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March 18, 2006

H&I Fires* 17 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Caption Contest at The Right Place. -The Armorer


More journalistic malpractice - Fuzzybear Lioness

We all know how this will be recieved, don't we?
In an essay I read when I was knee high to a grasshopper by Jerry Pournelle I was reminded that though people claimed Vietnam was another WW1 about to generate a 'Lost Generation' more young men of draft age died in automobile accidents in 1968 than died in the entire 10 year conflict.
If Sam Clemens wasn't dead I'd shake the man's hand for coining the phrase 'There's lies, damn lies, and then there's statistics.' No offense to statisticians mind you.
The template for Vietnam was the meat grinder of WW1, what they saw as the worst conflict in mass memory. Today it's Vietnam. One can be opposed to the war for honorable, decent, and altruistic reasons; but this play on statistics seems to be void of all of those.----ry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Gunner Zen

Kinda looks like a bottle-filling machine, doesn't it?

6 inch Gun Magazine aboard the HMS Belfast

It's a 6inch Gun Magazine on the HMS Belfast.

If your soul calls for a bigger pic, click here.

Here's the shell hoist to the turret, a different view of the magazine (essentially the other side). All that to feed this:

6 inch Gun breech on the HMS Belfast.

Again, if you needa big pic - click here.

As compared to the magazine of an Iowa-class BB... in this case, the Iowa. Need some sense of scale?

All *that* to feed this:

16 inch gun being loaded on the Iowa

National Security Strategy

Want to download it for yourself? You can get it here. I've got it and will be reading it on the flight over to Korea. That and a *lot* of other stuff during that 15 hours... If I think I have anything useful to add, I'll post about it later. Right now I'm being newsy, not analytical.

Here is the President's Intro to the NSS:

My Fellow Americans,

America is at war. This is a wartime national security strategy required by the grave challenge we face – the rise of terrorism fueled by an aggressive ideology of hatred and murder, fully revealed to the American people on September 11, 2001. This strategy reflects our most solemn obligation: to protect the security of the American people.

America also has an unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace. The ideals that have inspired our history – freedom, democracy, and human dignity – are increasingly inspiring individuals and nations throughout the world. And because free nations tend toward peace, the advance of liberty will make America more secure.

These inseparable priorities – fighting and winning the war on terror and promoting freedom as the alternative to tyranny and despair – have now guided American policy for more than 4 years.

We have kept on the offensive against terrorist networks, leaving our enemy weakened, but not yet defeated.

We have joined with the Afghan people to bring down the Taliban regime – the protectors of the al-Qaida network – and aided a new, democratic government to rise in its place.

We have focused the attention of the world on the proliferation of dangerous weapons – although great challenges in this area remain.

We have stood for the spread of democracy in the broader Middle East – meeting challenges yet seeing progress few would have predicted or expected.

We have cultivated stable and cooperative relations with all the major powers of the world.

We have dramatically expanded our efforts to encourage economic development and the hope it brings – and focused these efforts on the promotion of reform and achievement of results.

We led an international coalition to topple the dictator of Iraq, who had brutalized his own people, terrorized his region, defied the international community, and sought and used weapons of mass destruction.

And we are fighting alongside Iraqis to secure a united, stable, and democratic Iraq – a new ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East.

We have seen great accomplishments, confronted new challenges, and refined our approach as conditions changed. We have also found that the defense of freedom brings us loss and sorrow, because freedom has determined enemies. We have always known that the war on terror would require great sacrifice – and in this war, we have said farewell to some very good men and women. The terrorists have used dramatic acts of murder – from the streets of Fallujah to the subways of London – in an attempt to undermine our will. The struggle against this enemy – an enemy that targets the innocent without conscience or hesitation – has been difficult. And our work is far from over.

America now faces a choice between the path of fear and the path of confidence. The path of fear – isolationism and protectionism, retreat and retrenchment – appeals to those who find our challenges too great and fail to see our opportunities. Yet history teaches that every time American leaders have taken this path, the challenges have only increased and the missed opportunities have left future generations less secure.

This Administration has chosen the path of confidence. We choose leadership over isolationism, and the pursuit of free and fair trade and open markets over protectionism. We choose to deal with challenges now rather than leaving them for future generations. We fight our enemies abroad instead of waiting for them to arrive in our country. We seek to shape the world, not merely be shaped by it; to influence events for the better instead of being at their mercy.

The path we have chosen is consistent with the great tradition of American foreign policy. Like the policies of Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan, our approach is idealistic about our national goals, and realistic about the means to achieve them.

To follow this path, we must maintain and expand our national strength so we can deal with threats and challenges before they can damage our people or our interests. We must maintain a military without peer – yet our strength is not founded on force of arms alone. It also rests on economic prosperity and a vibrant democracy. And it rests on strong alliances, friendships, and international institutions, which enable us to promote freedom, prosperity, and peace in common purpose with others.

Our national security strategy is founded upon two pillars:

The first pillar is promoting freedom, justice, and human dignity – working to end tyranny, to promote effective democracies, and to extend prosperity through free and fair trade and wise development policies. Free governments are accountable to their people, govern their territory effectively, and pursue economic and political policies that benefit their citizens. Free governments do not oppress their people or attack other free nations. Peace and international stability are most reliably built on a foundation of freedom.

The second pillar of our strategy is confronting the challenges of our time by leading a growing community of democracies. Many of the problems we face – from the threat of pandemic disease, to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to terrorism, to human trafficking, to natural disasters – reach across borders. Effective multinational efforts are essential to solve these problems. Yet history has shown that only when we do our part will others do theirs. America must continue to lead.

March 16, 2006

In the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry you can find some of the officialdom's explanations, if you don't want to wade through the whole thing.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Pay yer bills!

Heh. Below the fold in the extended entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

March 17, 2006

H&I Fires* 17 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

The Heartless Libertarian wants to remind you that aviators are voyeurs. This is the *real deal* regarding black helos...

Speaking of Helos - Murdoc has scored some early pics of Operation Swarmer. Heh. Given the pics he ends with... one wonders why "Ride of the Valkyries" isn't playing in the background... H/t, Jim C.

And Down Under and to the Right (Kiwiland) it's Bash the Grunts Friday with Murray of Silent Running! You should go - the comments are worth the trip. -The Armorer


Happy St Patricks Day Denizens & Readers!!
In Mild toast to my own success, and in the spirit of cwbillt's antics; I thought I'd poke a little fun of one my benefactors. As you know The Armorer has been lametning recently of decreased readership. I'm not positive but it could be the New Writing Style he has been experimenting with.
PS Don't drink and drive tonight. We want to see you tommorow!

It's only fitting.... I wanna know what kind of beer you are! Me? I'm a microbrew. ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 17, 2006 | General Commentary
» Church and State links with: Moussaoui Case Fumbled Again
» Techography links with: Be sure to Read
» Don Surber links with: Teach A Man To Fingerprint ...


Continuing the St Paddy's Day theme... this is where I admit... I don't really *like* Guinness. I gave it a shot, I really did... but, blah. Not to say I don't like a good dark brew - just not Guinness. Sorry Lex.

Update: Hee! Looking up one post, I see that AFSis and I were busy here at the same time!

Okay, we all know Guinness is the best possible score on any "What Kind Of Beer Are You" test, so you can just go on and pat yourself on the back now. Like the world's most famous brew, you're genuine, you've got good taste, and you're sophisticated. What else can I say, except congratulations?

If your friends didn't score the same way, get ready for them to say: Guinness is too heavy; it's an acquired taste; it's too serious--and they probably think those things about you at times. But just brush 'em off. Everybody knows Guinness is the best. Cheers.

(66% dark & bitter, 66% working class, 100% genuine)

Link: The If You Were A Beer Test written by gwendolynbooks on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

H/t to AFSis, who scored... Microbrew! And has... pretty feet, as far as that goes.

Just in Time for St Paddy's...

...a Beer Troubleshooting Guide. This is *my* present for Kastle Philosophotrix Kat, whose birthday it is...

Page 1.

Page 2.

What are the rest of the Denizens going to offer up?

Save 'em, print 'em out, and take 'em with you. H/t, Rich B - who ain't even Irish...

And the Moral of the story... something you'll find in Flash Traffic.


John knows why.

Once upon a time on a Kansas farm, there lived a chicken and a horse, both of whom loved to play together. One morning while romping in the back forty, the horse tripped, slid into a bog and began to sink. Fearing for his life, the horse whinnied for the chicken to get the farmer to save him!

Off the chicken ran, back to the farmhouse. She searched and searched to no avail, for the farmer had taken the tractor off to the Grange. She ran to the rear of the house and spied the farmer's new Harley. Finding the keys in the ignition, the chicken fired it up and sped off with a length of rope, hoping she still had time to save her friend's life.

Back at the bog, the horse was surprised (but exceedingly happy) to see the chicken arrive on the shiny Harley and he grabbed the loop of rope the chicken tossed to him with his teeth. After tying the other end to the rear bumper of the farmer's bike, the chicken then drove slowly forward and, with the aid of the powerful bike, rescued the horse!

Happy and proud, the chicken rode the Harley back to the farmhouse and the farmer was none the wiser when he returned.

The friendship between the two animals was cemented: Best of buddies, best of pals.

A few weeks later, the chicken fell into a mud pit and began to sink -- she cried out to the horse for help! The horse thought a moment, walked over, straddled the large puddle and bent his knees. Looking underneath, he told the chicken to grab his hangy-down thingy and he would then lift her out of the pit. The chicken got a good grip and the horse pulled her up and out, saving her life.

The moral of the story? Yep, you betcha there's a moral!

And you know where to find it...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Friday Reader Pr0n

When I put up the Infantry Pr0n this week, asked for reader submissions for their own pics they find interesting. Not a *huge* response, but a response! Brogonzo put his stuff in the comments to the original post. I picked the ones I liked and am reposting them.

So, Brogonzo gives us a salute battery, a nice shot of some allies - Marine reservists.

Tammy B offered up some more allies - Navy guys shooting a line (terrible waste of an M14, ya ask me).

Christine wanted a pic of foreign allies - and sent along this one of the Iraqi Army in Mosul.

The Heartless Libertarian didn't provide anything, but asked for some Engineer Pr0n. Here ya go, Dave - just like ya asked - Engineers blowing stuff up.

Eric sent along some tank pics - REFORGER vets will recognize this scene, and we all liked night firing!

My own submission for today? This.

Reigning Miss USA Chelsea Cooley tandem jumps with a Soldier from the Army's parachute team, the “Golden Knights,” 9,000 feet above Laurinburg, N.C., during a USO visit to her home state. This photo appeared on

Reigning Miss USA Chelsea Cooley tandem jumps with a Soldier from the Army's parachute team, the “Golden Knights,” 9,000 feet above Laurinburg, N.C., during a USO visit to her home state. This photo appeared on

That's one lucky Army Skydiver!

by John on Mar 17, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery links with: Asian Pr0n: Threesome
» Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery links with: Asian Pr0n: Threesome

The Joint Staff take on "The Long War"

Below is a link to a pdf of the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied a lecture given by Rear Admiral Bill Sullivan, the Vice Director for Strategic Plans & Policy on The Joint Staff (the J5). The venue was the Executive Lecture Forum, Radvanyi Chair in International Security Studies, Mississippi State University, entitled “Fighting the Long War--Military Strategy for the War on Terrorism”

RADM Sullivan discusses the nature of the threat, and how it differs from previous threats in the eyes of the military.

He basically posits we're in a new, but different version of the Cold War against Communism - an ideological struggle that will take decades to win, and that we need to start laying that out for the taxpayers - and why that is so. It is not a call for the expenditure of huge sums of money on the services (that's probably a different briefing, heh), in fact, the Admiral speaks to how to keep costs down, by offloading them to partners, i.e., adding other nation's taxpayers to the pool of bill payers.

Here's the summation slide (if that's hard to read, click here for a bigger version):

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The Joint Staff believes Americans will commit to a long war if...

They understand our enemy and the threat he poses to the future of America.
They understand our strategy and how long it will take to complete it.
They are confident our leaders know what they are doing.
They know we have what it takes to defeat the enemy.
Our leaders communicate our actions plainly and honestly.

Emphasis is mine, pointing out where I think this administration is having some problems in this regardThose problems are fully aided and abetted by the "Anything Bush does is BAD and MUST BE BLINDLY OPPOSED, VILLIFIED, and CONDEMNED in the HARSHEST TERMS" attitude of it's political opponents.

Which leads to my final thought.

He didn't put something in there that I would have.

The political class must share, in broad brush, a belief in the basics of the strategy.

You can argue around the margins a lot - we did in the Cold War. But, *generally* (certainly not always) the politically viable Left and Right did have a generally shared core understanding of the issues between us and the Soviets. Step aside from the political rhetoric, look at the concrete actions, in aggregate, over time. The electorate tossing the football from one side to the other periodically is probably a good thing, too. I know, I know, I'm *such* a squish.

What do you think?

The original presentation has notes pages that elaborate on things, but they don't transfer over to the pdf (if someone knows how to do that, lemme know). Download file

March 16, 2006

H&I Fires* 16 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Ah, living in Kansas. Where the State Board of Education is *always* available to provide entertainment - regardless of the value of their efforts.

My prostate ought to be doing just fine, then. Reference the article headline, I submit if you are eating the *right* peppers, both ends of the donut get scorched. Of course, two years from now, we'll find out that all those nice peppers cause colon cancer. You know men - we'll choose a colostomy over removal of our prostate. If you don't understand why... um, well, never mind. The real question is - will Donnie snark me back, now?

According to Donnie - even Kos is having a blog slowdown... and his book is only worth reading while in the bookstore.

Alan of GenX@40 views Google's impending absorption of Canada with equanimity... and notes their plans for further conquest. Having surrendered to the Red Horde, they're after the Red Planet (it really is a kewl link).

Down at Mostly Cajun, our tanker is tired of watching the welfare program at work (and this would be the *reformed* one), and, living in the aftermath of Katrina, is perhaps a bit tired of how the reconstruction is being handled... Just a bit.

Our favorite Creature of the Night discovers she's more Calvin than Hobbes, which is odd for a Were-kitten... Heh - I'm more Hobbes than the kitten. 40/60.

Some people will go to great extremes to not have to fulfill their duties as Adjutant. Have a good time anyway. But that was low, pulling your parents into it! Just a reminder - you can only use this excuse *once*.

Hey guys - forget the rest of her post - catch that last link - Chocolate! Dude, while she's there, yer gonna score! 8©) Um, despite the oinkishness of this entry, I *didn't* mean Cassie in the "while she's there" comment. You'll have to provide your own "she". Or she if that's yer inclination.

Heh. I'm finally scooping Matty on some stuff... but nobody knows... waaaaah! Ya coulda read 'em here first! Like, a week ago! Don't whiny bloggers suck? I hate 'em!

I'm with the 'Phibian - thank heavens the only video of me in my teens is a poor quality video cap of a grainy movie of me winning the state wrestling championship. I shudder to think what I might have said on camera back then. What got quoted in the newspapers is bad enough.

The Heartless Libertarian is pondering his choices for Buy A Gun day (April 15th). I approve of where his taste is leading him - but scratch my head bemusedly on why he hasn't jumped on those 1911's. Mine hits everything I ever pointed it at. If those were available in my area, SWWBO would be dealing with a serious attack of Whiny Armorer!

I know where I stand in Echo9er's reading list... sniff, sniff. (that has to be taken in context of my whine above).

This just in! Lex *still* isn't impressed with the F-14. And I'm glad, because dang he sure writes purty.

The Bubblehead on "How *not* to cut the Defense Budget." -The Armorer
Hmmm. Captured Iraqi documents have been released to the public.

Could be interesting. Could be nothing.--ry

Shakes head bemusedly. Heh. I can't imagine the life, much less the chutzpah of this chappy. Not that I'm in any danger of it. The kind of woman I find attractive prolly isn't going to put up with this arrangement. I know the one I married wouldn't! (And no, I don't have to ask, either - nor have I!) -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 16, 2006 | General Commentary
» CDR Salamander links with: Canada gets a leader
» Don Surber links with: Feingold is a fool if he thinks Byrd fears anyone


Okay, time for another "Whatizzit?" If I can keep it up, this might become a weekly schtick.

Up for your snipe hunt today is a really obscure and the Internet pickin's are slim. BIG CRED to anyone who gets it - with one possible exception, in a sense. If you served in the branches of the right armed force at the right time - you might well recognize it.

Two versions, same purpose.  Two rounds of ammunition.  On the left, the round and the casing.  On the right, the round (different version) in the casing.  In the center, a .38 caliber pistol round, in the foreground, a 1 Pound coin.  I'm being nice and giving you a size context!

Two versions, same purpose. Two rounds of ammunition. On the left, the round and the casing. On the right, the round (different version) in the casing. In the center, a .38 caliber pistol round, in the foreground, a 1 Pound coin. I'm being nice and giving you a size context!

Much credit for figuring out the probable purpose, Full Gonzo Credit if you can fully identify it. This is Real Grognard Stuff - unless you served in the branches of the right armed force at the right time.

Another view - also an important clue there - and the round on the right is similar.

Another view - also an important clue there - and the round on the right is similar.

Higher-res view - not that it will make that much difference, available here.

I'll put up hints as needed.

Mike L, Jim C., and Pete K. are *not* eligible to play, since I did a show and tell at work yesterday.

I tell ya, it's great to work someplace relaxed enough that when you tell your boss "I brought some grenades to work today!" their response is "Kewl! Show me!" rather than carefully backing away and calling Security... I wouldn't want to work in a place like the latter! Oh, and the grenades@work were on Tuesday, not yesterday. Just in case you were scratching your head trying to figure out how those things were big enough to be grenades. They aren't.

Now, after all that build-up, watch someone sail in and nail it early.

Update. Okay. Here's a hint that should seal the deal.

Artillery Pr0n

Featuring full insertion, even. With a bit of that ol' in-and-out.

U.S. Army Pfc. Christian Zelaya, with Bravo Company, 4th Brigade, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and an Iraqi army Public Order Brigade soldier push a cleaning rod down the barrel of a towed howitzer during routine maintenance at Forward Operations Base Rustimya, Iraq, Jan. 23, 2006. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. William Servinski II) (Released)

U.S. Army Pfc. Christian Zelaya, with Bravo Company, 4th Brigade, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and an Iraqi army Public Order Brigade soldier push a cleaning rod down the barrel of a towed howitzer during routine maintenance at Forward Operations Base Rustimya, Iraq, Jan. 23, 2006. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. William Servinski II) (Released)

Now let's see who takes this down my expected path...

by John on Mar 16, 2006 | Artillery
» Alphecca links with: Friday Surveillance

March 15, 2006

H&I Fires* 15 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Heh. While the photo is funny - wonder what the inspiration was for that vehicle...

Soviet-derived tank designs are *still* popular, even though they don't have a good track record in wartime. Of course, it could be because the Soviet/Chinese marketing paradigm is like Ford and Chevy sponsoring the Keystone Kops Racing Team, too, vice having Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon driving for you. But they sell, don't they?

Baldilocks is a little rough on her peers... hee! But her post points out something else. Exactly those people we don't want, we'd end with, if the Draft were to return.

Matt, with someone you should know.

The 'Phibian on the Fall of Rome Europe. Oh, and that Dubai Ports World thing, too. Heh.

Lex has been reading the Guardian... and reports out on the Liberal's Case For War.

Meanwhile, thanks to politics and being focused elsewhere, we aren't tending to the knitting in our own backyard.

That's enough. You guys take over. -The Armorer
Hey, has anyone seen the new book 'Cobra II' yet? Just wondering if it's polemics dressed up as history, flag officers kvetching about how they could've done it better(see Omar Bradley and G. Patton's autobigraphical works for examples), or good and honest history.
It's getting 'quoted' here in academe around the water cooler. Anyone? Anyone? Beuler? Beuler?

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 15, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: Cleveland Indians, The Blogosphere's Team
» Church and State links with: UN Proposes World Taxation
» Carnival of the Celebrities links with: George Clooney Did Not Write This Blog Either

Tales in BBQ.

Barbecue Season Is Coming!

After the long months of cold and winter, we will soon be coming up to summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:


1) The woman buys the food.
2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:


More routine....

5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation. [When this happened to the Armorer, much abuse was (and *still* is), heaped on his head. I ask you, what's more important, guiding the Armorer-Father around the Collection, or watching some utterly replaceable meat be sacrificed to the gods? Hmmmmm? The Exterior Guard was happy with it!]

Important again:


8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.
9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.

11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women....

H/t, Rich B.

by John on Mar 15, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Barbecue Season Is Coming!
» Techography links with: The 1 Million Celebration Post

Armor Pr0n.

Light Armor, to be sure.

U.S. Army SSgt. William Black performs Squad Leader duties onboard a Stryker combat vehicle with 2nd. Battalion, 1st. Infantry Regiment, 172nd. Infantry Brigade, patrol Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo byTech. Sgt. John M. Foster) (Released)

U.S. Army SSgt. William Black performs Squad Leader duties onboard a Stryker combat vehicle with 2nd. Battalion, 1st. Infantry Regiment, 172nd. Infantry Brigade, patrol Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo byTech. Sgt. John M. Foster) (Released)

Still taking reader submissions for Friday, if anyone is interested.

by John on Mar 15, 2006 | Tanks and AFVs
» Techography links with: The 1 Million Celebration Post

Canada @ War

English/Anglais<br><br />
IS2005-0514<br><br />
30 November 2005<br><br />
Ghazni, Afghanistan<br><br></p>

<p>Canadian Forces vehicles line up and prepare to depart the FOB (Forward Operating Base) in Ghazni, Afghanistan, as the CF convoy continues their approximately 600km journey to Kandahar Airfield. <br><br></p>

<p>With the handover of Camp Julien to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on November 29 2005, this convoy was the last to transport equipment, supplies and personnel to Kandahar from Camp Julien. The Canadian presence at Kandahar Airfield continues to grow so that by February 2006, there will be a brigade level headquarters and a 2000-strong task force. <br><br></p>

<p>After the Afghan National Assembly and Provincial Council elections, the Canadian Forces completed their mandate in Kabul in October 2005. Canada continues its strong defence commitment to Afghanistan by concentrating Canadian Forces personnel and equipment to the Kandahar region. <br><br></p>

<p>Photo By MCpl Robert Bottrill, Canadian Forces Combat Camera<br><br>

Captain Green, the soldier attacked with the axe, is showing some improvement.

And no doubt driving his security guys crazy - General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff (Equivalent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the US) has been out where the Iron Crosses grow. Good on ya, General.

The heart of the story speaks for itself.

The mission, code-named Operation Peacemaker, is not about taking prisoners, but rather about establishing communications with Afghan communities and elders.

"The focus of this operation is actually to engage the local population, including the village elders, and speak with them about the fact that we will be patrolling more regularly in the area," said Lundy. "Show them that we mean them no harm."

The operation is commanded by Lt.-Col. Ian Hope, who leads the Canadian task force in Kandahar.

Before the bomb went off, Hillier, Hope and Capt. Kevin Schamuhn were chatting with Haji Mohammed Nabi, the village elder in Kundalan. They were trying to urge his people to abandon sympathies for Taliban insurgents.

However, Hope said Hillier was not the target of Friday's blast.

Kundalan is just a few kilometres down the road from Shingai, the scene of an axe attack last week that seriously wounded Capt. Trevor Greene.

Schamuhn was sitting beside Greene when the attack happened, and was one of three soldiers that shot the attacker dead. However, during Friday's chat he removed his helmet.

Wonder how that went over with the elders? I'm sure it didn't go over well with the family. But those are the kinds of gestures and risks people have to take. I wonder how that would have gone down with US forces - we tend to be helmet happy. Hard to say, especially if you're the commander who has to write the letter home. Damian has an interesting discussion on the difficulties of maneuvering in a culture you haven't had time to fully grasp.

Over at The Torch, where Denizen JMH can at times be found, comes a discussion of War versus Peacekeeping:

Among the sharper points General Hillier made in his recent Globe & Mail interview was that in the context of Afghanistan, words such as "peacekeeping" and "war" are not particularly helpful. Canadians will be involved in a wide range of tasks, ranging from simple delivery of aid to combat operations against insurgents. "Peacekeeping" it ain't, for "peacekeeping" has a narrow definition. "War" is a more flexible word, but "war" it ain't, either. Not quite. It's something in between.

Link here.

A view of how Canada may be trying to change it's self-image in the arena of things military (it's a nascent effort, with not enough time yet to tell if it will have any staying power).

Mark points us to John Ibbitson, writing in the Globe:

For half a century, now, Canadians have seen themselves as a nation of peacekeepers. But the age of peacekeeping is past. Today's geopolitical hot spots are found in lawless lands and dysfunctional states that breed anarchy and harbour terrorists. Canada has a role to play in these places by helping to protect civilian populations while nurturing institutions that can enforce the social contract.

This is dangerous work that can lead to guerrilla warfare with higher casualties than Canadians are used to. Nonetheless, although a Liberal government authorized the Kandahar deployment, Mr. Harper has embraced it. He wants Canadians to be proud of what their troops are doing in Afghanistan, and willing to accept these necessary sacrifices as part of Canada's new and more aggressive role in the war on terror.

...and Lorrie Goldstein writing in the Toronto Sun:

Harper's decision to make his first foreign trip as PM a surprise, morale-boosting visit to our troops in Kandahar is a bold statement of how he intends to redefine Canada's place in the world, post-9/11.

No longer will our military be viewed at home or abroad simply as "peacekeepers." Instead, they will be peacemakers, fighting and killing those who threaten Canadian security, values and interests abroad, while carrying out the tough job of "nation-building."

The whole thing, with Mark's commentary, can be found here.

Lastly, Canada finds itself in that bind that every Army going into large-scale operations after a long hiatus finds itself in - whether the US Army in WWII, or the Canadian Army today - the inertia of the "Institutional Army" vice the very real blood-on-the-ground imperatives of the Operational Army. Quoting a Canadian soldier from another Toronto Star article,

"It is not the fault of the instructors. That was the environment they came up in. But at the same time, that's not what war is anymore. The reality today is counter-insurgency. The top Canadian brass realize this and so do the front-of-line soldiers. But in between, there is a layer of the army locked in hidebound thinking, basically resistant to change.

I live in and work with TRADOC, the US Army's "Institutional Army." And I'll tell you, it's hard, hard work keeping up with the Operational Army and keeping the training relevant. We're doing a better job of it than we have in the past, I believe, but it is surprising just how hard it really is - and the Institutional Army isn't just full of old fossils like me - TRADOC gets it's share of combat experienced instructors. It's just damn hard to keep up, and much of the peacetime largely budget-driven impedimenta gets in the way structurally, while at the same time TRADOC is starved of money to pay operational bills - and that process isn't always a rational one...

Damian's post is here. The Toronto Star article is here.

Feingold Censure Resolution

From The Corner today:


From Senator John Cornyn's office:

Results of the Feingold Censure Resolution (S.Res. 398): Day 2

Democrat co-sponsors of Feingold Resolution: 0

al Qaeda communications intercepted by Feingold Resolution: 0

Terror attacks prevented by Feingold Resolution: 0

I say we start adding to the list and invite our readers to do the
same, i.e.,

Terror suspects apprehended by Feingold Resolution: 0

Days usefully spent reducing the domestic terror threat by Feingold
Resolution: 0

Number of IEDs in Iraq neutralized by Feingold Resolution: 0

Number of good 5-cent cigars developed after Feingold Resolution: 0


Going to bed now...


The Armorer adds: Profiles in Courage? Or just know that it's thin gruel? Dana Milbank on the Democrat Senators and the Feingold Question.

The Unit. Episode II

1. They need better legal advisors for the scripts. Nice job on the doughy FBI guy.

2. The Colonel can only redeem himself through blood. I like him less each time I see him. He's starting to piss me off.

3. Honor among thieves at the end, so to speak.

4. They're doing well with the distaff side.

5. It's TV. I'll keep watching it.

March 14, 2006

H&I Fires* 14 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

ALa is having a confab in the comments on the fate of military deserters. Go join in the discussion. As far as I'm concerned, catch 'em when you can, continue to pay the bounty, and let the services deal with them as they wish under the UCMJ.

Donnie... um, er, *overshares* at Cadillac Tight. Yeah, that's it. Overshares.

Fuzzybear Lioness has a very interesting update on Valour-IT. If you haven't given to that charity lately (and especially if you've discovered you should have given more to charity for tax purposes last year) take the time while you're there and kick a little more in the kitty.

Tough isn’t what you wear, it’s what you are. Captain Z puts out a good rant. But you can stay out of my family affairs, Z, thank you very much! H/t to Mostly Cajun, who's living in the FEMA-torium, making coffee.

1SG Keith tells stories about picking on the handicapped. Geez, pick a target that can fight back, whydoncha?

What's this? The Snarkatron goes all fuzzy and balanced on us? Izzis what we pay for? There's a disturbance in the Force!

I gotta put the trash out. You guys are up.

Oh, wait! Note to SWWBO - I really *did* get the trash out. - The Armorer


I know I'm late to the story - but Mother Sheehan's Crusade in Europe turned out to be a fizzle in the drizzle. -The Armorer

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 14, 2006 | General Commentary
» My Daily Video links with: My Daily Video
» Carnival of the Celebrities links with: Gawker Stawker Is Awkward
» Cadillac Tight links with: Sulphuric Unexcused

Bright shiny objects...

...that caught my attention.

One of the things I've been asking myself and others - how do the left and Progressives in general reconcile their seeming support of Islamic fundamentalists with their world-view? Especially how can feminists and gays do so?

Well, here's a gay man who left the US because of his experience of and dislike for, Christian intolerance regarding gays, and went to Europe, because they're beyond all that.

Only, they aren't. They are letting intolerance fester in a huge way.

Speaking of intolerance...

South Park's Chef is all about satirizing people... until his own ox gets gored. Ah, c'mon, Isaac, I thought better of you.

Hayes, who has played the ladies' man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

"Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored," he continued. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of checks - with our show making fun of Christians."

Your right to protest as you see fit, Isaac, but absent a lot more context and evidence of epiphany, I throw the Hypocritical Bullshite flag.

Read the rest here.

by John on Mar 14, 2006 | Politics

Infantry Pr0n

Today, Infantry Pr0n. Tomorrow, Armor Pr0n. Thursday, Artillery Pr0n. Friday? How about reader-submitted Military Pr0n? Not limited to US, either. In fact, Allies are encouraged. And that includes Afghanistan-only Allies, too. Only caveat - gotta be in-theater.

U.S. Army Pfc. Derick Fullmor from the 1st Armored Division, conducts a combat patrol in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq on 20  Feb. 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)(Released)

U.S. Army Pfc. Derick Fullmor from the 1st Armored Division, conducts a combat patrol in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq on 20 Feb. 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)(Released)

Denizen News.

Castle Denizens Punctilious, Rammer, and The Spuds passed through the region on their way to visit relatives in St. Louis. The Mistress of Argghhh! and myself passed a pleasant evening closing down the Village Square restaurant here in the First City of Kansas.

Long time readers with spare brain cells to load data into will recall the Great BedoodleWhoopie Debate, as there was some question as to shape and color of those members of the Castle Beastiary.

That debate can still rage. Punctilious *did* provide an example of a Castle Scrup'l, in colors she absolutely *insists* represents the critters. While the Armorer isn't all that sure about that in toto - there is no doubt that there is at least *one* critter of that color, who occupies a space in the Castle Nerve Center and keeps two eyes on things.

Punctilious' Scrup'l

The readership decline continues... I wonder if posting pictures of pinkish critters contributes?

Northwest chooses another path... prop up revenue to compete with the low-fare guys. Lean up *and* nickle and dime their passengers.

Ya get what ya pay for. Northwest Airlines is going to start charging for some of their aisle and exit row seats. Want that legroom? Guaranteed? Pay $15. They're going to put a percentage of seats up for bid on that basis (I blame eBay). If you're a member of their frequent flier program, you get first chance...

Not all the seats will be covered... yet.

Cron said only 5 percent of the seats aboard a plane and just 35 percent of the exit row seats will be set aside for those willing to pay the extra $15. The rest will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

I bet if it goes well, two things happen. More seats are covered, and the price goes up. Other predictions the analysts are making is that free drinks and snacks will go the way of the dodo, too, and in time for this summer's travel season.

The one thing potentially looming on the horizon, however that I *do* find annoying? Really annoying? Wanna take a bag with you? Fine. Pay extra. Potential $2 a bag "handling fee".

Heh. We get what we pay for. The traveling public has been demanding to fly for as near to free as possible for a long time, and this was, in a sense, inevitable for the fat lazy airlines that can't/won't/haven't adapted to Southwest's business model that drives the low-fare carriers. Those guys are desperate to do anything to get a positive cash flow going, but, apparently, squeezing their passengers is the best they can come up with.

Heh. Y'know what's next. Fare-by-the-pound. Passenger and baggage exceed a certain combined weight... which will be a low one - buck a pound charges. Put me back on the road, that would!

Airports should be fully supportive of this trend, however. They'll sell a lot more prepackaged beverages and snacks. I know what my reaction is going to be. I really dislike being nickle-and-dimed like this, so I'll go without, or, if it's a long enough flight, I'll bring my own, from home, just to deny the bean-counter. And the day they tell me I can't - that's the day I quit flying that airline.

Which is a pretty empty threat at the moment for those guys. I only fly them if I can't get there on Southwest, who in my experience is on time more often, and the people are *far* friendlier to interact with. Your mileage may vary, of course. I don't care about assigned seating - I can count the times I haven't gotten an aisle or window seat on SW on one hand.

Heh. The analysts are calling it "ala cart" pricing. What's the *one* guaranteed thing about a restaurant that prices ala cart? It's more expensive than the one across the street. Sure, if you really manage your meal you can get Great Stuff and mixed as you like it, vice "no substitutions" allowed, but you generally get/eat less (not always a bad outcome, looking down at the waist) and pay more for it, unless you have some real discipline.

Based on my own predilections, I don't think it will net them as much as they think - but it *will* cost them in terms of customer satisfaction. At least until our collective memory fades.

But like I said - we get what we pay for - or are willing to pay for. I'm going to Korea for a couple of weeks. Cutting to the heart of the matter - while flying business class is technically authorized on legs over 5 hours, there are lots of caveats and approval for same was *not* forthcoming. The Armorer doesn't do 12-14 hours in coach any more. Aside from the fact I wouldn't be able to walk off the airplane, Deep Vein Thrombosis is not your friend, but mostly my neck and back injuries from decades of soldiering would pretty much immobilize me if I couldn't stand up and move around.

After exhausting the alternatives to paying the fare differential, I got lucky. Because the client needs the flexibility of full fare rescheduling, I was able to find a business class fare only $300 different from full-fare coach. Yeah, because I can, I'm willing to eat the fare difference. If the client had essentially demanded lowest coach fare, I probably would have declined the trip - there is a limit to what I'm willing to pay for. The trick is for the airlines to figure out what that limit is.

And don't think Northwest is the trend leader here. They may be inside the US, but it's been happening with overseas carriers for some time - I ran into that shopping around for my Korea trip. Other examples of ala cart pricing from the article:

Air Canada charges customers traveling on its lowest fares an extra fee to get a pre-flight seat assignment. Virgin Atlantic customers pay $75 more at check-in for an exit row seat on trans-Atlantic flights. United Airlines charges a distance-based fee or a higher one-time fee for Economy Plus seating, which includes exit rows.

Several of the carriers I looked at had similar arrangements. I went with Korean Air. And the Fairy Godmother Department smiled on me. On my outbound leg... I got bumped *up* to First Class - for my business-class fare.

So, whattaya Road Warriors think?

Read the story here.

March 13, 2006

H&I Fires* 13 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

SWWBO's Birthday was yesterday. While we like a good midwestern supercell thunderboomer, we did not arrange for these to mark her natal day. We did have the tornado sirens as our alarm clock yesterday morning. And everywhere we went yesterday, we were greeted by more sirens. We can attest that sirens all around the KC metro area were operational yesterday. No, all the bad stuff went south of us, as it usually does due to the layout of the land around here.

The Tomcat's Last Hurrah:

Atlantic Ocean (March 10, 2006) F-14D Tomcats from the

Atlantic Ocean (March 10, 2006) F-14D Tomcats from the "Tomcatters" of Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31) and the "Blacklions" of VF-213 perform a fly-by in formation over USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) after departing for their home port of Naval Air Station Oceania. VF-213 and VF-31 are completing their final deployment flying the F-14 Tomcat. For the past 30 years, the F-14 Tomcat has assured U.S. air superiority, playing a key role in ensuring victory and preserving peace around the world. The F-14 Tomcat will be removed from service and officially stricken from the inventory in September of 2006. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Chris Thamann

Though Hornet pilot Lex won't miss 'em:

Chaotic Synaptic Activity laments the upcoming “last trap of the F-14 Tomcat.” No doubt it will be immediately preceded by the “last compressor stall” and “last adverse yaw departure.”

It was a rough, ungainly beast and I will not miss it. And as for backseaters? Any pilot who needs one should have one.

He's keeping an eye on the Press and Politicians, too. And in the last entry of his worthy Friday Musings, notes the troops are going native.

Oh, and SWWBO is flailing around trying to recover this morning. Turns out she missed her flight to Chicago this morning. Having booked it for yesterday... not today. She can blame the storms, anyway.

Al Qaeda's Last Warning... so - is the Blogosphere ahead of the MSM on this? Or just providing a propaganda platform that the MSM is manfully resisting? Blue Star Chronicles and Stop The ACLU think we're ahead of the curve. Of course, the MSM isn't fond of MEMRI, the source of the blogger angst.

New from the Squishy Muddle (where I sit) RINO Sightings!

These were our Leavenworth skies, as captured by Chris G yesterday before the golf-ball sized hail arrived. -The Armorer

Dagnabbit! American Soldier has been injured in an IED attack. He escaped serious injury a while back, but this one has him sidelined for now and awaiting further evaluation. ~AFSis

Let's say you're driving the Loop in Chicago, some kid almost creams you with a boneheaded maneuver and you holler, "What's the matter with you--are you *blind*?"

Don't be surprised if the answer is "Yes."

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 13, 2006 | General Commentary

Escort Duty

Provided below is a message from CW4(R) James V. Torney, who escorted the remains of CW2 Kyle E. Jackson home from Iraq. CW2 Jackson and CW3 Mitchell K. Carver, Jr., were killed in action near Al Sukar, Iraq, on Jan. 13, when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

I was escorting our brother Kyle home the other day. A duty I don't ever want to do again but will not refuse.

Besides all of the attention you get walking around in your A's, I was thanked for my service from civilians, prior service, and active duty personnel in the various airports, some with a passing thank you, some stopped me to shake my hand. This I want to extend and share with all of you.

Delta Airlines was very accommodating. They put me in first class and moved me to the very first seat in each plane. A woman gave me her aisle seat so that I could leave without having to climb over her when the flight was over. After conversing with this woman for a while, I found out her husband was an F4E pilot during the Vietnam era. I was invited to dinner with them when I was finished with my duty. The restaurant manager paid for my rather pricey meal much to the dismay of my new friends who planned to pay for it themselves. I was then invited to stay at their home as long as I was going to be in Florida.

Back to Delta Airlines and the real reason of this post.

Prior to backing out of the terminal in Philadelphia the pilot came over the intercom. With a choked up voice he thanked the military for their service and explained that we were carrying the remains of a soldier who gave his life for his country and then asked for a moment of silence. We sat in silence for a few minutes and then backed out for Atlanta. Upon reaching Atlanta, I was met on the tarmac by a man who walked me around the front of the plane where there were more men standing in a row with every branch flag and the US flag. These men had assembled their own honor guard complete with a retired Army chaplain. There was someone from each branch holding a flag. They pulled the crate out of the plane and stopped it on the belt giving the chaplain time to say a prayer. They started the belt and came to attention rendering honors as it passed. They thanked me and sent me with a card they made on the computer and signed with their deepest regrets to the family and shuttled us to the next terminal. They had their reflective vests embroidered with Honor Guard and a US flag across the back. They also told me that they have a dark blue trolley that they use for this but it was missing (we found out it was sent to pick up Mitch at another terminal). They had explained that this was the least they could do to give back to those who had given their lives for them. This was the third toughest thing on my trip (seeing how much some really do care). The second: inspecting Kyle's uniform for the last time. And the hardest thing: seeing his family.

I wanted to share this experience with all of you because none of this was done for me. It was done for all of us. It was something nice out of something so terrible.

Thank You Kyle.

Thank You Mitch.

See you on the Green Fellahs!!!!!!!

James V. Torney

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

More here.

For pictures of Chiefs Jackson and Carver, go here. The Jan 13th entry.

I'm *still* pi$$y about the Dubai Ports World thing.

I know. I should let it go and drink the Kool-Aid since it's over.

I *still* think what happened with the port sale to Dubai was effed up and stupid, with a whole lot of non-critical thinking going on, aided and abetted by the MSM - but most especially aided and abetted by politics and right-wing and left-wing politicians at their opportunistic worse. We look dumb as a nation (and the left was up to their armpits in it, too - principled opposition my a$$) *and* we confirmed for the world we can't tell one Arab from another (spare me, I know Dubai ain't perfect - neither are France and Germany, but they're both helping in Afghanistan) - and we *still* didn't advance the case on the real issue of port security - and now, having made the ports safe for someone like Ken Lay to turn over to Roger Hanssen as security manager, we will do nothing to help the Coast Guard and local authorities - the real nexus of port security - do their jobs any better. Well done, people. Anyway, /rant, and here's some backstory from Chickenhawk Express you might find interesting, if your attention span has any flex left on the subject. H/t, Tammy B.

Yesterday's Airplane.

It took a little under a half-hour for Marcus to show up for partial credit - he knew what it was, but couldn't name it. Then Rod came along from a morning of reading Daily Kos or something, and named it the "XP-67 Moonbat," correcting himself 10 minutes later to the aircraft's proper name, "Bat." I was right, it took just about an hour, and that only because Marcus didn't name it, though he clearly knew the aircraft. Neffi came along with more details and named the Bat's fate, and well, we'll just ignore Murray. He's having sibling problems and felt the need to share. Don't mind him, we'll lock him back in the basement after we catch him. IBM finished it off with the posited armament for the type.

Here's a shot of McDonnell's project showing those aspects of wing and engine blending that Marcus was referring to:

XP-67 in flight

Another shot of her in flight:

XP-67 in flight

And lastly - her fate.

by John on Mar 13, 2006 | Aircraft

March 12, 2006

H&I* Fires 12 Mar 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

I'm feeling very lazy today. -The Armorer

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 12, 2006 | General Commentary
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» Don Surber links with: Paid Sex, Please, We're British
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Al Qaeda Gives 'Last Warning'

Airplane Grognards.

I haven't challenged you guys lately.

Let's see if it even takes an hour.

What's this?

Mystery Plane

by John on Mar 12, 2006 | Aircraft

Coast Artillery moment.


16 inch howitzer at Fort Story, Virginia, 1942

Now *those* were the days. This guy is guarding a 16 inch howitzer at Fort Story, Virginia. Fort Story's guns lasted longer than many, not being removed until 1949. Still, chances are by the end of the war this guy was manning a anti-aircraft gun somewhere as the Coast Artillery was essentially morphed into the Air Defense Artillery during WWII.

This particular gun is almost certainly a US Army M1920 16in Howitzer of Battery Pennington-Walke.

Higher res just for a better sense of the size of that muzzle!

Here's another pic of what is quite probably this gun (note the missing paint at the muzzle in the pics) - with an interesting credit.

M1920 16 inch Howitzer - Franklin D. Roosevelt

It was taken by some guy named Franklin. As in Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Not to be confused with the 16 inch GUN. Much longer barrel. Shot farther and the projectile went faster, intended for direct fire combat, however. The howitzer was intended for plunging fire.

Aside from the mount, you can see the difference in tube length and shape in this picture of the gun at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

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Barrel length difference even more obvious here.