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October 01, 2005

Dinky LinkList

Dbie the AFSister's got an eclectic collection of links but I'm curious about *who* will be featured at Boobiethon 2005. Wander over and see if she's still giving PG-17c fits...

Barb has put another human face on the reason Valour-IT has touched so many...

Who better to review the new Fall TV shows than Tinseltown's most-vocal escapee -- Huntress...

Fuzzybear Lioness invites you to visit the Protest Warriors in her old stomping grounds. *cue glen campbell* "By the time I get to Phoenix, she'll be blogginnnn'..."

Didja ever realize that POTUS' nickname for Colin Powell was -- Balloonfoot? Drop by Cassie's place for the link to the List of Lists. WTF indeed...

*sigh* Flutterby's ongoing feud with the Metro MeterMaids during her quest to become an Army Aviator is heating up. Give 'em whut fer, Allie!

by CW4BillT on Oct 01, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!


...only one more workday in the week.

One of the advantages of this contractor gig is that I get to go places.

One of the disadvantages of this contractor gig is that the only places I get to go are military posts.

Not that Fort Polk in the aftermath of a hurricane and Fort Sill in the middle of a tornado alert and Fort Lewis under siege by pea-soup fog are devoid of charm, y’unnerstand, but when the high point of the day is listening to Talk Radio in between meetings -- well, you get the picture.

With which I segue seamlessly into John’s Imperial Grunts mention last Sunday as being prologue to Michael Medved’s interview with Robert Kaplan on Tuesday. And I actually came out of my jet-lagged stupor long enough to pay attention when Kaplan described some of the background action which led to his writing Imperial Grunts.

But I really perked up when Medved asked Kaplan what griped the troops the most; Kaplan answered, “The restrictive Rules of Engagement” and then went on to describe how exacting the troops had to be to avoid capping noncombatants caught in a firefight.

Heh. Wonder what he’d think of this…

“The Aircraft Commander of any Army helicopter receiving fire will perform the following steps before initiating suppressive fire: 1) Positively identify the location of the fire. 2) Positively identify the location of the nearest friendly units. 3) Positively identify the location of the nearest friendly civilians. 4) Positively identify the location of the nearest neutral civilians. 5) Determine whether the type, accuracy or volume of fire warrants returning the fire. 6) If you have determined that you should return fire, a) call Sector TOC with your aircraft identification, location, the type and volume of fire you are receiving, location of the source of the fire, the locations of 2, 3 and 4 (above), and request permission to return fire; b) Sector TOC will relay the request to 164th Group headquarters by the most expeditious means; c) 164th Group headquarters will notify First Aviation Brigade headquarters of the request; d) First Aviation Brigade headquarters will relay the request to Corps headquarters, which will approve / disapprove the request and so inform First Aviation Brigade headquarters; e) First Aviation Brigade will relay approval/disapproval to 164th Group headquarters; f) 164th Group headquarters will relay approval / disapproval to Sector TOC; g) Sector TOC will issue permission / denial of permission to return fire to the requesting aircraft.”

Try doing all that between now and the time you finally run out of fuel.

If you think I exaggerated the preceding to illustrate just how restrictive the ROE could get, ask the next Vietnam Helicopter pilot you meet about “the Rules.” He should be able to rattle them off from memory, because they were taped to the instrument panel of every helicopter in Vietnam. Those rules were about as restrictive and tightly-controlled as you can get without having to call the Commander-in-Chief on the red phone for permission to shoot back; they were intended to completely eliminate both fratricide and civilian casualties.

But did they work?

TINS*! Continued in Flash Traffic/Extended Entry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by CW4BillT on Oct 01, 2005 | This is no Sh*t!

September 30, 2005

The Militaria Bar of Argghhh!

Since the Castle Exchequer is busy funding universities and accelerated payoffs so that one day the Master and Mistress may actually, perhaps, stop doing the 7-6 drudge, additions to the Arsenal have been slight, as pretty much all the cheap firearms to be had already reside in the racks, and the remaining (plenty of 'em, to be sure) residents of the 'want list' are, well, not cheap.

This doesn't mean that the Armorer is totally bereft of new toys and gadgets. Rather, it means he's filling in the corners of the other bits and pieces of soldier-related stuff he likes to get.

Here is the Bar at Argghhh!

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Its been featured before. It even drew an aghast email from a GFW! For the record, we took the GFW's warning to heart. The Bar is no longer in the kitchen. It's out in the living room, so the rifle is handy when I feel the need to shoot out the talking head on television. Of course, I don't do that very often anymore... see opening paragraph.

The bar is home to a Boer rifle captured during the eponymous war by New Zealand soldiers. The brass scope is a brit artillery sight from the same era. One the end of the bar, the rectangular thing on the overhead part is an Australian "Two-Up" game stick and coins. Hanging from the end there are two tin cups, one Brit, one German, similar to the ones these gents are sharing. We've got rum jugs, beer bottles, schnapps glasses (all legit, battlefield recoveries) and trench art.

This week, I got a new gizmo. More properly, two gizmos, nestled at the bottom of the ABCA bud vase there (which currently serves as a swizzle-stick holder) - the little bullet-looking things.

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They're German-made, having "Bavaria" stamped on them. They were made for English-speakers - they have "Take a Shot" embossed on them. And they're cool, almost like a Babushka doll - one has 4 tiny shot glasses nested in it - the other is a lighter (needs a wick and flint, but it's otherwise in great shape).

I just knew you wanted to know. Oh, and SWWBO - they were cheep, too!

Update: Per BCR's request.

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Now, you need to get the labs working on that matter-transference gizmo we've talked about!

This one is for SWWBO!

Both contain 4 shots of Especial, 2 shots Cointreau, 2 shots Grand Marnier, and by that time, a little mix. Prosit!

by John on Sep 30, 2005 | General Militaria
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Stuff bumping around in my head today.

Here's a little story I'd missed... More interesting to me is Dr. Weevil's take on it, and his commenters response.

New Zealand's Government is relying on the "we're small, and we'll be nice to everybody" system of defense. You can do that when, in your heart of hearts, you know that if a *real* threat should show up, your northern cousin would send a carrier battlegroup or two, and a Marine amphib group, while your cousins on the Big Island to the West would probably do some dying buying time for you.

Which is no reflection on the New Zealand Armed Forces - the soldiers and sailors of Kiwi-land I've worked with are as fine a group of warriors as has ever taken up arms. Not dissing the aviators - just never worked with any! They've been reduced to what some want the USAF (or at least TRANSCOM) to become - a logistical/rescue force that would be Air FEMA. (A role they are already fully capable of, btw).

A little historical trivia:

1707 Austrians storm Gaeta, seizing it from the Spanish. I find this interesting, since Gaeta is in Italy, not Austria, or Spain.

1938 Munich Agreement: Czechoslovakia surrenders Sudentenland to
Germany. Which, in the end, didn't help. Let's hope 67 years from now we don't have an entry on my not-yet-born grandchild's blog that says...

2005 Gaza Agreement: Israel surrenders Gaza to Palestinian Authority. No, the situations are not exactly parallel... but it does indicate the level of risk that Israel is taking. It's a good thing, based on past performance of the Armies in question, that her enemies are Arab.

Strategy Page has some other interesting info today.

A little Iraq analysis.

In light of that bit - what should we make of *this* analysis? This highlights the problems decision makers face - how to reconcile all these competing views. I can tell you from working in a fusion cell - what's obvious in retrospect is anything other in real-time. H/t, Ry.

And a hoot of a video! Apparently this guy has a very accommodating significant other, as his grip strength is pretty weak. *Naughty Word Warning*

Jay at Stop the ACLU has a poll for you. *Very* Unscientific, but, hey, - it's a blog! I voted for strict constructionist, as passe' as that concept is.

Bob Owens takes on Sarah Brady over at Confederate Yankee, over the Brady Campaigns new advertising campaign... in Europe. Timely post, that is. Why? You should read SWWBO's post about her discussion of American governance with Brits in Bristol (where SWWBO is this week). Why? Because, at least in her limited sample, Brits are every bit as ignorant of the US as Euro's (and Weenie Elites in the US) claim we are about... them.

Then there's this...

BTW - Who Knocked Up Sam?

September 29, 2005

Been here, done this - but only in peacetime.

It's a tough job, no matter when.

CSA Sends: "Dear Casualty Notification Officer"

Names elided by me.

by John on Sep 29, 2005 | Observations on things Military | Something for the Soul
» Random Fate links with: Much sadness…
» My Side of the Puddle links with: Time for some linky-lovin

Coupla things...

Heh. This is a nice post with links over at Confederate Yankee regarding the tempest blowing in the teapot over Delay's successor/caretaker. The part I like best, I think, is the commenter's comment. Jack - please feel free to find the equivalent behavior on the right, we'll slap it right in here!

Awwww... too bad. Score one for unreflective, yet reflexive, Jingoism! *Does happy dance*

Jay at Stop the ACLU covers the ACLU's latest attempts to remove a cross wherever they see it.

Hee! Red Bull... gives you wings!

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On making difficult decisions

I've been asked by several people to comment on Captain Fishback's letter in the Washington Post.

The intro:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the "spirit" of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification. For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General's office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.
Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled.

If you haven't read this, you should.

A couple of things, in answer to questions. Yes, Captain Fishback is real. That's his name, that's his unit. I've checked.

Second - he's right that the guidance has been muddled, changing, and at times contradictory. His quest for answers occurred over months, and over those months, answer did, in fact, change. I've been following that myself, from the inside. I have a good friend who has written a historical monograph on the subject, recently, for the Army, and he said his research was difficult and confusing. If it was that way for a professional historian, I imagine for troops in the field in what we term the "OE" or Operational Environment, it was more so... if they ever got the word, definitively.

It's all been a black eye for the services, certainly. Whether I agree or not with whatever current definition is being floated by whomever, with whatever axe to grind, there is no doubt that there has been a failure of the leadership to fully and forcefully grasp and deal with the issue in an effective way. And, in many respects, having been on operations, the failures may be at far lower levels than you think, for reasons that have to do with the behavior of soldiers under combat stress. But that's a post for a different time.

What's clear with Captain Fishback is that he feels the chain of command has been unresponsive, possibly even evasive.

There is a book, originally published as in 1960 as DoD Pam 1-20, the Armed Forces Officer, authored by BG S.L.A. Marshall. It had in it a passage talking, essentially, about "Speaking Truth to Power" though Marshall certainly didn't term it that way. The current version, revised in 1988, waters that discussion down considerably - to my personal regret.

Marshall said, essentially, that if, upon reflection, an officer felt strongly enough about something, he must speak out to his superiors, regardless of personal consequence. Apparently Captain Fishback finds himself in that position. I'm sure it's a lonely one within his peer group, and he finds himself among strange new friends... such as Human Rights Watch.

As a Navy CPO I've been chatting with notes:

The German Great General Staff once issued a certificate to officers selected for staff duty which in part read:

"The King has made you a staff officer in order that you will know those orders to obey and those not to be obeyed."

Whether he is right to do this, only time will tell. And only time will tell what the price is he pays for doing it.

by John on Sep 29, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Neptunus Lex links with: An Inconvenient Captain
» My Side of the Puddle links with: Time for some linky-lovin
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Captain Fishback

September 28, 2005

Caption Contest

The Admiral of the Moat Fleet comes through again...

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This pic just shows that German WWII paras in Italy had a sense of humor.

Demonstrate yours!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Sep 28, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» NIF links with: Blogicus Interrupticus
» Quotulatiousness links with: Field-Improvised Weapons

September 27, 2005

Tuesday olio

A post in which I punish you for *not* having broadband access. But at least all the big stuff opens in a new window...

First up: The Neo-Con Blogger(TM) has a .wmv for you. (When you get to the site, remember to right-click and open in a new window)

For the 4.3888045831 of you who *haven't* been everywhere else in the milblog world or Free Republic before coming here, go check out this gesture of defiance. H/t, Ry.

Here's the punisher: a 3 meg Powerpoint Show about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. It came from France - and might well be intended as a snark, I don't know. Cultural differences can make things seem one way or another. Regardless - it's a good collection of pictures, put to music. I wasn't offended by it - but I'm not sure the author didn't *intend* for me to be offended. Mebbe Jack knows. Anyway - right click and save as and run it from your desktop for best performance.

The Great USA.

That's what I've got this morning. If you are a person who checks back, I'll probably add to this post as the mood (and access to non-work computer) allows.

Snerk! This is one reason to keep Europe alive... h/t, the Blogfather.

Barb's back! And she scouted at least one castle for the Castle Argghhh!!! Someday We'll Do It European Castle Tour.

Cassie has a Gun Pr0n caption contest up. Don't embarass me over there - that *ain't* a tank in the picture!

Speaking of tanks, and tankers...


...FbL tags John and AFSis tags me. Bleaugh. 'Nother chick quiz.

Congress must've declared this "Fatal Attraction to Milbloggers Week."

But the madness ends with me! I will refrain from dropping it like an incontinent Pekinese into some hapless innocent's lap!

Besides, I think everybody else has already been scr -- uhhhh -- tagged with this. And, in order to spare the sensitive among you, I've buried the whole sordid mess in Flash Traffic/Extended Entry. Sooo, just keep scrolling past, no need to peek...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

September 26, 2005

Big sigh.

Good call, Coach. Really.

Agent 86, aka Don Adams, USMCR, has passed to Fiddler's Green. Lieutenant Albert, et. al., await.

Snerk! That ain't the Oktoberfest I remember. Mardi Gras in New Orleans, perhaps, but not Munich!

Stuff ta keep ya busy.

After a summer hiatus, the newsletter of the Brigaded Blogs of Canadians Militant returns! The Red Ensign Standard, number 28!

The Confederate Yankee takes on Human Rights Watch.

Heh. You can only jump the shark so many times before even the Kossacks will bite! Angry in the Great White North peers into Kossacks vs Sheehan. H/t, Confederate Yankee.

Barb finally checks in... from Venice.

Carnival of the Recipes!

Kommonist Kitty Kommissars!

Hmmmm. I might have to look into one of these...

This one's for FbL and AFSis (scroll down, those who know, will understand, for the rest of ya - Good Gun Pr0n!)

Ahem. *Speaking of Fuzzybear Lioness* (Hairy eyeball)

She slimed us with a meme. That she got slimed with by AFSis. Fine, in deference to Denizens, I'll play - but I won't pass the contagion on. Plllpppppt!

But I won't make you read it if you don't want to. It's in the Flash Traffic/extended entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Sep 26, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» My Side of the Puddle links with: Paybacks are hell
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Attack of the Killer Meme


In the comments to a post below, Bill bloviates thusly;

Kaplan's off the mark on "unasseting" the helicopter begetting "unassing" same -- "unassing" the ship was common usage 'bout thirty years prior to the present oh-so-trendy verbification of nouns.

This is what comes of refusing to publish Roget's in a cammied cover...

Now that we auld pharts don't work in The 'Box any more, the corporate memory shifts.

5 gets you 10 that the New Kids On The Block (NKOB) figured that 'unassing' had to have some kewl derivation, and cast about until they came up with "Unassetting". Kind of like we do when confronted with an acronym we understand, but someone asks us what the letters stand for - and we MSU* an answer.

Or, someone like us was drunk, and the New Kids misunderstood us to say Unassetting when we really slurred un ass-sitting.

I can see it now...

Interior, night, tent. Cases of near-beer abound. Grizzled, white-haired warrant officer pilot (GWWOP) lies sprawled on his cot, 27-inch zipper open to his waist, in case that cute admin warrant ambles by... GWWOP sips from carefully packed and concealed ABC (alcoholic beverage container).

NKOBs come in.

NKOB1 "Hey, didja hear that Kaplan guy? Asking about what "unassing" meant? Where d'ya think it came from?"

NKOB2 "I dunno, really. Whatcha think?"


NKOB1 "I dunno, whattaya you think?"

GWWOP "I know"

NKOB2 "Yeah? Where'd it come from Gramps?"

GWWOP "Back in da 'Nam, in the Delta, where men were men and small furry animals were really small furry animals, and scared... *hic* it meant, *hic* it meant, get yer assesh outta th' aaaair, *hic* aiiiiirrr, *hic* bird. *bleary eyed look* Uuuuuhhhhnasshed the bird. *hic* Yep. Thash' it."

NKOB1 "Hey, cool - it means they 'unasseted' the birds! C'mon, let's go tell Kaplan!"

NKOB1 and 2 rush off to find The Reporter Guy.

GWWOP "Hehehehehehehehe. My work here is done."

*Make Shite Up. This also applies when confronted with a Congressional Staffer Who Knows That Word Is An Acronym and he must know it's meaning when he writes the Congressperson's Report On The Subject.

Case in point - when I was running the Battle Sim Center at Fort Sill, way back in the days it first opened, we had lots of visitors. We were the first TRADOC school to implement a simcenter, and we did it mostly out-of-hide. But it was Kapital K Kewl. (it really was, leave aside that it set me on the path to my eventual lucrative post-retirement employment). We'd get Persons From Congress (usually staffers, the Congresscritter themself being a bit intimidated by all those blinkenlites). Anyway, our major tool was a high-res simulation called Janus, still in use, though its star dims on the training side. (Hey, it's almost as old as Bill).

Staffers *Knew* Janus had to be an acronym (even though it wasn't in all-caps) probably because their poli-sci degrees never covered Roman mythology, where Janus is the two-headed god of portals, the past looking to the future. No, the only Janus they knew was maybe Janus Funds, and Everybody Knows the services are all into acronyms, so what did it mean?

You'd tell them, "Nothing. It's the name of a roman god and..."

"Oh, please!" they'd reply. "I have a source in the Pentagon who told me what it meant, only I forgot, now don't make me call them..."

Snerk. Like I'm afraid of that.

"Okay, you got me. It means 'Just ANother Useless Simulation'."

*scribble scribb...* "It does not! Now, what does it *mean*?" (throw in gerbil-glare)

"It doesn't *mean* anything. It was originally built as an analysis tool for comparing current equipment and force structures against new equipment and force structures... from the past to the future... Janus... the roman god of portals."

"Oh, don't give me that! You're just trying to make me look stupid in front of my boss!"

"Nope. Sorry. I'm not." (thought to self, "I couldn't do any better than you are right now, anyway.")

by John on Sep 26, 2005

September 25, 2005

Two thoughts for today.

Euripides sez:

When talking to someone who is a DU'er remember...

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.

Thoughts for those engulfed with long-simmering (as in generations-old) hatred:

Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.

H/t, Jim C.

I've been dithering about getting Kaplan's book, Imperial Grunts.

Thanks to OpinionJournal, I will. Today even (since I'm going to be by the bookstore after dropping SWWBO off at the airport for her trip to Bristol, England).

The book is replete with such catchphrases. The military would grind to a halt without them, as surely as if it ran out of gasoline or computer chips. So nouns become verbs: templating, civilianizing, unassetting (which means emptying a helicopter of troops and which in turn is reduced to unassing). Ideas become acronyms, mostly mind-numbing but sometimes soaring to poetry: I was delighted to learn that what we used to call nation-building is now MOOTWA, for military operations other than war.

And in quiet moments the troops explain themselves in terms that call to mind an earlier America: God, country, honor, duty. "The clichés were spoken with utter seriousness," Mr. Kaplan assures us. "That's ultimately why these guys liked George W. Bush so much. . . . He spoke the way they did, with a lack of nuance, which they found estimable because their own tasks did not require it."

Awwww. Bob Owens has been banned, again. Quit picking on the sensitive ones, Bob. Yer mean. Remember - it's what you *wish* it was that matters. That said, note Bill of INDC's comment towards the end of the stream. There were *still* a lot of people there, if not as many as they wished there were.

Kewl. New precision MLRS helps in battle for Tal Afar. Heh. Someday, John H, if we keep you guys using the GPS to self-locate, it might even be safe to be around us. H/t, Chris L.

Jay asks an interesting question over at Stop the ACLU:

Isn't it odd that the ACLU sees a 13 year old responsible enough to make choices as to whether or not to have sex, with whom to have sex, under what conditions to have sex, deal with the consequences of having sex, use drugs, drink alcohol, and commit other criminal acts, but they see a 17 or 18 year old high school student as being incapable of deciding upon entering military service?

Rarely subtle and nuanced in his argumentation, is Jay... Just drink the Kool-Aid, Jay, you'll feel better. Snerk.

Lastly, some moments of firearms zen...

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feeding the monster.

The Fire-Breathing, very large monster.

Update: Go visit AFSis and get some learnin'. Go visit BCR and have some fun. The Lioness takes off the gloves and fuzz flies!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »