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July 16, 2005

Rebecca's Kitchen

In support of Bill's post below, I offer this follow-up.

After Rebecca graduated from college (deliberately sans any MRS degree to go with her BA in Literature with a focus on Feminist Thought in Pre-Mayan Temple Carvings) she (understandably) discovered there was little commercial demand for experts in Feminist Thought in Pre-Mayan Temple Carvings, and with that 120K of student loans bearing down on her, found herself asking people if they'd "like fries with that." [Ah, now that's a sentence Bulwer-Lytton could sink his teeth into!]

Since her manager was a balding yet-otherwise-hairy fat man with bad teeth, thick glasses, and a shrewish wife plus he had delusions of grandeur that would make Walter Mitty proud, she always sought the safety and solitude of the rear window order-taking position. But... being a womyn of Passable Pulchritude®, Bad Manager with Wandering Hands kept scheduling her on the prep table, because he liked the view when she had to stretch across the table to get a knife or sweep away the trimmings. He really was a pervy little toad.

She would spend hours fantasizing that the various vegetables she was slicing were Bad Manager with Wandering Hands... Then came the day she imagined that the knife block was Bad Manager with Wandering Hands... and thus was born the idea that would make her #1 on Emily's List.

This is the first product of Rebecca's Kitchen and Teas, Inc.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

She's on her third stock split in two years.

E-Mail Maunderings

This just in from one of my guttersnipe friends -- a *female* helicopter pilot, guys (in her flight suits, the 27” zipper has spandex side panels)…

I can’t vouch for the veracity of the tale, but I’ll submit it in the interest of maintaining my still-somewhat-shaky position as purveyor of comic relief around this place…

Hi, Bill!

Remember the book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"? Here's a prime example offered by an English professor from the University of Phoenix:

(My instructions to the class:)

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right.

"As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on, back and forth.

"Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of my students, Rebecca (last name deleted) and Gary (last name deleted).

Click on Extended Entry for the read. Rated PG-17.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

July 15, 2005


Damn you to hell, Cassie. Tough Guys® aren't supposed to cry at work.

I *was* gonna do a milblog linkfest...

...but I can't beat Mrs. Greyhawk's - so I'll just send you there.

Guess I'll have to work on Gun Bloggers and RINOs and other stuff.

Like this. From the Financial Times, a Good Sign, if Mr. Malik can get some real traction within the Muslim community.

The knowledge that the bombers were British Muslims, living what were, to all appearances, respectable and unremarkable lives, has sent us a signal we can no longer ignore, that there is indeed an “enemy within”. The battle for the soul of the community has begun.

Good luck, sir. Truly.

Les Jones channels John Howard, the PM of Australia.

Say Uncle gives english lessons to anti-gunners.

Carnival of Cordite #22 is being ably hosted this week by the Baboon Pirates.

Speaking of Carnivals - how about SWWBO's Carnival of the Recipes, ably hosted this week at One Happy Dog Speaks?

I am soooo jealous - not. Rusty at My Pet Jawa scores CNN. I don't think my blogging would survive that level of exposure. However, if I were to ever get mentioned (without her choking on spittle anyway) by Janeane Garofalo... I'd have to kill myself.

Heh. Looks like Random Fate and My Pet Jawa are ahead of the Washington Post in calling for Rove's head on a platter - if Jack and Rusty and Demosophist all for different reasons.

If you don't read the Huffington Post for amusement, you should. The comments (way to have the courage to allow comments, though, Arianna) are worth the imbecility of the post itself.

I am particularly tickled by this line:

While you're soaking your broad brush in the dumb-bucket, can you tell me when the next Greg Gutfeld post is coming?

For the record - the Armorer has gay friends, knows gay soldiers, and routinely takes abuse from fellow-right wingers because I'm not all pissy about 'Don't ask, don't tell," as in they think *I'm* a troglodyte because I'm not all that keen on a unisex military. Hardly the monobloc construction that Mr. Stone implies. Of course, I routinely lump all you lefty loons into one bin, so I'll just acknowledge I'm a hypocrite and move on.

Speaking of moving on... I do *so* love a good bit of satire. The choice of music is simply an added benny. H/t Rich B.

Meet some new recruits.

Parental concerns about safety are understandable. But as I listen to Burns and the recruits, I begin to suspect that some parents still view the military through the prism of Vietnam and are skeptical about the value of any armed service. Others see Army life as rigid and restrictive, and want to protect their children from losing their individuality.

A little updating on how the Army is trying to rapidly integrate lessons learned into training. Of just as great an import... will we continue to keep that focus, or, when OPTEMPO finally slips, will we slip into the bad habits we've had in the past... especially for CSS units?

A little peek into the Heartless Libertarian's world - the world of Basic Training (even though he's leaving it for other work now).

John Deutch makes some interesting points. I'm not sure I agree about Iraq and Afghanistan, but I sure do agree with him regarding our impulses to try and nation-build. I *don't* believe that the US model will work for everyone. Because our system didn't spring fully formed from the forehead of Zeus - it evolved over centuries, with numerous changes in society and economics needful to support the enterprise. I'm not the hawk many people assume. I just don't like to go house-wrecking and leave.

How's this for some straight talking? From a General?

"These are detestable murderers and scumbags. I'll tell you that right up front."

"It doesn't matter whether we are in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world. They want to break our society. I actually believe that,"

Wow. Kewl. The twist? The speaker of those words is General Hillier - Chief of Defence Staff... Canada.

Hee. But this is the best line - we 'Muricans must have rubbed off on the good General when he served with us, as the Deputy Commander of the largest Armored Corps in the world... III Corps.

"We're not the public service of Canada, we're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people."

Word, General. Word.

Hat tip to CAPT H and Damian.

by John on Jul 15, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» The Gun Line links with: Maple Leaf Up!
» Heartless Libertarian links with: Army Marksmanship Training Update

Gitmo, schmitmo.

[Update - welcome to visitors from Michelle Malkin's place (and any other place that's trackbacked I don't know about yet)! Feel free to click here and wander around the other rooms in the Castle. Rational discourse encouraged, even contrarian, but mindless poopflinging is ignored and summarily dumped in the toilet and flushed.]

Heh. I admit to being a little befuddled, but that's not unusual. I've been reading the report, referenced to me by Jack, who sent me to Pennywit. I freely admit, and have stated before in this space, that Abu Ghraib was bad. Now we have some indication that Graner and Co, perhaps didn't think everything up on their own... they might have been copycats, adding their own special touches of idiocy to what was going on. I also note that Abu Ghraib was manned by people a lot closer to the violence of Iraq (which can have a very desensitizing effect on people), and, as has already been noted, leadership failed there.

Directly, from the top down in terms of now-Colonel Karpinski and her officers, indirectly, for those in Karpinski's chain of command and up, in Iraq. And yes, indirectly, by the way we define command responsibility, up to the President. However, we don't hold the President, or a Commanding General, personally responsible for, say, a murder one of their soldiers commit. We *would* however, hold them responsible, as a Commander, should they have fostered a climate that implicitly suggested, or a reasonable person could conclude thereby, that the CG wouldn't mind terribly much if some people got hurt or killed.

As I said, for my money, based on what I've read, direct responsiblity (i.e., chargeable) stops with Karpinski regarding Abu Ghraib. I am disappointed that her case didn't go to the level of a trial - but we don't know what went on in negotiations over her Article 15 for shoplifting, either. Above Karpinski, there are several General Officer careers which were damaged or ruined, especially, if I read the tea leaves correctly, General Sanchez.

It is a matter of opinion, whether you think direct, culpable, chargeable blame should go higher. If the whole concept of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib makes you unhappy, then I suspect you are going to want to see Rumsfeld out of a job, and even in prison. And your attitude thereby is enhanced because of the seeming linkage between what was authorized at Gitmo vice what migrated to Abu Ghraib.

Did stuff migrate? Yes, that's what the report indicates. But I would submit that it is also the along the lines of "We authorize you to put the inmate on bread and water for one week" (Gitmo) where that authorization travels across the world to Abu Ghraib, and they report "Inmate placed on bread and water for one week," which is implemented with worm-ridden hardtack and water collected from the polluted stream behind the prison.

The two are not equivalent events, even if they have a common origin.

Don't get me wrong - I've stated in this space before we go too easy on Generals, and usually hide it when we are harsh with them, absent obvious common felony stuff, because the senior leaders are convinced that putting them on trial would be bad for morale, or, more likely, image. I disagree, and strongly, but then I never made it to General, so I obviously don't get it. That's as may be.

It doesn't bother me that we made inmates at Gitmo uncomfortable. And unhappy. And that we messed with their minds. And jerked them around a little culturally - after all, at the base of it all - there is a strong element of culture war here, whether we formally admit it or not. And I find the left's sympathy with poor detainees at Gitmo having a Koran mishandled or damaged, evoking outrage, when they pooh-pooh the Bible, mock christian believers, support aritists immersing crucifixes in urine, etc, as simply expressions of art. Yes, I do understand the difference between artists and agents of the government, thank you.

That just seems a little bit of opportunistic hypocrisy to advance a political agenda more than truly-motivated outrage.

I understand that if you find any form of interrogation more energetic than, "Please tell us what your plans are for killing more people, and would you like some coffee?" to be anathema, there *is* no justification, so frankly, I'd be surprised you are still reading this. And yes, I *do* understand that our standing abroad has been damaged by this. I'm just not moved by that - not just because I'm a redneck jingoist, but because I don't think much of the opinion we putatively need to sway would be swayed, anyway. The opprobrium would just shift to the next convenient target.

My view on this is: We had legal review of the policies and procedures (which doesn't mean all objections were sustained), and where they appear to have been violated, we have conducted investigations, and it is the fact of those investigations and the results therefrom, that the press and loyal opposition has been using to flog the administration, DoD, and the Services. Not that it wouldn't have come out anyway, but the fact is - the DoD has been self-policing on this issue - whether or not we like the outcomes of same in terms of senior leader scalps. And I don't. I'd like some more senior scalps on poles outside the White House. I wouldn't mind Rumsfeld's - but *NOT* over this.

Of course, the fact that we aren't just willy-nilly scalping senior leaders is also because they have some due-process protections... which we are apparently supposed to toss over for political considerations.

I agree with Ravenwood - Gitmo is Blutarsky of Delta House at a pledge party. I would add that Abu Ghraib is Niedermeyer of Omega House.

Update: The Army's official stance...


In June 2004, the FBI began an internal investigation to determine if any of its personnel had observed mistreatment or aggressive behavior toward detainees at Guantanamo.

The FBI’s Inspection Division emailed 493 personnel who had been assigned to GTMO, asking whether any had observed aggressive treatment. They received 434 total responses; 26 agents stated they had observed aggressive treatment. In response to allegations disclosed in December 2004 as a result of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, Gen. Bantz Craddock, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, ordered an investigation.

 The investigation found no evidence of torture or inhumane treatment at Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).

 The investigation found only three interrogation acts in violation of interrogation techniques authorized by Army Field Manual 24-52 and DoD guidance.

 The investigation found the commander JTF-GTMO failed to monitor the interrogation of one high value detainee in late 2002. The interrogation of this same detainee resulted in degrading and abusive treatment, but did not rise to the level of being inhumane treatment.

 The investigation found that the communication of a threat to another high value detainee was in violation of Secretary of Defense guidance and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

 The investigation team determined the following acts were never authorized under any interrogation guidance: (a) two occasions where a detainee was “short shackled” to the eye-bolt on the floor in the interrogation room; (b) an instance when a duct tape was used to “quiet” a detainee; (c) and an instance when military interrogators threatened the subject of a special interrogation and his family.

 The investigation team determined some acts were initially not authorized under existing interrogation guidance, but later were authorized as an approved technique, including: adjusting air conditioners to make the detainees uncomfortable; moving detainees from cell to cell every few hours to disrupt sleep patterns and lower the ability to resist interrogation; the use of a military dog growling, barking and showing his teeth at a specific detainee; and the separation of a specific detainee in an isolation facility.

 The investigators also found no evidence of “ghost detainees.”

Detainee affairs website.

[Update - Wow! You made it all the way down here? Welcome to visitors from Michelle Malkin's place. Like I said above, feel free to click here and wander around the other rooms in the Castle. As I said above - rational discourse encouraged, even contrarian, but mindless poopflinging is ignored and summarily dumped in the toilet and flushed]

A Public Service Announcement

Today's topic in our continuing (okay, so there *was* a li'l break in continuity between the last post and this one) series of Adult Education classes will focus on Interpersonal Relationships, the whole Mars-Venus thang.

Gentlemen, take your seats, please, while I endeavor to enlighten you with regards to the simple things which will teach you

How to Please a Woman (Almost) Every Time

You’ve gotta accept, acknowledge, acquiesce, allay, attend, calm, charm, cherish, clothe, coax, complement, compliment, console, correspond, defend, feed, flirt, hear, help, humor, indulge, oblige, phone, protect, respect, salve, savor, serenade, serve, spoil, support, tease, toast, trust, understand, upgrade and worship at her feet.

Then accessorize, angelicize, empathize, energize, gelatinize, idolize, moisturize, rationalize, romanticize, sockdolagize, and tantalize; caress, coddle, cuddle, embrace, hug, massage, mush, nuzzle, smooch, snoozle, snuggle, snurfle, squeeze and stroke; detoxify, drip-dry, flip-flop-fly (don’t care if I die), gratify, humidify, pacify and sanctify; alleviate, anticipate, communicate, elevate, enervate, fascinate, ingratiate, lubricate, make-a-date (and take her places, don’t cha look at other faces), placate, resuscitate, stimulate, sublimate, ululate and undulate.

And climb, drag, jitterbug, locomote, lug, swim ‘n’ swing; bite-taste-nibble slam-dunk and dribble; brag about, commit-to, dream-of, flash-on her fashion, forgive ‘n’ forget, leave ‘n’ return, make-plans-with, minister-to and promise- ‘n’ deliver-to; bawl, beg (borrow and steal), beseech, cajole, crawl, grovel, implore, murmur, pine, plead-and-sacrifice-for; bathe, fluff, fold, pamper and praise; pink-coral-wax, butter-up the buttercup, brush, fizz, fuse, fuss, jiffy-lube, knead, lather, polish, relish, rib, rub, shave, shower, slip, slide, slather, slicken, soak and tingle.

And kill-for, die-for and fix-things-up-for; crazy-glue, repair, patch, solder, spackle and spot-weld; amaze, amuse, dazzle, delight, enchant, entertain, excite, flabbergast, woo and wow; crystal-blue-persuade, diddle-doodle, hanky-panky, hinky-dinky (parlez-vous?), hokey-pokey, mollycoddle-spin-the-bottle, agree with everything she has ever thought, said or done and scuttle like a fiddler crab across the vast ocean floor of her existence.

Then you go back, Jack, and do it again (wheels turning ‘round and ‘round)…

Gentlemen, you are released! Hey--no running with that pencil in yer mouth! Ahem. *thought balloon: now, where was I?*

Your turn, Ladies. Prepare to discover

How to Please a Man Every Single Time

Show up nekkid.

by CW4BillT on Jul 15, 2005 | General Commentary

July 14, 2005

Video post...

Sorry to punish you guys with dial-up... but everybody, do yourself and my server a favor... right-click and save as, and run it from your hard drive. Better quality for you, less suck on bandwidth for me.

1st up - one that is roaring around the milworld and I'm sure is up on a gazillion blogs already.

Body Armor works. Turn up the sound. Listen to the jihadi start with the "Allahu akbar" stuff... I'm sure it started because he was so proud of what he was doing... and then segued into prayer when the Infidel Myrmidon got up looking pissed. *That's* never a good thing... a recently shot and now pissed off Infidel. H/t Mike L and Chris H.

I got shot with 7.62x54R wearing the old stuff. I didn't get up very quickly. This is a smaller bullet, but that is *still* a fair amount of energy transfer! That's a tough, collected, well trained troop.

2nd Up. Just gotta love dogs. Don't *touch* my bone. H/t Jim C.

3rd Up. *Not* work safe with the sound up too high. Visually fine. A little freudian slip. H/t Mike L.

4th up - I've had this up before - but you never can over emphasize... Danger Close varies by munition/delivery system...

by John on Jul 14, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» UNCoRRELATED links with: Hard To Kill

How about a little gunblogging...

According to the Supremes, the police still have absolutely no obligation to respond to anything. (Note to LEO's - I know you guys feel the *moral* obligation, and generally try very hard - this isn't about you guys, it's about policy, and governmental responsiblity - no slam on officers herein intended).

By a vote of 7-to-2, the Supreme Court ruled that Gonzales has no right to sue her local police department for failing to protect her and her children from her estranged husband.

I'm not arguing the facts or the merits of the case, or the decision. Just noting that the Supreme Court has again reaffirmed that the police are not obligated to provide protection for individuals, in individual cases. On a case-by-case, individual basis, the citizen is on his or her own. Therefore... you have *another* (not that we needed it) example to use when dealing with gun-grabbers who *also* seem to believe you have little to no individual right of practical self-defense. Not that most of them will listen. They certainly don't in Britain, as Say Uncle points us to a series of articles on the issue.

Because, as Ravenwood points out - it's all about the children.

Or, as Publicola notes, when you *actually do* successfully defend yourself, irked that they can't haul you away, they take your guns, instead.

The Great Race has always been between tyranny and freedom, with order as tyranny's worthy handmaiden, and crime as freedom's ugly stepsister.
- Dana Blankenhorn

by John on Jul 14, 2005 | Gun Rights

Gloom, despair, and agony on me...

Hmmmm. Interesting confluence of stuff here the last two days. The Dems are playing serious ball to get the White House back - and Hillary is in the thick of it (this is the same article I linked to yesterday - stay with me, I'm not suffering from Alzheimer's). They are trying to show they *can* be tough on Defense. (If this *is* a true change in spots, you can thank the GOP for forcing it)

We have Morning Sun commenting on that post:

First thing that came to my mind since the Dems suggest it so often is a Draft.

Odd at a time when quote " recruitment numbers are down " that thinking to increase troop strength is the thing to do.

But don't ask me. I can't make any sense of what polititians do , let alone the most liberal ones.

We aren't just concerned about recruitment. We also have some retention issues, though while they report out well, in some places, there *is* a dark side to it. There are some ugly stories - but that doesn't mean the Army is "trapping" everybody with threats of stop-loss. But I don't doubt this happens:

Lisa from Washington State writes:

My son in law in Iraq said they are being pressured round the clock to re-enlist or face stop loss. They are being offered $30,000 signing bonus, tax free and told if they don't re-enlist, they are going to be stop-lossed and get zero dollars. They are pushing the troops round the clock and Mark only got 3 hours sleep in 48 hours and when they get back, they are faced yet again with re-enlisting. Mark said many guys are scared and signing up and their families at home are very upset. (with good reason) We really need to push our media and congressmen to expose the horrible way our troops are being treated.

The above comes from Cindy Sheehan's portion of Lew Rockwell's site - Ms. Sheehan is the Founder of Gold Star Mother's for Peace - just so you know where her bias lies, however hard-earned it is. H/t, Jim C.

Junior officers are leaving in higher numbers than we'd like.

More than three years after the Sept. 11 attacks spawned an era of unprecedented strain on the all-volunteer military, it is scenes like this that keep the Army's senior generals awake at night. With thousands of soldiers currently on their second combat deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan and some preparing for their third this fall, evidence is mounting that an exodus of young Army officers may be looming on the horizon.

While always worrisome, it is *also* not unexpected. I went to these seminars as a young officer. The corporate world *wants* these guys and will pay for them. The Army *is* a dangerous place to be a combat arms officer - and family members are weighing in on these decisions, too - even more than when times are relatively quiet. So, the fact that people are deciding they've had enough is not unusual. And there has always been attrition - and, the pyramid narrows, too. But yes, it needs to be watched. The real downside to this is who leaves... many times, it's the best and the brightest/most motivated... leaving behind the slugs like me who couldn't make it on the outside. At least that's what I was told by the trolls last year during the run-up to the election.

Then you've got the Army-funded study that sez... the Army isn't big enough, as related in this Chicago Tribune article by Michael Kilian.

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has consistently rejected any contention that the Army is stretched too thin in fighting simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But a new Army study has concluded the service is so strained that the U.S. will soon "need to decide what military capabilities the Army should have and what risks may be prudent to assume."

Numerous critics and outside defense policy groups have warned that the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has taxed the Army so badly that it will have difficulty meeting any new crises elsewhere, but the new assessment comes from an in-house undertaking prepared by the RAND Corp.'s Arroyo Center, the Army's federally funded research institute.

"The challenge the Army faces is profound," senior RAND analyst Lynn Davis, lead author of the report, said in a statement accompanying the study. "Any approach is fraught with risks and uncertainties, along with significant costs and some possible changes in the Army's long-term goals."

If you'd like to read the whole study, rather than Kilian's opinion of it, click here (full disclosure, I haven't read it all yet)

Context is important here - the study compares and contrasts the Army against the two-Major Regional Conflict requirement... which we know at this point, the Army simply can't do. So, we either reshape the forces *or* we redefine what it is we need them to do - and the 2 MRC strategy is a little dated, and not just by events. The Quadrennial Defense Review process is coming up - you can bet things are going to change. Something else about peace-timing 'strategerizing' - what results is almost always, in the final analysis, budget-driven, and we tend to then say what we can afford fits what we need. Wartime *always* provides a focus and spur absent in peacetime planning. And that affects everybody in the process, the DoD, the President, and the Congress - and your willingness to shoulder the tax burden, expressed via the ballot box. Don't fool yourself. We (collectively) are just as responsible, because we're human, and we tend to hear what we want to hear... until what we hear are bullets whistling overhead.

The Army is restructuring to better be able to fight this kind of war - accepting the risk that large-scale conventional combat is unlikely in the short-to-mid-term time frame. The 2nd Infantry Division just completed it's restructure into the new Unit of Employment organization - and did so two years earlier than planned... pressure of operations, and a recognition we had to make changes *now* not later. There will undoubtedly be fallout from doing it that fast. But what the hell - we'll get savaged for doing it, and savaged for not doing it - so you might as well just drive on, because *someone* will always grind your face in it for whatever reason motivates them.

Things look bleak, eh? Welcome to wartime. Things were going swimmingly in October 1944, then came December 16 and suddenly there was a huge hole in Allied lines in the Ardennes. Then in May 1945, the war in Europe was over. Only then the German insurgency started... which lasted until 1947. Then the Russians detonated their own nuke... and then the North Koreans tried to summer in the the South... and, well, you get the idea. Comparing WWII - Korea to Iraq is really *not* a fruitful exercise of direct comparison - what I'm really after here is an illustration that, per our buddy Karl von Clausewitz, "War is the province of uncertainty."

And finally (ya listening Jack?) some senior administration officials are admitting that mistakes were made.

Douglas J. Feith, a top Pentagon official who was deeply involved in planning the Iraq war, said that there were significant missteps in the administration's strategy, including the delayed transfer of power to a new Iraqi government, and that he did not know whether the invading U.S. force was the right size.

All bad news, right? Yep. Disaster? Must run from it? Flee? Build an even larger, more expensive force? Hell, I dunno.

Except we can't run from it. We owe it to the Iraqis to stick it out - but they have to do their part, too. Because if they won't, or can't, then yes, we can leave - honorably, after having afforded them the chance to try a new path. But it may take as long as it's taking in the Balkans, people.

As LTG Petraeus notes in Trudy Rubin's article linked above:

"I believe it is not only possible but imperative that the Iraqis take full ownership of their military and police institutions," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. But Iraq's fragmentation makes it hard for an army to fight effectively, or its officers to lead well.

"It all comes down to skill and will," I was told by a senior U.S. officer. "Training can develop the skill, but the will must really be inspired by Iraqi leaders.

"In many respects," the officer continued, "the whole endeavor will increasingly rest on the ability of Iraqi leaders in the security forces and government to foster cooperation among factions. It will rest on their ability to convince as many Iraqis as possible - especially Sunni Arabs - to support the new Iraq and oppose the insurgents."

I believe this officer is correct.

Until Iraqi leaders can pull together, their security forces won't jell either. This makes U.S. policy heavily dependent on the uncertain abilities of Iraqis to forge some kind of domestic consensus.

As Maggie Thatcher said to Bush's father: "Don't go all wobbly on me, George."

You either.

Update: Here's a NYT article that lays out much more detail about what the Dems are asking for.

The lawmakers said they would introduce an amendment to the annual Defense Department authorization bill to raise the Army's authorized strength by 20,000 troops annually in each of the next four years, raising the total force to 582,400. Joining Ms. Clinton at a news conference announcing the proposals were three other Democratic senators, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Ken Salazar of Colorado.

Okay. Kewl. Now, I know how they'll want to fund it - take away the tax cuts. Got that. And, don't mind it, actually, if... if... does this mean that the Democrats actually intend to *use* these troops, to stay the course (in whatever fashion they formulate for a policy)?

In other words, Senators, great idea. Now, are you going to tell me what *your* foreign and defense policy will be that will actually employ these forces - or are we just going to add to the endstrength for a while, then end up firing a bunch of guys later, because, well, we were really just doing it in order to win the White House and stuff. In other words - this may not be a bad idea, but I'd like to see what your plans for 2009 and beyond are where these troops will be needed. Gonna keep 'em in Iraq? Afghanistan? Send 'em to Africa? And where ya gonna base 80K more people back stateside? Or will we bringing guys home from Europe and replacing them in Germany with these guys?

Because, I have some problems with the whole thing (which mirror, I suspect, Rumsfeld's.)

1. If we are trying to build divisions - that's a 2-4 year process that we could probably shorten to mebbe 2-3... but training space to do that is going to be tight. You don't just add 20,000 privates and call it a division. The WWII experience indicates it takes years. You have to train the individuals, then the platoons, the companies, the battalions, the regiments/brigades... *then* you can start organizing divisions.

2. But - we're not fighting as divisions, so we can probably take that down to 1-2 years.

3. Where is the cadre going to come from? Again, 80,000 privates doesn't help. You need Sergeants and Staff Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains. They don't grow overnight. Then there's the senior guys... we're short Majors, too, and Sergeants First Class. They aren't going to come out of that 80K. Some of the junior officers can be grown from the enlisted ranks - at the expense of the NCO Corps.

4. And if the people won't volunteer... are you ready to draft? Which *still* won't help your junior officer and NCO problem.

5. So, guys - what's your plan? Do you *really* intend to stay the course in the Global War on Terror? Because if you don't - this is just smoke and mirrors, and a horrendous waste of resources.

6. You want to hollow out this Army - this is a *great* way to start. Time to show us the whole integrated plan that makes this a good idea, rather than just good politics.

Just sayin'.

by John on Jul 14, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Donovan’s Funk
» Cadillac Tight links with: Opportunity
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So much time... little work. From the Big Bag of SFOR Stray Trons comes this gem. Do you guys remember when the Special Forces spent their time training when they weren't off doing Sneaky Pete stuff? John's gonna love this one...

From: Doerr, Pete []
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 9:21 PM
To: Tuttle, Bill []
Subject: OPORD on Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Importance: Low

Hey, Bill - Just when you think we’ve got it bad here…

UNIT 29355
APO AE 09014

14 November 2001



SUBJECT: Holiday Tree Lighting and Holiday Party Memorandum of Instruction (MOI)

1. Purpose. This MOI establishes responsibilities for conducting the 2001 Headquarters, V Corps Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Party scheduled for Friday, 7 December 2001, from 1800 to 2030hrs.

2. Concept. The lighting of the tree and the party are family functions. All soldiers, DOD civilians and family members are invited to attend. The activities will be conducted on Campbell Barracks. The tree lighting is in front of Bldg #9 from 1800 to 1830. The party will be held at the food court area (pending) on the north side (Bldg #31) from 1900 to 2030.

3. This mission is executed in four phases.

a. Phase I. Planning and preparation phase includes assigning responsibility for actions/tasks, locking in required resources, formalizing plans, and providing In-Progress Reviews (IPR) to the Commander. Phase I is complete 7 December.

b. Phase II. Set-up. Tree decorating, bleacher/chair placement, canopy set-up, room decoration at food court. 070900 Dec 01 to 091800 Dec 01.

c. Phase III. Execution.
(1). 071800 Dec 01 to 072030 Dec 01 for the tree lighting and party.
(2). 072030 Dec 01 to 072200 Dec 01 for cleanup of the tree lighting and party locations.
(3). 072200 Dec 01 to 031500 Jan 02 for continuous maintenance of the tree, dusk to dawn lighting of the tree, tear-down and recovery of decorations on the tree.

Continued in Extended Entry/Flash Traffic -- I don't want to blow the bottom out of the blog.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

July 13, 2005

Okay, since *someone's* panties are in a twist...

...and CAPT H provided some kewl new material anyway... here is some *Army* stuff for Mike, the sniveling whiner...

First up - Canadian Gunner Zen.

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Secondly, here are some interesting tidbits of Canadiana, provided by CAPT H, and relevant to the discussion of Canadian Military Transformation covered in this post (read the comments, they're illuminating).

The good Captain refuses to provide 1-11 and the others as he has not verified them. He submits these:

12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany.
14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and it lasted a little over an hour.
15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, who slept in and missed the whole thing... but showed up just in time to get caught.
18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3 minutes.
24. The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands with mitts on.

But ... ← (that's a link, Mike)

Yes... but!

If you'd like to see more of the Canadian LG #1 MkII featured above,

Click here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

All photos Canadian Ministry of Defense, I assume.

And now for something completely different.

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Photo credit: Bad Cat Robot

Ya know, the Castle really needs a resident sailor. But all the articulate sailors I know blog already, sigh. Heh. That won't stop me from jumping into these waters! Argghhh! mateys! Perhaps the relatively newly-minted Captain Lex will come by and skool me along with the Commander.

I think Cdr Salamander will approve of this little bit reported on Strategy Page about rebuilding the Brown Water Navy. But, "naval infantry"? Isn't that the Corps? But Dunnigan doesn't always get his details straight, then, either - that or his sources don't. I've seen *that* from both sides... and as I've started to get big enough to have people send me stuff... well, I've been tripped up, too.

Anyway - as Castle Denizen Bad Cat Robot caught in pixels in Seattle over the 4th of July - the Navy is working to build back it's 'Brown Water' (riverine) and coastal (littoral) capabilities - a scale-back from the carrier and sub-based focus of the fleet. (yes, I know that's a specops sub, but it's the closest to a boomer pic I've got at the moment) In this case, the vessel in question is the Seafighter.

I admit - I'm *not* quite as keen as the 'Phibian is about the Navy getting into river warfare, pride says the Army could handle it... and we are, in Iraq, and, let's face it, rivers run through Army areas of operations... but.

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Not only is there a long history of the Navy having the job (remember the Civil War? Those weren't *Army* vessels on the Mississippi. Tennessee, Ohio, and James Rivers...) in the case of the Current Operating Environment (as we geeks term it), it frees up soldiers to poke and prod into the urban areas - and opens up a new manpower front, currently not fully utilized but already enlisted (not knocking sailors here) in the GWOT. Rather than expand the Army's capacity (end strength, etc) we could tap the Navy's manpower pool.

There are several other factors at work here - all acting, I think, in favor of the Navy.

1. Smaller vessels, more of them - and smaller shipyards could build them, as well. That builds political and local support for the Navy - and expands their impact through a greater economic spectrum... but I'm no economist, I could be all wet on that. It also means greater capacity - as opposed to being limited to just a few huge yards capable of doing the work.

2. More vessels, more command opportunity. I don't care how you slice it - command of a small vessel is preferable to shore duty or Division Officer on a huge vessel. Need to do them both - but the Navy's officer corps would benefit from more chances to sit in the Captain's chair, I would think.

3. Jointness. More opportunities for land and naval component officers to work together. I gotta admit though, building a river at Fort Irwin for some joint training is gonna be a challenge...

4. And, allow the Navy a cheaper way to perhaps get more involved in the anti-piracy efforts in the Pacific region.

Like I said - not my area of expertise, but that doesn't stop any of the MSM pundits, why should I let it get in my way... but, really, just tossing stuff out there to see what kind of conversation I can start. If I can lure down the lurkers, I usually learn something.

by John on Jul 13, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» CDR Salamander links with: Back to Brown Water

July 12, 2005

Task Force Baghdad Update and other stuff.


Task Force Baghdad's mission is to neutralize the anti-Iraqi forces and insurgents who are influencing the city and province, and to help develop a capable Iraqi Security Force.

Task Force Baghdad includes 30,000 soldiers from the Multinational Forces and 15,000 soldiers from the Iraqi army.

Task Force Baghdad's focus during Operation Lightning has been to significantly reduce the number of car bombs, and to disrupt enemy cells.

Prior to conducting Operation Lightning, there were 14 to 21 car bombs per week; that number has been reduced to about seven or eight per week.

Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have been successful in reducing the overall number of attacks of all kinds in Baghdad.

Iraqis are gaining more confidence in their security forces and providing them with more information, which is used to help disrupt insurgent cells.

It is intended to have Iraqi Security Forces securing Baghdad for the elections with Coalition forces as back up.

While there are more threats, the ability of the insurgents to conduct sustained high-intensity operations as they did last year has mostly been eliminated.

Source: DoD

June recruiting numbers are in. It's not a trend yet, let's not break out the champagne - it represents the high school graduates. Retention is doing okay, too.

Rino Sightings!

Carnival of Liberty!

Hee! Me so bad.

Jeff at Alphecca has up his weekly Check on the Bias (Bias against guns, if you don't know Jeff)

Rusty finds Karl Rove to be a distraction.

Cassandra vs Moyers. No contest. Really. None.

Outside eyes, looking in.

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It's always good to get other viewpoints on your miltary hardware and performance. We have whole organizations established to do just that - read that sort of thing. Just as there are bloggers who make a point of reading Democratic Underground and Daily Kos - so you and I don't have to! They add depth (and strip away some of our blinders) and nuance - as well as provide a window into *their* worldview.

Here's an interesting analysis from one of our Russian friends on the performance of our M1, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and Stryker in OIF. I don't know when this was written - but from comments made herein - I'm guessing *before* the second battle of Fallujah.

Update: As always, when dealing with things Armor, CAPT H will find the source of things - or at least something close.

Subject: US Armor in Operation "Iraqi Freedom" - Russian Viewpoint

US Armor in Operation "Iraqi Freedom"

Vasiliy Fofanov

US-led Operation "Iraqi Freedom" and the subsequent occupation have fueled debate on the future of armor systems over the next few decades. Supporters of the latest generation tank designs can justifiably claim that the Main Battle Tank (MBT) and the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) have proven their value on the Iraqi battlefield. This was clear especially during the initial stages of combat, when heavy brigade combat teams made up of the M1AHA Abrams and the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems (BFVS), and the British Challenger II Mk2 and Warrior IFVs, destroyed Iraqi combat systems with little resistance along the road to Baghdad and Basra, respectively. On the other hand, critics of this model point to the surfeit of heavy armor and the unacceptably high burden placed on supply chains to sustain heavy brigades so far removed from their bases. Moreover, the second phase of the operation and the occupation revealed certain shortcomings of current MBT protection and firepower systems. The US-Iraq war can hardly provide conclusive evidence in support of either side in this debate, since it is unlikely that the US will ever enjoy such an overwhelming technological and organizational superiority over the enemy. A more even contest will require radically different tactics and result in much higher losses. Nevertheless, the combat experience of medium and heavy fighting machines in Iraq provides some useful lessons for the future.


The Abrams tank armor system was not really put to the test during military operations in Iraq. There were virtually no reported hits on the highly protected frontal arc or on the "heavy" ballistic skirts; all tank losses to enemy fire were defeated from the top, side and rear. Iraqi soldiers had clearly familiarized themselves with the capabilities of American tanks during operation Desert Storm and avoided engaging them in direct battle. For example, there were no reported cases of anti-tank guide missiles (ATGM) being fired at any US army vehicle. At the same time, Iraqi resistance fighters, whose ranks were bolstered by scores of trained Iraqi soldiers, have clearly learned to exploit the vulnerabilities of the US systems. They managed to destroy up to 20 enemy tanks even with their antiquated light anti-tank weapons, mostly Soviet rocket-propelled grenades such as the RPG-7 or its Chinese and Egyptian variants, with rounds developed in the 1970s-early 1980s. The results of combat operations show that the side armor of the Abrams tank is completely inadequate to fire from light anti-tank weapons, including older generation weapons, making these tanks unsuitable for operations in built-up areas.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry. (excess wordage snipped because Barb skooled me.)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Curiouser and curiouser...

Just an observation at o'dark thirty in the morning.

I've been somewhat intrigued by the increasing bleedover of military terminology (aka MilSpeak) into the civilian sector and vice versa; e.g., the elusive, grail-like "Six Sigma" (which has replaced "Zero Defects") -- a noble goal in manufacturing, say, an SUV, but an unrealistic one in such military pastimes as the Close Combat Course (that's why the ratio of instructors to trainees is "parity" -- to keep the mistakes manageable and, hopefully, non-fatal).

Yesterday I heard the buzzwords "Mission Statement" used in a commercial for, of all things, used cars.

I can guarantee that a military briefer will soon utter the phrase "product delivery" to describe either an airstrike or a combat assault.

Remember, you saw it here first...

Tocsins and alarums!

Egads and a thousand gadzooks!

Castle Heavy AutoWeps Maven Sarge B’s Natal Anniversary was – (ulp!) – yesterday

ALCON (Denizens, Denizennes, Visitors and Lurkers -- yes, this means you) report to Firebase Redmond for a Congratulatory Comment Instalanche, ASAP!

Oh, AD-ju-tant(e)…post yer posterior posthaste to the Commandant for a quick flogging, followed by a lesson in how to use Excel, or Excess or whatever that app thingy is you use to keep track of significant events. Bring the cat.

Heh. H/T to AFSis and Barb, who's *not* gonna get flogged because she's already done that self-flagellation thang.

Well, maybe just a spanking...

[*whap*] YIPE!

by CW4BillT on Jul 12, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: I'm a Bad blog-sister

July 11, 2005


Who *is* Freda Sorce and why do people care?

Okay - I know there is a Baltimore/Washington area talk show guy Don Geronimo of Don and Mike, who is married to a woman named Freda...

And someone using the name Freda Sorce left a comment on the Howard Dean blog once - suggesting Dean would pardon Saddam Hussein, that I highlighted as an example of why I was not interested in Dean.

But why have I gotten 800+ hits from Google today for "Freda Sorce"? What's making her special today?

Update. Never mind. I figured it out. She died in a car accident yesterday.

My condolences go out to all her family and friends, and those who listened to her on the show. And to people searching for information on her, there is none here, other than perhaps, she left a comment on Howard Dean's blog that caught my attention - if that was indeed her.

Literally, there is nothing to see here. And I'm sorry I'm getting the traffic for such a sad reason.

Requiescat im Pace

Aaah, the smell of snark in the morning...

Artfully, respectfully, and devastatingly done. Even if the citizen who complained couldn't have known. It must have been the "Tom Cruise" comment - everybody knows he played a *Naval* aviator.

Subject: FW: F-16 noise complaint...

From the Arizona Republic online.....

A complaint post from a moron, and the reply:



A wake-up call from Luke's jets

Jun. 23, 2005 12:00 AM

"Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show?

Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!

Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special?

Any response would be appreciated."

The reply is classic, and a testament to the professionalism and heroism of the folks in the armed services. The response:


Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets" (Letters, Thursday):

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt Jeremy Fresques.

Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, "Whom do we thank for the morning air show?"

The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke Air Force Base

Should you wish to express condolences to the Fresques family, you can do so here.

H/t, Mike L.

Update: The original letter writer has apologized for his snark.

Mr. MacRae, tendered a written apology which was published in The Republic on 9 July:

Regarding "Flyby honoring fallen comrade" (Letters, June 28):

I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby ("A wake-up call from Luke's jets," Letters, June 23).

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae, Peoria6

I'm thinking, all's well that ends well. And it even explains why the guy thought of Naval aviators... Well done, Mr. MacRae.

by John on Jul 11, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» CDR Salamander links with: I love jet noise
» The View From The Nest links with: He Apologized
» Villainous Company links with: Sometimes Even Good Men Go Away

The Canadian Army Transforms.

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CAPT H provides a one-stop shop for all things Canadian Military, especially if he can plug his beloved Royal Canadians, Lord Strathcona's Horse. The Strathcona's, as it happens, are at the center of the Canadian Army's morphing from a small, heavy-cored force to a small, medium-cored force. Which sounds like a snark, but isn't, really.

Given how the Canadians have been using their forces, and see their forces being used in the future, what they are doing right now makes perfect sense. It is more deployable, cheaper to acquire and maintain - and makes more of their force available for use. The Canadians maintained a heavy armored force to support the Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Canada's NATO contribution - which is no longer needed as a heavy punch in Europe. And let's face it - the US isn't going to allow (if it's even *truly* possible at this point in history) someone *else* to invade Canada (heck, we've never been successful, we aren't about to let someone else do it and embarass us, right?). So, given the way the Canadians see their forces, this transformation makes sense, and actually *expands* the spectrum of effort they can involve themselves in. Which, when they come to think about it - may cause some Canadians some angst. I wouldn't worry, folks - your political class will take care of that...

Start here - The Soldier's Guide to Transformation. (I'd open this in a new window, the website is reluctant to let you return...)

Then here - when Princess Patty's Completely Lost Infantry (Okay, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, sheesh lemme have some fun, eh?) Anti-Armor troops integrate in with the Strathcona's.

And finish up here - where the new-fangled (not really, but we all have to pretend it's radically new for PR purposes) Direct Fire Unit runs through it's paces in what we would call a CALFEX - Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise. Very nice to watch, very dangerous to execute because of all that live ammo - but still, no one is shooting back. If I were these guys, I'd be itching to find a way to get to the National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center to test myself against an enemy that shoots back. And that's not a snark about Canadian training - they are slowly building to a NTC-like capability, but no one can afford what we've built - and if I were the Canadian Army, I'd be all over trying to find a way to get there... perhaps with a US unit training for an Afghan deployment. Why? Because the Canadians are part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Oh, and before anyone snarks changing from "Armor Battalion" to "Direct Fire Unit" remember the "Units of Action" and "Units of Employment" labels being used in the US Transformation effort.

Just sayin'

Update: Damian of BabblingBrooks reads me pretty well, I think. Now you should read him.

Unfortunately, the supposed "transformation" of our military hasn't yet even staunched the bleeding yet. Via my Chief Ottawa Correspondent, faithful readers of Babbling Brooks (who have now dwindled to a short-strength Pictionary team) will be interested to learn that private contractors will soon be providing basic weapons training to CF members. Yes, you read that right: civilians will be teaching soldiers how to shoot.

John, you didn't share *that* little nugget with me! Anyway - for the rest of Damian's expansion of my topic - click here.

And I should note, full disclosure, that the Armorer makes a living since his retirement doing things like, well, providing training to active military personnel, developing the tools to provide that training and now doing analytical work on myriad things about the Army of the future, which frees up the young healthy bucks to go do things like, um, OIF and OEF... and instead of a Major with 15 years of service under his belt doing it, you get someone with, um, (feh, this makes me feel old) 30 years of experience doing it... but cheaper than someone with equivalent length of service.

Just sayin'

July 10, 2005

My Homework Assignment...

[Editor's note: This post will remain up top for today, and maybe tomorrow, because it *is* a homework assignment, and Hugh Hewitt linked to the webpage, not a specific post (because it didn't exist yet) and people are coming from Hewitt's to the top of the blog. Sooo, until Hugh gets a link up to the post proper, new content will come in below this. New visitors - welcome, and feel free to poke around!]

Once again, I had to open my mouth and call Hugh Hewitt while listening to his conversation with Tom Oliphant of the Boston Glob (no, I didn't misspell that).

What I ended up with was a homework assignment from my favorite Con Law prof/talkshow host. As luck would have it, I'm on the road, in between careers (quitting the old, starting a new) and houses (selling the old, moving into the new). I've just spent 12 hours on the road, it's 10 minutes to midnight and I have a long day of driving ahead tomorrow, so this is a rush job.

Any incoherence is mine and mine alone, and for that I sincerely apologize in advance...enjoy!

The Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant spends most of the hour with Hugh on the War on Terror.

Spread this one far and wide, folks. Tom is not a rabid twit of a lefty, using Hugh's new definition. He's wrong, but he's not insane. This is the view of the left in America today. Go forth and dissect:

HH: For a different take, now, on the war against terror, joined by Tom Oliphant, who is a columnist for the Boston Globe. Long time columnist there, as well as a frequent participant on the PBS News Hour. Yesterday, a guest on Air America. Today, a guest on Hugh Hewitt. Tom, you've covered the waterfront of talk radio in two days.

TO: Can I get the rest of the week off after this?

HH: You're pretty tired. You've run the lap. Thank you for making some time for us. I listened to the Air America interview yesterday with great interest. And at the end of it, you said that the idea that we're making progress in the War on Terror is bunkem. Why do you say that?

TO: Well, you know, 9/11 often gets compared, with good reason, to Pearl Harbor. A combination of hideous sneak attack and wake-up call. It certainly was that.

That's about where the comparison's aptness ends. It's accurate and pithy, like a good reporter's work should be. At this point, however, he should have stopped and waited for the next question. Alas, he wanders into Clauzewitz's garden and falls down the well…

What ought to trouble more Americans, however, is that at the same distance from Pearl Harbor, in the 1940's, we had won the war.

This begs the question, “And, therefore…what?” A classic apples-to-oranges comparison that so many on the left engage in, especially when it comes to the application of military power--a subject they find, well, icky, and thus rarely take the opportunity to study.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Islamo-fascists, their tactics and capabilities present a somewhat different problem than Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany. I won't insult everyone's intelligence by going into details, like the asymmetry in conventional capabilities, the sheer sizes of the target sets, the relative reluctance of both sides to target civilians as a matter of policy (although the residents of London, Tokyo and Dresden may vehemently disagree), and something Tom may not have even thought about-uniforms.

Readily identifiable combatants sort of simplifies your firing solution. But ones that dress like civilians and are probably long-time residents among their target societies, ones who specifically target non-combatants…and do it on every major continent…might take a little longer to subdue.

So, that temporal strawman probably has most of Hugh's military listeners' eyes twitching like Herbert Lom's in the Pink Panther movies. The sheer idiocy of the statement makes us nuts.

We're involved in a much more difficult, longer-term struggle now.

So…he just rendered inapplicable his previous comparison…

But it is very hard to see the gains. In the four years, almost, since 9/11, there has been at least one major Al Qaeda-connected or inspired event per year. The hideous nightclub bombing in Bali, the attack on the resort in Kenya, Madrid, and now London, before we count casualties in Iraq and from somewhat smaller incidents around the world. The willingness of terrorists to do this sort of thing, does not appear yet to have been matched by our ability to defeat them, or to defuse the broader problems out of which terrorism emerges.

If by defeat, Oliphant means “prevent every attack,” that is an obviously impossible goal…but it does help paint current US policy as “failed.”

By this standard, no police force, fire department or emergency medical response organization in the world can declare success, ever. At least not as long as crimes are committed, fires destroy property and lives, and people don't survive medical emergencies. But let's ask a question: If the Chief of Police in any major city in the US…check that--let's say of our capital city...successfully reduces the murder rate in Washington by 50%, would Mr. Oliphant consider this news?

Or, more specifically, good news?

News worth acknowledging in print?

I think he might.

Maybe not, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

Well, the number of bombings in Baghdad--one of our central battle fronts in the physical and political war on terror--have done just that. I won't hold my breath waiting for Brian Williams or Tom Oliphant or Daniel Schorr or [pick your favorite MSM pundit/journalist] to let us know about it.

This brings up another point: The Left will always insist on defining success in terms no opposition Administration (or ANY Administration for that matter) could attain. And, if something happens that irrefutably demonstrates success (the first Iraqi elections come to mind,) it will be grudgingly acknowledged for one day, then studiously ignored, and finally overshadowed by some other “disaster,” real or imagined, usually the latter. What's really revolting to watch is the mad scramble to uncover that thing that diverts the American peoples' attention from the successes we are enjoying on a daily basis.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Dusty on Jul 10, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Alphecca links with: Question and Answer
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Instapilot fisks Oliphant
» baldilocks links with: Oliphant Knows Best
» Physics Geek links with: Quote of the day
» Just Some Poor Schmuck links with: Hugh and Dusty Slice Up Oliphant. Nicely, Of Course.

Sunday quick reads.

A suburban gun owner supports a ban on semi-auto weapons. Yeah, well, not really, mostly he spanks muddle-headed thinking.

Confederate Yankee has some suggestions for weathering hurricanes.

Don Surber blames Karl Rove for Bush being the Velcro President.

Debra Saunders is not impressed with Spielbergss view of Americans dealing with Aliens in War of the Worlds. Of course, neither are movie goers, since Fantastic 4 is spanking WotW in theaters. (Full Disclosure, the Master and Mistress of Argghhh! have seen Fantastic 4, and not WotW). H/t to Jeff at Alphecca, who prefers a slightly more permanent solution to wife-battering.

Random Nuclear strikes points to some clear-eyed writing in The Guardian, of all places.

Kim du Toit laments his lack of an 03-A3... this isn't the time to note there is more than one in the Castle Arsenal... though, oddly, we only have a picture of our M1903...

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Hanging on this wall, here.

H/t Mostly Cajun, who has one too.

Interesting reading on the Islamic Bomb over at Asia Times.

by John on Jul 10, 2005 | Gun Rights

Homeland Defense, on the Front Burner. Well, kinda.

The bombings in London couldn't have been timed better to support the release late last month of the Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support. I found the document interesting - not least because my last job on active duty was as an Army planner for just this stuff.

You can get the pdf document here.

The plan considers some changes in organizational relationships that will impinge upon the restraints of the Posse Comitatus Act, though I expect the intent will be to use the National Guard (properly) as a way around that - with Regulars in a back-up role, unless directly impinged in an initial attack, where the right to self-defense trumps Posse Comitatus.

The changes are afoot already, with the Contintental United States Armies - CONUSA's in milspeak - gettting ready or going through a reorientation. 1st and Fifth US Armys used to split responsibility for the US along the Mississippi - 1st east, 5th West. Both had identical responsiblities of Reserve Component readiness and mobilization, and the MSCA, or Military Support to the Civil Authority, which includes WMD and disaster response. Now, as I understand it, that will be 1st Army's job, and 5th Army is slated to become the army component of Northern Command, a real war-fighting organization. Significant changes.

All well and good, better integration and a rationalization of effort (though I'm not convinced of that yet, but it's outside the scope of this post...) is generally a Good Thing. But what about the people who already have a *huge* chunk of responsibility, right now, 24/7, for Homeland Defense.

The Coast Guard? The *Forgotten Service*?

First off, this article suggests that the Coast Guard has been forgotten and neglected for so long, under first the Department of Transportation, and now under the Department of Homeland Defense, that they have forgotten how to play the budget game. Admiral Collins better learn quickly - but I also fault Homeland Defense for letting the Admiral go to Congress with such a feckless (however well intentioned) approach.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Fisheries and the Coast Guard, also lashed out at the Coast Guard's revised plan at a hearing last week, saying that everything seemed to have changed since Sept. 11 except the Coast Guard.

The new plan "shockingly, says it actually needs fewer ships, planes, and helicopters than before Sept. 11," Snowe said, noting that the Coast Guard's original proposal had sought to enlarge its fleet.

"That violation of common sense is at the crux of today's hearing."

Snowe said technological improvements to the fleet are important, but are no substitute for "actual, on-the-water presence."

She also criticized Collins for embracing the President's 2006 budget proposal.

However often Collins affirmed that "his men and women can get by" with what the Administration has requested, she said, "the cold hard truth remains that the Coast Guard is experiencing a record number of casualties and mishaps."

Here is an article from USA Today that provides further highlights on the Coast Guard's equipment problems. I know several Coasties - they are as professional and dedicated as you can ask for - but you now have to wonder if they shouldn't be sending some of their best and brightest to work on the Army, Navy, and Air Force Staffs in the Pentagon - especially in the budget world, to get a handle on how to do this better. As an Departmental entity, it's starting to look like the Keystone Kops are in charge - and while that is unfair, in truth, to dedicated public servants - they need to learn how to play in the big leagues. Because this - well, this is simply unacceptable. Read that, then read what the Coast Guard has to say about the DECISIVE.

Lest you think the problem is only at sea... I assure you that is not the case. Facilities ashore have their own problems.

The Coasties deserve better. The nation deserves better. And no, the Navy doesn't need to add this to their plate.

But the leadership of Homeland Defense and the Coast Guard need to stand up, and lead - or get the hell out of the way.

H/t to Larry K, who has a son in the Coast Guard - who loves his job and his service... and deserves the right tools for the job.

Mebbe the Puddle Pirate will have an opinion to toss in here.