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August 06, 2005

Wing Flash...

Thought I would pop up above the ridgeline for a second to let you know I'm still out there in line abreast...

I've had a radio problem or two, thanks to my temporary re-lo. Where I'm staying had no wideband but now that's fixed, so here I am.

Lots going on, none of which has to do with blogging. Bottom line: major life changes. Couldn't hang in the consulting world--bored the living crap out of this old, short-attention-spanned attack pilot--so I, well, quit.

Good decision.

You can make six figures, but waking up every morning thinking, "[Expletive], another work day..." is Just. Not. Worth. It. It wasn't the company, either. The firm I was associated with is a class act, but if being a civilian action officer in the military machine isn't your thang, the biggest 401k in the world won't suffice.

The challenge was, I came to this conclusion about two months after my last day in uniform and going to work as a contractor. So, two months after that, I had my ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) rating in hand and went looking for work in my off hours.

After about 60 hours of refresher training/currency/just building hours flying on the GI Bill (I picked 40% of the tab, Uncle Sam the rest), roughly ten grand in personal funds for interview preparation that included lots of regulatory and technical self-study, academics, testing, practice interviews, heavy (Airbus 320 and Boeing 737) simulator time at a major airline's training facility, and a 929-day wait, I got a chance to interview with my #1 flying company choice.

Fooled 'em and they hired me.

Meanwhile, I wanted to fulfill my wife's long-term desire to move closer to family so we did that, too. Military wives earn that kind of decision/action. Just trust me here.

I have taken an 80% pay cut (while in training at least), pulled pitch and settled back down 5 states away, and started all over.

I am the oldest fart in our little class and have no seniority (for the airline guys out there, tha last part sends shivers up the spine). I have only about eight years of flying before FAA rules yank me out of the cockpit (at least for what's called "Part 121" flying--the majors) but, dammit, what's the point if you don't enjoy what you do? It's a cliché, but truer words were never spoken.

I am, right now, working pretty darn hard. The course is tough, but not impossible, and they tell us things sort of come together at the right time--like just before your oral evals and the subsequent checkride. My point? Don't expect a lot of snark from me for awhile. Sorry.

I will say this:

In John's post below (McCaffery's Iraq report) the one thing that made me smile was Venzuela being lumped with Iran, North Korea and the other ususal suspects. Profound insight? Doubt it, but retired 4-stars are expected to be so. Nice little zinger, but I think Hugo doesn't have a whole helluva lot to worry about. He's still pumping oil, last time I checked.

John Roberts: Investigating the adoption records of his two kids. Sweeeet. Gotta hand it to today's "loyal" opposition; they have class.

The Airbus crash: That's a highly automated jet, but even a Cray on board would probably not have been much help. Don't land in a thunderstorm. God takes your chutzpah (or aeronautical hubris) as a personal challenge.

OK...all for now. I use most of my time off to study and practice in the sim. Again, my apologies--will be back occasionally, but the heavy snark will have to wait. Y'all keep reading John and Bill. They're smarter than me, anyway.

More later (really)...

Instapilot

Continuing a discussion that started over at Boots and Sabers...

[This was a discussion of morality and warfare that started over at Boots and Sabers - back in January 2004. Since today is the 60th Anniversary of the Dropping of The Bomb, I'm going to rerun this, since it encapsulates my thought on the subject. Sorry JMH, *another* re-run! I have fixed some typos and blockquotes.] Oops. Comments are open now, too.

This post initially started out as a 'comment' on Owen's post on morality and war, and the comment stream that went with it. It obviously got out of control... I sent it to Owen and he posted it - and as it's about the longest screed I've done, I decided to post it here, as well. Except for a few typo corrections, it's the same at both sites.

Here is the post and comments that started it. [Original post is no longer there]

This is my response.


Hmmmm. Let's throw a former targeteer and other kinds of military planner thought into this discussion.

Owen of Boots and Sabers opened the discussion with this observation:

It seems to me that once a state of war exists, the only moral way to fight it is to employ the best weaponry and tactics to bring about victory while minimizing casualties on your side. In other words, the debate shouldn’t be about what weapon was used to kill the enemy, but rather was it the best weapon to use and was the target a tactically and/or strategically sound one.

As a targeteer and planner, I can live with this sentiment as expressed - except that it is incomplete and ignores the fact that absent a Carthaginian ending, there will be an aftermath to the war.

For example, the question about whether or not the US should have nuked Japan during WWII should focus on whether the targets were valid and whether the nuclear bombs were the most effective means of destroying those targets.

Okay so far, however arguable the underlying assumptions may be (I'll get to Stefan in a bit). Valid is a slippery word here. They were legal military targets. In isolation, you can argue whether the weapon-target pairing was justified for the target - which is how most people who are against it argue. But you have to take into account the strategic context of the target set. I'll address that later, too.

In the end, once you have decided that an enemy must die, the choice of sticking them in the gut with your bayonet or dropping napalm on them from 6,000 feet is a tactical choice, not a moral one.

Here, I start to disagree more loudly. Moral choices abound. The (lumping a whole bunch of law and culture into one pot for convenience's sake) Law of Land Warfare, and pure prudence dictate that you take into consideration the means you are going to use to achieve your ends. Second- and third-order effects should always be taken into account when doing the target-method of attack pairings, or you may destroy the target but suffer even greater consequences as a result.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

A Dinky Linky-Dink

Dbie the AFSister is rising higher in the blogosphere food chain. She's also on vacation, so pop in and give her another in absentia instalanche.

Heh. Wonder what kind of kitty-bird chimaera's gonna show at the next comment party...


An article in Federal Computer Week about a blogger at Los Alamos Labs caught my eye. It's informative on several levels, not the least of which is Roberts' self-generated Code of Ethics:

No racism.
No sexism.
No personal attacks.
Stay on topic.
Divulge nothing classified.
Keep profanity in check.
Use complete sentences.
Use a spell checker.

It's also got a jillion links, if you're inclined to go exploring. Tie a string to the banner so you can find your way back...

by CW4BillT on Aug 06, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

August 05, 2005

General(Ret) McCaffrey's report on Iraq to the Senate Foreign Relations Comittee

From email. I think it's a pretty good bit of clear-eyed analysis, and offers a road ahead - and a sense that it's a road that, while it will have to be built while we travel it, and there will be washouts and potholes, reaches a destination we'd like to get to.

So, whatcha think?

Update: I made it into a pdf file for those who'd like a copy.

Gen McCaffrey's Report (UNCLASSIFIED)

Take the time to read this slowly. It makes a lot of sense and if we stay the course Iraq should emerge a nation with laws and freedoms that have never been seen in the Middle East before.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: None

MEMORANDUM FOR: SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Subject: Trip Report - Kuwait and Iraq - Saturday, 4 June through Saturday, 11 June 2005

1. PURPOSE: This memo provides feedback reference visit 4-11 June 2005 by General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) to Kuwait and Iraq.

2. SOURCES:

1.. General George Casey, Commander, MNF-I - one-on-one discussions and Staff Briefings.

2.. LTG JR Vines, Commander MNC-I - one-on-one discussions and Staff Briefings.

3.. LTG Dave Petreaus, Commander, Multinational Security Transition Command - one-on-one discussions/briefings.

4.. LTG Robin Brims, (UK Army), Deputy Commanding General of MNF-I - one-on-one discussions.

5.. Charge d'Affairs James Jeffrey - office call one-on-one with U.S. Embassy Iraq.

6.. MG Tim Donovan (USMC), Chief of Staff, MNF-I - one-on-one discussions.

7.. MG Steve Johnson (USMC), Acting Commanding General, II MEF - one-on-one discussion and staff briefing.

8.. BG Peter Palmer and BG John Defreitas - MNF-I Operations and Intel Briefings.

9.. MG Rusty Findley (USAF) and Colonel Bill Hix - MNF-I Campaign Action Plan Brief.

10.. BG Tom Bostick - Army Corps Engineers. Gulf Region Division Brief.

11.. MG William Webster, Commanding General, Multi-National Division Baghdad - General Officer Briefing and 3rd ID Battle Staff briefing.

12.. 2nd Brigade 3rd ID Commander and Staff Briefing. Baghdad security operations.

13.. Ambassador Ahraf Oazi and UN Iraq Delegation - Lunch Meeting with Special Representative to the Secretary General of the UN in Iraq.

14.. MG Robert Heine, Acting Director IRMO (US Embassy Reconstruction Program officer) - one-on-one discussion/briefings.

15.. MG Hank Stratman - Political-Military-Economic Brief, US Embassy.

16.. MG Eldon Bargewell, Joint Contracting - one-on-one discussions.

17.. Field Visit. US Marine Infantry Battalion. Fallujah.

18.. Field Visit. US Army Mechanized Infantry Battalion. Vicinity Tikrit.

19.. Briefing Iraqi Army Brigade Commander. Fallujah.

20.. Briefing by U.S. Army Embedded Training Team. Fallujah ISF Army brigade.

21.. Briefing USMC Embedded Trainer. Fallujah Police.

22.. Briefing U.S. Army Captain. Embedded Training Team. ISF Army Infantry Battalion-Vicinity Tikrit.

23.. Briefing Iraqi Army Colonel. ISF Training Center. Vicinity Tikrit.

24.. Lunch discussions. Iraqi Army Battalion XO, S3, SGM. Vicinity Tikrit.

25.. Live Fire Demo/Briefing. Iraqi Army Commando Battalion.

26.. Demo/Briefing Iraqi Police ERU (Emergency Response Unit). Baghdad.

27.. Field Sensing Session. US Army combat division. Fifteen U.S.Army Company Grade Officers.

28.. Field Sensing Session. US Army combat Battalion. Junior Enlisted Soldiers.

29.. Field Sensing Sessions. U.S. Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Senior NCO's.

30.. Discussion Sessions. Two U.S. Contractor Teams (Logistics and Security) -- Senior Leadership

3. THE BOTTOM LINE---Observations from Operation Iraqi Freedom: June 2005:

1st - US Military Forces in Iraq are superb. Our Army-Marine ground combat units with supporting Air and Naval Power are characterized by quality military leadership, solid discipline, high morale, and enormous individual and unit courage. Unit effectiveness is as good as we can get. This is the most competent and battle wise force in our nation's history. They are also beautifully cared for by the chain-of-command -- and they know it. (Food, A/C sleeping areas, medical care, mental health care, home leave, phone/e-mail contact with families, personal equipment, individual and unit training, targeted economic incentives in the battle area, visibility of tactical leadership, home station care for their families, access to news information, etc).


2nd - The point of the US war effort is to create legitimate and competent Iraqi national, provincial, and municipal governance. We are at a turning point in the coming six months. The momentum is now clearly with the Iraqi Government and the Coalition Security Forces. The Sunnis are coming into the political process. They will vote in December. Unlike the Balkans-the Iraqis want this to succeed. Foreign fighters are an enormously lethal threat to the Iraqi civilian population, the ISF, and Coalition Forces in that order. However, they will be an increasing political disaster for the insurgency. Over time they are actually adding to the credibility of the emerging Iraqi government. We should expect to see a dwindling number of competent, suicide capable Jihadist. Those who come to Iraq--will be rapidly killed in Iraq. The picture by next summer will be unfavorable to recruiting foreigners to die in Iraq while attacking fellow Arabs.

The initial US/UK OIF intervention took down a criminal regime and left a nation without an operational State.

The transitional Bremer-appointed Iraqi government created a weak state of warring factions.

The January 2005 Iraqi elections created the beginnings of legitimacy and have fostered a supportive political base to create the new Iraqi Security Forces.

The August Iraqi Constitutional Referendum and the December-January election and formation of a new government will build the prototype for the evolution of an effective, law-based Iraqi State with a reliable Security Force.

January thru September 2006 will be the peak period of the insurgency-- and the bottom rung of the new Iraq. The positive trend lines following the January 2006 elections (if they continue) will likely permit the withdrawal of substantial US combat forces by late summer of 2006. With 250,000 Iraqi Security Forces successfully operating in support of a government which includes substantial Sunni participation--the energy will start rapidly draining out of the insurgency.

3rd - The Iraqi Security Forces are now a real and hugely significant factor. LTG Dave Petreaus has done a brilliant job with his supporting trainers.


169,000 Army and Police exist in various stages of readiness. They have uniforms, automatic weapons, body armor, some radios, some armor, light trucks, and battalion-level organization. At least 60,000 are courageous Patriots who are actively fighting. By next summer--250,000 Iraqi troops and 10 division HQS will be the dominant security factor in Iraq.

However, much remains to be done. There is no maintenance or logistics system. There is no national command and control. Corruption is a threat factor of greater long-range danger than the armed insurgency.

The Insurgents have widely infiltrated the ISF. The ISF desperately needs more effective, long-term NCO and Officer training.

Finally, the ISF absolutely must have enough helicopter air mobility (120+ Black Hawk UH 60's) --and a substantial number of armored vehicles to lower casualties and give them a competitive edge over the insurgents they will fight. (2000 up-armor Humvee's, 500 ASV's, and 2000 M113A3's with add-on armor package)

4. Top CENTCOM Vulnerabilities:

1st - Premature drawdown of U.S. ground forces driven by dwindling U.S. domestic political support and the progressive deterioration of Army and Marine manpower. (In particular, the expected melt-down of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve in the coming 36 months)

2nd - Alienation of the U.S. Congress or the American people caused by Iraqi public ingratitude and corruption.

3rd - Political ineptitude of Shia civil leadership that freezes out the Sunnis and creates a civil war during our drawdown.

4th - "The other shoe" - a war with North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, or Cuba that draws away U.S. military forces and political energy.

5th - The loss or constraint of our logistics support bases in Kuwait. Clearly we need constant diplomatic attention and care to this vital Ally. If Kuwait became unstable or severely alienated to US Military objectives in the region-then our posture in Iraq would be placed in immediate fatal peril.

6th - Open intervention by Iranian intelligence or military forces to support rogue Shia Iraqi insurgency. (Assassination of Sustani-armed rebellion by Sadr)

7th - Continued under-manning and too rapid turnover in State Department inter-agency representation in Iraq.

8th - Lack of continuity in CENTCOM strategic and operational senior leadership. The CENTCOM military leadership we now have is a collective national treasure. General Abizaid's value to the War effort based on his credibility to US Military Forces --and ability to communicate and relate to the Iraqi emergent leadership-- cannot be overstated. The combination of a three-star tactical Headquarters (LTG John Vines is the most experienced and effective operational battle leader we have produced in a generation) - and an in-country four-star strategic commander (Gen George Casey) has improved the situation from the overwhelmed, under-resourced Bremer-Sanchez ad hoc arrangement. LTG Dave Petreaus has done a superb job building the ISF. Relationships are everything in this campaign. We need to lock in our senior team for the coming 24 months. Suggest that the three key US/Coalition military HQS of Casey-Petreaus-Vines need to stop unit rotation and go to individual replacement rotation. The very senior U.S. military leadership needs their families based in a Kuwait compound with periodic visits authorized. (We did this with General Abrams and his senior leaders during the final phase of Vietnam.)

5. The Enemy Threat:


1st - The Iraqi Insurgency threat is enormously more complex than Vietnam.

There we faced a single opposing ideology; known enemy leaders; a template enemy organizational structure; an external sanctuary which was vital to the insurgency to bring in fighters, ammunition, resources; and relative security in urban areas under Allied/Vietnamese Government control. Iraq is much tougher. The enemy forces in this struggle are principally Sunni irredentists-- but there is also a substantial criminal class determined to murder, rob, kidnap and create chaos. We also face a small but violent foreign Jihadist terrorist element. These terrorists do not depend on foreign sanctuary. They can arm themselves with the incredible mass of munitions and weapons scattered from one end of Iraq to the other. Finally, Iraq is encircled by six bordering nations -- all of whom harbor ill-will for the struggling democratic Iraqi state.

2nd - On the positive side of the ledger:

High Sunni voting turnout and political participation in December will likely set the conditions for the down hill slide of the insurgency.

The insurgency can no longer mass against Coalition forces with units greater than squad level -- they all get killed in short order by very aggressive US/UK combat Forces. The insurgents have been forced to principally target the weak links-- the Iraqi Police and innocent civilians. This will be a counter-productive strategy in the mid-term. It has been forced on them by the effective counter-insurgency operations and information operations of Coalition forces. Insurgents now have a reduced capability to attack Coalition forces by direct fire: 80% (+) of the attacks are carried out with standoff weapons or suicide bombings (mortars, rockets, IEDs). Suicide IED attack is enormously effective. However, it will soon likely become a fragile tool. The Jihadists will begin to run short of human bombs. Most are killed or die while carrying out missions which are marginally effective. This must be a prime enemy vulnerability for Coalition information warfare operations. We must continue to level with the American people. We still have a five-year fight facing us in Iraq.

3rd - The Fallujah Situation:


The city has huge symbolic importance throughout Mideast. Unrealistic expectations were raised on how rapidly the Coalition could rebuild. The City appears to be an angry disaster. Money doesn't rebuild infrastructure - bulldozers and workers and cement do. The Coalition needs an Iraqi/Coalition effort principally executed by military engineers --and thousands of Iraqi workers--to re-build the City. We need a "Pierre L'Enfant" of Fallujah. Police stations are planned but barely started. The train station is mined and the trains do not function. Roads must be paved. We need to eliminate major signs of US caused war damage, etc.

6. Coalition Public Diplomacy Policy is a disaster:


1st - The US media is putting the second team in Iraq with some exceptions. Unfortunately, the situation is extremely dangerous for journalists. The working conditions for a reporter are terrible. They cannot travel independently of US military forces without risking abduction or death. In some cases, the press has degraded to reporting based on secondary sources, press briefings which they do not believe, and alarmist video of the aftermath of suicide bombings obtained from Iraqi employees of unknown reliability.


2nd - Our unbelievably competent, articulate, objective, and courageous Battalion, Brigade, and Division Commanders are not on TV. These commanders represent an Army-Marine Corps which is rated as the most trusted institution in America by every poll.

3rd - We are not aggressively providing support (transportation, security, food, return of film to an upload site, etc) to reporters to allow them to follow the course of the war.

4th - Military leaders on the ground are talking to people they trust instead of talking to all reporters who command the attention of the American people. (We need to educate and support AP, Reuters, Gannet, Hearst, the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc.)

7. SUMMARY:

a.. This is the darkness before dawn in the efforts to construct a viable Iraqi state. The enterprise was badly launched --but we are now well organized and beginning to develop successful momentum. The future outcomes are largely a function of the degree to which Iraqi men and women will overcome fear and step forward to seize the leadership opportunity to create a new future.

b.. We face some very difficult days in the coming 2-5 years. In my judgment, if we retain the support of the American people --we can achieve our objectives of creating a law-based Iraqi state which will be an influencing example on the entire region.

c.. A successful outcome would potentially usher in a very dramatically changed environment throughout the Middle East and signal in this region the end of an era of incompetent and corrupt government which fosters frustration and violence on the part of much of the population.

d.. It was an honor and a very encouraging experience to visit CENTCOM Forces in Iraq and Kuwait and see the progress achieved by the bravery and dedication of our military forces.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: None

by John on Aug 05, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Blog o'RAM links with: Fighting in Iraq
» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 2005 08 07 (Sunday)
» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 2005 08 07 (Sunday)
» fredschoeneman.com links with: Barry McCaffrey
» fredschoeneman.com links with: Barry McCaffrey

War is hell.

It hurts, too. And it's destructive.

As these pictures show. (via email out of the Multi-National Corps Headquarters)

But this is all part of the duty.

But there are worse things than war. And once you start one, you are riding a tiger.

And nothing is simple. Nor is it easy. And it's never as clean during execution as the historian makes it in retrospect.

Semper Fi, Devil Dogs.

ADDENDUM

Some, if not most, of the troops left families. While the various Service Branches are fond of repeating that they "take care of their own," Those Who Know realize the caregivers are stretched woefully thin. And some of Those Who Know have created organizations such as the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation to take up the slack, providing scholarships for the children who will now be seeing their fathers--or mothers--only through the gauzy film of memory.

They're Good Folks, the MC-LEF are. Drop in and visit...

Thanks, guys. Bill

BTW, Fundraisers--don't bother e-m'ing me. My network is strictly off-line.

Denizen Linkfest.

Good stuff from the morning mail and the Denizens!

For you Calvin fans who are *not* Fonda Jane... Hat tip to Morning Sun.

At the Brother's Judd, a little reading of note - it is, afer all, All About Oil, right? The link in the Brother's Judd post is broken - here is the URL to the whole article they are quoting from. Hat tip, Mike D.

More failure on the part of hysterical blue staters to keep their promises... Probably good for Canada, though.

What's wrong with this picture? Aside from the fact this deserting Israeli soldier murdered 4 Isreali Arab citizens, and in fact got lynched himself? The former is terrible and the latter is, well, less terrible in a karmic sense, but not good for maintaining the rule of law - no, I can see all the carp that's wrong with the elements that comprise this story. What just leaves me stunned is this statement from a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority:

"The Israeli government must collect the weapons of the settlers and take steps against the settler leaders because they endanger Palestinian civilians and the general Israeli system," Samir Hileelah, secretary general of the Palestinian cabinet, told AFP.

Um, noted Mr. Hileelah. Now, about Hamas, Hizbollah, etc...? Tend to your own knitting too, eh?

Update: A little more info on the issue, via John M.


"The parents of the murderer, IDF Pvt. Eden Natan-Zada, are pointing an accusing finger at the military, telling the media they called military authorities requesting their son's weapon be taken away from him due to his emotional state. Speaking from her Rishon L'Tzion home, Eden's mother told the media hours following the attack that no one took her words seriously and as a result, the weapon was used to murder innocent people on board the bus traveling from Haifa to Shfaram.

Family members and friends of Natan-Zada told reporters on Thursday night that he did everything possible to persuade IDF authorities that he was unfit for military service. Citing his new Orthodox lifestyle and adamant opposition to the government's Disengagement Plan, Eden explained he was unable to serve in an "organization" that uproots Jews from their homes. Despite his adamant and sincere efforts to impress IDF induction officials with his internal dilemma, he was inducted and assigned to Disengagement-related duties, after which he went absent without leave. "

If true, it's a self-inflicted wound. That said, having dealt with a conscientious objector case, these things aren't easy to sort out in real-time, however obvious they seem after the fact.

Let's check around the Denizen blogroll this morning...

SWWBO is tired of the poking and prodding at Judge Robert's children being adopted. For good reason, I think (and not just because I sleep next to her).

Adjutant Barb discusses guns and carrying same - as do her commenters.

Cassandra at Villainous Company defends the NYTs. Really. I mean it. Well, kinda. Sorta. All right, she doesn't, it's rather tongue-in-cheek... If you don't want to read about the NYT, you could always go read about how we poor soldiers are going/going to go bonkers because of Bush's War. I'll testify here - I have some ghosts, but they don't keep me awake at night. Just sayin'. Castle Philosopher Kat has addressed PTSD before, too. Here and here.

Rammer points out Words Mean Something. Like, what is a useful definition of... "poor?" Yer a heartless man, Rammer. Heartless I tell ya. And yer raisin' heartless kids! Oh, sorry, channeling my sister, there.

Castle Canadian Lefty Alan has been out traveling in the States again. He filters the US through interesting goggles... no specific post, just start at the top and move down.

The Ever-prolific Kat wants us to Put a Purple Finger in the Eye of Terrorism, then tells us why she doesn't watch CNN (Sorry, Montieth), and reviews Episode II of "Over There."

AFSis's post on "Who's to Blame" regarding parental responsibility for a child's behavior has gotten some interesting stuff in the comments - and she's doing the Flappy Bird Dance!

I'm not skipping Random Fate - he gets a post all to himself, later on!

Sergeant B asks, "But Why The Infantry?"

Fuzzybear Lioness tells you why it's important. We may well be activating the Fusileers soon. Keep an eye out for your Recall Notices.


by John on Aug 05, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!
» Cadillac Tight links with: Dern it...

August 04, 2005

Heh. Just heh.

From an email.


Hosting provided by FotoTime

FM Radio This unusual weapon is a functional FM radio with earphones that is worn on a belt but also conceals a gun. Law enforcement officers should be aware of the possible threat of this object.

H/t, Dave M.

by John on Aug 04, 2005 | Pistols
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Most Americans

Kewl!

Blogspawn Sergeant B surfaces in a mini-MSM Article!

Ah! I knew him when...

Well done, Sergeant B!

Smokey Smith, VC, RIP.

Canada's Last Surviving Holder of the Victoria Cross no longer survives, having packed his kit and hit the road to Fiddler's Green.

I mentioned Private Smith in this post on the PIAT, the weapon he used during the fight that resulted in his Victoria Cross.

Under heavy fire from the approaching enemy tanks, Private Smith, showing great initiative and inspiring leadership, led his P.I.A.T.(1) Group of two men across an open field to a position from which the P.I.A.T. could best be employed. Leaving one man on the weapon, Private Smith crossed the road with a companion and obtained another P.I.A.T. Almost immediately an enemy tank came down the road firing its machine-guns along the line of the ditches. Private Smith's comrade was wounded. At a range of thirty feet and having to expose himself to the full view of the enemy, Private Smith fired the P.I.A.T. and hit the tank, putting it out of action. Ten German infantry immediately jumped off the back of the tank and charged him with Schmeissers and grenades. Without hesitation Private Smith moved out on the road and with his Tommy gun at point-blank range, killed four Germans and drove the remainder back. Almost immediately another tank opened fire and more enemy infantry closed in on Smith's position. Obtaining some abandoned Tommy gun magazines from a ditch, he steadfastly held his position, protecting his comrade and fighting the enemy with his Tommy gun until they finally gave up and withdrew in disorder.

The Canadians Militant of the blogs Brigaded under the Red Ensign are noting PIAT Gunner Smith's passing.

Damian at Babbling Brooks.
Andrew, at Bound By Gravity.
Sue, at Turning 30-and-a-Half.
Nicholas at Quotulatiousness.

Of course, Matt at Blackfive is on it.

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

H/t to Damian. *Someone* is falling down on their job around here!

Happy Birthday!

On this day in 1790, the United States Revenue Cutter Service was born.

Today - we know them as the Coast Guard, the 5th Armed Service of the United States.

Hosting provided by FotoTime


"COAST GUARD MATCH BOX FLEET: THE DOUGHTY FLEET OF COAST GUARD 83-FOOTERS PLY THE ROUGH WATERS OF THE ENGLISH CHANNEL OFF THE COAST OF FRANCE. THIS COAST GUARD RESCUE FLOTILLA PERFORMED VALIANT SERVICE, SAVING ALMOST 1500 MEN FROM THE WATERS ON D-DAY AND SUCCEEDING DAYS."

They were there at Normandy, and other hard fights. The manned a lot of the landing craft. They hunted subs and escorted convoys. They earned Medals of Honor. And did their regular job, too.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: Semper Paratus!

Duck.

This is a post I did last year. Given the recent uptick in readership here at the Castle, I thought I would reach into the archives and dust it off. The nature of blogs is that the archives are mostly for googlers. Who has the time to rummage through the archives of a newly discovered blog? I know I don't, however much I might want to. But I will say, looking through the comments - some of you have been readers for a long time. Thanks! Anyway, here is a reprise of a favorite of mine from last year. Duck.


No, not you. I'm talking about, 'Duck'.


A mother duck looks on as one of her brood falls over while trying to scale a curb. The duck was leading her six ducklings back to their nest in front of the Arkansas Arts Center and came back to help one who was too small to make it over the curb.

When I saw this picture a couple of days ago I was reminded of Duck. My last job on active duty was with the WMD Response Task Force - West (now Joint Task Force -West (CM) (Consequence Management), based out of 5th Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Fort Sam is in San Antonio, and is one of the older forts west of the Mississippi. Fifth Army is headquartered in the old arsenal site, called the Quadrangle.

With 250,000 visitors a year, the Quad is a tourist attraction. It's a cool looking building, and has a zoo inside. Yes, a zoo. There are deer, rabbits, chickens, a turkey, ducks, geese, Peacocks, as well as the usual suspects, squirrels and pigeons. Yes, this was on purpose. There have been an assortment of animals in the Quad since the 1870's. The structure of the building also dictated that unless you worked in the Commanding General's suite of offices, you went outside of the building to go hit the latrines in the corners of the building.

I used to tell people I worked in a tourist trap with outdoor plumbing.

The legend about the zoo was that it was started when Geronimo was held captive at Fort Sam before being shipped off to Fort Sill and beyond, and that the deer and other animals were placed there to provide food (apparently Geronimo preferred to hunt his own). That's the legend. The reality is that Fort Sam was comparatively isolated (remember, no cars in 1870 and the heart of San Antonio was some miles away) and the zoo was established for the wives and children of the officers in Staff Post (where the Staff Officer housing was).

One of the joys of working at 5th Army (which wasn't really that bad, San Antonio is a nice town, and WMD work was important stuff - since it was the JTFs that responded to 9/11 for DoD) was weekend Staff Duty. Why? Because you had to feed the critters. If you weren't out the door by 0700 - and I mean don't be there at 0701 - you would be faced with the forest clearing scene from Bambi. A semi-circle of agitated critters, all prepared to squawk at once, if they normally made noises.

So you step out there, and immediately the formation would about-face and move tactically (although it was Soviet-style mass tactics) with echelons toward the feed shed at the far end of the Quad. The real Soviet flavor to the whole operation was the geese (annoying critters, geese). They functioned as the Commissars, following behind you, honking in a pissed-off fashion, and nipping at your butt if you weren't moving fast enough (which is to say you weren't moving as fast as they were). The peacocks would cluster over on the left, the deer would assume a line as the main echelon, the rabbits would bound ahead as scouts, and the ducks and chickens would fly in short hops like attack aviation. The Turkey, lonely creature that he was (he hung with the chickens) apparently was SF in an earlier life and would already be positioned close to the objective and keep 'eyes on'.

When you reached the shed - if you weren't moving fast enough to have gotten there ahead of the geese, you got your butt nipped again while you unlocked the door. If you'd been fast enough and got the door open - they left you alone. You then got the feed, and fed the critters, which of course was a mob scene. The deer were always polite, and the older ones liked ear and butt scritches. The youngsters were generally still a bit skittish. And you haven't seen sad until you see the look on a fawn's face when he fell and broke his leg - and had to spend weeks in isolation with a splinted leg, and couldn't be out with his family. That was one sad-faced baby deer. He was always pathetically happy to have any contact at all, so several of us softies spent breaks and lunch out with the fawn so he had some company.

You also didn't want to be the guy on duty when an animal died. Like the poor Sergeant who was grilled mercilessly when a fawn drowned in the 'cement pond'.

Another fun thing was how the critters cooperated. Hawk flew by one day, took a look in the Quad and said to himself, "Self, that thar's a smorgasbord!" and took up residence in the clock tower. He did pretty well for a week, scoring squirrels, baby bunnies, and the odd pigeon (and he was a messy eater, leaving his left-overs around for us to clean up).

Then he made a mistake. He scored a Pea-chick. The Peacocks and Peahens did *not* appreciate his dietary change. And from that point on, when he made an appearance, he was swarmed. The squirrels had learned to time their forays out from under the trees to never be so far out they couldn't get back to the tree before Hawk got there. When the Peacocks took on the Combat Air Patrol mission - the squirrels learned that if they went out among or near the Peacocks, when Hawk started diving for dinner, the Peacocks would protect the squirrels, even when there were no pea-chicks present. Good use of combined arms. Hawk gave up and left. The lesson there is the biblical one of gluttony, I suppose.

Oh, yeah - Duck. Duck was a Muscovy Duck who showed up one day. The ducks who lived in the quad were not Muscovys. Duck was unique among 'em. And Duck had obviously been raised near or with, humans (He was in fact brought there by one of the 5th Army DA civilians - he'd been found abandoned/lost as a duckling at that man's home). Duck didn't know how to fly. Duck didn't know he was a 'duck'. He acted more like a dog. He'd make the rounds from door to door, office to office, and check up on you and see if you had treats. He'd make his circuit twice a day, and he knew which of us were suckers. He'd even sit with you a while after he'd gotten something, then get up and go off on his rounds.

But Duck was a lonely fella. He'd sit by himself when all the other ducks were playing around, he'd sit there looking confused then the ducks took off and flew around the Quad. And every time he tried to move in with the ducks, they'd let him get only sooo close, and then they'd get up and move somewhere else. Poor old Duck was a classic wallflower.

But then one spring, a little girl-duck waddled over to duck and sat down next to him. She wasn't a Muscovy (Duck was the only Muscovy there) but she seemed to like him. Duck had been with us for about a year, and Muscovys have large red warty carbuncles (hard to describe, they are lumpy fatty deposits that are bright red) around their eyes. Quite dashing if yer a girl duck, I'm sure. Anyway, Duck had a friend. And just like the wallflower who is adopted by one of the 'in' crowd, Duck was now allowed to hang with the flock.

Duck still didn't know how to fly, and adult male Muscovys aren't that good at flying, anyway. So, when something startled the flock, or they just wanted to catch some shade, or go swim in the cement pond, Duck would be left behind, waddling over to catch up, with his girlfriend keeping an eye on him.

Then one day Hawk came back. And decided to score a duck. Duck's duck.

She had wandered away from the flock after something interesting, and was across the Quad in the open. Duck was on his afternoon rounds and was about as far away from his girl as he could be.

Then the Peacocks and Chipmunks started their alarm noise. I was out headed to the latrine when the noise erupted. Hawk was circling overhead, making his choice. And his choice was Duck's duck. Duck was waddling as fast as he could to her. And Hawk dove. And Duck suddenly learned he could fly. And fly fast. And he was heavy. And he knocked Hawk into next week before he got to Duck's duck. Hawk got up groggily, looked around, and left, never to return during my tour.

And Duck? He spent that entire afternoon flying from one side of the Quad to the other, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and made at least one foray out into the wider world.

But when I left Fort Sam for the last time, Duck was by the cement pond, under the tree, wing-to-wing with his sweetie, engaged in a little mutual grooming. I dunno if Duck has ducklings or not, but Duck made coming to work something to look forward to.

by John on Aug 04, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Duck Duck Goose

New tricks for an old dog.

SWWBO sent me out to get dinner last night. Due to our competition, this meant the Price Chopper salad bar for rabbit food vice two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickle-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun as it might have in years past.

Heh.

Anyway, 6PM is apparently rush hour at Price Chopper, but not sufficiently so that we open up idle registers.

No problem. I have two plastic boxes full of rabbit food, they have an express lane, "about 12 items or less". I guess the "about" is to stop the bean counters from starting fights or something. Not that it matters, in the event.

Here's my lesson. If you have a cart full of 50 or so items (I quit counting) and you don't want to stand in line at the other registers (where it is 5-6 carts deep) you just sail right up to the express register and inform the cashier that you have 3 different orders as you are shopping for your friends and so it's okay, just start ringing it up.

And then, about one third of the way through, you stop her and pay.

Again at roughly two thirds.

And at the end.

With the same credit card.

Each time.

And it appears there was little overlap in your friend's needs, either. Only of you needed bread, only one vegetables, only one cereal, etc.

I suppose it's *plausible*... but I throw the BS flag. If nothing else, the pugnacious, "I know you think I"m a butthead" looks and overall defensive posture were not conducive to a charitable reading of Sally Shopper's motives.

Talk about relying on everyone else's sense of politesse to ease your way through life.

August 03, 2005

Paper targets fear them...

...and I have no doubt live ones would, too.

Castle Adjutant Barb and the Snarkatron Bad Cat Robot, Denizennes both, did a little shooting yesterday.

BCR has her target posted.

We are, *ahem* waiting on the Adjutant's target pics...

BCR needs to pull back the trigger finger a bit, and not pull so hard - an easy touch will do, and drag that center of mass right where it oughta be.

Not that where it *is* isn't going to be hard on a live target.

Lest anyone snark, the Armorer has posted his sadly deteriorating skillz before, too.

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Here are some more Armorer targets.

Update: Okay, so Barb did post one some time in the past... Last night! Last Night! Last Night! The Peasants with Pitchforks are roaring!

by John on Aug 03, 2005 | Gun Pics | Gun Rights
» Don Surber links with: Git Er Done, East Virginia

Stephen Vincent, RIP.

Castle Philosophotrix Kat is all over the murder of journalist Stephen Vincent in Basra. Wonder if the Religion of Peace, "all cultures are equal" crowd in the MSM will examine the down side of this... of course they will. It's Bush's fault, right? Kat is far more informed on all this than I am. I'll leave the rest in her capable hands.

If you never read his blog, In the Red Zone, you should have because he had the low down about the Shia Islamists having taken over the city. He interviewed them. He drank tea with them. But he always wrote the truth about it. The good and the bad.

And it was bad. The reports about prostitutes and other "undesirables" being murdered came from him. But he also took time to meet with some of the interesting people, such as the woman who proclaimed there would be women's rights, but insisted that it came from Islam while she wore a full abaya when she met him, only her eyes showing.

He brought a part of Iraq to the outside world that the rest of the media ignored.

Go, read about it here.

Haze Grey and at anchor... and other things as the muse seizes me.

Fleet Week in Seattle! At least the Blues in Seattle haven't driven the Navy away like the Blues in San Francisco did...

As I've noted before - some people take their re-enacting very seriously...

But almost everybody, for some reason, likes to play the losers...

Though there are always a few who are willing to play the Good Guys.

One thing about re-enacting... I've noted this at Civil War events (except the ones where the *Extreme* guys go...) and it's apparent at this WWII event...

Re-enacting soldiers are *much* better fed and under-exercised than actual troops on ops.

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I just don't think an early-war, much less late-war Waffen-SS formation would have bellybumpers of quite this magnitude... "Sergeant Shulz! I need you!"

Steiner would eat these guys for a snack. (this movie is one of the few that is *almost* as good as the book, which is sadly no longer available). And before I get snarked... yes, I know Steiner is not SS, work with me here, 'k?)

Update #1. From an email:

Sometimes even a Non-Lethal Attack can be Lethal

LTC Carl Ayers, Commander 9th PSYOP BN, describing the death of an Iraqi Border Guard in Western Iraq. The cause of death was a box of leaflets that fell out of a MC-130 Combat Talon when a static line broke. The box impacted on the Iraqi’s Guard’s head and 9th PSYOP BN may have achieved the first enemy KIA of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A new frontier in Information Operations?

Moving on - Bloodspite points out that, at least at some academic institutions... the Beancounters aren't anti-military!

Update #2: CAPT H points us to Tit For Tat. Indeed.

Li'l links

Dbie the AFSister claims to have nothing to say and then proceeds to say it. Then poses a poser for parents...

Jack's got an iPod problem. Okay, technogeeks, anybody have any ideas? Oh, yeah--as long as you're there, check out your Inner Trekkie.

Blogtoddler Fuzzybear Lioness has a crusade going. And an update.

G-Man hangs out at ALa's but drops in for the odd comment or two. He's made a KABA video which might liven up your morning.

Time to go play with more rocks...

by CW4BillT on Aug 03, 2005 | General Commentary

August 02, 2005

Whoa! Busy day in history today...

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216 -BC- Hannibal crushes a Roman Army at Cannae. Which, in the end, might as well be considered a Pearl Harbor... an event which led Admiral Yamamoto (the planner of the raid) to observe, ""I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve. ..." It moved the Romans to fully explore and execute Marcus Cato's dicta "Carthago Delenda Est" (Carthage must be destroyed). Anyone know any Carthaginians? Visited Carthage lately? Heh. And it echoes here in the Castle... Wahabism Delenda Est! Or, for the purists... Wahabismus Delenda Est!
[Erm, I've been reminded that it was really Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal's father, who roused the beast in the Punic Wars... still, a lesson in perseverance for us now...] [Another update: this time for the Googlebot: Yamamoto quote debunked - see comments to this post]

1776 Formal signing of Declaration of Independence. Royal Navy lands 32,000 British & Hessians on Staten Island, off New York. Hmm, that whole Declaration thing musta set 'em off...

1867 Wagon Box Fight: c. 30 army woodcutters defeat c. 1000 Sioux. And unknowingly provide the inspiration for decades of early Western movies, and for this cultural referent...

1887 Rowell Hodge receives a patent for barbed wire. The culture clash along the Chisum Trail and other locations intensifies.

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1914 German troops invade Luxembourg. Russian troops invade Eastern Prussia. The Guns of August open up and the curtain goes up on the Final Act of the Napoleonic Wars. Have to draw a line somwhere... but it was the whole 'Balance of Power" idea established by the Brits to contain Napoleon that led to the interwoven treaties whose clauses cascaded to start the bloodbath. In truth, you can make the argument to lay even our current troubles at the feet of Napoleon.

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1934 German Armed Forces swear a "Holy Oath" to the unholy Adolf Hitler. Thus setting the stage for the Angst of the German Officer Corps in their dealings with Hitler. Happy to embrace him in the beginning, starting to regret the deal in 1943, paralyzed to deal with it even as the Armies of the West and East were grinding german bones to dust.

1939 Einstein writes FDR about the atomic bomb. The seed that would become the Manhattan Project is planted.

1964 Gulf of Tonkin: North Vietnamese PT boats attack USS Maddox, resulting in HJ Resolution 1145. And we still haven't settled out the whole War Powers thing.

1990 Iraq invades & occupies Kuwait - onset of Destert Shield/Desert Storm. Hopefully all y'all are *up* on that...

In other news... mebbe I should put up a tip jar... H/t, multiple people seeking to help me expand the motor pool!

Let's close with this. I've not covered Jane Fonda's return to her roots, preferring to let others deal with it - and I don't have anything useful to add.

These troops do, however. They're holding her seat for her.

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H/t, multiple sources!

by John on Aug 02, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» Peenie Wallie links with: Jihad Jane - The Age of Treason
» Michelle Malkin links with: RESERVED FOR JANE FONDA
» Michelle Malkin links with: RESERVED FOR JANE FONDA
» bennellibrothers.com links with: Do Desert BDUs come in a size 5?
» Say Anything links with: Jane’s Regular Seat
» Dangerous Logic links with: Because "Take Cover In The Temporary Stock Pen" Didn't Have The Same Ring To It
» Scotts Conservative News & Commentary links with: Soldier's Keep Reservation For Hanoi/Jihad Jane
» morningsun.blog-city.com links with: See Jane Run
» Flopping Aces links with: Reserved For The Traitor
» CDR Salamander links with: Linked with no further comment from Argghhh!!!

August 01, 2005

Pugnacious Stupidity: Brit Police Edition...

Brit police, in an astoundingly dense rule laid down to show respect for Muslims whilst (heh) breaking in and searching their homes...

...will now do it in [drumroll, please] ...stockinged feet.

Someone please tell me this is a Sun Online satire piece...


{scene shifts}

News Item: New Home Office proposed legislation: Ownership of Jacks is now prohibited in the United Kingdom.

{scene shifts}

Jihadi feverishly searching Ebay. "Allahu Akbar! I found what we seek!"

Caltrops.

"But Achmed - we can get them here, no problem!"


Heh. Even the Arsenal at Argghhh! has three different types of caltrop.

Puh-leeze.


H/t, Jim C.

by John on Aug 01, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Politics | Pugnacious Stupidity
» Confederate Yankee links with: And Now For Something...
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Banter in Atlanter links with: You Have Got to Be Kidding

Lunch break!

I see I'm coming to this late, but at least I come to it honestly... The Best Army Academia Money Can Buy. Hat tip to Jim C for the email.

Via Free Market Fairey Tales: The Queen is taking the Islamofascists seriously. H/t, CAPT H.

Boquisucio provides this link to Stupid Soldier Tricks. Via these guys.

Need some reading? How about this blog-driven effort about a LRRP team in Vietnam?

Chapter 1, Introduction: The first in a seven-part series about jealousy, truth, and honor between men who fought in a place called Vietnam.

Written by Kit Jarrell and Heidi Thiess

If that interests you, click here.

The RINO Carnival is up at All Things Jennifer

Cassandra at Villainous Company had an interesting post called "Stalking the Feminist Republican" to which I responded somewhat tongue-in-cheek. After a lengthy lead-in to set-up why she's about to go seemingly out-of-character, you get to the Heart of the Matter:

Confession time here. I get angry as hell sometimes at modern culture.

I think it's sick. I think it has become twisted and warped. Sometimes I am glad I don't have a daughter: honestly, I don't know what I'd tell a young girl growing up in today's world. It pisses me off (yes, that's a very strong word, but you should hear what is in my mind) when I'm sitting in the doctor's office reading Cosmo Grrrrl, for God's sake, and I spy an article saying that women should all go in and get about 1/3 of their intimate tresses removed because most men are so used to watching porn that they have become "accustomed" to seeing a nicely-trimmed mons Venus. Oh, and honey: most men surveyed said don't have it all removed because that just totally creeps them out.

I left my tired, weak comment, and didn't think any more about it. Comes then this mornings email, with a bit from the Target of the Armorer's Hairy Eyeball, Ryan, pointing out Grim of Grim's Hall response to Cassie, called Beauty and Misogyny, in which he kicks back the blame, refusing to accept it:

I think we need to get one thing clear. "Men" are not asking you to do any of this stuff.

When was the last time a man said, "And be sure to spend twenty minutes preparing yourself before we go out to the grocery store"?

I don't like lipstick. I've been trying to talk my wife out of it for years. She insists. "Hey, how about running out and grabbing a box of baking soda at the gas station?" Not until she's had a chance to shower, put on fresh clothes, and a little makeup...

Both of these authors identify genuinely awful trends, to which I'll gladly add a few more: body piercing, tattoos, hair-dying with harsh chemicals, wearing high heels even of the less-punishing variety. The problem is that everybody wants to lay this right down at the feet of men.

You can read his whole screed by clicking here.

Now all this finally kicked my interest up several notches. Not because of the argument -but essentially because of Grim's use of the term Misogyny. Which leads me down the path of misogyny in the blogosphere. Has anyone noticed besides me that female bloggers of the Right seem to attract a *lot* of a$$hole, personal attack, completely off the point commenters? Much less than male bloggers? I only know two somewhat lefty female bloggers, and they also have the problem, though it doesn't seem as bad. But since I don't read many lefty blogs, I freely admit I have a very limited window into that side. But I notice that even relatively small readership blogs attract these a$$hats, much less high-traffic/linked ones like Michelle Malkin. Just makes me wonder about the medium and who inhabits it. SWWBO has her share of buttheads (not counting her stalker Don) and yet I hardly ever have a troll, much less anything at all like the dolts who seem to hit the ladies on their blogs.

Anyway, to drag this stream-of-conciousness back to the Cassandra-Grim theme... is it just me, or isn't the type of thing that Cassie and Grim are talking about - and the industries underlying and pushing it - bastions of leftist thinking and politics? The Fashion and Porn Industries? I admit, I have no idea of the politics of the Make-Up Industry... other than the Mary Kay Commandoes of Bloom County fame...

Anybody got any thoughts?

by John on Aug 01, 2005 | General Commentary
» fredschoeneman.com links with: Professor David Kennedy

Monday, Monday...

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is dead. Aside from Franco-style Saturday Night Live jokes, I wonder if that means anything in the fight? Like, will the jihadis come forth in Saudi Arabia and make themselves available for lead poisoning? Whuff. Of course, if they come out into the open and *win*... we may find out, over time, what *is* on the target lists.

Finally. *Someone* is fighting the war on new fronts.

Some of you have been interested in anti-sniper tech - Strategy Page has an update on the Canadian-built (and used) Ferret system.

Some interesting footnotes in history today...

Here is one for the Castle's loyal Swiss reader, Origen: 1291 Everlasting League formed, basis of the Swiss Confederation. Yet *another* example of why the people should be disarmed, so as not to disturb the powerful in their sleep. William Tell.

1619 First black slaves landed at Jamestown, Virginia. Damned Dutch and Spanish, anyway.

1794 Whiskey Rebellion begins. Several Castle Readers and Blog Buds could probably empathize... at least for using Whiskey as an excuse to rebel...

1834 Slavery abolished in the British Empire. In cosmic terms, it really didn't take us much longer... but it sure was a lot harder.

1914 German Emperor Wilhelm II declares war on his nephew Tsar Nicholas II. The really unrecoverable die is cast. Soon, the Guns of August will be roaring.

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1936 Adolph Hitler opens the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin. Go Jesse!

1940 Soviets occupy Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The Iron Curtain falls across the Baltic Republics (the brief interlude of German occupation isn't really a bright spot...)

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1943 Blackett Str: "Tokyo Express" to Kolombangara tangles with 15 PT-boats. JFK's PT-109 rammed & sunk by HIJMS Amagiri. Can you imagine, in today's political climate, what the political fringes would do with the PT109 story?



1944 LTG George S. Patton's Third Army begins 281 days of operations.

Before we move on from WWII - let's let Don Surber give us a little peek at some WWII revisionist history... This will just tear at your heart, I'm sure.

'After he was arrested, I never saw him again' "

Who's speaking there? Someone with relatives who ended up in Auschwitz? Nope. A Nanking Chinese? Nope. Tojo's grand-daughter. Yep.


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1958 USS Nautilus attains "90 North". That would be the North Pole for anyone confused by that.

1966 Britain disbands the Colonial Office - the Empire is over. Well, until it reforms again in the prequel, Attack of the Clones... oh, wait - sorry - clash of culutural referents! The Colonial Office didn't last all that long, in terms of British History... but I *do* like this characterization of the founding:

The position was first created in 1768 to deal with the increasingly troublesome North American colonies.

That's us!

1966 UT Austin Massacre: Charles Whitman kills 13 people, wounds 31. Okay, the clock is ticking for the associated cultural referent. Who will be the first...

And here in Kansas City, a$$holes do vex us.

by John on Aug 01, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» Don Surber links with: Al-Jazeera's New Hero: Tojo
» MatthewMaynard.net links with: Ferrets & Snipers

July 31, 2005

Sunday morning Speed Read

A couple of items that caught my eye this morning...

Cassandra "what-ifs" this scenario. Yo, Homeland Security!

Fuzzybear Lioness reveals her Inner Sweetie.
*ducking baseballs and bolting to the next blog*

Huntress is *not* a happy camper about the direction the MSM spin of her recent "mystery in the Med" posts is taking.

Barb is still Blogcrawling. Drop in and snark her for sleeping-in.

Ooop. Time to go out and drop more rocks...

by CW4BillT on Jul 31, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

Speaking of Plane Pr0n...

...I thought a li'l Caption Contest might be just the thing to liven up the day.

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Ever wonder...

...how an aircraft manufacturer like Sukhoi manages to keep cranking out fighters despite shakeups in the Russian economy?

The secret's out...

by CW4BillT on Jul 31, 2005 | Plane P0rn