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April 29, 2006

Some good one liners in the midst of the DoS attack.

We're collateral damage, not the target. Silly buggers. The message is *still* out there, via Google. All this has done is give me a reason to fire up Photoshop.

The one liners...

Some new, some old. The cyber-jihadis farking around with Castle Argghhh!'s infrastructure should take note of Number 1.

"Creating smoking holes (with bombs) gives our lives meaning and enhances our manliness." LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference

"Eventually, we have to 'make nice' with the French, although, since I'm new in my job, I have every expectation that I'll be contradicted."
Dept of State rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference

"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."

"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay drunk for the rest of your life."

"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it barks." Lt Col (USSOCOM)

"That guy just won't take 'yes' for an answer." MAJ (EUCOM)

"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking."

"I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain." CDR (NAVEUR)

"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all." LCDR

"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity." LTC (CENTCOM)

The worst that has happened? I spent time with SWWBO I would otherwise have spent at the keyboard... beat me with that stick.

Oh, and Castle Argghhh! has probably been robbed of our chance to break 80K visits for the month by the Wahabist hosers.

Ha! I don't sell ads, dudes, Ya didn't cost me a dime, and Hosting Matters will probably rebate some of the month's charges even.

However here we sit, bloody but unbowed, bruised but unbroken, still balefully glaring out at you sitting on top of a heap of skulls and shouting out to the world:

Wahabism Delenda Est!

Put that in your hookah and smoke it, hosers.

April 28, 2006

H&I Fires* 28 April

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...

Hosting Matters was getting attacked from outside the US. The Castle still stands, and has emerged from the fog of battle unscathed.

Now that Hosting Matters has swatted the pissant flies swarming them this morning...

My contribution today will be Gun Pr0n:

A Soldier from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division takes aim with his M4 rifle during the battle in Gahr Albai and Millawa Valley at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Ca. The 2nd BCT was at NTC to hone and enhance their war fighter skills for future deployments. Photo by MSG Johancharles Van Boers, Vulture Team NCOIC.

A Soldier from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division takes aim with his M4 rifle during the battle in Gahr Albai and Millawa Valley at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Ca. The 2nd BCT was at NTC to hone and enhance their war fighter skills for future deployments. Photo by MSG Johancharles Van Boers, Vulture Team NCOIC.
-The Armorer (Scorpion 27, Werewolf 08 and 71 Ancient - those who know, know)


Smash has some interesting info on the DOS attack. - FbL


In addition to having emerged from the smoky cyber-field-of-battle unbowed and belligerently bellicose - Castle Argghhh! is *still* #1 and Only One on Google!!! Hah! We takes our victories where we finds 'em, we does! -The Armorer


Smash provides a succinct Reality Check, and aces Sgt Hook's caption contest to boot. - Barb


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 28, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: Carnival of the Celebrities

This is only a good beginning.

Finally. A Field Grade in the dock over Abu Ghraib. About time.

No, I'm not presupposing a guilty verdict. LTC Jordan has a right to defend himself. It's just about time that a more senior individual had to do so in a Courts-Martial.

If he's guilty, send him to visit us here in Leavenworth. And if he offers up testimony dam(n)ing his highers - I say "Bring it on!"

If he's innocent - send him back to work.

Saving Closing Fran O'Briens

Looks like we lost the fight. Can't win 'em all, and it was a fun fight to wage. And Brian Kelleher, the General Manager of the Capital Hilton, certainly knows what a milblog is now.

I don't have much to say - to me it's time to move on with the job of finding another venue for the dinners until Fran's reopens somewhere else, hopefully close enough to make it the success it was before - and maybe even better, in a more accessible location.

Fuzzybear Lioness, who has been a tireless crusader on the topic, and used the top turret of Castle Argghhh! to light her signal fire, has this to say:

Actually, nobody does. Andi is traveling and Greyhawk doesn't have anything up yet. I haven't seen anything at Blackfive or Smash. And Grim is directing people to me for "the latest." But I don't have any new information.

This is just so sad. I'm the last person to ascribe things like a "spirit" to an inanimate object. But Fran's has an amazing positive energy about it. It's like one of my commenters associated with it said: It all came together at Fran's--the people, the location, the facilities. Until Fran's can get themselves situated in a new location, the community that has developed will be running on only half-power, if at all.

Bear in mind, the lack of mention might well have to do with the DOS attack on-going, and don't take it as a slam to those bloggers.

The time has come to move on, and those who are in a position to help keep the tradition going while Hal and Marty get re-established to lift and shift their fires.

Speaking of Generals Colonels.

Let's talk about Colonel Janis Karpinski and what this wretched example of the Officer Corps is up to.

She has a book out. One Woman's Army. I haven't read it, I'm not sure I'll have the stomach to wade through it. I might have to go see if the local library has it, as I'm not sure I want to contribute to the financial health of this pathetic example of an officer totally unable to accept responsibility for her failures in command. Mind you, even though we finally have a LTC being charged over Abu Ghraib, I'm *still* looking for more senior scalps to hang at the portcullis.

While I know nothing is going to happen to her for this - her book cover is, quite simply, wrong, and in that little, dark, vindictive corner of my soul, I wonder if it's chargeably so.

Karpinski is a Colonel. Not a General. And all her wishing to the contrary doesn't make it so. And, technically, she's never *been* a General, her promotion to same having been tainted by her failure to acknowledge her arrest for shoplifting while a Colonel. That event caused her promotion to be set-aside... as if it had never happened. Like it or not, in a very real legal sense, she has *never* been a General, and she certainly is not one now.

Ergo - *this* is what her book cover *should* look like.

COLONEL Janis Karpinski

And lest anyone have any doubt - I checked her AKO entry. Colonel.

I left the tagline to the book title unchanged. The story is right on the cover.

But I *will* accept a review copy, should the publisher (as the *brilliant* firms of Simon and Schuster and Regnery already do) wish to provide one...

Update: If you are coming in from the link, you really want to see this post. But you're welcome to hang around and poke in the corners.

by John on Apr 28, 2006 | Moonbat Watch
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Army charges former Abu Ghraib officer

The Generals and their yapping.

I've been struggling with this one, because I really am conflicted.

On the one hand, I blog, I'm a retired military officer, I express my opinions, many of them critical of this Administration and Rumsfeld in particular. How am I all that different from these guys? Well, there *is* the size of the check at the end of the month, true.

On the other hand, these guys are Generals. And while I find the Press' embrace of these retirees and their message to be hypocritical, given the non-love shown for the dissident Generals who didn't like the Bosnia and Kosovo adventures, the simple fact is, and I well know it - their opinion matters more than mine does. No one really cares what a retired field grade officer thinks unless they manage to breakout into full Pundit status, like Ollie North, Ralph Peters, Austin Bay, Dave Hunt, etc. And I haven't demonstrated that skill yet, nor, I think, am I likely to, given my rejection level by K-Lo!

That said, I think it comes down to this quote sent my by my buddy Jim,

I am convinced that the best service a retired general can perform is to turn in his tongue along with his suit, and to mothball his opinions. General of the Army Omar Bradley, in the New York Times, May 17, 1959.

All of these guys have issues with the SECDEF.

So what? They aren't the first. There was the Admiral's Revolt. Heck, McClellan, Wes Clark. Both of whom properly took their message to the political arena, where it was all out in the open and a free-for-all. During the 60's, there was no love lost between McNamara and his minions. In the bathroom of our apartment in Stuttgart, Germany, my father (then a LTC on the EUCOM J-3 staff) had a photo of Secretary McNamara, with the caption of *Big Daddy Is Watching You" on it. That stared at you as you did your business. Disaffection is not unusual, especially with transformative leaders.

Some of the generals have problems with the SECDEF being "disrespectful" of them (or others) personally, and dismissive of their opinions.

Really. Again, so what? An excessive deference to the opinion of subordinates is not a universal trait of the GO corps. Especially dissident opinions. I've watched numerous GO's crucify people for disagreeing... especially ones who disagree after the fact and drag their feet implementing decisions. I watched my father take a public shellacking that was completely inappropriate *and* unwarranted. Much less delivered to the officer in question in front of his son.

These officers all served honorably, and many of them, in one way or another, fell afoul of the Secretary. There's a reason that some commanded or held significant jobs during OIF - yet did not rise to the next higher grade. Whether a lack of room at the top, or people were not fully-happy with their performance in grade, there are reasons these guys are retired... and grumpy.

And they may well have earned that grumpiness. And they have a right to express their opinions on the conduct of the war.

But, and I admit I'm old-fashioned in this regard - because of their unique status as senior military leaders, they shouldn't be calling for the resignation or firing of Cabinet officials - especially ones they served under, who are still serving when they are not. If Congress wishes to call them before the committees and ask the question directly - then they should answer. That is appropriate, even if it is simply politics by other means. The Generals are charged with giving their honest assessment when asked.

Like it or not, Generals make lovers of Liberty uneasy, and the Founders set up a structure to limit their power and influence, as well they should have. To my way of thinking, the restrictions placed on us warriors (which are greater the higher we rise, which is why there are virtually *no* restrictions, comparatively, on enlisted members) expand and exert greater pressure the higher we rise. And they should. And these Generals should have known that no President worth his salt is going to fire a civilian leader of the Pentagon because the Generals demanded it.

The message that sends is simply unacceptable. In fact, it made it *harder* to achieve what they want - if anything, they guaranteed Rumsfeld's survival.

The Generals are free to write books and op-ed pieces and give speeches that argue against Administration policy - including policy they had a hand in implementing. Color me old-fashioned, but I think they overstepped the bounds of a good custom when they started calling for Rumsfeld's head. In this Republic, calling for the head of their civilian boss is simply *not* the province of the General Officers.

Switching sides - those who call the General's cowards or craven for not speaking out before they retired, or for not resigning in protest, are also loons who wish to dangerously erode the quite proper fetters placed on the military leadership.

If you are wearing the uniform, you make your arguments in the context of the staff meeting and written documents, and personal conversation. And yes, I know, the Generals and their staffs aren't above leaking, spare me. That is part and parcel of the process - and there is a world of difference between that an open rebellion in uniform. I would fully expect a Secretary of Defense to smack down an openly rebellious General by firing him and retiring him at his permanent grade (usually two grades behind the one on your shoulder). That they held their tongues publicly until they retired is entirely proper.

I know I'm late to this (one reason I'm not a very good pundit) but I wanted to think it through before I went on record. Not that anyone has been asking, really.

Update: Judging from the comments and some emails, I didn't make myself clear in this paragraph:

Switching sides - those who call the General's cowards or craven for not speaking out before they retired, or for not resigning in protest, are also loons who wish to dangerously erode the quite proper fetters placed on the military leadership.

What I was getting at is Open, Public Disagreement - of the sort they are currently engaged in.

I know from several sources (the easiest public source being the book Cobra II) that there was plenty gnashing of teeth during the planning and execution phase. And that it was conducted as I suggested was proper - in the planning sessions, staff briefings, email, telephone, and personal conversations. At the Rock Drills and rehearsals. And in some of those meetings, some people got their feelings hurt. But when the decision was made, they shut up, saluted, and soldiered on. And either through their disagreement before, or real or perceived lukewarm/lagging execution of those orders, several of those officers may have indeed paid a professional price. I don't profess to know where that line lies.

That said - I *still* think it is wrong for them to have publicly called for the dismissal of the Civilian head of the Department of Defense. That, quite frankly, is *not* their proper province, precisely *because* they are Generals. Had I been blogging in that era, I would have said the same of any recently retired General who advocated same during the Clinton Administration. And I did slap down officers who inappropriately (especially in front of subordinates) offered disrespect to President Clinton, regardless of whether or not I agreed with them. That is a civil right we *knowingly* leave behind us when we accept the commission.

There. Is that any clearer?

April 27, 2006

H&I Fires* 27 April

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...

Murdoc reports out on the Milblogger Conference and manages to call me a whiner, too!

Armorer Want! I'd ride this sucker to work! H/t Ryan G. -The Armorer


Who wants a Hot Dog? (Scroll down to see image, and watch yer 6!)
-The Adjutant


Fran's is down to three days. It's not just the dinners and camaraderie. It's the community--of which Fran's is the beating heart. The Times (London) has also picked up the story.

I'm a bit late to the scene, but I've postd my thoughts on the first panel of the MilBlog Conference.

And since nobody from the Castle seems to care... I'm having a bit of a celebration over at my place. - Fuzzybear Lioness


Moonbat Attack! Good lord, don't these people have *any* new talking points? -The Armorer

Fuzzy - Saaaa-lute!



Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 27, 2006 | General Commentary

Feh. National Preparedness and Response Authority

Senate panel recommends the elimination of FEMA.

WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina's latest fatality should be FEMA, the nation's disaster response agency, a Senate inquiry concluded in calling for a government overhaul to avoid future failures like those the devastating storm exposed.

Okay. Hey, I'm all for reducing non-functional organs of the Federal government (though I don't happen to think tossing FEMA is a rational solution). I have some perspective in this arena. My last job on active duty as a Military Support to Civil Authority (now DSCA, or Defense etc.) planner at 5th Army (now ARNORTH) in San Antonio. We worked closely with (really, *for* in a sense) FEMA when acting in our MSCA role.

One thing the Clinton Administration did *well* was put Jimmy Witt in charge of FEMA. One *huge* failure of the Bush Administration was devolving FEMA to an organ of Homeland Defense. The whole Homeland Defense construct is *still* dysfunctional, and that lays squarely at Bush's feet. FEMA is a shadow of its former self - with no bad cess to day-to-day FEMA employees in general, I know they are still struggling to make it work. The upper structure of the agency and the structure of it's over-sight agency is at fault.

In this, the panel has it correct.

The recommendations conclude that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is crippled beyond repair by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding.

That is this administration's fault - though that is ameliorated somewhat because they were focused on 9/11 style responses that they lost the bubble about the more common disasters... like hurricanes. So, what do the Senators recommend?

They call for a new agency — the National Preparedness and Response Authority — to plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters.

Okay. Really. I am *so* impressed. It just gets better.

The new authority would communicate directly with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress. But it would remain within the Homeland Security Department and would continue receiving resources from the department.

Okay, at this point, I throw the bullshite flag. This is a perfect example of "Change is the Illusion of Progress."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led the inquiry by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the new authority would be "better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster."

She described FEMA as a "shambles" and said the change "will help ensure that we do not have a repeat of the failures following Hurricane Katrina."

Really? It will? Aside from the fact that DHS is busy trying to digest all those lessons from Katrina and implement changes, how is it going to make a huge difference?

It's not like the current FEMA employee base and structure won't be the basis of the "new" agency. Ya *really* gonna start from scratch? Nope. Didn't think so.

Unless you are *really* going to break the paradigm, this is simply taking a tire, scraping the "year" of "Goodyear" off, and painting on "rich" to make it a "Goodrich" tire.

An opinion shared by Homeland Defense, and, Michael Brown, the hapless director of FEMA during Katrina.

But the proposal drew disdain from Homeland Security and its critics, both sides questioning the need for another bureaucratic shuffling that they said wouldn't accomplish much.

"It's time to stop playing around with the organizational charts and to start focusing on government, at all levels, that are preparing for this storm season," Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who resigned under fire after Katrina, said the new agency would basically have the same mission FEMA had a year ago before its disaster planning responsibilities were taken away to focus solely on responding to calls for help.

"It sounds like they're just re-creating the wheel and making it look like they're calling for change," Brown said. "If indeed that's all they're doing, they owe more than that to the American public."

Indeed, if that's all they got, can we get our money back for that study?

The whole story that fired me up is here.

I'll go hunt up the recommendations and see if this is what it seems, or if it's just incomplete reporting on the part of the AP, missing the forest for the trees. I guess I owe the Senate *that* much.

Update: Here's the Exec Summary. No, I haven't read it yet.

Okay - I've read it. The AP did a singularly carp job of reporting.

I think it's evenly written and apportions blame all 'round, with pretty much nobody but the Coast Guard and some unnamed private firms getting a pat on the back.

The "Seven Foundational Recommendations" are a ringing condemnation of this and previous Administrations and Congresses.

The weaknesses laid out with recommended solutions are *not* new, nor did they suddenly appear because of the Bush Administration. The FEMA personnel I worked with in 1998-2000 (where we were focused on terrorism and Y2K) were aware of the flaws in the system - and the lack of money for dealing with them (and this was after Hurricane Andrew and similar other disasters)

These fissures were thrown into stark relief by the effects of the redirection of effort due to the focus on prevention of and response to 9/11-style events drained money from on-going efforts to improve and enhance response to large-scale natural disasters.

After a surface read, I like it. I can understand why DHS does not - much of what is being proposed is on-going, I know for certain in DoD. Northern Command, the DoD agency responsible for this is a new command, still standing up and getting organized - but will provide a full-spectrum headquarters to coordinate the DoD response, overseeing a JTF Headquarters that would come out of ARNORTH in San Antonio. The function of Defense Coordinating Officer, until recently an additional duty of Regional Training Brigade commanders, is moving to a permanently assigned active duty Colonel, with a reserve component Deputy, who will have a mixed civilian/military planning and execution staff, who will be aligned with and located with or close to, the FEMA Regional Headquarters. All of this is intended to streamline and enhance the DoD response capability. Similar things have occurred within Pacific Command, which has responsibility for Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific dependencies of the United States.

DHS no doubt does not wish to see another powerful department head created, and in fact think they've got this under control. Perhaps they do - but I've long thought that FEMA was under-graded so to speak, and so I am supportive of this direction.

Nice to see the Senate understands that they, along with the House, and the Administration, have been remiss in their duties themselves... though for the most part they only mention the Administration.

by John on Apr 27, 2006 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA

A case of the vapors...

Important battle rule for commanders: Always remember that the first intel reports are usually wrong.

That's what leapt to mind when I saw this Instapundit post.

Granted, I'm with a lot of conservatives on the frustration I feel with The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight, aka the GOP, but when you're up to your a$$ in political alligators, the correct strategy isn't to stick your head into one of the reptiles' mouths. Especially when the net result of staying home on election day or voting for Democrats will give us:

- An even more radical and totalitarian court system,
- Crushing tax burdens on business and individuals,
- A disastrous and capitualtory approach to foreign policy, e.g., what problems there are in the world are America's fault and we should take out lead from our UN and European betters, starting with a wholesale retreat from Iraq, letting Iran get the bomb (by relying on "negotiations" and the "watchdog" UN by a Muslim, no less), etc.
- Then there's immigration--the Dems want felons to be able to vote (at least some have raised the issue in public), why not illegals? Suffice it to say, for all their protestations about Bush's cavalier attitude on Mexicans, et al., in their heart of hearts, they see the 12 million+ new "constituents" as a good thing, so I doubt there'll be much of a change in policy...and what little there will be will probably not be in our national interest.

Shall I go on? Bottom line: Are we really ready to trust the Dems with the responsibility of keeping this country safe, it's aconomy strong and its people free?

In any case, I went on to read the comments associated with the above post. Fortunately, the vast majority are saying, and I'm paraphrasing, "OK, things are rough right now, but cutting the nose off to spite the face ain't exactly a prudent response."

Again, Glenn's "intel" has a little more to it than the impression left on Instapundit.

Personally, I like the Churchillian approach: Never, never, never give up.

by Dusty on Apr 27, 2006 | Politics

Caption Contest!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Provided by Boquisucio - go for it.

I'll start: "And you thought Douglas Adams was writing novels..."

April 26, 2006

H&I Fires* 26 April

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...

Sheesh! I thought these things were still under warranty? $182,205 to replace the canopy? I'm not bitching about the price, I have no idea what they cost to make - I'm bitching about getting *billed.* Didn't we get the extended warranty on these birds? 8^ ) -The Armorer


Have you all heard of the little story about an Afghan Carp Vs. a Chinese RPG?

Oh - and I hope that Mr. Tuttle (ret.) doesn't THIS kind of trouble with his Brown Recluses - BOQ


Soldiers' Angels Germany has some wonderful observations about her Friday night at Fran's. - FbL


Music From Heaven. Not exactly how I would describe the sounds of war, but after you read Bogg's latest post, you'll agree with that description. It's not about the oil. It's not about finishing the job. It's about Iraqi's, and their freedom. Hooah. ~AFSister

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 26, 2006 | General Commentary


Just Heh... --Instapilot

H/T: Drudge

by Dusty on Apr 26, 2006 | Moonbat Watch

Dumb Question...

Is it me, or has the English language been hijacked again by the MSM and the Usual Suspects in the Democrat Pahty, to wit:

"Record Profits" by the oil companies.

Sounds more to me like record revenues. I think there's a difference...and a substantial meaning. If your product costs more to produce and you pass most (if not all) of that cost on to the consumer--something that's perfectly legal, fair and increases your chances of staying in business--you're going to take in more cash, yes? But if production costs are up due to increases in raw material cost (crude) why would your profits go up?

Or am I missing something? Tell me...


P.S. For every gallon sold, the average profit is 9 CENTS (that's 3% profit if that gallon cost you an even 3 bucks...oooooooo!).
P.P.S. For every dollar spent on getting your petrol to market, here's the cost breakdown (these are ConocoPhillips numbers):
Crude: 58 cents
Taxes: 20 cents
Refining: 15 cents
Marketing and distribution: 7 cents

Four More Days for Fran's

Have you done all you can for Fran O'Brien's and the family they've developed to support severely wounded troops?

Rumor has it there are still conversations going on between lawyers, so not all hope is lost. What we need right now is to help Hilton understand it is to their benefit to give Fran's enough time to find and establish a new home so that Fran's can make a smooth transition for the sake of the wounded soldiers, and for the employees and volunteers who have been trained in supporting the wounded and have established relationships with them. For example, Fran's employees were given cell phones and have been "on call" for anyone who needs a ride, an encouraging word, or anything else that can be offered.

Friday Night at Fran's isn't just a dinner, it's an entire community centered around that restaurant. The wounded know they can drop by on any day and find at least one person who cares and can "be there" for them. The night I was at Fran's, I watched one particular very young wounded soldier spend a lot of time in the bar. I didn't know his story, but as several others I spoke with noticed, his body language made it clear he was having a tough time. I saw Hal Koster put his arm around him and talk to him. Other people I knew were vets and lived in the DC area also came up to him and put their hands on his neck as they put their faces close to his, making deep eye contact and earnestly talking to him. By the end of the evening he was clearly more relaxed, and even smiling a bit. The community had obviously recognized his need and rallied around him, lifting his spirits.

I received a comment on my post about the SSG's speech from someone with intimate knowledge of the community that has developed around Fran's (we've corresponded). Lawrence Kelly had previouly commented at Andi's about the "salon-style" aspects of the dinners at Fran's, and pointed out the poltical implications of Hilton's behavior. He has since written in comments at Fuzzilicious Thinking:

...what happens on Friday nights at O'Briens is more than the sum of its parts. Some people get that, most, lacking the opportunity to see it in person, don't. When I think of O'Briens, I don't really think first of Hal or Marty. My thoughts go to [Vietnam veteran, double amputee, and volunteer peer counselor at Walter Reed] Jim Mayer, and how he birthed and raised to maturity the universe that Fuzzy describes. By urging the 2003 and 2004 seriously wounded to follow through on making it better for the next person in a bed on Ward 57 [the amputee ward at Walter Reed], Jim created an ethic for this generation of amputees and seriously wounded. With all due respect to Hal and Marty, the dynamic that Fuzzy observed at O'Briens is largely the residue of this incredible young generation of volunteer military and Jim Mayer's singular efforts in bringing the wisdom and experiences of his life to the task of bettering and motivating this generation in their recoveries.

To be fair to Hal and Marty, everything came together at O'Briens. Jim. Hal. Marty. The families releasing pent up hospital frustrations. Life on a grand scale. A place to enjoy and start thinking about the future. Young men and women readying themselves for their next chapters.

If there is a clear victory from Iraq and Afghanistan, it is in the work Jim did in creating the conditions for these young men and women to succeed in life on that same grand scale. One of the places it is on display now is Fran O'Briens. In the future, the entire country will see the results of his handiwork in the careers and contributions of these young men and women. If there is a Medal of Freedom to be awarded by this administration for true success in the advancement of freedom, it will rightfully be awarded to Jim Mayer

Therefore, when I heard that Hilton managers hung up on Jim when he called, I shook my head at their ignorance. Hanging up on Jim Mayer. You can't even put that on a truck scale to weigh the level of stupidity. It underscores that there is a wide gulf in America between those heroes (like Jim Mayer) who teach by example, and those individuals and organizations which fail to grasp why they would need to listen.

Closing Fran's (even if they manage to reopen in six months) and having the dinners at various locations is certainly better than nothing, but it will cripple (ironic word) the Fran O'Brien's community. Soldiers' Angels Germany has more (scroll down). We have spent a lot of time focusing on what a loss the end of Fran's will be to the wounded, but it will also be a tremendous loss to our country, as anything that "replaces" Friday Night at Fran's will not have as extensive an impact on those who participate. And we will be much the poorer for it.

So, what have you done to support and save this community that has comforted the broken, inspired recovery, and developed tomorrow's leaders? Andi has your orders, and Laughing Wolf sets an example (more contact info here). Don't forget to sign the petition. Only four more days to save this amazing community...

- Fuzzybear Lioness

[Background on the Fran O'Brien's story here.]

Gun Pr0n. The Needlegun.

Ain't done any in a while - and found out that a lot of the milbloggers *like* the gun pr0n, even if they don't comment on it. They mentioned its absence.

French Chassepot needlegun

This is the French response to the German Dreyse Needlegun of the mid-to-late 1860's - the Chassepot. It fired a linen cartridge with the primer cap being in the base of the bullet. To fire, the bolt pushed it's way into the linen cartridge and when fired, the needle pushed through the rest of the way to fire the cap and ignite the powder.

Linen cartridge for the Chassepot needlegun

These rifles don't use the now-common locking lugs to seal the breech. Early versions of the Chassepot rifle used leather washers to seal the breech. This rifle has what's left of the later rubber gasket. There was always leakage and the rifle was *not* popular with the troops. The pins were prone to breakage, becoming brittle from the heat of firing, always annoying in the heat of a firefight. In the photo below, you can see both the rubber seal and the protruding needle.

Bolt of French Chassepot Needlegun

The needleguns were all transitional rifles as the arms merchants learned how to make brass cartridges - a subject already covered in this space.

by John on Apr 26, 2006 | Rifles

Guest post.

Gotta encourage the not-left voices in the industry...

When working on music for recording last year the events of 7/7 occured in London. One of my co-songwriters was one train away from the Liverpool Street attack. The events, which I live-blogged about, reminded me of 9/11 and the events of that horrid day. It was a very few days until I finished 'Cry Freedom' which contains my first ever musical (I am the main lyricist) contribution to our band. (The chorus was in my head as I wrote the song.) It is the title track of Growing Old Disgracefully's EP.

This EP can be purchased digitally (click here) and it is possible buy each track at $.75 or all four for $2.50.

Not all rockers are left-wing nutcases. We support your efforts on our behalf allowing us to to do our music in peace and safety wherever we might be.

If you could possibly find a way to mention the song/EP I would appreciate it immensely. I believe your readers will enjoy & agree with the lyrics of 'Cry Freedom'.

Kind regards,

Andrew Ian Dodge
Growing Old Disgracefully & Dodgeblogium


Simply, excellent. H/t, JTG, who sez:

I was gonna post, but #80 did it for me.*

If you think this is as funny as I do - you spend waaaaaaay too much time reading blogs.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

April 25, 2006

H&I Fires* 25 April

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...

Ry sent along this interesting piece from Arms and Influence titled The End of Battle? Basically a discussion of how the confluence of technology is taking us from "The Final Argument of Kings" to "The War of the Flea." I'll have to gather my thoughts and see if I can find time to work up a post on the subject myself.

I have simply *got* to get that post on "The Persistance of Failed Ideas" done.

Daniel Glover of the National Journal has published his piece on the Milblogger Conference. I got quoted, and in context!

Some people have too much time on their hands...

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

Michael Fumento blogs a firefight. -The Armorer


Drudge has put up a link to this little nifty chart on GAS Prices accross the land. How do you compare?

I've heard of Mid Air Refueling, but Mid Air Repairs???

On a more pensive note, how about some Geo-Political Comentary? HA-HA AMERICA!!! (Note: Message therein may not be suitable for everyone. I may not agree with all its contents, but it's a good reflection on how others see us)

And on a more uplifting note: BEYOND IRAQ - BOQ


For those who may be interested, I've created a "One Stop Shop" for links about the Fran O'Brien's saga. - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 25, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: The Rules Of The Blog
» Don Surber links with: The Rules Of The Blog

And the April Ironman of the Month Award Goes To...

Tony Snow.

Colon cancer wasn't challenging enough. So he signs on as WH Press Secretary.

Crikey...better man than me...


by Dusty on Apr 25, 2006 | General Commentary
» Flopping Aces links with: Tony Snow Is The Man!

Continuing the Discussion started at the Milblogger Conference.

It's clear the story out of the conference that has legs is that of... communication. How DoD communicates. How the blogs communicate. The responsibilities. There's a discussion going on in the comments that I think ought to come up into the air, between Denizenne Kat and The Huntress.

For some background on the subject check out Melinda's post at Most Certainly Not, and Grims post on the discussion with the CENTCOM PAO at Grim's Hall (Grim is reporting on the conversation I only caught part of). For a more mainstream report on the Conference and the issues therein - check out Daniel Glover's piece in National Journal.

Remember - these were in comments, not polished posts, so no snarking on Emglish or such.

Kat started it:

I started to write a message, but realized that I have about three or four posts worth of things I want to say. So, here I am, early morning, writing something, probably too extensive, but feeling very necessary to say about current information war efforts.

Since my old boss told me that, if you cannot summarize it in five bullet points or less, it will be tossed without reviewing the details, I will bullet point the situation as I see it. The conference was very helpful in formulating this concept.


Let me state clearly that, because I am largely focusing on the military’s efforts, the document puts a huge emphasis on the word “military” throughout each section. This document continues to reference the military because I believe that the military must change the most. However, whenever the word “military” appears here, I mean it to include the Department of Defense, the NSA, the CIA, congress and any administration leaders, including the president, who has a responsibility in this effort. I do not want officers, NCOs and enlisted men and women in the field to believe that I lay the blame solely at their feet or do not recognize that culture and regulations affect their ability to function and correct this problem. However, every person, from the top to the bottom, must be made aware of this problem so that all possible speed, resources and ideas may be brought to bare on this problem

1) Military Culture and Attitude Towards the Media is Bad.

2) The Military (and civilian administration) has failed to recognize the media is their customer, they are not the customer of the media.

3) This attitude, from top to bottom, is preventing the military from delivering the appropriate service to the customer/media.

4) The military has failed to recognize and maximize the media. It is the middleman. This middleman's distribution ability reaches the greater audience/customer base that it wishes to influence (I do not simply mean Americans, either). The Military on its own cannot hope to reach this audience, not even through maximizing its "niche market" of bloggers, military magazines and "friendly" media, though it is a place to start rebuilding.

5) The military needs to develop a business strategy that includes finding, developing, selling to and maximizing this customer base. It needs to include developing a customer service plan, identifying the customers' needs, appropriate distribution.

6) Passive distribution methods are ineffective. Military distribution of information acts as if it was a warehouse and the customer must come and pick up their own product or come to the office for service.

7) If the military does not provide the service to the media, it will get it from somewhere else. Quality may be poor, but quantity is never an issue. (list methods of identifying "customer" business and how to deliver services - most important is developing the personal touch)

8) The enemy has stated that half the battle is in the media. It is a major part of their strategy, not an after effect. The military has failed to elevate their information operations to the same status. It must become on par with Combat Operations and Civil Affairs.

9)The military has alternately treated the media with commraderie and contempt. Severe change in military attitude is directly related to Vietnam. All other actions and relations after only re-enforces this problem.

10) The military failed to understand the changing global information world during Vietnam and continues to fall behind in this category. The enemy then, as now, has not failed in this. (List specific lessons during this change).

Okay. It's 10 not 5, but lucky I didn't pontificate like I wanted.

One reason I thought about this is the PAO at the conference kept saying that he was putting this stuff out and the media was doing anything with it.

Huntress replied:


Interesting but I disagree with much of where you lay the blame or much of what you wish would happen.

The military attitude towards the media isn't bad, in fact its quite the opposite. They want to work with the media...its the media that both hates, distrusts,and in effect refuses to work with the Military. It is the Medias attitude towards the 'evil military machine' that is at fault.

The only reason our enemies "use" the media effectively is because the media sees their message as the lessor of two evils, and in most cases sees our enemies as insurgents who have been victimized by American "Foriegn policy". America is to blame for Islamic hatred towards the West, and as such, our enemies are painted with a much more sympathetic brush.

To that effect, the MSM enjoys reporting bad, horrible, shitass news including what our enemies to do our troops, and framing all that our troops do in unfavorably light, all in the hope of accomplishing what the media coverage of Viet Nam accomplished - to sway public opinion AGAINST the war on terror, our mission in Iraq, our President, his administration, and to continue their negative assault on the 'evil military machine".

Fred, the PAO, you referred to, expressed his frustration at the mindset of some that blame military for "not getting the news out".

His point was that the military DOES get the news out through the PAO and remains frustrated at the media's attempts to distort, downplay and ignore the good news that the PAO delivers proactively and aggressively, to all Media outlets.

The media neither trusts nor cares to trust anything coming from the DOD, the PAO, and even milbloggers in the frontlines UNLESS it fits into their agenda. PERIOD.

Our enemies use our Media successfully to breakdown the will of Americans ONLY because our Media is a willing co-conspirator/partner.

For years after Nam, the Military was afraid to allow embeds, because they saw the effects of bringing the war LIVE into Americans livingroom.

That changed during the Gulf War and embeds are almost a fact of life, however the result remains the same. Embeds often do not provide a fair and balanced view of the war....and when they do...editors in the newsrooms make editorial decisions that lean towards their agenda.

I see no reason for the Military to engage in any further attempts to "make nice" to our media.
Nor do I see any reason to blame the military for the lack of fair and balanced reporting.

YOu might want to listen the Reuters panel discussion Media coverage of this can access it on my blog. There were some excellent points made by Steve Boylan, Iraqi reporters, and Reuters Iraq Bureau chief. He mentioned that whenever Reuters reported on hospital openings, etc, our enemies would end up attacking these places, after hearing about them. Now Reuters is aware of how risky it is to mention hospital and school openings etc. Our Military is also aware of that danger...its not OPSEC in the true sense..but it raises serious concerns.

The collective MSM hates and distrusts the Military and any furthers attemts by the military to work closer with the Media will not be met favorably.

Instead, I want the Military to make much better use of milbloggers and independents like Roggio and Yon to get the message out. The multiplier affect these cyber outlets create guarantees the Military better coverage and a much larger reach, than anything they do now or try to do, with an unwilling MSM.

I've worked directly with the media on issues far less critical and seen the result first hand which amounts to the MSM telling me "I want the story to reflect our agenda...and so it shall".

One only needs to look at how other issues are framed: i.e. right to choose vs right to life, secularism vs religion, democrats vs republicans,
and you see the manipulative machinations that occur.

The Military is doing all they can when it comes to MSM who refuse to put aside their personal bias and's time for them to put more resources behind independents like Yon, Roggio, etc,(like providing them with body armour, etc, but NOT controlling what they write) and to work with milbloggers so that they can be free to deliver an honest message that doesn't interfere with OPSEC.

I enjoyed the entire event, participating virtually was great, and especially loved the last panel! Had an important family event not been happening on the same weekend, I would have been "getting into a lot of trouble in DC". :>)

Perhaps we can attract the Castle's occaisional professional journalist visitor to this discussion...


Today is ANZAC Day, the Australia-New Zealand equivalent to Memorial Day.

New Zealand Website on ANZAC Day.

The Australian Equivalent.

The Gallipoli Campaign was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, an attempt to force the Dardanelles and reach the Black Sea, freeing up the Russian Black Sea Fleet and opening up new routes of supply and a new thrust at the Austrians and Germans via the Balkans. Churchill really had the hots for the idea that Italy and the Balkans represented the "soft underbelly" of Europe. He was to be all for going in that way during WWII, as well. One wonders if Winnie understood the terms "mountainous terrain" and "cross-compartmented" as used by military guys looking at the dirt they have to fight over. Gallipoli, along with the treatment and use of Commonwealth troops in France, marked the high tide of Britain's command and control of Commonwealth Forces. The propensity of British Generals to use non-UK troops for the really bloody work, while at the same time treating them as second-class citizens, caused the command relationships to be much different in WWII. Especially since, pound for pound, the Commonwealth soldiers were in main, better quality troops than those from the UK (exceptions on both sides abounding, of course). Like it or no, the colonials were, if nothing else, generally healthier than their UK counterparts.

Regardless, all the soldier's quality was oft-times squandered by execrable generalship.

In case there is any doubt how Australians felt about it, this picture is of the Sydney Memorial.

For the Turks? This was a moment of great pride for them, marking as it did the end of a long slide to obscurity and mediocrity, and cemented Ataturk's reforms and the establishment of a secular state - and gave the Army the imprimatur of the guardian of the state's secular nature - though that hasn't always gone well...

The Arsenal at Argghhh! has several items with an ANZAC connection. Our WWI-era Vickers machine gun is an ex-Turkish gun - and by the serial number is *not* one of the ones provided to Turkey in 1940 (to keep them neutral) but is in all probability a captured gun, reworked (the Turks were always tinkering with their weapons, trying to stretch their service life) to the later standard.

Hi-res, click here, here, here, and here.

Second, we have a M1893 Turkish Mauser, which is quite possibly (by age and ship date to Turkey) but unverifiably a Gallipoli veteran. This rifle sports a undoubted Gallipolii veteran: a Sanderson-made M1907 bayonet, captured by the Turks and reworked to fit the Mauser. We also have a 2nd Military District bayonet (Australian) that has been through the same treatment. Since invading at Gallipoli was a Brit idea, it's the Brit bayonet that hangs on the Turk rifle and get's it's picture up to give proper credit where it is due.

Hi-res, click here.

Last, but not least, are the dog-tags. Body recovery being tough in the conditions under which the campaign at Gallipoli was fought, when Aussie troops went 'over the top' many would leave a bayonet or stick stuck in the sandbags or walls of the trench, with their dog-tags hanging from 'em. If, after the battle, they were still there...

For the Commonwealth soldier, the equivalent of Taps is the Last Post.

Accordingly, now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam of the fallen of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps.

And if anyone surfing in from Turkey or elsewhere knows where I can get a legal version of the music the Turkish Army uses as an equivalent to Last Post and Taps, I'll add it, as well. Here at Argghhh! we generally blame the leaders, not the fodder, and so have no problem honoring the dead of both sides of most fights.

by John on Apr 25, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» Overtaken by Events links with: Here and There
» Target Centermass links with: ANZAC Day

April 24, 2006

H&I* Fires 24 April

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...

RINO Sightings!

This is a very good-for-the-soul story. If you are a warrior or friend of warriors, anyway.

They have lain unopened in a horse manger in a forgotten part of the Belgian countryside for more than 60 years. But now, a set of incredibly well-preserved letters, prayer books, cigarettes and cartoons abandoned by American troops days before the Battle of the Bulge have been discovered.

The rest is here. H/t to CAPT H for sending the link.

Osama declares war on the UN? And wants his jihadis to head for the Sudan? Kewl. That will draw down the available numbers for the Iraq fight, and will give the UN a real test. Hope they don't ask us to take it on. We're busy already, along with the Brits, Canadians, and Aussies. Mebbe the French or Germans could step up to the plate? If the jihadis respond, mebbe this will make some lines clearer for people who have a bad case of astigmatism. Of course, I blame Bush. -The Armorer.


Tired of getting the same ol' boring "404 Page Not Found"? Try this one. It's worth the trip, even if you're *not* a Denizenette. H/t to Ron. -- cw4(ret)bill "dig it" t


Hey everyone, this beauty is Adoptable. Any Takers? - BOQ


Of course I've got a ton of blogging material, but only had time for one thing when I couldn't fall asleep on the plane yesterday. I've got my report of the staff sergeant's speech in the bar at Fran's. - FbL


I like tongues. Apparently, so do the Navy and the Army.
*lick lick lick* ~AFSis


I assume this email with background on the Fran O'Brien's issue is making the rounds, as I've never received an email from the Lt. Col. before and he doesn't address me specifically in the email. - FbL


Everyone has seen Bomb Sniffing Dogs, and even the occassional EOD Pig, but THIS is a first for me. SQUEEEK! - BOQ


Cynthia McKinney proves again that Foolish is as Foolish does. (Watch the video)
H/T to LindaSOG at Something ... and Half of Something - Barb


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 24, 2006 | General Commentary

Iran and Nukes.

[My trolling for Dusty worked. He left a looong comment, which most people won't read. Since he gets masthead billing 'round here, I yanked *most* of it up here. His personal update I left in the comments of the "Requiem for the Missing" post. -The Armorer]

[I] Have thought about posting stuff but people keep beating me to the punch on just about everything. I will say, however, that you guys missed a big one--Scott Crossfield's untimely demise dodging thunderstorms in Georgia. I guess it was as good a way to go as any for an 84-year-old aviator who was, at one time, the fastest man alive and Chuck Yeager's sole no-sh*t peer. None of us are bulletproof and his Hangar Party in Valhalla is one I regret I'll miss (almost).

I'm a little surprised on how few have taken up the question on what the Iranians' options REALLY are when they get The Bomb. Counterforce or Countervalue?

They're Islamofascist/Nazi in orientation so I'd say wallow in the visceral pleasures of killing as many "pigs and monkeys" (Jooooooos!) as possible regardless of the Israeli civilian population status as noncombatants. And let's not go into the Muslim collateral damage on Israeli Arabs. Price of greatness I guess.

Problem is, to make the strike effective, there has to be the element of surprise. I think Mossad may make that a tad challenging (not to mention NORAD probably passing a call to Jerusalem about some IR plumes coming out of Persia). Moreover, I think the IAF's OTH surveillance capabilities will add to the problem.

Then there's the issue of an Israel that, when actually faced with a hostile state publicly committed to their destruction and that can range them with nuclear Shahab IIIs, will probably have a flight or two on 5-minute alert with their own load of Party Favors. Don't forget the Israeli version of the Patriots as well...interesting anti-missile programming there, but I digress.

But let's say the modern incarnation of Darius the Great slips one (or two) in. Put it this way: if you are a Muslim...not an Arab, but a Muslim, better yet say a blue-eyed, blond-haired Bosnian member of the Umma...what would your response be to the US nuking Mecca? Revenge, even if it takes generations, is not out of the question, no? You don't have to be an brown-skinned Bedou living in the Holy City to take this as a personal, spiritual affront of cosmic magnitude, eh?

Now let's say it's Tel Aviv. There are a lot a Jews that that bomb's gonna miss. And if you think the hunt-em-down-and-rub-'em-out-ala-the-Munich-revenge-killings was harsh, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

But let's say Iran sees the Fires of Hell on the Pigs and Monkeys as a bit of a stretch for the moment and instead takes a liking to the surrogate delivery option on the Infidel in, say, Long Beach or Liverpool or Sydney. So they pass a "shape" or two to their Hezbullah bros. Where do you think the subsequent victims are going to first go looking to determine on whom to open those first 100+ cans of retaliatory Atomic Whup-ass? Especially when the enrichment process leaves such a unique signature?

I guess what the Iranians are going to find is that their blackmail scheme on the Straits of Hormuz (to say nothing of the raving about wiping Israel off the map) may have some unintended effects. In fact, the day they detonate their first device in the underground test range will be the same day a message lands on the senior Ayatollah's desk (or pillow, or magic carpet, or whatever those turbaned nutbags use as desktops these days). It will probably say something like this (I paraphrase, of course),

"Welcome to the club, sport. The membership dues are as follows: one day of detonations (number to be determined by weather patterns, responding nations, and stockpile sources) for every nuclear detonation that occurs at ground level or above ground outside the physical borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran not initiated by your fellow club members. We deem this appropriate given the fact that yours is the only nation publicly committed to the offensive first-use of this particular weapon of mass destruction.

Addendum: Additional text has been added at the request of the United States, the United Kingdom and the French Republic, to wit: 'Go ahead, make our day.'"

I mean, c'mon--these guys have all but painted a target on their backs with this behavior. "We are going to get The Bomb and we act like maniacs and we're damned proud of it." That's not credibility, that's begging for a god-like ass-kicking, isn't it? Sheesh.

I mean really, when the sun rises in the West, so to speak, where are all heads gonna turn? And how fast do they think the ICBMs/SLBMs/A/SLCMs' guidance packages can be reprogrammed ... assuming they won't have already been zeroed on Teheran for just this contingency?

Trust me guys, your nuclear ambitions won't lead to an umbrella ...'ll be a crosshairs.

[...and the results will look something like this... only the craters will be larger]


The First Milblogging Conference.

I was gonna do a funny post on it, but, well, helk, I can't top SGT Hook's, so I won't try.

Simply put - this was a well-done event. For an event pulled together by a first timer, Andi of Andi's World, it was stunning in how well things went. Andi had lots of volunteer help - but let's be honest - this happened because *she* wanted it to.

The Greyhawks co-hosted the online forum. There was much fun in the chat room, even if it got rather distracting for Greyhawk when he was trying to harvest questions from the crowd.

The interaction between the people at the conference, and the online vultures watching on the livefeed was hilarious. A very visible result of that is CJ's bald spot on my Liveblogging post...

Big shout out to for their sponsorship and the excellent lunch. I gotta say, however, Navy types, even retired ones working for, still suck at PowerPoint and briefing... 8^) Sorry, couldn't resist! It was an excellent lunch, and I'll be happy to coach you for next year.

Austin Bay as the keynote speaker and closer was his usual succinct self.

The first panel, Milblogging Past, Present, and Future was hosted by Buzz Patterson consisted of hoary old Titans Matt of Blackfive and Citzen/LtCDR Smash, serving milbloggers CJ of A Soldier's Perspective and John from Op-For, rounded out by Marine veteran Steve of ThreatsWatch. This panel was a good retrospective on the who, how, and why of the Origins of Milblogging, as well as some of the rocks and shoals of same, revolving mostly around the minefield of OPSEC (hmmm, how many metaphors did I mix there...). Everybody agreed on the importance of OPSEC, but, just like the Services, not everybody agreed on what it is. As Matt noted, "OPSEC is like pornography - I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." Potter Stewart probably spun in his grave. Many of us obviously prefer the hands-off watchfulness of the Marine Corps approach to the mixed signals and hov'ring, sometimes baleful glare of Army scrutiny. Time will tell, and undoubtedly, some active-duty bloggers will get pinched in the gears of doctrine and policy development and implementation.

Did I say "doctrine"? Indeed, I did. CENTCOM sent several PAO reps who discussed that either CENTCOM is developing doctrinal proposals, or they are working with Big Army to develop same. I was late to that little cluster-chat out in the foyer and therefore might have who's doing what mixed up. The fact that they were at the conference is a positive development - because aside from the OPSEC issues, the other issue was... well, wait - that really surfaced hard in the last panel, Active Duty Milbloggers. 1st IO wasn't there officially, one hopes they at least watched the livefeed.

I have to admit I missed most of the second panel, as I was taking great risks with my personal OPSEC by talking to a couple of the journalists who were present, such as Mr. Glover of National Journal, so rather than cover what was said since I missed so much of it - I'll just tell you who was there and you can check the other AARs (which are linked to my Live Blogging the Conference post).

Andi of Andi's World hosted the panel, which was comprised of Carla of Some Soldier's Mom, Carren and Chuck Zigenfuss of From My Position, and Deb, from Marine Corps Moms. One thing I did take away from the panel was the distaff side is *still* not happy about how the services interact with the families - and that they are *very* appreciative of all the grass roots efforts that originated in the blogosphere. As a member of the distaff side during the Vietnam War, I can tell you however much it seems to suck now - it's light years better than it was then. There is obviously room for improvement. The next issue I caught was Chuck, a recently wounded-still-recovering soldier making a big point of the importance (and success) of Project Valour-IT, the laptops with voice recognition software for severely wounded warriors. Singled out for praise was our very own Denizenne (see how you spell that, wrench-monkey?) Fuzzybear Lioness of Fuzzilicious Thinking - who, despite her embarrassed protestations, is the real heart and soul of Project Valour-IT. Good job, Fuzzy!

The last panel, hosted by retired Colonel Dave Hunt of Fox News was titled Blogging From Theater, and consisted of Bill Roggio, a Marine vet and journalist who blogs at The Fourth Rail, Captain B of One Marine's View, Jeff from Dadmanly, Fred from In Iraq for 365, rounding out the panel was Michael from Fire and Ice.

Gotta admit here - Dave Hunt was very funny at first - but as it went on, well, at times, until later in the session, when he just let the guys talk, too often Hunt interposed himself into the conversation, cutting off comments and derailing thoughts. What works (which is arguable, since I won't watch 'em because of it, but they stay on) for the smash-and-gab of network talk shows was inapt and got to be annoying. But, as I said, it all settled out and the bloggers started getting to the guts of the matter - which is how to tell the story from in-theater, without revealing targeting and Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) data useful to the enemy, as well as letting out casualty data before the notification teams can get their jobs done.

The difficulties of telling the good and the bad, without the bad being a morale-killer. What was left unexplored was a discussion of talking about blithering idiot leadership or leadership decisions. All the guys on stage were about telling the stories of the soldiers - though there was some disagreement about just how to tell the tales. And all were adamant about the importance of self-regulation in terms of OPSEC - and of how important it was for the services to understand what the blogs are, how they work, and how to work with them. Much pessimism that the services will default to "shut 'em down" because that's the simplest approach.

I would note that the National Archives has a project to capture the milbloggers (the serving troops, not posers like me) stories - because they are the soldier diaries of this war, every bit the treasures and measures of insight into the warfighter as the dusty journals from the Civil War discovered in county historical society archives or barns in Belgium. Congrats to the VFW for their assist in this matter, *and* their assistance with putting on the Conference.

Of course, if they do that, unless they shut down email, blogging will go underground, and the Blackfives, Smash's, ThreatsWatch's, Fourth Rails, and yes, Castle Argghhh!s of the milblogging world will simply post the stories received via other means.

Better to embrace it and understand it than to try to be General Canute, standing at the water's edge, commanding the blogtide to stop. That image was used by one of the on-stage bloggers (I'm thinking Capt B or Mike Fay) as a description of the hubris and futility of such an effort. Of course, Canute was making a point about the limits of power... hopefully one the Generals will heed.

So - what's the take-away?

1. Milblogs started because we milbloggers didn't see the good news we knew was there being reported - so, we started reporting it.

2. They grew, because there were others out there who knew there had to be another view, but they couldn't find it from the MSM.

3. The services do a crappy job of sharing info with the public. Milbloggers fill this niche.

4. Milbloggers also nip at the heels of power - which isn't going to stop, so the Generals ought to learn to live with it - because it's the most powerful mostly-friendly voice on the Internet.

5. OPSEC. No one questions the importance of same. We'd all like a better working definition of same. And - we know the services have people who are reading the blogs watching for it - most of us will entertain polite, reasonable requests to withdraw data. You just have to be able to explain it --- and ask. But the services, especially for the active duty milbloggers, need to develop doctrine and guidance.

6. A warning for the Generals. Shut 'em all down, and what will be left? The malcontents will blog - anonymously - with no countervailing voice which currently overwhelms the discontented. Which is an expression of the fact that most of the troops are generally satisfied in the big sense with how things are going (we *always* bitch about the details) and the positive voices drown out the unhappy voices. Bring down the Crushing Boot of Doom... and only the malcontents will be left. Think about it, Powers-That-Be. Listen to your PAOs, and not as much to your lawyers and weak commanders who don't like any critical voice, however much else positive comes from those voices. But mostly, listen to your warriors. They have all our best interests at heart.

7. Next time:

a. We need two chat rooms. One for all the hilarious commentary, and one for the questions from those not able to be present. Greyhawk was losing hair trying to maintain control *and* squash the occasional troll who showed up.

b. Someone needs to step-up to the plate and take on the job of Party Planner. Andi can't do it all. No, I'm not volunteering. Every party I've hosted as an adult has been an abomination. Heck, when SWWBO and I got married, all of 6 people showed up for our in-home reception, so we aren't good choices. Unless we have the next conference in Kansas City (hey, it's Central) we could have a Castle Tour...

Wherever the next one is - if duty doesn't conspire to keep me away, I'll be there. Meeting all you guys was a hoot and an honor. We are the Davids.

Of course, I'm sitting in my room, listening the local ABC affiliate doing a story on Fran O'Briens, which will be shutting down. David doesn't always win. But Mr. Kelleher, of the Capital Hilton, certainly knows who we are...

Another thing I learned - it's tough to pull together a mini-Castle Blogmeet at something like this. We're obviously going to have to fix up the Castle and host a meet. Sigh. Making the Castle presentable will eat up a buncha spare time.

Wait! I know - we'll issue tools and make it a Castle-Raising! Yeah! That's the ticket!

Shout out to the Denizen/nes who came to the Conference - SWWBO, 1SG Keith, Sergeant B, Fuzzybear Lioness, AFSis, and Princess Crabby.

And there is a STORY. One I can't tell. I've been informed that "What happens in DC, stays in DC." Let's just say there was a Full Moon somewhere in District, despite the clouds and rain.

That is all.

by John on Apr 24, 2006 | Observations on things Military
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April 23, 2006

Requiem for the Missing.

Don't mind me, just trolling for a missing blogger...

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Three A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fly in formation over Tucson, Ariz., during an air refueling training mission April 14, 2006. The A-10 aircraft are assigned to the 358th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina D. Ponte)
by John on Apr 23, 2006 | Aircraft

H&I Fires* April 23, 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, the pub crawl after yesterday's conference was very exciting. The Armorer must still be recovering. Fortunately, he has left the castle drawbridge down. When the castle master is away, the Denizens and Denizennes come out to play.

The Armorer continues to talk about OPSEC so I thought that these two posts by Spook In From the Cold would be great reads:

Why Secrets Matter: Even "principled" leaks can damage national intelligence activities.

The Leaker. You want to know how politics can damage national security? Instead of doing what any company would do when faced with massive failure (ie, dump any underperforming managers and employees, consolidate efforts, re-align resources), we added a few layers of bureaucracy. More chiefs, same indians = Wounded Knee. Let's hope it doesn't end up with the total destruction of the nation.

Winning the War: Chai tea, mud huts, villages with no names - Kat

More on war on terror or "the Long War". Security Watchtower has an interesting read with graphics: War & Escalation in South East Asia

Also, Saudi Arabia, with all it's duality, still tracking down internal terrorists. Got #3 on their list. Responsible for "24 February 2006 attack at the Abqaiq oil facility".

Finally, a funny little thing. Apparently, Al Jazeera liked one of the Watchtower's graphics and used it without attribution. -Kat

If you missed the news this morning, Bin Laden comes out of his cave. Urges the Mujihadeen to prepare for "long term war" with Zionists and Crusaders. Guess he got the "long war" memo. -Kat

Speaking of which, Security Watchtower also points us to Al Qaida's Seven Stage Strategy.


After more than fifteen years in the D.C. Region, our move to these here nether parts of Eastern Pennsylvania hasn’t been that easy. There are just those little things you get used to while living there; some of which you do not come to appreciate, until you leave them behind. Let’s take the Washington Post for example. Living there, I came to thing of it as a bastion for leftist propaganda. I was wrong. The local Socialist rag, makes The WaPo look decidedly fascist in comparison.

This morning, however, I was taken for a loop. I opened-up the Opinion Section looking forward to rant against its usual idiocy, and to my surprise, I found this: @@@ . Who would have thunk it, a Lefty supporting Fran O’Brien’s good work.

Oh and BTW - Good entries there K-MO!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 23, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Bin Laden Issues New Tape