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November 19, 2005

Go Army! Beat Navy!

Here's a link you'll never find at Lex's place. H/t, the Admiral of the Moat Fleet!

Old *one day* yourself, Captain? Snerk!

Um, it appears that there is peripheral data on the linked page that might not be work safe.

I'm not sure if they're referring to the video of the naval torpedo - or Lex's, but in some places, *all* that Navy carp *might* be offensive...

Oh, yeah - I almost forgot...

142 years ago, today, in a brand-spanking new cemetery, full of like, well, y'know, mostly new dead guys, well, this guy, y'know, he like, gave a speech, y'know?

And, like, it was quaint and stuff the way he spoke. Kinda kewl, in an old-timey sorta way.

Okay Pistol Grognards...

Any of you smart guys seen a M1911 with this modification before?

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Picture 2

Picture 3.

by John on Nov 19, 2005 | Pistols

Quick shot of stuff for Saturday

Today is busy, what with dogs to the Vet, SWWBO getting her hair done, and a forest's worth of leaves to rake before the snow hits.

Defense Tech has an interesting discussion on the new SMAW thermobaric round - I don't really buy the author's rhetoric, but the comments are instructive - and show that you can maintain a thread even with idjits in it. I prefer to leave out the idjits.

The Heartless Libertarian, who pointed it out to me - discusses his take on it here.

CAPT H sends along the source for the picture of the soldier in the Bogus Poster.

Stop the ACLU on a little movement from the FEC on the status of bloggers viz CFR.

Just to be mean - stuff in da basement:

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The Standard Disclaimers® apply.

November 18, 2005

Heh. This just looks dumb to me.

Calling Murtha's bluff.

Absent a large defection of Democrats who would be unwilling to go on record at this point asking for a withdrawal, I see this as mostly a losing proposition for the GOP. If it's a party-line vote, it's meaningless in effect, and provides the Dems a propaganda victory, doesn't it?

If it's a loss, that's a disaster.

So, unless there is an unlikely number of Democrats to vote against the measure... isn't this just shooting themselves in the foot?

I dunno - but I don't see much chance of an upside for the GOP on this, and the potential to start a ball rolling they'd really rather not see moving.

And given the leadership's crappy track record at party discipline... but hey, my political ear is high-grade tin. Anybody else got some smart thoughts?

Others, smarter'n/more informed than I - blogging it:

Stop the ACLU.
La Malkin
Kit at Euphoric Reality is live blogging.
Blogs for Bush
GOP Bloggers
Don Surber
The Political Teen has video.

Update. Studiously ignoring the whole thing last night, in favor of spending the Evening with Kat of The Middle Ground (about which more later), I see that the vote on the issue was 403 - 3 Against pulling out of Iraq immediately. My Tin Ear is intact.

Heh. Even Murtha wouldn't vote for his own proposal.


by John on Nov 18, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Stop The ACLU links with: GOP FORCES VOTE ON IRAQ WAR!!!
» Small Town Veteran links with: "Hawkish" Dem: Time To Cut And Run
» The Right Nation links with: GOP: Iraq Showdown
» Don Surber links with: Dems Retreat From Call For Retreat

I hereby resign...

...from adulthood.

I have decided I will henceforth abrogate all responsibilities save for those of an eight-year-old again.

I want to go to Dairy Queen and think it's a four-star restaurant.

I want to sail stick boats across a rain-fresh mud puddle and make a causeway through it with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie on the moss growing in the shade of a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know. And, better yet, you didn't care that you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to believe that the world is fair.

I want to believe that everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and get overly-excited by the little things.

I want to live simply again.

I don't want my days to consist of an endless succession of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork and depressing news in the papers, of trying to figure out how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank. I’m bone-weary of coping with doctors’ bills, gossip, illnesses of friends and family and the loss of loved ones.

I want to believe again in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.

So -- here's my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this any further, you'll have to catch me first, cuz…

...."Tag! You're it!"

H/t to V29. And thanks again for making it back...

*grin* Rumors abound concerning my last jaunt to the Left Coast. AAR to follow, containing memories of the Micro-Blogfest (including a rare, never-before published pic of Barb and BCR in the same location at the same time, gun pr0n and some miscellaneous--uhhhhh--miscellany.

by CW4BillT on Nov 18, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Blog o'RAM links with: Nature Abhors or What Would Glenn Do?
» Blog o'RAM links with: Nature Abhors or What Would Glenn Do?
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Changes in alert status.

From an email:

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorised from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

It's not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "shout loudly and excitedly" to "elaborate military posturing". Two more levels remain, "ineffective combat operations" and "change sides".

The Germans also increased their alert state from "disdainful arrogance" to "dress in uniform and sing marching songs". They also have two higher levels: "invade a neighbour" and "lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual and the only threat they worry about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

H/t, Dad.

Here's food for thought.

Some caveats - it's an edited, translated piece, I have no idea what was lost, nor what the editor/translator left out or possibly added.

Taken at face value, the author of the piece tars with a wide brush, and, I suspect, unfairly so - and skates into the same thin arguments and attitudes that characterized much of Jim Crow here in the US.

But with those caveats it represents an interesting take on the subject, if not offering any solutions. There is much that is arguable here. So, argue it. All the usual rules apply - and as you all so ably showed in the commentary to the piece on Chaplains, following the rules keeps the discussion interesting.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi This article was written by a gentile, not a jew Subject: Europe got Muslims in exchange for Jews This is a translation of an article from a Spanish newspaper.

All European life died in Auschwitz

By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez(*)

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

(*) This is a summary of an article recently printed in a Spanish newspaper, but it applies to most countries of Western Europe.

H/t, Jim C.

November 17, 2005

New Award.


News Update: Army Unveils New Award

Subject: Combat Briefing Badge (CBB)
Recognizing the need for an award for troops assigned to headquarters units during combat operations, the Army today announced the approval of the Combat Briefing Badge, or CBB. "People don't realize that being in a major headquarters can be just as stressful as going on patrols or convoys," said MAJ John Remf. "When you're briefing that many General Officers, your career can end in a heartbeat. And it can happen to anyone at any time, not just combat arms soldiers." DOD statistics note that CSS personnel are more likely to suffer career-ending incidents in rear areas than Combat Arms Soldiers. "This just reflects that reality," said Pentagon spokesman LTC Roger Pogue.

The award ranks in precedence below the CIB and CAB, but above the EIB and PowerPoint Ranger tab.

The criteria for the award is still under discussion, but preliminary guidance authorizes the award for 30 days of continuous briefings of officers at least two grades higher than the briefer without incident while serving in a theater of operations in which the awardee is eligible for hostile fire and hazardous duty pay.

H/t, Cary C.

Some good news, something funny.

A little good news from Iraq, via the Partamian Report.

More good stuff, this time from Colonel McMaster, 71st Colonel of the 3rd Armored Cavalry regiment, reporting out about the battle for Tal Afar.

Now for something funny. Making lemonade out of lemons.

What is wrong with this picture, of a product from a store in the Pentagon?

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CAPT H. knows...

...and here is how you make lemonade from a lemon.

The Armorer at Argghhh! also wishes it known that in his guise as the Forester of Argghhh and Chief Engineer of the Castle Argghhh Garden Railroad Company, he has reached out to New Zealand to help prevent Gnomelessness, (through the good offices of Murray of Silent Running who's shop it is) and will, upon the arrival of the fiddly bits, be able to report out on the repopulation of the region. Why is this important? Because some years ago, Castle Argghhh's demesne was burlged (outside, in the Bailey) and a Gargoyle purloined. This scared away the Gnomes and we wish to lure them back.

Now that the Leavenworth Police have put a crimp put in the Thief's activities, the time seems ripe for this.

We may also have to try out Murray's paper models and trebuchet, and I wonder if I can talk She Who Will Be Obeyed into that miniature Lorica Segmentata...

by John on Nov 17, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military
» Myopic Zeal links with: U.S. Army Poster, Canadian Soldier
» triticale - the wheat / rye guy links with: Phase Two
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Looking around the Milblogs
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Oh, let's have a juicy one.

But remember the rule: Attack the message, not the messenger. Passion without fire...power.

Jay over at Stop the ACLU and I had an email discussion yesterday, regarding his post on the subject of the ACLJ Protecting Military Chaplain’s Freedom To Pray In Jesus Name.

Rather than excerpt from his post here, go read it and come back. I'll hang around.

*Dum-de-dum-de-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum* Okay, yer back.

While Jay and I in our discussion (which I won't reproduce here, I'll let him state his case in person if he wishes) agreed more than we disagreed, but our major bone of contention remains the crux of the issue.

The Armorer will *not* be signing the petition. This does not make me anti-christian, anti-religion, or anti-anything other than anti-a$$hole. I am still not a fan of Newdow.

Your mileage may vary, and the Armorer bears no grudge against those that wish to sign. The philosophical tent that shields the Castle is many colored and flexible, even if, for some reason, most poles lean to the right, there are a few stubborn ones that do not conform.

From my perspective it's simple. Chaplains are soldiers. They are Officers, too. As such, like it or not, they have *Official* standing, and rules that govern them.

Freedom of Speech is a specific right that is *limited* for those who are in the military service of this nation. And the restrictions are greater upon the officer than they are the non-commissioned and private soldier. For good reason. I blog in part to express views I *properly* could not express when drawing full pay and allowances.

Chaplains have, for discussion's sake, three Voices. Personal Voice, Officer Voice, and Ecclesiastical Voice. All are subject to restrictions, in some form or another. As officers, we are allowed some latitude when speaking in Personal Voice - but always have to bear in mind (and herein lies a rub for milbloggers) that our Personal Voice is subject to the interpretation of those who hear it or read it - and if they construe that your Personal intrudes upon your Official, you can find yourself hoist on your own petard. But let's leave that aside and get to the issue at hand between Jay and I.

The crux of the issue lies with a conflation of Official and Ecclesiastical Voice.

I submit that when you are asked to offer prayer at a mandatory, or largely mandatory, public event, the Chaplain should speak in Official Voice and offer the most ecumenical prayer possible - without getting idiotic about it. To my eye, it is not unreasonable to ask a Chaplain to refer to God in a generic sense, and leave Jesus in the background (And let's not get into a discussion of the Trinity, either). This injunction includes Muslim clergy in the Chaplaincy, as well, no "Allahs". I know the Services recognize Wicca, Paganism, and even Devil Worship. I suspect among multi-theists there is still a figure from the pantheon that looms larger to an individual than the others - my point being, the use of more generic terms allows for greater variety among the people at that event allowing them to shape the message internally in ways that are somewhat less a stretch than when the only deity invoked is Jesus. As the Duty of a military Chaplain *requires* they facilitate the practice of faiths other than the one in which they have been ordained, I see no repression of their freedom of religion in the context of telling them to leave Jesus out of prayer at mandatory, non-religious-based functions, such as graduations, dining-ins/outs, award ceremonies.

A Chaplain speaks in Ecclesiastical Voice when she officiates at formal religious ceremonies, and there, not only because it is within her explicit purview, but is also voluntary (I think the Academies no longer make church services mandatory) all the appropriate trappings of a particular faith or grouping of faiths, are appropriate.

There is an event which does conflate the two specifically - Memorial Services for the fallen. Here, as a Commander, I would be frankly guided by the faith of the deceased. And if there is a mix, good luck to the Chaplain melding that, that's why you get paid the big bucks.

And if an individual cannot reconcile the conflicts - I would suggest that a military chaplaincy is not their proper vocation.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on it the second time around (the first post got eaten by a bug).

Discuss among yourselves.

No flaming individuals. Based on previous discussions in this space, this one might generate some heat.

Since, in order to have a focused argument, there has to be some agreed-upon starting point - the assumption here is that the Military Chaplaincy *is* a legitimate institution that passes Constitutional muster. If your only argument is based on the premise that Chaplains are a Church and State violation, hold your thoughts until *that* is the issue. That is *not* the issue here, however much you may want to argue it, to keep this thread somewhat focused.

I don't often delete comments, but get too far outta line and I will. One thing I, and many who dwell here like about this place is reasoned discourse, not moonbat ranting. Plenty of websites offer that.

First person to break Godwin's Law gets banned from the thread.

November 16, 2005

Of local Kansas City Interest

If you live in the Leavenworth/Lansing/Western KC/St Joseph metro areas you *might* be interested in an Open House tomorrow (Thursday, 17 November) at Fort Leavenworth. The Frontier Army Museum (a good little museum I have *nothing* to do with) is hosting a FREE Open House that will showcase not only the newly-renovated exhibits, the curators will also be showing artifacts related to Fort Leavenworth and the Frontier Army that are usually in storage and not normally available to casual visitors.

As a further incentive, free wine and cheese! Starts at 7PM with a short presentation, and lasts until 9PM. Access to the Fort requires only a photo id, though if you don't have a DoD vehicle sticker you will have to use the right hand lane and let them search your vehicle.

As a disincentive - I'll be the bearded fat guy (or, one of them, if there are more than one who show up) but I promise I'll ignore you unless you introduce yourself...

Really - if you have the time, there are worse ways to spend an evening. Especially if you've never been to the museum.

And no, neither the Director of the Museum, nor the Director of the Combat Studies Institute (co-sponsor of the event) asked me to shill this for them.

It was someone else. Frequent contributor Rich B.!

Just come to the Fort and follow the signs - which isn't too hard - when you enter the Fort at the Main Gate you are on Grant Avenue. Go north on Grant to Reynolds. Turn east on Reynolds, past the gym, and the museum is on the north side of the road, with a little semi-circle drive.

Get out the tissues.

Right click and save as - then play the Powerpoint show (2 meg file):

If I die before you wake.

H/t, Rich B.

When you're done with that, something for those who aren't squeamish. You were warned.

A pack of dogs savaging an alligator in a backyard in Florida.

Tough critters.

H/t, CAPT H.

Oh oh. This could be disastrous! I blame Clinton.

Way to go, Major Ragsdale!

by John on Nov 16, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Neptunus Lex links with: The privilege of service
» Sgt Hook - This We'll Defend links with: If I Die Before You Wake

November 15, 2005

"Hitting the opponent in the fist with your mouth..."

Hugh Hewitt has the latest on the breaking of our will by the forces of Islamofacism.

...and I thought the Democrats were the problem...

It took the North Vietnamese more than 10 years to break our political will. Bin Laden and al Zarqawi did it in three. I wonder how Hillary will look in a burka (don't answer that).

Let's hear it for the forces of darkness.

Anyone know the plural for "Putz?"

I'm Busy, but for what it's worth...

I wish I had more time to address the issue with specific references, but I don't, so I'll throw out a few thoughts and maybe start a dialog in the milblogosphere...

From the Blogfather today:

EJ & TROOP MORALE [Jonah Goldberg]
The thing I honestly don't understand from folks like EJ Dionne (Ramesh links below) is when they write things like this:

"Bush was not subtle. He said that anyone accusing his administration of having 'manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people' was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. 'These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will,' Bush declared last week. 'As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them.'"

I can understand that liberals don't like to be told their arguments make the troops' job harder. Who would want to hear they're undermining the war effort?

Me: I've come to the conclusion that liberals don't like to hear their statements might "make the troops' job harder" not because they consider it unfair, inaccurate, or even insulting to the US military. They don't like it because they know it didn't play well enough in Peoria to be a winning information warfare strategy against their political opponents. That's it. Period. Dot. Alas, I think they now believe the majority of folks in Peoria are now on their side.

Sad, isn't it?

Undermining the war effort is, on the contrary, albeit privately, to them a "patriotic" thing since there can be no legitimate use of American power while the Left's political opponent occupies the Commander-in-Chief's residence. They cannot conceive of a Republican beginning, much less prosecuting in any kind of sustained way, any conflict outside our own borders. Hell, Bill Maher would prefer we fight inside our own borders.

This, remember, is the party that had Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore sitting side by side at the DNC Convention in 2004.

So, trying to read into these counterattacks by the Left and their MSM allies something like an honest sense of outrage over a perceived assault on their patriotism is a fool's errand. I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard a Democrat--elected official or national spokesman, in the last 5 years--honest-to-God say that this country is an exceptional one, the best hope in stemming the tide of barbarism around the workld and truly different and better than any other nation for its commitment to freedom, for the example it sets to other nations in countless ways (economic, social, political, military, spiritual), and for the sacrifices its many thousands of sons and daughters are willing to make.

Do I think EJ's sense of outrage is an honest one? Sure. Do I think he could distinguish between constructive criticism and an irresponsible diatribe from a member of his Party that encourages the enemy? Not if it walked up and bit him in the ass.

But what EJ and so many others almost always fail to do is answer whether they think it's actually true. Does EJ think Bush is lying when he says that showing a lack of resolve is harmful to troop morale and/or encouraging to our enemies? Or does EJ think it is true but nobody should say it?

I mean that seems like an important part of the equation, doesn't it?

Me: I don't think he thinks Bush is lying. I think EJ thinks Bush is too dumb to recognize the "nuance" required to interpret his opponents' statements on the war as "patriotic," even though it makes the troops' jobs a little harder and America's job A LOT harder in convincing the enemies of civilization that we have the will and patience to resist and, ultimately, defeat them. In other words, I think Jonah is giving EJ too much credit as a writer thinking about the central argument/thesis in his product before he hits the "send" key.

Moreover, this seems like exactly the sort of thing military bloggers should address in a serious and thoughtful way. There's an inherent conflict for the Mainstream Media to address precisely this sort of question because the media knows that their -- often necessary -- coverage of the war has a negative impact on the war effort. It is the unnecessary coverage that annoys me, by the way. But therein lies another debate.

Me: Again, I think Jonah is being too kind. "Unnecessary coverage"--Hell, that isn't the problem. It's the blatantly inaccurate and lopsidedly negative coverage. Hello! For countless examples and whithering critique, go here.

What galls me to no end is how the American people have completely missed the counterinsurgency victories we are winning. Every. Effing. Day. For someone who's spent his entire professional career studying our past mistakes in prosecuting unconventional campaigns (me), Operation Iraqi Freedom needs to go down in the annals of US military history as one of the best examples of learning from past mistakes since, well, we've had a standing army.

Has it been perfect? Of course not. I'm sure there are a lot of other vets out there who would chuckle and say I overstate the case. Fine. But, personally, I think it has been bloody successful, given what we're up against. The advances have been breathtaking in their speed and the potential rewards will span generations. I just hope the Americam people can hang in there long enough in spite of the EJ Dionnes, John Kerrys, Ted "Scuba" Kennedys, Michael Moores, Cindy Sheehans and Jimmy Carters. THAT'S what pisses off the troops and undermines the war effort. Putting one's life on the line to liberate over 50 million. Coming home without some of your friends...and watching a constant battering of the rightness of the cause by the EJs, the Dems and, yes, the RINOs that runs a very real chance of making it all for naught.

Still, from the email I get from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, I get the sense that some of the Democrats' efforts are decidedly unhelpful though these readers are generally more dismissive than outraged. But there are some obvious problems here. For example, I get email from soldiers and marines generally sympathetic to my politics. So it would make sense they'd be peeved at the Dems.

Anyway, I think this is a really interesting and overlooked topic. And simply because liberals whine when it's raised doesn't mean it's not true or worth discussing.

Me: Jonah senses an atmosphere out here as "...generally more dismissive than outraged..." Well, yeah, since our expectations of both the "loyal" (cough) opposition and their MSM political allies are so low. It's hard to get mad any more and even harder to be surprised at anything they say.

[Update: See the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry for Bill's, and eventually, John's, views on the subject]

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Dusty on Nov 15, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Welcome To Andi's World links with: The 14-Day Pushback
» GM's Corner links with: BDS Pandemic; Dems, Liberals and Progressives Hardest Hit!
» Neptunus Lex links with: Politics by other means
» Signaleer links with: Taking up Jonah's Gauntlet
» The Bow Ramp links with: Warfare for Dummies
» GM's Corner links with: BDS Pandemic; Dems, Liberals and Progressives Hardest Hit! UPDATED
» basil's blog links with: Breakfast: 11/16/2005
» Techography links with: Troop Morale versus Politics
» You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom links with: Usn's and Them's
» DSS Hubris links with: Jonah's Challenge
» Chapomatic links with: Email On Marines In Iraq

Someone you should know.

U.S. Navy Seaman Nathaniel Leoncio

Medics/Corpsmen. Gotta love 'em.

Someone else you should know:

Blogson Sergeant B - who is coming back to the fold.

No chickenhawks here. I admit to a *twinge* of envy.

by John on Nov 15, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Lived to see the day?

Regional Heroes.

Both Specialist Howe, whom you've heard of, and the Patriot Guard, sworn to protect families from the despicable weasels of the Рhelps Phamily and their ilk.

Folks, I wrote this when I returned home last Friday evening, Veterans' Day; I had tried to tell my wife about what a day I'd had, but couldn't get it done because of the emotions, so I wrote it down. XXXXXX pressed me to send it to the Beatrice, NE paper, which I did, and I have shared it with the Patriot Guard and gotten a lot of positive feedback. I thought that you might appreciate the message. Specialist Darren Howe died as a result of injuries sustained when the BFV he was driving was damaged by an IED; his own injuries were worsened because he tried to free other soldiers from the back of the burning vehicle even while his own clothing was burning. He must have been a fine young man, but what made such a great impact on me was his home town. Mike __________________________________________________________________

This Veterans' Day, I attended the funeral of a man I never met, and it was the most meaningful Veteran's Day of my life, and I am changed by it.

Army Specialist Darren Howe died serving his country. He carried the fight to our enemies on their turf, and thereby kept them from having the mobility to mount attacks on our Homeland. He was a Patriot of the highest order, who willingly and selflessly assumed the risks associated with going in harm's way. And at the point of greatest personal need, he acted heroically, sacrificially, to help save his brothers in arms.

Darren was by all accounts a superior young man. Husband, father, son, brother, Patriot; Hero. There are many such young men and women in the United States military forces.

What made this day so special was what I learned first-hand about America.

I myself, as a Veteran and a member of the American Legion initiative called the Patriot Guard, traveled close to 400 miles round-trip to both honor Darren and to protect his family and friends from the potential appearance of the loutish cultists from Topeka, KS, whom I will not name. I joined in this 'mission' with many other Veterans and friends of Veterans. But, our presence was only what should be done.

The community response was overwhelming. Darren was clearly a beloved son of the community of Beatrice, Nebraska, and loved all the more for his sacrifice on their behalf; this town understood. As the funeral procession left the church enroute to the cemetery, we old Veterans, with as many National Flags mounted on our motorcycles as we could find places to secure them, were included in the long line of vehicles; we almost need not have bothered. Hundreds, thousands of people lined the processional route, everyone with their own Flag; large house flags, small hand-held flags, but nonetheless bravely thrust high in honor. Entire school classes, solemnly watching Darren pass; I didn't see a single instance of inappropriate behavior out of hundreds of children along the route. Old Veterans, saluting and young children, saluting. Uncountable numbers with hands over hearts. Two young girls, 10 to 12 years old or so, stand out in my mind, holding the Colors and saluting with the left hand; not even my old drill sergeant would have corrected them, for he'd have seen their serious expression and the sincerity in their eyes, and known that those salutes were every bit as 'proper' as any ever rendered.

In lieu of a Veterans' Day parade, historically rooted in Armistice Day and generally 'looking back' in focus, Beatrice honored one of its youth, just lost; but in so doing, they also paid the highest honor possible to all of those who've gone before. They showed that they understood. They don't take their freedoms for granted. They recognize, and honor, those who paid the price for those freedoms.

My own heart quaked with emotion, during the processional and throughout the graveside service. I was seeing, first-hand, a slice of the American Spirit.

Theodore O'Hara penned a poem to honor fellow Kentuckians killed in the 1846 Mexican War, portions of which are inscribed on placards throughout Arlington and other National Cemeteries. On Arlington's McClellan Gate is the verse, "ON FAMES ETERNAL CAMPING GROUND THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE SPREAD, AND GLORY GUARDS WITH SOLUMN ROUND THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD". It's more clear to me than ever before, after this Veterans' Day, that the fame and the glory are offered by the living, the beneficiaries of the sacrifices made. I'm a Veteran of Viet Nam, and my brothers and sisters from that conflict will perhaps understand this better than many others, but while I've celebrated Veterans' Day for my Dad, a World War II Veteran, I've been a bit of a cynic overall about this holiday; this Veterans' Day however, while celebrating the life and honoring the sacrifice of another soldier, I truly felt 'Welcomed Home'. Veterans' Day isn't an event; it's a state of mind, and I know more certainly that, in these United States, not only the Greatest Generation of the World War II era understands that.

I pray that God welcome Darren Howe into Heaven, that He bless Darren's loved ones with comfort as they deal with their loss, that He bless the community of Beatrice and all such 'Heartland' communities wherever they are located, and that God continue to bless America.

H/t Charles B, via Robin G.

It's Tuesday, it's cold and raining snowing - this must be Dilbertsville!

Hmmmm. Having (I think) made it into the Clubs (though I understand nomination bonuses could knock me out, I dunno), I've been taking a look through the Gurls in Contention for the Hearts. Most (but not all - wait for it) of my sentimental favorites are, sadly, pretty much out of the running, absent a *huge* shift in voting patterns... and I'm not that big a blogger - so this Club is gonna throw his weight behind where he thinks it can work. If you haven't voted yet - go vote for ALa, of Blonde Sagacity, and let's get her comfortably up in the deck, um-kay?

Secondly, an Inside Denizen Joke.

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BadCatRobot Labs, LLC, gets into Stryker Crew Automation. (H/t to the Admiral of the Moat Fleet for the pic)

SWWBO is in Maryland, where she met up with Admiral of the Moat Fleet Boquisucio and his bride - and I understand that a Certain Un-Named Part-Time Blogger had dinner with two Castle Chicks in the Great Northwest last night... perhaps there will be a Contact Report....

[Update: It's here! Bill has been actually sighted in Meatspace and there is evidence he's not just a clever program written by a 12-year-old... Hey, Bill - when do I get *my* rotorbit?]

Larry K sent along this link to the Maunsell Forts in the UK. Built to provide anti-aircraft platforms in the Thames Estuary in 1942 (the Luftwaffe discovered a relatively safe approach up the river), a couple still remain as a testament to odd military construction, and innovation under pressure. There were actually two varieties - the Army ones shown in the link, and the Navy ones farther out to sea, shown below.

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by John on Nov 15, 2005 | General Commentary
» Quotulatiousness links with: Naval forts of WW2
» Quotulatiousness links with: Naval forts of WW2

November 14, 2005

The WP controversy.

Given the kerfuffle (which I missed, having too much fun at Fort Benning) over the WP allegations, based on Radley Balko's post (which he mostly repudiated, with a manly defense of the appropriateness of the post anyway), pointed out to me by Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee, who has his own in-house artilleryman to give evidence (which I don't *entirely* agree with, but only on geekoid terms).

You can see the video via the link at Confederate Yankee, should you wish - be aware pictures of dead people abound in it.

The "crockumentary" as Bob so succinctly puts it, is flawed from the opening, they started losing me when they were showing the napalm footage from Vietnam, talking about how the canisters already "glowed blue" from friction as they were released. Note to Sigfrido - not much "glows blue" due to friction - and the rest of the aircraft would have, as well - but aluminum does take on the dominant colors - like sky blue - around it. And the cloudy mist around the canisters from release is simply an artifact of airflow in a humid environment - fly into Orlando some muggy afternoon and watch the vortex contrails off the wing.

The two soldiers? Engelhart lived in a vastly different world than most soldiers of his station. Heck, I served on higher staffs and I *never* got orders direct from the Pentagon, as he claims. He may be telling what he feels is the truth - but not credibly to my ears. But, of course, I'm an officer, and fully assimilated by the Borg. Reppenhagen, the other soldier? Did he kill civilians? Quite possibly. But what is obvious upon a close-up examination of a body isn't anywhere near that obvious at 100-300m. I don't know how many civilians died in Fallujah. I have no doubt there were civilian casualties. If those people weren't allowed to flee by the Insurgents, then the onus is on the Insurgents. If those people chose to stay... well, any death is a sad thing, but staying in a town you *know* is going to be the center of a firefight is even less understandable than riding out a hurricane. You make your choice, to take your chances.

The WP. I don't share CPT Robison's (Bob Owen's commenter) view of the video. To me, that looks like current WP projectiles functioning, with the bright lights falling to ground being the night-vision-enhanced view of the burning felt wedges falling to earth. Why shoot a screening agent at night? One thing about the felt-wedge WP vice the old version is that the smoke is much cooler - our night-vision can see through it - the insurgents Mk 1 Eyeball cannot see so clearly. So we used it to screen movements, mark locations, etc. All proper uses of WP.

[Update: Robison pointed out in email if it was NVD video it would likely have the greenish hue to it, rather than being in color - a point I readily concede. I still think the exaggeration of the light source is an artifact of nighttime video -but also acknowledge that I am doing a Wile E. Coyote in the air over a canyon in asserting any techinical knowledge regarding video..., so I'll leave that to the guys who *do* have some experience. ]

The 'bodies with strange injuries' such as burned flesh but unburned clothing. Welcome to nature at work. Putrefaction in unrefrigerated dead bodies. Most of the bodies I saw in the video looked like week-old corpses, not chemical casualties. I've seen bodies like that live, and there was nothing shown in the video that suggests otherwise to me.

The dead animals? Blast concussion kills, and doesn't always leave obvious marks on the surface, such as bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, etc. The dead rodents in the cage? Certainly possible smoke inhalation from fires now extinguished - or victims of dehydration after the owners fled?

Lastly - in all the videos - to include those shot by soldiers in combat - did anyone see US or Iraqi troops wearing gasmasks or protective gear? D'you think we'd have been using chemicals without MOPPing up?

I doubt it.

I think Bob has the right of it. Crockumentary.

by John on Nov 14, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Confederate Yankee links with: Arkin Up The Wrong Tree
» Confederate Yankee links with: The Lies of Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre, Part 1

French Military History, with tongue firmly in cheek.

This is funny, if you have any sense of history. But bear in mind one of the Armorer's Maxims - France has rarely had a government worthy of her soldiers. Don't diss the French soldier - plenty of enough for the politicians and the Generals they select.

- Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

- Hundred Years War
- Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman." Sainted.

- Italian Wars
- Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

- Wars of Religion
- France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

- Thirty Years War
- France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

- War of Revolution
- Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

- The Dutch War
- Tied

- War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War
- Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

- War of the Spanish Succession
- Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved ever since.

- American Revolution
- In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

- French Revolution
- Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

- The Napoleonic Wars
- Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

- France vs. Mexico
- Win, then give up. France conquers Mexico. When the U.S. decides to enforce the Monroe Doctrine and in so many words tells France to get the HELL out of our side of the world, they tuck tail and run. Maximilian, however, takes it like a man.

- The Franco-Prussian War
- Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

- World War I
- Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

- World War II
- Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

- War in Indochina
- Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

- Algerian Rebellion
- Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

- War on Terrorism
- France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be "Can we count on the French?", but rather "How long until France collapses?"

Or, better still: "They're there when they need you."

H/t, Dave M.

Cleaning up some stuff from the inbox.

Sadly, my cubicle is back to looking like most of yours (who work in Dilbertville, anyway).

Fuzzybear Lioness notes Devotion to Duty.

From Stop the ACLU:

Even though with my Irish blood (of course, there's just as much English in there, too) I'm supposed to hate all she stands for, I'll stand with the Queen on this one.

The MSM doesn't seem to have much interest in this story about 2,000 Muslims in anti-christian rampage. Bet if we swapped the words Christian and Muslim they'd be all over it.

And, of course, Mr. Newdow is offended every time he turns around.

Carnival Barker Punctilious notes that Myopic Zeal is hosting a Red White and Blue Carnival of the Recipes.

Another casualty of Hurricane Katrina - the USS Alabama. Showing why Navies put to sea and avoid or ride out storms out there, rather than chance being beached. She's a tough old bird, she'll be okay. Some of the stuff inside that museum building, however... (h/t, Larry K.)

Happy Birthday to the Secretary of State, Dr. Rice. Heh. It's Prince Charle's birthday today, too, but I'm afraid the Prince of Wales doesn't impress me nearly as much as his mother does, much less Dr. Rice.

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On this day in 1942, the loss of the USS Juneau, including the 5 Sullivan Brothers.

Speaking of the Sullivan Brothers - here's a nice piece from the Rocky Mountain News about one of the hardest jobs in the military for people who aren't deployed. H/t, Tony J.

In closing - how about some Gun Pr0n?

by John on Nov 14, 2005 | General Commentary | Tanks and AFVs
» Pirates! Man Your Women! links with: The Most Important Thing

November 13, 2005

Light stuff for Sunday.

Doing another drive by dumping-of-SWWBO-at-the Airport... (though she *does* get to meet Admiral of the Moat Fleet Boquisucio and his bride this evening) so here's this, from long-time reader Randy K:

This is probably the best set of tool descriptions I have ever seen.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted airplane part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: leans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbors to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog **** off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps off in bolt holes you couldn't use anyway.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the tensile strength on everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large prybar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, it's main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last over tightened 58 years ago by someone at ERCO, and neatly rounds off their heads.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50¢ part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used is a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "DAMMIT" at the top of your lungs. It is also the next tool that you will need.

EXPLETIVE: A balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight.