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December 10, 2005

Orders #12-10-01.00

All personnel are ordered to go Heartless Libertarian and read this.

Failure to comply will have consequences.

That is all.

by John on Dec 10, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Sgt Hook - This We'll Defend links with: A Must Read

Gun Pr0n!

Heh. Kinda. It's gonna make some readers react like it was pr0n, anyway...

Click here.

Yep. *Ours*

I haven't done anything for you airplane fellas lately.

How about this?

Something for the sailors... here.

The Coasties... That's the Storis commissioned 1942 and still serving. Talk about "the forgotten service"...

CUTTER STORIS (FOR RELEASE) KODIAK, Alaska (Sept. 26, 2005)--The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Storis will celebrate their ship's 63 years of service on Sept. 30. The Storis was built by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company, Toledo, Ohio and commissioned in 1942. The Storis saw action in World War II in the North Atlantic while assigned to prevent the establishment of Nazi weather stations in Greenland. In 1948, the Storis changed homeport to Juneau where it supplied medical treatment to native villages and surveyed uncharted watersin the Arctic. The Storis and two other cutters, now decommissioned, completed a historic transit of the Northwest Passage and circumnavigation of the North American continent in July of 1957. Soon after, the Storis was transferred to its present homeport here. The Storis continues to patrol the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea proudly bearing its gold "38" hull numbers, which is a distinction given only to the oldest cutter in the fleet. Official Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Christopher D. McLaughlin

and, of course, Marines.

TINS!* Another Vulture Caught the Bug

Some of my old RVN buds lurk and even sally forth to make the occasional comment (yeah, *you* Two-Niner!).

And now, they're doing TINS!

And about time, too. The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association is looking for contributions to the oral history archives, and the guys are coming through like champs...

Bob Shine (V One-Seven) did this one, but the sneaky basset didn't tell me about it--probably because he figgered I'd post it.

He was right. And Eric ratted you out, Baby-San!

However, to forestall the inevitable question--no, I was *not* the guy who put the Huey inverted. But I *did* get a 110-degree bank out of one (something the Army still insists is impossible, by the way)--and if I hadn't, this place would still be subtitled "The Home of Two of Jonah's Military Guys"...period.

It's a quick read and a good one. Peekchurs, too--and you'll see why we tagged him Baby-San.

by CW4BillT on Dec 10, 2005 | This is no Sh*t!

December 09, 2005

It really *did* happen...

...and you can blame Wild Bill (the *other* Wild Bill, not this one) and MCart for setting me off.

TINS! But from ninety years ago...

The 1914 Christmas Truce has somewhat assumed the status of a legend, probably because most of the stories associated with it are in the "historical fiction" category--some admittedly crafted, some posing as eyewitness accounts.

All the first-hand accounts have already been written; there will never be a new one. Alfred Anderson, the last living participant, died last month.

But the full story--plus some of the "romance" associated with it--is here.

I remembered reading a collection of letters in a long-since out-of-print book that my grandfather brought back from his stint with the AEF. One of them stuck in my mind because a Truce at Christmas just seemed like one of those things that *should* have happened and actually *did*...

I found that letter. I won't find the book ever again, but I found the letter.

The Letter of Captain Sir Edward Hulse, Bart., 2nd Scots Guards, to His Sister: "At 8.30 a.m. I was looking out and saw four Germans leave their trenches and come towards us. I told two of my men to go and meet them, unarmed, as the Germans were unarmed, and to see that they did not pass the half-way line.

We were 350 - 400 yards apart at this point. My fellows were not very keen, not knowing what was up, so I went out alone and met Barry, one of our ensigns, also coming out from another part of the line. By the time we got to them, they were three-quarters of the way over, and much too near our barbed wire, so I moved them back. They were three private soldiers and a stretcher-bearer, and their spokesman started off by saying that he thought it only right to come over and wish us a Happy Christmas, and trusted us implicitly to keep the truce.

He came from Suffolk, where he had left his best girl and a three-and-a-half horsepower motor-bike. He told me that he could not get a letter to the girl, and wanted to send one through me. I made him write out a post card, in English, in front of me, and I sent it off that night. I told him that she probably would not be a bit keen to see him again.

We then entered on a long discussion on every sort of thing. I was dressed in an old stocking-cap and a man's overcoat, and they took me for a corporal, a thing which I did not discourage, as I had an eye to going as near their lines as possible. I asked them what orders they had from their officers as to coming over to us, and they said none; they had just come over out of goodwill.

I kept it up for half-an-hour and then escorted them back as far as their barbed wire, having a jolly good look round all the time, and picking up various little bits of information which I had not had an opportunity of doing under fire.
I left instructions with them that if any of them came out later they must not come over the half-way line, and appointed a ditch as the meeting-place. We parted after an exchange of Albany cigarettes and German cigars, and I went straight to HQ to report.

On my return at 10.00 a.m. I was surprised to hear a hell of a din going on, and not a single man in my trenches; they were completely denuded (against my orders) and nothing lived. I head strains of "Tipperary" floating down the breeze, swiftly follwed by a tremendous burst of "Deutschland Uber Alles," and, as I got to my own Company HQ dugout, I saw, to my amazement, not only a crowd of about 150 British and Germans, at the halfway house which I had appointed opposite my lines, but six or seven such crowds, all the way down our lines, extending towards the 8th Division on our right.

I hustled out and asked if there were any German officers in my crowd, and the noise died down. (At this time I was myself in my own cap and badges of rank.)
I found two, but had to speak to them through an interpreter, as they could talk neither English nor French. I explained to them that strict orders must be maintained as to meeting half-way, and everyone unarmed; and we both agreed not to fire until the other did, thereby creating a complete deadlock and armistice (if strictly observed.)

Meanwhile, Scots and Huns were fraternizing in the most genuine possible manner. Every sort of souvenir was exchanged, addresses given and received, photos of families shown etc. One of our fellow offered a German a cigarette; the German said, "Virginian?" Our fellow said, "Aye, straight-cut." The German said, "No thanks, I only smoke Turkish!" (Sort of 10 shillings a hundred man, me. It gave us all a good laugh.) The Border Regiment was occupying this section on Christmas Day and Giles Loder, our Adjutant, went down there with a party that morning on hearing of the friendly demonstrations in front of my Company, to see if he could come to an agreement about our dead, who were still lying out between the trenches. The trenches are so close at this point, that of course each side had to be far stricter. Well, he found an extremely pleasant and superior stamp of German officer who arranged to bring all our dead to the half-way line. We took them over there, and buried 29 exactly half-way between the two lines. Giles collected all personal effects, pay-books and identity discs, but was stopped by the Germans when he told some men to bring in the rifles; all rifles lying on their side they had kept carefully.
They apparently treated our prisoners well, and did all they could for our wounded. this officer kept on pointing to our dead and saying, "Les braves, c'est bien dommage."

When George heard of it he went down to that section and talked to the nice officer and gave him a scarf. That same evening a German orderly came to the half-way line, and brought a pair of warm, wooly gloves as a present in return for George."

The letters tell the story best--and the vignettes. And one of the letters definitively answers the question of what a Scotsman wears under his kilts.

Ooops--I may have just triggered a Denizenne instalanche.

Oh, yeah--MCart? Juan had the idea for the autogyro in 1921.


by CW4BillT on Dec 09, 2005 | Historical Stuff

On buying guns for people...

There was a deal-clincher for me marrying SWWBO. All the usual reasons were there - she bathed, laughed at my jokes, could cook, was passably likeable, didn't care (out loud) if I dropped my undies on the floor (usually next to hers, anyway), etc. All the usual reasons.

But... the deal clincher was she bought me a machine gun.

This one, in fact.

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But wait! There's more! The joke is that we get everything we want *before* the wedding... and during the honeymoon... but after that, well, y'know, things slack off... right?

Not SWWBO! Next Christmas I got this!

But! There's *always* a "but," right? There was a condition attached. I couldn't get any more guns.

That's right. Not a one. Deal-breaker, right?

Nope. I couldn't get any more guns *unless* I put them on display. In other words, to feed my jones, I was *forced*... yes, *forced* I say, to do this: I had to take a room in the basement and make it a museum!

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Now *that* is my kinda woman.

Heh. It seems that there's at least one other woman like that around... at least in Chris Muir's imagination.

And it's no mistake she's a Castle Gurl! You got Zed an AUG? You rock, woman! Those ain't cheap!

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by John on Dec 09, 2005 | Gun Rights

December 08, 2005

All right already! Back off the emails!

Sheesh! The Canadians (less CAPT H) are pinging me about the Liberal Party leader's proposal for a handgun ban in Canada.

Heh. File under "Oops I did it again!"

Alan of GENX@40 opened fire with this:

You know it is pretty hard to just slam them as liberals when they call themselves iberals: Martin set to promise tighter controls on handguns in bid to fight urban crime.

Being busy, I responded:

Heh. My only comment is that it's never worked anywhere else, but it will make them feel good.

Alan returned fire with:

Not to be snarky at all but how did the handgun ban not work in the UK? Is there any stats you are aware of? My interest is in writing about the topic not arguming so anything you are aware of would be useful.


And now Damian Brooks of Babbling Brooks jumps on me, too.

What? The Canadian Prime Minister proposes to ban handguns, and you have no posted opinion? I was expecting my favourite purveyor of gun-porn to blast the idea with both barrels.

Okay, I have an opinion. I sent it to Alan and to Damian.

It's a longish screed, so I'll put it beneath the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Dec 08, 2005 | Gun Rights
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Margaret Thatcher released from hospital

December 07, 2005

H&I Fires

Hmmm. This explains a lot... [Oops! *This explains a lot* - my bad!...] why, in spite of #82, there are no little Donovan's running around, having had to marry-in a step-son despite all my procreative efforts...

Scott, the Environmental Republican, calls your attention to this project to support the troops this Christmas season (though frankly, the need is year-round).

Hmmmm. Just hmmmm. Some food for thought in here (gazing at scars and other indicators of clumsiness).

I don't care for Wes Clark as an individual, and have real grief with him as a Presidential contender... but I don't have any huge argument with his Op-Ed in the NYT. The military part. I'm less sure on the political part... but mostly, I admit, from ignorance. However, before you chime in with "he was talking to Arabs, so he must know what he means" let me observe I have worked with a fair number of Arabs - and it takes a long time to truly be able to parse their words to get to the true meanings when you are talking about important things. But I share his concerns about Iran.

The Right Place has the latest on the ACLU's Campaign Against Christmas.

Jay at Stop the ACLU has launched Operation Nativity...


Meet the "Invisible" Enemy

kat-missouri usually cuts right to the chase. There's a minor-but-thought provoking thread going in the comments of John's The Nature of the Threat post--here's part of what she had to say:

Anyway, I wanted to say here, under John's post that one of the major problems that the American people have is that they cannot see the enemy. I mean that literally. So, we flip on some video (usually propaganda) from time to time showing some "insurgents" in Iraq. But, generally, like our men over there, they don't physically see them all the time. We certainly don't see them in Afghanistan and they don't see them in Pakistan or Indonesia. It's the invisible army.

Further, no journalist here has done an indepth report with visuals that show who, what and where these guys are today.

I thought she raised an excellent point.

Prepare to meet the enemy.

The following are excerpts from the investigation of Ramzi Hashem Abed, a captured Iraqi terrorist, which aired on Al-Fayhaa TV on August 12, and Al-Iraqiya TV on August 7, 2005.

Investigator: What organization do you belong to?

Abed: Ansar Al-Islam.

Investigator: What organization is this?

Abed: It is Bin-Laden's group.


Abed: Our Ansar Al-Islam military camps were in Halabja.

Investigator: This was in the days of the previous regime?

Abed: Yes.

Investigator: And now?

Abed: Now, there is nothing. They were all scattered. The training area was in Falluja.


Investigator: The groups you mentioned... Each group had a special mission?

Abed: Each group had suicide bombers, who are Afghans, not Iraqis.


Investigator: Slaughtering National Guardsmen and policemen - tell me about it.

Abed: Sir, the slaughtering was done by people who belonged to the Syrians.

Investigator: Syrians?

Abed: Yes, the slaughtering...

Investigator: From your own group?

Abed: No. There was a squad that came from the Syrian border.


Investigator: Did you rape anyone?

Abed: Only one, a relative of mine.

Investigator: A relative of yours. You kidnapped her and raped her?

Abed: No, we did not kill her.

Investigator: You didn't kill her, only raped her?

Abed: Yes.

The edited transcript is courtesy of CENTCOM--and there are others...

The information about them is out there, it's just being broacast to *Arab* audiences, not American.

You can find it on the public access website of a major Army Command, but you can't find it in the online pages of the "Newspaper of Record" or the WaPo or the L.A. Times.

Heh. I wonder if *this* excerpt will turn the MSM around...

Investigator: What is Al-Hisk?

Abed: It is the Kurdish neighborhood. We hit them, and we also hit the Communist headquarters, in Mosul.

Investigator: The Communist party in Al-Mosul?

Abed: Yes.

Wahabism. Delenda. Est.

by CW4BillT on Dec 07, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» In the Bullpen links with: Those Peaceful Jihadis
» Cake or Death links with: Interrogated terrorist transcript

Living and Driving on Post...

For those of you who operate *any* vehicles on DoD installations... FYI. From the Leavenworth PMO:

6. NEW DOD CELL PHONE POLICY IS INSTITUTED. Beginning 1 May 2003, cell phone use in a government vehicle at any time, on post or off post, or in a private vehicle while conducting government business or driving on post, is restricted to a "Hands Off" policy. You must both pull over and put your vehicle in park to use your cell phone, or use a no-hands device of some type to use your cell phone while driving. In other words, your hands must be on the steering wheel at all times while using a cell phone. DOD police will start enforcing this policy, which is consistent with GSA regulations and most DOD installations, on 1 be prepared!

Note the *date*... 2003. What came out in email today was a WARNO of *enforcement*. Sometimes if takes a while for the message to get to the tail of the dinosaur from the head... Snerk!

by John on Dec 07, 2005

Lest anyone think I don't check the calendar...

I do. It's December 7th. It was a bad day, 64 years ago, throughout a large swath of the Pacific Ocean, as the Japanese moved to secure their "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere."

And kicked the Giant in the nuts.

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I didn't forget. Click here.

And we salute the living...

As we remember the Dead.

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

Don't kick Giants in the nuts. They didn't like it then. They don't like it now.

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U.S. Army Capt. Alfonso Prieto from the Military Transition Team, Headquarters Headquarters Company 1st Battalion 327 Infantry, 101st Airborne, Fort Campbell Ky., looks out of his gun turret of a tactical vehicle waiting to convoy to an Iraqi Military Base in Kirkuk, Iraq, from Forward Operations Base McHenry, during Operation Iraqi Freedom Oct. 29, 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway) (Released)
by John on Dec 07, 2005 | Historical Stuff
» The Glittering Eye links with: Catching my eye: morning A through Z
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Remembering Pearl Harbor
» TacJammer links with: Pearl Harbor, and a Lesson - 2005 Edition
» A Blog For All links with: This Day In History
» pamibe links with: Pearl Harbor Day in the Sphere
» Small Town Veteran links with: Lest We Forget
» The Grand Retort links with: Review: Hiroshima

Little help... and Grenade Pr0n!

I've been too serious of late, despite Bill's best efforts. Must be subliminally trying to ease the bruising my ego is taking at the Weblog Awards...

Anybody know what grenade this is?

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It's been tentatively id'd as a French Guidetti from WWI, but I don't agree. Unfortunately, I can't prove it isn't, either, really, based on the somewhat limited resources out there.

Anybody know their obscure WWI grenades? Better than me? Who read this thing...

by John on Dec 07, 2005 | Grenades

The Nature of the Threat

1st - Congrats to Bill... his post was #2000 here at the Castle!

Okay - we've been sniping at the Global War on Terror, with our newest contrarian, Ray B, weighing in on things, keeping us from being a perfect echo chamber.

Remember the Armorer's Motto: Wahabism Delenda Est! (apologies to the Latin purists, who insist on Wahabismus)?

Let's bring in some outside help on it. Victor Hanson noted, back on November 4th:

November 04, 2005, 8:40 a.m. The Real Global Virus The plague of Islamism keeps on spreading.

Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.

Emphasis mine (of course it is, it supports my thesis...)

First, despite the various professed grievances (e.g., India should get out of Kashmir; Russia should get out of Chechnya; England should get out of Iraq; Christians should get out of Indonesia; or Westerners should get out of Bali), the perpetrators were all self-proclaimed Islamic radicals. Westerners who embrace moral equivalence still like to talk of abortion bombings and Timothy McVeigh, but those are isolated and distant memories. No, the old generalization since 9/11 remains valid: The majority of Muslims are not global terrorists, but almost all such terrorists, and the majority of their sympathizers, are Muslims.

Second, the jihadists characteristically feel that dialogue or negotiations are beneath them. So like true fascists, they don’t talk; they kill. Their opponents — whether Christians, Hindus, Jews, or Westerners in general — are, as infidels, de facto guilty for what they are rather than what they supposedly do. Talking to a Dr. Zawahiri is like talking to Hitler: You can’t — and it’s suicidal to try.

Third, there is an emboldened sense that the jihadists can get away with their crimes based on three perceptions:
(1) Squabbling and politically correct Westerners are decadent and outnumber the U.S. Marines, and ascendant Islamicism resonates among millions of Muslims who feel sorely how far they have fallen behind in the new globalized world community — and how terrorism and blackmail, especially if energized by nuclear weapons or biological assets, might leapfrog them into a new caliphate.

(2) Sympathetic Muslim-dominated governments like Malaysia or Indonesia will not really make a comprehensive effort to eradicate radical Islamicist breeding grounds of terror, but will perhaps instead serve as ministries of propaganda for shock troops in the field.

(3) Autocratic states such as Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran share outright similar political objectives and will offer either stealthy sanctuary or financial support to terrorists, confident that either denial, oil, or nuclear bombs give them security

Meanwhile, Westerners far too rarely publicly denounce radical Islam for its sick, anti-Semitic, anti-female, anti-American, and anti-modernist rhetoric. Just imagine the liberal response if across the globe Christians had beheaded schoolgirls, taken over schoolhouses to kill students, and shot school teachers as we have witnessed radical Muslims doing these past few months

Instead, Western parlor elites are still arguing over whether there were al Qaedists in Iraq before the removal of Saddam Hussein, whether the suspicion of WMDs was the real reason for war against the Baathists, whether Muslim minorities should be pressured to assimilate into European democratic culture, and whether constitutional governments risk becoming intolerant in their new efforts to infiltrate and disrupt radical Muslim groups in Europe and the United States. Some of this acrimony is understandable, but such in-fighting is still secondary to defeating enemies who have pledged to destroy Western liberal society. At some point this Western cannibalism becomes not so much counterproductive as serving the purposes of those who wish America to call off its struggle against radical Islam.

While I have been saying things like this off and on for three years now, it's always more authentic and real if a Famous Person says it - even if that person is famous because they have a good singing voice. I know - Barbra Streisand told me so!

Anyway... Most of what I see (most, not all) coming from the Loyal Opposition these days is essentially a yearning for "Anything But What Bush Wants" even to the point of "We want The Sun to Rise in the West, because Bush likes it Rising In the East..." level of discourse. Mostly, it seems a desperate desire to return to the *perceived* comfortable Status Quo Ante 9/11, with Enhanced Police Features!

Still interested? Read on in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry-

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

December 06, 2005


*squeezing between posts to keep John's bleg up top*

This contractor gig is pretty interesting--I'm on an Army project headed up by a gummint manager who decided it was 'way too complex for him better handled by civilians, so it's contracted to a primary, who decided that it's got the potential to cream them gonna be of sufficient duration to justify hiring a subcontractor, who also saw the writing on the wall figured that a bunch of retired Army guys would find their way around with absolutely no a minimum of training.

Heh. My team consists of a retired division CSM, a West Pointer Gulf War vet (who thoughtfully *doesn't* attempt to amputate your nose with his ring), two crusty old Chief Warrants and the former Log NCO for an independent brigade.

And the nice thing is, there's a secretary who keeps us all from getting into more trouble than you'd believe too far off the mark by providing us with office intel--such as where she keeps the coffee filters--and a gummint Project Manager who's up-front about working conditions.


*squeezing back between posts to resume normal cubicality between transcontinental jaunts*

General Abizaid's thoughts... in note form.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Army's senior leadership recommends that Soldiers read this summary of General Abizaid's comments to the Naval War College last week. General Abizaid, Commander in Chief, U. S. Central Command, spoke to an audience comprised primarily of War College students who are mid-grade/senior military officers. The majority of these officers have served in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so there was a real understanding of the dynamics of the region.


A short summary of General Abizaid's comments, from contemporaneous notes:
He is amazed as he goes around the country and testifies before the Congress how many of our countrymen do not know or understand what we are doing or how we are doing. There are very few members of Congress who have ever worn the uniform (of our armed forces). He said that the questions he gets from some in Congress convince him that they have the idea that we are about to pushed out of Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no relation between this and the reality on the ground.

As he goes around the region and talks to troops and junior officer he is very impressed by their morale and their achievements. They are confident that they are capable of defeating the enemy. You will never see a headline in this country about a school opening or a power station being built and coming on line, or a community doing well. Only the negative things will get coverage in the media. He told the mid-grade/senior officers to go to their local Lions Clubs when they go home and tell the people what they are doing. If they don't get the word out, the American people will not know what is really happening. The insurgency is in four of 18 provinces in Iraq, not all 18. You do not hear about the 14 provinces where there is no insurgency and where things are going well. The insurgency in Afghanistan is primarily in Kandahar province (home of the Taliban) and in the mountain region on the Pakistani border. The rest of the country is doing well.

Iraq now has over 200,000 soldiers/police under arms and growing. They are starting to eclipse the US/coalition forces. Their casualty rate is more than double that of the US. There are more than 70,000 soldiers under the moderate government in Afghanistan and growing. He predicted that the insurgencies in the four Sunni provinces in northern/central Iraq and in Southwestern Afghanistan will be there for the foreseeable future, but they will be stabilized and become small enough so the moderate governments will be able to keep them under control.

2006 will be a transition year in Iraq and that will see the Iraqi forces take much more of the mission from the US forces. This is necessary to bring stability to Iraq. We need to be fewer in numbers and less in the midst of the people for the moderate Iraqi government to succeed. Our primary enemy is not the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is Al Qaida and their ideology. We are at a period now that is similar to the 1920s where Communism and Nazism had not taken hold in Russia and Germany. The ideology of Al Qaida is out there and it has not taken hold in any country in the Middle East. We need to make sure that it does not and we are doing that, but it will be a long problem with a long commitment.

He said that we are focused on the things that we (Americans) have done wrong, like Abu Ghraib, and not talking about this enemy. We need to talk about this enemy. Al Qaida is all over the world. Their goal is to get the US out of the region and come to power in the Islamic countries of the region. From there their goal is to establish a Caliphate (under a single Islamic ruler) that goes from the Atlantic in North Africa to Indonesia in the Pacific. Fifty years after this happens their goal is to rule the rest of the world. Since Desert Storm in 1991 US forces have not lost any combat engagement in the region at the platoon level or above. Al Qaida has no beliefs that they can defeat us militarily. They see our center of gravity as being the will of the American People. That is influenced by the media and they are playing to that. They don't need to win any battles. Their plan is keep the casualties in front of the American people in the media for long enough that we becom(e disillusioned) [? this sentence was cut-off in the original, I'm guessing]

If you look at the geography (of Al Qaida) there is no place to put a military solution. They are networked and they are all over the world. They are a virtual organization connected by the internet. They use it to proselytize, recruit, raise money, educate and organize. They have many pieces that we must focus on: the propaganda battle in the media, safe houses, front companies, sympathetic members of legitimate governments, human capital, fighters and leaders, technical expertise, weapons suppliers ideologically sympathetic non-government organizations (charities), financers, smugglers, and facilitators. A lot of their money comes from drugs.

We are winning but we have got to maintain constant pressure over time with the international community and across the US government agencies. No one is afraid that we can't defeat the enemy. Our troops have the confidence, the courage, and the competence. We need the will of the American people to be sustained for the long haul.

H/t, Jim C.

Update: Greetings, Cornerites! Since the Blogfather sent you - vote for us!

The polls are open!

Just click on the icon!

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Don't forget - you can vote once every 24 hours in each category... and The Corner is up for Best Blog!

by John on Dec 06, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» protein wisdom links with: The Iraqi Narrative: Abizaid v. Murtha, et al.
» The Colossus links with: General Abizaid On The War
» The Colossus links with: General Abizaid On The War

That rumbling you hear... a shifting paradigm - or at least, the formal acknowledgement of the need.

Good News from Iraq even a Leftist could love.

One of the reasons this blog changed from what it was to what it is revolves around the changes in my day-to-day work responsibilities, the areas covered, and the resultant restrictions on what I can talk about, whether via OPSEC or classification constraints, or via judgements made about talking "out of school" in areas where the information is my client's, not mine, or my confidentiality agreement with my employer rules. In addition, I generally like my job, and don't want to blog myself out of it. It's my way of doing my bit for the war effort. So there's lots of stuff I used to blather about - I don't anymore. C'est la guerre.

This is not one of those times, thanks to DoD. I've had a DoD-issued ID card my entire life. I have lived within or around the bubble that is the Armed Services of the United States, mostly the Army, pretty much from the day I was born. And, since I'm a retiree, I'll be a leech on the national treasury until I die, too. Heh. Even my "private sector" paycheck is just public money laundered through an intermediary, not having work a single commercial project thus far.

Okay, why the long-winded setup? Being on the outside, many of you don't see changes, or understand what they can mean when you do see them. If you are on the inside, they seem to come along so incrementally that they don't seem that monumental.

On November 28, the Department of Defense published a paradigm-shifting document... if it gets implemented properly. It is also a tacit admission of the inadequacy of post-war planning - because we didn't have a doctrine for it. Make no mistake - while the current administration gets all the darts and laurels attendant to the war - previous administrations had a vote. And *they* didn't develop a doctrine for this, either. We haven't had a doctrine for this, not really, since Vietnam, when we decided (the military *and* the politicians) we weren't going to do this anymore. The Left should be able to love this document - it's something they've blathered about for years. Let's see.

Certainly, we were working towards it - the Balkans, Somalia, and Haiti, as well as massive disaster relief efforts were pushing us this way - but only in a band-aid fashion, and all within the "Warfighter" paradigm, with all else as a secondary mission to the Prime Directive - Fight and Win Big Wars. We proceeded from the assumption that others would fall in the vacuum left behind and deal with all the fiddly bits. Only they didn't very often. And the US military establishment hadn't had true experience of this since the end of the Constabulary period in Germany and Japan after WWII.

What am I talking about? The Bogeyman. Nation Building.

Or as we call it now - "Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations." Formerly called SASO, Stability and Support Operations. This is definitely full-spectrum.

Interested in the rest? Hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Merry Christmas...

SWBBO and my sister could appreciate this one:

Subject: Psychiatrist's Christmas

Schizoprenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Queens Disoriented Are

Dementia --- I Think I'll Be Home For Christmas

Narcissistic --- Hark The Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic --- Deck The Hall and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and.........

Paranoid --- Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Me

Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts Of Roasting On An Open Fire

Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

Obessive Complusive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

H/t, Rich B.

Soldiers are resourceful creatures...

Such as this Israeli tanker gettin' comfortable with his Magach (heavily modified/upgraded M60)

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December 05, 2005

H&I Fires.

Snerk! Snerk snerk snerkity-snerk!

Murray of Silent Running (buy his stuff, like the Gnome Homes I did!) invites you to visit this Kiwi Blog and join in the discussion...

McCain on Meet the press

MR. RUSSERT: Senator, the war in Iraq. The president said that we will accept nothing less than complete victory. What is complete victory?

SEN. McCAIN: Complete victory at least in my view is a flawed but functioning democracy in Iraq. I think it's hard to expect us to have a perfect democracy there but one that the people of Iraq will support, economic development, restoration of infrastructure and law and order and the Iraqi military and security personnel being able to take over most of the responsibilities for Iraqi security. And I think it's going to be long and hard and tough.

Emphasis mine.

Stray Thought: Russert asked John McCain : "We send kids to boot camp and send them to Iraq to fight. Why can’t we do the same with Iraqi kids?" (paraphrased)

One can only hope Russert was doing what I do here sometimes - pose a question I know the answer to (or answer one incompletely) as a setup to make someone (like you guys) look good, and more importantly, participate. I mean, good grief, I can train all the Privates and Lieutenants I can stuff through training in 90 days. But it takes a decade to grow the backbone of the Force... the NCOs and the Captains and Iron Majors who do the bulk of tactical planning, and lead and supervise (and most importantly, flex and adapt) the execution of same.

Of course, McCain knows this too (hence my hope it was set-up by Russert, and not an astounding attack of "d-uh" – McCain noted that Iraqi kids are being trained and sent out to fight and are improving at it. I just wish he'd completed the statement with the bit about what it takes to grow an Army's heart and soul. Combat is a tough teacher, and the Iraqis, if they keep their hearts in it, will do in a couple of years what it takes a decade to do in peacetime (just as the hugely expanded US Army did in WWII) - but they have to get those couple of years. He alluded to it, but didn't close the deal, here:

SEN. McCAIN: Well, we are recruiting Iraqi young people and they are serving, and they are taking significant casualties. As you know, one of the sort of not too perceptible changes that has taken place-- there's more attacks now on Iraqis than there is on American military. So they are serving, they are dying, they are fighting, and yes, there's a problem with leadership. The NCO is nothing like what we have in the United States Army. But we have also seen some pretty good performances in places like Fallujah, Mosul and others. But again, we are paying--continue to pay a heavy price for not having enough troops to bring the situation under control, which allowed places like Fallujah and others to become hotbeds and centers of insurgent activities.

You can read the whole bit here. I'm not a big fan of the Senator, but we do mesh pretty well on the issue of Iraq.

Continuing in this theme... Ramesh Ponnuru had this bit on The Corner yesterday:

"WHAT WOULD JFK HAVE DONE?" [Ramesh Ponnuru]

That's the question Theodore Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. are asking about Iraq. Gosh, I don't know. Maybe he would have had our allies assassinated? Maneuvered us unnecessarily to the brink of nuclear war.

S&S strike a false note early. "What did we not hear from President Bush when he spoke last week at the United States Naval Academy about his strategy for victory in Iraq?" they begin. "We did not hear that the war in Iraq, already one of the costliest wars in American history, is a running sore." No, I suppose we didn't hear that. Nor did the president confess to being a dimwitted, arrogant, narrow-minded fundamentalist. Which he would have had to have done to give the perfect Bush speech, as written by these worthies.

Do S&S persuade anyone that Kennedy would have pulled out of Vietnam, if only he had lived?

Again, emphasis mine. I don't have the time to fight through the economics of the war - except to note that to date, unlike in Vietnam, we've managed to do this without a huge inflationary spiral, and people who use raw dollar amounts in economic comparisons that span decades are at best clueless, at worse, intellectually dishonest. I'm sure someone around here *can* work through the dollars side of things.

But lets talk about the cost figure that comes to most people's minds... and compare it to the only war the Left seems able to remember...

Casualties. Let's take a look at a graph produced by the fellas at Bastard Sword (and if you take this graphic for your own use - make sure you credit (with links) Bastard Sword, *not* me - even if you are linking to me for this whole thing, link to them in *your* post as well!)


For source data, go visit David at Bastard Sword.

Heh. Defeaticrats, indeed.

December 04, 2005


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by John on Dec 04, 2005 | I think it's funny!
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