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September 02, 2006

Okay - it's out, as most of you know...

The Blog Of War

THE BLOG OF WAR
Front-line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (and some hosers like me, too).

Military blogs have transformed the way we look at war and the military, says U.S. Army veteran and military blogger (“Blackfive”) Mathew Currier Burden, author of THE BLOG OF WAR: Front-line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (Simon and Schuster; September 12, 2006; $15.00). Military blogs—milblogs, for short—give readers an uncensored, intimate, and immediate view of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Military blogs”, says Burden, “have been an experiment in putting lives that are on the line online.”

The first milblogs came after the invasion of Afghanistan, when the U.S. military gave soldiers internet access. Blogging became the perfect way for soldiers to stay in touch with and to tell their stories to their comrades-in-arms, their friends and families, and even the public at large. Milblogs were ideal for filling in the gaps that both the media and the military left out of the war. For the first time in the history of warfare, the public had access to an immediate, uncensored bird’s-eye view of what was really happening on the ground.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government is now trying to shut down these blogs and otherwise censor them. THE BLOG OF WAR could very well be one of the last real-time records of the war told by our troops as they risk their lives.

After the death of a friend in Iraq, Burden started his own blog, Blackfive.net, in mid-2003 to support the troops fighting the War on Terror and tell their stories. Blackfive.net quickly became one of the most visited and linked blogs and has won consecutive “Best Military Blog” honors in the Weblog Awards. Now, Matt Burden has collected some of the most riveting and insightful work by other bloggers in THE BLOG OF WAR.

In it you will meet:
• The Warriors. Each day they must go into battle “to fight the dragons.” Readers who have never heard a shot fired in anger will come closer to knowing what it’s like to enter a known terrorist safe house or patrol the streets of Baghdad.

• The Leaders. Combat leadership can be the toughest and loneliest job in the world. “Seldom is the average American subjected to decisions of right and wrong where consequences result in death,” says one soldier.

• The Healers. The medics who staunch the blood and patch the wounds of their fellow soldiers on the wretched expanses of the battlefield, working feverishly between the next bullet and the nearest hospital to keep their buddies alive.

• Heroes from the Homefront. Having a loved one in harm’s way is a very stressful and trying experience. Some relatives get help from friends, family, and neighbors. Many others, however, especially those on bases or in neighborhoods where everyone is deployed, can find themselves struggling alone.

• The Fallen. Not everyone makes it back home: bloggers pay tribute to those who have fallen in defense of their country – spouses mourn their husbands, soldiers mourn not only their comrades but their Iraqi friends as well, and heartbreaking last letters home are shared.

• Homecoming. Soldiers share their poignant accounts of homecoming. Some soldiers have been injured and others have wounds that can’t be seen. Words can’t really describe what it is for them to come back in one piece and be reunited with their loved ones, but THE BLOG OF WAR conveys these emotionally charged moments as few books ever have.

Military bloggers offer the public unfettered access to the War on Terror. The public does not have to wait weeks or months to hear what’s happened, nor settle for the government’s approved messages. In the past, there were only three sources from which the public could learn about a war: Combat correspondents, who sometimes wrote in the midst of action but just as often did not; government reports, which were often a mix of truth, propaganda and even disinformation; and soldiers who gave their own accounts of what they witnessed in letters to friends and family, accounts sometimes censored by the military, and always written and received well after the fighting had subsided.

THE BLOG OF WAR is a remarkable account of men and women as they actually experience the trials and tribulations of war on the battlefield, where our soldiers must daily test their humanity against harrowing episodes of the horror and fear. Readers are certain to have a better understanding and a greater respect for those who risk their lives for their country in these most turbulent times.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew Currier Burden [better known as Matty O'Blackfive!] enlisted in the military when he was seventeen. He left the military as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve in July 2001. He has a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Chicago and works as an IT executive in Chicago.

ABOUT THE BOOK
THE BLOG OF WAR
By Matthew Currier Burden
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 12, 2006
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 0-7432-9418-1


Get yours here - at Amazon, hey, c'mon, it's only $10.20 plus shipping!


Kewl, huh? I finally wrote something that wasn't assigned to me by the government and printed by the government. Someone else actually chose, oh, a couple hunnerd of my words, interspersed among a thousand or so other words, and thought they were worth including. I've got six pages in a book that is *actually* in bookstores, for sale. Kinda neat.

Of course, me being me, there is one small, teeny glitch. Funny thing 'bout the Internet - nobody knows you're a dog, right?

Back in the early days, when the 'net wasn't overrun with blogs like it is now, and mediocre blogs like this one could have pretensions of grandeur - there were those out there like Eric of Straight White Guy who though I was a General!

Later on, Donnie of Jebus fame thought I was a Colonel.

Still later, Matty O'Blackfive thinks (well, thought, we having chatted about it) I was a Lieutenant Colonel, because that's how I'm credited in the book.

Close, but no cigar.

Sigh.

I'm just a retired Major. And in this age of Stolen Valor, I feel like I gotta get *that* out in the open for the Google-monster, less I actually become a Really Big Blogger and get sniped for pretending to be a Lieutenant Colonel.

And it seems the better people know me... they keep lowering their expectations... I guess when someone finally calls me Captain Donovan, it will time to make this space go dark!

by John on Sep 02, 2006 | Book Reviews
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Blogging News

Good Saturday Morning!

Amazing Home Remedies

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and presto! The blockage will be almost instantly removed. [This will also clear a cosmolined bore - just make sure you don't do it in the kitchen. I've found SWWBO gets very put out when I do things like this in the kitchen...]

2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away. [Or when unsheathing bayonets...]

3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs. About lifting the toilet seat by simply using the sink. [I'd vouch for this but SWWBO would *kill* me]

4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer. [I can vouch for this one.]

5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button. [Or drinking that beer]

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.

7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget all about the toothache.

8. Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really are: You only need two tools - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

9. Remember: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

10. SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES...THEY ARE NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING, BUT...THEY STILL BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN YOU PUSH THEM DOWN A FLIGHT OF STAIRS

September 01, 2006

H&I* Fires 1 Sep 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. This brings a new dimension to the term "woody". It's work-safe, though it is most definitely not Miss Thang Safe.

Heh. I should be so healthy.


As a special concession, ''Buster" Martin is being given a day off work today. It is, after all, his 100th birthday.

Yep, taking a day off from work. H/t, CAPT H.

It's a bemusing cost - but I can't argue, given I'm involved in saving a WWII Destroyer (albeit at a lesser cost than this project...) but I always did like the Vulcan - they were just cool to see when they flew by. H/t also to CAPT H.

Snerk. Simply, snerk. Good on ya, Blob. H/t, SWWBO. -the Armorer

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Killer McFlurry??? No more! ~AFSis

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[grumbling about Denizennes stomping his stuff while posting theirs - let's try again!]

In the comments, Denizen Jim B points us to this interesting tidbit... shades of selling scrap metal to Japan in the 30's, here's Darwinian Capitalism at work...

US car theft rings probed for ties to Iraq bombings By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | October 2, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The FBI's counterterrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior government officials.

Maggie - you keep an eye on this, eh? -the Armorer

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BORAT, U da Man!!! - BOQ

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Gotta read Cassandra's Coffee Snorters today! For the Denizennes - how about a little Israeli soldier pr0n, courtesy of Mary Katherine Ham? There's even some gun pr0n and Panzer pr0n in there for the guys. -the Armorer

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Heh. The Washington Post Editorial board opines: "It's unfortunate so many people took him seriously." No shite, Sherlocks. But when you're target fixated, you tend to crash. -the Armorer

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Goodness Gracious - Princess Crabby steals my thunder! Fine. Saves me having to post on it - but all y'all oughta go read it, since most of us were the Polish Army in the quiz... -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 01, 2006 | General Commentary
» America's North Shore Journal links with: Employement and Unemployment

Gee, I miss the Uniform sometimes...

McFalane's Military AF SPECOPS

Heh. As I sit here, in my cube farm (featureless and unlovely except for the McFarlane's Military action figures ((oh, all right, dolls)) atop my bookholderthingy) haphazardly ensconced in a (badly) converted barracks (these buildings were designed to actually be reasonably cool in the summer before artificial refrigeration became popular - but when you remove all those features so the sun pounds on the bricks, lock the windows, put in walls where none were intended and then wedge in an improperly designed central air afterthought that doesn't cool that well, but, I digress) on the oldest continuously active Fort west of the Mississippi (which is really ironic, as it was supposed to be on the *east* bank of the Missouri river... vice where the good Colonel actually put it ((which was a good decision, actually - the east bank was a foetid swamp back in the day - now it's just... Missouri, but I redundant myself)) surrounded by mostly contractors and a few GS civilians too cheap to take vacation today (aside: What do I miss most at this moment from hanging up the Uniform? Training Holidays!) I find that I have time to, oddly enough, answer Denizenne Cricket's Question:

A 'Flat Daddy?' Good helk. I knew someone in the Army would go around the twist and now it happened. We didn't have them when I was a young bride and I don't see why these women have to be wet nursed through a dedployment. No sir! We said "Flibbertyfloo!" and drove on. [This wasn't the question, I just like the word "Flibbertyfloo!" and wanted it on *my* blog - no reason Cassie should get all the fun, dammit! The question comes next]

In your peregrinations around the web, oh Princess, might I make a request of you?

About thirty or so years ago there was this film...had monks chanting about the shape of the earth, a chicky boo in a disco having a milkshake made in her head and it started with ping pong balls.

Could you hunt that puppy down?

Posted by: Cricket at September 1, 2006 10:46 AM

She asked it over in Cassie's Coffee Snorter, which, even if you read it earlier from my link above, you should go recheck because the comments are a hoot... Oh, yeah - Why Man Creates. And it was 38 years ago, geez, off by almost a quarter!

You're welcome. And of course, now I want to see it. Why? How could I not, after this?

Germ: I'm a germ, I'm a bug. I'm a germ, I'm a bug. [sees a foot] Germ: Louis Pasteur! I'm not a germ, I'm not a bug. I'm not a germ, I'm not a bug.

Now *that's* good humor!

Oh - and the above is why I'm *never* going to get published as more than a blog post buried in someone else's book... I cannot *resist* an aside...

Glenn Ford, Captain, USNR (ret), RIP.

Here something I'm betting you didn't know.

Captain Glenn Ford, USNR

Canadian born American patriot and Hollywood great Glenn Ford passed away in his LA home.

Star of such films as "The Blackboard Jungle", "Gilda", "The Big Heat" and "Midway", he was also a bona fide gunslinger.

Ford joined the Marines in WWII for a two year hitch where he served at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, and he spent a year at the Marine barracks in Quantico, Va. Later he joined the Naval Reserve with the rank of lieutenant commander.

During the Vietnam War, Ford served periods of active duty with the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force. He was a briefing officer on new weapons and served under fire at Da Nang, Monkey Mountain, the Rock Pile, Chu Lai, Pleiku and Quang Tri. Ford also went on at least one mission with the Army's Special Forces... making him the only Hollywood actor to see combat with both the Marines and the SF.

Ford said of his service with the Marine Corps - “It made me grow up. I'll always be grateful to the Marines for making a man out of me.”

Hollywood sure could use more men like Captain Ford.

Amen.

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

H/t, Jim C.

by John on Sep 01, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» MilBlogs links with: Someone you know - but probably didn't.
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Glenn Ford, American Hero, RIP

If you haven't seen this...

...you should.

Follow Israeli Infantry in a night attack. It's long, but worth it.

Some of you vets will find your palms sweaty.

Note to the narrating journalist - they are. They are just as scared as you.

Note the chaos - the not knowing what, exactly is going on. That's how most soldiers see combat - and what we try to ameliorate with Blue Force Tracker, individual radios, ubiquitous night vision... but at the point of contact, yer always lonely.

[Update: Looks like the link may have exceeded the bandwidth, or someone asked that it be removed.

Mebbe if you check back later it will work. You can try a right click and save as - that worked for me - but could also be because I've played it before and the file is stored on my machine (though I did flush the cache to check)]

Unusual Strike Packages.

Toilet bomb loaded on an AH-1H Skyraider, the Paper Tiger II of VA-25, flying from the USS Midway in October, 1965

From an email.

In October 1965, CDR Clarence J. Stoddard, Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572 "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese in commemoration of the 6 millionth pound of ordinance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet!

The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.


I was a pilot in VA-25 on the 1965 Vietnam cruise.

The 572 was flown by CDR C. W. "Bill" Stoddard. His wingman in 577 (which was my assigned airplane) was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).

The flight was a Dixie Station strike (South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with "and one code name Sani-flush".

The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane. It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down. The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard.

One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordinance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. Our checkers maintained a position to block the view of the air boss and the Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward.

Just as it was being shot off, we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "What the hell was on 572's right wing?" There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish that we had saved the movie film.

CDR Stoddard was later killed while flying 572 in Oct 1966.
He was hit by three SAMs over Vinh.

Now, the humorless anti's would demand an investigation into the war crime.

MGS getting to Units.

Stryker Mobile Gun System at Fort Lewis, Washington, being fielded to 4th BDE, 2ID.

FORT LEWIS, Wash. (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) – A long wait is over for Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) crews of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, received its complement of MGS vehicles last month after more than a year of waiting. They are the first vehicles to be fielded in the Army.

“I think its going to give the infantry a whole new dimension of what they can do. Armor and infantry have kept each other at arm’s length for years and years," said Sgt. 1st Class David Cooper, an MGS platoon sergeant with B Company, 2-23 Inf. "We’ve got some growing pains, but once we get out there and they see what we can do, we’re going to be everybody’s friend.”

Each infantry company is slated to receive three vehicles, though crews don't expect to operate together except on rare occasions.

The vehicles carry crews of three, and are equipped with a 105 mm main gun and a state-of-the-art fire control system. The MGS also has an onboard coaxial machine gun that’s fire controlled.

“You can literally shoot smiley faces with it at 900 meters,” said Cooper. “Even minus the big gun we can give the infantry a lot of support.”

The 105 mm is capable of firing four types of rounds: SABOT, a depleted-uranium armor-piercing round; HEAT, high-explosive anti-tank; HEP, high-explosive plastic; and a canister round. The rounds are loaded using a hydraulic auto-loader in the rear of the vehicle.

The HEP and canister rounds give Stryker units new capabilities, especially in urban areas. The HEP can blow holes in reinforced concrete walls, but unlike the rounds from an Abrams, won’t continue through the target and into surrounding buildings. The canister provides as effective anti-personnel capability.

“The vehicle’s basic role is to support the infantry. It’s not there to take on tanks or go toe-to-toe in the wide-open desert like we did with the Abrams,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Ozmet, an MGS instructor from Fort Knox, Ky. “Its primary function is blowing a hole in the wall or blowing up bunkers.”

Over the past year, the crews have been training with TOW-ITAS Humvees or other Stryker variants. Finally having the vehicles gives the crews a chance to delve into training.

“I can actually start focusing on our training, both on our mission tasks and working with the infantry,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Lilley, the MGS platoon leader in B Co.

The MGS also comes equipped with training software that allows Soldiers to train on various engagements in their own vehicles, instead of going to a simulator somewhere else.

Once the 4th Bde. completes training, instructors from General Dynamics Land Systems will move on to equip and train Soldiers in Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Training for those units may change according to lessons learned here, but the vehicle itself is expected to remain mostly unchanged.

“I’m confident that this will turn out to be a successful piece of equipment for us, the infantry and the Army,” said Lilley.

August 31, 2006

H&I* Fires 31 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. Pinnochio converts to Islam... In Turkey, anyway.

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.

"Give me some bread, for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

"Thanks be to Allah," the puppet says later.

Heck, it even includes Les Miserables... Jean Valjean no doubt has converted... but here's guessing that, oh, Thenardier remains very, very, Christian. Just guessing.

What's next? The Wizard of Oz? With the Wicked Witches being, oh, female christian clerics? If they'll cast the Wizard himself as, oh, Kofi Annan, I might read that one... H/t, GOP Vixen. Gee I hope Cassandra will take this on!

How about a little moment of Army Training Zen?

The Heartless Libertarian shares my opinion on Lieutenant Watada's handlers...

Speaking of Lieutenant Watada... Greyhawk weighs in. -the Armorer

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Brab, MCart, Snarkatron, Echo9er - how 'bout you guys get out and find these "armed peaceniks."

The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.

“And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road,” Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

WTF over in your corner of the woods, fellas? HL - don't forget your back-up. H/t, Jim B from the comments. -the Armorer

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What's up with this?

FBI Arrests Head Of Israeli Security At Atlanta Consulate 18:36 Aug 31, '06 / 7 Elul 5766

(IsraelNN.com) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents in Atlanta have arrested the Israeli security officer at the Israeli consulate in the city.

Details to follow.

I'll certainly be interested in those details. -the Armorer

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"American by birth; Columbus, Georgia by choice, honey!" (or so sez the sign held by my Aunt, welcoming home the Little Leaugue World Champions, Columbus Northern League All-Stars) Congratulations, Ya'll! ~AFSis

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They found the stolen Edvard Munch painting, "The Scream". Good for them. I was expecting to find that it had been discovered hanging in the closet in Howard Dean's home office, however. Yeargghhh! -the Armorer

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Gutless weasels. What cowards. My own private googlebomb. -the Armorer

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Lex pulls together the stories that have been sitting heavy on our hearts for what they may portend: Something in the Air... It's a must-read, but I pray he's wrong. And if he's right, I wish I didn't feel so powerless about it. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 31, 2006 | General Commentary
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Sickness of the Soul and the Community
» America's North Shore Journal links with: Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson

Ry picks a fight (or so he hopes)

[This is Denizen Ry's post - direct your comments to him, not me - not because I care, buy hey, credit's credit]


This is going to annoy some people. You’re warned.
62% of American’s back racial profiling as an anti-terror tactic.
I’m in the 37% who don’t agree with the racial profiling of passengers as a means to ensure safety on public transport while I do support the bans on carry on luggage----I’d actually been calling for them for years.

The question to me is one of pragmatism, not ideology or civil liberties.

I cannot deny the enemy access to the ‘battlespace’ of public transportation as a truly effective screening practice would take over an hour, but I can deny you the means to do something nefarious in that battle space---hence, no carry on luggage according to ry. Quick, someone restrain SWWBO before she strangles me. Yeah, I get the cost and the imposition. I’m still for it. We’re in a global war. What have we sacrificed for it?

Profiling just isn’t going to be effective as a means to spot the bad guys. I have a group of friends, brothers, from Mexico. They’ve got Europeans in the woodpile. Girls hitting on them tend to think that they’re Arabs when they were born in Teppa, Mexico. The same works vice versa with the few Iranians I knew back in Orange County----Latinas just thought they were rich Mexicans who drove nice cars and spoke oddly accented Spanish. Shave or trim the beard on many Arab or Middle Eastern men would look like European descended Mexicans to most of us Gringos. Howard Stern once played a game called ‘Spot the Jew’. Every contestant failed. Profiling is going to be playing ‘Spot the Jew’. Or worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack since hundreds if not thousands of Middle Eastern men travel daily.

Add to this that the Matricula Consular is accepted, or in the process of being made acceptable, for driver’s licenses in CA, OR, and WA. Would a DMV clerk recognize a fake MC? You can’t tell by looking and you can’t tell by the name since the documents to get a drivers license were originally forged. And we all know a states driver’s license is the golden pass key in the system we’re talking about.

Now add to this that most things in life follow one simple maxim: The Path of Least Resistance. You start aiming for ME men? They’ll start using women as Hamas has done in Palestine. Go after everyone of ME origin? They’ll shift to home grown Islamists and Middle Eastern descended folk. Go after all Middle Easterners they’ll shift to radicalized African Americans like the DC sniper. Ban African Americans from traveling, and if they don’t burn the country down around our ears, rightly, for doing so then they’ll shift to guys like the kid from Riverside, CA. Let's fight smart instead of fighting harder, okay?

You aren’t going to spot the guy. His job is to blend as best he can. You’re not going to be able to deny the ‘battlespace’ often enough to matter in this mode. Waste of time. Waste of effort. You’re not going to be able to deny the ‘battlespace’ with such a cursory 10 minute check as we’re going to employ. Window dressing as security is what that amounts to.

But denying carry on luggage (and I mean all luggage and electronic devices in the cabin)? I’ve now denied you the means to do anything other than be a sardine in your can. I’ve ensured that the air marshal or pilot/driver, or taken a step toward ensuring, is outgunning whatever bad guys get past the veneer only security check points.

It would require a much larger conspiracy and well connected on, with security being inversely proportionate to the number of people in on the secret, to sneak weapons or explosives onto the plane to do the dirty deeds. Of course the exploit exists---as some studies of Portland, OR airport (PDX) have shown--- but as my old basketball coaches taught me: the key to being a good defensive player is laying a trap for an opponent by making him think you're giving him something and then quickly closing what he thought was an opening.

We can control the cabin environment, meaning what is in it, a whole lot easier than we can control who does and does not get to travel. Mr. Bad Guy is going to get on that plane, bus, ship, and train. That’s his main mission. He trains for it intensively. He works a long time on that task alone while we have to toil away in mind numbing tedium hoping to actually spot the needle in the haystack.

So we take away his chance for weaponry instead. That is something we can control. Sorry, but a spork is not an effective weapon with which to hijack something. If everyone enters a plane with only their keychain, wallet, and a small amount of absolutely necessary medicines we’ve hampered the other side’s ability to operate and intimidate in the cabin.

The other way is not nearly as easy. There are explosives other than TATP that can be made in flight/transit or, more likely, hidden in the mundane items we would all put in carry on luggage. .I’m not saying what, I’m not saying how to do it, and I’m not saying how I know (does the Dr. Evil pinky thing). But I *do* know the what, I have thought long and hard how, and there are such things.

You cool with that? You so sure having toothpaste, deodorant, etc., your laptop and other electronics for your comfort are so important when I can use them to make a bomb to kill you all, bring the country to a screeching halt, and cause billions of dollars damage to the well being to the country? I’m not, and this story here from the Times UK explains the reasoning behind why I am not. Sure, the odds of it happening may only be .005%, but the result is so catastrophic it exceeds our nation’s economic and mental resiliency. Risk vs. risk times outcome ratios are just not in the favor of the ‘I want my MTV’ response. The payoff is just too dang small.

There are things that can be done to close the holes that were found at PDX and control the cabin environment on all manner of long range public transit---that’s the offer them an exploit and close it kind of thing, a trap basically, Val Potestas taught me to do to shut down the other teams high scorer. There’s little we, the traveling public, will tolerate to truly enhance security in the cue to make profiling worthwhile, or any other measure for that matter. We’re just too impatient; and to do anything takes time and a diligence our Constitution enshrined civil liberties cannot coexist with. So it is just a non-starter to talk about racial profiling since we aren’t even willing or able to do that *right*.

So, grudgingly, check all the crap you carry on with you instead. I know it is a pain. A serious pain for some who have to travel for work constantly as SWBBO does (I’m so sorry Beth. You must hate me for this. Sorry. Really, I hate this making life difficult for you and all of those who really have to travel routinely for work.). Yet, where are we to get REAL security when we know the enemy will penetrate no matter what measures we take into the ‘battlespace’? So we take away his chance for weaponry since we can control what people have easily available to them in the cabin/passenger area by taking away everything, and we’re able to scrutinize the checked luggage greatly. Please, join me in the 37% against profiling because it just isn’t going to feed the bulldog. Please? I’ll bake oatmeal cookies and pumpkin cheesecake if you do.
ry

by Denizens on Aug 31, 2006 | General Commentary
» The Thunder Run links with: To Be or Not to Be

August 30, 2006

H&I* Fires 30 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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Not that I doubted it would - but Dusty's Dissertation below is reflected in the NTSB description of the accident - and in the discussion that follows in the comments... looks like you guys laid it out pretty well.

Per Dusty's thoughts:

Polehinke was flying the plane when it crashed, but it was the flight's captain, Jeffrey Clay, who taxied the aircraft onto the wrong runway, Hersman said. Clay then turned over the controls to Polehinke for takeoff, the investigator said.

Per your discussion in the comments:

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Investigators say it only took a moment: The lone traffic controller at Blue Grass Airport cleared a flight for takeoff, then turned his back to handle administrative work.

What the controller didn't see, a federal investigator said, was the Atlanta-bound jet heading down the wrong runway.

Read the whole article here.

Moving along, if you're looking for a linkfest a little out of the usual milblog rut - try Carnival of the Vanities at Lil' Duck Duck.

What with a new cockpit for the A10, Dusty might try to get recalled to active duty... I'm sure, with the AF shedding junior officers, they'd be happy to recall a field grade for cockpit duty...

For those of you with a historical bent... they may have found the USS Wahoo.

CDR Salamander posts about the best CENTCOM slide of the week.... -the Armorer

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Did anyone else catch CNN's Kyra Phillips' potty mouth during President Bush's Katrina press conference yesterday? Yeah, baby.... SNERK!

BTW... I completed my Fast day (no thanks to John and his M&M's story. bassid.) and I'm celebrating with a healthy serving of TOAST!!!! ~AFSis

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Christopher Hitchens conducts an autopsy on the Plame affair. Castle Dennizenne Cassandra weighs in, and Froggy at Blackfive discusses the damage left in its wake. - FbL

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My thoughts on the recent Plamegate news? This:

Most of the behaviors herein discussed match my low expectations for the named players.

But Armitage, absent an articulate rationale not yet made manifest, reveals himself to be a man of little honor.

-the Armorer

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Paul R. Smith Middle School, Holiday, Florida.

HOLIDAY, Fla.(Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) – What began last year as a suggestion by retired Maj. Gen. Fred Raymond came full circle last Friday during a dedication ceremony of the new Paul R. Smith Middle School in Holiday, Fla.

More than 500 family, friends, Soldiers, veterans, legislators, county officials and students were present.

Good. Read the whole thing here.

On the off chance you're still confused... (which I strongly doubt) Damn Good. -the Armorer

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Dadmanly - on sustaining our faith (in ourselves and our instituitions, however we express it) in the face of our enemy's faith. We daren't become what the German soldier was reduced to on the eastern front in 1945 - a forlorn hope. Of course, it's hard when so many strident voices assert, gently, disingenuously, with smooth-sounding words... that that is exactly what we are... and what's more, we deserve to be in that position. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 30, 2006 | General Commentary
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: NTSB: Lexington controller had back turned

Lieutenant Watada...

Got the following comment to my post at Milblogs.

Rick (coming in from a [bogus] Yahoo Germany email address) left this:

The trial is certainly a show, but because that's the only way to wake up some Americans from their materialistic comas. You don't see much coverage in the media about this guy, but you certainly see how people complain about waiting 6 hours for fuel standing next to their gas-guzzling, ozone corroding SUV.

And you people always find it so easy to find some hidden agenda to attribute such actions. What about good old fashion patriotism? The kind this great country was founded upon. I don't see you people questions Bushy boy’s hidden agenda. Where are the WMDs?? Where is Bin Laden? LOL you people...

My reponse? This:


Rick - I was born in Germany and lived there over 15 years. Spare me the "materialistic" jibes. You germans like your creature comforts and toys, too. Just because you tax yourself to a level where you can't have as many... well, that's more making a virtue of a vice than true virtue.

As for the rest of your comments - guess who doesn't read too many milblogs.

I thought it was bad, from a leftist dialectic perspective, to engage in "you people" lumping into categories? I guess not - as long as the people in question aren't... your people.

Moving along -

If Lieutenant Watada wishes to self-destruct, he has that right. But he doesn't get to support one campaign, Afghanistan, and refuse to fight in another, Iraq. Like it or not, it's the same war, in both general and technical senses.

If you'd like to bring up an example from German history, it would be like a German officer agreeing to fight in Russia, but refusing to go fight in, say, Cyrenaica, because, well, he didn't think the fight in Africa was right, and what the heck, the British hadn't done anything to him, he was from Pomerania and the threat there was from the East.

Or, better yet, a US officer refusing to fight Germany in WWII, because, well, only the Japanese bombed the US, so he'll only fight in the Pacific.

Soldiers don't get to choose their fights in that regard. It's all or nothing. And setting the precedent that they can is lunacy, and the road to a Banana Republic.

If Watada was both principled *and* smart, he would have deployed, and then waited for orders to attack an Iraqi target - and *then* refuse. He could have possibly forced a trial about the legality of the Iraq campaign at that point.

But he's not very savvy, his lawyers less so - except for the purpose of establishing Kerry-esque credentials - in that he chose to not obey a deployment order - allowing the government to set the the terms of the trial over missing movement, and failure to obey a perfectly valid and legal order - which is where he screwed up from the perspective you seem to espouse.

The "hidden agenda" is simply watching what Lieutenant Watada and his camp are doing, and drawing all the inferences from that we need.

Patriotism? Perhaps. And if so, a version that is as dangerous as blind, unthinking support - moreso, since it sets the terms that the soldiery get to choose, not their civilian masters. At least in the blind, unthinking support version, they're doing what they're told, and that can, in the event, be modified by electoral outcomes - not the decisions of people in uniforms with guns.

Would you support Lieutenant Watada if he had refused an order to deploy to Kosovo? Another "optional war" fought without UN sanction?

Do you *really* want me deciding where I'll fight? Remember - a popular bumpersticker among military personnel in 2003 was "Iraq first, then France." Nothing to stop us from rolling into Germany a third time in 100 years, eh?

Yet - you don't really fear that, and you don't fear it based not on people like Lieutenant Watada, eh?

Transitioning for the Long Haul... with little help from the MSM.

Oh, I know, they aren't supposed to help, though hindering...

Having heard from an old colleague, BG Dana Pittard (we were Captains and Majors together) yesterday in the NYT, why not again here - from the American Forces Press Service? Interestingly... *this* was probably the press conference that resulted in this article... at the NYT (reg req, go see bugmenot.com). Heh. Compare and contrast what bias (for or against) does for what you read. And ask yourself - who actually did a better job of reporting? There will be an essay test tomorrow. Or you could just hash it out in the comments today.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006 Transitioning for the long-haul By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON — Coalition training teams with Iraqi military units, police battalions and border guard units are making a tremendous difference in the performance and professionalism of the Iraqi security forces, said the commander of the Iraq Assistance Group on Monday.

Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard told the Pentagon press corps in a video teleconference from Iraq that Iraqi forces are well-equipped, but require help in sustainment.

Pittard confirmed that 100 members of an Iraqi battalion had refused to redeploy to Baghdad . The soldiers were part of the 10th Iraqi Army Division, in southern Iraq ’s Maysan province.

Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division participate in a training course to improve close quarter’s marksmanship skills Aug. 16 at FOB Gabe near Baqubah. Department of Defense photo by Army Pfc. Paul J. Harris


Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division participate in a training course to improve close quarter’s marksmanship skills Aug. 16 at FOB Gabe near Baqubah. Department of Defense photo by Army Pfc. Paul J. Harris

“There were some soldiers … that said that they would not deploy as a part of the operation,” Pittard said. “A decision is going to be made whether or not that battalion will actually deploy.”

This is part of the growing pains of the Iraqi security forces, he said. The Iraqi Army now is a regionally recruited force.

“The majority of this particular unit was Shia, and … the leadership of that unit and their soldiers felt like they were needed down there in Maysan in that province,” he said.

The Iraqi government will work on how to deal with the situation, and the Coalition transition teams will support that, the general explained.

Hundreds of Coalition transition teams are operating throughout Iraq . The 11-man units are embedded with their Iraqi units from the battalion through division levels. Advisers also serve with the local Police, the National Police and the border guards. The Coalition Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines comprising these training units work with their Iraqi counterparts to plan and execute operations.

Their efforts extend beyond the kinetic.

From the readiness side, Coalition logistics personnel train up their Iraqi peers on processes and procedures, while maintenance experts work with the Iraqis to ensure their units’ vehicles remain combat-ready.

For now, logistics remains a sore point for the Iraqi forces.

“We are focusing on just basic sustainment: sustainment of fuel, sustainment of ammunition, their medical supplies and their maintenance,” Pittard said. “Those are the key areas that we're focusing on with the Iraqi security forces.”

The general said he sees a long-term job for coalition training teams with the Iraqi forces.

“Our major mission is to help develop and support the Iraqi security forces, and of course to advise them … U.S. forces will be here as long as the Iraqi government wants us here,” he said.

“But I'll tell you … after the majority of U.S. forces leave, we'll still see some level of advisory teams that'll still be here. In fact, I feel like we'll be the last men standing at the end of the U.S. presence here.”


August 29, 2006

H&I* Fires 29 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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Which WWII Army are you?

Heh. I'm... Poland. Followed by the US and Finland. But I'm 94% Poland... and only 70% US and Finland. And definitely not Germany (44%), Japan (25%), or the Soviet Union (19%).


30 Second Movie Review:
Beer Fest. The absolute worst movie we ever paid full price to see that we not only want to see again, but will buy the DVD. Tankards for the mammaries! It was so bad it was worth it for all the inside jokes. -the Armorer

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For years, we have heard rumors that the Kissinger's Skull&Bone Internationalindustrialmilitarycomplex Cabal is developing genetically modified wariors of the future. Call Art Bell; I've got the proof. Tomorrow's Cyber Warior will be able to cover his own Six.

Now; where's that roll of tin foil for me to wrap around me head. - BOQ

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Something that *still* baffles and irks me - we're 5 *years* into the war... and the pay system is *still* screwed up... in an environment where we're trying to find money to pay for things - we haven't ponied up the moral fortitude to FIX THE FARKING PAY SYSTEM! [registration required, see bugmenot.com] It's inexcusable. It's unprofessional. It borders on immoral, given we call 'em up and send 'em into harm's way... and it is an egregrious failure of leadership. NOT.ONE.SENIOR.PERSON involved with the system has been invited to seek employment elsewhere AFAIK. No wonder it's still screwed up. Leadership 101, Fiduciary Stewardship 101. Secretary Rumsfeld - you're on your a$$, sir. Plain and simple. That it's gone on this long puts the blame on one set of shoulders. Yours. Fix it. -the Armorer

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Deadline approaching for filing body armor claims

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) – Soldiers have until Oct. 3 to file reimbursement claims for private purchases of such protective and safety equipment as body armor.

If you've been holding off - get off the dime.

Heh. It's bemusing to see former peers with stars on their shoulders. Good on you, Dana. -the Armorer.

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Snerk. Fascism. Point. Counterpoint. -the Armorer

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Snerk. Joel Stein describes the end of western civilization... -the Armorer

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Let's make this a test of AFSis' commitment in the Rolling Victory Fast. Go talk food to her. Y'know, like the mmmmmm-mmmmmm good Spam quiche (yes, Spam!) we've been gnoshing on for the last two days... pie shell, onions, heavy whipping cream, swiss cheese, eggs... and Spam, glorious Spam!

SPAM SWISS PIE Recipe By : Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00 Categories : Pies Main dish Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method -------- ------------ -------------------------------- Deep dish pie shell (9") Eggs Whipping cream Pepper SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed -(12 oz) Chopped onion Shredded Swiss cheese, -divided Heat oven to 425'F. Bake pie shell 6-8 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350'F. In bowl, beat together eggs, whipping cream, and pepper. Stir in SPAM and onion. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese in pie shell. Pour egg mixture over cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over egg. Bake 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set.

The details can be had here. What, you say, "Ain't this a milblog?" Spam, like M&Ms - a treat for the troops!

1945: According to Nikita Khrushchev's book, Khrushchev Remembers, SPAM is fed to Russian soldiers in WWII. Also, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calls SPAM a "war-time delicacy."

And now for M&M's! (from the M&M's website)

Who would have guessed that the idea for M&M'S® Plain Chocolate Candies was hatched against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War? Legend has it that, while on a trip to Spain, Forrest Mars Sr. encountered soldiers who were eating pellets of chocolate encased in a hard sugary coating. This prevented it from melting. Inspired by this idea, Mr. Mars went back to his kitchen and invented the recipe for M&M'S® Plain Chocolate Candies.

M&M'S® Chocolate Candies were first sold in 1941, and soon became a favorite of the American GIs serving in World War II. Packaged in cardboard tubes, they were sold to the military as a convenient snack that traveled well in any climate. By the late 1940s, they were widely available to the public, who gave them an excellent reception. In 1948, their packaging changed from a tube form to the characteristic brown pouch we know today.

-the Armorer

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NWTF? Way to go, Granny Niple! (am I the only one to find it funny that her last name is just one letter away from being even more obscene than her supposedly obscene license plate? hehe)

Hey John- you KS blokes should consider having this sort of fundraiser. I'm guessing it would be a big hit! ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 29, 2006 | General Commentary

One year ago today...

From USA Today, via the White House "Communications Update":

BILOXI, Miss. — A year ago, President Bush visited this area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and saw piles of rubble strewn over beaches and neighborhoods. He met with people who lost everything.

On a return visit Monday, he said 98% of the debris is gone, the beaches are pristine, and the Biloxi-Gulfport area is slowly rebuilding. He praised the region's rebirth and the resolve of its residents to restore their lives.

“It's a sense of renewal here. It may be hard for those of you who have endured the last year to really have that sense of change, but for a fellow who was here and now a year later comes back, things are changing,” Bush said in the first part of a two-day swing to mark today's anniversary of Katrina.

“There's still challenges. There's still more to be done,” Bush said, noting that it will take “years, not months” for a full recovery.

Was it only a year ago? When Katrina came a'visiting, and exposed just how badly government agencies at all levels could screw things up, and how well others could perform under pressure? How badly the media could cover something? Well, until we saw how well they did for Lebanon...

Regardless, for some of us, it's still yesterday.

I just picked up a copy of The Great Deluge, Douglas Brinkley's well-reviewed and supposed-to-be-evenhanded book on Katrina and the aftermath. I hope so - it will be nice to see it laid out in an organized fashion, vice the chaos that it actually was. Might gain some perspective.

Baby Pictures!

From Publicola, mind you - so you can guess what kind of baby... about 8.5 inches or so and 30 ounces. Werekitty! Sit! Stay!

hey y'all,

I picked this up last weekend. I had ordered it in April. Not crazy about the wait time but it seems to have been worth it.

Witness Elite Match. 4.75" barrel, 33 ounces empty, single action w/ over travel stop, extended mag release, adjustable sights (windage & elevation) & two tone finish w/ rubber grips. Mine is in 10mm. The magazine holds 15 rounds. & it's a steel frame.

It's got polygonal rifling which I'm no fan of but they didn't offer conventional rifling as an option. I may get a replacement barrel for it one day. I'm also thinking about switching out the rubber grips for some nicely figured wood, but I'll see how it shoots before I make up my mind. I'm not crazy about the two tone finish either. I mean it looks nice & all but I might make it a nice matte black all the way around in the next few weeks.

& no I haven't made it to the range yet. I'll try to do a range report on it when I get a chance. Just wanted to share a peek with y'all.

take care,

Publicola

Publicola's Witness Elite Match in 10mm

Larger pics available here, here (note his reading material), and here.

Feel free to send in your baby pictures, too!

by John on Aug 29, 2006 | Gun Rights

A Word from the Cockpit...

For Those of You Who Are Interested...

I somewhat doubt anyone in the media is going to delve too deeply into the goings-on in the RJ cockpit of yesterday's accident in Kentucky, other than to imply they were criminally negligent, sloppy, poorly trained or otherwise AFU. But, because you rarely get a look at what a normal day "up front" in your airliner is like 'cause it doesn't sell papers and journalists are hardly ever interested in the Big Picture anyway, here's some background...

1. The vast majority of today's passenger jets are crewed by two pilots, the Captain and a First Officer--the pilot and co-pilot, respectively. You probably knew that, but what you probably don't have completely nailed down is what each does.

The Captain is responsible for everything, from a safe flight (and not getting a ticket from the FAA, otherwise known as a "violation") to making sure the crew, flight attendants included, are supported/protected on that flight, get timely transportation to the hotel, etc., etc., etc. He/She gets paid the "big" bucks for taking the FULL responsibility for the crew, passengers and safe operation of the jet from push-back to parking and engine shutdown.

The First Officer backs up the boss and either does the flying or backs up the Captain when the latter is actuating the stick.

As far as flying is concerned, the two flight deck types usually swap off--one takes the first leg and then they switch back and forth until the day's done. Sometimes only the Captain can do the flying, based on FAA guidance and/or company policy. For example, in some jets, only the Captain can land out of a full-up autopilot approach and landing--usually a CAT III ILS or "Category Three Instrument Landing System" approach--but the First officer flies the approach down to X number of feet above the ground, at which time the Capt must take it or the F/O automatically initiates a missed approach. This is because this relieves the Capt, in the initial and intermediate portions of the approach, of the task of flying while he's keeping up with where he is in the queue, potential traffic conflicts, where the terrain is, where the weather is, and, finally, looking for the landing surface. In other words, the F/O is "heads down" glued to the instruments following air traffic control vectors and then making sure the jet is on course, on glidepath and configured to land while the Boss is "heads up" safely getting the airplane into the terminal environment for that critical transition from flying in the clouds to seeing the runway and bringing the airplane to a safe and expeditious touchdown, rollout and runway exit at the appropriate/directed taxiway.

2. Some stuff is done exclusively by one or the other. Typically, the only person who taxies the jet is the Captain. That's 'cause the nosewheel steering control--the principal way to get the jet to go where you want it to go at taxi speeds--is only on his/her left side. That leaves the F/O to make the radio calls for clearance, taxi (including clearances to cross runways enroute to the runway you've been assigned, etc.) and takeoff. If it's the F/O's leg, i.e., he/she'll be doing the flying, the F/O still has the radios until the Capt turns the jet over to him/her for the actual takeoff...that happens once the airplane is lined up on the active runway for takeoff. After landing, if the F/O was flying, the roles then swap again, back to the Capt maneuvering the jet to the gate and the F/O picking up the comm responsibilities. Now, having two people involved--one maneuvering the airplane and the other doing the communicating with Ground and Tower--provides a potential for miscommunication or even no communication. However, these jets aren't single-seat for a reason. It takes two to fly them efficiently, thanks to those kinds of design conventions and the nature of the environment they find themselves in. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand two craniums/sets of eyeballs are better than one. However, because the roles are split, the airlines and the FAA have come up with procedures and conventions to help mitigate the risks--"sterile cockpit" procedures, i.e., no unnecessary talking below 10,000 feet, within 1000 feet of leveling off at an assigned altitude, and no conversation other than that associated with ground operations after pushing back (leaving) from the gate or blocking in (arriving) at a gate. There are exceptions (cruising below 10 grand you can talk; if you're stopped on the ground and the parking brake is set you can talk) but my point is the rules recognize the potential for mishap and mandate behavior and procedures accordingly...unfortunately, nobody's perfect.

3. Most of these commuter flights are one of several a crew flies in a given day. Some of my co-workers, having come from "the regionals" (like ComAir) have flown 10-11 legs in one day. That's a lot of flying and every one of those legs may involve negotiating an airport you may never have been to, flying an approach you've never flown, maybe flying a jet on which the systems may not be all functioning, in an environment the human body wasn't entirely designed to operate in, etc. You'd be surprised how fatiguing sitting in a cockpit all day can be, especially if the weather's bad, the traffic's heavy, the schedule's changing due to that weather, the passengers are pissed, etc. NOTE: A buddy of mine was welcoming PAX on board in his old job and was called a "c**ksuc**r" to his face by an irate businessman stepping into the cabin who would not make his connection due to weather...he just had to smile, apologize and resist the urge to choke the bastid.

Ever heard a flight attendant get the flight number and/or destination wrong on his/her initial announcement as people are finishing the boarding process?

I always thought it was weird/dumb/funny...until I started doing this job myself. After a week of this kind of thing, you lose track of both time and geography. In the last three weeks, I've landed at 11 different airports in 8 different states...and I fly a VERY sedate schedule compared to the little guys. By ride #9, the Captain/First Officer/flight attendant probably has to look at his/her schedule or the flight plan/release to make sure the correct flight number/destination is used during the passenger welcome/safety brief. And don't EVEN ask what time/day it is (that's cruel).

4. Mistakes happen...and we, more than anyone, know it. That's why we're in in a state of mild paranoia throughout a flight, from block out to block in, especially on the ground. Every time Ground tells us where to go (so to speak), the instructions are repeated between us, to make sure what we thought we heard was what was said. If there's a question, we ask. If there's confusion, we stop (if necessary) and ask again.

At the bigger airports, there's A LOT of pressure not to ask to repeat a taxi instruction and the Ground Controller's delivery is somewhere around 15,000 words per minute. Don't even think about screwing up a taxi procedure at O'Hare...you will be shunted off into what's called a "penalty box" and sit there, with engines running, burning fuel (at, what? $70+ dollars a barrel?) and the flight attendants fending off passengers with a whip and a chair while the traffic thins out and you proceed, tail between legs, to your now-probably-occupied-by-somebody-else gate.

What do I do when cleared for takeoff? I repeat to the Tower Controller that I have been so cleared and, as I'm doing that, I specifically look at the runway numbers as we roll out onto the takeoff position. If what I'm saying doesn't jive with what I'm seeing, I say something and make sure nothing else happens until we get it sorted out. Why? Because I know I can do exactly the same thing that these guys did.

Bottom line: You can get "set up" and/or set yourself up for a mistake very easily. You avoid the traps by sticking to procedures, not trusting anyone (especially yourself) and singing out when something doesn't look quite right. Alas, as I said, nobody's perfect and circumstances can build to a point where the consequences can be disastrous.

Where these guys tired? Maybe. Were they new to the jet? Maybe. New to the seat (Capt or F/O)? Maybe. Disoriented? Obviously. Did they not follow procedure? Well, yeah...but they didn't recognize it, apparently. Could it have been avoided? Of course...but this will happen again.

by Dusty on Aug 29, 2006 | General Commentary
» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 08 29 Tuesday (late)

August 28, 2006

H&I* Fires 28 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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Bad luck for the writers and producers of the Emmy's last night (worse for the passengers and their families though) - but one wonders, if the crash had occurred at LAX, or Ontario, would they have run with the skit? I'm not the only one who wonders, I see.

Rumsfeld visits Alaska to check out the missile interceptors. (I'd have really been impressed had he visited in, oh, January, but I digress and am just being snarky). He was cautiously optimistic...

He alluded to his own skeptical nature. "I want to see it happen," he said, "A full end-to-end" demonstration is needed "where we actually put all the pieces" of the highly complex and far-flung missile defense system together and see whether it would succeed in destroying a warhead in flight.

"That just hasn't happened," he said, adding that some elements of the missile defense system are yet to come on line, including some of the radars and other sensors used to track the target missile.

Dang Beltway Bandits! (Except me, of course).

Moving on to Iran... some people find exercises like this provocative - I (and lots of people like me) just see them as data collection opportunities. I can't help but wonder - in Iran, at least, are their Universities actual useful teaching and research institutions, or are the bulk of their engineers trained elsewhere, and spend their energy importing, copying, and tweaking other people's stuff? I dunno - I'm asking, given that I've read that a once vibrant learning and explorative culture has been smothered by religiosity. Y'know, just like Christian Universities were hampered pre-Enlightenment.

Apropos of my comments about Feckless Window Dressing comes this bit of information about how UNIFIL went about it's business during the recent dust-up in Lebanon. -the Armorer

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Actually, I suppose this will make the people who so like to call anyone who supports the war who isn't fresh from the box, in the box, or about to deploy to the box a chickenhawk to push the theme even harder...

At Fort Jackson, the Army's largest basic training center, graying recruits are even joining up with their sons and daughters.

For the older troops, enlisting in the Army is an opportunity to pursue a dream that's been set aside because they had to support a family.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Pfc. Russell Dilling, 42, a father of four, including two sons who are in the Army. "I've been living with regret for 23 years."

Read the whole story here.

Heh. Okay - this from a website, Capitol Hill Blue, that tags itself "Rational Reporting of Politics Without Partisanship":

From Capitol Hill Blue

FUBAR
Army officer admits role in Iraq bribery scheme
By Staff and Wire Reports
Aug 28, 2006, 06:07

In the latest example of widespread corruption among the millions of dollars wasted by the U.S. government in Iraq, a former U.S. Army Reserve officer admitted Friday that he steered millions of dollars in Iraq-reconstruction contracts in exchange for jewelry, computers, cigars and sexual favors.

Bruce D. Hopfengardner, 46, of Fredericksburg, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

Hopfengardner served as a special adviser to the U.S.-led occupation forces, recommending funding for projects on law enforcement facilities in Iraq.

He admitted conspiring with Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania, Robert J. Stein Jr., a former Defense Department contract official, and others to create a corrupt bidding process that included the theft of $2 million in reconstruction money.

Hopfengardner is the first military officer to plead guilty in the conspiracy. Bloom and Stein already have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

Okay, fine as far as it goes... except that, aside from these three bozos, they don't offer any other data, links, references, zilch, nada, zip - to support the "widespread corruption" meme. Perhaps that's true, perhaps not (and KBR certainly has it's problems here) but it's not supportive of their, ahem, self-image there. Of course, with a website that has a FUBAR category... it can't be *all* bad. -the Armorer

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If you haven't read Smash's Abu Samoud al-Americani's latest, you should. -the Armorer

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Heh. Here's an interesting analysis... All those Corporate Fat Cats give more to the Left than they do the Right - even though they get accused of, and excoriated for... funding the Right. I can't wait (well, yes, I can) to see a liberal rebuttal of this study. I frankly will leave it to someone else to dig into the methodology. Of course - that result doesn't really surprise me - IIRC, Democrat candidates tend to get their money from these same sources, while Republicans, while mining the same groups, get a lot more "little money," i.e., the type I give. -the Armorer

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Cassandra covers the bombshell in the Valerie Plame case.

Your good news for the day - FbL

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Heh. I guess Randy Newman was right after all! *cue music track for "Short People"* ~AFSis

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The Salamander has a great video of singing griping Marines on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. As you listen to the words, keep in mind Iwo Jima was one of the ships that helped evacuate American citizens from Lebanon. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 28, 2006 | General Commentary

Let's try something different...

Rather than me being all snarky and showing off I can stump you by controlling the variables (hardly fair) - I'm just going to slap this up there and let *you* guys show off what you know about what this is and how it works, vice "Can you figure out that this is an elephant when all I show you is a cellular slice from a polyp inside it's trunk?" like I usually do... Hey, I know I'm mean - but you keep coming back, so, we're like co-dependent, right? Don't forget to explain *why* a feature is there, not just that it's there. The whole purpose is to inform the curious.

40mm grenade

Extra credit if you figure out the proper nomenclature and nation of origin. I'm going to leave the comments open - but be honest - put your answer/description down and *then* read everybody else's. Block copying from a manual is okay, if that's how you achieve positive buoyancy for your bateaux, but I'll bring the best original answer (in my humble opinion) up into the post and leave it for the archives... just in case there's any egos out there who need a stimulus.

Snerk.

Okay, you guys need some help. How about the flip side? This is what SezaGeoff saw this morning.

The flip side

Bet it doesn't look like you expected on the inside... but the answer to why it *isn't* the M406 (like Doug thought) is clear to the true grognard. And Doug, aside from color - there are only two (related) things that cause the M406 to differ from this round.

Update: This is the M407 - the training version of the M406 HE round. The difference? Aside from the color of markings? The "ball" portion of the grenade. It's not serrated on the inside for fragmentation purposes, and it wasn't loaded with HE. The M407 was in turn replaced by the M781, which had a plastic projectile filled with a marking powder.

SezaGeoff, first out of the chute (and with the second pic to get him started) was the most thorough of you.

The fuze? It's an "all-ways" fuze - with a set-back and spin safety system that didn't allow the grenade to arm until it was a safe distance away from the firer - not that just shooting someone with the grenade wouldn't distract them... even if it *didn't* explode.

You airplane geeks are no fun...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Yep, it's an R/C aircraft. Heh. With you guys, I'm going to have to resort to posting pictures of the hydraulics in a small corner of a landing gear bay to give you any challenge at all...

Oh, and JTG, take a look - there *is* a hint of the geodetic structure in there. But mostly not, as you observed.

Perhaps not *quite* as obvious as this one...

And for those who'd like to see a Fleet Air Arm paint scheme...

by John on Aug 28, 2006 | Aircraft

August 27, 2006

H&I* Fires 27 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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Either you is, or you isn't - but either way, ya gotta pay!

Trias - on JonBenet (the first mention of that in *this* space, I might add)

Snarkatron has an encounter with Wildlife.

74 on the Anti-Phelps Patrol - guarding a funeral in the PNW from Phred and his vile minions.

The Torch - a source for a window into Canada's military and it's fight in Afghanistan.

Lookit what's on Princess Crabby's reading list.

AFSis has been busy, but she's got a nice little linkfest going. And an airplane picture...

For SWWBO, this has been a busy posting week... a new feature, a punch in the shoulder to men, and, gee, La Schlussel dropped in to tell SWWBO she wasn't a Conservative. If being a Conservative means I have to toe Schlussel's line and agree with everything she says and does... color me a pinko lib.

Cassie sez, Just Do It For The Kids, and she notes more effects of BDS on the MSM.

Alan, of GENX@40 sez... Friday Cogitiferiffic Chatarama Er, um, whatever, dude.

Punctilious gets into some family tradition.

Jack Juxtaposes.

Murray does Pluto, and makes an observation.

That does it for the weekly Denizen round-up... -the Armorer

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The kidnapped Fox News staffers, Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, have been freed. Good. Now, the bad. Having appeared on the video saying that they have converted to Islam - if they renounce it (and go back to the region), under Sharia, it's the duty of believers to kill them. Feh on the kidnappers.

As Andy McCarthy notes:

At the press conference, Steve Centanni stated that he and Olaf Wiig "were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint."

Will Reuters, which thought the "conversion" was newsworthy, report on that?

Or will we get the usual slew of "mainstream" Muslim experts who tell us that in Islam "there is no compulsion in religion," and that jihad is "the inner struggle against sin"?

-the Armorer

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This is SWWBO. I need nominations for a Beeyotch or Bayotch or whatever of the Week for this week. Oh, and the Carnival of the Recipes is up at The Common Room.

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Aug 27, 2006 | General Commentary
» The Thunder Run links with: TAPS, 21 Gun Salute and a Folded Flag by Mr. Robert Stokely
» A Rose By Any Other Name links with: They’re Free!

Just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Yesterday, I noted this:

Heh. The UN Peacekeeping Force for Lebanon starts to take shape. The headline on Yahoo for this article is what caught my attention: "Europe Provides the Backbone for UN Peacekeeping Force". Heh. The "backbone" is a robust mission, robust ROE to support the mission, and the will to carry it out. Otherwise, it's just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Today, the UK Telegraph reports this:

UN will not stop Syria sending weapons to Lebanon
By Harry De Quetteville and Michael Hirst


(Filed: 27/08/2006)

The United Nations peacekeeping force to be deployed in Lebanon is facing further criticism after the admission that its forces will not even be allowed to intercept shipments of arms to Hezbollah from Syria.

Speaking in Brussels before heading to the region, Kofi Annan, pictured below, the UN Secretary-General, confirmed that the 15,000-strong force will not meet Israeli demands to police the routes used by the militia to smuggle missiles from Syria.

"Troops are not going in there to disarm - let's be clear," he said. Instead, the Unifil force will only carry out interception missions if asked by the Lebanese government - which has made no such request. Syria, meanwhile, accused by Israel of re-arming Hezbollah during the recent conflict, has said the deployment of any UN forces near its border would be considered a "hostile act".

Oh, I understand the logic. Lebanon has a putatively sovereign government with it's own army capable of this. The Forms Must Be Followed, even if they are pretty patently bogus.

As I said yesterday:

The "backbone" is a robust mission, robust ROE to support the mission, and the will to carry it out. Otherwise, it's just another feckless exercise in window-dressing.

Window dressing. Regardless of how many and of what quality troops are provided. Window dressing. Anyone remember the disaster that was the initial UN Peacekeeping mission in Bosnia?

Deja vu all over again.

Feckless window dressing.

Winston Churchill famously said that "jaw-jaw is preferable to war-war."

Fair enough. But if all jaw-jaw does is lead to more war, or wider war, or worse war... then all jaw-jaw does, in any particular case, is facilitate war-war.

Read the whole thing here.

Lazy Sunday fun...

What's the most interesting thing about this picture to you?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

by John on Aug 27, 2006 | Aircraft

Snerk!

Carrie makes it to the Notable Quotes section of the right sidebar...

Perhaps we should have another category of conservatives besides paleocons and neocons.

"Narcissocons" with the motto "We are always on our minds". If you happen to be one, you are not allowed to have or spend the older quarters because there's a MEXICAN EAGLE on the back. Oh the horror. . . .