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August 12, 2006

H&I* Fires 12 Aug 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...

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Heh. Says something about the weather - when I first saw this very nice picture of a B2 flying over the Arch in St. Louis my thought was... rain - it's raining there!

The Right Place has their weekly caption contest up. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 12, 2006 | General Commentary

That whatzis, answered.

Okay, I was mean with that one. Starting with this, and then posting this unhelpful help.

But ya perservered, finally, with Chris and Trias getting it to a land mine.

It's a British No. 6 Anti-personnel mine.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

I hesitate to say this... it's 7.5 inches long, which will no doubt encourage... oh never mind. Now that Mike L can see the whole thing, he's laughing his butt off!

There *is* at least one reference to it on the web (two, now).

Developed during WWII as a low-metal, hard-to-detect anti-personnel mine, it's made of bakelite, and the only iron/steel in it is the safety ring. The legacy of the No 6 lives on in the Canadian Elsie mine (which is smaller, harder to detect and, like the No.6 pretty much just blows your foot off) which anti-mine intellectuals hate, and embarasses the Canadian elites. I was wondering if the Maple Syrup Contingent would catch on to that hint.

They got the idea from the Germans, who had their own little hard-to-detect blow-off-your-foot mine.

Gotta admit, while mines like this might be effective, they *are* a curse on the battlefield when the war is over, or at least has moved on, and that does need to be a consideration in mine employment - unfortunately, mines like this are most likely to be used by people who are also the least likely to generate and maintain accurate documentation of where they put their mines...

And now for something completely different.

Let's see how many aircraft grognards still hang out around here. There used to be quite a few, though I've been neglecting them of late, what with my Navy and ordnance kick.

Last time I ran a "Name this cockpit" post, it took, oh about 15 minutes. But that was on a workday. Lessee how long it takes today.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hi-res version here.

by John on Aug 12, 2006 | Aircraft

August 11, 2006

The spiral continues...

Olmert orders expansion of ground offensive Email this Story

Aug 11, 11:38 AM (ET)


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the army to expand its ground offensive into Lebanon on Friday, asserting there was a lack of progress in U.N. talks on a truce, political sources said.

"We said two days ago that we would stop the fire, either militarily or diplomatically," an Israeli political source said. "We see that the ceasefire deal in the U.N. is not making the required progress, and therefore we have authorized the military action."

So, izzis 1914, 1939, or just 1973?

by John on Aug 11, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Israel Accepts Cease-Fire Deal

H&I* Fires 11 Aug 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...

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Clean-up on Aisle 5. Warning - now and again "F" word usage.

Snerk! Flat Fatima... for hurried photogs with an agenda everywhere! -the Armorer

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Oh - and the answer to this question? Owen. Yep. Owen. -the Armorer

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The Blogs Strike Back. -the Armorer

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Grim, writing over at Blackfive has a poser for you: "On the virtues of killing children."

Meanwhile, the Castle gets dissed - I don't censor dissent, just pottymouth, but I can't score a mention! Dangit! -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 11, 2006 | General Commentary
» America's North Shore Journal links with: A General’s Judgment
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Reuters Job Competitions
» Lil Duck Duck links with: The continuing adventures of the toddler and his duck…

Vietnam... many years on. Down Under.

From Kev Gillette's blog, via CAPT H.

I never thought I’d live to see the day. In todays Australian the Vietnamese have admitted Australia won the Battle of Long Tan. With several hundred Vietnamese versus 18 Australians dead; with the fact neither the North Vietnamese Army nor the local Viet Cong never ever engaged Australians in major battles after that day and with their plan to annhilate the Australian Task Force by attacking the base with a 2,500 man regiment stopped dead by 108 Aussie infantrymen from Delta Coy, 6RAR; one wonders why anyone could ever think differently.

But wait - there's more!

If I was amazed to read the Vietnamese had finally acknowledged D Coy kicked their arse at Long Tan, I was stunned to read in the Australian editorial that it was their considered opinion that our presence in Vietnam has been vindicated.
It has been more than 30 years since the fall of Saigon. Although this newspaper opposed the war in hindsight, the history of Vietnam under communist rule seems to vindicate the effort. Ho Chi Minh’s Stalinist regime was monstrous, even as it was lionised in the West. Vietnam still struggles under political and economic repression. But by stemming the totalitarian tide that was sweeping southeast Asia at the time, Australian and US troops may have saved countless millions.

[full bit here]

Thirty eight years ago, I, as an army NCO was well aware that all Stalinist regimes were monstrous and that if anything, Ho Chi Minh’s regime would be worse - the Australian finally gets the picture and agrees publically.

Up here we have a saying at times like this, I'll Ozzie it up a bit: "Welcome home, Digger."

by John on Aug 11, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» Media Lies links with: Fantastic news....

The antiwar Left wants to wield American power...

From Andy McCarthy on NRO today:

The jihadists want to destroy it … and us. All of us.

The antiwar Left has a conveniently flexible moral compass. Consequently, the Clinton era Echelon program was fine, but Bush’s NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program is an impeachable offense.

Mishandling classified information by a Clinton CIA director was worthy of a pardon, and destroying classified information (and lying to investigators about it) by a former Clinton national-security adviser was worthy of a pass, but leaking the unremarkable fact that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA is the crime of the century.

Bombing Kosovo without U.N. approval was a moral imperative; invading Iraq after over a dozen U.N. resolutions is a violation of international law.

Renditions conducted between 1994 and 2000 were just good national-security sense; renditions conducted between 2001 and 2006 are war crimes.

Indicting Osama bin Laden in 1998 and then doing nothing to capture him while he bombed two American embassies and an American naval destroyer, killing hundreds, was aggressive yet intelligently modulated counterterrorism; allowing Osama bin Laden to evade capture in Tora Bora while killing and capturing hundreds of his operatives and decimating his hierarchy is irresponsibly incompetent.

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone care to argue the point?

Read the whole thing here.

From Michael Ledeen: Robert Tracinski's "5 Minutes to Midnight."

Where's Ry?

Gollum is homeless.

First, no, Jess did not get fed up with me and toss me out on my keister. Okay, the funny is out of the way)

Yes, we've been homeless for the last 3 days. A fire struck our apt building and ravaged it severely enough it needs to be torn down.

Most importantly Jess is perfectly fine. I'm okay, just short sleep. Luckily, all our stuff is okay, if a bit smelly(most of it really isn't that bad). We just don't have a place to live until the management fix up another apt in the complex for us to move into---late Wed, maybe Thurs (oi, my achin' back. Guess who has to manhandle all the furniture solo?)..

The alcoholic arsehole who started the blaze died (sniff, tear, reverent pause with hands folded and head lowered.. Then gives the Finger.) Idjit actually slammed the door and locked it in the face of a neighbor who tried to save him, denying that there was a fire and claiming he was all right. You'd have been somewhat saddened. He was a gun collector. Quite a few firearms were blackened (thought I saw at least one WW1 era German bolt action rifle, no idea of authenticity, that was fire blackened) and a vintage looking saber. Enough stuff to overflow the trunk of a police cruiser. Rumor was he had a few de-milled grenades of various kinds. If you want to try and get something cheap as a fixer upper you might want to contact the Lafayette, Indiana Police Dept.

But we're fine. All our stuff is fine (if a bit smelly). Others were not so lucky. One very nice woman who is in the midst of putting her life back together, and struggling at it too, lost everything but her drivers license and the clothes on her back. Another kid who'd just graduated almost didn't make it out and everything he owned but a metal table on his porch, including quite a bit of historical research and antiques, were turned to ash and slag.

So, if anyone wants to get tight with Sky Boss a fiver to the local Salvation Army and Red Cross (who came in like gang busters) who are helping her immensely might look good in His eyes. We don't need it, but others do. Jess and I don't need anyone's prayers right now. But others definitely do.

I blame WereSib for talking about her fear of fires. I think Ol' Scratch's aim was off by about 400 miles or so.

We're fine. Really, we're fine. Be back ankle biting, annoying people, and stinkin' up the Castle in a few days. Just letting you know what's going on. And I'll get you some of the pictures I promised soon too.

Laters,
Ry

I'm not saddened about some fire-damaged firearms and other artifacts. I'm saddened this individual's demons nominated him for the Darwin Award and displaced so many people.

One less Mauser in the world is insignificant. A World Without Gollum... well, that would be a gray place, and not just for Jess. We wouldn't want to see the dancing at the in-laws...

CAIR doesn't CAIR, con't.

CAIR is annoyed about the term "Islamo-fascist"

U.S. MUSLIMS CONCERNED ABOUT BUSH'S USE OF 'ISLAMIC FASCISTS' - TOP CAIR: 'Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism'

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/10/06) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today expressed concern over President Bush's use of the term "Islamic fascists" in a news conference about the arrest of 21 suspects in a plot to bomb airliners flying between Britain and the United States.

SEE: Religious Group Bristles at Bush Term 'Islamic Fascists' (Reuters)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14290351/

In a letter to President Bush, Parvez Ahmed, board chairman of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote in part:

"American Muslims have consistently condemned all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states. We repudiate anyone who plans or carries out a terrorist act. The American Muslim community remains dedicated to the protection of our nation's security. . .

"Unfortunately, your statement this morning that America 'is at war with Islamic fascists' contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community. Just today, Gallup released a poll indicating that four out of ten Americans feel 'prejudice' toward Muslims.

SEE: Anti-Muslim Sentiments Fairly Commonplace
http://poll.gallup.com/content/?ci=24073

"You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism.

"The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world. It feeds the perception that the war on terror is actually a war on Islam. . .

"American Muslims stand ready to serve as a bridge of understanding to the Islamic world. We can best fulfill that role by offering advice that can help prevent misperceptions and misunderstandings between different nations and cultures."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Hmmmm.

"You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism.

"The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world. It feeds the perception that the war on terror is actually a war on Islam. . .

Perhaps, just perhaps, if the individuals involved in Islamofacistic terrorism didn't wrap themselves in their Korans the term wouldn't have evolved the way it did.

Just sayin'.

Coast Guard News.

A Wounded Wiley

From Larry K, a proud father of a Coastie:

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Mark McKenney has officially decreed roughly eight acres of land in West Harwich, Mass., including a main house and two apartment buildings, to the Coast Guard to be used in the future for housing and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) purposes.

The dedication will occur on the 40th anniversary of the first two Coast Guard members who were killed in Vietnam aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Point Welcome, where McKenney served as a gunners mate.

BZ, Master Chief.

For more on that story, click here.

For more on the USCGC Point Welcome and an explanation of the picture that accompanies this post, click here.

The Whatzis, continued.

Though I don't think I'm really going to be offering much assistance...

I could have just posted this - but that would have been mean - to the PG-17C.

So, I'll offer up... this.

Yeah. That'll make all the difference in the world.

Just to be clear... it *does* explode. Canadian lefties would heartily disapprove of it - though this is *not* Canadian, there *is* a connection. Of sorts. In terms of concept.

Chicken, Iraqi, road, crossing, 1 ea.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

WHY DID THE IRAQI CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

MNSTC-I (Multi-Nat'l Security Transition Cmd-Iraq)
The fact that the Iraqi chicken crossed the road affirmatively demonstrates that decision making authority has been transferred to the chicken well in advance of the scheduled October constitutional transition of power. From now on the chicken is responsible for its own decisions.

KBR
We were asked to help the chicken cross the road. Given the inherent risk of road crossing and the rarity of chickens, this operation will only cost the US government $326,004.99 (per chicken)

Muqtada al Sadr
The chicken is a tool of the evil coalition and will be killed

US Army Military Police
We were directed to prepare the chicken to cross the road. As part of these preparations, individual soldiers ran over the chicken repeatedly and then plucked the chicken. We deeply regret the occurrence of any chicken rights violations.

Peshmerga (indep Kurdish fighters)
The chicken crossed the road, and will continue to cross the road, to show its independence and to transport the weapons it needs to defend itself. However, in future, to avoid problems, the chicken will be called a duck, and will wear a lastic bill.

3rd ID
The chicken was not authorized to cross the road without two forms of picture identification. Thus the chicken was appropriately detained and searched in accordance with SOP's. We apologize for any embarrassment to the chicken. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the command has instituted a gender sensitivity training program and all future chicken searches will be carried out by female soldiers.

Al Jazeera
The chicken was forced to cross the road multiple times at gunpoint by a large group of coalition soldiers, according to eyewitnesses. The chicken was then fired upon intentionally, in yet another example of the abuse of innocent Iraqi chickens.

Blackwater (security contractors)
We cannot confirm any involvement in the chicken road crossing incident.

Iraqi Provincial Police Chief
Chicken she cross street because bad she fried the tangled regulation. Future chicken table against my request.

U.S Marine Corps
The chicken is dead.

Aussies-
We saw the whole bloody thing and threw the chick on the Barbie then went to getting on the piss

MNC-I (Multi-Nat'l Corps-Iraq)
The chicken crossing situation is reflected in the TRA as an amber rated capability within only those regions prioritized to receive road marking equipment and should not be confused with units non-operationally qualified to partner, yet, with chicken crossers. This will be briefed in the next conference.

MNF-I (Multi-Nat'l Force-Iraq)
There are no cross chicken operations in theater but by June 15, 2006 we will have 24,300 chickens fully prepared to cross.

Welsh (British Army)
Whale Ya' know what its like to be laying out dead chickens when your dressed like a brownie right? So, thar we were, surrounded by these crazy foggin chickens...

USAF
In the last seven days the USAF has cargo-lifted 732,361 chickens across 852 roads.

British
In Northern Ireland we used to conduct chicken crossing operations all the time. If you will *finally* listen to us, we'll show you...here, in fact, let me show you now...

British (Navy variant)
Fer cripe's sake, what am I doing here dealing with chickens? There isn't salt water for 400 miles from here! Have I shown you pictures of HMS Edinborough today?

FA 59s (Strategists)
In 1835, just two years before his untimely death from Cholera, Clauswitz wrote this about chickens, "blah, blah, blah..."

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

August 10, 2006

H&I* Fires 10 Aug 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...

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Geez, they just won't quit. Another Adnan Hajj-style altered photo has appeared. The Horror! If that was real, it would be a war crime.

The Sleepless One, the Countess of Alabamania, sent SWWBO and I this... apparently inferring that we are like this couple. Conferring via email from 15 feet apart, SWWBO and I decided Cleaver is just full of it.

All is perhaps not well in the world of the Coast Guard today.

A man claiming to have been Lockheed Martin’s C4ISR systems engineering lead for the U.S. Coast Guard’s 123-foot patrol boat project has posted a video on the Web site YouTube.com alleging problems with the boats’ surveillance and communications systems, and his inability to get Lockheed Martin or government officials to seriously investigate his claims.

The YouTube video can be viewed here. Interesting way to get around a bored media... H/t Proud Coastie Parent Larry K.

Bright Shiny Historical objects that caught my eye today...

The Battle of Wilson's Creek - a southern victory, like many, they were unable to exploit.

The battle fought here on August 10, 1861, was the first major Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River, involving about 5,400 Union troops and 12,000 Confederates. Although a Confederate victory, the Southerners failed to capitalize on their success. The battle led to greater federal military activity in Missouri, and set the stage for the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862. Wilson's Creek was also the scene of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general to be killed in combat.

If you live in the region, it's a nice, small, easily visited battlefield.

Second item? General Patton and Private Bennett.

Over at Alphecca's - a discussion of something near and dear to the Armorer's heart: The Castle Doctrine.

If you're interested in the latest idiot sailor story - the punk deserter who appears to have been trying to sell the Russians our military secrets - I recommend visiting Bubblehead. That said -how long before Weinmann ends up a part of the Mother Sheehan Show or something similar? -the Armorer

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2,996. Why is this number significant? Because that's the number of people killed on 9/11. DC Roe has a project you should ALL be involved in. The 2,996 Project aims to assign bloggers to memorialize one of the 9/11 victims. As of now, he's only assigned 400. 400!!! Come on... we have GOT to make this happen, people. If you want to write a memorial, but don't have a blog- I'm sure there are PLENTY of us around who would love to host your post- myself included.

On this day of increased awareness of airline terror... REMEMBER, and sign up. ~AFSis

[um, the website says over 1500 have been assigned, but I'm not going to argue. Castle Argghhh! has signed up for one of the victims we knew personally. "The Armorer Expects..." that US Denizens who blog will do their duty. And those who don't blog, but would like to sign up can use the Castle as their venue. Our foreign Denizens are encouraged, but not with the same arched eye-brow look. -the Armorer]

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I usually don't snark about this kind of thing, but I may have reached my limit... Has anybody around here figured out who was plotting to bomb those airplanes? Neither the BBC or AP can shed any light on this. Must've been the IRA or that Spanish separatist group or something. [/sarcasm]. - FbL

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The Kaaba is now a smouldering hole. (Courtesy of http://www.thedissidentfrogman.com/)

Hey – If it works for Reuters, it goes both ways too. – BOQ

[Oi! I expect some backblast from *that* one...]
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A note from your friendly neighborhood airline stick actuator...

I work in the airline industry and the internal communication is flying thick and fast as we try to predict the effects the latest Islamofacist attempt to murder the world’s free peoples will have on commercial operations. Here’re some highlights (if you want to go to Europe right now, good luck)…

- The United Kingdom threat level has gone from “severe” to “critical”
- All, I repeat, ALL carry-on items are being searched (did I say “all?”) and what you can carry on is being severely restricted. For example, what you can carry on has to be in a clear plastic bag and is limited to the following:
o Wallets and purses
o Essential travel documents
o Medicine…and ONLY non-liquid and verified necessary for the flight (which makes me wonder how diabetics are going to cross the pond)
o Glasses…WITHOUT cases
o Contact lens holders…WITHOUT solution
o Baby food or milk
o Sanitary items (baby wipes, UNBOXED tampons (feh) and tissue paper
o NON-electrical keys.
- ALL electronic devices, including laptop computers AND MOBILE PHONES are banned.

In the US, I’d expect the TSA to start prohibiting drinks (like that $3 20 oz. bottle of Coke you bought to take on the plane) and anything else that can be poured or squeezed out of a container/bottle. Remember, the threat the Brits uncovered was basically a liquid explosive device. If I were you, and it’s practical to do so, put darn near everything in your checked luggage. While the TSA hasn’t changed screening requirements yet, to my knowledge, it may get really nuts as the facts start coming in on what the UK law enforcement types learn in their interrogations. I can hear the screams now from the working class—checking your phone and laptop almost makes the flight not worth taking. Sure wish I owned a video-teleconferencing business right now…

If you’re crossing the pond, expect significant delays at best. The inspection process has thrown a huge wrench into the flight security and associated inspection processes and in today’s airline operations, where maximum traffic volumes can be upset by a whole lot of activities on the ground, well, just start raising your personal pain threshold now.

Here in the US, flights are currently delayed in cities including Houston, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

In short, maintain your sense of humor, add a couple of hours to your travel calculations (at least), and reflect on why this is happening. Of course, it goes without saying…IT’S ALL BUSH’S FAULT!!! -Instapilot

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What's up with picking on Helen of Everyday Stranger? I'm not with La Malkin on this one. For pity's sakes, people. She didn't say much there I don't feel or haven't felt. I absolutely *hate* the screening process and sense of suspicion. And I hate that those feckless bastards are chortling in their beards about the dance they put us through. And I put up with it, because I have nothing better to offer at this point. Nothing Helen says in her post is much different from how I feel about things. Put me in Cassandra's column along with SWWBO - Helen can live next door to us. Of course, one reason I have the Rulez is to weed out behavior like that aimed at Helen today. I *like* keeping this a civil place - and reserve the right to refuse service... so to speak. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 10, 2006 | General Commentary
» Everyday Stranger links with: Clean-Up on Aisle Five

CAIR... doesn't get it, or they just don't CAIR...

(WASHINGTON D.C., 8/10/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today issued the following statement at a news conference in Washington, D.C., in response to the arrests of 21 individuals for allegedly plotting to use liquid explosives on passenger flights traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States. (NOTE: CAIR's news conference was taped for later broadcast by C-SPAN.)

In its statement, CAIR said:

"American Muslims have consistently condemned all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states. We repudiate anyone or any group that plans or carries out a terrorist act. We welcome early actions by law enforcement authorities against credible threats to the safety of the traveling public.

"The American Muslim community has always been dedicated to the protection of our national security. It is also important that our fellow Americans understand that Muslims are law-abiding citizens who should not be targeted or singled out because of their faith or national origin.

"We have been contacted by federal law enforcement authorities who are taking steps to ensure that there is no backlash against the American Muslim community. We commend them for their pro-active efforts. We ask local Muslim communities to step up security measures at mosques and other Islamic institutions. We also urge local law enforcement agencies to coordinate with Muslim leaders to deter hate crimes.

"It is important, based on past counterterrorism cases that did not lead to terror convictions, that we withhold judgment until all the facts of this case come to light. We also ask public officials and commentators to avoid using stereotypical and ill-defined terminology when referring to this and similar cases.

"As the largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, it is our religious and civic duty to reach out to all Americans to reaffirm Islam's teachings of peace, justice and tolerance for all."

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

What is missing from that statement?

We do have this:

“We ask local Muslim communities to step up security measures at mosques and other Islamic institutions. We also urge local law enforcement agencies to coordinate with Muslim leaders to deter hate crimes.”

We do NOT have this:

“We ask local Muslim communities to cooperate with local, state, and federal authorities to root out the cancer in our midst that causes us to be put at risk of being lumped into dangerous stereotypes and sets back our efforts to integrate ourselves into the American dream…”

Nope, don’t see *that* anywhere…

Things that perplex me, #16,435.

I was standing in a muggy grocery store yesterday, doing some just-in-time shopping assigned me by SWWBO (the heat this week is taxing large-box cooling systems). I was sandwiched in the slow moving line between a young family (Mom, Dad, two small kids) and a young couple. The couple own a local tattoo emporium. The Mom and Dad are customers. I'm in the middle, getting a look at everybody's new tats.

Fine, as far as it goes. Some nice work, if not to my taste.

The discussion moves to how proud Mom and Dad are about their new $300 worth of new art, $150 each.

One of the reasons the line is moving slowly is because people, for whatever reason yesterday, are out doing massive grocery shopping. The couple in front starts unloading their two carts of food. Good choices, not much junk food, just a little bit of the kind of stuff you keep on hand to give the munchkins some treats. They put a marker between the loads from cart 1 and cart 2. Pay for cart one. Then... out come the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) checks - which are used, with some real difficulty due to new computers at the store, to pay for cart 2.

What's wrong with this picture?

*I'm* We're subsidizing the tatoos.

I don't have an answer - people on assistance have a right to some fun and some frivolities - they shouldn't be stuck in a grim, grey world. I collect a disability check, even though I've got a job. I've also got limitations and expenses related to my disabilities, so I'm not exactly clean here... but...

But we're qualifying for WIC *and* we have $300 available for body art?

I can't get SWWBO to let me spend $300 on a gun until Andy and August are out of college...

I don't have an answer, I don't pretend to understand the whole issue - but I do know that if I was paying with WIC checks I wouldn't be bragging on the $300 I spent on tattoos.

Hey - everybody was clean, healthy, well cared for, the kids were behaving, and Mom and Dad seemed to have things wired, at least for that 40 minutes I stood on line. All credit to them for that!

Still...

A new whatzis...

In honor of Blaster's return, we honor his request:

2 - Needs more blowy up type stuff.

Okay. Here's something along those lines. Let loose the snipe hunters!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Whatizzit?

Wanna see some combat?

Real combat? Complete with calls of "Medic!" and the f-word?

Okay.

Watch the Canadian Red Devils in action in Afghanistan.


"Right on boys! They're definitely going to wonder who the Canadians are from here on out, that's for sure."

Get some, fellas!

The current kerfuffle over carry-on bags and the plot the Brits uncovered.

Not having anything to add to the current barrage of news on the subject, Castle Argghhh! provides this transcript of Secretary Chertoff's press conference announcing new security measures taking effect in the immediate and near future.

Washington, DC, August 10, 2006. (Castle News Service) In a hastily-called press conference conducted on a New Orleans levee today, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff announced today strict new measures to prevent suicide bombing of airliners. Rather than just keep incrementally banning things that can be brought aboard as carry-on, *all* baggage must be checked, and, instead of flying with the passengers, will proceed to the passengers destinations on chartered cargo aircraft. Secretary Chertoff noted that "Given the record of FedEx, UPS, Airborne Express, etc, bags will have a greater chance of reaching their proper destination on time than they, or passengers, do currently." In addition, he noted, "...to meet the increased pilot demand, these aircraft will be crewed by condemned prisoners, so who cares if they blow up?" The ACLU immediately planned to file an injunction, saying that allowing prisoners to live under the threat of uncertain death was cruel and unusual punishment and they should just remain locked up 23 hours a day, which was safer and better for them.

Continuing his discussion of new security measures, Secretary Chertoff announced that all airlines had one month to prepare their aircraft and aircrews for conversion to the "Naked Air" standard, and was giving the airlines a month to get some weight loss programs instituted to slim down the crews.

Secretary Chertoff said that the Constitution and memories of his Aunts and "Big Bertha" from high school drove the decision that airline passengers, vice crew, could refuse to fly naked[NSFW notice]. However, those passengers refusing to do so would fly in special, limited seating, called "Hannibal Class."

Secretary Chertoff concluded with this comment and recommendation. "From now on, the only thing travelers will be allowed to board an aircraft with will be... their towel."

The shade of Douglas Adams contributed to this report.

Update: Cassandra has more...

Scrappleface notes a UK panel asking... "Why do they hate Airplanes?" Navin R. Johnson, call your office...

by John on Aug 10, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Damn

August 09, 2006

H&I* Fires 9 Aug 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...

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I have a Labrador retriever & I was buying a large bag of Purina at Wal-Mart and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog(?). On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms. I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry & that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall, black guy who was behind her.

Horrified, she asked if I'd been poisoned. I told her no; I'd been sitting in the street licking my butt and a car hit me. I thought the black guy was going to have to have help as he laughingly staggered to the door.

That sounds like something I would do in a checkout line to an Oblivion. H/t, Rich B.

Moving on - NetBrad has been doing some more scouting:

Want a C-119 or C-130?

Click here!

Click on August 23/24 , the brochure is 5 megs. Maybe the Beauchamp guys could use it for training. There's also a "container sale" on the 17th if you're running out of space at the Castle.

I'd certainly like to have that Invader! -the Armorer

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Speaking of airplanes... a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous sends these...

A "Flare Angel" over the Atlantic, courtesy of an Air Force C-17 from Charleston AFB.

The twilight of the F-14... -the Armorer

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Heh. The MSM can't catch a break. More staged/doctored photos. Gateway Pundit in the attack.

More Piling On - this time at Zombietime. Note to MSM - I'm available for a military photo-interp consultancy. For a fee, of course. H/t to Jim C for the second link. -the Armorer

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Update: Ace of Spades Piles On. Heh. That's almost redundant... It does indicate the level of problem the MSM has keeping track of all this. Like I said - I'm available as a photo-screener. For a fee. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 09, 2006 | General Commentary

Ah, the Primaries.

The Primary Monster has spoken.

McKinney is out (Yay!). Seems she went down fighting, so to speak.

Lieberman is now an Independent. That will be interesting to watch this fall. The Kossacks have finally conducted a successful ideological purity pogrom. Wonder how that will play out in the General? Primaries are the province of the passionate voter. Low turnouts give them their best chance to shape the candidates. I believe one reason that our politicians don't always seem to really reflect the electorate is because the electorate, through low turnout in the primaries, allows the passionately committed to choose the candidates, which pushes to the extremes. The old "run to the left/right" in the Primary, "run to the center" in the General. That didn't matter as much in the day of the "smoke filled room" when the party machinery was essentially selecting the candidates... but it sure makes a difference now. On both sides of the aisle. This isn't a Right/Left thing. Be interesting to see how the Democrats of Connecticut decide this November. Zuniga is certainly acting the Kingmaker this morning, however - demanding the Lieberman be stripped of his committee assignments, etc. Careful the effects of the echo chamber on the ego, Markos. One reason I try to hold on to my Contrarian Corps is they make you think. You just metaphorically shoot yours.

John Podhoretz looks at it this way:

"The weird little secret of the past couple of years is that when push comes to shove, Democrats in Washington have assented to the continuation of the war on Bush's terms...That's over now. The Democratic Party officially became the antiwar party last night."

We'll see in November, eh?

by John on Aug 09, 2006 | Politics
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Meet Joe Lieberman's Worst Nightmare

And now for something a little different...

Reader-supplied gun pr0n.

Easy question: What are they?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Another shot.

Another variant.

Harder question (but not hugely so) - which commenter provided the pics of family treasures?

Gun Puppy Pr0n!

What's not to like? Gun Puppy Pr0n!

USA Today... seeing only half the picture.

Responding to an electorate unhappy with high gasoline prices, Congress is showing signs of breaking the not-in-my-backyard syndrome. The Senate voted last week to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf to drilling. A House bill passed in June would effectively end the moratorium and allow drilling on most of the outer continental shelf in the Atlantic and Pacific. Legislators will try to iron out a compromise when they return to Washington next month.

Full Editorial Here.

As someone who has studied the oil infrastructure of this nation in a previous worklife, this is only a partial solution. Just pumping crude into a barrel isn't enough. You have to refine it - and refining capacity has not expanded to meet demands, either. For all the same reasons we've not been drilling. Spot prices around the country aren't just related to tax schemes. It's also related to production costs and transporation costs, with those areas farthest away from refining capacity, whether a logical result of geography or the result of policy (can you spell California?) paying for those decisions or locations.

Just putting it into storage tanks is insufficient. USA Today is also going to have to support construction of new refining capacity - and the sooner that's done, the quicker older refineries can be taken out of service and shut down/cleaned up or updated with newer, more environmentally friendly technology.

Of course, while we're doing *that* we can start the NIMBY fights over distribution channels...

August 08, 2006

H&I* Fires 8 Aug 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...

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Here's a brief challenge for some of you - identify the tank in this picture over at Kilabe's place.

Over at My Pet Jawa, they're soliciting your portfolio to become the new Reuter's stringer in Beirut. Best part is - you don't even have to be in Beirut! You just have to be able to use Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro or fill-in-the-blank pixel manipulation software! Wheeee! H/t, Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

The mockery of Adnan Hajj/Reuters continues. -the Armorer

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I can relate to Stanley Kurtz's "Gloomy Hawk" piece. Owen, Alan, Jack - what would the response be from your side of the fence? -the Armorer

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Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.

Bummer. We fly-overs don't wanna listen to the Chix. Snerk! C'mon, ladies, Germany beckons - it's been good to Hasselhoff! -the Armorer

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Gee? People from the political extremes are... hateful and bigoted? They suppress dissent and free speech? It must be true. Lanny Davis sez so.

And in recent years--with the deadly combination of sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage--I held on to the view that the left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right.

Welcome to the world of DU and the Kossacks, Lanny! -the Armorer

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New reports on logistics issues in the Mideast caused by high fuel prices!

And Reuters has replaced Hajj's doctored photograph with one they swear is authentic...

Hosting provided by FotoTime -the Armorer

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In my humble opinion, Riverdance is downright abusive; 'Zily there is close to Reuter's reality, but me thinks that THIS and THAT is closer to The Castle's Reality. CASTLE ARGGHHH!- BOQ

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This is a waste of breath, I know, but for what it's worth, here's something I sent to John at Powerline. Subject: How not holding the opposition accountable for how they label issues sort of puts reasonable people off balance in the war of ideas...- Instapilot

In virtually every discussion I hear or read about obscene oil company "profits," I get the distinct impression everyone is talking past the problem (limited supply vs. insatiable and growing demand) and instead focusing on the gee-whiz factor that lots of money is being spent by those who want it...and taken in by those who produce it.

As I understand the word "profit," it is the difference between costs and revenues, i.e., what's left over after you spend all the money necessary to bring your product to market and maintain your business as a viable, surviving concern. Has that changed appreciably for the Big Oil companies, or have revenues simply grown thanks to the increase in the product's acquisition and production costs (and all the other expenses) that are simply reflected in its final retail value? In other words, it takes more money to get it to the customer, ergo the customer pays more money so the raw numbers are just bigger. What's so sinister about simple market forces? Or have the oil companies figured out a way to spend just as much money getting the oil, refining it, transporting it to market and dispensing it as they were 6 months ago and are pocketing the difference between what a gallon of gas costs the consumer today? Somehow I doubt it.

This is my long way of saying Big Oil profits have probably not changed a tenth of a percentage point over the past several months, much less years, and so profits are flat (or relatively so). But I guess that little truism (if I'm correct in my theory) would go against the prejudices of the MSM and the Democrat politicians around the country. "Profits" are, sadly, a bad thing to half our political classes ever though or entire economic system (to say nothing of our breathtaking standard of living) depends upon them.

Yet conservatives and free-market economists cede the battle of words to the Left by using the p-word in talking "record" anything, at least when it comes to oil, casting the producers in a bad light and forcing them to burn yet more brain bytes and marketing revenue to explain that they aren't the rapacious, top-hatted, spats-wearing capitalist parasites John Kerry and the usual suspects would have you think they are. Am I wrong?

___________________________

As a side note, as a 26-year military veteran, I get REALLY nuts when the conservative commentators also cede the battle over national defense by labeling the Michael Moores, Cindy Sheehans, John Murthas, Jimmy Carters and the more bilious members of that, uh, Demographic (the capital "D" is intentional) as "anti-war." They are nothing of the sort...war is fine for them as long as America is losing or her enemies are winning. After all, the terrorist thugs responsible for Iraq's misery are "Minutemen," are they not? I would be remiss also in not at least giving a nod to Markos "Screw 'Em" Moulitsas in making my point.

I would dearly love someone on the Right to start calling these people "anti-defense" or "pro-enemy" or something more accurate. And no, I'm not talking about reasonable people (or even true pacifists) who just don't "see war as the answer" (although a few old, retired European Jews, Frenchmen, Brits, Russians, et al., may disagree), or even honest liberals and conservatives who think Iraq wasn't our battle to fight.

The most anti-war people in the US are warriors. We fight them, we get hurt in them and we die in them so the best "anti-war" position possible is to, once the Commander-in-Chief decides to engage, bring maximum force to bear, doing great violence to the enemy and his will to resist and make it short, if at all possible. Trust me, I want to get in, pound the bad guy to powder and get out before I get my a$$ killed. It saves lives on both sides, makes for a more lasting peace (the winners and losers have no doubts as to who they are), and minimizes the time spent engaging in the carnage and waste of battle. The "anti-war" label drips with irony--their lack of resolve only prolongs the situation they so loudly lament.


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I agree with CDR Salamander: I like Ace. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 08, 2006 | General Commentary
» CDR Salamander links with: Gloomy Hawks

Okay - enough teasing on the Whatzis from Sunday.

I just left you guys hanging yesterday, in order to give the "I only read Argghhh! from work" guys a chance at the Whatzis.

You really did pretty well. Owen got it quickly, and Captain H went a step further and emailed a link (chicken - won't post openly...) to a write up. They were the first to get it. And, speaking of that, CAPT H - upon further review, I withdraw my statement about this shell being Brit (as I was informed by the guy I bought it from) it *is* the French version of Armstrong's studded projectile.


Oh - and that *was* a shadow guys, not a notch, in the pic. That was just an artifact of taking the picture, not a deliberate attempt to mislead. This time. Owen - your size referent is... 3 inches. That's the nominal caliber. Some sources say 3.3, but that would include the studs, at least in my example.

Studded artillery projectile

Zinc, not a lead or copper stud - which strongly argues for it being french and not Brit.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This was an early method of rifling artillery - if you notice, the studs are slightly offset, and the studs themselves actually have a direction - the shell was fitted into deep grooves and rammed home. It worked well enough when the guns were new, and not badly fouled from firing... but it also only worked well with black powder. When more powerful propellants were used, the friction inherent in this process was too great and the studs just sheared off, and the flight of the projectile was unpredictable.

But with the acquisition of this piece, the artillery collection has representative examples of most major varieties of imparting a spin to the projectile. Now if I could only find an affordable shell with an *intact* papier maché sabot...

Gun Blogger Rendevous.

The Arsenal of Argghhh!'s French Chassepot needlegun.

A note from Mr. Completely:

The Gun Blogger Rendezvous is only a couple of months away, and registration for the dinner is way below what it needs to be. I haven't got a head count in front of me, but it's about a dozen people total, near as I remember. I think what's needed is for two or three of the big high-profile bloggers to commit to be there, and then have then make a big splash on their blog about it, so others will join in. You and Murdoc have been great slipping in a plug here and there and it's really appreciated, and a couple of other bloggers have been great too, but it's just not getting the job done. I'm just failing badly on getting the word out and encouraging folks to attend. So far I've got range time lined up, hospitality rooms for Friday and Saturday night, discount room rates, a Saturday night banquet with an outstanding guest of honor, and Reno itself as an attraction. The Rendezvous has all the stuff to be a fantastic weekend, and it's going to be fun anyway even if only a small group attend, but it ought to be a slam dunk to get 50 or 60 folks at a minimum, I'd think. KOS got over a thousand moonbats into Las Vegas earlier this year, you'd think between mil and gun bloggers we ought to be able to get 5% of that to a Gun Blogger Blogfest!
Reno, Nevada October 6th., 7th., and 8th at the Circus Circus Hotel.

Otay - serious question here, gun nutz: what's it gonna take to get you guys to go? Help a brother out here. Venue, cost, timing, who gives a fark? So far, every blogfest I've attended has been worth the effort of getting there... what will it take to get some of you guys there?

SWWBO and I *like* Reno, it's a beautiful place, and Lake Tahoe is an hour away. I've got a client deliverable to work around - but as of right now, we intend to be there.

The Arsenal of Argghhh!'s Portuguese Kropatschek rifle.

by John on Aug 08, 2006 | Gun Rights

Extreme Makeover - Beirut Edition...

Either this woman is the unluckiest multiple home owner in Beirut, or omething isn't quite right.

Read the whole thing here, at Drinking From Home.

Snerk. More evidence of unbiased journalism on subjects Mideastern. Nope - I'm not saying the MSM is actively colluding/doing this. They have their publishing deadlines and competetive pressures, and most editors couldn't tell you what yesterday's stories were, much less that this chick is appearing in all the pictures. Nope. Just like we bloggers, they take what they're given, especially if they don't have their own employees on the ground in the area. And, like we bloggers, if the story is supportive of a narrative they conciously or unconciously identify with - they aren't going to look too closely. Dan Rather anyone?

The bigger question it raises is... lordy lordy who *can* we trust with the news anymore? Many blogs have the same problem, don't fool yourselves. It's an important question... like it or no, your personal approach to the news notwithstanding, most people rely on the news to provide a filter function to weed this kind of thing out. Sigh. An inability to trust the "public information flow" does serious damage to open society's ability to engage in informed decision making.

Heh. I provided a *lot* of straight lines in there, didn't I?

H/t, LindaSOG via SWWBO.

by John on Aug 08, 2006 | Media Morons

Another Iraqi Division takes control

Things are still plugging along.

From CENTCOM (Sorry, Owen, no Pulitzer-level writing here, either).

JOINT STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR KHALILZAD & GEN. CASEY ON 4TH IAD HANDOVER Today, in another sign of progress toward a stable and secure Iraq, the Fourth Iraqi Army Division Headquarters officially assumed the lead in its area of responsibility from the 101st Airborne Division. This achievement represents the Division halfway mark of our joint goal of putting all Iraqi Security Forces in the lead in coordinating, planning and conducting security operations in Iraq. We congratulate the Iraqi people and the Government on Iraq on this important milestone.

Five of the Iraqi Army’s ten division headquarters, 25 brigade headquarters, and 85 battalions in the Iraqi Army now have the lead for security responsibilities in their areas. Additionally, to date 48 of 110 Coalition Forward Operating Bases have been transferred to Iraqi control.

These turnovers from Coalition forces to Iraqi security forces reflect the increased operational capacity of the Iraqi security forces. Although these forces are increasingly capable of planning and conducting security operations independent of the Multinational Forces, we pledge our continued support to them and the Iraqi Government as they seek to provide peace and prosperity for all of Iraq’s peoples.

May God bless the people of Iraq.

The rest of the story.

BAGHDAD — As further evidence to the continued progress of Iraqi security forces, the 4th Iraqi Army Division will officially assume the lead for security operations Aug. 8 in most of Salah ad Din and Kirkuk provinces, previously controlled by units from the 101st Airborne Division.

The handover of forward operating bases and security lead demonstrates the progress being made by the Iraqi security forces, reiterates successes, and highlights the progress of the legitimate Iraqi government as a positive move toward full national sovereignty and self-reliance, said a Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman.

This transfer occurs as the Iraqi security force takes charge and shows it is capable of coordinating, planning and conducting security operations with Coalition forces acting in a support role. According to a 101st Airborne Division spokesman, the 4th IAD has demonstrated it is fully capable of assuming security responsibility by taking over security operations in provinces covering major cities of Tikrit, Kirkuk and Samarra.

The 4th IAD is the fifth of 10 Iraqi army divisions to assume security responsibility, which represents the halfway mark of Iraqi divisions assuming responsibility for providing security in their country. In total, Iraqi security forces are in the lead with five Iraqi army divisions, 22 army brigades, and 76 army battalions, and the Iraqi National Police have two battalions, for a total of about 275,000 trained forces.

According to Coalition officials, 48 of 110 Forward Operating Bases have been transferred to the Iraqis; the result of the increased capacity of the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government.

“This (handover) is a brave quest and significant milestone toward garnering security self-reliance for the Iraqi citizens, the Iraqi security force, and the government of Iraq,” said Coalition officials.

According to a fact sheet released by the 101st Airborne Division, “more than 275,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security personnel work every day to protect Iraq and its people. These numbers continue to grow as more troops are scheduled to assume independent control in the coming months.”

As evidence to the 4th IAD’s capabilities, about 3,000 Iraqi security forces, with support from Coalition troops, recently detained 154 terror suspects and seized a large weapon cache during Operation Gaugamela west of Kirkuk.

The 10-day operation was conducted to search for suspected al-Qaida terrorists in and around the cities of Hawaija and Riyadh.

Following a request from local Arab leaders to rid the area outside Kirkuk of terrorists, the 10-day operation - covering 25 cities and villages spanning more than 900 square miles - began with a series of smaller Iraqi Army operations targeting 20 objectives in the Rashad area, southwest of Kirkuk.

Using their own intelligence information, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division planned and conducted the missions, detaining nine terror suspects and seizing a cache of weapons.

"This was the first time the Iraqis in our area have self-sustained during an operation," said Capt. Krista Jekielek, a U.S. logistics representative to the Iraqi security forces. "It was a significant validation, showing they are capable of moving the necessary personnel and supplies required to perform their mission."

Capt. Lyn Graves, an Army spokesman who patrolled Hawija with the Iraqi security forces during the operation, said the Iraqi forces were extremely proficient and professional.

In addition to taking terrorists and weapons off the street, the discipline of the soldiers involved in the mission truly stands out, according to Maj. Greg Bishop, a 1st BCT spokesman.

“The Iraqi and Coalition Soldiers went into two of the most contentious cities in the Kirkuk province, searched hundreds of homes and buildings and detained more than 150 suspects with no violence whatsoever,” said Bishop. “That’s an incredible success and a true measure of the professionalism of everyone involved in the operations.”

August 07, 2006

H&I* Fires 7 Aug 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...

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Yer up. -the Armorer

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Reuters Photographer Adnan Hajj manipulated another photo. To Reuters' credit, they've fired him.

Do not miss this provocative essay that SWWBO highlighted. I would tend to agree with much of it, but am fascinated with the thought that perhaps many of the pitfalls have been mitigated/avoided in the milblog world (For example, you can't turn around without tripping over milbloggers who have met in person, carried on long conversations, or are only one or two degrees of separation from a mutual battle buddy). Nonetheless, a brilliant and thought-provoking essay that may explain a lot of what bothers us about politics and social interactions today. - FbL

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More fakery by Adnan Hajj here and here. - FbL

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SWWBO takes on Althouse. The best part is late in the comments at Ann's place when the Cotillion bus arrives and they get off and start whaling on Ann. -the Armorer

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 07, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blonde Sagacity links with: ALa Interviews Zombie of Zombietime.com
» The Thunder Run links with: A Phone Call from a Son.
» Brain Shavings links with: $300 "Where's Castro?" photo shop contest
» America's North Shore Journal links with: A Vet and a Lady

War's a tough business.

1. Complacency kills. It's hard to maintain the edge. And it is really hard for junior leaders to impose discipline when it seems mindless and mundane. Until after the rocket lands. How many of *you* guys, as junior leaders, would have allowed this situation? I know it would have been hard on me not to have allowed it.

"We had already been there a week and there had been a siren almost every hour, and it had already started to become routine. We joked among ourselves that wherever we were was a safer place to be than Kiryat Shmona. In any case, for soldiers in the field, there is no hiding place."

Hence that seemingly mindless anal obsession with helmets, body armor, etc. Read the rest of the story here.

2. Playing by the rules. The fighting in Lebanon has been a textbook example of how bias creeps into reportage. Not many western journalists embedded with Hezbollah, and those that may be aren't necessarily going to report what they see accurately. That whole "hack off the head thing" don't ya know. But they'll report whatever Hezbollah wants them to see. The Israelis are more security conscious than we are, I think - but they still give journalists a comparatively free rein.

So - just what *are* the Israelis supposed to do when the enemy fights like this, hiding their stuff in and amongst the civilians? Just sit back and take it, I suppose. Withdraw to the original, arbitrarily set boundaries (which would then allow rockets free reign through all of Israel) and wait for the knife? Sigh. There are no easy answers, but the main counterargument to what Israel is doing seems to be - "Would you all just quit that and let them kill you, please?"

This *is* Europe's fault. Oh, sure, the US is Israel's greatest and most reliable ally - but the whole region in it's current configuration is the result of European diplomats standing around maps, ignorant of the region except as it related to Imperial interests (that includes German and French and Italians, not just Brits).

But their response to it isn't as impressive as their weak, do-nothing-until-they-forced-the-US-to-respond response to the Balkans, and *that* was in their own backyard.

Anyway, in the spirit of providing the other side not often seen on TV (or ignored by editors because it's poorly written [that's for you, Owen]) - here's some Israeli-provided footage of Hezbollah rocket launchers and their employment.

No doubt created by teenagers with movie-making software. Sigh. Just inoculating against that particular snark.

Right click and save as, please. Do my hosting service a favor and don't stream it.

Katyusha launcher being destroyed. This is missile/bomb footage. Note the location of the launcher.

Launchers, reputedly in Qana (*that* I can't verify). Qana or no, they're launching from near populated areas. Remember - the response to this *used* to be artillery bombardment or strings of 250, 500, or 1000 pound bombs. Now it's generally a single guided weapon. Which is, of course, insufficient restraint. Apparently delivering pizza and flowers is the proper response. Meanwhile, the system being attacked is... an area fire weapon fired without regard to serious targeting of military targets. Mainly because Hezbollah feels anything they aim at is a legitimate target. But no fingers get wagged in their faces. Except seemingly as an afterthought.

The rest of the story - the M36's from Iraq.

Castle Argghhh! Salvage 'Я Us!

Owen having twitted us about our weapons being used against us and our Allies, and my pointing out it was old news... what with the pictures of the M36 Jackson in Yugoslavian colors - along comes Blake, who is doing with M36 Jacksons what Beauchamp Tower Corporation is doing with the USS John Rodgers - repatriating them, so they will do no more harm to American Interests!

Well, the Rodgers *was* serving American interests, and mine. By preserving her for us until we were ready for her!

Here's Blake's tale:

Blake and his M36B1 Jackson TD in Iraq

John,

Well, we got our pair of M36's to the point where we feel like we can relocate them to the area where we're going to stage them for movement. We've got towing shackles in place, and we have the turrets and guns restrained so that I'm confident that we aren't going to have anything swinging wildly around in transit.

Some volunteers assembled by the Division Historian got the turret traverse on the M36B1 unjammed. Unfortunately, the driver's hatch is still stuck in the open position. If we rotate the turret clockwise, the turret bustle won't clear the open hatch. If we try to rotate the turret counter-clockwise the cannon barrel won't clear the hatch. Either way, we're stuck.

The problem with the driver's hatch is that there is a VERY robust spring-loaded detent pin which comes up through the top of the hull to engage an indent in the bottom of the driver's hatch hinge to lock the hatch open, and that detent pin is frozen in place. Nothing that we've tried has broken it loose, and I'm simply not willing to try to remove the hatch entirely by pulling the big pin/bolt on which it rotates, given the relative paucity of tools we've got available. Leave that for a later time. So what we've done is to get the gun itself into the elevation lock, then we've put a heavy chain bridle around the barrel of the cannon to keep the turret positioned with the gun facing forward on the center line of the vehicle. See the attached "ready to tow" picture. [Note the lavish accomodations in the background! .ed] It's not an ideal solution, but it's about the only one that seems workable, especially considering that I found the B1's turret traverse lock mechanism lying loose in the bottom of the hull today.

The M36B2 is in rather better shape. We've got the turret turned around over the back deck, and the turret traverse lock is mounted and engaged. Unfortunately, the travel lock for the gun barrel is badly bent and cannot be used, so again we've been forced to resort to a chain bridle to secure things. CSX, the railroad which provides us with service between Fort Campbell and our normal CONUS port of embarkation/debarkation, always likes to see some sort of external restraint on big rotating bits of a load, even if we DO have internal locking mechanisms engaged, so having the bridle in place will make
them happy. The elevation gearbox in that turret seems to be jammed, and
has no crank handle anyway, so I'm not worried about the gun shifting in elevation.

We've got some loose parts lying around, too. One of the engine hatch
covers fell off the B1, evidently because the hinge-pins sheared. Nothing wrong with it that isn't repairable, though, presuming that someone wants to put some time and a little money into the project. And in addition to the turret traverse lock I picked the elevation gearbox up off the turret floor of the B1. Now I have to find a stout wooden box or pallet for this stuff to to containerize it and ship it home. The B1 is in really poor material shape, both from exposure to the elements and from abuse/theft/neglect. The pictures of the gunner's position in the turret and of the hull interior are typical of the interior condition of the vehicle. The hull-gunner/radio-operator's position is completely stripped. Not even a seat frame left.

It's also interesting to see that these vehicles did not seem to have a full turret basket, as do modern tanks. There's a turret floor under the gunner and TC's position, but the loader evidently was expected to walk around on the tops of the stowage compartments at the bottom of the hull. Since this vehicle was built before the US bought into the idea of torsion bar suspensions for armored vehicles, the actual bottom of the hull is an unobstructed flat steel plate onto which one can install pretty much anything one wants. In this case, it appears to be mostly stowage for ammo. The M36B1 was designed for 11 ready rounds of 90mm in the turret bustle and another 36 semi-ready rounds in hull stowage, and the compartments under the floor are about the right size for 90mm rounds.

I'll attach some other photos of the M36B2 and such in a later e-mail.

At another location on this FOB there is an Italian CV 3/33 tankette, engineless, and without armament (originally, it mounted twin Breda machine guns,) but still in possession of all of its tracks and running gear. I'm hoping to have some pictures of that in the not-to-distant future. There's evidently a bit of a tug-of-war going on over the little thing, with more than one museum in CONUS trying to lay claim to it. I suspect that for the time being at least it's a matter of possession being nine-tenths of the law.

That's about it for the moment.

Regards,

Blake

August 06, 2006

H&I* Fires 6 Aug 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...

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For those who haven't yet heard of it, Al-Reuters has been caught using doctored (Shoot, *I* can, and have, done better) photos in their Lebanon coverage. Credit to them, they pulled 'em a lot quicker than CBS did the Bush Guard story... Beth over at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is a good place to start - especially since almost every time I try to get to Little Green Footballs (who broke the story, I think), I can't get it to open. Credit to Reuters... but. The pic is pretty obviously doctored... -the Armorer

Not content with one... there are others. My Pet Jawa sniffing on the trail. -the Armorer

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Red Bull - it gives you wings! And if you blog it (or your Mom does, anyway) - apparently they'll send you some, too. Worth a shot for you deployed guys... as Heidis's Mom Kerri found out:

Dear Kerri,

On land, in water, or in the air, it's always great to hear about our US Armed Forces. I'm sure Heidi appreciates all your love and support.

Red Bull is proud to take part in energizing our troops. Armed with cans of energy, we can't imagine a better use for our wiiings!

Great picture and info in the blog. I'll be sure to pass around for all to enjoy!

I would love to send Heidi a little something to show our appreciation. Please provide her APO/AFO. If you prefer we can send the package to your address and you can include it in your next shipment to Heidi.

With soaring support,

Stephanie Hickey
Red Bull North America

Remember - if you *don't* ask - that answer is automatically no. -the Armorer

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Now *that's* a graduation speech - and I apologize for losing the email so I can't credit the person who sent it to me...! Since we want the text to be high-rank Googleable, I'll post it in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry. -the Armorer

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Regarding the Reuters picture... Powerline has a good bit on it. I don't mind the enhancing of the contrast - I do that routinely. The camera captures what it's settings allow it to - cleaning up haze and fuzz is no crime, nor is it misleading, to my eye. The silliest part is... the original picture was fine as-is, and didn't need any help - especially not amatuerish hackery like that. The photographer, if he made the changes, is a dolt. If it was an editor - they need to find a new job. -the Armorer

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Snerk. This is *one way* to respond to the ACLU. If only the ACLU's deference to the document (where the separation of church and state ala modern sensibilities appears nowhere) would extend to all 10 of the Amendments, vice the 1st, 3rd, and beyond. They're not that much in support of the 4th if it's being used to work against the 2nd... -the Armorer

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Gas just got more expensive. There goes the plans for that Easy 8 Sherman. I'll have to look at those Shermans we sent the Russkis that were diesel... -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 06, 2006 | General Commentary
» Stop The ACLU links with: Bloggers Catch Reuters Photoshopping

Okay, vacation's over.

All those easy pics, with me telling you what they were, etc. That ends this afternoon.

Entertain me! Amaze yourself! Amuse your friends!

Whattaya think this is? C'mon - figger it out!

Whatzis?