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September 09, 2006

H&I* Fires 9 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...

This oughta be fun...
Men Smarter than Women, Scientist Says
. Yup, that's the provocative headline. The study was based on brain size. Dig a little deeper in the article and you'll find out how flimsy a conclusion that headline really is. Best comment on the article at lucianne.com?: "The brain is just another organ. It's not the size of the organ that counts, it's how you use it...."

PGS at Techography knows the value of an adult beverage. - FbL

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Movies are for watching, not verbally describing, indeed.
It's okay to have a bias (and I suspect moreso if it's politically correct) but it's not a good idea to express it in Canada, if you're a reporter...

OTTAWA (Reuters) - One of Canada's top television reporters has been suspended from her job for praising the country's increasingly troubled military mission in Afghanistan, La Presse newspaper reported on Friday. Christine St-Pierre, a veteran Ottawa correspondent for French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada, wrote an open letter to Canada's 2,300 troops telling them to ignore mounting criticism of the mission.

Note the editorial slant in the article itself. Read the whole thing here. H/t, CAPT H. -the Armorer

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In the category of pricelss: Wheelchair-Bound Woman Shoots Mugger. And right in your backyard, John! - FbL

[The incident occured in Harlem, NY, Fuzzy. *Reported* in a link from my backyard... -the Armorer]

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Our missing AF Major has been found. Alive. Good. Remember - the Buddy System is your friend in these situations. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 09, 2006 | General Commentary

Something to keep you busy today...

...for those that like to play.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

That's the whole thing. Just about 1:1.

So, what izzit? Who used it? How'd it work?

Hint: WWII.

Updated hint: No, it's not a flint striker for welding or somesuch...

It *is* a weapon component, though the item itself stands alone.

In a nutshell--

--the rumors of my

a. demise,
b. moving into a cave in West Virginia,
c. going drinking with Paris Hilton (or doing anything else with Paris Hilton),
d. bodily ascension into heaven, or
e. finally landing another job

are all

1. True
or
2. False

Circle your choice on the monitor using a No. 2 pencil. Insure all erasures are complete or you may receive an incorrect score at the Last Judgement.

*sigh*

Since I got that first-hand experience in the mutability of the defense budget, KtLW has been in full-blown Panic Mode--which means she micromanages *everything*, to include me. If I ain't creating, updating, posting or pasting a masterfully-written, marvelously concise, perfectly-tailored resume for every job vacancy in the Western Hemisphere, I am obviously Wasting Precious Time. And, since she intends to see that I *don't* Waste Precious Time, she spends
Every.
Waking.
Minute.
breathing down my neck.

No blogs. No blogging. I haven't had my Day By Day fix in weeks. I have no idea what *anybody* has been writing about.

Heh. Toss me some gouda to go with this whine...

And why haven't I answered any gmails? Simple. Ever since I tried to answer a query from Trias ("What's 'hooah' mean, anyway?"), I get the following cheery message every time I log in: "Gee, it seems to be taking a lot longer than usual to load your mailbox. If it fails to load in the next few minutes, go to the Help Desk." So, several minutes later (continually minimizing and restoring the daylights out of the screen due to KtLW's unannounced inspections to see if I'm WPT), I click the Help Desk link and get sent here...

Somehow, it seems appropriate.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nothing much else is newsworthy except that squirrels overran the three churches in town last month.

After much prayer, the elders of the Presbyterian church decided that the animals were predestined to be there, and who were they to interfere with God's will?

Soon, the squirrels multiplied…

The council of the Episcopalian church decided that they could not harm any of God's creatures, so they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free outside of town.

Next day, the squirrels were back…

The pastor and the deacon of the Catholic church baptized the squirrels and registered them as parishioners.

Now they'll only see them at Christmas and Easter…

September 08, 2006

H&I* Fires 8 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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First!

Something that came in the email last night. Fighter Chicks! Now I get that joke about the Marine Corps enlistment oath(MmmmHmmm, Air Force Women.). - ry

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CAPT H sends us to Free Market Fairy Tales for Military Phrases You Would Rather Not Hear. Don't fail to click the link from there to the ARRSE... Oddly enough, he also sends us to a discussion of the group he currently hangs his beret with. -the Armorer

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However, when you go look up the Royal Artillery, it was like looking in a mirror:

But even more frightening is the visible aura of tedium which accompanies Gunner officers everywhere. Once they hit the rank of Major they are injected with a special hormone which turns them into doctrine-spouting, jargon-yammering bores. Let's face it, it can only have been a Gunner who invented the meaningless new buzzword Non-Kinetic Strike FFS, or started all that shit(e) about referring to artillery support as Fires.

They even refer to we Gunners thusly: "Paradoxically, Gunners also have a widespread and mostly deserved reputation throughout the Army for being penis mutilatingly boring."

Sadly, I have no believable refutation to offer. -the Armorer

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Part III of Soldier Ride is up: the story of an amazing Marine. - FbL

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Oh, my. I may be getting free books, but I'm not getting free review copies of TV stuff. But this is delicious: Senate Dems are threatening ABC's broadcast license over the 9/11 mini-series. Which indicates *just* how much they fear it. Wow. Talk about "Soviet-style chills" oh, wait, that's the NYT when Rethuglicans are talking trash about television... One wonders what the Grey Lady's tortured thoughts will be this time 'round.

Update: While we haven't heard from the NYT Editorial Board, we have heard from their critic who saw the show.

NEW YORK The film-makers and network responsible for the upcoming miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," which is now under assault for its alleged conservative bias, received critical support from a perhaps unexpected quarter on Friday -- The New York Times.

The paper's TV critic, Alessandra Stanley, declares the film "fictionalized" but still evenhanded.

Others cited in the same Editor and Publisher article didn't necessarily agree...

Chicago Sun-Times TV critic Doug Elfman calls the movie a total "bore" and "amateurish." John Podhoretz, conservative columnist for the New York Post, labels it a "stiff" and attacks the film's depiction of Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger. USA Today's Robert Bianco writes that the movie "has enough trouble just following history. Rewriting history is an ambition it should have left at the door."

Hey, fair and balanced, that's us!

Bob Owens, of Confederate Yankee, has his own thoughts on the subject: The Reality-Based Community's War On Freedom -the Armorer

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Bad Cat Robot sends us this headline: Rove denies holding exorcism in Hillary Clinton's former office. Of course it's not true. He's the Anti-Christ, remember? Or has the reality-based community got that wrong? -the Armorer

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In some overlooked news yesterday, Iraq made another step forward in controlling its own destiny. - FbL

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And in absolutely cool militaria news...

LONDON (AFP) - A fully-functioning replica of a secret British codebreaking machine which hastened the end of the Second World War more than 60 years ago was unveiled.

Turing Bombe machines cracked some 3,000 enemy messages in the German Enigma code every day and are said to have shortened the war by two years.

Previously, it would have taken weeks rather than minutes to decipher the messages.

After the war, British prime minister Winston Churchill ordered that the machines be destroyed, for fear of them falling into the wrong hands.

But 60 enthusiasts have been beavering away for the past 10 years to recreate them from drawings of the individual parts

Too kewl.

Heh. No shite, Sherlock. "Male co-operation is a double-edged sword" -the Armorer

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There’s an unfortunate trend afoot. Seems people of nations with which we’ve been friends for a long time are looking at short term gains in favor of the long term view. In sooth, I can’t blame them. Selling increased chance of danger, even if it is the right thing to do, is never easy.

So let me put into online gamer speak, to increase the chances of people getting it given the number of non-Americans I’ve found on the WoW servers, what this policy really is doing: You’re only lowering the mobs agro versus you, but you haven’t shifted entirely off the list. There is no agro reset button!

Sure, let them target the US. We’re only first on the list. They’re angry at you as well. They’ll come after you when the ‘Tank’ that is the US is dusted. Then they’ll genk you, since your internal squabbles are crippling your militaries, too.

The UK is the genesis of Imperialism. They’re still mad at you for the whole Prince Faisel and Lawrence of Arabia promises being broken thing; and Iran isn’t happy about how you messed them around during the 20th century either. Canada was an Imperial enabler----they blame you for helping dontchaknow. They’ve got beefs with you. They intend on collecting their pound of flesh from you guys too. Just so you know what the score really is people.

It is safer for the Cannuckers (the non-Damian, JHM, Flea, and Al McLeod ones) and the Poms (the non-Owen ones) to point toward the US. It lowers their profile. It sends the crazies after us instead of after them. It is rational---in a game theory fashion. It fits their national goal of protecting their own.

It’s just that this is short sighted. It’s a short term benefit. It’s being the grasshopper instead of the ant. When we’ve been broken down to our stumps you guys are next. Good luck with that.

On a totally unrelated note:
And has anyone seen or heard from the Chief lately?-ry
***************************************

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 08, 2006 | General Commentary
» Random Fate links with: Things have changed…

Heh. Different strokes for different folks.

Otay. When we went to Afghanistan about the only artillery we took was mortars and 105's. I know we eventually sent M198 towed 155's. I don't believe we ever sent Paladin or any other M109 variant. Well, there *were* a lot of Flying Expedited Delivery of EXplosives services available...

Because... well, gee, they're too heavy, not nimble, expensive, etc.

A Netherlander Howitzer 2000 is fastened to the floor of a C-17 Globemaster III at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 6. The 60-ton tank (It's not a friggin' tank, it's a howitzer, nimrods!)  will be flown to Afghanistan on board a C-17 from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Lasky)



A Netherlander Howitzer 2000 is fastened to the floor of a C-17 Globemaster III at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 6. The 60-ton tank will be flown to Afghanistan on board a C-17 from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Lasky)

IT'S NOT A FRIGGIN' TANK! Ahem.

So, here's a Dutch Panzerhaubitze 2000 (the turret will make CDR Salamander salivate), flying to Afstan. A Dutch howitzer that looks a lot like the cancelled Crusader... Nope - not reopening the Crusader argument! Just... bemused.

by John on Sep 08, 2006 | Artillery

Contrary to your expectations...

...this is *not* the back 40 at the Castle. Nor does it represent an unloading of the basement. Really. Honest.

Marines from B Company's 3rd Platoon stand next to one of the many weapons' caches they dug from the ground during Operation Rubicon in Mushin, Iraq, west of Habbaniyah. The Recon Marines unearthed hundreds of mortars, artillery shells, rifles, machines guns, ammunition and improvised explosive device-making materials. Marines found so many caches, they said they could barely make it 100 meters before discovering another buried weapons' site.

Marines from B Company's 3rd Platoon stand next to one of the many weapons' caches they dug from the ground during Operation Rubicon in Mushin, Iraq, west of Habbaniyah. The Recon Marines unearthed hundreds of mortars, artillery shells, rifles, machines guns, ammunition and improvised explosive device-making materials. Marines found so many caches, they said they could barely make it 100 meters before discovering another buried weapons' site.

Just sayin'. Really, Lee, it ain't. (That last is for my local Police Chief and fellow-Rotarian)

September 07, 2006

H&I* Fires September 7, 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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Wow.... it's lunchtime and no one's put the H&I Fires up yet. WEEE! Slow news day, I suppose. Let's see... what can I do with this blank page.
OHH OHH OHH! (that's me, doin' da Arnold Horshack) I KNOW!
I'll post a story about Chinese Strippers! In Donghai County, no less. I can think of a few guys who would like to be "honored" this way.....

How about this? One more reason to build that wall on the Mexican border.

OK, one more. Rantin' Ron's on a Roll again- talking about landing a job at Carl's Corner. If you missed his Hell's Angels story- make sure you read that one too. He cracks.me.up.

The rest is up to ya'll. I'm in the mood for some fun news. Whatcha got? ~AFSis

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How about this disturbing bit of news from Kyrgyzstan about a missing USAF Major? -the Armorer

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I see ABC is "tweaking" the Path to 9/11 Miniseries, putatively under political pressure from outraged Clintonites and others. I haven't seen it, I have no opinion on the substance of the claims - but there is a bit of "sauce for the goose" to this - given the Conservative outcry that caused the Reagan biopic to move from CBS to Showtime... Not arguing the merits, just... sayin'. -the Armorer

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Oh, and by the way, I was asked a question over at SWWBO's place. (This will meet AFSis' request, unlike my previous two entries there.) The answer? Abercrombie and Fitch. You want the Jeopardy part of this? Visit SWWBO. (Oh, and thanks, AFSis - yes, today has been *very* busy) -the Armorer

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The Blog of War - #472 in Amazon sales ranking. And Captain Kevin is back! (see the reviews) BTW, Captain Kev - I only self-censor, I've never been censored from an outside source. Just sayin'. And I don't know who these guys are - but I admit, I like 'em, 'cuz they like us! I and the rest of the contributors to Matt's book are now 5 Stars! Woot! -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 07, 2006 | General Commentary

The Armorer's Messkit...

Yesterday was my Rotary Club's annual picnic. Which is occasion to break out Arsenal stocks - not weapons, this time - but rather the Castle's 1952-vintage Officer's Armorer's Mess Kit.

The Armorer's Mess kit and infrequent Castle Commenter Mike L.

Held every year at the Hunt Lodge on Fort Leavenworth, it's a time to play horseshoes, give out some awards, and eat grilled steak with a table full of potluck sides.

The Hunt Lodge is a beautiful location, and a beautiful building. Originally built by DB inmates as a parole barracks and mess hall, it was taken over in the 1920's by the Officer's Club and was used as an annex. Now it's a special events location, for parties, wedding receptions, unit Organization Days, etc. It's an Armorer-friendly environment because it's just over the hill from the skeet range, so there is a soothing background noise of shotguns firing and, if you move just into the woods, the gentle roar of spent birdshot rattling down the leaves...

The other purpose of this post (other than to put the shiny pate on the web) is to highlight this Rotary activity, hosted by the Rotary Club in Lacey, Washington, as forwarded to us by the Heartless Libertarian:

Military support march grows. Event planned for Saturday 9 SEP 06

LACEY - Thousands of residents are expected to show up Saturday for the fourth annual march to benefit military families. The event steadily has grown since the Rotary Club of Hawks Prairie created it in 2003. A local business owner at the time had lamented about the plight of his niece, a member of the Army Reserves whose four-month deployment caused emotional and financial strain. In its first three years, the march raised more than $100,000 for programs that assist military families. The Rotary Club has set a goal of $50,000 this year; as of Friday, it had raised $45,000. The number of corporate sponsors and marchers also has increased, said Andrew Oczkewicz, one of the event organizers. "Now we have people calling us who want to be involved, not the other way around," he said. He expects 5,000 marchers on Saturday; last year, 2,500 marchers participated. This year's march promises to be the biggest in other ways as well. The prelude to the parade will feature music, speeches, a helicopter rappelling display and two, perhaps three, aircraft flyovers. And Fort Lewis' official color guard will lead the 2-mile march for the first time. The march will feature five honorary grand marshals, including Norma Melo, school liaison officer at Fort Lewis, whose husband was killed in Iraq during a suicide attack on a mess tent in December 2004. Another honoree, Lance Cpl. Shawn Seeley, is a Marine from Kent who was injured while serving in Iraq but remained in the corps and has become an instructor. Fort Lewis is appreciative that there are people in the surrounding communities that support the families regardless of the political divisiveness of the conflict, Melo said during a telephone interview Monday. She said the average American has sacrificed little during this war - except, perhaps, to have to pay a little more at the gasoline pump - while military families have seen spouses and loved ones killed, injured and emotionally traumatized by their experiences in the war zone. “I don't think Americans have felt that pinch," she said. "Military families have felt it." Marines will raise an American flag sent to the Rotary Club by a commander who was serving overseas. The rear detachment commander of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, will read a letter from Col. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the unit that is now serving its second yearlong deployment in Iraq. Gov. Christine Gregoire will attend the event, accompanied by her husband, Mike, a Vietnam veteran. U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., also will participate.

If you go

The fourth annual Military Family Support March will begin assembling at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The first event on the stage will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the march will start about 10:20 a.m. and last about 40 minutes.

Where: Wal-Mart parking lot, 1401 Galaxy Drive N.E. The two-mile parade route will take marchers down Galaxy Drive and west on Martin Way before returning.

Photo offer: Free portraits of military families will be offered when they present a valid military identification during the event.

For kids: This year's event will feature an expanded kids zone with inflatable play areas, free coloring books and snacks, face-painting, clowns and appearances by several local and national mascots.

Donations: Contributions in any amount are welcome but not required.
Individual or team participants also can register for the march by sending an e-mail to mil.family.march@hawksprairierotary.org

More information: www.militaryfamilymarch.com

Good on ya, guys!

Exonerating the dead.

In this post about the deaths of Specialist Babineau, and Privates Menchaca and Tucker, I made the following observation:

Lastly, this result needs to inform the Courts Martial of those soldiers whose actions seemingly sparked this event, if that connection can be made with evidentiary rigor. Not in the guilt or innocence phase - but in the punishment phase.

If that connection can be made with evidentiary rigor...

Heh.

'No Evidence' Ties Dead Soldiers to Mahmudiyah Crimes American Forces Press Service | September 05, 2006

Washington D.C. - Citing media reports suggesting a possible connection between three U.S. soldiers killed in June and the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and murder of the girl and her family in March, military officials in Iraq today issued a statement saying “no evidence” connects the dead soldiers to the incident.

“Past articles could be read to imply that the three deceased soldiers were somehow involved in the alleged crimes,” Multinational Corps Iraq officials said in the statement.

Spc. David Babineau, Pfc. Thomas Tucker and Pfc. Kristian Menchaca – all assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division – were manning a checkpoint that came under attack June 16. Babineau died at the scene, and Tucker and Menchaca went missing. Their bodies were found three days later.

Even though this article addresses a different issue - whether or not these three soldiers were involved in the rape and murders, vice a connection of their deaths as vengeance for the rape and murders, I thought it important to raise the issue back up to the front.

You can read the whole piece at Military.com.

Speaking of the soldiers in question - those accused of the rape and murders, there is an update:

Judge in Rape-Murder Case Denies Gag Order
Associated Press | September 01, 2006
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - A federal judge rejected a gag order that could have kept lawyers and even President George W. Bush from publicly discussing the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her relatives.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said there is "no reason to believe" that a former soldier's right to a fair trial would be in jeopardy.

In a ruling Thursday, Russell also ordered former Pvt. Steven D. Green, 21, to be arraigned Nov. 8 in federal court in Louisville.

Investigators say Green and four other soldiers from the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division plotted to rape the girl in the village of Mahmoudiya. Green is accused of being the triggerman in the shooting of three family members in a room of the girl's house before she was raped and killed.

Defense lawyers had asked the judge to silence a variety of people, from the attorneys in the case to Bush.

The rest of that article is also available via Military.com.

Just saying - because it needs saying...

English/Anglais<br />
AR2006-G020-013<br />
05 Sept 2006<br />
Kandahar, Afghanistan<br />
Canadian soldiers pay tribute to fallen comrades, WO Frank Mellish, WO Richard Nolan, Sgt Shane Stachnik and Pte Mark Graham during a Ramp Ceremony held at the Kandahar Air Field. </p>

<p>Task Force Afghanistan is part of Canada’s contribution to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This mission is about Canadians and their international partners helping Afghans rebuild their lives, their families, their communities and their nation. Canadian operations will work to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict.</p>

<p>The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,000 soldiers, most of whom serve with Task Force Afghanistan at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City. Additional personnel are assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.</p>

<p>Photo by: Sgt Lou Penney<br />
TFA OP ATHENA<br />
Imagery Technician


English/Anglais
AR2006-G020-013
05 Sept 2006
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Canadian soldiers pay tribute to fallen comrades, WO Frank Mellish, WO Richard Nolan, Sgt Shane Stachnik and Pte Mark Graham during a Ramp Ceremony held at the Kandahar Air Field.

Task Force Afghanistan is part of Canada’s contribution to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This mission is about Canadians and their international partners helping Afghans rebuild their lives, their families, their communities and their nation. Canadian operations will work to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict.

The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,000 soldiers, most of whom serve with Task Force Afghanistan at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City. Additional personnel are assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.

Photo by: Sgt Lou Penney
TFA OP ATHENA
Imagery Technician

Damian, speaking at The Torch, sends us to Bruce, at Flit, who has an interesting analysis of who is paying the price in the GWOT. You should go visit both sites, for the comments are instructive, and I'll not snatch and publish Bruce's figures here, you should go look yourself - why? As Bruce notes:

I suspect most Americans would not reflexively rate Canada, Bulgaria, and the pusillanimous Spanish as their greatest allies after Britain. I do wish they'd start.

Bruce isn't speaking to me, this being the most Canadian-flavored US milblog I'm aware of - but I rather suspect he's right. Though... I'll still give the Spanish government a pass.

A commenter at Damian's notes:

cynical joe said... You make a good point about guarding against boasting about death totals, but I do wish some American commentators would stop mentioning how great an ally Australia is without at least mentioning our larger role and larger sacrifice. Of course I mean no disrespect to our Australian allies and friends just an awareness that Canada is doing its share and more.

Word.


Private Graham we've already mentioned here..

Let's put some more faces to some recent names.

Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Warrant Officer Mellish’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.


Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Warrant Officer Mellish’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.
Le 3 septembre 2006, l’adjudant Frank Robert Mellish, membre du 1st Bataillon du Royal Canadian Regiment basé à Petawa en Ontario, a perdu la vie dans les combats contre les insurgés talibans qui se sont déroulés à environ 15 km à l’ouest de la ville de Kandahar. L’unité de l’adjudant Mellish participait à l’opération MEDUSA, une opération d’envergure entre les forces afghanes de sécurité nationale, le Canada et autres partenaires de l’OTAN qui font partie de la Force internationale d’assistance à la sécurité, qui visait à chasser les militants armés de la région des districts de Panjwayi et Zhari, afin que les villageois déplacés retournent chez eux et refassent leurs vies sans avoir constamment peur des Talibans.

Sergeant Shane Stachnik, a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Sergeant Stachnik’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.

Sergeant Shane Stachnik, a member of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Sergeant Stachnik’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban. Le Sergent Shane Stachnik, un membre du 2e Régiment de génie de combat, basé à Petawawa, Ontario, fut tué le 3 septembre 2006, pendant un engagement contre des insurgés Talibans à environ 15 km à l’ouest de Kandahar. L’unité du Sergent Stachnik faisait parti de l’opération MEDUSA, une opération de stabilisation à grande échelle de la FIAS visant à chasser les militants armés de la région des districts de Panjwayi et Zhari pour que les villageois déplacés poussent retourner chez eux et reprendre leurs vies sans craindre constamment les Talibans.

Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Warrant Officer Nolan’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.

Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Warrant Officer Nolan’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban. Le 3 septembre 2006, l’adjudant Richard Francis Nolan, membre du 1st Battalion du Royal Canadian Regiment basé à Petawa en Ontario, a perdu la vie dans les combats contre les insurgés talibans qui se sont déroulés à environ 15 km à l’ouest de la ville de Kandahar. L’unité de l’adjudant Nolan participait à l’opération MEDUSA, une opération d’envergure entre les forces afghanes de sécurité nationale, le Canada et autres partenaires de l’OTAN qui font partie de la Force internationale d’assistance à la sécurité, qui visait à chasser les militants armés de la région des districts de Panjwayi et Zhari, afin que les villageois déplacés retournent chez eux et refassent leurs vies sans avoir constamment peur des Talibans.

Private William Jonathan James Cushley, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Private Cushley’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.



Private William Jonathan James Cushley, a member of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ontario was killed on September 3, 2006 fighting against Taliban insurgents approximately 15 km west of Kandahar City. Private Cushley’s unit was part of Operation MEDUSA, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.
Le Soldat William Jonathan James Cushley, un membre du 1er Bataillon, The Royal Canadian Regiment, basé à Petawawa, Ontario, fut tué le 3 setempbre 2006, au cours de combats contre des insurgés talibans à environ 15 km à l’ouest de Kandahar. L’unité du Soldat Cushley faisait parti de l’opération MEDUSA, une opération de stabilisation à grande échelle de la FIAS visant à chasser les militants armés de la région des districts de Panjwayi et Zhari pour que les villageois déplacés poussent retourner chez eux et reprendre leurs vies sans craindre constamment les Talibans. Photo Sgt Ron Hartlen

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

The Whatziss, revealed.

Cutaway of an XM576 40mm Buckshot Grenade

1st off, a laurel, and hearty handshake to HDW for amusing the Armorer!

This is a cutaway of the XM576- the funny part is that Rey, who essentially got it right (though his correction made his answer worse), did so for *all* the wrong reasons. It is a hi-lo pressure grenade, meaning that the launching charge goes off in the cavity in the casing and bleeds off the gas (under much lower pressure) into the chamber to launch the grenade. This is how you can square having such large, complex grenades made out of lightweight materials, fired out of an aluminum-barreled gun and not be unsafe nor pound the gunner and gun to pieces with the recoil. The pic I posted yesterday was the shot cup, not the cartridge case. So, Rey - you got it right - if incomplete- and cited all the characteristics that *weren't* on display!

The is the initial version of the cartridge which was made in test lots only for lab and field evaluation. It consists of the open-mouthed plastic sabot seen here with the shot cup in the center. The shot cup contained 20 lead pellets, each 18-19 grains in weight. In it's final configuration, the M576, it has 27 pellets.

This is one of two rounds developed for the M79 so that gunners would have a close-in capability (the explosive rounds all required several meters of travel before they armed) for both personal defense and for close-quarters combat, such as clearing buildings or dense vegetation.

The first was a flechette or "Bee Hive" round which fired several dozen small darts. This was later replaced by the M576 buckshot round. With 27 "00" (aka "double aught buck") buckshot, this round was devastating at close ranges. The pellets spread in a cone 98 feet wide and 98 feet high at 300 feet and zip along at 882 feet per second. This round is olive drab with black markings.

We don't make them anymore, nor have we for some time. Early this year the Product Manager Crew Served Weapons at ARDEC (Armament Research and Development Center, aka The Armorer's Funhouse), at Picatinny Arsenal put out a sources sought notice for availability of a non-developmental 40mm short-range antipersonnel shotgun type cartridge that is compatible with the M203 Grenade launcher and one that can be fired quickly without precise aiming, with a high probability of producing casualties. In other words, they're looking for someone who is already making this round or something like it.

On a related note - I went out looking to find some pics and ran across this... idiot. The Armorer *strongly recommends* if you don't know what you're doing, stop doing it. Of course, most people who are like this idiot *think* they know what they're doing. If the story isn't just a fantasy - though the detail is pretty good if it is. This guy posted it in at least two places - the comments are worth reading, as is the peek into the minds of people who are clueless as to how dangerous some things are - even for people who do know what they are doing.

Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers. The title of a new book (out this October) by Time Magazine's Michael Weisskopf, one of the co-writers of the Time Person of the Year article that featured US troops.

Also known as "The reporter who ate the grenade."

I actually finished the book last week, but have taken a week to digest it. Why? Because the book roused great emotions in me.

Mike Weisskopf lost his hand the night a grenade bounced into the HMMWV he was riding in. He picked it up, and tossed it out of the vehicle - and it blew up pretty much in his hand, blowing it off - but, incidentally, saving the lives of the soldiers in the vehicle.

I say incidentally on purpose - because an important sub-theme of the book is Weisskopf coming to grips with that act. An act characterized as heroism by those he saved and others around him - but the title of hero is not one he's comfortable with. If you wish to see how, if at all, he resolves that - well, you'll have to read the book, won't you?

With that as an opener, you then follow the stories of three other amputees -Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez, and Bobby Isaacs - from their injuries through their travails as healthy young men maimed in the prime of their lives.

Since Weisskopf was wounded early in the Iraq campaign, you also get a glimpse at the transformation for the staff of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as they shift from treating geriatric patients at the end of their lives to treating young, fit men, suddenly discomfited in their prime. And the differences are wrenching, and the toll on staff and family is laid bare. As is the courage of these people, and too, the occasional failure of courage, and the impacts. In this, Weisskopf is unsparing.

You'll get to meet Stumpy, Ralph, and Pretty Boy - so doing, get some insight to the process of healing, acceptance, coping and adaptation - not just for the amputees, but those around them, as well.

I had to put the book down, time and time again, as I felt rushes of guilt. Why? Weisskopf was wounded early in the war, and was finished with the bulk of his rehab process before we got Project Valour-IT started. No one's fault - it was established as a result of milblogger CPT Z's wounding, when the need suddenly burst into the open, via Carin's blogging for Chuck, which turned Fuzzybear Lioness into a dynamo of organization.

But as I read, and the nature of their challenges sunk in, I just couldn't help but think, man, we started late! And it bothered me, a lot.

Oddly enough, there is a passage from the book - appropriately coming at the end, where an epiphany for Mike Weisskopf became an epiphany for me. It comes about as the result of a chat with the psychiatrist, Hal Wain. I'll let Mike tell you:

Lying awake that night, I was reminded of one of Wain's comments. I had been expressing my frustration about the fact that such a major ordeal had seemed to have so little effect on me - I was still the same impatient, competitive, and sefl-critical person I'd always been. If I had acted so nobly, why didn't I feel more content? Wain's response at the time struck me as somewhat facile: rather than bring about change, he said, the good deed had left me angry at myself. "You're thinking you could have done the same thing and didn't have to lose the hand. You love a perfect win, and didn't get that perfect victory that you wanted and maybe deserved."

As I tossed and turned in the early hours of Independence Day, the simple truth of the psychologists words hit me. It was true: I was mad at myself for failing to pull off a clean sweep. And it was that anger that was preventing me form savoring the achievement of a lifetime: saving my own skin and that of three others. My failure to get rid of the grenade before it exploded was only the first in a long list of wrongs I would have to pardon before I could finally put the ordeal behind me.

Weisskopf goes on to explain that in terms of what he terms "The Prize" - which is the rest of his life, and those of Damon, Rodriguez, and Isaacs.

I too took a lesson from it, as Mike had expressed something I too did, in my completely-trivial-in-comparison way - my emotions from reading the book were similar in scope - I was angry with myself because we started so late with Project Valour-IT.

Which means I too wasn't letting myself take solace in the fact that we did get it started, and we can serve (and have served) those who were wounded and moved on before we got the program up and running.

And many, many of you are a part of that, too.

And you should read this book - so you to can get a real sense of having been part of something capital-G good.

I've got other things to say about the book, but I'll do those in later posts.

And if you haven't given to Project Valour-IT lately - it's never too late to top off, or just get started.

I got an advanced reader's copy of the book, it's scheduled for publication in October. This blog doesn't have the reach of Matt, or Greyhawk, but it does give me a chance to do things like PVIT, get review copies of books, and have email chats with people like Mike Weisskopf. All for about $40 a month.

Cheap at twice the price.

What follows is a listing of people you should know - and will, if you read the book. In no particular order or grouping - this is as much for the named individuals, if they ever google themselves, or for kids researching a book report... well, their names are up here, and tied to the book. What the heck, it's the least I can do - if you're going to be in Google, this is a good thing to be tied to, methinks.

Michael Weisskopf, Jenn Damon, Pete Damon, Rebekah Edminster, Luis Rodriguez, Lilliam Rodriguez, Bobby Isaacs, Derick Hurt, Victor Vorobyev, Kathleen Yancosek, Skyler Weisskopf, Olivia Weisskopf, Andy McCaffrey, Justin LaFerrier, Isatta Jackson, John Gonsalves, Joe Miller, John Miguelez, Mike Curtin, Chuck O'Brien, Nicholas Cutcher, Krystal, Pat Isaacs, Jack Cox, Renee Cox, Jordan Caldwell, Dorian Perez, Maria Bueche, Paul Bueche, PJ Bueche, Marianne Pearl, Ibrahim Kabbah, Mary Miles, Jim Beverly, Orion Jenks, Ron Buxton, Jim Nachtwey, Billie Grimes, Ramesh Pratnesar, Brian Bennett, Sam al-Hillali, Howard Chu-Eoan, Nina McCoy, Leslie Flesch, Allura Damon, Danny Damon, Melanie Damon, Andy Friedman, Tammy LaFrancois, Marci Stillerman, Judith Katz, John Zenie, Jim Mayer, Hal Koster, James Nicholas, Tami Barr, James Fair, Heath Callahan, Aunt Julia, Jerry the Rockclimber, David Maraniss, Thomas Hinger, Marje Hoban, Hal Wain, Katrina Fair, Maurice Craft, Andrea Craft,

by John on Sep 07, 2006 | Book Reviews
» MilBlogs links with: Stop by the Castle today...

September 06, 2006

H&I* Fires 6 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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Ah, Military Cat Blogging. There is one factual error. The post states: "The cat was named Kauzer by its new owner." This is clearly incorrect. The line should read: "The cat allowed itself to be referred to as Kauzer by its new servant." Just sayin'. We serve 8 masters 'round here - I know what I'm typing about.

Hey, Jack - you won!

WASHINGTON — Bowing to critics of its tough interrogation policies, the Pentagon is issuing a new Army field manual that provides Geneva Convention protections for all detainees and eliminates a secret list of interrogation tactics.

The story is here. -the Armorer

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Jim B wants you to know (if you're local to the KC area, anyway)

Sept 11 Freedom walk

In Kansas City:

There are two events on Sept. 11.

3:30 p.m. Support Our Troops rally at the VFW National Headquarters, 34th and Broadway (near the VFW Citizenship Soldier statue). Participants are encouraged to wear red, white and blue.

5:30 p.m. Wreath laying ceremony at the Liberty Memorial reflection pool. Participants are encouraged to walk around the park after the ceremony.

Sponsored by the Liberty Memorial and VFW.

No pre-registration required.


-the Armorer for Jim B.

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Well, here's one reason to take the train into Seattle from the northern burbs.
- Barb

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 06, 2006 | General Commentary
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: The Paratrooper and the Kitten

A new challenge.

Okay brainiacs, get to work! First clue: Modern, and a touch larger than 1:1

Whatziss?

How is this different from essentially government-owned and operated health care?

California Governor Schwarzenegger has announced he will veto a comprehensive health care bill that passed the California legislature.

The bill establishes a state-run insurer who will pay all the bills. All private insurance would be abolished...

The plan, written by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), would create one public insurer, to replace the existing network of private companies. Private doctors and hospitals would remain, but would have their rates set by the new state agency.

Okay - how is this different from the state essentially appropriating the doctors and hospitals?

Certainly, they could try to achieve efficiencies to squeeze more out of the dollar - which would result in... the state accusing them of overcharging, and promptly lowering the rates, creating a marked disincentive.

I just can't help but think that there is a better way than mandating increasingly poor health care for everybody, however "fair" that may seem.

The uninsured are an issue, certainly. And the current employer-based system has inequities and cost-containment problems of it's own - but de facto rationing of health care doesn't seem a truly useful answer.

Besides, once the state takes over paying the bills... it won't be long before the Nannystate rears it's head, with mandatory PT programs, weigh-ins, control of foodstuff content, penalties for eating beyond your allocated caloric intake, etc - all because the state will then have a legitimate interest in all your previously private behaviors... because they foot the bill.

Just as you see these things floated in Britain now and again...

There has to be a better way that doesn't just give the state such an awesome power grab. I admit I don't know what it is - but I know what it's like to live under that type of regime... just join the military.

There's an LA Times article here.

by John on Sep 06, 2006 | Politics

One of the kewl things about being on the White House mailing list...

...beside getting our daily marching orders (at least that's what the Kossacks contend) we get fun stuff like this, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten responding to Senator Reid.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
528 Hart SOB
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Reid:

Thank you for your September 4 letter to the President. I am responding on his behalf.

A useful discussion of what we need to do in Iraq requires an accurate and fair-minded description of our current policy: As the President has explained, our goal is an Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself. In order to achieve this goal, we are pursuing a strategy along three main tracks — political, economic, and security. Along each of these tracks, we are constantly adjusting our tactics to meet conditions on the ground. We have witnessed both successes and setbacks along the way, which is the story of every war that has been waged and won.

Your letter recites four elements of a proposed “new direction” in Iraq. Three of those elements reflect well-established Administration policy; the fourth is dangerously misguided.

First, you propose "transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection." That is what we are now doing, and have been doing for several years. Our efforts to train the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have evolved and accelerated over the past three years. Our military has had substantial success in building the Iraqi Army — and increasingly we have seen the Iraqi Army take the lead in fighting the enemies of a free Iraq. The Iraqi Security Forces still must rely on U.S. support, both in direct combat and especially in key combat support functions. But any fair-minded reading of the current situation must recognize that the ISF are unquestionably more capable and shouldering a greater portion of the burden than a year ago — and because of the extraordinary efforts of the United States military, we expect they will become increasingly capable with each passing month. Your recommendation that we focus on counter-terrorism training and operations — which is the most demanding task facing our troops — tracks not only with our policy but also our understanding, as well as the understanding of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, that Iraq is a central front in the war against terror.

Second, your letter proposes "working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources." You are once again urging that the Bush Administration adopt an approach that has not only been embraced, but is now being executed. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is pursuing a national reconciliation project. It is an undertaking that (a) was devised by the Iraqis; (b) has the support of the United States, our coalition partners and the United Nations; and (c) is now being implemented. Further, in Iraq's political evolution, the Sunnis, who boycotted the first Iraq election, are now much more involved in the political process. Prime Minister Maliki is head of a free government that represents all communities in Iraq for the first time in that nation's history. It is in the context of this broad-based, unity government, and the lasting national compact that government is pursuing, that the Iraqis will consider what amendments might be required to the constitution that the Iraqi people adopted last year. On the matter of disarming militias: that is precisely what Prime Minister al-Maliki is working to do. Indeed, Coalition leaders are working with him and his ministers to devise and implement a program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate members of militias and other illegal armed groups.

Third, your letter calls for "convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort." The International Compact for Iraq, launched recently by the sovereign Iraqi government and the United Nations, is the best way to work with regional and international partners to make substantial economic progress in Iraq, help revitalize the economic reconstruction and rebuilding of that nation, and support a fair and just political settlement in Iraq — all while preserving Iraqi sovereignty. This effort is well under way, it has momentum, and I urge you to support it.

Three of the key proposals found in your letter, then, are already reflected in current U.S. and Iraqi policy in the region.

On the fourth element of your proposed “new direction,” however, we do disagree strongly. Our strategy calls for redeploying troops from Iraq as conditions on the ground allow, when the Iraqi Security Forces are capable of defending their nation, and when our military commanders believe the time is right. Your proposal is driven by none of these factors; instead, it would have U.S. forces begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of the year, without regard to the conditions on the ground. Because your letter lacks specifics, it is difficult to determine exactly what is contemplated by the “phased redeployment” you propose. (One such proposal, advanced by Representative Murtha, a signatory to your letter, suggested that U.S. forces should be redeployed as a “quick reaction force” to Okinawa, which is nearly 5,000 miles from Baghdad).

Regardless of the specifics you envision by “phased redeployment,” any premature withdrawal of U.S forces would have disastrous consequences for America’s security. Such a policy would embolden our terrorist enemies; betray the hopes of the Iraqi people; lead to a terrorist state in control of huge oil reserves; shatter the confidence our regional allies have in America; undermine the spread of democracy in the Middle East; and mean the sacrifices of American troops would have been in vain. This “new direction” would lead to a crippling defeat for America and a staggering victory for Islamic extremists. That is not a direction this President will follow. The President is being guided by a commitment to victory — and that plan, in turn, is being driven by the counsel and recommendations of our military commanders in the region.

Finally, your letter calls for replacing Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. We strongly disagree.

Secretary Rumsfeld is an honorable and able public servant. Under his leadership, the United States Armed Forces and our allies have overthrown two brutal tyrannies and liberated more than 50 million people. Al Qaeda has suffered tremendous blows. Secretary Rumsfeld has pursued vigorously the President’s vision for a transformed U.S. military. And he has played a lead role in forging and implementing many of the policies you now recommend in Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld retains the full confidence of the President.

We appreciate your stated interest in working with the Administration on policies that honor the sacrifice of our troops and promote our national security, which we believe can be accomplished only through victory in this central front in the War on Terror.

Sincerely,

Joshua B. Bolten

Chief of Staff

by John on Sep 06, 2006 | Politics

We live in interesting times...

WTF, over? This seems to be flying under the radar - Bill Roggio reporting on Talibanistan, otherwise known as “The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.” Anybody got a view of this that explains it in other than noxious terms? Not questioning Bill - wondering why no one seems to think it's important enough to talk about outside of the blogs. At the end of July MSNBCNewsweek reported on "The Rise of Pakistan's Taliban," an article which highlights the problems of Nation-States dealing with tribes... which is looking to be the defining issue of the early part of this century.

Update: The Pakistani government asserts that General Sultan was misquoted:

AMBASSADOR MAHMUD ALI DURRANI: "General Shaukat Sultan has been grossly misquoted in a section of US media today. Let me put the record straight. Pakistan is on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and his associates. If he is in Pakistan , today or any time later, he will be taken into custody and brought to justice. No amnesty has been granted to Osama Bin Laden. The Pakistan Army is in Waziristan for reasons of national interest and not because of external pressure. The Army will continue to stay in Waziristan for as long as the security situation demands. Pakistan is a full partner with the international community, especially the United States of America , in the War against Terrorism. Our resolve is firm."

The Pakistani Embassy has posted this press release.

by John on Sep 06, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Stop The ACLU links with: Pakistan Denies Bin Laden Gets a Pass
» Flopping Aces links with: A Surrender Or Not
» Old War Dogs links with: Bill's Bites

Send in your questions!

As part of the CENTCOM program to push the military's story into more places, spaces, and Google, I've been offered the chance to interview a Marine doing Civil Affairs work in Iraq.

While I've got an idea of what I'd like to ask - I figured more viewpoints would provide a better spread of questions than a whole lot of detail questions about his weapons... (okay, I'm not going to be *that* bad) - but I'd like your input - whether by comments here, or email.

And if you're a troll of any stripe, or an anti- that's fine. You're invited to submit questions, too - just don't make 'em venal and asinine (which really goes for everybody, btw). This warrior is in a dangerous place, doing his best to get the job done, and we should treat him that way. He's a young NCO, so keep that in mind, and he's doing Civil Affairs work in Iraq. Asking him his opinion on attack helo operations in Afghanistan is going to be a little outside his bailiwick (however much he might have an opinion...).

This is all going to be email, and is going to go through the PAO, just like any interview conducted under official auspices. Which doesn't mean we won't get interesting answers, but does mean there's a filter in place that honesty requires be noted. And I'm fine with that.

Meet Corporal Sweet:

Cpl Sweet is from Meridian, Ms and is currently serving in Al Asad, Iraq as a Civil Affairs NCO with the 3rd CAG Det. The main goal of 3rd. CAG Det’s mission is to ensure positive relationships are built with the local Iraqi population. They currently have a trash project going on in the Military Housing Complex of city of Baghdadi, the MHC is an old housing complex that Sadam built and used for his elite Army Officers, this complex is now being used by Iraqi citizens of the area. They are refurbishing schools, and clinics to ensure a better future/ way of life for the local Iraqi civilians. They are also in the process for getting a road project approved in the city of Hit (pronounced Heet).

So - give 'em up!

September 05, 2006

H&I* Fires 5 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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If you're just checking in for the first time since the weekend - don't forget The Blog Of War.

Most of the promised-as-yet-undelivered Project Valour-IT cluebats are in the mail.

The Python 5 - UAV killer. There's a burgeoning market for that missile.

Captain Z - molding young proto-officer minds... I think I'd like to see Captain Z at summer camp. I gotta put the trash out, you guys find some kewl stuff. -the Armorer

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Okay, yer slugs. CPT Z has a request - his brother-in-law is in Iraq now, and needs some buckin' up. Go find out how. C'mon, it's our jobs, people! -the Armorer

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For those who read us (to include at least one former resident of the place) and have an interest in the Old DB, there is a new book out about the United States Disciplinary Barracks - well, the old one, known as "The Castle." I've got a copy, it makes for interesting reading. If you'd like one - if you live in the KC area, the author is selling autographed copies at the Bell Hall Book Store on the Fort this week. Or you can order one via the website, "Saga of Fort Leavenworth Castle." I think my favorite story thus far is about the one successful escapee - who still sends Christmas cards. -the Armorer

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Speaking of The Blog of War - if you need help deciding whether or not to buy it - the WaPo and Vanity Fair recommend it... H/t, Blackfive. -the Armorer

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This comes as a shock - Celebrities are Narcissists. Although it appears that the entertainment industry doesn't create them, it just... enables them. Thank heavens bloggers aren't celebrities - therefore my self-published ruminations don't count in the equation...

Celebrities have more narcissistic personality traits than the general population, and people with narcissistic tendencies seem to be attracted to the entertainment industry rather than the industry creating narcissists, according to a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers Drew Pinsky of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and S. Mark Young of the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

How come this never happened when *I* was in high school? Of course, the naivete of the young Mr. Palar is bemusing.

John McCain is out trying to get shot down again. C'mon, Senator, once was enough! *Note to self - Georgia is *not* on my mind for a travel destination this year. No, the *other* Georgia, not the peachy one.

-the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 05, 2006 | General Commentary
» Dadmanly links with: Blog of War

Sigh. Oh no, not again...

Just as in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," I find myself in this dilemma:

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

I just had an "Oh no, not again" moment. This time regarding the USAF/Guys on the Ground Of Any Army and their liaison (or the whole system) for working with forces on the ground in Afghanistan, as evidenced in another friendly fire death - Canadians again.

Alan at GenX@40 sent a link to this article in the Globe and Mail:

Friendly fire claims former Olympic athlete ALEX DOBROTA AND OMAR EL AKKAD

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

World-class runner and former Olympian Mark Anthony Graham was killed in Afghanistan yesterday, mistakenly hit by fire from a U.S. warplane.

While no death is worth more or less than any others, some are more newsworthy. The war with the Taliban claimed Ranger Pat Tillman, ex-pro football player, and it was now claimed a former Olympian, Private Mark Graham of the Canadian Forces. And, eerily enough, both in friendly fire incidents.

Clearly, there's still work to be done in coordinating close air support. Absent any better news than I have now, I'm not suggesting who is at fault. It's a complex geometry controlling close air, I've done it myself, and there is plenty of room for error in the air and on the ground.

From the Canadian Ministry of Defence:

Canadian Soldier Killed, Others Wounded in Friendly Fire Incident CEFCOM NR–06.022 - September 4, 2006

OTTAWA – One Canadian soldier was killed today at approximately 5:30 a.m. Kandahar time as Canadian troops participating in Operation Medusa, 15 km west of Kandahar City, were mistakenly engaged by an aircraft supporting ISAF combat operations.

The name of the deceased soldier will not be released for another 24 hours at the request of the family.

A number of Canadian soldiers suffered non-life threatening wounds during today’s incident - all but six will return to duty. These casualties occurred on the third day of Operation Medusa, a significant combined effort between the Afghan National Security Forces, Canada and our other NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force.

Operation MEDUSA is a large-scale ISAF stabilization operation aimed at removing armed militants from the Panjwayi and Zhari district region so that displaced villagers can return to their homes and re-establish their livelihoods without living in constant fear of the Taliban.

Regardless of the causes - it's been a tough week for the Canadians, and we'll let Private Graham stand in for all their recent casualties.

0905graham.jpg

0905graham.jpg

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

1SG's are just cuddly teddy bears...

...and ya gotta snerkle at the budding plumber's butt there, too!

September 1, 2006 1st Sgt. Mario Terenas, from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, shakes hands with an Iraqi boy in Ribiyah during a patrol. Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell L. Klika

September 1, 2006 1st Sgt. Mario Terenas, from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, shakes hands with an Iraqi boy in Ribiyah during a patrol. Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell L. Klika

The Whatziss, answered...

It's a British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism. OFS got closest (and essentially correct) when he said "Acid ampule from a time pencil" though Eric's "Acid ampule from a mine" is different only in that it didn't contain the timing element.

Here it is fully assembled:

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism fully assembled

And here it is in it's bits and pieces.

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism disassembled

The color of the fluid in the ampule represented the time delay that would be effected when the ampule was crushed, running from a half hour to two hours, you can see what I mean with this picture of a complete timer kit.

Limpet Timing Kit

The limpet was developed in Britain during WWII in a process that continues today in the form of the Rapid Equipping Force. The REF is an organization charged with taking good ideas from just about anyone, testing them, and if they work, get them to the troops in the field while bypassing the normal requisition channels.

The limpet mine was developed by a Mr. Stuart MacRae, the editor of a journal called "Armchair Science," along with a then-Captain C. V. Clarke, all based on a phone call from the War Office. The first of these mines were made using parts purchased from Woolworths - details here.

Dusty Drops In

[He did it late last night - and, as usual, his stuff ought to be it's own post, instead of crammed into the bottom of the H&I.]

John! Quit it! You want to give me a freakin' heart attack?!? Naming a school after an actual, no shite 21st century military hero? What's Kos gonna think? Atrios? I gotta sit down, I think I'm getting a case of the vapors...the horror!

Or not. In fact, I think I'll just salute smartly (standard greeting to MoH winners, regardless of rank, for those who didn't know) and smile quietly to myself at the gaskets currently blowing in DNC HQ

-P.S. Congressman Murtha? F**k off.

That is all...
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I thought I'd be done by now, but I'm not (too much coffee, a bruised rib cage--what you get when a 52-year-old tries to scrimmage with a 9-year-old female soccer star-in-waiting and hoping the Tylenol with Codeine kicks in soon--trying to run the battery in the laptop to sleep to calibrate it after getting the replacement that isn't designed to explode, something I liked to call the al-Lithium al-Ion Special, etc., etc., etc.).

Anyway, here's a variation on an earlier theme:

Jeremy Glick Senior High School
Thomas Burnett Elementary

Caught on, yet?

How about the Mark Bingham Trauma Center

Got it now? No? OK, last hint...

The Todd Beamer Federal Building.

Of course, none of that'll ever happen if the Deaniacs control the conversation. Thank God for blogs...shouting at the gathering Darkness and remembering what Churchill said:

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world..."

Sorry, y'all but I got no more patience with any of 'em.

H/T to: Mark Steyn -Instapilot

by Dusty on Sep 05, 2006 | Moonbat Watch

September 04, 2006

H&I* Fires 4 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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Since we count a labor union member among Staff here at Castle Argghhh! - Happy Labor Day!

Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, RIP. I suspect if Steve had to choose, he'd have preferred this to being crocodile poop. Nonetheless, comedians the world over will have to find a new source to mine. Here's hoping you were in Heaven's Zoo 30 minutes before Satan knew you were dead, Steve. [Online readers are seeking information about about Steve in such high volume they have apparently overloaded Australian news websites. - FbL]

Moving on -as mentioned in this space previously, Adam Gadahn, Al-Qaeda's "Voice to America" called on the west to switch sides, covert, or die. I believe the Canadian Army has given our answer - 200 Taliban dead to escort 4 Canadians across the Rainbow Bridge. Like I said yesterday Adam - we're just holding up a mirror - you switch sides. Y'know, like... well, no, *not* like this...

Moving along to Denizen Blogs... Fuzzybear Lioness gives (good) relationship advice and ponders the nature of buddyhood.

Princess Crabby is - well, Princess Crabby.

Castle Adjutant Barb - on Staying the Course.

Over at LDM, the Grand Poobah had a Caption Contest. You've *got* to check the winning caption!

AFSis, language maven. Who knew?

As ever - The Torch is a good place to keep up on Canadian Warriors Warring. I do find this bit bemusing, and, in a sense, a telling commentary regarding commitment by governments and people (this on *both* sides of the border, mind you):

Canada is negotiating with the Pentagon to obtain either priority access for transportation of troops on U.S. helicopters in Afghanistan or to lease American choppers in the south Asian country until the military can get its own there sometime in the next three years.

The discussions are designed to give Canadian soldiers in Kandahar assured access to Chinook helicopters, a capability military planners see as critical to move around the battlefield as well as to reduce the number of casualties.

...to lease American choppers in the south Asian country until the military can get its own there sometime in the next three years. Funny thing about lift, once the shooting starts, you never have enough. Once the shooting stops, you always have too much. Of course, the problem is, when the budget drives everything, the delta is covered by... blood.

JTG, keeping an eye out for his own, so to speak, expresses his outrage at *this* outrage. I'm leaning to... odious, I think.

Trias gets all wrapped up in Narcissism...

Hey, Ry - Murray's looking for play-testers! -the Armorer

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Andi, over at Milblogs, points out the new Media Relations Blitz from the Taliban...

"From today, I want to tell journalists that if in future they use wrong information from coalition forces or NATO we will target those journalists and media," Dadullah said. "We have the Islamic right to kill these journalists and media."

We should watch this development closely - if journo's keep converting to Islam and start reporting as they're told by the Taliban/Al-Qaeda... well, if it works, mebbe the DoD media relations manuals need to be re-written...**

Just sayin'.

Whatcha think, Owen? You're a journalist...

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 04, 2006 | General Commentary
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Ernesto drenches Mid-Atlantic

If you've bandwidth in your prayers or positive karmic emanations...

...however you do the cosmic comms thing - spare some cycles for Leesha, SC Eagle, and their family.

Support a milblogger in a time of trial.

H/t, Andi, over at Milblogs.

Posted without comment.

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

"Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE
BUTTER? They're going to STICK!
Careful...CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind?
Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!!! THE SALT!!!"

The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

The husband calmly replied, "I wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

H/t, 1SG Keith.

by John on Sep 04, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» basil's blog links with: Blogrolling 2006-09-05

Okay - enough of a break.

C'mon, whatziss?

Whatzis?

I'll make it easier - Allied, WWII. It's a component, you betcha.

It's just about 1:1. Just a touch larger.

Let your imagination run wild.

Ah-nuld for President.

No, I'm not a fan, frankly. Of Ah-nuld. Well, I liked his movies. Governor? No brief, for or against. I don't live there, but I can only assume he's an improvement on his predecessor. Which wasn't a high bar to clear.

Rammer supports Dean. Fine. Xrlq weighs in. The subject? Amending the Constitution to allow naturalized citizens the right to run for President. Do I have a dog in this fight? Well, oddly enough, I have a Naturalization Certificate (which is a real pain in the butt because I always have to trot out the physical document come security clearance update time). Yep, I'm a naturalized citizen. It doesn't work that way any more - kids born overseas to US parents aren't required to be Naturalized, but we once did. Now you get a Certificate of Citizenship, if I read things correctly Here's the rulez as the exist now. I *can* be President! Well, as long as no one popular or competent is running, anyway. See? Mebbe you don't want us Naturalized types to be eligible...

I say, throw it out there, and if people want to run with it, fine, we can debate it. But I don't think the people are gonna run with it. But the discussions in the comments at Dean's and Xlrq's places are interesting.

by John on Sep 04, 2006 | Politics

September 03, 2006

H&I* Fires 3 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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Let 'em have their day in court.

An Army investigator has recommended that four soldiers accused of murder in a raid in Iraq should face the death penalty if convicted, according to a report obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.

Lt. Col. James P. Daniel Jr. concluded that the slayings were premeditated and warranted the death sentence based on evidence he heard at an August hearing. The case will now be forwarded to Army officials, who will decide whether Daniel's recommendation should be followed.

The soldiers, all from the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division's 187th Infantry Regiment, are accused of killing three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 on a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

And if the death penalty is the outcome, that's the outcome. The Feds haven't been feeding the execution monster much. And the military even less. There are nine guys on death row at Leavenworth currently and the last US military execution took place in April 1961. We've got guys on death row who've been there a long time. If these guys are convicted, and get moved to the head of the line... *that* will get tied up in the courts over the appearance of politics.

Whether this is a Pantano moment, a Manyulet or a Welshofer moment, let them settle it in court.


Moving along to the practices of certain sects of the "Religion of Peace"...

I call on *YOU* Adam Gadahn, to switch sides and join the forces of sweetness and light. I don't give a flying flip if you convert to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc, or not. But if you support the asinine "conversion" like that Centanni and Wiig went through - bring your Koran with the pistol in it to my door and we'll discuss it. Briefly.

CAIRO, Egypt - An American thought to be an al-Qaida activist appeared in a videotape with the terror group's deputy leader Saturday and called on his countrymen to convert to Islam and for U.S. soldiers to switch sides in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

Otherwise, pound sand. I'll become an animist before I would voluntarily (and there is no other real, substantive conversion) "submit" to your version of How Things Should Be. And in other news of Al-Qaeda... Oopsy!

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi forces have arrested the second most senior operative in al-Qaida in Iraq, and the group now suffers from a "serious leadership crisis," the national security adviser said Sunday.

Moving along to funnier topics - let's discuss Target - and the Unintended Consequences of A. outsourcing, and B., not paying attention. People make fun of you. As they should. H/t the Cotillion via SWWBO. -the Armorer

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Oooo! Ooooo! Funnest email of the week - from Lex!

Your pal Owen Dyer has been haunting my door.

http://www.neptunuslex.com/2006/08/31/something-in-the-air/
#comment-13663

The man seems fairly obsessive.

You want him back?

Cheers,

Lex

I said, "Um, nope. You can have him. My treat! " 8^D

It's a lively, very-much-Owen, discussion in the comments. Lex runs a taut ship, people are behaving. -the Armorer

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The latest iteration of the Carnival of the Recipes is up at Trinity Prep School! -the Armorer

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Regarding the new al Qaida video, Walid Phares has an interesting and disturbing analysis. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 03, 2006 | General Commentary
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Army recommends death for accused GIs
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Lots of Sand
» The Steeljaw Scribe links with: Look What Slithered Out from Under the Rock...

In light of Mr. Gadahn's request...

...I was moved to this.

Islamofascism...

Interestingly enough, this poster would hang well on the walls of either side in the fight. Perspective matters.

For any visiting Muslims who are offended - Christian and Jewish imagery is abused in this fashion daily in the Muslim world - and in the secular humanist West, as well.

If you are offended, clean up your side of the aisle, and imagery like this will no longer be appropriate, merely historical.

Just sayin'.

by John on Sep 03, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» CDR Salamander links with: Yea; what John says