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August 19, 2006

H&I* Fires 19 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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Let's see what the Denizens are up to.

At The Torch, Beaverbrook asserts we're in The 2nd Hundred Years War.

Rammer notes some offbeat graffiti.

Alan shares his thoughts while abusing his cats.

I may have linked this already, but no matter. It has guns in it. There's always room for seconds when that's the subject!

The Snarkatron has news! New Job, New Commute... news!

Trias looks at Lebanon and ponders French Perfidy. Hezbollah Perfidy, and just where *are* those Israeli soldiers who were the catalyst for all this?

AFsis has dental divorce advice, channels the Werekitty, and notes an event.

Murray has a "Whatzis" going...

Okay, that's it. Yer up. -the Armorer

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I guess these aren't in the Denizen Roundup because The Armorer was very kind and linked them over at MilBlogs late yesterday. But I thought I'd share here too, since some of you may not visit that site (you should!). I finally (bad, bad FbL!) posted about Soldier Ride from two weeks ago, and I've got a story featuring what The Armorer calls "Fuzzy Snafus." - Fuzzybear Lioness

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Princess Crabby does her best to destroy the Navy in New Orleans... no doubt by sapping it's stamina. -the Armorer

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Hey – Maybe it’s not too late for ‘Ol Creaky Bones Boquisucio to SIGN-UP, after all. – BOQ

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 19, 2006 | General Commentary

Denizen Ry's View of Civilian Casualties...

...and some other stuff.

Ry demonstrates why he doesn't blog.... i.e., an endless post. Brevity, thy name is not Gollum. That said, it's a worthy read, I don't agree with all of it, and I will respond later.

I find a serious flaw in the argument put forward in the comments so far (carry over from the threads on this post and this post for those wondering what the farqing hell I'm talking about) in that all the focus is entirely upon the value of innocent dead and the concept that the existence of innocent dead meaning something nefarious and illegal happened.

There is no talk of the necessity of bad things to happen to end a horrible situation. Something that happens in everyday life whether it be divorce where families are torn asunder to lead to a state of greater stability for both kids and adults; or in a chemical reaction where at the point a reaction, the metamorphosis, really takes place is the most destructive time in the whole process. It denies by inference that really terrible but legal actions were taken in fights that the proponents of this position would support, like the attack on Thionville during WW2. This line of thought has become devoid of capital J Justice, bereft of the idea that there are costs for everything (TANSTAAFL) [There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - a Heinlein reference for those who were scratching their heads. -ed] and Justice in particular, and ignores what the rules (largely Geneva, which embodies the ethical and legal philosophy of war) actually say about pursuing goals and the costs of a civilian populace may be submitted to during war.

Instead all we have is talk about dead civilians and how horrible it is, how evil it is that they died. We’re receiving commentary that seems to infer that no matter what the injury was and is it can never justify things like the attack on Qana or the horrific scenes of warfare we’ve seen in Lebanon. Yes, these things are terrible. Civilians who didn’t deserve to die are dead--- some by sheer accident while others by true spite--- but that in and of itself does not change it from jus ad bellum or jus in bello to war crimes and an always illegal act. We’ve lost sight what some of our predecessors, The Great Generation, took as a given: life isn’t fair, bad things happen to good people, and sometimes terrible---but not in themselves essentially evil-- things must be done to secure a better world. The forces of change are always destructive in one sense or another. Change has costs.

We've gone from one flawed paradigm (caring only about winning that existed before Abraham Lincoln came up with what became the Laws of Land Warfare, and interest only in the Rich and Powerful and Large Events) to another terrible paradigm (over stressing populism and Avg. Joe; and making success and failure be about how few civilians are killed regardless of objectives and other real world results---and it happens on both sides of the aisle around here---with a hefty helping of anti-colonialist induced self-hatred tossed into the mix.). By now focusing solely on civilian casualties, by going utterly and irredeemably populist with our prism we’ve lost the ability to see the bigger picture and how Justice is secured in that bigger picture. The bad guy is measured solely in how many civilians killed. He who kills more is the bad guy. By forgetting the bigger picture we’ve said bye-bye to reason and waved at Justice as we blew the popsicle stand.

We’ve moved to a shallow rubric by which we decide good and evil. A rubric that is so shallow that it allows for nothing more than deploring death in time of war as evil and always evil instead of an unfortunate event that should be mourned and treated with dignity. Creating a better peace is not something to be considered. Initial injury is not to be considered. Aims of the war, the necessity of harm to achieve said aims, and questions of jus ad bellum are not to be considered. Just civilian death is the metric. Every discussion will be, and must be, brought back around to innocent dead as nothing else matters. All because we have moved beyond the thinking of our benighted predecessors who only thought about the Mighty and Great Events and have begun to focus on The Ordinary Guy Who Gets Trounced.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

A new whatzis for a Saturday.

One thing this is not: a fragment. It is a component.

Of what?

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August 18, 2006

H&I* Fires 18 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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Fuzzybear Lioness has a visitor from somewhere east of Kos. Aside from dissing Enormous State Universities of the Interior, he's spouting all the usual anti-war blather. Not the comparatively well thought out and generally supported cherry picking of Owen, but the more usual Moonbat Ravings of Emotion trumping anything else with that soupçon of even if you're retired military you can't have an opinion on the war, because you aren't fighting it. Unless it's an anti-opinion, of course. That's *always* a moral stance and allowed... If you're bored and would like to go watch the debate, especially you warfighters, since you apparently *are* allowed an opinion, do go visit. -the Armorer

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In order to break the compulsive obsessions of any Doughie whothinksherulestheuniversebutreallycan’tevencontrolhisownbowelmovements, one has to:
1) Approach The Doughie in a calm but assertive manner.
2) Convince The Doughie that you are The Alfa in the pack.
3) Once The Offending Doughie assumes a submissive posture, break his obsession, with more constructive behaviour.

Such as focusing on the Gentler Gender in the Toughest Profession Courtesy of the IDF. (Similar to my post a few months back), – BOQ (The Troll Whisperer)

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Lieutenant Watada versus the Man, update.

In response to defense questions, Keith affirmed he was open to considering arguments about the war's legality and allowed Boyle, former United Nations Undersecretary Denis Halliday and retired Col. Ann Wright to speak about the legality and conduct of the war. Boyle, an outspoken critic of the administration policy in Iraq, went into considerable detail about the rules for war as detailed in the Army Field Manual. He accused the administration of using fraudulent means to persuade Congress to authorize the war, twice-failing to get U.N. Security Council authorization for the war and then allowing war crimes to occur.

Keith listened, his finger on his chin.

In questioning, he appeared skeptical.

"I am struggling with the connection between what you have just discussed ... and how that relates to Lt. Watada," Keith told Boyle at one point during the professor's testimony.

Read the whole thing here.

General Pace talks to the troops. The troops express some understandable frustrations.


Pace said his talks with troops reassured him that they are proud of what they're doing and satisfied with what they've accomplished.

But he also said he detected among them "some frustration at the Iraqis for not yet grasping the opportunity that's in front of them."

Rival Shiite and Sunni sects have failed to reconcile their differences and establish an effective government capable of taking over security responsibilities for the country.

Pace said the troops feel, "`We're doing our part. When is the (Iraqi) governance part going to kick in?' And that's a fair question."

Pushing Iraqis along for three years through formation of an interim government, the writing of their constitution and election of the current government - only to have the fighting worsen - has grown old for many in civilian and military quarters.

Read the rest here. -the Armorer

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Smash plays 20 questions. Worth the read. He wields Occam's Razor ruthlessly. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 18, 2006 | General Commentary

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Hee hee hee hee.

MU-WA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Oh.my.

Only SWWBO.

Dear, I am *so* proud.

The Answer to the Whatzis.

Eric finally got it. It's the "glasflasche" or glass bottle, that contained the "clark" poison gas in a German WWI 77mm shell.

Like in this picture.

German 77mm Blaukreuz poison gas round

Congrats to working your way through the problem. Of course, it was an *easy* one for this collection of geeks!

And no, I am *not* the John who posted it on Gunboards.

For more information on the subject - read the document that finally pulled it together for Eric.

S.I.T.

As in, "I said, 'SIT!'--not 'Assume a good prone firing position...' "

Meet Scruple-In-Training Toby, who's technically not a scruple because he has a genuine owner.

Toby

However, said genuine owner claimed he was absolutely impossible to train, so KtLW volunteered the services of the local Dog Whisperer--me.

After a week of Basic, he heels like a champ, fetches, comes-sits-flops-stays on command and is totally housebroken (except for an early misunderstanding about the purpose of a throw-rug).

Welllll, he does it for *me*, anyway. She's still having problems with him 'cuz I haven't told her The Secret of Consistent Obedience--in other words, just *what* it is I whisper into the little tyke's ear...

"Hellooooo, puppy, puppy, puppy! Aren't you a little cutie! Guess what--we're gonna play a game: I'll tell you to do something and then you do it or I'll kill you."

Heh. Works every time...

Answering the mail, part 3.

Target attack criteria, bad choices in.

I've already had this discussion in the comments of my two previous posts on artillery this week, but it won't go away, so I'll bring it to the front.

Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee (who got me the trip to Mexico to retrieve the Rodgers, may his tribe increase!) sent me this link, wanting to know if, in fact, this was a cluster bomblet.

It isn't, in a narrow technical sense. But before we rush off to crow about inaccuracy in the media, let's take a break. That is an M80 M42 [good catch from an otherwise pointlessly rude commenter - the M80 has a self-destruct mechanism - and one is being retrofitted to the M42/48 series of grenades. -the Armorer] Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition. While not from a cluster bomb, it *is* from an artillery round. I'm familiar with the round, and it's contents, these being held in Castle stocks in their inert form.

<s>M80</s> M42 submunitions

If the Israelis were shooting DPICM into inhabited areas, they are open to just criticism of their fire orders.

Bad decision on the part of whoever made the call to shoot DPICM. If you are shooting DPICM, you are automatically creating a low-density minefield, due to the dud rate (officially 2-4% depending on the conditions in the target area) of the submunition.

I can see an argument being made by the Israelis that in fact, there is less collateral damage than if you shoot HE at a target in an urban area. Perhaps, depending on construction of the buildings - but HE has a much lower dud rate (nothing is perfect), the effects are over after it hits, and there is no lingering explosive package awaiting discovery by children. And an unexploded HE shell is a lot harder to pick up than a DPICM submunition.

Recording your targets... I don't expect this to happen - but the Israelis should also share their mission fired reports with the Lebanese government, so that EOD can go clear areas targeted with DPICM.

It's just not a good shell for attacking areas that are/will be occupied by non-combatants or OWN TROOPS. The use of dud-producing munitions such as DPICM during Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2003 caused maneuver problems for the Marines, and caused lingering casualties among Marines and civilians in those areas after operations were ended. This may have been true for Army units as well, I don't have any info on that. Target attack decisions have to be made with cognizance of subsequent operations and events. I know we used to train this with Fire Support Officers back in the day - I assume we still do. I discussed some of that in my post yesterday.

Mind you - if Hezbollah didn't *shoot* from inhabited areas, the Israelis would have had less reason to shoot back into inhabited areas, too.

While I don't support the Israeli choice of ammuntion, I do support their right to shoot back. And find it disingenuous that most of the whining is about what the Israelis shot, and not equally about wherefrom Hezbollah shot.

An Oldie but Goodie.

How to be Politically Correct when talking about Men (Or Army Men)

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1. He does not have a beer gut...

He has developed a Liquid Grain Storage Facility.(regular guys)

He has a personal war reserve stock.(army guys)

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2. He is not quiet...

He is a Conversational Minimalist.

He is a SAMS grad.

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3. He is not stupid...

He suffers from Minimal Cranial Development.

He is a field grade.

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4. He does not get lost all the time...

He discovers Alternative Destinations.

He gets temporarily misoriented.

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5. He is not balding...

He is in Follicle Regression.

He has a REALLY squared away high and tight.

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6. He is not a cradle robber...

He prefers Generationally Differential Relationships.

He is breaking the new fraternization policies.

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7. He does not get falling-down drunk...

He becomes Accidentally Horizontal.

He practices his IMTs in the club.

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8. He is not short...

He is Anatomically Compact.

He suffers from a Napoleon Complex.

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9. He does not have a rich daddy...

He is a Recipient of Parental Asset Infusion.

He has the Army as a hobby.

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10. He does not constantly talk about cars...

He has a Vehicular Addiction.

He must be a Transporter.

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11. He does not have a hot body...

He is Physically Combustible.

He is a PT stud.

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12. He is not unsophisticated...

He is Socially Challenged.

He is a Ranger.

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13. He does not eat like a pig...

He suffers from Reverse Bulimia.

He eats like a Ranger student at Pizza Hut.

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14. He is not a bad dancer...

He is Overly Caucasian.

He is from the Muddy Boots Army.

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15. He does not hog the blankets...

He is Thermally Unappreciative.

He is a Blue Falcon.

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16. He is not a male chauvinist pig...

He has Swine Empathy.

He must be combat arms.

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17. He is not afraid of commitment...

He is Monogamously Challenged.

He loves TDY.

What are your additions?

August 17, 2006

H&I* Fires 17 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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This will send a chill down the spine of scarf-wearers everywhere...

WARPLANES: The Pilotless F-35 Project August 17, 2006: In an attempt to gain an edge in the coming unmanned combat aircraft market, a pilotless F-35 has been designed. Manufacturer Lockheed-Martin is currently devoting about a third of research and development money to unmanned vehicles, and the pilotless F-35 is a small part of it. This F-35 project has been underway for about two years now, and is a private effort, not part of any government contract. While the F-35U (for UAV) would weigh less (no cockpit or life-support equipment) and carry lower tech sensors (instead of the expensive AESA radar), it is expected to cost the same as a manned version. In other words, about $40 million. But the lower weight would enable it to carry more weapons (perhaps up to ten tons).

Creating the F-35U is made easier by the fact that all the controls are already electronic, and contain a lot of automatic (robotic) flight control software. Engineers probably noted how close, in design and purpose, the innards of an F-35 were to the various combat UAV designs going around. A robotic F-35 is envisioned as an unmanned bomb carrier, although there is nothing to prevent the F-35U from being able to fight other aircraft. For this, it would either need the high-performance AESA radar, or be able to use radar data from a piloted F-35 (or other aircraft.) This sort of "networked" air battle is already a hot topic in the U.S. Navy and Air Force. It would also be pretty easy to create an F-22U. Both the F-35U and F-22U would have a major advantage over manned fighters, in that a robotic aircraft could perform rapid maneuvers that the human body could not tolerate.

H/t, Strategy Page.

Now this is simply hilarious! The funniest thing I've seen in a while... The Purpose of the Internet - Girl vs Boy View - over at Cotillionite Stacy's place. H/t, SWWBO. -the Armorer

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Leave no man behind. Hoo-ah, Sarn't Major! -the Armorer

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Heh.

NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Read the list of names here. -the Armorer

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More from the "Heh" file...

Mishaps commonly occur as officers chase suspects or clean their guns. However, over the years, some accidental gunshots have been highly unusual.

One off-duty officer shot himself in a leg as he sat behind his desk and, according to department records, contemplated "a complex mathematical problem." Another officer inadvertently pulled the trigger when his African gray parrot flew into his face.

One officer accidentally shot his girlfriend in a leg while trying to retrieve a cartridge from his handgun as a "memento" of their date. Yet another officer admitted that he accidentally fired his gun because he was startled by a woman holding a teddy bear. Two officers accidentally discharged their weapons as they handled them at home while watching themselves in mirrors.

Shakes head. Damn teddy bears. I always knew they were dangerous. You ever notice how they just stare at you? Read the rest here. -the Armorer

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Now – Now, That wuz a great B-Day Bash. I gots me myself some loot! Boy-o-boy Those were soooome loh-ockee Dolphins; they are sure to make the Moat Beastie GoneWild. And oooo, love that filter tip on The Cigarette; talk about a racy crew. On the next Castle Party, any back-blasted denizen that goes down to the drink, will be glad to be rescued by The Cigarette and her winsome crew. Hencefourth, The Moat Fleet is performing SAR Missions GoneWild.

And thanks Trias and Neff. The Castle can now have its very own 1st Annual Rubber Duckie Moat Shootout. Ah, to blast away them rubber beasties on the Coastie Patrol Craft. I can just hear myself sing: Rubber duckie, you’re the one, Ba-BANG-BANG… Quack-quack!

And speaking of Ducks, that Gruman Duck, will make for a great shuttle between Lake Powell and The Moat. I know of a great Lick’r Store up in Bullfrog…. And yes Neff, you can drive her on beer runs. Just don’t take André. I have yet to Scotchguard the seats.

Oh Cricket, your timing as always, impeccable. I can just smell them sweetness of your scallops wafting from your kitchen. I’m hungry, and all I’ve got for lunch is reheated chicken. And did you know that The Battle of Santiago, is somewhat personal to my family? My great-granddaddy (my father’s mother’s father) was destined to slogg it at San Juan Hill. If it weren’t for his creative horse trading, I wouldn’t have been born. I did send Massa John a write-up detailing the whole affair a while back.

Thank’s y’all - BOQ

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 17, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Reveille
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Children of the Future Jihad
» A Rose By Any Other Name links with: A Marine’s Funeral

The League of Disgruntled Majors.

Count me among them. Brothers, Sisters, we March!


THE MANIFESTO OF THE LEAGUE OF DISGRUNTLED MAJORS

We are the League of Disgruntled Majors, a loosely affiliated group of officers in the United States Army. We are comprised mostly of Major’s, though we are certain that there are Lieutenant Colonels and some senior captains who align themselves with our beliefs. We have even found we have compatriots of similar grades in the other armed forces of the United States. We are mostly those who work behind the scenes of an operation to make it successful. We seldom march at the head of formation, kick in doors, fly aircraft, or drive tanks, though we support those who do daily, with little fanfare. We are planners, logisticians, communicators and coordinators. To steal a phrase from the special operations community, we are “quiet professionals” who do our jobs well, though are seldom recognized for it. For our efforts, we are infrequently praised, and frequently disdained by those we support and those we help make successful.

We are patriots. We serve because we love our country and because we agree with most of its policies, though some may be flawed. We agreed to give up personal comfort and personal freedom to serve a cause which we believe to be a higher calling. We serve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the necessarily the political party currently in power, regardless of their ideology. We serve the American Ideal.

We have forgone Glory. Many of us used to be Soldiers who kicked in doors and took the fight to the enemy, though we do it no longer. Those we support use the M4 Carbine and up-armored Humvee gun-truck as their weapons. We use MS Office, a laptop, and an internet connection. You will not see us in a Time-Life photo spread on images of war. We will not be interviewed for TV, unless it is on a 3:30 AM C-SPAN airing of a congressional subcommittee meeting investigating US Army expenditures on Non-Tactical Vehicles leases in a theater of war. We wear the combat patches on our right sleeves, but those who go off the installation to patrol the streets wonder if we actually deserve them. We are certain we do.

We are “They”. We are the shadowy “They-people”. When something goes wrong or a new policy is released, and those around us say “They screwed it up” or “They said we have to do it this way”, we are “They”. We work in invisibility…until something goes awry, then we are in a spotlight hued red by anger and frustration. Those we support don’t necessarily know what they want, but they will know when they see it, they want it yesterday, and lots of it…They don’t care how much it costs, until they get the bill.

We are Cannon-fodder. When we do our jobs well, we are frequently found at fault for it. When we fulfill our obligations, we are deemed “roadblocks”. When we are successful, we are viewed as unsuccessful. Those we report to don’t understand what we do, and have no intention of trying to. As a result, when it comes to advancement, evaluations, assignments, and awards, we are frequently at the bottom of the heap. We are perpetually “center-mass” in order to help build the profile for those our raters do understand. We have reached the point where this surprises us no longer. We will simply keep our heads down, keep working, and see what happens, come what may. We will fulfill our obligations and do our jobs, expecting no accolades from those we support. We know that the army expects more commitment from us then it will provide to us (paraphrased from the Army Training and Leadership Development Panel Report, lest we be cited for Plagiarism).

Ambiguity – Mediocrity – Sarcasm. These are our watch-words. Ambiguity, because if we are lucky, the climate will we operate in will be Ambiguous at best. Mediocrity, because regardless of the quality or timeliness of our output and contribution, those we support will view our efforts as mediocre, at best, compared to their own. And Sarcasm, because at times the only way to survive to fight another days is through the biting balm of sarcastic humor.

Our Pay-off. Why do we put up with it and why do we continue? Why not hang up our seat-worn uniforms and join the civilian sector? Because in the end we know our jobs are important and that that our Army would not be successful without us. But more importantly, we know that prior to leaving the Army and entering the retirement rolls, we will be in the most powerful positions in the Army. No… we won’t be generals or commanders, or even high powered staffers. We will likely still be majors, passed over twice, sitting in dimly-lit offices in the basement of the pentagon, with longer than regulation haircuts, rumpled uniforms, unkempt mustaches and a bottle of scotch in the bottom right-hand drawer of our desks. We will be the most powerful men in the army because we will be majors getting ready to retire with nothing to lose by telling you exactly what we think, consequences be damned…We will be the most dangerous men in the Army.

©2006 LODM

Oops! I need to add, *I* did not create this. It came from Disgruntled Majors in Iraq, via email to a brother here in the land of the Big PX! Don't want anyone getting the wrong idea. [Update: I have been in contact with the Grand Poobah of the LODM, however.]

Update: The Legion of The Damned, also known as the League of Disgruntled Majors, numbers many fine folks who retire with a Silver Oak leaf. Not on their shoulder, but on their MSM ribbon. While that punk LTC they work for gets a Legion of Merit for suggesting that they change UAV to UAS.

There have been Disgruntled Majors throughout history. Colonel W.C. Hall describes one such - with The True Story of Horatius At The Bridge.*


*H/t to Jim C for good timing on the Horatius link.

Dog Haiku

From the Adjutant, via email:

I love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be

Today I sniffed
Many dog behinds-I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy-come to kill us all-
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man-come to kill us all-
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I lift my leg and
Whiz on each bush. Hello, Spot-
Sniff this and weep

More to follow.

And now for something completely different in terms of a Whatzis...

Heck, I've even given you a *size* referent *and* I haven't pulled in close to remove all context. In case it isn't obvious - that's a nickel.*

Hosting provided by FotoTime

It *is* completely consistent with Castle Artifacts.

So, whatizzit - purpose, origin, etc. Yes it's on the net.

You may begin.

*I know at least *one* of you was going to answer "It's a nickel!" - so I took that away from you snarky bassids.

Update: Some hints in the hunt for the Snipe. Seek a German Clark in Belgium. And destroy him.

Here's a little something for the Instapilot...

...since he popped in and out last night.

Staff Sgt. Shannon Hughes (left) hands Senior Airman Damon Johnson a tool as they work on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during its phase inspection at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The Airmen are deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group is working on the airplanes around the clock, to ensure consistent ability to meet the demand for the airframe in theater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. David Kurle)<br />


Staff Sgt. Shannon Hughes (left) hands Senior Airman Damon Johnson a tool as they work on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during its phase inspection at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The Airmen are deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group is working on the airplanes around the clock, to ensure consistent ability to meet the demand for the airframe in theater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. David Kurle)

For you aficionados/modelers out there - a higher-res version.

by John on Aug 17, 2006 | Aircraft

Answering the mail, part 2.

Owen asks this question (in the discussion to this post below) and I thought I might as well pull the answer up into the light, especially since answering it took a good chunk of normal blogging time!

I also have a technical question for John. You note that the Israeli guns are accurate and the Katyushas not. Like all rockets, they change trajectory somewhat in the air. But since the Israeli counterbattery radar is following their terminal trajectory, doesn't that mean that a fire control computer calculating backwards from it is unlikely to lead you exactly to the launch site?

Also, since the fire control computer calculates ballistic trajectories, surely there will be an error in calculating rocket trajectories, which only go ballistic after the motor dies?

Presumably, just it's tougher to predict where a projectile will land when it's an inaccurate one, wouldn't it also be tougher to track back to the firing point, the more inaccurate and erratic the incoming projectile was?

So wouldn't accurate counterbattery fire against Katyushas be impeded by the inherent inaccuracy and wobbliness of the Katyushas themselves?

Not a criticism, just a technical question.

[Note to self, always beware Owen when he says... "Not a criticism, just a technical question.", journos are *not* trustworthy... remember that reporter from your wrestling days]

A little yes and mostly no, and it also depends on the ROE.

CF radar catches the rocket/projo on the ascending arc, when the angular error is smaller and there is less cumulative error inherent in the trajectory, which of course gets greater the farther along the trajectory you are. You only catch things on the descending arc (least accurate for backplot to origin) if you are doing impact prediction. As for impact prediction of rockets - by the time they are on a descending trajectory, they are ballistic, and the impact prediction is easy. The problem with using your radars for that purpose is that unlike tracking your *own* rounds, where you know when and from where they're going to be fired, with the rockets you don't know that. With the generally random (to the outside observer) launch site and time, there is a very limited window to catch the rocket, do the impact predict on the descending trajectory -when you have very little time left - and get a warning out.

It's not at all like a SCUD, where you catch them on ascending trajectory, sound the alarm getting people in the military environment moving to shelters - civilians who don't have local, almost in-house shelters are a different story - and can then refine your plot as the missile falls, and thus have a comparatively lot more time.

Accuracy is also enhanced by catching multiple launches from the same location, such as ripple fire, and by multiple radars observing the launch, but I would guesstimate a 50 meter CEP to be an outside ballpark number.

After that, it's ROE. In conventional combat, I'd fire battery volleys on a radar target like that.

In this environment, *if* I had a UAV in the air and close, or an armed aircraft, I'd vector them to try to get eyes on the target to confirm - but since these guys shoot and scoot, that's a very tight window.

War is an ugly business at this point, Owen.

Unless my maps showed a school/church/hospital/culturally sensitive area, and those rockets were headed to my civilian areas, if the attack guidance matrix/ROE allowed it, I would shoot back. If they are hitting my military areas with enough regularity and impact, I would shoot back.

If it was near those sensitive sites, I would be keeping a running log and doing some pattern analysis - and if that turned into a pattern, i.e., shooting from sensitive sites, I would then start orienting assets like SOF, UAVs, etc, to observe those sites and set them up for guided weapons, or, try to occupy the areas.

If I'm taking real casualties from launches from those areas, and I couldn't get assets to get eyes on, I would probably come down on shooting back with single/two gun volleys, and I would have all the documentation I would need to drop on your desk and say "tough noogies, sorry about that, but they're the ones who aren't playing by the Convention - and I am. And do please condemn their violations of the Conventions if you are going to yell at me about them."

And before you launch into a tirade... remember, we're talking about me, in my job as a fire direction officer, defending my targeting and ROE decisions. At that level, the overall question of the war itself doesn't enter into it, so don't go down *that* rathole. 8^)


August 16, 2006

H&I* Fires 16 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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We missed Boq's Birthday! Like, two days ago! For the Admiral of the Moat Fleet - I offer up this! Oh, what the heck - how about a truck for the Moat? -the Armorer

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I've seen a lot of 9-11 memorabilia, and some of it has actually seemed appropriate, but this one is deeply disturbing on a level that I can't articulate, and don't think I really want to explore. It's gotta be even worse for those who actually lived it [h/t Bloodspite]. - FbL

[Tacky, very tacky. .ed]

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Andi puts a mark on the wall for the next Milblogger Conference. -the Armorer

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Stuff going on here at Leavenworth and elsewhere - as the Army tries to find a way to fight This Kind of War..

Meanwhile... a different war continues.

Lieutenant Watada versus the Army - update. -the Armorer

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Ah – Yes, ‘nuther spin around the Sun, on this here Blue Marble.

I have to say, that I did have a great B-Day Bash, last Sunday. Just look WHO who paid homage on my birthday! O.K. - O.K. Little Ms. Keefer (or I should say, U.S. Congressional Candidate K. Keefer) didn’t show-up for MY B-Day, but let me tell ya: She’s a SCREAM. If she’s so passionate for people who were born on my B-Date, she certainly got my vote.

Still there’s many decisions to make for example which kind of noodle should I moisten for The Adjutant. There’s the old stand-by: Spaghetti, tried and true. There’s the Bucatini, with its hollow center, perfect for sopping-up the shame off any forgetful flutter-head. And then there’s Strozzapreti (or The Priest Strangler in English), perfect for garroting Pretermitant IT Professionals.

If however, the Birthday of tin-horned dictators do not ring a bell, you can always count the Cressets leading out of the Jungle Room, and up-to my Cell at 3-North. There are Eight on the left wall, and Thirteen hanging on the right wall. ;-) - BOQ

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Will someone puhleeeeze buy Andrew a fainting couch? -Instapilot
(Resolved: "Torturing a jihadi to get info - bad; hundreds of innocent civilians killed - worse." Discuss.)

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 16, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Modern Rules of Engagement
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Marines are Affected by Haditha Allegations
» Don Surber links with: WaPo falls for don’t ask, don’t tell myth

The Whatziss, Day Three.

Today you'll get it. You're really very close and have the target bracketed.

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This will put you over the top.

Okay. More help is needed. Try this.

Update!

And, we have a winner. MajMike, who finally divined the gizmo as the 21mm sub-caliber training rocket for the Brit version of the M72 LAW.

Thank you for playing our game.

Tomorrow - something completely different, and probably just as maddeningly frustrating.

Heh - these things make me look smart and all that - but anytime Bill puts up one of his challenges, I'm just as baffled as you guys are. Controlling the subject matter is to control the illusion!

Answering the mail.

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Nicholas, from Smell of Freedom, asked this question in a comment on one of yesterday's posts:

Sorry for being off topic, but I'd like to ask an artillery expert a question as google has drawn a blank.

I noticed some terrorist sympathizers making statements like "Israeli artillery is so inaccurate, it's only useful for attacking whole towns, thus they are effectively terrorists".

Now, I don't think anyone would bother using artillery if it were that inaccurate. Can 155mm artillery reasonably be used for counter-battery fire against targets like rocket launchers or infantry hiding in buildings and expect to hit where it counts? How discriminate is it?

I don't expect they're firing at maximum range. But probably nowhere near minimum either. I understand they've upgraded the American artillery they are using. What kind of accuracy figures would you expect?

Thanks, I'm looking forward to hearing from someone who actually knows what they're talking about.

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Well, lessee. That sounds like someone talking out of the well of deep ignorance, parroting what they've heard elsewhere. (Happens 'round here, too.) After all, that *is* true of Hezbollah artillery, so it must be true of Israeli, right?

The M109-series guns the Israelis are using are designed to be able to hit within 0-20 meters of their aimpoint under standard conditions, using standard (i.e., High Explosive) projectiles.

That requires that you have accurate surveyed (i.e., 8 digit UTM grid) location of both your gun and your target, including the altitude difference, and that you are following the basic steps of good gunnery, which the Israelis I'm sure are. For example, in the picture below of an Israeli M109 howitzer, you notice the smallish box at the base of the cannon? That's a radar chronograph - the fire control system monitors the muzzle velocity of every round fired, and automatically adjusts the firing solution to account for bore wear. If it detects large variations in muzzle velocity from previous rounds, the system will then alert the crew to check to ensure they have current data for things like propellant temperature and projectile weight, and that their ram is functioning properly to seat the round.

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They might be going so far as to be tracking their rounds with radar, but I suspect most, if not all, the counter-fire radars are being used to find Hezbollah's stuff.

The greatest component of error for the Israelis would be the target location. However, if they're using military GPS and laser rangefinders - or have accurate maps of the right scale, they can get sufficiently accurate target location. Another consideration in urban combat are tall adjacent buildings. Depending on the gun-target orientation and intervening buildings, getting to any specific target might be a challenge - low-lying buildings, not so much. You can shift to high-angle fire to try to get around that, but high-angle fires are not as accurate, especially if winds aloft are not supernaturally consistent. It's usually better to just shift to a gun that has a better angle to the target, that avoids the intervening buildings, if possible.

If they are using terminally guided or GPS-guided munitions, they can hit point targets. I've done it, and under combat conditions, it's not hard to do unless the bad guys are shooting uncomfortably close, and even then the round is going to be close.

Mortars, absent precision ammunition (which exists and the Israelis have) are a bit more problematic, but we're talking artillery.

Rockets, it depends. The Katyusha-style unguided rockets are area weapons. You orient the launch rails so they are pointing in the direction you want the rockets to go, you set the quadrant elevation to achieve the *general* range you want, and you let fly - and hope that you get your target by saturation. Hamas and Hezbollah have the capacity to build their own rockets - but their motors are not consistent from rocket to rocket - much less so than the more professionally-produced versions the Iranians supply - but these rockets are pure area-fire weapons.

If you are shooting single rockets, you're just hoping that you get lucky. That's what Hezbollah has been firing. They do sometimes volley fire them, but they don't fire too many at once or the launcher gets detected, which is usually the end of the launcher and if we're lucky, the crew, too. For the most part, however, the crews launch remotely, so that they don't get killed if the launcher gets hit. Not that training a Katyusha crew is a hugely time-consuming task. One reason the Russians invented them and people like Hezbollah like them.

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by John on Aug 16, 2006 | Artillery

Heh. It's a gloomy day at Castle Argghhh!

Being depressed of late with the state of the world in general and politics in particular, and having an especially depressing email exchange with Owen yesterday - this bit from National Review was actually rather bracing.

Today you wrote:

"It's hard to be optimistic at all about Iraq..."

Optimism is for people who believe in progress — in other words, not conservatives. The world sucks, permanently, but let us do our best to bend its suckiness to our advantage, as that is the most we can hope for. I think we have done that in Iraq, with greater and lesser success, but done it we have.

Now, let us count the ways we prefer post-invasion Iraq to pre-invasion Iraq.

1) Saddam, not so much a dictator anymore.

2) Uday and Qusay dead — sad to say and not very Christian of me, but sometimes the world is better when really bad guys get iced.

3) Speaking of bad guys, I like that they seem to be attracted to Iraq as a place to come and visit violence on we Americans. We have fine American fighting men and women in Iraq who can shoot them in the face. This is, on balance, preferable to them coming to Hoboken to blow up shopping malls and then lawyering up.

Please don't contribute to the negativism. Courage. Life sucks, but we're Americans, and that's still as good as it gets.

Indeed. As the troops in the Sandbox observe: "Sometimes, you just have to embrace the suck."

Which inspires me to post this picture... again...

Followed with the Blogfather's observations -

Whatever the merits of the charge that Iraq is a "distraction" from the war on terror, the reality is that arguments about Bush are a larger distraction from the war on terror. For much of the past five years, Democrats not in the Joe Lieberman wing of the party — which is to say the Democratic Party, minus one — have repeatedly pointed to Osama bin Laden's ability to elude capture (as opposed to, say, his inability to once again murder thousands on American soil) as proof that Bush's anti-terror efforts have been a failure. It would surely be nice to see bin Laden's head on a pike, but this is childishly partisan.

When U.S. forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bin Laden's "prince" in Iraq, Democrats presented Zarqawi's demise as good but trivial news. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. — who might (shudder) take over the House Intelligence Committee should the GOP lose the Congress — explained, "It won't stop the insurgency. I have found if you liken it to the drug lords, for example, as soon as you imprison one, kill one, another takes his place."

Why shouldn't this same logic apply to bin Laden and the global Islamic insurgency? Does anyone believe that this polyglot army of jihadist murderers will disband and become TV repairmen the moment bin Laden is dead? This is as naive as believing that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq wouldn't be scored as another jihadist victory. Not only have Hezbollah, Hamas and the rest of the League of Extraordinary Murderers never taken marching orders from bin Laden, but like all jihadist groups they always view such withdrawals as an invitation to even more brazen terrorism.

Indeed. I think I'll go polish a Polish rifle.

by John on Aug 16, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» CDR Salamander links with: Embrace the suck

August 15, 2006

More news from Iraq.

It's not all bad.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces took control of another area of Baghdad on Monday after the latest in a series of transfer of authority ceremonies near the capital.

Army Col. Claude Ebel, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division said responsibility for Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah South, a base of operations for security forces south of the capital, was transferred to the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, dubbed the Desert Lion Brigade. The Iraqi unit will have full responsibility for the Baghdad areas of Mahmudiyah and Rutifiyah, Ebel said.

The ceremony, which included a demonstration of Iraqi military capability and martial prowess, comes as joint Coalition and Iraqi operations continue to rid the capital of death squads and insurgent violence.

“They’re a superb unit. They’re the most developed unit since we first arrived,” Ebel said of the Iraqi brigade.

“What really makes (the brigade) special is their soldiers. These are the sons of average Iraqi citizens who choose to fight for all of Iraq.”


Soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, aka the Desert Lion Brigade, march in a pass in review ceremony at Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah South Monday. The unit is now in control of battlespace in south Baghdad.

Ebel said the brigade has taken initiative by bringing supplies to schools and clinics without Coalition prodding. He also said the brigade has been recognized for their good behavior and humane treatment of detainees.

“That’s a difficult task when you recognize that many of these individuals (detainees) actually tried to kill them,” the colonel said.

Army Lt. Col. Eric Conrad, the military transition team chief advising the Iraqi brigade, said Coalition troops and

members of the brigade have been conducting operations together for some time.

“We’ve learned their culture and become brothers in arms. Once they get the resources and the confidence, they can do anything. Back in the United States we take a year to establish a new brigade. These guys are doing the same thing under combat conditions. It’s truly remarkable what they have been able to accomplish,” Conrad said.

Conrad gives a lion’s share of credit for the Iraqi unit’s success to Iraqi Army Col. Ali Jassim Mohammed Hassen Al-Ferajee, commander of the Desert Lion Brigade.

“These guys aren’t just sitting on (traffic control points). They’re also going out and doing offensive combat operations,” Conrad said.

Conrad said the Iraqi soldiers are brave men who are willing to shed blood for their country.

The Iraqi brigade was established in early 2005 by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. It was the final brigade to be established in the 6th Iraqi Army Division. Monday’s transfer of authority is the latest in a series of handovers as Iraqi security forces continue to assume more responsibility for their own national and local security.

The mixed Sunni and Shia’ area of Baghdad around Mahmudiyah has been the source of much insurgent activity and sectarian violence plaguing the capital in recent weeks and is located in the area often called "The Triangle of Death" or "The Sunni Triangle."

V-J Day, 15 August 1945.

Maggie - sorry, how could I forget Eisenstadt's pic of the sailor kissing your spiritual forbear?

Sailor kissing a woman in Times Square VJ Day - Eisenstadt

TO MY GOOD AND LOYAL SUBJECTS:

After deeply pondering the general trends of the world and the current conditions of our Empire, I intend to effect a conclusion to the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

My subjects, I have ordered the Imperial Government to inform the four Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our Empire is willing to accept the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

The striving for peace and well-being of our imperial subjects, and the sharing of common happiness and prosperity amongst tens of thousands of nations is the duty left by our Imperial Ancestors, and I am the one who has not forgotten about this duty.

The Empire declared war against the United States and Great Britain for the desire to preserve, by ourselves, the Empire's existence in in East Asia and for the region's stability. As to the infringement of other nation's sovereignty and invasion of other territorial entities, those were not my original intent.

By now, the fighting has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the gallantry of our naval and land military forces, the diligence and assiduity of hundreds of civil service officers, and the public devotion and service of one hundred million of our people, the situation on the war has not turned for the better, and the general trends of the world are not advantageous to us either.

In addition, the enemy has recently used a most cruel explosive. The frequent killing of innocents and the effect of destitution it entails are incalculable. Should we continue fighting in the war, it would cause not only the complete Annihilation of our nation, but also the destruction of the human civilization. With this in mind, how should I save billions of our subjects and their posterity, and atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why I ordered the Imperial Government to accept the Joint Declaration.

I, from the start, have worked with our various Allied nations towards the liberation of East Asia, and I cannot refrain from expressing my deepest sense of regret to our Allies. The thought of our Imperial subjects dying in the battlefields, sacrificing themselves in the line of duty, and those who died in vain and their relatives, pains my heart and body to the point of fragmentation.

As for the bearing of the wounds of war, the tragedies of war, and the welfare of the those who lost their families and careers, it is the objects of our profound solicitude. From today hereafter, the Empire will endure excruciating hardships. I am keenly aware of the feelings of my subjects, but in accordance to the dictates of fate, I am willing to endure the unendurable, tolerate the intolerable, for peace to last thousands of generations.

Having always protected the Imperial State in general, I rely on the loyal subject's integrity and sincerity, and I shall always be with you subjects.

If we become stimulated by sensations, and begin to engender needless complications, engage in fraternal contention and strike or create confusion, we will become astray and lose the confidence of the world. We must rally the nation, and continue from generation to generation to entrench the imperishability of this sacred state.

Aware of the heavy responsibility and the long road ahead, we must focus completely on the future's construction, follow strictly the ways of our noble morals with determination and resolution. We swear to foster and spread the glory and essence of our Imperial State, so we will not fall behind the evolution of the world. It is my hope that my subjects will understand my intentions

Short version: They kicked our a$$. It hurts. Their Navy is off the coast, ready to keep kicking us in the a$$. Please stop. My bad.

One reason the Navy was off their coast? A nice, little representative example of decadent westerners?

Rear Admiral Sprague's order: "Small boys - intercept."

Three destroyers and three destroyer escorts went up against battleships and cruisers, in order to save the jeep carriers of Taffy 3, consisting of escort carriers USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70), USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), USS Kalinin Bay (CVE-68), USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), USS Saint Louis (CVE-63) and USS White Plains (CVE-66).

They were escorted by the 'tin cans' USS Hoel (DD-553), USS Johnston (DD-557) and USS Heermann (DD-532), and the destroyer escorts USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), USS Raymond (DE-341), USS Dennis (DE-405) and USS John C. Butler (DE-339).

They faced a force from the Imperial Japanese Navy consisting of 11 destroyers, 2 light and 6 heavy cruisers, and 4 battleships, including the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built.

In the Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, they won. 'Nuff said. The Battle off Samar. Just one episode among many in the Pacific War. That lead to Victory over Japan.

by John on Aug 15, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» MilBlogs links with: Just a little historical note.

The Whatzis - day 2.

Mebbe this will help. Scale is 1:1.

C'mon - you can DO it!Mebbe this will help


Hmmm. Perhaps some color.

Goodness. This one is so hard (or you're so bored/tired of being toyed with/fill-in-the-blank) that you guys have retreated into a sullen been stunned into silence.

Here. Mebbe this will help. A "Magic Smoke" container.

Really. I have *such* confidence.

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack Says Middle East Cease Fire Will "Strengthen Democracy In Lebanon." "The U.N.-declared cease-fire in Lebanon, if fully implemented[emphasis mine], would be a strategic setback for Iran and Syria because it would strengthen democracy in Lebanon and stabilize the border with Israel, the State Department said Monday. 'You will not have Hezbollah roaming freely in the south of Lebanon,' spokesman Sean McCormack said. 'Iran and Syria will not have had the ability to rearm Hezbollah.'"

(Barry Schweid, "U.S. Touts Mideast Cease-Fire Prospects," The Associated Press, 8/14/06)

If the peacekeepers are simply a larger version of the toothless, feckless UNIFIL troops already in position... this is just pi$$ing up a rope, and our hands are getting wet... I've seen nothing in the administration of the UN under Mr. Annan to suggest this force will have any better organization, teeth, ROE and success than previous efforts in the region or further south. This situation isn't analogous to the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai - where Egypt and Israel have been generally behaving themselves since 1973.

C'mon, Mr. Annan et cie - surprise me.

by John on Aug 15, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Cease-Fire Sends Lebanese Streaming Home

Annoying officer attitudes, #34,565

This is a great picture.

It's clever. It's funny (especially to a combat zone resident). It's also very counter-productive from an Information Operations perspective.

It plays right into the hands of the enemy, like it or not.

If I were an officer in that chain of command responsible for that vehicle, I'd feel compelled to do something about it.

Probably not enough as far as a resident of Foggy Bottom or a MSM talking head is concerned, but a change that would make a 180-degree difference in the take-away from the pic.*

This photograph digitally manipulated with editing software!

H/t, Strategy Page.


*When digitally manipulating pictures (as this was) for the purposes of influencing public opinion the Armorer recommends Adobe Photoshop®! Also, take credit for your work.

Morning chow in the Guard's Mess.

The soldier's day is run by the bugle. Not so much now as back in the day, but here are times to be places and do things, and calls to regulate and announce those activities.

Consequently, the soldiery tend to become creatures of habit. One of things I like about working on post is Retreat, when they sound To The Colors, fire the cannon, and lower the flag to the sound of Retreat. I'm one of those guys who doesn't hang around the entrance to the building, waiting for all it all be over so I won't have to do the Parade Rest, Attention, Salute stuff. I *like* rendering honors. But that's just me.

Castle Argghhh! is no different. We don't have the bugle calls, but we do have our Sergeant Major Barnacle, whose voice might as well be a bugle. And 0530, precisely, is when Mess Call sounds and the Interior Guard heads to the Mess for breakfast before scattering back to their duties or naps.

Interior Guard at Mess

Center bottom: Private First Class Gandalf

Next up pod of three, l to r:
Sergeant First Class Cleo
Sergeant Major Barnacle
Private Hal

Next pod of three, all bunched up, l to r:
Private Little Orphan Annie
Sergeant Rest Stop
Empress Little Girl (She Rulez the Castle)

Off by his lonesome to the upper right:
Private First Class Meriwether

(that's SWWBO's new kitchen floor she mostly laid herself, btw!)

by John on Aug 15, 2006 | Furry Family Members
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: John is cat blogging

August 14, 2006

H&I* Fires 14 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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As one who understands that military spokesmen have to toe the party line, I find this one a bit tough to swallow.

"There is nothing that we definitively have found to say that there are any Iranians operating within the country of Iraq," Major General William Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told a news conference.

If you say so, General.

Has President Bush lost the National Review?

Hezbollah will have much rebuilding to do, and for a while will find it harder to operate. But it emerges from the conflict a winner. It scores an incalculable propaganda victory by having successfully stood up to Israel, and enjoys a surge of support from the Lebanese reaction against the Israeli bombing campaign. It lives to fight another day — and fight it will. Its patrons, Syria and Iran, can only be delighted. In addition to winning in Lebanon, Iran has the upper hand both in Iraq and in the contest over whether it will be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. If current trends continue, the Bush administration’s project in the Middle East will require the same sort of expedient we have just seen in the Israel–Lebanon conflict: a papering over of what is essentially a failure.

Of course, having opinions is easy (just see this space) making the decisions and getting things done is a lot harder. -the Armorer

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... And as we patiently wait for the next seal to crack open, yet another sign is upon us. *****.

Ah; I can here those two pair of Horsemen comming 'round the bend any moment now. - BOQ

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[Links fixed--ed.] Having been justly chastized by the Armorer, I offer this humble attempt to remove myself from citizenship in "Lazy-Denizen Land:" Stickers and Magnets and Well-worn Words. - FbL

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Midday Muster....
Lex posted a story about a little boy named Diego who died recently. He was only six, but went to Heaven with the rank of Honorary Chief Petty Officer. His Dad is a Navy man, and Diego wanted to follow in his Dad's footsteps.

Diego's Mom found Lex's post, and invited us to read and leave comments on his CarePage. (Yes, you have to register, but it only takes a minute of your time to do so) Diego loved his CarePage- thought it made him "famous". He wanted to get 2,000 comments. Mine was number 2,967.

His mother's strength is amazing. In the blog, you'll see glimpses of their lives- including an invitation to celebrate the life of Diego Santiago, and orders to "Come like we come to Jesus…Just As You Are! (Diego went to heaven in Spider Man pajama pants and a “Fruit of the Loom” white cotton t-shirt!)"

My youngest, who is the same age as Diego, LOVES Spiderman, and has Spidey pj's too. I bet I tear up the next time I hug and kiss my baby... knowing that Diego's mommy can't do that anymore. ~AFSis

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… As the galloping continues, what would the state of this pretty little village be, if this Mk82 would have gone POP? - BOQ

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Perhaps more importantly, Boq - what what would the state of this pretty little village be if it had gone off while being handled by the idiot who wiped the markings so he could catch 'em on the photo? -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 14, 2006 | General Commentary
» The Bow Ramp links with: Guns, Guns, Guns

A new week, a new whatzis.

Heh

Go for it.

"Kibble with Mustard"

Bill's post below this one, in the closing of which the title of this post appears, reminded me of a TINS.

Not because I know what kibble with mustard tastes like, but because... well, that would be getting ahead of myself.

January 1, 1970. Fryar Circle (named after Private Elmer Fryar, Medal of Honor recipient), just outside of Sheridan Kaserne, Augsburg, Germany. Home to a tank battalion and an artillery battalion of the 24th ID (FWD). The artillery battalion, the 2nd Battalion, 35th Field Artillery, has just installed a new commanding officer, fresh from commanding a battalion in Vietnam. Back in a time when the military was rather more insular than it is today (yes, we really were) there were many social traditions in place who's purpose was to civilize the Lieutenants and acclimatize their ladies to the Service. Traditions observed more in the breach than with any regularity today. While that represents an overall positive - the soldiery getting out amongst the normals more now than we did then - there has been a loss of the sense of community, too.

One of those traditions was the Commander's New Year's Reception. A stylish, formal affair, officers and their ladies dressed up (before 5PM, Dress Blues) and on a schedule worked out by the battalion exec, everybody trooped by at a designated time and stayed for about 30 minutes, then left. One of the reasons for that was to control the flow - so that the Commander and his Lady could actually meet 'n greet and talk with everybody rather than just flit about in a mass. The intent, while seemingly sterile, was actually to facilitate conversation, as well as letting the Boss and his wife get a sense of the social graces of the officers and what, if any, polishing needed to be done.

Children (i.e., my sister and I) were chattel servants, to be seen restocking the hors d'oeurves and such, and little heard from.

Well, not this reception. They all showed up and no one left. Vietnam was in full swing, half of them had just come from there, the rest would be going over soon. The place dripped with Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and 4 Bronze Stars with V.

We ran out of food. Oddly, we didn't run out of liquor, but it was a different Army then.

A young Lieutenant discovered to his delight a Sweet Young Thing who would listen to his stories of intended martial glory and seemed swayed by his tipsy wit and charm. Tipsy enough his Career Preservation Sensor was intermittent.

His face, when apprised by the battalion XO that he was chatting up the battalion commander's 15 year old daughter was... priceless.

As I said, we ran out of food. The Colonel's Lady informed Number One and Only Son to go rummage up something from the kitchen. My initial foray was fruitful, there being a hitherto unobserved box of Triscuits hiding out in a corner of the pantry, behind the Cheerios. That lasted all of 20 minutes. And that only because the alcohol was flowing freely.

The Colonel's Lady was not one to be put off my the mere absence of comestibles. Number One and Only Son was directed to find more. The Colonel's Lady could hold her liquor... but, well, let's just say Mom wasn't firing on all cylinders anymore. Heh. No one there but my sister and I was...

I've got French Onion dip. And I've got... Milk Bones.

Heheheheheheheheheh. And a room full of drunken officers and their spouses, them what had 'em, anyway.

Y'know, if you break off the little rounded bits (a groove facilitating that process thoughtfully provided by the manufacturer) and put a dollop of French Onion Dip on 'em... they make a passable-looking hors d'oeuvre. At this point, Captain Stewart, commander of Alpha Battery, pokes his head in the kitchen to see if there's any food. Knowing the good Captain to be a Practical Joker, I wave him over and show him my creation. His face lights up with an evil co-conspiratorial grin. "I'll take it from here - you just keep making 'em!" Taking up the serving platter, he sweeps from the kitchen. First victim - his wife (last I heard, a few years ago - they were still married). She partakes, bites into it - gets a funny look on her face, and, oddly enough, dawning recognition flares.

With a dimpled grin, a muttered "You b@st@rd!" she deftly takes the platter (not as drunk as I thought, methinks) and starts making the rounds - while Captain Stewart comes back for more.

The party went on until I ran out of Milk Bones. It would appear that if we'd cut the hogs from the trough early, Mom and Dad would have gotten off a *lot* cheaper that night.

The Duty Driver and his jeep were kept busy ferrying the married sots to their quarters, while a deuce-and-a-half dropped sotted single Lieutenants back at the BOQ.

While I've not tasted "kibble with mustard" per se, I *am* familiar with dog food and condiments.

And to this day, I tell that story to all the officer's kids I meet, when they are forced by their parents to attend a soireé as chattel servants. Usually much to the dawning horror of their officer parents. Consequently, SWWBO and I don't get invited to those parties much any more.

by John on Aug 14, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» MilBlogs links with: Bratty memories.
» Barking Moonbat Early Warning System links with: Look Who's Blogging

Heard In Passing

My back yard abuts those of two others on the street parallel to mine and my neighbors are two elderly ladies who have been friends since they were schoolgirls. Through the years, they shared all kinds of activities and adventures, but these days, their activities are limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards in the shade of the big ol' maple tree which sits on their property line.

I was unclogging the pond pump yesterday morning and, sure enough, they were playing cards. I was going to give them the usual friendly wave "hello" when I saw one look at the other and say, "Now don't get mad at me. I know we've been friends for a long time, but your name has completely slipped my mind! I've thought and thought, but I just can't remember it! Please--tell me your name..."

Her friend just glared at her for at least three minutes.

Then she said, "How soon do you need to know?"

No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished

Okay, the thirteenth is officially over (where I am, anyway), so my 24-hour tour in the Tanker Brothers’ Rolling Fast for Victory is over.

I'd originally figured Sunday would be a good day for a fast, since I’d only planned to do some yard work until dark, then put in a couple of hours’ worth of job-hunting on the ‘net. Nothing to work up an appetite over.

“The best-laid plans” etc.

I hadn’t figured on KtLW ‘n’ me being invited to a Polish Baptism--two kids we’d watched grow from knee-high to marriage-height had turned their parents into grandparents two weeks before. Since I couldn’t beg off, I had about an hour of windshield time to figure out how to

a. avoid chowing down and

b. explain why I wouldn’t be eating without sounding like a total idiot.

And if you’ve never experienced a Polish Baptism, imagine an Italian wedding minus the dancing and substitute paprika for oregano.

Comestibles.

Kielbasa in beer with red cabbage.

Apricot ham slices.

Pierogis, kopytka, rugelach, honey spice cake…

…*sigh*…

However, by judicious application of the principles of maskirovka and the addition of some suitable props (i.e., flatware, a plate with a couple of potato salad smears, a mug of coffee) and some compliments to the ladies about the pastries, I validated the dictum that people see what they expect to see and didn’t collect any adverse remarks about being too good for the food.

Total intake for the day: one glass of water and most of the contents of a 20-cup coffee urn.

And, now that I can munch something without suffering the qualms of conscience, there isn’t anything in the house except dog food. KtLW decided to forego her normal Saturday shopping expedition “because I knew we wouldn’t be hungry after eating all that food on Sunday.”

Rats.

Wonder what kibble with mustard tastes like…

August 13, 2006

H&I* Fires 13 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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First up, the answer to the cockpit question below: According to the source for the picture - Typhoon. I was right, it took about 15 minutes for that answer to show up.

Iran says:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran welcomed on Sunday a planned ceasefire to halt the month-long war between Lebanon's Hizbollah and Israel but described the U.N. Security Council's call for disarming the Iranian-backed group as "illogical."

Full story here.

Heh. The interesting thing is that the Iranians, with a straight face, would say the exact same thing about Hezbollah in the United States... Not that we haven't had some broadly similar organizations - at least in terms of Militias (and some with a religious basis) over here. (Fair and balanced, that's us. - oh, and I'm not putting the 51st in the same weight class as Hezbollah, just sayin').

I was going to comment on the Arms Embargo language in the UN Resolution on the current unpleasantness in Lebanon, but Andy McCarthy covers it succinctly enough:

Re: Arms Embargo? [Andy McCarthy]

How's this for fantasy-land?

Here again is Sec'y Rice in the statement Michael excerpted: "[T]his resolution has an arms embargo within it, and a responsibility of the Lebanese government to make sure that illegal arms are not coming into the country."

Now here is Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora less than three weeks ago on the capacities of his country's forces: "The Syrians are inside our home and we are still too weak to defend ourselves. The terrible memories of the civil war are still too alive and no one is ready to take up arms."

How hard must Ahmadinejad, Assad and Nasrallah be laughing at all this?

I admit, I'm just not smart enough, educated enough, and nuanced enough to understand the Grand Diplomatic Plan here. That Masters Degree was wasted. I want my cereal box tops back! Oh, other than "get 'em to stop shooting at all costs, right this minute." I got that part. Hudna, anyone? -the Armorer

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I see that Princess Crabby is... Princess Crabby.

The boys at The Torch note Canada's props for Boeing's stock.

Jack at Random Fate also comes to Everyday Stranger's defense from the Moonbats of Malkin (mind you - that's aimed at the a$$hats who left the hate in Helen's comments, *not* La Malkin herself). Jack just can't resist that "fair and balanced" bit.

Syrup-Sucking Alan invites us inside his mind for the week.

(Heh, the Denizens must be out having lives... judging from the lackaposting)

Over at Bow Ramp, some reunioning. (JTG - that's all the Civil War was, too - some re-Unioning).

Cassandra takes on the NYT. Poor babies, they didn't have a chance. But, like a dinosaur, the impulse letting them know their dead hasn't reached what passes for a brain.

Hmmm. Trias seems to have donned his tinfoil hat. He has a rather more thoughtful piece on Islam too, if you need seriousness today.

AFSis sharpens her blade...

That's the news from Lazy-Denizen Land - the Armorer

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As someone who had ancestors at Runnymeade thumbing their nose at King John, and who counts Meriwether Lewis among the dead people linked to me... eligible for membership in Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of the Confederacy (apparently my mother's family are contrarians) *this* article is a useful antidote to taking on airs... Chances are you are related to the formerly rich and famous, too. Ya just don't know it (all them bastard children and such, eh?). Which makes sense, when you think of it - if the estimates are correct... half the people who have ever lived... are alive right now. The whole 'blood' thing has always eluded me, anyway. The healthiest critters are the mutts. The purebreds... well, lets just say the Phaerohs lines failed because they kept it "all in the family..." -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 13, 2006 | General Commentary

What the heck, a joke.

It's Sunday. The news is depressing.

It's an old joke, but it still makes me laugh.

The 3-kick rule.

A big city lawyer went duck hunting in rural Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence.

As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

The old farmer replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the United States and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own.

The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the "Three Kick Rule."

The lawyer asked, "What is the Three Kick Rule?"

The Farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom.

The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel toed work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was on all fours
when the farmer's third kick to his rear end sent him face-first into a fresh cow pie. The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Okay, Now it's my turn."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Naw, I give up. You can have the duck."

Yeah, it's mean. What's your point?

Speaking of the Mexican Navy -

We weren't the first or only group to set their sights on the USS John Rodgers to bring her home to the US.

There are several reasons why Ward and Beauchamp Tower Corporation were successful. One of the things I owe you is the story of how that all came about.

But two of the key things that convinced the Mexicans that we were serious was our willingness to spend the money, in travel and in prep (The trip down there had to have cost $15K, at least, and that was the second trip Ward has made) *and* perhaps most importantly, our intent to highlight the Rodgers' service to Mexico as the Cuitlahuac.

And when we showed up - with the documentary film crew - they had confidence that we were not just blowing smoke to get the ship.

Here's a shot of the film crew, Rob Harshbarger on the far left and John Nowak on the far right. They're setting up for one of the interviews we did with the Mexican sailors.

Rob Harshbarger and John Nowak setting up filming

While they were doing that, I went up on the foredeck of the Quetzalcoatl/Voegelgesang and took what is one of my favorite shots of the Cuitlahuac/Rodgers.

I admit, there were times when it was damn hot and I was approaching muscle failure from schlepping heavy stuff around - but one had only to walk to the bow and look forward to see why we were there.

To keep the Rodgers from looking like this.

Ships being scrapped at Lazaro Cardenas

Or being a reef. Though I guess burial at sea is a good end for a warship...

Road signs you don't commonly see...

...unless yer one of us.

Some good advice - at least if they're US troops...

One of the many things I liked about Fort Irwin was the historical nature of these signs. I can't find my pic of the PzIV sign...

Sherman Tank Crossing at Fort Irwin (along Barstow Road)

M60A2 Tank Crossing sign at Fort Irwin (along Goldstone Road)

Given my recent interest in the Mexican Navy...

From Strategy Page today.

AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS: The Mexican Helicopter Carriers August 13, 2006: The United States is giving Mexico two recently decommissioned amphibious ships. The two (formerly USS Ogden and USS Cleveland) are Austin class LPDs that entered service in the 1960s. These are large ships, 570 feet long and displacing 17,000 tons. The flight deck can hold half a dozen large helicopters, and support simultaneous landings and takeoffs. The well deck can hold up to 24 landing craft (like AAVs), or four lighter type boats, for transferring cargo and personnel. These ships require a crew of 420, and can carry up to 800 combat troops.

What would Mexico do with these two ships? Mexico has a very long coastline, which is not well-endowed with ports or even good sheltered harbors. A couple of Austins would be very useful in the event operations have to occur in such areas. In a word, disaster relief and coastal patrol. These LPDs are basically floating patrol boat and helicopter bases. The troops berthing spaces could be used for storing relief supplies, in addition to the space already available for some 2,000 tons of supplies and equipment. There are also seven cranes on board (one 30-ton and six 4-ton cranes). The elevator from the flight deck to the hanger deck can carry eight tons. There are tanks for 224,500 gallons of aviation fuel and 119,000 gallons of vehicle fuel.

To build new, the Austin class ships would cost about a billion dollars each. They cost the U.S. Navy about two million dollars a month to operate, but the Mexican navy, with a lower operating tempo and lower labor costs, could probably operate them for about half a million dollars a month each. The Mexican Navy is probably the most professional of their services, and is highly regarded by American officers and sailors who have worked with them. This probably played a part in the decision to hand over these two large ships.

The only weapons carried were four automatic cannon for stopping anti-ship missiles or small boats. These have already been removed. Mexico would probably mount a few heavy machine-guns.


The Mexican Navy is probably the most professional of their services, and is highly regarded by American officers and sailors who have worked with them.

I can't speak to the Mexican Army and Air Force - but I'll second this sentiment about the Navy from the article. The Mexican Navy personnel we were dealing with at Lazaro Cardenas regarding the BAM Cuitlahuac/USS John Rodgers were every bit the professionals. It's always great fun working with people who *really* know their stuff, and who have a good time doing it.

If these ships have in fact been decommissioned, it's been very recently. The USS Cleveland was in the news as late as two weeks ago, on her way to the Seattle SeaFair.