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April 01, 2006

H&I Fires* 1 April 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...

Go have fun today. I intend to. In fact, I already have, being 15 hours ahead of y'all... Tanks! Airplanes! Artillery! Odd artillery! Ships! Ammunition! Old Guns! Younger guns! Guns the Arsenal has! Museums! Whee!

SWWBO is enjoying the day. -The Armorer


News Roundup [I'm procrastinating...]:

Germany's defence minister says he would shoot down 9/11-style planes only if all the people on board were terrorists [no, that's not an April Fool's joke].

Salamander highlights what happens when you "mishandle" classified information and you're not Sandy Berger.

Jill Carroll's propaganda video was the price of freedom

China opposes sanctions for Iran because they don't want "new turmoil" in the Middle East.

Adults encouraging/coordinating student walkout protests in Fresno.

Provocative reading: Did you know, there are really only two branches of government?

Lighter Stuff:

Nothing at all sexual about this photo...

Eat this! I dare you...

Addicted to tanning?! - Fuzzybear Lioness


Senators Reid and [Representative] Pelosi on the new Democrat Security Plan.
-The Adjutant on behalf of JMH [Happy now, HL?]


The Sub Service torpedoes one of their own. Good riddance to Bad Rubbish, I say. ;^)

Carnival of the Recipes, April Fools Edition, is up at Blog 'O Ram.

Heh. One wishes this were an April Fools joke. Never would I have imagined I would read charges like this:

Each man faces 10 felony counts _ five each of castration without malice and conspiracy to commit castration without malice _ as well as eight misdemeanor counts of performing medical acts without a license

Read the whole bizarre thing here. -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 01, 2006 | April Fool

Jill Carroll - What if she was a US POW?

Conduct of US military personnel while POWs is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct for U.S. Armed Forces was first published by President Eisenhower in Executive Order 10631 in 1955, and was drafted in response to North Korean and Chinese treatment of UN POW's during the Korean War. The Code was later amended 1977 reflecting a re-examination of the Code based on our Vietnam experience, and has been periodically revised, if not in form, then in the substance of how it's taught, informed by experience with hostage taking.

Those documents, plus Joint Staff Guide 5260 outline the basic responsibilities and obligations of all U.S. service members when captured. The purpose of the Code is to give POWs a structure around which to organize, and to guide and govern their behavior, to help them get through what is usually a very traumatic experience, especially when held by people who don't view the Geneva Convention as much more than toilet paper. That said, one problem with the current Code, as written, is that it's pretty black and white. It's only in the training classes (which are probably not full of people paying real full attention) that the subtleties are discussed. A good discussion of that issue can be found here.

Let us *not,* in this post, go into a discussion of Unlawful Combatants, Gitmo, etc. That is *not* the purpose of this post - and anyone trying to inappropriately force the thread that way will find their words are... ephemeral. And yeah, I'm the sole judge on that. SWWBO and I pay for this space. Ya wanna have a chat about Unlawful Combatants and Gitmo, propose a post - don't hijack this one.

If you'd like a copy of the Code of Conduct, click here.

The relevant article is Article V (article IV creeps in here, too - but I'll cover that later).

6. Code of Conduct V.
a. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements
disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
b. When questioned, a prisoner of war is required by the Geneva Convention and this code to give name, rank, service number (Social Security number) and date of birth.The prisoner should make every effort to avoid giving the
captor any additional information. The prisoner may communicate with captors on matters of health and welfare and additionally may write letters home and fill out a Geneva Convention“capture card.”
c. It is a violation of the Geneva Convention to place a prisoner under physical or mental duress, torture or any other form of coercion in an effort to secure information. If under such intense coercion, a POW discloses unauthorized
information, makes an unauthorized statement or performs an unauthorized act, that prisoner’s peace of mind and survival require a quick recovery of courage, dedication and motivation to resist anew each subsequent coercion.
d. Actions every POW should resist include making oral or written confessions and apologies, answering questionnaires, providing personal histories, creating propaganda recordings, broadcasting appeals to other prisoners of war,
providing any other material readily usable for propaganda purposes, appealing for surrender or parole, furnishing self–criticisms and communicating on behalf of the enemy to the detriment of the United States, its allies, its armed forces or other POWs.
e. Every POW should also recognize that any confession signed or any statement made may be used by the enemy as a false evidence that the person is a “war criminal” rather than a POW. Several countries have made reservations to the Geneva Convention in which they assert that a “war criminal” conviction deprives the convicted individual of prisoner–of–war status, removes that person from protection under the Geneva Convention and revokes all rights to repatriation until a prison sentence is served.
f. Recent experiences of American prisoners of war have proved that, although enemy interrogation sessions may be harsh and cruel, one can resist brutal mistreatment when the will to resist remains intact.
g. The best way for a prisoner to keep faith with country, fellow prisoners and self is to provide the enemy with as little information as possible.

The training guidance specifically goes on to say:

(3) Understand that, short of death, it is unlikely that a PW can prevent a skilled enemy interrogator, using all available psychological and physical methods of coercion, from obtaining some degree of compliance by the PW with captor demands. However, if taken past the point of maximum endurance by the captor, the PW must recover as quickly as possible and resist each successive captor exploitation effort to the utmost. The PW must understand that a forced answer on one point does not authorize continued compliance. Even the same answer must be resisted again at the next interrogation session.

But wait! There's *more*. Section 2 of DoD Joint Staff Guide 5260, Service Member's Personal Protection Guide: A Self-Help Handbook to Combating Terrorism, dated April 2000. You can have a copy of that by clicking here.

The guidance in the Code of Conduct mostly refers to personnel held captive by governments. We let things get a *lot* looser when we talk about terrorists.

One of the key things that has happened over the years in our guidance on this topic is an understanding that many enemies view the POW camp as an extension of the battlefield, and act accordingly.

If you read the documents you'll see we emphasize over and over again - don't divulge useful information, don't make statements detrimental to the cause. Early on the emphasis was on NEVER. EVER. If you read them now, you'll see - "make every effort," or "make a reasonable effort." It's no longer absolute, as we have come to realize that the ability of the interrogators to get what they want, especially ones with little restrictions on their technique, is pretty much assured - and that the cost of hard, prolonged resistance is usually not worth the security gained. We're told to play the game, give a little, hide a lot, etc. And the longer you can delay things, especially in terms of tactical information, the less useful it generally is to the enemy. The important thing to note is - we leave wiggle room now, where before Korea and into Vietnam, we left none at all. And not much during Gulf War I.

A discussion in the training guide from Army Regulation 350-30 Code of
Conduct, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Training) for Article IV of the Code of Conduct (betrayal of fellow prisoners) gives an example. (For a copy of the regulation, click here)

Understand that there is a significant difference between the collaborator who must be persuaded to return and the resister who, only after having been physically or mentally tortured, complies with a captor's improper demand (such as to provide information or a propaganda statement). The collaborator's conduct is reprehensible and cannot be sanctioned, whereas the resister should be given help to gather strength and resume resistance. [emphasis mine]

The distinction is important. But even more relevant to Ms. Carroll's situation is the guidance Joint Staff Guide 5260, dated 2002:

• Hostages should make reasonable efforts to avoid signing confessions, making propaganda broadcasts, conducting "news interviews," etc., which could embarrass the US or host governments. Propaganda has been successfully avoided by presenting logical reasons; however, the threat of death by terrorists for noncompliance is more realistic than in governmental detention. The hostage should not mistake pride for inappropriate resistance. If forced to sign or make a statement, hostages should attempt to degrade the propaganda and to provide the minimum information. [emphasis mine]

I'm a little isolated here of late - but I'm given to understand that most, if not all of the criticism of Ms. Carroll comes from the Right side of the talk show and blogger political spectrum.

I'll be uncharacteristically blunt here: Shame on you. You're talking out your ass sitting in your nice, relatively safe world - about something you have no bleeping experience in, and probably less understanding of how the services look at it. Rambo was a movie. The Services take a more nuanced view of the situation - so should you.

You are entitled to your opinion, and have the right to express it. And I have the right to throw the bullsh1t flag.

This is the kind of behavior I expect from Kossacks and DU'ers. Fie! Fie I say!

Update: Jill Carroll repudiates the comments made under duress. Will she now get apologies from those who criticized - or will those people try to take credit for "forcing" the repudiation? We'll see if the Right can rise above the Kossacks.

And the Left? The ones who said the video represented her True Feelings? What will we hear from them, I wonder. Oh, no I don't.

by John on Apr 01, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Chapomatic links with: Last Week’s News, In Platitudes
» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. links with: RINO sightings for April 3, 2006

March 31, 2006

H&I Fires 31 Mar 2006

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...

FbL and Holly Aho lead a discussion on the value of the upcoming Milblog Conference. Be sure to read the comments at both sites.

Power Line blog is soliciting amateur news video

Yeah, it's slightly stale news, but Countercolumn has a great anaylsis -- Operation Swarmer: What Didn't Happen. - Fuzzybear Lioness


Heh. I see Fuzzy is getting busy early again! [I set it up last night when I was avoiding what I shoulda been doing - FBL] Gad, gurl, it's only 8:47PM on Friday at my location... ;^)

I like this cat. -The Armorer


Don't forget to submit recipes to the Carnival of the Recipes (recipe-dot-carnival-at-gmail-dot-c0m before noon CST Saturday) This week's theme is April Fool's! --Punctilious


Proof that Ann Coulter is the Anti-Christ? Hmmm. Decide for yourself. But who else would release a book on 6/06/06, eh?


Just the random collection of stuff that's come acrossed my 'puter screen today:
1) What the PRC thinks about US/Japanese political movements pertaining to cross training on Guam. (Without having to get nasty spyware/malware by going to the PRC sites themselves even.)
2) A trully wonky article in Foreign Affairs on Iraq--- pre- and post- invasion. Long. Slog. Info-overload. Only tackle with coffee or buttloads of soda handy.
3) Score one for the good guys. Terrorist propoganda spouting network shut down by US agencies. Who says we don't understand InfoWar? (I do, but that's beside the point)
4) Iran claims to have an 'invisible to radar' missile. Hard to tell how much is hype and how much needs to be worried about. Radar Observalibility is a complex thing and I don't quite get all the physics of it. I don't want to get into the 'they're nearsighted so they can't be good fighter pilots' crap, but first response is to be highly sceptical.
5) Which side should one take in this fight? Army tries to halt troops from buying personal body armor


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 31, 2006 | General Commentary

Prodigal Son@21

The Prodigal Son of Argghhh! is 21 today.

I regret that I will not be there for your first legal shot, Andy. Not that it won't be landing on top of a few less-than-legal ones, I know. But, what the heck, your mother is the daughter of a beer magnate, she'll have all that covered, I suspect.

I'm proud of ya kid. Even with that whole avalanche thing still hanging between us.




/sappy post. There's nothing to see here. Move along.

Disorder in the Court

For your ponderification: some selected excerpts from Disorder in the Court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History by Charles M. Sevilla.

Verbatim transcripts from court reporters who were professional enough to remain calm while these exchanges were actually taking place. Now I know why trial lawyers contribute so heavily to the Party of Entitlements...

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one...

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was ! about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Heh. Makes you wonder about the folks who *didn't* pass the Bar Exam, doesn't it?

H/t to Mo


Canadian and US troops fighting - and dying - side by side.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

A ramp ceremony was held for Private Robert Costall at Kandahar Airfield on March 29. Canadian DND photo

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - At 10 p.m. Tuesday, on a cool, cloudless night in Afghanistan, Private Robert Costall and 30 fellow members of Canada's Quick Reaction Force were scrambled into helicopters at Kandahar Airfield and whisked to the lawless wastes of Sangin district, a difficult corner of a dangerous land.

Five hours later, Pte. Costall was dead, and his fellow soldiers were in the midst of the most serious and deadly battle faced by Canadian soldiers in 32 years.

A U.S. soldier and an unspecified number of Afghan army troops also died in the battle -- as did a reported 33 Taliban insurgents.

Not since the death of three Canadian peacekeepers in 1974 -- killed defending Nicosia airport in Cyprus -- has a Canadian soldier been killed during a firefight with enemy troops.

According to the Winnipeg Sun (the Sun has a pic of Private Costall):

Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, commander of Task Force Afghanistan, said Taliban forces attacked coalition troops, who had been sent to the area after the recent death of eight Afghan army soldiers.

He said Costall died defending his fellow soldiers but refused to give out further details of the battle.

We'll set a couple more places at Fiddler's Green - but they have a fine escort, too.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance - In Memoriam:

Private Robert Costall

Sgt. 1st Class John T. Stone

Brothers-in-Arms. Gentlemen, here's some music for the march down the road, the Regimental March, courtesy the Regimental Band via the Canadian Infantry Association. When you get there, take off your boots, SGT Whiskey will tend to your feet.

From the Minister of Defence:

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Death of Private Robert Costall NR–06.009 - March 29, 2006

OTTAWA – Gordon O’Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement this morning:

“We mourn today the death of Private Robert Costall who fell while defending his comrades when insurgents attacked them last night northwest of Kandahar in Afghanistan. There is no greater loss to a family and friends than that of a loved one. And there is no greater loss to the Canadian Forces family than that of one of its own. My heartfelt thoughts and sympathies are with his family today and we hope for a speedy recovery of those injured.

I join with Canadians who stand proudly with our men and women of the Canadian Forces as they steadfastly continue this mission to protect Canada and Canadians from the global threats of terrorism and help bring stability and security to the people of Afghanistan. There are risks involved in this operation, but our members are among the best trained, and most experienced soldiers in the world. They are fully prepared for the mission in Afghanistan.

Private Costall will not be forgotten.”

Read the whole story here.

The Winnipeg Sun story is here.

For those who may be muttering "Big deal, one troop dead, so what, given our casualties?"

For Canada, it *is* a big deal. And that's good enough for me.

by John on Mar 31, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Quotulatiousness links with: A salute to the fallen
» Dust my Broom links with: Red Ensign Standard
» Dust my Broom links with: Red Ensign Standard

March 30, 2006

H&I Fires 30 Mar 2006

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...

Salamander has your must read (and must share!) for the day. Hopefully Taheri is right in his final evaluation, but oh what a price we continue to pay for mistakes of the past...

On a lighter note: Priceless [Worksafe for 99.99%]

And on a feather-weight note: I haven't had enough trackbacks lately. So, go read all about FbL - Fuzzybear Lioness

Dang it!
We all get chastised by The Armorer about not keeping house....and FbL trumps me AGAIN! Yeah. I'm grumpy. Regulatory agency audits tend to do that to me. But I gotta tell you.... last night I was working from home and watching Conan O'Brien. He started off the show with Ray Romano, and then brought out the sex-talking grandma. Oh good heavens... Sue Johanson would make a sailor blush, judging by the way Ray and Conan purpled up!
*we now return you to your normal viewing pleasure, since I've got to get to work* ~Were-Kitten (since, as you all know, AFSis is *much* too proper to get a kick out of the toys Sue showed on Conan's show last night!)


My my! Here I am all ready to set up the H&I and it's done! Something good has come from this trip! I can go to bed early! Whee!

And Jill Carroll is free. Good. Wonder if last week's raid had any influence on the decision to let her go? -The Armorer


Hello everyone - Just want to share with you a little greeting, to all the good folks of Takoma Park, Md. - Phthththth! ;> - BOQ


The NYT does it again - FbL


Maybe I should have taken those helicopter flying lessons from Bill, so I could fly this one!
H/T to GunTrash

Since not everybody follows the trackbacks - I'm pulling the link up here. Based on the recent events with Rob's blog - Yankee Sailor has updated the Milblogger ROE - something all you uniformed types should read. That said - if you blog and have a job, *most* of what Yankee Sailor says is a 'Best Practices for Safe Blogging' that you should consider as you go about your business.
Okay, this is funny----a machine that will indicate whether you're annoying or boring? I'm sure I'd break it if anyone brought it into a room I was in for more than 10 minutes. I am just that annoying.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 30, 2006 | General Commentary
» Stop The ACLU links with: ACLU to Appeal Pro-Life License Plates in Tennessee
» A Blog For All links with: In the Arms of Freedom
» The Yankee Sailor links with: MilBlog ROE Change 1

The Last Helicopter.

Fuzzy links to Commander Salamander's piece on Amir Taheri's "Last Helicopter" piece in the WSJ. I got something today in email that ties in to that.

I remember standing quietly behind my 5-times-wounded-in-the-war father the day the television was nothing but images of the last helicopter lifting from the US embassy in Saigon. Thankfully I've never seen that look on his face again.

I hope my son doesn't stand behind me sometime soon looking at my face as the last helicopter leaves Iraq or Afghanistan - at least not if it's going out like that.

In regards to the email I received, this paragraph from Taheri's piece stands out:

Even in Iraq the sentiment that the U.S. will not remain as committed as it has been under Mr. Bush is producing strange results. While Shiite politicians are rushing to Tehran to seek a reinsurance policy, some Sunni leaders are having second thoughts about their decision to join the democratization process. "What happens after Bush?" demands Salih al-Mutlak, a rising star of Iraqi Sunni leaders. The Iraqi Kurds have clearly decided to slow down all measures that would bind them closer to the Iraqi state. Again, they claim that they have to "take precautions in case the Americans run away."

How sad is that? It used to be that you could rely on us to be slow to the fight, but once we got there, we'd see it through.

Now they wonder.

And, well, they should wonder.

Recently, the official email system at Lackland Air Force Base disgorged a mass email:

-----Original Message-----
From: [snipped]
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:52 AM
Subject: Foreigner Military Personnel Record Request

Dear Sir/Madam.

My full name is Nguyen [snipped]. I am Vietnamese. I was born in December 09th 1949 in Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam. From 1969 to 1975 I served in the pre-1975 regime's army. In 1973 I was selected to take the course about EOD (Explosive Object Disposal) under the US Government auspices. However, I just studied English at Lakeland Airforce Base in Texas about 6 months from around August 1973 to February 1974 then I came back to Vietnam. After 1975 I was interned in a re-education camp for 2 years and 9 months due to my pre-1975 association with US Government policies in Vietnam. Currently I am applying for the Humanitarian Resettlement Program. One of the eligibility categories is 1 year in re-education centers plus US training outside Vietnam. Unluckily, I threw all of my documents under the sea in an illegal border-crossing trip in 1981 because my boat was stopped and I was too frightened at that time. So, I am writing this letter with the hope that you can help me by providing the records of my training course at Lackland Airforce Base so that I can have evidence to be eligible for Humanitarian Resettlement Program.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please receive from me my truly deep gratefulness.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours.

Nguyen [snipped]

People at Lackland are looking into the matter.

I wasn't a fan of OIF, I've admitted as much before. But I am committed to seeing it through. I believe we need to finish what we start. We can argue long and hard about how to go about it... but I hope my son isn't at work someday, getting an email like this, from some Kurd who threw his lot in with us.

And I'm bothered that people see us that way. But I can't argue with it much.

I hope Mr. Taheri is correct

But how valid is the assumption that Mr. Bush is an aberration and that his successor will "run away"? It was to find answers that this writer spent several days in the U.S., especially Washington and New York, meeting ordinary Americans and senior leaders, including potential presidential candidates from both parties. While Mr. Bush's approval ratings, now in free fall, and the increasingly bitter American debate on Iraq may lend some credence to the "helicopter" theory, I found no evidence that anyone in the American leadership elite supported a cut-and-run strategy.

The reason was that almost all realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, Safwan and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American, because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U.S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. as the world knows it today.

Those who have based their strategy on waiting Mr. Bush out may find to their cost that they have, once again, misread not only American politics but the realities of a world far more complex than it was even a decade ago. Mr. Bush may be a uniquely decisive, some might say reckless, leader. But a visitor to the U.S. soon finds out that he represents the American mood much more than the polls suggest.

This is bigger than President Bush, even if the Kossacks can't see it.

Observations on Military Latrines...

Back in the day, when I was 13 and Dad was a battalion commander in Germany, I could keep an eye on battalion morale by reading the walls of the stalls in the Sheridan Kaserne (Augsburg) snack bar latrine (I also got my first porn from his troops who manned the gate to the Fryar Circle housing area and got into R Rated movies (woo-woo! How 'bout that Mrs. Robinson? The pasties on that dancer? Yowza!)) because the troops who worked the theater didn't care...

I also learned a lot about other people, especially the unpopular ones. And got really confused about sex as seen from the troop's perspective. There were some anatomically dubious suggestions to be found there. (No, SWWBO, I have *not* asked you to do any of those things - shush!)

Saw interesting (and quite good, if, um, impolite) art. Especially some improbable sexual suggestions for NCOs and officers.

When I went to college, the same thing was true, except rather than the post snack bar, the best graffiti was in the library. Well, if I could hang out long enough to read it without sending the wrong signals to those, um, "alternative lifestyle" types who kinda hung out there, so to speak. The best stuff was in the building where the student newspaper, the The Maneater (hey, the mascot of the school is a tiger) was located. Juicy gossip and artistic graffiti by the staff cartoonists. It was there I learned what a "diamond cutter" was...

As a young Lieutenant in Germany in the early 80's, back into the latrines to keep an eye on which NCO or Officer was most likely to have something rude done to their cars. Sadly, in my battery there wasn't much creativity, just rudeness, lewdness, crudeness and bile. Um, remind me to tell you about the time I went on leave and came back to find my Mini-Cooper was parked upside down by the Pinder Theater. Apparently I was reading the wrong latrine - it was troops from the *other battalion* who did it...

It's been a while since I've been in an area that has a large concentration of troops (as opposed to my later years, spent in TRADOC or on higher staffs with very few troops). So, being stuck in a place with lots of troops with nowhere else to go, I had high expectations of entertaining graffiti.


Standing at the urinals, what did we have to read? The CP Tango Public Affairs rag, with the usual cheesy statements from the Commanding General on being safe during the exercise, or wonderful little snippets of useful info like kimchi having been designated one of the top 5 health foods, or useful Korean phrases that I was going to get a lot of use out of, such as "How old are you?" Um, no, I didn't memorize that one, since I wasn't intending on doing any hunting for jailbait. SWWBO's reach is long.

I also now know the ranks of the ROK Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy. Except for some of the colors, and minor variations in *some* rank titles, well, lets say I'm pretty sure that I can navigate the Korean Army, Dai-we. No worries, Cho-sa. And most 'Nam vets can, too, oddly enough. Learned what FROKA, SROKA, and TROKA mean, too, but that's a different, and much more boring (how could that be, you wonder?) post.

So, my last hope is the stalls.


Oh, it's not sterile. There's something to read all right.



*Detailed Travel Itineraries & Schedules
*Exercise Scenarios, Events, and Results
*Force Composition and Locations
*Unit Movement or Intended Movement [hmmmm, that *is* why I was there, so I prolly shouldn't talk about it. The movement, I mean]
*Location/Movement of Major Logistics Caches, or Re-Supply Operations. [hey, I was involved in a Class I download, but howinthehell was I gonna keep *that* secret after all that kimchi?]
*Presence/Use of New/Improved Technology [Nope, I didn't have to, Pacific Stars and Stripes did that for us. Well, that and the Spouses Tour that went through getting all the Good Stuff briefings...]
*CFC Vulnerabilities/Weaknesses [Hey! That's why I - oh, never mind, there's nothing to read here, move along! Hi 1st IO guys!]
*Effectiveness of Operations [*I* was successful, I assure you]
*Intel Collection Capabilities/Purposes/Intent. [They still here? Yep. Hi guys! (waving vigorously)]
*Comm Equipment/Procedures; Frequencies, Callsigns, UserID/Password [Mmmph! Argle! Bleaah! (if you have the right comsec key, you'll know what that says)]
*Personal Info: SSN, Financial, Legal, Family [Heh. That's all on Google anyway]

With cute color graphics, too.

While I quite frankly would much rather go to war with this Army than the one I grew up in, there are *some* things I miss about the old Army.... And I'm being nice, btw. There was a whole 'nother placard of stuff up that I'm not bothering to post... You're welcome!

March 29, 2006

H&I Fires 29 Mar 2006

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...

[Apparently it's FbL to the rescue again!]

A bit of humor to start your day: Suicide Prevention for the Desk-Bound Soldier in Iraq

The Barry Bonds problem (and yes, I hate him with a passion for what he's done to baseball).

Peter Schweizer writes a beautiful tribute to Casper Weinberger--WWII army PVT, Secretary of Defense, and lifelong supporter of the troops...

IQ and brain structure linked? - FbL


Not sure if we'll get to see it or not, but if your driving home from work and you cut that guy off in traffic, while using words you really shouldn't use in mixed company...then suddenly the world goes dark around you....don't panic...Its just the Solar Eclipsescheduled for today!


Thank you Fuzzy. There's a reason I hired drafted you guys. Nice to see that some of you are picking up on it... Being in the future makes watching your news difficult, you guys are sooo behind. I missed this furor over Scalia and his hand gestures - it's nice to know there is so little real news that the media has time for this. I point it out for the last last two paras - at what point is it politically acceptable to drop your hyphen? Of course, as long as we make it politically and financially lucrative in terms of gov't largesse to *have* a hyphen, I suppose never. There are no hyphens here. I know where I came from, but I know what I am. And there *are* no hyphens here. -the Armorer

Addendum to the above: My background is so Heinz 57 I'd have to use more hyphens than vowels if I were inclined to identify myself thusly. But regardless of the ancestral points-of-origin and time frame of arrival, they all came here!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

KtLW and I were watching "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" t'other night. I turned to her and asked, "Do you want to have a little fun?"

"No," she answered.

I asked, "Is that your final answer?"

Yes," she replied.

Then I said, " I'd like to phone a friend."

Ummmm--that's the last thing I remember...

Chapeau-tilt to Doc B, who's still feeling a tad groggy... - cw4(ret)billt

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Finally! Found some Castle-Stuff!

In a brief foray into the National Museum of Korea, I found some Armorer-style Stuff.

Old swords.

Swords from Korean National Museum

Old brain bucket.

Helmet from Korean National Museum

And a Korean Warrior who apparently had had enough of a day full of schoolkids!

I will score much, much more at the War Memorial of Korea this weekend.

by John on Mar 29, 2006 | Helmets

Paying attention, reasons for, #2,354,671

Don't sleep and drive.

Wear your seatbelt.

That is all.

by John on Mar 29, 2006 | I'm an idiot...
» Quotulatiousness links with: A cautionary video


From an email:

Interesting Year 1981:

1. Prince Charles got married.

2 . Liverpool crowned soccer champions of Europe.

3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament.

4. Pope died. (Where's the before-you-post-it fact checker?)

Interesting year 2005:

1. Prince Charles got married.

2. Liverpool crowned soccer champions of Europe.

3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament.

4. Pope died.

Lesson learned? - The next time Charles gets married, someone warn the pope.

As Bill notes - bet the farm on Liverpool.

March 28, 2006

H&I* Fires, 28 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...

Looks like John is still tuckered out from trying to pin the JAG to a board last eventide (in the main post, not the comments). My turn to trigger H & I, 'twould appear... - cw4(ret)billt

HMS Campbeltown smashed into the lock at St. Nazaire

Interesting tidbits of history this week - The HMS Campbeltown (ex-USS Buchanan) smashes her way to glory at Saint Nazaire.

The Buzz Bomb finally stopped menacing London and environs in 1945

These three famous people that interest me died this week over the years:

1969 A famous Kansan...Dwight D Eisenhower, soldier and president (1953-1961), at 78
1980 A famous jock, Jesse Owens, who spoiled Hitler's Olympics. Good on ya, Jesse.
1987 Maria Augusta Trapp, who fled Hitler's Reich ("The Sound of
Music"), and who caused me to fall in lust with Julie Andrew's voice... -The Armorer


Not all of my Guard buds went to Iraq; some, like Larry Rosenthal, were activated for another sandbox. And things like this frost me. It's also the reason I never travelled anywhere--especially stateside--with more than I could stuff into two dufflebags... - cw4(ret)billt


See! I toldja! It's genetic! And I don't have any of these, apparently. Sorry, SWWBO. -The Armorer


Things that make you go, "Hmmm..." Sexless and Proud.

Building the Iraqi judiciary [H/T Powerline]

Another writer reveals his condescending bias and ignorance of all things military. [H/T Iraq Now].

Stupid star alert. The scary thing is, people like this reproduce.

"American Studies" for Middle Eastern students. Looks promising.

Cassandra has a great rant today. - Fuzzybear Lioness


Boy - The SNERKS are vicious in these here pages. Massa John is getting it from all sides it seems. Even from unlikely places. And who said that Kimchi is a health food? No exess poundage in Korea. No Siree Bob! ;>

On another note, what about a Photo Montage of the Gentler Gender in the Toughest of Professions? - BOQ


Two items of note, by way of Mudville Gazette ...

American Soldier was wounded in early March, and is now back in the States, and his wife is by his side. Thank you, Soldier, and welcome home.

Caspar Weinberger has died at age 88. Now is the time when we dance, In Memoriam.

-The Adjutant

There was one of these Lieutenants in every artillery unit I was ever in. -The Armorer.

Blatantly stealing stuff from Noah Schatman at Defensetech I come bearing this: Big War is Dead(again)?

Not sure I agree entirely. That measures-countermeasure-countercountermeasure wheel keeps on turning. I'm not convinced that warfare has a single solution like it was a single family of regular differential equations. To me it seems more like the entire field of DiffEq----too many families of equations to think that there's one perfect method to handle all cases.
But what do I know. I eat cheese and attend college.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 28, 2006 | General Commentary
» Fedora-Pundit links with: My Thoughts On Immigration
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: What is it that Liberals Don’t Understand?
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: What’s Everybody Talking About - Monday, March 27, 2006

Outback® in Korea.

They have a better menu - more variety.

They are the *second largest* restaurant chain in South Korea. Not without their problems, however. Sounds to me like the SK officials sold themselves cheap.

They can't make a decent margarita. Hopeless.

Beef is more expensive here. A $17.50 14 oz steak at home is an 11oz $22.50 steak here.

I had the Alice Springs Chicken. Indistinguishable from home, except that I had fried rice instead of fries.

The calamari is better.

The wait staff still get all chummy and personal and kneel or sit at your table. And speak far better english than I speak Korean. Heck, some of 'em speak better english than some of my Outback buds back home.

It was *not* my idea to go. It was the other guy's.

And you *still* get kimchi with the meal.

BTW - some health magazine has named kimchi one of the 5 healthiest foods on the planet - because of the bacteria in it.

That is all.

Random Observation 3,756.13

Koreans take elevators on faith.

When approaching an elevator, if the call button is pushed/illuminated, even when (gasp) pushed by another person, Koreans will stand around and assume the miracle of the box in the shaft will work, and that an elevator, will, in fact, appear. And as quickly as the system will allow.

Vice we Americans and the Aussies here - who proceed from the assumption that it's all a lie, and it will only happen if we, personally, push the button - and, in so doing, will in fact hasten the arrival of the elevator, due to the majestic force of our being -especially if we push it a few more times, just to be sure it has the message that we're waiting, impatiently.

Watching both approaches - the Koreans get on the elevators at the same time we do, without any of the (obvious) aggravation.

What turmoil lurks inside, I dunno. (insert asian stereotype here).

That is all.

March 27, 2006

H&I Fires* 27 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...

[Hopefully John won't kill me for butting in and posting H&I Fires for today. I figured he's jet-lagged and over-worked, so I thought I'd help out...]

[Yay!~ Initiative! -The Armorer]

Mrs. Greyhawk's indispensable Dawn
has a couple of must-reads today. Start with this column by a wounded Marine. Then jump over to what may be the most appalling reporting ever from a major American journalist in Baghdad. I really don't have words to describe it. Video here.

Greyhawk himself points out Operations in Iraq that have gone largely unreported.

A proactive response to the problem of Mexican illegal immigration - Fuzzybear Lioness


Something that really annoys me about the whole Israel/Palestine issue is Rachel Corrie. She died by trying to use her status as an American(and political hell that would be unleashed if something untoward happened to her) to change Israeli policy about demolishing homes that Palestinians used to smuggle arms in to use in terror attacks. Corrie got run over by a catepillar tractor in a bizare game of chicken.

The problem is Ms. Corrie was wrong.

But never let facts get into the way of myth making seems to be the order of the day in certain circles. Rachel Corrie was a brave, but entirely stupid and naive, idealistic young woman. Like the Calormen in the Last Battle I believe this young woman made her Journey Onward and Inward because she ultimately wasn't evil---just stupid.

She isn't a hero. She isn't a martyr. She's just a poor dead girl who got caught up in things she didn't understand and in the romanticism of ideological protest. Poor girl. May God keep her and protect her, but she isn't a hero. - ry (and I'm certain I'll get into trouble over this one)


Thanks to commentor Carrie for pointing out the Run for the Warriors, for those in the Camp Lejeune area. - Adjutant


I see the Adjutant beat me too it, but I'll add the following: The wounded Marine author of the column linked above is LtCol Maxwell, who helped create the Wounded Warrior Barracks he mentions in his column. The "Run for the Warriors" event will be benefiting the Barracks (among other projects). Click here for a profile of the Barracks program. - Fuzzybear Lioness


During the Clinton Administration, some Active Duty MilBloggers got spanked for exercizing a Freedom of Speech right that Active Duty folks do *not* possess: in plain language, "When Thou Art Wearing the Uniform, Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Commander-in-Chief." And you wear the uniform 24/7 when you're Title 10, even during "off-duty" hours.

Now Yankee Sailor fires a shot across the bow of someone who should certainly know better who got carried away and violated the same Commandment -- Article 134, the catchall... - cw4(ret)billt


I don't get no respect. No respect at all. So *this* is what Bill feels like... I am moved to sing...

"Hang down your head, John Donovan,
Hang down your head and cry.
Trusted an Army caption,
Your "friends" hung you out to dry..."

Heh. Filed under "Petard, own, hoisted by. -The Armorer


I am moved to sing...

Must've been the cucumber kimchi. - cw4(ret)billt

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 27, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: Short Arm, Big Heart
» A Healthy Alternative to Work links with: Take my daughter! No, please, take her!

Contempt towards officials...

In the H&I Fires above, Bill notes Yankee Sailor's noting of a another Sailor who is, shall we say, *not* a fan of the current administration. Go visit the Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog and you'll see why. Apparently the attention from the Castle and Yankee Sailor has caused a spike that Rob is (at the time of this writing) at a loss to explain.

I'm not a JAG officer, but I believe Bill correctly points to the only article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that Chief Rob might be in violation of - the number 134, the General Article:

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

That would be because Article 88, Contempt Towards Officials, is only applicable to Commissioned Officers.

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Note, that while stationed in Kansas, I can't talk bad about the government thereof, but I can whale the bejeebers outta Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska and any other state I want to... of course, I'm retired, so I can badmouth lots of people.

Heh. Note the underlying assumption - who's going to listen to enlisted people anyway? Obviously a pre-Internet law...

A lot of people are unaware that the speech prohibition in the UCMJ is really tailored to the commissioned officer corps - and that it's all wrapped around keeping the Man on the Horse from engaging in overt political activity, and a brute force reminder of who is in charge. The civilians.

So, what would I do as Chief Rob's commander? Before I said a word to him about his website, I would do two things.

First, have the IO people look at it from an OPSEC perspective (well within my rights and duties as a commander, and covered under current regs) and second, have my JAG look at it from an ART 134 perspective. And I would avoid going over it in any detail myself, to keep myself clean as the adjudicating authority should it cross the line in the eyes of IO or JAG.

If the IO or JAG comes back with a negative response, I'm not sure I'm going to do anything about it, that would be a discussion with my JAG. But then, I've always been a wimp in that regard, throwing my rank around, just because I didn't like what someone was saying. I also never used the bully pulpit of my command to push my politics at anyone, either. On active duty, I didn't *have* a politics. 8^)

If either IO or JAG comes back with a positive response, then I'd have to consider what I was going to do about it. I'm going to ask my IT guys if there is any indication that he's posting from work on gov't assets. IO is easy. If it's minor, call him in and deal with it at a low noise level if possible. If it's major, make him clean it up, and have my IT guys tell me if he's doing it from gov't assets. I know that where I work at that can be tracked. If he is, and things are otherwise all nice and tidy, tell him to clean it up, knock it off, or else, from an OPSEC perspective. If it's bad and ugly, then I have the hammer to go ugly.

If it's clean from OPSEC, but I get a positive report from JAG, then frankly I'm probably going to talk to my boss, simply because it will end up being a political thing, and dumping political things on your bosses without warning is a Bad Idea. Note, I'm not saying run to the boss saying "What do I do? Waaaah!", it's more like go to the boss and say, "Boss, got a troop with a website that JAG and I think crosses the line - but before we go official, I wanted to bring it to your attention because it's the sort of thing that could go political and public if the troop chooses to take it that way."

If the PO is doing it from government assets, he's set himself up for failure, that isn't going to be defensible (depending on what guidance the Navy has for what you can do while afloat or deployed and all you *have* are government assets - I don't know that policy).

But I'm not sure he's prosecutable for what he's published thus far - precisely because he's not subject to Art 88, and I have no sense of whether the impact of what he is doing would trigger art 134. If he's sowing dissent in the ranks and undermining morale and good order and discipline, that's a different issue. But if he's just posting it on his blog... well, that's why we have JAG, to help us through those rocky shoals.

Damn this internet thingy, anyway! It lets just *anyone* have a voice - vice the voices I think should be heard!

Whattaya youse guys think?

Update: I trapped a lawyer today. That was fun. He was squirmy, but I nailed him. The relevant directive that covers this is Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, currently dated Dec 04. Link here. Based on my reading of this, I think Rob is okay, and frankly, I assumed as much because he's been doing this long enough for someone besides us to have noticed, anyway. That said, there is one area of the Directive that someone might trip him up.

In his defense on his blog, Rob didn't post the "prohibited activities" from Enclosure three to the Directive. He posted the stuff that was allowed - and certainly, it was supportive of his position.

There's only one bit there where I see a provision that might cause a JAG twitch.


In accordance with the statutory restrictions in 10 U.S.C. 973(b) (reference (b)) and references (g) and (h), and the policies established in section 4., above, of this Directive, a member on active duty shall not:

"E3.3.6. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause."

Kinda depends on how they define a blog, doesn't it? And with all the political bloggers pushing the FEC to essentially designate blogs as 'media' and subject to 1st Amendment treatment under CFR - if you come out and say "Vote Democrat" on the blog (how that's different from a bumper sticker, which would be okay, don't ask me), you could find yourself having to defend yourself under E3.4:


Some activities not expressly prohibited may be contrary to the spirit and intent of section 4. of this Directive or section E3.3. of this enclosure. In determining whether an activity violates the traditional concept that Service members should not engage in partisan political activity, rules of reason and common sense shall apply. Any activity that may be viewed as associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security, in the case of the Coast Guard, or any component of these Departments directly or indirectly with a partisan political activity shall be avoided.

I still think you're going to sail under the radar - unless someone like Daily Kos decides to make you a poster boy. That's exposure I wouldn't want.

Lastly, because it came up in the comments - about the President and SecDef having to be able to rely upon me, and how could they with me expressing those sentiments - that comment does us *all* a disservice. I am going to use stronger language here than the comment justifies, simply to make my point clear.

My oath is to the Constituiton, not the occupant of the office. The Constitution directs that I will obey the orders, etc. And I will. Just as I obeyed the orders that emanated from the Clinton White House, regardless of what I thought about the occupant. Just as I would if the White House were to be occupied by a Clinton again, regardless of what I thought of the incumbent.

I would obey the lawful orders of John Kerry, or John McCain. Or of Markos Zuniga, if he could find his way into the Oval Office.

And if I couldn't, I would resign. And if they didn't let me resign because the law allows them to refuse that, then I would obey those lawful orders until such time as I could resign.

To behave any other way is to invite chaos, to set ourselves above the Constitution, and undermine the principle of civilian rule, and set the conditions for the ruin of the generally honorable service rendered by the military to the Republic lo these many years. And if you think otherwise, I suggest you examine your assumptions closely.

And yes, that was all out-of-fashion cheesy stuff, and I believe every word of it.

Just as does the currently-serving Captain I chatted with yesterday, who pretty much believes that we went to war for oil, and that Farenheit 911 got far more right than wrong.

But he'll go back to Iraq if asked. Because his oath demands it, and the Republic is larger than the individual who occupies the figurehead position. At the same time, he would shed no tears if the President were lawfully hauled off in chains. The key component all 'round is... lawfully.

by John on Mar 27, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» The Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog links with: An update on the whole political opinion/milbloggi

March 26, 2006

H&I Fires* 26 Mar 06

John sent me an email and said that recovering from the Jet Lag has been very difficult. He is working 18 hour days until he comes home. (I cannot wait for him to get home!). So, here you are, your H&I Fires for today . . .

Since there seems to be a shortage of ammo for todays H&I here's some small caliber stuff:
Since people seem to be interested in the Block/Conservatives are whiners kerfuffle there's this via the academics at Volohk. Don't bring a polemicist to an egghead fight.

Some comments about the passing scene:
When someone yells at you to think you should realize that what they really want is for you to come to their conclusions.

People who say that they just want to have their message heard are really mean they want to be obeyed.

Listening to ry is likely to get you into trouble.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Mar 26, 2006 | General Commentary

Fat Koreans, lack thereof.

There aren't that many. I think I know why. Oh, sure the diet probably doesn't hurt. But I have a different theory. At least when it comes to old Koreans.

One unique aspect of Eight US Army/US Forces Korea is the KATUSA program which stands for Korean Augmentation To US Army. These are Koreans who are attached to/part of the US Forces here, an arrangement dating back to the war.

They fulfill several roles, and I'll let any long Korea-service readers elaborate on what those are, as I don't fully understand it yet, never having served in Korea myself.

The reason I bring them up? In the context of fat Koreans? Glad you asked.

They have their own snack bars, called, shockingly, KATUSA snack bars. They were established so that the KATUSAs could get Korean food if they wanted it, vice eating in the US mess halls.

They are popular with everyone.

My fellow-traveler and I ate lunch at one today. He had babimbap, I had bulgogi. Just like you see here. Bulgogi nearest the camera, babimbap away. Cute Pepsi cans, too, eh?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

I've been diligently trying to master the chopsticks, which amuses the ladyfolk. This time I amused the aji-ma (sp? -older lady) who ran the place.

I couldn't finish. It takes too long and my hands hurt too much from the arthritis. There was improvement, however. I wasn't wearing as much as last time.

But that experience lead to my theory on why there are few fat Koreans...

It is odd here, being a Giant among the masses. Nice seque, John. I'm going to bed. Some Denizen who wants to can set up the H&I post.

by John on Mar 26, 2006 | General Commentary
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies