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August 26, 2005

Project Valour-IT

Today, Chris Muir and the Day By Day gang do their bit for Project Valour-IT (see the cartoon above - if it's no longer 26 August, click here).

Big ol' High Five and a Hoo-ah! to Chris, Damon, and Jan (even if she is a lefty)! And I'm sure Sam and Zed have done their bit, too.

Heh. Jan may be the only lefty who's donated... none have come forward and admitted to it yet, anyway!

I could do a big Jan sandwich too... (whap!) Oh, good morning, dear!

Update: Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters joins our merry band of Fusileers!

(this post will be on top all day, new stuff will come in below)

Active Duty Milblogger WARNO.

Good idea, Boq!


And, a WARNO (warning order) for milbloggers who still hold clearances.

There was a new "CSA Sends" that went out two days ago if you want to go find it in your AO. Alternatively, log in to AKO, do a search on "CSA and VCSA OPSEC Guidance " and it will pop right up.

Can't post it because it has an FOUO marking on it.

Bottom line is - the Army in general (and the Chief specifically addresses blogs, too) are blowing OPSEC in postings and on the UNCLAS networks. An example we unwittingly abetted here at the Castle is the TF160 email I posted. Unknown to me, the email contained a Code Word reference (elided when it was pointed out to me by someone who *did* know) - but things like that, and more, is what General Schoomaker is talking about - building on the M1 Tank photos debacle of a couple of years ago. Those I did sit on (getting scooped by Matt at Blackfive because of it, waaaaah!) because I couldn't believe they weren't at *least* FOUO. Turned out they should have been, but once they hit the Internet the Army had no choice but to let that one roll over.

But one reason a lot of the good stuff is hiding behind firewalls is because the Bad Guys are reading and adapting - NETCOM tracks who is on the networks, and the jihadis are there, reading, sharing, learning.

We can talk all day about the pros and cons of what's more important, the flow of information, or the hoarding of it, but the point is that the active duty milbloggers (and those of us who hold clearances, regardless) need to keep an eye on what we post and how it's sourced - because the Chief just told all our bosses to keep an eye on it... and because we don't want to be unintentional little Kossacks and DU'ers, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The TF 160 email was a kick in the teeth to me, so I'm trying harder, too.

But remember - the CSA just kicked your bosses in the teeth - which means weaker of them are going to go overboard in erring on the side of caution, which means pressure on you. Maintain a 360 scan guys, and when in doubt - don't post it. Ask. You can always post it later, or turn it into a book after the war is over. You'll get a *lot* more for it if you've got the skillz and patience!

Don't be the guy who hurts this puppy!


Dadmanly and Blackfive are also on it.

by John on Aug 26, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military
» BLACKFIVE links with: More OPSEC Guidance
» NIF links with: Bahng Chicka Bonck Beow
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: My Vacation, Part II
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol

Gunfight Rulez.

Another oldie but goodie. I agree with these rules. I own a lot of guns, but I can't talk to you in detail about muzzle velocities, hand load specs, MOA, etc. I'm not that kind of geek. I'm all about hitting the target, center of mass, reliably, as quickly as possible, from uncomfortable positions.


USMC Rules For Gunfighting During War

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

9.5. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don't drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

23. Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

U.S. Navy Rules to Gunfighting

1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.

2. Send the Marines.

3. Drink Coffee.

Hat tip, Randy K.

On a only tangentially-related note: What Television Has Taught Me about Handguns from King of Fools.


by John on Aug 26, 2005 | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits
» Alphecca links with: Around Town...
» NIF links with: Bahng Chicka Bonck Beow
» TFS Magnum links with: Gunfight Rules
» SayUncle links with: Gunfight rules
» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 08 28 Sunday
» Rocket Jones links with: A List of Lists

Seattle Scumbags

Put them to the sword.

(It's 0400, I just finished a sim and I'm cranky)

That is all.

Update: The link CalTechGirl provides is too good to leave buried in comments. Go read what Say Anything has been up to regarding this.

August 25, 2005

101 Soldierly Thoughts.

Having received lots of things today in email that had been ripped from bloggers with no attribution, so I thought I'd put 'em out there and give the bloggers some recognition... I may update this later, given the volume of traffic!

By Major Mark A. Smith Sr. (ret) USA

Mark Smith is a retired Special Forces Major. He was captured in the battle of Loch Ninh in Vietnam. He had 38 holes in his body when captured, back broken, lung messed up, bowel penetrated, and other wounds. He was held in a camp in Cambodia until released. He was an officer, but he was a sergeant first as he was field commissioned to the officer position. Having been an infantryman and a sergeant in Vietnam I see the wisdom of the following. Thank you ex-POW Maj. Mark Smith.



1. Never accept an officer as competent based on his source of commission.

2. Your right to influence the battlefield is diminished in ratio to the distance you are from the actual arena of action.

3. The battlefield selects its own Generals. No school or board can replace it.

4. Never call fire on your own troops, unless you stand among them.

5. Leaders are indeed born and no military school can provide what God did not.

I don't know where this may have originated, as it has verbiage in it (the intro paragraph) that doesn't appear at her place - but Jen Martinez at A Collection of Thougts is #1 in Google for it. So, if you'd like to read the rest, go visit Jen, and note the troll in her comments. You should visit Jen anyway, as she kinda specializes in getting the story out about the people fighting the war. Just like Matt at Blackfive, whose Casey Sheehan post is making the rounds today, also unattributed. Swiped in email is the sincerest form of flattery, eh?

I gotta caveat that I agree with about 95% of Major Smith's observations. I'm a little friendlier to female soldiers than he is - but since he's speaking as Infantry, I see the place he's standing. After all, I'm just support, and I know it.

This is another one rushing through email, copied in toto but unattributed: Robertson Activates Christian Sleeper Cells.

Happy Birthday, Bill!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

I started reading The Castle over a year ago, and then, in the fall last year, this guy started making some really cool comments on John's posts. I didn't know who he was, and he had this secret agent code name, CW4BillT. Now, I figured his name was Bill (duh), but wot in the heck was CW4?
So.... I sheepishly asked John. "Um, John... who's this CW4 guy, and what does that mean?"
I'm sure he rolled his eyes, giggled, and replied "Chief Warrant Officer. You can just call him Chief, or Bill."
"OK! Kewl! Thanks, John! He makes some really great comments- I'd love to email him personally. Do you know his address?"
"Just click on his name on any comment he's made- it will give you his real email address."

Great! So I sent this phantom person an email. And he replied! And I found out he was WAY cool. Since that first email, we've shared many messages to each other. He also started posting at The Castle himself. So for his BIRTHDAY (cue music, cake, party beverages, and dancing).... I thought I would share some of my favorite posts by my bestest blogbud, Bill. I'm sure you all have your favorites too- share them in comments or email me, and I'll post them here.

This early post introduced us all to The Scruples.

The Scruples have their own language, and classic lines like "hzzzzz. bassackwards. must roll in dough first before make cookie."

He kept up with old friends in new places.

Hosting provided by FotoTime
And he has told fantastic TINS- like how to fly your Cobra sideways, why pilots hate wires, bragging rights, and how to avoid a heat-seeking missile.

The man has some skillz... what can I say? It's no wonder we miss him when he's gone.

And he's more than willing to share his pilot knowledge.

He's also an excellent cook, did you know that?

And... his name has changed, to CW4(ret)BillT.

But no matter if you call him Chief, or Bill, or Muffy, or pencil-neck, sunken chest geek.... I'll always call him friend.

Happy Birthday, Bill. Now... LET THE COMMENT PARTY BEGIN!

JMH sent me this little gem: I had no idea Bill also flew (on) jets....

by on Aug 25, 2005 | Birthday
» Techography links with: They Say its your Birthday!
» My Side of the Puddle links with: So much to do... so much to say

Today is a Big Day...

...but someone else has that mission. I have to go back to work (sad face). San Diego, largely because of the people we know there and the fact it is *much* cooler (double entendre alert!), and is a direct flight from KC via Southwest Airlines, has just supplanted Las Vegas as our favorite place to visit regularly. Thanx to you Sandy Eggans!

Eaglespeak sent me a link to a fascinating pic he's got up. Now me, I couldn't get past the fact that there's a Naval Surface Warfare Testing Center that tests ships in Idaho. That's almost as funny-bone tickling as the fact they used to train Anti-Submarine Warfare crews at Naval Air Station Olathe... Kansas.

Yeah, I can think of good reasons to do both - but it's still funny.

Don Surber saves you the trouble of reading the upcoming spate of 9/11 editorializing. I wonder if I'll have the energy to see how close his predictions are?

I've been happily shilling for Project Valour-IT in this space, and will continue to do so. This is Fuzzybear Lioness' personal project, she's the driving force, I'm just a broadsheet she advertises it on - but it's important.

How important? The blogroll now has two Australian supporters on it. Why? Let this Ozzie blogger, Legless in Perpetuum, tell you why, in a note sent to another Project Valour-IT blogger, Seawitch:

Seawitch, that is an absolutely amazing and bloody important cause that you are supporting. As I have a high-level spinal cord injury I also use a voice-activated computer. I have my little microphone that I speak into, and because I can move my arms I have a trackball mouse[...]I know what it is like to be stuck in hospital for a long time with nothing to do and no access to the outside world[...]

This project will make a massive difference to the lives of wounded soldiers. Giving them access to the outside world, as well as the independence that voice-activated computers will bring, is such an honourable way to thank them for the sacrifices they have made for our well-being. [bolding added]

Go, visit, say thank you. Donate. I'm serious, I'm committing to donating every month until they make their goal. It won't be a huge amount - but over time, it will add up.

The Castle Argghhh! Fighting Fusileers for Freedom!



...we forget the degree to which television has affected (and sometimes infected) the consciousness of virtually every living soul on the planet.

F'rinstance, there are people living a thousand miles from the nearest Sports Bar who are as familiar with American football as we are, as witness the following. It was making the rounds when I was doing the Peacekeeper thang, and is even funnier in Serbo-Croatian...

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

Coach Bobby Ross had put together the perfect Lions team. The only thing he was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges, and even the high schools, but he couldn't find a ringer quarterback who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

Then one night, while watching CNN, he sees a war-zone scene in Bosnia. In one corner of the background, he spots a young Bosnian soldier with a truly incredible arm. He throws a hand grenade straight into a 15th-story window 100 yards away--ka-boom! He throws another hand grenade into a group of ten soldiers 200 yards away--ka-blooey! Then a car full of gunmen passes, going 90 kmh--bulls-eye!

"I've got to get this guy!" Ross says to himself. "He has the perfect arm!"

So, he brings him to the States, teaches him the great game of football and the Lions go on to win the Super Bowl for the first time in history.

The young Bosnian is lionized as the Great Hero of football and when Ross asks him what he wants, all the young man wants to do is to call his mother.

"Mom," he says into the phone, "I just won the Super Bowl."

"I don't want to talk to you," the old woman says. "You deserted us. You are not my son."

"I don't think you understand, Mother!" the young man pleads. "I just won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans."

"No, let me tell you," the mother retorts. "At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week and this week your sister was raped in broad daylight..."

The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says "...I'll never forgive you for making us move to Detroit."

by CW4BillT on Aug 25, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» NIF links with: Let's get it on!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

August 24, 2005

Kos-sacks Remain Predictable...and in dire need of some serious a$$ kicking.

The act doesn't surprise me at all, but at least their 60s-era parents waited several years before sinking to this level in their heady Vietnam days. (HT: Drudge)

Now if they were REALLY Mooreons, they'd be calling wives of deployed soldiers telling them their husbands had just been wounded (or worse) their parents did in those same heady Vietnam days. But I wouldn't want to give them any ideas. Besides, the military prepares families for the worst, making it very clear, frequently, how that goes down. So, the moms and dads and sisters and brothers, wives and husbands probably wouldn't be fooled, but it would be jarring, eh? So, Markos, don't get any ideas.

Of course, none dare call it treason. It is.

BTW, Cindy's back ventriloquizing Casey...


In Transit

The Castle Argghhh! Traveling Roadshow will be spending most of the day In Transit back to home station.

So, we offer up the following bits to keep you occupied while we are occupied....

Castle Adjutant Barb, taking a break of from keeping me straight, takes on the issue of modern technology, pluses and minuses thereof, with examples. All in support of Project Valour-IT.

PebblePie suggests you read this. You should.

Given the interest in the seeker head I inadvertently took the self-portrait in... it's not a AGM-65 Maverick, but is a relative, the AGM-62 Walleye. It looks like a missile, but it's actually a glide bomb.


August 23, 2005

"All along the Watchtower..."

The following arrived this morning, sent to friends from the Lady of a friend, who now finds herself newly-widowed…

[addressees deleted]

I found this in Carl's email tonite and thought you guys might like to read it. A part of me died with my husband today, but I couldn't be prouder of him than I am for his relentless willingness to help others and give of himself. I am the luckiest woman alive to have had such a wonderful life with him. I have no idea how I will ever continue without him. Thanks for caring and being his friend throughout the years.


Carl was a fellow National Guard Instructor Pilot. He and I attended a couple of military schools together and, when Desert Storm kicked off, we found ourselves at Fort Rucker—twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the order that never came.

He worked full-time for the Pennsy Guard at Indiantown Gap and retired a few years before I did, then took a contractor job to augment the retirement coins Sam pays us. He’s at Fiddler’s Green by now, decompressing.

I’m not going to eulogize him, because another friend got it in one. Anything I could add would only detract from the telling.

I’ve edited for comsec and last names, ‘cuz Carl didn’t die the Straw Death

Subject: In Memory of Carl Carroll 27 Jan 1950 ~ 20 Aug 2005
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005
01:02:08 +0400

[company deleted] Brigade:

It is with a deeply sorrowful heart that I am sending you this notification. I regret to inform you that on 20 August 2005 at 11:03 hours, Carl [deleted] our Kalsu Site Manager succumbed to an early morning IED injury suffered along route Tampa during the performance of his duties and selfless actions that perhaps saved the lives of 4 fellow [deleted] employees.

Following the roadside attack, he was returned to FOB Kalsu for emergency medical care and then he was medevac[ed] by helicopter to the 86th CSH (Central Zone) Baghdad, Iraq.

Ironically, Carl was a Dust-Off combat veteran and aviator who flew many similar missions while serving honorably in the United States Army. His family and friends have been notified in [address deleted] by our Next of Kin Team and are overcoming the loss of a loved one. Their sorrow and pain is awash in the love and support they are receiving from loved ones, friends, and fellow employees.

In a relatively few moments of reflection today, Steve [deleted], Phil [deleted] and I reviewed and discussed our professional and personal friendship with a unique and genuine American ~ Carl [deleted]. Not only was he a man of conviction, character, and integrity ~ he was a patriot, tenacious, and a fiercely loyal father, husband, and [company deleted] employee. Carl was someone you could never not remember. Handsome, fit, poised and rugged in his appearance; Carl was someone you grew to know and appreciate for his underlying humor and wit. Undoubtedly he was self assured, intelligent, serious in each and every endeavor, devoted to the well being of others, and a remarkably selfless and durable individual.

This man understood the meaning of accountability, lived it, and practiced it in his daily life. I would have stood on any ground with him and fought knowing that he would stay anchored until the end. His personal courage and fearless resolve to make a difference will forever be a part of our memory. And a difference he made indeed.

We were fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity for him to touch our lives. Tonight our Bridge of [company deleted] will mourn the loss of one of its warriors and share in a profound sense of loss. And tomorrow we will resume on our course with destiny while remembering him fondly as someone who made the ultimate sacrifice for his God, family, country, and those in Iraq who yearn for peace and freedom.

Carl, my friend ~ sleep well tonight and forever in the graces of God. We are walking along the Watchtower and will continue on in your absence…

[last name, unit, telephone numbers deleted]
Baghdad, Iraq

The Price is not the province of the young, alone.

Pax tibi, Carl. May your sleep be dreamless and your soul at ease...

by CW4BillT on Aug 23, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» NIF links with: Just a Wednesday
» Techography links with: No Blogging Today

Osama's Newsletter.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

The Cave
Hi guys. We've all been putting in long hours recently but we've really come together as a group and I love that! However, while we are fighting a jihad, we can't forget to take care of the cave, and frankly I have a few concerns:
First : While it's good to be concerned about cruise missiles, we should be even more concerned about the dust in our cave. We want to avoid excessive dust inhalation, (a health and safety issue) - so we need to sweep the cave daily. I've done my bit on the cleaning roster ... have you? I've posted a sign-up sheet near the cave reception area (next to the halaal toaster).
Second, it's not often I make a video address but when I do, I'm trying to scare the f*** out of most of the world's population, okay? That means that while we're taping, please do not ride your scooter in the background or keep doing the 'Wassup' thing. Thanks.
Third: Food. I bought a box of Dairymilk chocolates recently, clearly wrote "Ossy" on the front and put it on the top shelf. Today, two of my Dairymilk slices were gone. Consideration. That's all I'm saying.
Fourth: I'm not against team spirit and all that, but we must distance ourselves from the infidels' bat and ball games. Please do not chant "Ossy Ossy Ossy, Oy Oy Oy" when I ride past on the donkey. Thanks.
Five: Graffiti. To whoever wrote "OSAMA SH*GS DONKEYS" on the group toilet wall, it's a lie. The donkey backed into me, whilst I was relieving myself at the edge of the mountain.
Six: The use of chickens is strictly for food. Assam, the old excuse that the 'chicken backed into me, whilst I was relieving myself at the edge of the mountain' will not be accepted in future. (With donkeys, there is a grey area.)
Finally, we've heard that there may be Western soldiers in disguise trying to infiltrate our ranks. I want to set up patrols to look for them. First patrol will be Omar, Muhammad, Abdul, Dave and Akbar .
Love you lots, Group Hug.

H/t, Rich B.

by John on Aug 23, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Iraq War Today links with: Osama's Newsletter

Monday in San Diego...

The Castle Argghhh! Traveling Roadshow traveled to the San Diego waterfront on Monday. Taking shameless advantage of our military IDs, we parked (for free all day) at the Navy facility facing Navy Pier. Which is good, since Navy Pier is where the USS Midway is.

SWWBO has been feeling the walking pace of the last couple of days, and slipped and fell on the pier as we wended our way to the ticket office. She wrenched her back, not seriously, but painfully enough she informed me she wasn't wandering through any aircraft carrier. So, again shamelessly taking advantage of our IDs, we got reduced admission tickets and boarded the Midway. We paid $10 for SWWBO to head to the Fantail Cafe, swill beer and watch cute guys with tight buns or something, while I prowled the ship.

I got lots of pics, but since I ain't got any bandwidth - you'll settle for this one - a view of something old, the Midway, and something new(er), I'll let you Navy types tell me who the passing vessel is.

We then headed for the Star of India, the oldest iron-hulled commercial vessel still afloat. On the way there, however, we stumbled across a US Army tugboat... After finding out that San Diego supports the military, but not it's retirees (old farts on fixed incomes pay full price) we headed to the ships...

Anyway, back to the Star of India - built on the Isle of Man in 1863, she's seen a lot of miles and still sails. She's hauled cargo and people from England to New Zealand, nitre from Chile to Germany, salmon and timber from Alaska to San Diego. A kewl place to visit. From there, SWWBO surrendered to her tiredness and pain, and went to sit out my continued explorations by gaining solace for her pain buying earrings (nice ones - scrimshaw walrus tusk) at the museum gift shop.

Me, I went sub-hunting. The B-39, an old Soviet Kilo class diesel-electric. I knew they were pretty much improved German Type XXIs from WWII, what I didn't realize is that the crew of the U505 (in the museum of Science and Industry in Chicago [yes, I know the U505 is a Type IXc, thanks]) would have probably been able to sail her without too much help, except in translation. The Armorer figures that just like he wasn't cut out to be a Soviet tanker (over 5ft tall) he wasn't cut out to be a Soviet submariner, either. There were four of these things I hadda go through. I got through, but I left my dignity in the forward torpedo room.

I then went through the HMS Surprise, the movie-ship used for Master and Commander. That's a subject for a different post. Heck alla these are - when I have bandwidth again, next month.

I'll close with two things.

1. The Armorer can *always* find a cannon. (In this case, there's actually two there)

2. And I'll leave you with this very typical Armorer self-portrait - in a seeker-head on a bomb on an A7 spotted on the left catapult of the Midway.


Be Proud...

You can only study so much of the internal workings of a 60s-vintage jet, not to mention memorizing checklists, emergency procedures and all the other queep that goes into keeping the mechanical version of a pterodactyl in the air without occasionally coming up for air.

Of course, for a political junkie like me it often turns into a little recreational reading. In this case, it was one of the regular contributors to The American Spectator, Ben Stein. If you watch any Neil Cavuto on Fox, you know Ben. If you've ever watched "Win Ben Stein's Money," you know Ben. If you've ever seen "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," you know Ben.

Ben and I have been trading emails on occasion since my days as a group commander in Germany. You never know when a famous person might actually pay attention to you but when I first wrote him (I forget the subject but I know it was military-related) and was answered promptly, politely and sincerely, I thought, "Well I'll be damned. Some of these Hollywood types are human." Ben is quite human...and humane...and a man of courage. How many Hollywood conservatives have you heard of? Yeah, there's a few but most of 'em are in defilade. Not Ben.

He is a staunch advocate for conservatism and a true believer in American exceptionalism. I doubt he and Cindy Sheehan would have a lot in common and, I dare say, polite dinner conversation would be right out.

Anyway...I'm reading his latest "Ben Stein's Diary" (TAS, July/August 2005 issue) and was struck by the fact that here we are, concentrating on a parent and seem to have forgotten the other side of the coin...the children of the fallen.

Cindy has made a lot of noise; most of it silly, some of it repulsive, pretty much all of it self-contradictory. If America was a Fascist state, Cindy would probably be a lampshade right about now. But the focus has been on her (hmmm) and, more specifically, her loss as a mother.

Now, I cannot fathom the loss of my daughter. I experience the occasional frisson of imagining something horrible happening, but I think that's natural--the protective instincts often play games with your mind, running worst-case scenarios by you just to keep you on your toes and a defender of your progeny. It actually happening...well, let's not go there. So, let's acknowledge, and try to understand, in the tiniest way, Cindy's agony. Let us also get a grip.

There's another group of people out there who are standing alone with their thoughts and their memories and their grief, quietly dealing with the gaping holes in their chests.

"Dad's gone.

He's never, ever coming back. I'll never hear his voice, feel his hug, his kiss. I give all I have just to see him again, to hear him. Even him yelling at me would be fine. Delightful.

The silence is deafening."

But these kids put one foot in front of the other, day after day, making it work, dealing with it, and holding on. It is to them Ben spoke one day while in the Washington area and I think you need to read it:

Tonight I spoke at a gathering of the bravest civilians in the world, survivors of military men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were about 200 children and about 400 spouses and parents, overwhelmingly wives. We met at a hotel in Crystal City, near Arlington National Cemetery. These men and women and kids are the real cost of the war on terrorism. They are taking it with a heroism I cannot start to describe. Sweet-faced kids. Sweet-faced adults. Tears. Pride. Fear. Camaraderie. Patriotism. This is the best room I have ever been in. It is a privilege just to be on the same planet as these men and women and children. Here is what I told the kids. I’ll tell you what I told the parents another time.

It’s an honor to be here but not a pleasure. There is nowhere else I would rather be. But I wish none of you were here. None of you should have to go through what you have gone through, what you will go through. It is a tragedy, a catastrophe, and I cannot sugarcoat that.

You should know some things: You are paying the price for the war on terror. It had to be fought after 9/11. Had to be. But not everyone shares in it equally. Most people in this country and all over the Western world just go on with their lives. But you guys, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your grandparents—you are paying the full measure for this war on terror.

When the war on terror is won, we will have you and your parents to thank.

You will own a permanent honor in the history of free men and women.

There are some people who are Rockefellers or the heirs of Bill Gates or some other billionaire. Their inheritance is small and puny compared with the inheritance that you guys have been left by your hero parents. You have the honor of knowing you inherited the courage and sacrifice of your parents.

I know this does not make it any easier today, but someday it will.

I am here because I am a low-level TV and movie star and write about the armed forces a lot.

How many of you would like to be TV stars? Movie stars? Writers? NBA stars? Baseball players? Ballerinas?

You can do any of those things, because you live in a free country, bought with your parents’ lives.

But the people your parents were fighting do not want for this to be a free country. They want to control us and make us live in fear and dictatorship and terror. They want to take away our freedoms the way they have taken away freedom from the people in the countries they took over.

Your parents fought and died to let the people in those countries be free, to let their children have the same choices you have. So they can worship God as they wish, go to school as they wish, do the work they want, date who they want, marry who they want.

Your parents died to keep the people here at home free and to bring freedom to the countries where the terrorists come from.

Now, be proud, but of course you will also suffer terribly for the rest of your lives. That’s what it means to lose a parent, especially as young as you are.

What can you do about it? First of all, be good to your surviving parent, usually your mother. It is incredibly hard for her, too. Or him if it’s your dad. Their burden is overwhelming. Share their burden. Be good kids. Don’t fight with your brothers and sisters. This by itself will make it a lot easier for your parents.

Do your work at school. Be good citizens in school. Your parents were models of what Americans should be. Learn from them and be model citizens, too.

Carry in your heart the knowledge that there are stars in Hollywood, stars like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. And they make a lot of money and get their photos on the cover of People and Us and they get on Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. But this country could get along perfectly well without those stars. We could get along forever if Hollywood just vanished overnight.

We could not get along well, or even at all, without the real stars, the ones who keep this country going: the men and women in fatigues and BDUs who go down alleys in Fallujah and Ar-Ramadi and Mosul and Kirkuk and Baghdad and Kabul. These men and women, your parents, keep us all free. We could not live without them, not for a week.

Now, again, be proud of them.

But you are going to miss them terribly. Cruelly. And I would like to give you a suggestion for what I do when I miss my parents. I just go to a quiet place and turn off the lights and, in my mind, I compose a letter to them. And because they’re my parents, I know how they would respond, and I write in my head a lot of questions, and in my head, they answer the questions.

And then I tell them that I miss them and I am trying to live the way they would want me to live, and then I feel a lot better.

I am going to leave you with this thought. We are not here on behalf of the government, so we can talk about God, and I can say this. Your parents knew something that is vital to know. Here is what it is, and I first heard it from John F. Kennedy, a man killed in his prime more than 40 years ago. He said it very simply:

He said, we all ask God to help this great country. And we all ask God to do great things for this country and to go to work for the people we love. And God answers back, “Here on earth, my work is your work.” Your parents were doing that work. Be proud.

Now, to recap...

This war is worth it. No, not "so the fallen would not have died in vain" but to achieve what the parents of these children dedicated their lives to. The idea that freedom is worth fighting for, that it comes at a cost and we must be willing to pay it.

And the fallen aren't the only ones picking up the tab.

Instapilot sends

August 22, 2005

Supporting the Military, Part II.

This time, how to support the Military when you *mean* it, as opposed to the meaningless fluff rhetoric from the Left, as I caricatured in Part I.

And in this case, it truly is Supporting The Soldier, not Supporting The Military-Industrial-Governmental Complex And It's Policies.

Yes. Supporting The Soldier. The Soldier. Like This One. We're not sitting on your money - as soon as their is enough for a buy - we're buying and shipping - and here is the end result - a wounded soldier, suing a laptop provided by Project Valour-IT.

This, oddly enough, I'd have thought the Left, the side of "caring and compassion" could have sunk their teeth into, especially when they could *also* use it to bash the Administration.

Beth discovered differently. It's hate and vitriol over there - and if any center-left bloggers care about the troops, we haven't heard from them. But given the way their commenters are likely to behave, I guess I'm not surprised none have come out in support. We may well be getting donations from individuals on the left, and if so, they are appreciated. But how sad no one on the left can let themselves be seen embracing something like Project Valour-IT. If there are any out there, let me know - even if you don't want to be outed. I'd just like to hear that *someone* on the left can see past the President, Rumsfeld, and Iraq.

For a *much* more positive view of things, go visit the Seawitch, who yesterday laid out the case for Project Valour-IT pretty cleanly - the who what where how and why.

If that's not enough, how about Bloodspite, at Techography, who lays it out in a different way, today?

So, join the 51 Blogs who are currently enlisted in the Castle Argghhh! Fighting Fusileers for Freedom! Get your blog's name on the sites of Big Bloggers! Impress your neighbors! Awe your friends! Forget all that - lets just help the wounded, eh?

Just by clicking on the graphic below, read a little, give a little. Because, literally, you can - and they can't.


Soldier's Angels is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization - all donations are tax deductible, and you will get a receipt via PayPal. Don't trust e-commerce? You can send a check to the address on the Donate Page. Aren't sure about it? Click here. That takes you to the IRS search page for registered charities - type in soldiers angels (no apostrophe in soldiers), select "all of the words" to shorten your list and they'll pop up.

And if you'd like to help us help them, steal the graphics, steal the links, and post 'em, let us know, and we'll add you to this list:

If you're a lefty blogger who wouldn't be caught dead in that list, we understand. We suggest you start your own list, and own campaign, and stuff us warmongering capitalist neocons into the dustbin of charitable giving history. I'm all for it. This is about the wounded. No more, no less. In this case, I will allow the ends to guide my means!

Take a risk! SWWBO ventured on to Daily Kos! And has been punished with silly emails - and some thoughtful ones. Why did she do that? She took up the gauntlet I threw down in my initial post:

I challenge the Blog World. Right, Center, Left. Show that you *do* support the troops - because this isn't about the war, this doesn't support the Administration, and I don't care if you want to use this as a way to *flog* the administration. This is about nothing more than us caring for our combat wounded, regardless of what you think about the war. Punish the politicians at the ballot box - but support the troops in the hospitals.

How many of *you* guys have cojones that size? (Leave aside the gender issue)

Don't have a blog? No problem! Grab this press release by clicking here. Then send it to your local media - and ask them to spread the word. Radio, TV, print - it's all good. If you can get them to put links on their webpages... even better! The more eyes, the more clicks, the more laptops going to military treatment facilities for the use of troops whose wounds prevent them from being able to use a computer. What's not to like about that? Even if you hate the war - here's a chance to put your money where your mouth is about supporting the soldier.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Aug 22, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Thoughts by Seawitch links with: Monday's Valour IT Link
» Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho links with: Project VALOUR-IT - A Podcast Interview!
» Cotillion links with: What Is It About Boots?
» Cotillion links with: What Is It About Boots?
» Villainous Company links with: What Is It About Boots?
» Little Miss Attila links with: Help the Wounded
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Project Valour-IT
» The Cool Blue Blog links with: Tally Ho

Cleaning up the inbox before I go play...

Some other stuff besides partying to talk about today... Supporting the Military Part II will be up shortly, and I've got time enough to squeeze these in before I head off to visit the Midway.

MSG Keith, former Castle Correspondent from Afghanistan, invites you to read about the U.S. Joint Military Skills Training Center, where he currently works.

At The World According to Nick - RINOs have been sighted! The Hunt Is On!

On the subject of the ACLU, Castle Argghhh! has both supporters and detractors.

Jay is a pretty serious detractor. He's fundraising to buy an ad in the Washington Times, interviewing former ACLU lawyers, he's keeping track of their losses, and notes, that while they hate the 10 Commandments, the Koran seems to be okay... okay, there actually *is* logic in the approach they are taking... though you'd think for consistency, they would be working to get the Bible out, not the Koran in to the Courts. How dare *anyone* be allowed to invoke God on a legal matter?

Caption Contest

Admiral of the Moat Fleet Boquisucio has discovered an unexpectedly serendipitous side lobe to the implosion of the late Soviet Union.

The Russians like caption contests too.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Heh. The derivative of Airedale...

by CW4BillT on Aug 22, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» NIF links with: So, we've made it back to Monday ...

August 21, 2005

Supporting the Military... Part 1

Part 1. How to Support the Military, if what you want to do is *not* support the Military... and, indeed, wrap up a whole buncha stuff ya wanna castigate in one, neat little package.

I'm a San Francisco City Supervisor. I want to demonstrate my support for the military.

Hmmm. Where to start, where to start, where to start?

Okay. I know! I know!

Let's start here. We'll say "no" to docking the USS Iowa as a museum and memorial.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision."

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel _ the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

See! See! Fooey on you military guyz! *That's* how I support the military! I don't! Neener neener neener! Wow! I'm gonna dine out on this for *months!*

Snerk. Twits with no vision, I say. So wrapped up in short-term thinking and their own predjudices, they can't think outside the box, and instead, give us the same tired old refrain, over and over again. So do the Rolling Stones, but at least they're entertaining.

Heh. Why wouldn't they want the Iowa?

Good lord, I'd have thought they'd have *jumped* at the chance to have the Iowa. For *exactly* the reasons they cited they *didn't* want it!

They could have turned it into a huge, pink/rainbow colored floating museum castigating war, rumors of war, and homophobia! All with an artifact wrapped in gauzy remembrances of same.

Good lord, Dudes, you are *not* strategic thinkers! Drop me a line, the firm I work for specializes in that kind of stuff.

Oh, wait. Never mind. We *also* do work for the military, so, nah. We are a very progressive firm on Rainbow issues, however. We managed to reconcile the two, which you guys can't. Snerk.

Anyway -

You could have shown how the diversion of the immense amount of resources to build the ship affected impoverished children starving in Appalachia! And probably was responsible for the famine in Biafra in the 70's - and that probably led to the rise of Islamofacism!

Hey, c'mon, you don't need any real causal link - it just has to seem possible, and show right wing politics and economics in a Bad Light®, right?

You could have shown how it was used to kill poor Japanese soldiers who were merely responding to America's economic tyranny, forcing them to go to war for natural resources. Not to mention that when those rounds landed, they damaged the ecosystem and Disturbed Small Critters®! All the Japanese wanted was some wood, rubber, and coal - and here we forced them to conquer half of Asia for it - when if we had only properly embraced gov't funded mass transportation, we wouldn't have needed all that rubber and petroleum... which the Japanese could have had. And then the timber! Why, if we all lived in nice, enviro-friendly arcologies, we wouldn't have had that wasteful sprawl, either (more on that later!). And if we hadn't fought the Japanese, well, we wouldn't have made The Bomb®, either, right?

Bad enough the Iowa was used to kill those poor Japanese! At least they were capitalist pigs themselves, only worthy of support when we can Bash America®!

But then, *then!*, the Iowa was used to kill North Korean peasants and their Chinese brothers, Good Communist Peasants® all, who were simply trying to shine the bright light of Maoism to those poor, benighted, *gasp* capitalist-running-dogs of South Koreans, Lickspittle Sidekicks® of the American Hegemonists®! Heck, if the Iowa was a good ship, she'd have turned her guns on them! And those bassid 'Muricans in there with 'em!

Thankfully, this horrible machine of evil didn't hurt any of Uncle Ho's® children, but that shouldn't have stopped you guys from devoting some berthing space to how horrible we were in Vietnam - besides, some other Iowa-class BB's *did* shoot at Uncle Ho's® kids, so yer kewl there, too!

And then, you can highlight how the Iowa was used (the horror!) in Desert Storm - and this is a beaut - and therefore was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom - which we hateses, we does - so the ship is in fact the root of all that is Eeeeevilllll in the world, and it was The Chimp's® father who sent it there! And we hateses the Bush we does! Hateses it!

But wait! There's more!

You can do the whole Turret Fire thing. You can spin it as Gaia's Revenge®! Karmic Balance®! The ship *knew* she was being used for Eeevviiiillllll and tried to take herself out. And this is the Piéce de Resistance! You can slam the Navy for shoddy investigation, and the a$$-covering framing of an Innocent Man®, and they did it with a disgusting display of homophobia, by spinning the tale that Gunner's Mate Hartwig* killed himself and 46 others because he was broken-up over a Failed Gay Relationship®!

But wait! There's More!

C'mon, admit it - you guys really really really despise us Red Staters and hell, even Blues in the Flyover. Face it, If You Ain't Coastal, You Ain't Hip®! You can use one of the mess facilities on board for exhibits that show how Iowa, and other states like it, should be depopulated and allowed to Return to Nature®, with African Wildlife Reserves established, so that the Great Plains can become The World Zoo, and, following the instructions of the Sainted Native American® (oops, well, not exactly Native American®) Ward Churchill, only Native Americans (and select, properly screened Blue People®, of course) to occupy the land. But - even better - you'll keep the states as states, but now, only populated by Blue State Approved People®, you will *own* the Senate! And we inconvenient Red Staters can reopen Manzanar (as the Donella Meadows Arcology and Education Center - ooo, a double-entendre even!) and be bused in to clean houses and stuff while we get re-educated. And you can sneak in stuff about why Manzanar for Japanese Americans was Bad®, but under your administration would be Good®!

Hmmm. I guess I'm glad you guys have no Vision® after all.

Besides, the Bay Area already has the USS Hornet and USS Pampanito, which vessel you have seem before as the USS Stingray.

However, if you'd like to help the Veterans of the Iowa keep the ship in San Francisco (they seem a little miffed about Stockton), go visit them here!

*The author intends no disrespect to Gunners Mate Hartwig or his 46 comrades who died in the fire on the Iowa. Sometimes satire gets rough to make a point.

by John on Aug 21, 2005 | Observations on things Military | Politics | Pugnacious Stupidity
» EagleSpeak links with: USS Iowa Banned from San Francisco, Moves to Stock
» Don Surber links with: SF to the USA: Drop Dead
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Kerfuffles links with: Shunned By San Francisco

Early this morning...

...we had the mother of all T-storms.

Down the road a bit, a soldier and his wife were awakened at 0300 by a loud, persistent pounding on the door. The soldier got up, opened the door and saw a sodden Marine standing in the downpour, asking for a push.

"Not a chance," said the soldier, "It’s three o'clock in the morning!"

He slammed the door and returned to bed.

"Who was that?" asked his wife.

"Just some Marine asking for a push," he answered.

"Did you help him?" she asked.

"No, I didn’t—it’s three in the morning and pouring rain!"

"Well, don't *you* have a short memory! Do you recall about three months ago when we broke down and those two Marines helped us? You should be ashamed of yourself! Now, go help him!"

The soldier, thoroughly chastened, dressed and went out into the pounding rain, calling into the dark, "Hey, Marine! Are you still there?"


"Do you still need a push?"

"Yes, please!"

"Where are you?"

"Over here, on the swing!"

by CW4BillT on Aug 21, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies