola a note suggesting July 4th for this year - but, as you can see, he was pretty adamant about waiting until June 23rd next year... but to, well, prepare.

John, It's a date specific thing. A month ago if I'd have had this idea I would have went for April 19th. But since SCOTUS handed down Kelo on June 23rd I figure that's the most appropriate date we have at the moment. I know it'll be almost a year till the first ART day, but that'll give us that much more time ot get the word out. & of course I always recommend going to the range before you plan on going to the range just to make sure everything's cool, followed by going to the range after you've gone to the range to make sure everything was in fact cool. :)

take care,


Works for me!

Mr. Completely offers up some Gun Pr0n!

TFS Magnum points out a disappointed District Attorney, but an un-raped abused wife.

If you've not visited the Blogging Babes of the Cotillion... well, perhaps you should?

Like Say Uncle - I really don't like people like this. And I *really* despise officious petty officialdom like these dolts Denise at The Ten Ring ran into.

In case you missed it, there's been some tut-tutting in the world about USGov response to an alleged Iranian Hostage Taker, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being elected (such as elections work in Iran) President. The usual suspects in the MSM, in this specific instance, NBC's Brian Williams, pointing out that Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were all, in the eyes of the British Crown at the time, equivalent characters - i.e., terrorists. I could go on about it - but Callimachus at Done With Mirrors has done so already.

Dean Esmay types a defense of Robert Heinlein's works - all I have to add is that Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo started me on seriously reading fiction, and hooked me on science fiction (c'mon, kids build backyard rocket for eccentric man - only to find Nazi's on the Moon... and use a Garand to conquer - what's not to like?) , when I was in the 6th grade, just as Russell Davis' Marine at War (personal memoir of the war in the Pacific, and better'n anything Manchester wrote, if only because it's all true...) twigged me to history, while in the 5th grade.

Greyhawk looks back at a year of combat in Iraq...

This will annoy somebody... Dittoes, Dean, regarding the UN.

Fallout from Kelo - both sides: Happy to pillage for dollars via The Agitator... and in building defenses against, via Say Uncle. For the record - I think the legislative remedy is the way to go.

Another soldier balladeer. Luke Stricklin.

Matt has probably already covered these guys... but here are three more soldiers you should know: Sgts. 1st Class Bradly M. Felix and Roger G. Watts, and Staff Sgt. David G. Colucci, all assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). Silver Star awardees.

And after Fallujah? The enemy is relying more and more on remote attacks and suicide bombers... which increases the casualties among the civilians... which is causing more and more civlians to help out with information. Now is *not* the time to set a hard date for withdrawal. Feel free to recall a few retirees to give the young 'uns a break...

An interesting Op-Ed in the NYT on how to proceed in Iraq. Food for thought.

Trying to influence the influencers...

June 30, 2005

Changing Canada, one mind at a time.

Gunblogging, and a little left mugging... changing Canadian minds about Gun Ownership... One Mind At A Time. H/t, Clayton Cramer - hey, Clayton, have you tried University of Kansas Press? And add me to the list of the delusional...

Changing subjects...


by John on Jun 30, 2005 | Gun Rights

Ah, Brit obits! and other weirdness

Ah, Lieutenant-Commander Dick Raikes - if only I had had *half* the career you did before, like you, I was "invalided out" of the service.

Of such metal was the Empire built.

A few days later Raikes heard the propeller noise of a U-boat surfacing and carried out a snap attack with his stern torpedoes; there was an explosion and black smoke, but Raikes found no wreckage. The patrol ended with an amorous whale bumping Seawolf for an hour. Raikes was awarded the DSO.

Read the rest, here. You really do want to read this one.

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

Moving on...

Frequent commenter Monteith sends us this... we'd like that *a lot*... it would look good in the inner Bailey next to the Trebuchet and Onager... but I think my interest foundered when I read "Purchaser to arrange own cartage..."

Jeff, complimenting my on my 'correct politics' 8^) sends us to Gun Law News, where the inimitable Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, holds forth thusly:

A database this large is likely to contain many errors," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) during a May 12 hearing on the Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act (H.R. 98). "Any one of [the errors] could render someone unemployable and possibly much worse until they can get their file straightened out."

As they point out at Gun Law News...

But in 2002, Jackson Lee argued for the "Our Lady of Peace Act," (H.R. 4757), an expansion of the National Instant Check System (NICS) for handgun purchases.

So, the bottom line is that the rights of illegal aliens to whom some of the Constitution does not apply are more important than the rights of a US citizen guaranteed by the US Constitution.

A-yup. If yer a Moonbat, anyway.

Heh. Let's check in with Noah of Defense Tech and David Crane at Defense Review - they've got the goods on some of the stuff that finds it's way into the studies I conduct for a living. [N.B. This has been edited to give credit where credit is due.]

XM-25 Grenade Launcher



H/t, Jim C. (feeling better, dude?)

Remember some of the discussions in the past week of How to Lose the War? One of the counters I suggested was we as individuals and as bloggers need to paint the side of the conflict that the MSM, which both by political bias and institutional inertia (if it bleeds, it leads) won't cover? The positive aspects? Move America Forward is taking that idea and running with it - by taking a bunch of talk radio hosts over to Iraq: The Truth Tour, Live from Baghdad! Hey, face it - those guys will reach more people than most of us bloggers will!

June 29, 2005

Even Warthogs can be technically agile...

Glenn Reynolds significantly increased the level of class on his world-famous blog with this post.

The quality is terrible, but the end reveals something about the American fighting man that is the direct result of living in a free society--initiative and creativity.

Drove the Russians/Chinese nuts, it did/does.

In this case, it may have been a maintainer who thought of it, the squadron weapons officer, or maybe even a line pogue. (Really. One of my former charges used to build black boxes for the Voyager space probe but he wanted to fly. So he did--on a 5-year sabbatical from Motorola.)

Anyway, when you take an ACMI pod (the thingie you hang on your jet that collects and transmits flight data to a range ground station for training purposes) and turn it into a radio range extender, that's just, well, very, very cool.

...and we wonder why the American people take pride in their soldiers...

by Dusty on Jun 29, 2005 | Plane P0rn

Here's a thought...

Matt at Blackfive just put up a post that got me to thinking...

If what he addresses turns out to be a significant trend, the lamentable lack of military experience in our Congress may be completely reversed in a decade. That may have profound implications for the Democratic Party, especially if they keep up their current policy/philosophy that defeating their domestic political opponents is more important than defending the nation against external threats.

I doubt Teddy reads Blackfive, but if you hear a muffled bang from the Beltway's direction, he probably did...and his a**hole just slammed shut.


Update: Disregard the Teddy close...he probably ain't smart enough to be scared...

Milblogging The Completely Forgotten Deployment.

I have been a bad 'senior milblogger' and not been doing my MBWSA (management by walking surfing around) duties... seriously remiss.

I set this post up yesterday, so I could take it easy this morning. Then Bill comes along and does a Kosovo bit, two posts down. And Dusty trumped me yesterday.

Heh. I am Locutus of the Borg. Anyway...

I dropped in on SGT E, of Foxholes and Dogtags, over in the Completely Forgotten Deployment, Kosovo, and found out she's been out doing VETCAPS. Kewl! She's also been reminiscing about Basic... so if you want to remember why you've been there, done that, and don't have to do it again... check out her whole site, not just the linked post.

Oh, and didn't President Clinton promise us we wouldn't be in Kosovo, much less the Balkans, for, *how* many years now? Not that I mind... just sayin' that building stable societies ain't a short-duration task, is all - y'know - like Bill sez, down below.

Caption Contest

Figgered we're overdue for one.

Some things are just inherently funny.

Like tanks.

And REMF-reactions to them...

June 28, 2005

Heh. Just, heh.

Ted Kennedy's plan for Iraq.

Hat tip, Jim C.

In other news... Well, carp. On the plus side, you can see why Dusty joined the team, we think along similar lines, but with different approaches. On the minus side, bassid steals the post I built for tomorrow!

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

And heh, again.

Hat tip, Mike L, anyway!

I'll replace it with this thought and data blurb. Some of the drumbeat amongst the anti-war and wobbly politicos on this side of the water has been about setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Which, I believe, is *exactly* the wrong approach, for lots of reasons.

The better model, I believe, is setting conditions for withdrawal. Essentially the Northern Ireland model. It's no coincidence or accident that the Iraqis, Brits and the US are talking to the insurgents. Unless we're willing to kill 'em all (not likely, and Not a Good Idea, anyway), they *have* to be brought into the process - and in order to get them into the process, you have to address at least *some* of their concerns. Then you can drive wedges into the insurgency, and start to bring some of 'em to the table... and the hard core, well, they just get more and more isolated. In the end, that is an issue that the Iraqis will have to settle.

So, set conditions - something like this list below - and we aren't there yet -but it's a point of departure and discussion. This is from the official daily email the Army sends out to leaders (and anyone, like me, who wants to subscribe to it via Army Knowledge Online).

As I noted in my first post of the day - we didn't build a functioning government in a year after we won the Revolution, gee, surprise, neither have the Iraqis. But there *is* progress... and we *are* trying other paths than just shooting everybody, regardless of what the anti-war left, and wobbly right-wingers think.


One year ago today, sovereignty was returned to Iraq and its people. The Coalition Provisional Authority was dissolved and leadership was handed over to an interim Iraqi government. Over the past year, Iraq has seen many successes in its development, despite the continuous attacks and violence.

As stated by the Department of Defense, there are four key components which are vital to continued success. Each of the four are listed below with examples of successes.

1. A secure environment free of the threats posed by insurgents, extremists and others who aim to disrupt progress.
* Coalition and Iraqi operations are disrupting terrorist sanctuaries, such as Fallujah, and keeping them on the run.
* In less than a year, Iraqi Regular Army and Intervention Forces grew from one operational battalion in July 2004 to 107 operational battalions in June 2005.
* Seven basic police academies are now operational; together, they train over 3,500 new police officers from the 8-week course each month.
* Thirteen provincial SWAT teams have been trained and equipped. Three more teams are in training, and seven more are scheduled to complete training by August 2005.

2. A representative government with its associated government institutions in place.
* The National Assembly was elected and seated in Aug 2004.
* More than 8 million people defied terrorist threats and voted in the January election.
* The Transitional National Assembly met for the first time on March 16, 2005, and Iraq's Transitional Government leaders were sworn in May 4, 2005.
* The elected leaders are drafting a constitution, which Iraqis will vote on by October 15.
* Under the new constitution, a permanent government will be elected on December 15.

3. Improved infrastructure and economic opportunity that gives the Iraqi people essential services such as electricity and water, as well as the jobs necessary to provide for their families.
* The Baghdad Stock Exchange opened for trading on June 24, 2004.
* At the New Iraqi Dinar (NID) auction June 20, the settlement price was 1,465 dinars per USD. Nineteen banks offered and sold a total of NID 67.92 billion ($46.36 million).
* On June 20, the Iraqi government announced that it had signed a bilateral agreement with Canada canceling $470 million of Iraq's debt, amounting to 80 percent of Canada's claims against Iraq.
* There have been 26,785 new Iraqi businesses established.
* A total of over 2,000 megawatts of power have been added to the grid (enough to service 5.4M Iraqi homes).
* The three major cell phone companies in Iraq continue to enroll new subscribers at healthy rates. As of June 15, there were 2,683,024 active cellular subscribers in Iraq.
* Construction is underway on 142 new primary health care facilities across Iraq.
* 3,105 schools have been renovated and another 950 schools are currently under rehabilitation.

4. A system of communications in which the Iraqis-not the coalition or international community-communicate their nation's goals and aspirations to the Iraqi people.
* Iraqi President Talabani met with more than 30 prominent individuals from the Diyala Province and confirmed that all Sunnis should be unified and participate in the next election. He called for the unity of all sects to have a successful political process.
* In June, Constitutional Dialogue program facilitators reached out to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, encouraging them to discuss topics linked to the constitutional process while seeking their input for the TNA Constitutional Committee in charge of drafting the Iraq constitution.

Just sayin'


I was mulling over how to get our Supremes back under control when I came across this.

If irony was a food this would be delicious.

HT: Drudge

by Dusty on Jun 28, 2005 | General Commentary
» Quotulatiousness links with: Okay, just one post
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Just Desserts, indeed!!
» Red State Rant links with: Lost liberty hotel, featuring the Just Desserts Cafe
» TacJammer links with: Poetic Justice
» Balance Sheet links with: Justice Souter's 'Hood

Speaking of history as not being our long suit... and other things.

See what Castle Philosopher Kat has to say on the idea of Freedom, the Struggle for, When to Abandon.

I would note, Kat, that there are those...

Would that they had been so weak of heart at Valley Forge or Bunker Hill, who then would we be? If they had abandoned Fort McHenry, what song would we sing? At the bloody ground of Gettysburg, should we have said the price was too much, who would be the slave? If men had not crawled over inches of bloody sand to the battlements at the top of Normandy, what world would we live in?

...born in this country and living in it now - who would actually prefer that they *had* lost heart at Valley Forge, and that this nation never got it's start, so deep is their essential self-loathing and blindness.

On a completely unrelated note, Jeff at Alphecca is gun-blegging...

Too bad that everything I want for the Castle would take years to snooker you guys out of were I to try that...

Boyes Anti-Tank Rifle.
Mauser Anti-tank Rifle
Hotchkiss Portative
Wall Gun
Maxim 08
Maxim 08/15
1st Model Brown Bess
Ferguson Rifle (scroll down)
Tripplett and Scott (had one, once, sad story there)

Oh who am I kidding, anyway?

Over at Random Nuclear Strikes - 'Ware the hypocrisy of whiners on both sides of the spectrum...

Mudville notes the different approach Gunner's Palace takes on it's release to DVD. Since it never made it around here in the theaters, that's the only way we're going to see it at the Castle.

The Llama Butchers have an intriguing suggestion... though I would prefer Minot, North Dakota for Winter, and Fort Huachuca, Arizona for summer...

Here at Castle Argghhh!, we're in no danger of succumbing to that horror... Mantropy, exposed here as a service by Rachel of Tinkerty Tonk.

Barb is keeping her eye on the Gold Star Mother's flap, seemingly resolved in a (I think) proper fashion. Not the outcome, per se, but how it all came about.

Like Barb:

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Update: Hmmm. I wonder if the *real* purpose behind the study is to see how fast what segments of the blogworld will spread a graphic and meme around... and to track the spread via sign-ins... prolly not - that woulda come from the Harvard Business School or something. This probably just is Brainiacs at work...

Okay - lunch is over, back on my head.

by John on Jun 28, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» CDR Salamander links with: Gunner Palace out on DVD

Morning reads.

First up - go right to Lt Prakash at ArmorGeddon and spend just under 8 minutes of your day watching SPC Roby blow up an IED. While you are there, show me the tired, dispirited, low morale soldiers I read about over at Kos, wouldja? Way to go, SPC Roby! But, dude - you were shooting short! If you are in an office with delicate ears, turn down your sound. No gore - but lots of typical soldier talk. And ya know what that means... H/T the Admiral of the Moat Fleet!

And speaking of patrolling in Iraq - Michael Yon has a new bit up - The Feathers.

The guys at David's Medienkritik put their protest signs where their mouth is - good on ya, Ray!

How can we lose the war? In my post on the subject yesteday, I averred it's lost when we lose it in our hearts, not before. Part and parcel of that - keep paying attention. H/t, Strategy Page.

Interestingly enough - today is the anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Countess Sophia, in Sarajevo, the fuze that lit WWI.

It's also the day the Treaty of Versailles was signed, five years later, which lit the fuze for WWII.

Captain E. N. Bennett, speech at a Union of Democratic Control (11th November, 1920)

The fundamental falsehood on which the Versailles Treaty is built is the theory that Germany was solely and entirely responsible for the war. No fair-minded student of the war and its causes can accept this contention; but the propaganda story of Germany's sole guilt has been preached so persistently from pulpit, Press and Parliament that the bulk of our people have come to regard it as an axiomatic truth which justifies the provisions of the most brutal and unjust Treaty in the world's history.

John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of Peace (1920)

The Treaty includes no provision for the economic rehabilitation of Europe - nothing to make the defeated Central Powers into good neighbours, nothing to stabilise the new States of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst the Allies themselves; no arrangement was reached at Paris for restoring the disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and the New.

It is an extraordinary fact that the fundamental economic problem of a Europe starving and disintegrating before their eyes, was the one question in which it was impossible to arouse the interest of the Four. Reparation was their main excursion into the economic field, and they settled it from every point of view except that of the economic future of the States whose destiny they were handling.

Read the rest here. Note that after WWII, the Marshall Plan did exactly what Keynes was talking about - provided for an economic rehabilitation of western Europe. Something the Soviets did *not* do for their side of the wire, with consequences still felt in Germany and Eastern Europe (and dare I say Russia?) today.

Just as we need to honor our obligation to the Iraqis, and not cut and run as we did from the Versailles Treaty (while offering nothing in it's place) after WWI.

It has, after all, only been a year since they stood up a post-Saddam government. Remember how long (from school, dudes, I know we aren't old enough, sheesh!) it took us to get a Constitution written? That whole Federalist/Anti-Federalist thing? 6-7 years? And that was having something else, the Articles of Confederation, to work from...

Just sayin'

Ravenwood makes an interesting observation. Of course, I tend to judge historical figures by their milieu, not current sensibilities. Yes, Lincoln was racist by todays lights. He was, IIRC, for sending freed slaves back to Africa, because he didn't feel they would fit into US society, among other things not unusual to his era. But to slam him for not being a sensitive 90's kind of guy (not what Ravenwood was implying, I'm running with my own idea here) is to completely ignore the fact that he rose above the tenor of his times to do something no one else in power had been willing to do. For that, I extend him great credit, understanding fully it was the press of war that made the Emancipation Proclamation both needful and possible... HE STILL DID IT - he didn't have to, but it *did* serve to take the British out of the equation, and while Ravenwood notes:

Of course he's exactly right. The Emancipation Proclamation only called for the freedom of slaves in Southern states. And given that the South had seceeded from the Union, the order didn't actually free anyone. In fact, by the time Lincoln got around to proclaiming emancipation, the U.S. Congress had already banned slavery in Southern states.

Lincoln still sent a lot of northern white boys and free/d black men down South to make good on the promise. A lot of whom didn't make it back.

Still yet from Ravenwood - gun sniffing dogs. Whoo boy! They'd be all over my cars like stink on poo, too!

Countertop takes the Kelo decision to a "Reductio in Absurdum" level. But it makes ya think, given the way our political system seems to be ruled by the Law of Unintended Consequences...

John Cole, at Balloon Juice, notes sadness at the 100 Acre Wood, and we're not just talking Eeyore.

Zach Wendling at In the Agora has an interesting take on self-defense measures you can take vice Kelo... I would note the Castle has a wetland in front, providing habitat for frogs, birds, fish, toads, squirrels, chipmunks and at least 1 oppossum...

I was going to take a look at the Drill Sergeant abuse story running around now - but I see it's adequately covered over at Outside the Beltway, so I'll send you there, with a "Dittoes, dudes." Abuse doesn't build good soldiers; hard, realistic training does, combined with a tough, caring leadership. Which is always the harder way to lead vice being a terroristic bastard. The reaction of some people brings to mind this thought of Neptunus Lex's that I put up in the post below:

When the sacrifices of the many who fight for us are diminished by an unremitting focus on the failures of the few, sapping the morale of all -

You'd think the Press might 'get' this, seeing as how they whine that Eason Jordan, Blair Whatsisname, Rathergate, etc, do not fairly reflect them and how they truly approach their jobs... yet, we hear this carp from Chris Bowers...

As if the U.S. military didn't have enough scandals going between Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the ghost detainees, now we learn it is abusing its own recruits:

Ed Morrissey notes, over at Captain's Quarters:

This story has been known for four months. Within days of the incident, other soldiers reported the abuse, and those involved were relieved of duty. The Army has successfully court-martialed four of the people involved, including the company commander, Captain William Fulton, who got six months of confinement. The recruits were transferred to a different command to complete their training. If the reader gets all the way through the article, he finds out that there were 120 allegations of abuse in all of 2004, resulting in 16 DIs got relieved as a result -- and the rate for 2005 is half of that for last year.

Captain Fulton is a guest at our local facility here in Leavenworth, I believe.

Charmaine Yoest over at Reasoned Audacity is quietly pleased with the Discovery Channel's Greatest American #1 pick was President Reagan. She does admit a sentimental attachment... The list isn't as bad as it could have been (I wonder what it would have been like had it been NPR, not Discovery Channel?) but it does reflect that people know best what they lived through, and that history isn't our strong suit...


Last, but not least this morning... sometimes routine maintenance is just that.


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June 27, 2005

Piling on...

Oh, what the heck, I can be a me too! artist.

Here, for the 6 of you who haven't seen it elsewhere - QandO's Military Insignia Primer.

Don't miss Greyhawk's Dawn Patrol.

Then there's the RINO Sightings Carnival over at Say Uncle.

SWWBO is a Playful Primate! Woo-woo!

Don't miss Blackfive's "How to lose a war"

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Neptunus Lex asks, Could We Lose?

When the service of one's country in a time of need rests increasingly upon the sons and daughters of servicemen (a petri dish for praetorianism), rather than upon the nation's youth at large

When we come to examine cost alone, and not value of accomplishment -

When winning at politics trumps winning at war -

When the sacrifices of the many who fight for us are diminished by an unremitting focus on the failures of the few, sapping the morale of all -

When the public will of the greatest power for good the world has ever known, a country of unprecedented moral, material, economic and military power blanches in the face of the brutality of a sadistic few, betraying its ideals and allies -

Then yes, we could lose.

When I was a wrestler in high school, one of the things I would do getting up for a match would be to pace behind the team seats in an oval, visualizing what horrors I was going to visit upon my opponent, and essentially, chanting a mantra:

I cannot be beaten - I will not lose

I cannot be beaten - on this given day there is no one out there who can defeat me... therefore, I can only beat myself.

I will not lose - because of the first, I must ensure that I don't fail, and in so doing give away victory.

It worked for me. I was a State and AAU champion.

I won't deny, that prior to the March Upcountry, I was not a convinced fan of the invasion. Once we decided to throw the dice however, I was committed to carrying the burden and playing through to the finish - we owed that much to everyone who died, was maimed, or simply wounded - on both sides. We still do.

Right now we seem to be approaching a balance point - at least in the minds of emailers, some commenters, and certainly in the eyes (and seemingly strenuous efforts of) the MSM. And not a few war bloggers and conservatives are starting to go wobbly, too.

It's simple - the Insurgents are hoping to redeem "I cannot be beaten" by ferociously clinging on to "I will not lose." They read their Vietnam Briefing Books. The cling to the belief that the weakspot in American politics still exists, and a huge chunk of that weakspot - the aging 60's types, are still vulnerable to the cut and run - especially when they see, regardless of the external consequences, the path to power resting there. Yes, I do believe that a good chunk of the anti-war left would find a disintegrating Iraq acceptable, if it leads to the White House, and control of Congress. Plus - let's face it, for them, wobbling in the face of a determined enemy is grounds for running away.

Does that mean that we blindly follow the path we've set out on, regardless of consequences? Of course not. But this is not Vietnam.

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Compare that to these graphs, at (not a fan of the war, but pretty even-handed in their approach).

US Deaths by month.

The Trend-lines (yep, it's up - so what? - that's normal in wartime, the variability)

The point being - thus far, we've accomplished more (never enough, though, eh?) at far less cost on both sides than we ever managed in Vietnam. Simply put - this isn't Vietnam. Yeah, there've been cock-ups galore. That's why Clausewitz called it "friction." But as far as wars go, it's been pretty well run. Good grief, people, read anything that covers the start of any major American (or really, anyone elses) war. We are trying to do this on the cheap, and that has cost us somewhat - but it isn't grounds to surrender merely because the other guy is still mostly murdering his own people... at least the numbers of Iraqis dying at Iraqi hands are generally fewer than were dying under Saddam's tender loving care.

This is only Vietnam if we let it be, in our minds and hearts. This *is* winnable. But we have to stay the course long enough to let the Iraqi government truly establish itself in an environment where that is going to be difficult. And the resulting government is not going to be fully to our liking, either.

One of the biggest differences between this and Vietnam is the absence of Main Force units of another power being in play. The Viet Cong were never the threat romanticism made them out to be. The real enemy in Vietnam was the North Vietnamese government and it's Army. That is a type of player not present in the current conflict, and not likely to show up, either.

However, I do think we are sliding towards a point where we can lose, as in the second half of my mantra. We, the people, are the ones who have to have strength - the political class, in it's increasingly feckless way, is going to bend to the loudest voice. Some say that is democracy - I say it's an ad-hoc way to run a country - but okay, let's play it that way - let's get our voices out there, and heard. Loudly.

One last caveat - I *don't* echo Lex's fears of Praetorianism (of course not, I'm one of *them*!) nor am I fan of the implied draft in the quoted extract, but you don't have to agree with everything he says to agree with his basic premise.

It's that time again...

This is my basement:

After having *no* Instalanches ever, and now having had 3, there are probably some new readers... It's time to drag this thing back up into the light for all you not-long-time readers. This is just a periodic post for relative newbies to the site who don't realize the real reason I set this thing up was to share my gun and militaria collection -The Arsenal of Argghhh! - with the world. I decided to move out from primary deviancy (where you hide what you are) and move past secondary (where everybody knows what you are) to tertiary - where you embrace what you are - and point out you don't know what the guy next door has in his basement... but that doesn't mean he's a nut. I did that after a friend asked me to be the guest speaker on the subject of gun collecting at my Rotary Club (which has a fair number of liberals in it) and the response was not hostile, though some were taken aback - but mostly, "Wow - that's kinda kewl, and you aren't some troll hunkered down in your basement with racks of AR15s and cases of ammo waiting for the Apocalypse..." Mind you, if you have a rack of AR15 and cases of ammo, that's fine with me, as long as you aren't (hopefully) delusional on top of that... if you are, get out more, eh? I *do* have cases of ammo, but they aren't stored with the weapons... But be damned if I'm going to spend the money on new-manufactured when there's all the nice surplus fodder out there! But that experience, along with being poked by Beth and Jonah to blog, is what got the Castle established, back on Blogspot, almost two years and 610,679 uniques ago.

As the blog has morphed over time, now and again I've gotten a little too wrapped up in the politics and the war - and, well, yes, work, too - and I've strayed a bit from my roots. A lot, really. Well, that and the great parties the Denizens throw in the comment sections now and again... It makes it fun when sometimes it's real work to maintain. SWWBO and I fought off 2,780 spams today, for example... but 0 got through and had to be slain inside the Keep. The Defenses have improved - if they are sometimes frustrating when the laser turrets fire on that comment you are trying to post.

I don't believe that I make the mistake that many celebrities make - that my opinions on things political somehow matter more than others. Not really. This is more the equivalent of standing on a soapbox at "Speakers Corner". And you have to come find me - I'm not infesting broadcast media. You *ask* my server for these packets.

Anyway - for you guys who are here because you heard that John of Argghhh! actually sometimes talked about guns and militaria - here's the navigation map to The Story So Far. They link to the appropriate archives by topic. I'm (still)working a new post on the evolution of the Vickers Machine gun - but these things take time! In fact, here's proof - I have the collecting jones so bad that I actually tracked down this - an actual Australian Army inventory sheet - so that I could fill this (procured buck-nekkid empty three years ago) so that it looks like this.


Hi-res click here.

Anyway - here's some linkages to the discussions - where it says "The Arsenal" is a link to the photo-archive. (always available on the sidebar) - the rest are links to the blog archives.

Sub-machine Guns
Machine Guns
Gun P0rn: A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly-bits.a>
General Militaria
Guns by Nation

And, of course, there is always the direct link to the Imperial Arsenal itself!

Visitors should also note the following caveats:

Periodic Goblin Warning (SM)

As a service to Goblins who are considering Seizing The Arsenal (this excludes LE types: y'all come with a warrant, knock [no no-knocks, please, the front door is expensive], take what the warrant specifies and we'll talk about it in court - just please take care of 'em, you know, periodic cleaning, oiling, etc. They're used to being spoiled like that) here is a periodic warning on Why Trying To Steal My Collection Isn't A Good Idea.

Note to thieves trying to figure out where I live: Once you do that, you've got to get past the living interior and exterior guard, the security system (hint, cutting the phone and cable WON'T help), and finally, if I'm home - me. WonderWife (TM) v3.x is also right handy with the Winchester M97 trench gun. I like that one because it's handy, will blow you into large chunks, but not pass through the walls of the house to annoy my neighbors. Hardwood floors, so clean-up is easy. I'm a reasonable fellow, if you surrender meekly or run away, that will be fine. Not interested in killing or maiming anyone unless you are dumb enough to attack me or my family. The furry members count as family, BTW. Do that, then I will clean the gene pool. Plus guys, impressive as it looks, it's not as valuable as you might think - and it would be very hard to move, since you would be flooding the market. Not to mention the fact that every dealer within a (classified) radius would have a list of serial numbers and descriptions within 24 hours (ain't the internet great?). Oh, yeah - did I mention that robbing licensees is a federal offense? The feds don't go overboard after little stuff, but whacking this collection would likely garner their interest - so choose your accomodations! Plus 'bangers won't like these - the ones that look like they can shoot a lot - can't, and many of them won't work properly if you hold them sideways like they do in the movies.

So, go find an easier target, eh? No - better yet - get a real job that has better fringes.

Periodic Disclaimer for anti-gunners and law enforcement surfers (I don't mind you LE types) Heck, I don't mind the anti-gun types until they start trying to send LE types to take 'em away... here we go with the Periodic Disclaimer (TM):

Everything you ever see in photos here that I own is fully legal to own, federal, state, and local - WHERE I LIVE! Your mileage may vary, such as living in the Borg Collectives of California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc. Though ya might be surprised to find out what's legal where you live. I am a licensed collector (which isn't a license to collect, just to receive via the mails), and that only applies to curio and relic firearms. Fortunately, that's about all I want to own. On these pages I will from time to time share my toys, much like Kim du Toit does.

June 26, 2005


I had the good fortune to meet Blonde Sagacity's ALa and her sister AB during a recent Philly jaunt (scroll down to "Yesterday").

Bright, witty and drop-dead gorgeous. Times two.

John, you're gonna have to drop the Pencil-Necked, Sunken-Chested Geek nick. Witnesses.

And--ummm--you can expect renewed pressure for a Sandbox presentation. I told 'em about #82.


by CW4BillT on Jun 26, 2005 | General Commentary