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September 16, 2006

H&I* Fires 16 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...

World War II resistance fighter, iconoclast, intellectual provocateur and force of nature Oriana Fallaci succumbed to cancer yesterday. Lex rounds up an excellent eulogy of an extraordinary woman. - FbL


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by Denizens on Sep 16, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» A Rose By Any Other Name links with: Unsung Heroes

The President's Radio Address.

When the Dems email their responses, I'll happily post them, too.


Office of the Press Secretary

Embargoed Until Delivery

At 10:06 A.M. EDT

Saturday, September 16, 2006


THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Monday, I visited New York , Pennsylvania , and the Pentagon to attend memorials marking the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It was an emotional day for me and for our country. On that day, we remembered those who lost their lives, and we paid tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live. We rededicated ourselves to protecting the American people from another attack.

Next week, I will return to New York , where I will address the United Nations General Assembly. I look forward to talking to the world leaders gathered there about our obligation to defend civilization, and how we must work together to support the forces of freedom and moderation throughout the Middle East .

As we work with the international community to defeat the terrorists and extremists, we must also provide our military and intelligence professionals the tools they need to keep our country safe. Congress is considering two vital pieces of legislation to help us do just that. My Administration is working closely with members of both parties to pass these bills.

The first bill would allow us to use military commissions to try suspected terrorists for war crimes. We need this legislation because the Supreme Court has ruled that military commissions must be explicitly authorized by Congress.

I recently announced that 14 suspected terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, had been transferred to Guantanamo Bay . As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed, the men our intelligence agencies believe helped orchestrate the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice.

This bill will also provide clear rules for our personnel involved in detaining and questioning captured terrorists. The information the Central Intelligence Agency has obtained by questioning men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has helped disrupt terrorist plots, including planned strikes inside the United States and on a U.S. Marine base in East Africa, an American consulate in Pakistan , and Britain 's Heathrow Airport . This CIA program has saved American lives, and the lives of people in other countries.

Unfortunately, the recent Supreme Court decision put the future of this program in question, and we need this legislation to save it. There is debate about the specific proposals in this bill, and my Administration will work with Congress to find common ground. I have one test for this legislation: The intelligence community must be able to tell me that the bill Congress sends to my desk will allow this vital program to continue.

The second bill before Congress would modernize our electronic surveillance laws and provide additional authority for the terrorist surveillance program. I authorized the National Security Agency to operate this vital program in response to the 9/11 attacks. It allows us to quickly monitor terrorist communications between someone overseas and someone in America . It has helped detect and prevent terrorist attacks on our own country. The principle behind this program is clear: When al Qaeda operatives are calling into or out of our country, we need to know who they are calling, why they are calling, and what they are planning.

Both these bills are essential to winning the war on terror. So we will work with legislators from both sides of the aisle to get them passed. By passing these critical bills, we will bring terrorists to justice, continue collecting vital intelligence from captured terrorists in a lawful way, and monitor terrorist communications, so we can stop new attacks on our nation.

Thank you for listening.

This comes from the White House Blogger email list. It will be interesting, two years hence, regardless of which party occupies the building - if Castle Argghhh! will remain on the mailing list.

by John on Sep 16, 2006 | Politics

Okay, Blame this one on BCR.

Bad Cat Robot briefed on September 14, 2006 08:03 AM
Yeah, yeah, SugarButtons. You think you're all done. See that backlog that extends beyond the horizon? GET TO WORK! More funny stories! The Denizennes will tell you when you are finished. ;-)

I just may hear that in a coupla minutes...

My buddy Ferd isn't the sharpest brick in the hod, but he makes a pretty good living as a furniture dealer. Business is so good, in fact, that he figured he'd expand his line of furniture and trundled off to Paris (France, not Texas) to see what he could find. As luck would have it, Ferd met a furniture manufacturer who had decided to go international and was looking for an American partner.

Later that afternoon, Ferd stopped at a small bistro for a glass of wine to celebrate his good fortune. After a couple of sips, he looked around and realized that the place was fairly crowded and the other chair at his table was the only vacant seat in the house.

Before long, a beautiful young Parisienne walked up to his table, asked him something in French and motioned toward the chair. Now, Ferd doesn't speak a lick of French

*ooop -- sorry about your keyboard, wk*

but he's always had a firm grip on the obvious and invited her to sit down. Ferd tried to speak to her in English, but she only smiled and shrugged.

I'll let him take it from here --

"Well, after a coupla minutes of starin' at each other and smilin', I got an idea. I'm a pretty decent ar-teest -- that's a French word -- so I took a napkin and drew a picture of a wine glass on it and showed it to her. Sure enough, she smiled and nodded, so I ordered her a glass of wine.

"After another coupla minutes, I figured it was gettin' close to suppertime and I took another napkin and drew a picture of a plate with a steak and stuff on it, and she smiled and nodded. So we got up and strolled around the corner to a little restaurant with a jazz trio that was playin' some really smooth tunes.

"I ordered a nice dinner for both of us and, after we finished, I took another napkin and drew a picture of a couple dancin'. Sure enough, she smiled and nodded and we danced until the place turned the lights up and the band was packin' it in. Well, we got back to our table and this time *she* picked up a napkin and she drew a picture of a four-poster bed.

"Ya know, Bill, if I live to be a hunnert, I'll never figger out how she knew I was in the furniture business..."


September 15, 2006

H&I* Fires 15 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...
On one hand I want to snark Amnesty International taking so dang long to say *anything* negative about Hezbollah’s activities in the recent conflict, but on the other, if all we do is constantly snipe at ‘em, there’s no advantage in them playing it straight is there?
So, here’s a hearty clap for AI.

Amnesty International accuses Hezbollah of War Crimes.

Good for you AI.

Rock on Benny 16. Don't appologize for anything until Moslems stop claiming that we Catholics are deluded clods who follow a lesser religion. Being insulting is something being perpetrated by both sides. I say don't appologize until they start saying sorry for insulting our *entire* religion for a very long time.

Yes, we remember.
No, we will NEVER forget you.
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Today is POW/MIA Recognition Day.


Thanks, Ry, for setting this up today. If you're looking for Classic SWWBO oversharing and directness, she doesn't disappoint today - she defends Catholicism, slaps CAIR around, and then sends you off to Fausta for a demo of Moral Relativism at its worst typically asinine self. -the Armorer


ANKARA, Turkey - Muslims around the world expressed outrage Friday over Pope Benedict XVI's comments on Islam, with Turkey's ruling party accusing him of trying to revive the spirit of the Crusades and scores taking to the streets in protest.

Yawn. Pretty insecure in their faith, aren't they? I mean, Jews the world over take to the streets every time some Imam slanders them, right? And Christians? Lordy, they're just cutting off head after head in the name of Christ these days. Oh, wait. They *aren't* now, are they? A fact which just goes... oh, I don't know, un-noticed in much of the press coverage. Of course, Rosie O doesn't see it that way - as noted in Fausta's post linked above... Fundamentalist Christians *are* a great existential threat. Sigh. Go ahead fellas, burn some more tires and flags. We can always make more and sell them to you. Ack. -the Armorer


Can I just say that arguing in favor of the interrogation bill coming out of the senate by saying it's designed to protect American forces in this war is disgusting? There are many good bases on which to promote the bill. That is not one of them! The idea that how the U.S. treats terrorist detainess has a direct parallel to how terrorists treat their "detainees" is such an absurd idea that the thought there are those who consider it a reasonable argument is almost beyond comprehension. Even worse is Dickhead Durbin's argument that if there had been a bill like this already on the books the abuse at Abu Ghraib wouldn't have happened!! The implied assumptions in that last argument...!!!! I better just shut up now before I embarrass myself with a slew of expletives. - FbL

And, for a *much better* discussion of the issues of Pope Benedict's remarks in Regensburg, I commend to you the discussion of the Academic Submariner, Willyshake of Unconsidered Trifles. H/t, the Corner (though I woulda gotten there tomorrow!) -the Armorer

This worries me. I hope to God this doesn't happen. ~AFSis


So, Harvey is 40 today. And he's feeling... blue. Here's a present, Harvey - but ya might wanna open it in private. If from these fine folks here. -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 15, 2006 | General Commentary
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Muslims express fury over pope's remarks
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: We Are A Nation of Cowards
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: The Traitor Lynne Stewart

It's that time again... Periodic Goblin Warnings...

This is my basement:

It's been a while since I've done this, and we've lost readers and gained new ones. So, it's time to drag this thing back up into the light for all you not-long-time readers. This is just a periodic post for relative newbies to the site who don't realize the real reason I set this thing up was to share my gun and militaria collection -The Arsenal of Argghhh! - with the world. I decided to move out from primary deviancy (where you hide what you are) and move past secondary (where everybody knows what you are) to tertiary - where you embrace what you are - and point out you don't know what the guy next door has in his basement... but that doesn't mean he's a nut. I did that after a friend asked me to be the guest speaker on the subject of gun collecting at my Rotary Club (which has a fair number of liberals in it) and the response was not hostile, though some were taken aback - but mostly, "Wow - that's kinda kewl, and you aren't some troll hunkered down in your basement with racks of AR15s and cases of ammo waiting for the Apocalypse..." Mind you, if you have a rack of AR15 and cases of ammo, that's fine with me, as long as you aren't (hopefully) delusional on top of that... if you are, get out more, eh? I *do* have cases of ammo, but they aren't stored with the weapons... But be damned if I'm going to spend the money on new-manufactured when there's all the nice surplus fodder out there! But that experience, along with being poked by Beth and Jonah to blog, is what got the Castle established, back on Blogspot, three years and 610,679 1,498,188 unique visits ago.

As the blog has morphed over time, now and again I've gotten a little too wrapped up in the politics and the war - and, well, yes, work, too - and I've strayed a bit from my roots. A lot, really. Well, that and the great parties the Denizens throw in the comment sections now and again... It makes it fun when sometimes it's real work to maintain.

I don't believe that I make the mistake that many celebrities make - that my opinions on things political somehow matter more than others. Not really. The Denizens are always there to deflate the ego. This is more the equivalent of standing on a soapbox at "Speakers Corner". And you have to come find me - I'm not infesting broadcast media. You *ask* my server for these packets.

Anyway - for you guys who are here because you heard that John of Argghhh! actually sometimes talked about guns and militaria - here's the navigation map to The Story So Far. They link to the appropriate archives by topic. I'm (still)working a new post on the evolution of the Vickers Machine gun - but these things take time! In fact, here's proof - I have the collecting jones so bad that I actually tracked down this - an actual Australian Army inventory sheet - so that I could fill this (procured buck-nekkid empty three years ago) so that it looks like this. (and the dang post *still* isn't finished... too much work and too many bright shiny objects!)


Hi-res click here.

Anyway - here's some linkages to the discussions - where it says "The Arsenal" is a link to the photo-archive. (always available on the sidebar) - the rest are links to the blog archives.

Sub-machine Guns
Machine Guns
Gun Pr0n: A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly-bits.
General Militaria
Guns by Nation

And, of course, there is always the direct link to the Imperial Arsenal itself!

Visitors should also note the following caveats:

Periodic Goblin Warning (SM)

As a service to Goblins who are considering Seizing The Arsenal (this excludes LE types: y'all come with a warrant, knock [no no-knocks, please, the front door is expensive], take what the warrant specifies and we'll talk about it in court - just please take care of 'em, you know, periodic cleaning, oiling, etc. They're used to being spoiled like that) here is a periodic warning on Why Trying To Steal My Collection Isn't A Good Idea.

Note to thieves trying to figure out where I live: Once you do that, you've got to get past the living interior and exterior guard, the security system (hint, cutting the phone and cable WON'T help), and finally, if I'm home - me. WonderWife (TM) v3.x is also right handy with the Winchester M97 trench gun. I like that one because it's handy, will blow you into large chunks, but not pass through the walls of the house to annoy my neighbors. Hardwood floors, so clean-up is easy. I'm a reasonable fellow, if you surrender meekly or run away, that will be fine. Not interested in killing or maiming anyone unless you are dumb enough to attack me or my family. The furry members count as family, BTW. Do that, then I will clean the gene pool. Plus guys, impressive as it looks, it's not as valuable as you might think - and it would be very hard to move, since you would be flooding the market. Not to mention the fact that every dealer within a (classified) radius would have a list of serial numbers and descriptions within 24 hours (ain't the internet great?). Oh, yeah - did I mention that robbing licensees is a federal offense? The feds don't go overboard after little stuff, but whacking this collection would likely garner their interest - so choose your accomodations! Plus 'bangers won't like these - the ones that look like they can shoot a lot - can't, and many of them won't work properly if you hold them sideways like they do in the movies.

So, go find an easier target, eh? No - better yet - get a real job that has better fringes.

Periodic Disclaimer for anti-gunners and law enforcement surfers (I don't mind you LE types) Heck, I don't mind the anti-gun types until they start trying to send LE types to take 'em away... here we go with the Periodic Disclaimer (TM):

Everything you ever see in photos here that I own is fully legal to own, federal, state, and local - WHERE I LIVE! Your mileage may vary, such as living in the Borg Collectives of California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc. Though ya might be surprised to find out what's legal where you live. I am a licensed collector (which isn't a license to collect, just to receive via the mails), and that only applies to curio and relic firearms. Fortunately, that's about all I want to own. On these pages I will from time to time share my toys, much like Kim du Toit does.

by John on Sep 15, 2006 | Gun Rights
» Pajamas Media links with: Keep And Bear:
» Pajamas Media links with: Keep And Bear:

Here she comes, the Debutante...

Treat 'em Rough!

15 September, 1916. The British offensive on the Somme, one of the bloodiest fights the Brits ever fought, is starting to lag. Something is needed to give it a kick, a push - get over that next hill, clear the Boche from that wood... break into the green fields beyond, where there are no trenches, no wire, no interlocking fields of fire from Maxim guns, and the Cavalry can finally earn their pay and fodder, damn those hoity-toity prima donnas!

So, we'll try a new weapon, one that Colonel Swinton has been working on with the Holt Tractor Company, under the sponsorship of... the Navy, backed by Winston Churchill.

Mark 1 (Male) pushing through wire.

Gathering up crews from the Navy, and C and D Companys of the Machine Gun Corps, and commanded by a sailor, Captain H. W. Mortimore, RN. 50 tanks arrived, but only 24 proved serviceable for that first day.

Mark 1 (Female) demonstrating trench crossing capability.

At 0620 hours, off they rolled into history and legend, at the Battles of Flers and Delville Wood. It was not an entirely auspicious debut... Of the very first attack, Mark 1 from D Company, MGC, under the command of Captain Mortimore, was sent out and overran an enemy trench. The tank was then promptly hit by a shell and disabled. Of the main attack, three of the six tanks got bogged in the mud, one broke down, and the other two continued towards the enemy line slowly, supporting the infantry. In an event presaging the training and operational issues which would bog combined arms attacks forever the infantry moved ahead, away from the protection of the tanks. WWI was the last war where the infantry would be able to outrun the tanks at walking speed - from then on the tanks would keep losing their infantry in the other direction... As is true with any new weapon, there were successes and failures. Concerns raised included the view slits - they were too thin to be able to see much while moving, and they were targets for enemy gunshot; the exhaust - it made too much noise and the heat could have ignited the fuel fumes. Then there was the amount of mud that got into the treads and gummed them up - and the heat in the fighting compartment - not only did it drastically reduce crew endurance, in some portions of the vehicle it was was hot enough to jam the guns.

Captured British Mark 1 (Male)

But after this day in 1915, we were stuck with the things, and the people who man them... At least they don't leave meadow muffins...

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Heh. C'mon, you know you want to know - you're dying to know what the music and lyric was!

[Yeah, I know there's a lot of American graphics in a post about a British innovation - get over it... 8^D ]

September 14, 2006

H&I* Fires 14 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...


Don't forget the Gunblogger Rendevous in Reno, Nevada, October 6-8. Today is the last day to register and get rooms at the group rate!

The Master and Mistress of Argghhh! will be attending this event, going to a blogmeet in the West this year, vice the one we went to in the East last year - and you only need an interest in guns and blogging to have an interest in this event - you don't have to be a gun blogger per se! C'mon, visit the website (that link up there) and see if ya don't really wanna go! We'd love to see old pals and meet new ones! Check the right sidebar at the Rendevous website to see who else is going to be there. We aren't up there! yet - but hey, it say's it's incomplete...) -the Armorer


And, the politico's are showing their a$$ in their ads again. If you're going to hang it out there, at least make sure of your facts.

McQ of QandO outs one.

Oh, wait. This is politics. Not needed at either end of the spectrum. I'm available to either side for a little military fact-checking if you want it. Cheap rates, too. -the Armorer

We needa joke.

Louisiana Justice

This 70+ year old New Iberia woman was arrested for shoplifting.

When she went before the judge in Lafayette he asked her, "What did you steal?"

She replied, "A can of peaches."

The judge then asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches and she replied that she was hungry.

The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can. She replied 6.

The judge then said, "I will then give you 6 days in jail."

Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the woman's husband spoke up and asked the judge if he could say something.

The judge said, "What is it?"

The husband said, "Judge, she also stole a can of peas."

H/t, Rich B. -the Armorer


Oooh - very nice. Gun-related *and* Canada-related "Ode to a Sten" go visit Mr. Completely to see what it's aboot! [sic] -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 14, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: US Navy welcomes the USS Bill Clinton

Today in History

.....a very special event.......39 years ago, AFSis was born! Happy Birthday!

Relax, have a good time, like this......


Maggie and the rest of the SugarButtons Brigade

by Denizens on Sep 14, 2006 | Birthday


From the WashTimes today:

The U.S. Armed Forces will meet wartime recruiting goals for the fiscal year that ends in two weeks, military officials said yesterday.

Despite Washington's heated political debate on the worthiness of the Iraq war, frequent overseas war deployments and daily casualties, officials say a sufficient number of young men and women are signing up with the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in fiscal 2006 to maintain an active-duty force of about 1.4 million.

The Army, which has suffered the largest death toll as the chief provider of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, reports that it has exceeded a goal of 70,200 recruits by signing up 72,997 as of August. Officials say they expect to meet a Sept. 30 goal of 80,000 for the fiscal year.

And hey, the Army has had to make *changes* man. Real sacrifices, in order to make it happen!

Hitting the mark in a time of war has cost the Army more money -- and style. In June, it raised the maximum age for recruits from 38 to 42, and says it has attracted scores of veterans. And it relaxed tattoo rules. Now, body art can extend above the neck. "We learned more and more teenagers have tattoos, so we relaxed the tattoo policy," said Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.

The kids just aren't getting the message, are they (hat would be the anti's message)? Why? Because we aren't advertising accurately! Lookit the unfair kinda stuff we do (well, this is *actually* the Guard...) to sucker these kids in - no dead bodies, no ruined villages, nothing. No amputees scuttling around like maimed beetles. Because, lord knows, the VRWMC (Vast Right Wing Media Conspiracy) has been hiding all that bad news... well, that and we're letting 'em have tattoos, even if it makes the Sergeants Major apoplectic...

by Sgt. Jim Greenhill September 6, 2006. High school students from around the country ride down the Missouri River in a raft built by North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers from 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company during Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous activities. This photo appeared on

by Sgt. Jim Greenhill September 6, 2006. High school students from around the country ride down the Missouri River in a raft built by North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers from 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company during Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous activities. This photo appeared on

Meanwhile, over in Navy Land... they're ripping off the Coast Guard for their ad campaigns...

As Frequent Commenter, Proud Coastie Dad, and supplier of Coastie Content Larry K observed:

There is a Navy Ad ( I believe it is appearing in Popular Mechanics at least) that looks like this…

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Compare it to this picture and caption:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

NEW ORLEANS (Aug. 30, 2005) - Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Beaty, 29, of Long Island, N.Y., looks for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina here today. Beaty is a member of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew sent from Clearwater, Fla., to assist in search and rescue efforts. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 2nd Class NyxoLyno Cangemi

Google the name Shawn Beaty and click on images and you can see this image is out all over as a USCG picture.

For shame, sailors. For shame!

Of course, then there is *this* Navy ad...

(by the way, just go to the Coast Guard website, click on the "Photo's and more" link, login (instructions provided) do a search on "Beaty" and that photo shows up... to include the fascinating first name of the photographer!

Of course - it's all a ripoff of this recruiting poster... (H/t, High Desert Wanderer)


Hmmm, wonder who his muse is...?

September 8, 2006 Soldiers from Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, pause at the end of a patrol near Wynot, Iraq. This photo appeared on

September 8, 2006 Soldiers from Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, pause at the end of a patrol near Wynot, Iraq. This photo appeared on

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Interesting mix of weapons in the picture. Back in my early days there'd have been nothing but M16s and 1 M203. Wonder how long after this war winds down it will be back to something like that... because the budget drives all - and then the people who carp about the budget being to large turn around and carp about the force being under-equipped when committed - and *never, ever* understand, much less accept responsibility for, "you go to war with the Army you have, whether or not it's the Army you want or need."

by John on Sep 14, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» MilBlogs links with: Snerkiture...

Let's have a debate!

by Staff Sgt. Russell L. Klika September 13, 2006<br />
Spc. Danell Herd and Pfc. Michael Ferryman, from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, greet Iraqi children during a roadside break while looking for smuggling routes along the Syrian/Iraqi border. This photo appeared on

by Staff Sgt. Russell L. Klika September 13, 2006
Spc. Danell Herd and Pfc. Michael Ferryman, from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, greet Iraqi children during a roadside break while looking for smuggling routes along the Syrian/Iraqi border. This photo appeared on

"These readers just don’t get soldiers or soldiering."

Over at National Review, they've been having a discussion of troop levels, both in Iraq and in the services in general. Rich Lowry posted an email from an officer, which I've excerpted here and interspersed comments - to get the whole gist you need to probably need to start here and read up...

The writer is mostly correct, though obviously an officer. As a blogger who hears from troops (a self-selecting group that *want* to say something, hence there is bias) the troops say pretty much the same thing - except they want more forceful leadership at the highest levels.

They see the senior military and political leaderhship engaged *about* the war, not *in* the war.

A lot of which is a perception issue, but with an element of truth.

"Stryker versus Heavy vs Light infantry versus SOF could lock an entire Leavenworth class in debate well past graduation. A strawman never fully developed such that a talking head or non-responsible gov’t official can later claim title as Cassandra—the strawman knocked or embraced whichever way the news takes it that day."

This is dead-on. Medieval bishops have nothing on government civilians, officers and pundits (heh, I'm both) wrangling over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin... I know, I get paid to do that. And sometimes, I get paid to provide both sides of the argument their ammunition.

"Sucks that I’ve been to Iraq twice, Afghan once, but – ya know- it aint breakin anything but paradigms in the Pentagon and in Newspapers and even in VFW halls."

I would add... "but, oddly, not breaking any paradigms in the anti-crowd, for whom the clock seems to have stopped at 1975."

This is where the between-the-lines stuff happens - and where the ghost of Vietnam wreaks it's havoc in the political debate back at home.

1. It *isn't* a draftee Army. That makes a huge difference.

2. We aren't taking a Vietnam (much less Korea, WWII, WWI) level of fatal/fully disabling casualties, being suffered by people serving against their wishes, which makes it far more sustainable.

Those two bits alone, and the inability of the aged and doddering anti-crowd to understand that difference, make a huge difference in the quality of the force doing the fighting, and the bafflement of the antis in not being able to mobilize the youth to politics - the bulk of the youth who *really care* in a big way about this particular war... are fighting it. As volunteers.

"Folks just can’t help but fear the Army stretching thin and then cracking or snapping or failing in some structural manner— its just not neat and ideal and budgetable and program-able-. "

And that is where the Administration, and senior military leadership, I think, fumbles the ball. Since the economy is different from the Vietnam-era, so that the felt-at-the-personal-level economic impacts are less obvious and intrusive, they've been able to fight this thing on the relative cheap and not had to mobilize the populace, so to speak, though the President is on that jag now, whether for the long haul, or just to scare everybody into voting Republican in November remains to be seen. In some respects, there are some similarities (and real huge differences because the whole military/political/media structure is different so you can't push this very far) to how we found ourselves fighting in the Phillipines.

Hey— Need Iran done? —the major combat ops won’t take much more than a month, then we can leave or dilly daddle around with democratizing the joint for a few years. Or not. Besides, lots of us haven’t been there yet! Just kidding about that last, there…"

And this is the kind of "Yessir, Can do" attitude that *will* break the services if the senior DoD leadership were to embrace it. I agree with the writer that we can continue what we're doing at the current pace if they'll pick up the bill for the equipment here pretty soon - but I don't believe for a minute we could do anything remotely like Iraq in Iran - especially from a post-MCO perspective - unless Ledeen is correct, and the Iranians will just step right up, take up the reins, and move out smartly. Iran is most certainly not Iraq - but is it different enough?

Of course, Derbyshire would support what I call a "smash and grab" perhaps - it's what he thinks we should have done in Iraq in the first place...

There's no doubt huge holes in this, it's early and I'm only half-way through my first cuppa joe - but that's the nature of punditry, right?

Whattaya think? This is not a fully-developed treatise - it's a high-school forensics meet improv.

U.S. Army Spc. Enriquillo Hernandez provides security as his platoon leader gathers intelligence along the Syria/Iraq border near Forward Operating Base Nimur, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2006. Hernandez is with 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika) (Released)

U.S. Army Spc. Enriquillo Hernandez provides security as his platoon leader gathers intelligence along the Syria/Iraq border near Forward Operating Base Nimur, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2006. Hernandez is with 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika) (Released)

by John on Sep 14, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» MilBlogs links with: Snerkiture...

A Short Dissertation On the Pulling of Weight

John's been whining that I need to start pulling my weight around this place--which shouldn't be too awfully difficult, considering that Field Artillery belt buckle of his weighs more than I do.

Lessee--I'm one-sixty and John is *mumble-mpf-hmmm* divide by eleven...carry the four...wait-wait-wait--that's a *forty*...

AHA! I *knew* that calculus course was gonna come in handy.

*ahem* In order to properly pull my own weight around here, I need to pop in once every thirty-six days. Soooo, it looks like I'm covered through Thanksgiving, 2015...


by CW4BillT on Sep 14, 2006 | General Commentary

September 13, 2006

H&I* Fires 13 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...

Smash of Indepundit has been on TDY in Washington, DC and has been doing a superb job of quietly and surgically exposing Code Pink at Walter Reed. His latest installment is a must-read (there's audio, too). And be sure to check out the very perceptive second commenter on the thread. - FbL


Sarah of Trying to Grok found a good way to commemorate 9/11 - doing something to pi$$ off Bin Laden! - Barb


Maggie reminds us that today is an important day in American history. - FbL


Air America to file for bankruptcy? I.can' I'll just observe that it helps to have content that people want. That's why Matty O'Blackfive is a BIG Milblogger, and we... ain't. H/t, Stop The ACLU. -the Armorer


Terrorism meets Fashion - only in America! From LindaSOG at Something ... and Half of Something. - Barb


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 13, 2006 | General Commentary

More problems for the "Guys In Front"... part of "Trolling for Dusty Week" today's installment is... oh-oh! Unmanned inflight refueling is a reality.

Lex? Dusty? Anyone? Anyone?

From the comments of Chap's post:

I submit that now there is absolutely NO reason to have a human pilot in an F-18. : -)

- They already take a cat shot with no hands
- They already land Mode 1 no hands
- They can now tank no hands (major airmanship challenge for a hornet/hornette pilot)
- JDAM falls off automatically
- All our enemies bury their fighters in sand dunes when we attack- no need for A-A.

by John on Sep 13, 2006 | Plane P0rn


Dude - you're welcome, but there's a flaw in your plan.

I simply won't deposit it.

A gift is a gift, eh?

General (ret) Michael Davison.

Someone you should know - if only for this:

Scruggs recalled how, in January 1982, the retired general sat silently through an emotional four-hour meeting and then, at the opportune moment, offered a compromise.

"We have an unconventional memorial," he told the group. "Let us add a traditional element to symbolize the American fighting spirit."

His proposal, pairing Maya Lin's V-shaped black granite wall with figures of three soldiers in combat, was met with immediate approval.

"He was a think-out-of-the-box kind of guy," Scruggs said. "He was also very smart. He waited until the end of the day, when everybody was very tired, before he made his suggestion."

Not that the *rest* of his career wasn't interesting...!

Cross your fingers...

...toes and any other appendages (we have an eclectic readership) flexible enough to provide a reasonable facsimile of an "X."

Somebody reminded me a while back that I possess an uncommon commodity in the job market--ummmm, aside from my rugged good looks.

*artfully dodging repeated lightning strikes--and jeté!*

Owwww--my knees...

Okay, back to that uncommon commodity--I have a current gummint security clearance (it's not at the "Destroy This Before Reading" level, but it's gotten me access to interesting segments of the job market). So, I snooped around, found some vacancies and tailored 'n' weighted the resume-cum-cover letter(s) to be a perfect fit for each--Training Program Manager, Project Manager, Program Analyst, Olde Middle English Language Specialist--the usual standbys. And one three-page Crusty-Old-Warrant-Officer-JOAT with a less-than-formal cover letter that I threw together last Friday.

Guess which one has produced the most hits?

Yup. I interviewed today with

1. a Beltway Bandit PM who said I was exactly what he needed for a project opening next month,

2. a Fed who didn't have anything in her department but was intrigued enough to point me in a direction I hadn't previously considered and

3. a recruiter who wants to plug me into a financial oversight slot with some outfit in Manhattan.

In order: thank you, thank you, no thank you.

Now, if things go the way I'm hoping they will, I'll be employed, away from New Jersey for the majority of the year and I'll be doing something I'm eminently qualified to do, using just about every skill I've ever picked up (especially those that kept me *alive* all those years), passing that knowledge along and then evaluating how well the sponges absorbed the lessons.

Nope--I can't tell you exactly what it is. It's classified, ya know?

Heh--reminds me about the Top Secret mission I flew back in The Day. Peter Pilot and I landed at Chi Lang (within spitting distance of a mixed VC/NVA battalion on the mountain to the west) at o'dark thirty in the evening, walked into the Green Beanie TOC, saw the big TOP SECRET sign on the curtain covering a wall map of Southeast Asia and looked at each other, 'cuz we only had Secret clearances.

I told the briefer that we'd wait for them out at the aircraft while they had their briefing, since we weren't cleared for TS info. He got a little flustered, since we were the ones who were gonna fly the mission.

Once we got outside, PP and I laughed until our sides ached.

Anyway, it turned out that only the grid location of the business to be conducted was Top Secret, so before we cranked up Trusty Hubert, the Team Leader said, "Gimme your maps--I'll vector you, so you technically won't know the location."

*two shrugs--two maps passed back to the team leader*

"Okay, take off on a three-six-zero and fly for fifteen minutes."

*okayyy--flying due north outta Chi Lang for three minutes would put us into Cambodia, so doing it for fifteen minutes kinda blew the lid off the TS as far as we were concerned...*

It didn't take fifteen minutes, because ten minutes out, Team Leader radioed his guys on the ground, said we were inbound and told them mark their location with a strobe.

"Can't do that," came the whispered answer. "We're right in the middle of a whole sh*tload of NVA."

"How close are they?" asked Team Leader.

"Hang on a second. I'll let you talk to one."

Oh, *that* was a fun night, kids. Watch a video of one of the night raids on Baghdad to get a small idea of the fireworks involved.

And we got everybody out, too--including one guy who had planned to go further south, but was very unhappy at the prospect of doing it in a US helicopter.

They grow some *big* guys in northern China--and that's no secret...

September 12, 2006

H&I* Fires 12 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...

Heh. *This* is interesting, from the LA Times today:

In recent years, it has become common for British politicians to lament declining electoral turnout. Between 1945 and 1997, participation never dropped below 70% and regularly exceeded 75%. In 2001, it fell to 59.4%; 2005 saw little improvement at 61%. A common explanation is that voters feel participation makes no difference. One way to confirm that is to deny them influence over who controls Britain's nuclear weapons.

Brown describes the private transfer of power by which he hopes to inherit the premiership as "a stable transition." George Orwell could not have invented a blander euphemism for a constitutional coup d'etat. It is appallingly undemocratic that Blair can be ditched without a general election. It makes Britain look little better than a one-party state. If the beauty of an informal constitution is that it always adapts to new circumstances, then Britain's cannot adapt fast enough. Our new prime minister should be elected, not appointed.

The whole article is a discussion of the (to American eyes) peculiar position of the Prime Minister in juxtaposition to the office of the Presidency in the US. The thrust of the article is essentially, absent a general election, the transfer of power to a new Prime Minister is truly an exercise in the politics of the smoke-filled room, to borrow a metaphor from US politics. What say you who live in Parliamentary systems? Thoughts? Explanations?


Some lighter fare today...

The trials of a small-town police chief:

My wife is 6-foot-3 and weighs 300 pounds," said Ozmun, who became chief in January 2005. "If there is somebody that thinks they can control her, have at it. I have tried for 11 years and haven't been able to.

And did you know crows are this smart? - FbL


I don't usually promote myself here, but I wrote a series of articles on the drunk driving death of a teacher at Thomas's old school. It's the only thing I've ever written about that gained the attention of the parties involved. It became very personal, and in the end, I pulled the posts at the request of the victim's family. I'm hoping my new post brings this story full-circle and helps with the healing of the Haumesser and Wolford families. ~AFSis


Homefront Six shares with us the hidden benefits of having a deployed spouse. - FbL


For those of you who are eligible to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, and like to target your donations, Emily, of the Thomas More Law Center, would like you to know that they are now a part of the CFC and you can earmark for them. If you're a blogger, and wish to offer some support... well, she'd like that, too.


My name is Emily, and I work with the Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm (more information here) based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Recently, our organization has been selected to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign.

We're a conservative, Christian organization, dedicated to helping in the fight against the ACLU in situations such as that of the Mt. Soledad Cross in San Diego, California, and we depend on donations to maintain our legal services. We were wondering if we might enlist some of the Milibloggers, who are a popular staple around our office, and daily reads, in helping us spread the word that members of the armed forces can designate us in the CFC campaign for their contributions, if they believe in the mission of the law center. Organization number 9366. We are not asking for much--perhaps just a mention--but anything you could send our way would truly be helpful. I can even provide ready made links to our home page, or a small picture.

Here you go, Emily. -the Armorer


The Instapunk on... luxury. Hat tip - Eagle1 via Milblogs. -the Armorer


Kewl! An airplane which defends itself against hijackers...

A computer system designed to avoid collisions by changing the aircraft's trajectory to stop it being steered into a building or mountain is among the potential on-board devices.

There may also be a computer which, through a sophisticated biometric system, can defy a mid-flight takeover by spotting an intruder and guiding the aircraft to the nearest airport.

Of course - at some point, the pilots become... redundant, don't they? -the Armorer

Profiling? Who needs it! Bah! Apparently the Syrians use it quite well, because Islamic militants unsuccessfully tried to rush the American Embassy today. ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 12, 2006 | General Commentary
» My Side of the Puddle links with: Healing the Haumesser and Wolford Families


Release Date: 9/12/2006

Release Number:

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Recent media reports fail to accurately capture the entirety and complexity of the current situation in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. The classified assessment, which has been referred to in these reports, was intended to focus on the causes of the insurgency. It was not intended to address the positive effects Coalition and Iraqi forces have achieved on the security environment over the past years.

That said, there is an active insurgency in Anbar. The enemy we face has no concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people, nor any peaceful vision for their future. We believe the Iraqi people want something more and are willing to fight and die for it.

We are making steady progress in the accomplishment of our primary mission to train and develop the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat the insurgency. This is due in large measure to the successful recruiting and training of thousands of Iraqi Police and improvements in the overall capabilities of the Iraqi Army.

This has resulted in the transfer of increasing responsibilities to the ISF for fighting the insurgency. Finally, the progress we have made has been due to the dedicated and heroic actions of both US and Iraqi forces.

Despite these consistent advances in the security environment, we have found making the same progress politically and economically, throughout all of Anbar, to be much more challenging. In areas where the presence of Iraqi Security Forces is combined with an effective local civil government, we have seen progress made. Not just in the area of security, but in economic development and the establishment of social order and public services. These are the conditions which must be set that will result in the support of the local people, and ultimately cause the defeat of this terrorist backed insurgency.

For lasting progress to take place, comparably effective advances must be made in the development of governmental and economic institutions at the local, provincial and national levels. Only then, will the people of Al Anbar be able to realize their goal of long-term security, prosperity and confidence in their government.

For the WashPo's view of the press conference that coincides with this press release, see here.

That Whatziss, con't. Solved.

I don't think this is going to help much - this is a toughie. But y'all like a good challenge, right?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

For some help, that brown stuff wrapped around the left end there... unwraps and is several feet long.

To save some confusion: The original post is here.

Hint Update: The brown stuff is *not* a streamer.

Final Update: Here's a SWAG (Silly-Wild-Arsed Guess): Some type of trip device, gas/smoke/flare? And Allen gets it. Experimental post-war Belgian trip flare. I wasn't expecting anyone to actually determine who made it. But I do like watching how you guys sorta wiki your way through a problem - though the clowns among you make this fun, too!

I have a feeling that in the future, we might get some more Bill-related aviation challenges...

I lurve you guys! But...

Looky what an anonymous Castle reader sent the Armorer...

Empress Little Girl the First with a new addition to the Artillery Park of Argghhh!!!

No, not the Empress, who has reigned at the Castle for 14 years. No, not the Throne, that's a February addition to the Library of Argghhh!!! - the replica (but shootable) black powder mortar.

We are very grateful to the anonymous donor! But... if anyone is thinking about sending a post-1898 cartridge firearm to the Castle, do please check with me, so that proper paperwork and legal niceties can be observed! And make sure any and all ordnance items that were once capable of self-powered flight, or had any significant chemical (or radiological, heh) energy components - don't.

The Armorer loves surprises. But not explosive or rocket-powered ones.

If I've seemed a bit distracted of late, there's a reason. The press of business and life. Need proof?

This is how far behind on my reading I am. I would note, for those who accuse me of blind neoconism (heh), the list (which is listing...) is probably a touch more eclectic than you would expect. Just sayin'.

Oh, and if someone has a nice hunk of oak from which to make a bed for the mortar... well, you can send *that* along, no problem!

by John on Sep 12, 2006 | Artillery

September 11, 2006

H&I* Fires 9/11 2006

The Great Smoking Hole

This edition of H&I Fires will be a little different. Rather than open to everything - this one is intended for links of interest relating to 9/11. Visitors are encouraged to leave links in the comments, and those of you with posting privileges can put stuff in the post itself, as always.

I'll get it started with Denizens:

Barb, of Righty in a Lefty State.
Fuzzybear Lioness of Fuzzilicious Thinking - just start at the top and move down (added).
Princess Crabby of Boston Maggie - not 9/11 exactly - but related.
Bad Cat Robot of Snark Patrol.
AFSister at My Side of the Puddle.
1SG Keith of My Army Life... and other things. Just start at the top and move down.
Murray of Hitting Metal With A Hammer.
Sergeant B of The Gun Line
Jack of Random Fate.
Rammer of Blog 'O Ram.
Alan of GenX@40.
Cassandra of Villainous Company.

On to others:

Jay at Stop the ACLU.
Lex at Neptunus Lex. If you only read one...
Matt at Blackfive.
Eagle1 at Eaglespeak.
CDR Salamander at his eponymous blog.
Steel Jaw Scribe was at the Pentagon and remembers his shipmates. Just start at the top and keep scrolling.
Homefront Six


Good Work, John. Today I will join in at the bottom and add the good master of Castle Flea and his post Plain Speaking: Alan of GX40.

[Alan is too subtle. The Flea has put out the best sentence of the day for me. Bar none:

"So here is a big "f*ck you" from me to all the jihadis, islamists, silent "mainstream" Muslims, conspiracy theorists, carpet-baggers, opportunists, apologists, appeasers, bleeding-hearts, the entire tottering edifice of the mainstream media, people who blame the Crusades, people who blame the Jews, the people who never taught us our own history, the people who cannot be bothered to teach themselves, the people who who offer pious lectures of respect for a faith that would cut off my head and enslave every woman I have ever loved, right-wing zealots and left-wing zealots and with a special raised middle-finger to every free man and woman who thinks this is somebody else's problem.

Also, France."

Okay, two sentences. -the Armorer]

There are chairs where loved ones and trusted friends once sat that now remain empty and cold. For them we rightly mourn this day. But, as this 9/11 comes to a close let us no forget The Living. We shall miss our loved ones and friends, shall look oft at the place they once stood in our lives and see nothing but a gaping hole, and we will honor them by soldiering on in their memory. But while we will soldier on and give credit to those Lost To Us as we do so let us not forget that we really do it for The Living.

Here we are. Here we shall remain.
ry(edited for errors at 11:40pm est, 9/11/06)

by Denizens on Sep 11, 2006 | General Commentary
» The Discomfort of Thought links with: Groton, CT, 11 Sept 2001
» Marvin's Word links with: Gary Bird 1950-2001
» Sierra Faith links with: 9/11 In Memoriam: William J. Erwin
» A Healthy Alternative to Work links with: Five Years Later
» The Thunder Run links with: George Lopez - One of 2996
» Echo9er links with: 2,996 - I Remember Max Beilke, MSG, US Army (Retired)

9/11@ 5 years on - We Remember: The President's Address.

President's Address To The Nation As Prepared for Delivery September 11, 2006

THE PRESIDENT: "Good evening. Five years ago, this date – September the 11th – was seared into America ’s memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds, and nationalities – and made war upon the entire free world. Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before. Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe. On this solemn night, I have asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us … what we are doing to protect our Nation ... and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.

"On Nine-Eleven, our Nation saw the face of evil. Yet on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion, and responding with extraordinary acts of courage. We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers – and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm – and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke – and ran back in to answer cries for help. On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives – and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.

"For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh. I have met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades. I have stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania , who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims – and gave America our first victory in the war on terror. And I have sat beside young mothers with children who are now five-years-old – and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms. Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.

"Since the horror of Nine-Eleven, we have learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy – but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam – a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.

"Our Nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over – and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century – and determine the destiny of millions across the world.

"For America , Nine-Eleven was more than a tragedy – it changed the way we look at the world. On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies – and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them. So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan . We put al Qaeda on the run, and killed or captured most of those who planned the Nine-Eleven attacks – including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central Intelligence Agency – and they have provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay , so they can be held to account for their actions. Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.

"On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores – whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the Nine-Eleven attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My Administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat – and after Nine-Eleven, Saddam’s regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

"Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East . They have joined the remnants of Saddam’s regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed – but so are Iraqi and Coalition forces. We are adapting to stay ahead of the enemy – and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.

"We are training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We are helping Iraq ’s unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq , the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad . Osama Bin Laden calls this fight “the Third World War” – and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America ’s “defeat and disgrace forever.” If we yield Iraq to men like Bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened ... they will gain a new safe haven ... and they will use Iraq ’s resources to fuel their extremist movement. We will not allow this to happen. America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation, and a strong ally in the war on terror.

"We can be confident that our Coalition will succeed – because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be confident in victory – because of the skill and resolve of America ’s Armed Forces. Every one of our troops is a volunteer, and since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our Nation's uniform. In Iraq , Afghanistan , and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries – and nearly 3,000 have given their lives. America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.

"We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe – and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people. We have created the Department of Homeland Security … we have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information ... we have tightened security at our airports, seaports, and borders ... and we have created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst, and saved American lives.

"Five years after Nine-Eleven, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil – but they have not been idle. Al Qaeda and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States . They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens – and we are determined to stop them. We will continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.

"In the first days after the Nine-Eleven attacks, I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever … girls enrolling in school … or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we are fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom, and tolerance, and personal dignity.

"We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom – and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For sixty years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East . And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America ’s influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

"With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut , there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question of us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia ? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we are offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East : The desire of millions to be free.

"Across the broader Middle East , the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it – sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle. When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima – but he would not have been surprised at the outcome. When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall – but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down. Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged – and every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.

"At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty – and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize that their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground – but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children. And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part … the appeal of radicalism will decline ... and we will leave our children with a better and safer world. On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our Nation has endured trials – and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country. So we must put aside our differences, and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies … we will protect our people ... and we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.

"Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy . I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son Patrick accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City . On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th – and never came home. His sons lost their father that day – but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys, “As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety – but as worried as I am, I am also proud – and I know their dad would be too.”

"Our Nation is blessed to have young Americans like these – and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. They are not the first to try – and their fate will be the same as those who tried before. Nine-Eleven showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did – but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer ... came to the aid of neighbors in need ... and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America ’s strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose – and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.

"Thank you, and may God bless you."

Heh. While we appreciate the links from, we wish their aggregation algorithm was just a *touch* more discriminating... this is, after all, simply a posting of the text of the President's speech, and nothing else. But if you followed a link from there, Hi! Feel free to scroll down for our 2966 tributes - well, come to think of it, I *can* editorialize a bit. Go to this post (the one right above this one, and check out the two-line quote at the bottom of the post - it sort of encapsulates the attitude behind the speech, in rather shorter, and somewhat more refreshing, if naughty, terms.

Or, if you're 9/11'd out, but like guns and militaria, hit the "Gun Pr0n" archive!

by John on Sep 11, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Politics
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: America Safer, But Concerns Growing

9/11@5 years on - We Remember DIA Budget Analyst Karl W. Teepe

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The Armorer remembers... Karl W. Teepe.

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Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly.

I knew several victims of the attack on the Pentagon. The week before, I had briefed LTG Maude and some of his staff in that exact same conference room that General Maude and others died in on that dark Tuesday.

And below that room, a couple of floors down, worked another man who died, with whom I had a somewhat closer, longer relationship. DIA budget analyst and retired soldier Karl Teepe.

He was my ROTC instructor at Mizzou. Along with Captain Mac, and the Master Sergeants Rodriguez, he had a distinct imprint upon my development as a cadet, and therefore as an officer.

He was a Duck Hunter, meaning his branch was Air Defense Artillery.

He was funny, in a snarky way, but took his job seriously. He loved his family, his job, and he took personal interest in his cadets He always had a ready smile - unless you were screwing up by the numbers - in which case he was all business. He had a lot of energy, too - but it was expressed in a laid-back manner. I don't know what he was like at home, but with his cadidiots he always kept an observant, available, hands-free approach - meaning he'd let you fail, in order to learn. Not in the catastrophic be-the-only-cadet-to-get-a-D-on-a-test fail - but the spread your wings and learn from experience but-I'll-keep-you-from-doing-something-stupid kind of fail.

Like skylining yourself in a tactics problem, or siting the machinegun where it can take flanking fire but not defend itself kind of thing. That kind of learning. The school of hard knocks, gently applied.

And despite good reason - he was always even-tempered, a trait he did *not* manage to pass on to me.

He had an impish side. I won't say that he was *involved* when we painted the Navy ROTC anchor pink for Homecoming, or was there when we covered it with grease and grass clippings, so it was all green and hairy. No, I couldn't say that. But I could say that he was... well, aware that his cadets were, um, er, oh, never mind. Look, bright shiny object!

He touched other people as well, and I've included those tributes, to flesh out the pale presence of Karl I've added here.

For an officer, you can't ask for much better a tribute from the soldiers you commanded than this one:

Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly.

I could live with that as an epitaph.

From the website we find this:

Karl W. Teepe Attack Location: Pentagon Age: 57 Home: Centreville, Virginia

Karl Teepe would sometimes take the Metro from the Pentagon to the Mall on his lunch break. He'd sit in a sculpture garden, or one of the Smithsonian Institution galleries, just to let the beauty sink in.

It had been a beautiful year. His daughter Wendy, 28, got married. His son Adam, 22, graduated from college.

"I think we were the most important thing to him," said Adam.

The family wanted to find a photograph that seemed appropriate. His Army and Defense Intelligence Agency IDs wouldn't do. For those, he would always make the funniest face possible. They chose the one from Wendy's wedding -- the glowing father of the bride.

Karl W. Teepe, 57, was born in St. Louis. He worked as a budget analyst. At home in Centreville, he spent his time making his surroundings beautiful -- the yard, the deck, the house. He took classes on the human genome, the Civil War, painting.

"Every time I came home, he had some exhibit I had to see," Wendy said.

At Christmas, he told the stories during the family slide show, bringing alive years of memories.

Before his Pentagon office was struck, he and his wife, Donna, planned a night out to see Garrison Keillor.

"We still have the tickets," she said.

-- Michael Laris

From September 11 we get this:

Cpt. Karl Teepe was my commanding officer at Foxtrot Battery 2/44th A.D.A. in South Korea from 1971 to 1973.We happened to meet again at Kleber Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, W.Germany in 1979 and visited some about old times at Foxtrot Battery. Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly. I just recently learned that Karl was killed

From Newsday, there is this light shining on Karl:

Avid Gardener, Devoted Family Man As much as Karl W. Teepe was devoted to his career, those closest to him knew what was most important to the Defense Intelligence Agency budget analyst -— his family.

“He always came home as soon as he could,” said Donna Teepe, 56, his wife. “We have two children and we were his life. He was very interested in everything the kids did. Our daughter got married last November and we had a really, really nice wedding. He loved being the father of the bride.”

Teepe, who lived in Centreville, Va., was just 57 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. He was born and raised in St. Louis, graduated from University of Illinois in 1967 and received a master’s degree from University of Missouri in Columbia. He joined the Army after obtaining his bachelor’s degree and served for 20 years, doing tours in Germany and South Korea. He retired 12 years ago to work as a civilian in the Pentagon.

Donna Teepe, who had known her husband since the seventh grade in Meadows Elementary School, said he enjoyed gardening and working on home projects. “He was very handy,” she said. “He made shelves, he built the deck in the back and he always tended the yard, making sure it looked very nice. He even commented one time about how he treated our backyard as another room in the house. I’m going to miss that in the spring, I know it.”

The Teepes were married 34 years and began dating since their days together at Riverview Gardens High School. “He was very sure of himself and everybody liked him,” Donna Teepe said. “He had a very dry sense of humor that was always fun.”

Besides his wife, Teepe also is survived by his daughter Wendy Green, 28, of Denver; his son Adam, 22, of Centreville; his mother, Ruth, of St. Louis; and his brother, Ken, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Photo By M. R. Patterson, 27 June 2003

Photo By M. R. Patterson, 27 June 2003

by John on Sep 11, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» The Thunder Run links with: Web Reconnaissance for 09/11/2006

9/11@5 years on - We Remember Police Offcer Vincent Danz

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Denizen Larry K remembers: Police Officer Vincent Danz.

Police Officer Vincent Danz, Badge #2166, End of Watch: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

P.O. Vincent Danz Fallen at the World Trade Center September 11, 2001

If you were in trouble who would you call to help you? You would call 911 of course and the Police or Fire Department will come to help. On 9/11/2001 a great many police and firefighters needed help. So whom do they call when they need Help? In New York they call Special Operations Division for the Emergency Services Unit or ESU.

The NYPD is a little different than many other large city police departments. They have no SWAT teams. The Emergency Services Unit functions as SWAT and much more. If you have a hostage situation, an auto accident, a derailed subway car with people trapped, a collapsed building, then you call ESU. If you need to rappel down a building to rescue a trapped jumper or thrill seeker or perhaps people trapped in an elevator you call ESU. If you need someone to handle special weapons to secure a dangerous felon or special tools to capture a “pet” tiger kept in a housing project apartment you call ESU. If you have any situation that needs special training, special equipment, special weapons and most of all special people, you call ESU.

What kind of man would be attracted to join a unit like that? Where would a man like that be on September 11th? The answer is obvious and may explain why 14 of the 23 NYPD officers who lost their lives were from ESU. And one of those was Police Officer Vincent G. Danz.

Officer Danz wasn’t born into the ESU of course. He grew up in Southampton, New York as the youngest of 9 children. Perhaps the environment and demands of growing up the youngest in a large family made him desire a life of adventure and activity. His life was one of seeking out the next challenge, the next exploit, the next way to serve others. After high school he got started in life as a carpenter with the Dockworkers Union. For many that would be a challenging enough atmosphere, but it wasn’t enough for him so he joined the Marine Corps and served in the Reserves. He then had the opportunity to join the NYPD. For 8 years his beat was the very active environment of the New York City housing projects. After taking his share of bad guys off the streets, Vincent learned that the NYPD was forming a new elite unit called ESU. It sounded like something perfect for him and he became a member of EM3.

Vincent’s brother Greg would always ask him if he had gone on any “good” jobs lately. There would always be a story about this or that accident but then he would complain that he never seemed to be on duty for the “Big Jobs”. On that September morning Officer Danz was on duty for the biggest job ever. He was among the first to get to the towers and entered the WTC after the first airplane hit but before the second. What was he doing that day? It is estimated that Officer Danz and the other first responders saved perhaps 25,000 lives that day by assisting in their evacuation. But they didn’t get them all.

While Vincent’s body was doing its duty his thoughts were in another place thinking of his wife and three young daughters. Taking a brief moment he called his wife Angela but got only the answering machine. "Hon, it's 9:50 and I'm at the World Trade Center. I'm up in the building. Say a prayer that we get some of these people out. I'm OK but say a prayer for me. I love you." It was the last message the family heard. Pray we get these people out … oh, and pray for me too. He was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department's Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts to save others.

Aside from being a member of an elite unit, Vincent Danz sought out other ways to serve his country. Police Officer Danz joined the United States Coast Guard Reserve drilling at CG Activities New York near the Verazanno Bridge on Staten Island, just across the harbor from the twin towers. He was a Petty Officer Second Class and served as a member of the Port Security Unit (PSU).

September 27th is known as Heroes Day in the Coast Guard and is the day when all Coast Guard heroes are remembered. The day was chosen in honor of Signalman First Class Douglas Albert Munro who was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 500 Marines that day in 1942 at Guadalcanal. It is appropriate that on September 27, 2002 in Munro Hall at Training Center Cape May, New Jersey a plaque and memorial were unveiled. A room used to train Reservists was dedicated in memory of Officer Danz and Firefighter Jeffrey Palazzo, another USCG Reservist lost at the Trade Center. Two more heroes to be remembered on Hero Day and every day.

Carpenter, Marine, Coastguardsman, and Police Officer; but that hardly sums up the life of Vincent Danz. More importantly he was a brother, a son, a husband to Angela, and a father to three daughters Winifred, Emily and Abigail. Vincent’s sacrifice is complete while theirs continues.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Police Officer Vincent G. Danz
New York City Police Department, New York
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Age: 38
Tour of Duty: 14 years
Badge Number: 2166

And our flag was still there

9/11@ 5 years on - We Remember

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Castle Philosophotrix Kat, who's having, well, let's just say life is interesting at the moment, sends this along:

Dear John,

(I've always wanted to type that just once)

I've stolen a few minutes on my cousin's computer in the early morning hours to write a note to you and my friends at the Castle. Would it be too much of an imposition to ask you to post this at the Castle? At your convenience of course, space and time permitting.

First, I miss everyone and hope they are all doing well. I really miss those introspective conversations, heated "discussions" and raucous commentary. I miss being a regular part of the community. I've also discovered what it's like to be part of the "other America", the one that doesn't have access to the information that I had when blogging on a regular basis; the one that knows little about the war and sacrifices even less on a daily basis. On one hand it's a strange relief. So often I spent hours looking at the information, trying to analyze, etc that I did not take time to do other things. One the other hand, I know as I watch the news and catch brief news articles or even participate with Soldiers Angels that I am missing a big chunk of information. I feel it like a hole in my thoughts and in my heart.

Having been part of the "military and support community" (all be it, the fringe element on the Internet) and now being part of the "other America", I know exactly why people feel so separated from it. The truth of the matter is, like that old song, the war is "over there". It's as if it is being conducted by another country in a place that doesn't effect us.

Sometimes, it's as if it is on a different planet. Watching the local news this past week, I've only seen war news once. Even the price of gas and the cost of living associated with it is barely recognizable as part of the "war". For the most part, people I talk to don't see it as part of the war. They see it in terms of profit made by oil companies, price gouging by big corporations and the inability or lack of desire by the government to provide safe guards for the working "poor" man. I won't waste space by explaining how wrong it is. I really just wanted to point out what it's like to be on this side of the divide. I don't mean those who "support the war" or those that don't. I mean, those who know something more about the war than 2 minute sound bites and those that don't.

It's an old argument really and I don't know why I bring it up except that I feel it more acutely while outside of our community at the Castle and on the war blogs. At least, while blogging, I had some idea that there were some people who cared enough to know, whether they were supporters or not. Out here, it's a little lonely.

The anniversary of September 11 is about to be upon us and, as is often the case, fate weaves it's mysterious threads. Without blogging to take up my spare time, I have taken up my old hobby of marathon reading just about any subject that takes my fancy (TV being what it is). The last two weeks I've read twelve books on forensic and behavioral science used to solve crimes. Six of these twelve books mentions the work done by these folks either at ground zero or in the "War on Terror". I didn't select these books for that reason. It is, as I mentioned, fate or coincidence. Either way, as the anniversary approaches, I was reminded once again that, for all the books, websites, movies and commentaries, we still cannot comprehend in any meaningful way, the cost, the sacrifice and the pain that was inflicted by those evil acts on that one day.

While we may remember the grand heroics of the officers, fire fighters and certain individuals, like Rick Rescorla, during the attacks, the bravery of the Flight 93 passengers or the determined efforts of rescue and iron workers in the days, weeks and months after, the difference between good and evil was made plain by the smallest among us and the least recognized.

It was made even more plain to me on Thursday, September 7, when the new video of bin Laden and the hi-jackers was released.

The difference between good and evil? Evil sat and planned how they could maim and destroy, drinking tea, recording their "last wills", saying good-bye and "good luck" to friends and compatriots. They cared not for the destruction and death they were about to inflict. They saw it as their duty and divine (can evil be divine?) responsibility. Good came after and, even in the face of such horror that it is still hard to describe even today, gave their lives, their physical and mental health to help the wounded, dying and dead; to provide succor, relief or simply the sense of "knowing" the fate of their family members to the survivors. Evil came on one day and it's fingers reached far and wide into our lives and very fabric of our society. Yet, the good still work today, volunteering their time, like the forensic scientists, who are still working on identifying some 4000 remains from the WTC.

I read a book by Emily Craig, a forensic anthropologists, Teasing Secrets From the Dead. I will not give details as to the processes of identifying the dead or her observations on days following 9/11 as they may still be too disturbing for some to read, but, I wanted to point out a brief example in the difference between Good and Evil, the true understanding of duty and divine responsibility by mentioning her part in 9/11. She was part of DMORT, a major disaster mortuary and forensics response team put together after the Oklahoma bombing. As part of the team, she would be tasked for two weeks to assist in the search and identification of remains at the site. Instead, she stayed for four weeks, went home for two weeks when her father died of cancer and then returned for another extended stay.

Even in the face of her own grief, she went back because, as she stated, she at least had seen her father, held him and had her time to say good-bye. That could not be said for many of the family members of this terrible crime. She saw this as her duty and, yes, even her divine responsibility.

Even in her own story is the story of others, those that she met and worked with who had the grim privilege of retrieving and identifying friends, family and co-workers. How they all had to become their own support network in their grief. There were the Red Cross workers who, two months later at 9pm on a cold and rainy Thanks Giving day, while most of us were home enjoying the warmth and company of friends and family, manned the relief and cantine tent, sitting around little heaters to stay warm waiting to serve the volunteers still at the site or working at the morgue to identify remains, warmed over turkey dinners as they straggled in between shifts and on dinner breaks.

In another book by Roger Depue, retired Chief of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI, appropriately titled, "Between Good and Evil", the author explores his journey into the very depths of evil, tracing, finding and even interviewing "true evil" like Ted Bundy and other serial killers. He describes the effect of this work on his own ideas and conscience as well as those he worked with. He talks about how the effects of abuse and neglect on the young can lead the conditions that create a serial killer. Yet, he finds that, while you can trace the acts that created the condition, the final act of evil cannot be "understood" because, in the end, regardless of the reasons, it is the choice of the perpetrator to commit an act of evil. To know the reasons why, but deny the ability to choose between good and evil is to deny our very existence as beings with free will able to discern right and wrong. In the end, this is the very epitome of the differences between those who seem to "excuse" 9/11 on the grounds of past or present policy or acts of the United States and those who see it in it's starkest terms: Evil with no viable excuse for the act.

The difference between good and evil was made even more stark by the story about how even the youngest and smallest among us can know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil and decide to give something that none of the hi-jackers or their terrorist backers could really ever understand: the real gift of life and love.

A psychiatrist friend of Roger Depue had volunteered as one of the many counselors who went to help the victims and surviving family member of the September 11 tragedy. A young woman approached him because she did not know what to do. Her sister was a house keeper for the Marriott Hotel at WTC 7. She was a single mom and had taken her daughter to work with her early that morning because school did not start for a few more hours and she had no morning child care (or could not afford it). As we know, when the towers fell, WTC 7 was destroyed. The mother of the child was killed instantly, but the seven year old survived with critical (soon to be fatal) injuries.

As the sole surviving family member, the young woman who approached the counselor had been asked to give consent to harvest the little girl's organs when she died. The family was catholic and worse yet, the young woman felt, with the grief of losing her sister and the oncoming loss of her niece she could not make such a decision.

In the book, Roger continued the story:

"Alone in the world, she felt she had no one to turn to for advice. But she soon came to realize that there was in fact one option, albeit a very difficult one, available to her. She went to the pediatric intensive care unit, and, as gently as she could, explained the situation to her niece.

'So, would you like to do that, Maria?' the woman asked. 'Would you like another child to have your heart after you're gone?'

And the little girl, six hours before she died of her injuries, gave her reply.

'Yes,' she said. 'You can give them my heart.'"

As time passes, on the anniversary of 9/11, it may be harder to remember the specifics. The faces of the victims may fade and the tears of their families and friends fall in solitary silence. The feelings of solidarity and purpose as a nation may have passed. We may debate endlessly who was at fault and why or our actions since then. We will say "never forget", but it is not our anger that we should never forget, nor our sorrow. We should never forget that on that day, the greatest lesson of man's existence in this world as a being of free will was given: the difference between choosing good and choosing evil.

Thank you, John, for the time and (hopefully) the space. Tell everyone hello and I look forward to rejoining our community in the future.

God Bless the families, our troops and the United States of America.


by John on Sep 11, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Remembering 9-11

September 10, 2006

A new challenge...

Wolfwalker scored 100% yesterday - you guys are getting gooder!

I thought that one was pretty obscure, but you homed in pretty quick.

So, let's give this one a shot. Postwar. European. Also in the 1:1 range, a little smaller.

Get to work, brainiacs!

The Blog of War

You should, of course, buy it. Over on a discussion page, Captain Kevin doesn't like the book much. At all, really. Captain Kevin opines thusly in response to a comment I made on the thread he started on the book:

My point is simple.... this book is a loser written by a bunch of warmongers who have ruined this Country. Now they want to profit from that and I will continue to exercise free speech to stop it.

Good luck.. you may all get rich off of this like a lot of war profiteers do but that does not make it right.

The only thing I am disgruntled about is that the ilk that wrote this book are part of an organization of leaders who took a great institution (The Reagan era Army) and ruined it in about 5 years. Congratulations.. thanks to this group, the Army is now a train wreck.

This is my response.

Wow, that little group of people ruined the country? All power to the little guy! Okay, yeah, I'm snarking your hyperbole.

Heh. You might be surprised at the people in the group of contributors who are not fans of Rumsfeld, et cie. You might also be surprised to find there are a few in that group who were *not* fans of invading Iraq. Of course, for the soldiers among 'em, that became rather a moot point after the March Upcountry started, didn't it? Then it became the job, like it or not. Remember, the soldier, once he's volunteered, doesn't get to pick and choose which war he will fight, as Lieutenant Watada is probably about to discover to his rue.

The book isn't about making the case for the war, or arguing the conduct of the war - it's about the soldiers, their families, and the fighting of the war, and doesn't pretend to be anything else, really. It's simply about the war, and the people who are fighting it - whether in country or waiting for someone to come out of the box.

In a sense, you are making that argument that, from what I gather from what you've said here, only voices that protest the war and find fault with it, that speak only in negative terms and breathlessly condemn Bush on every page can possibly have any value and opinions which don't match your view should be shouted down (reflexively, we don't need to read no steenking book) if not outright suppressed.

Y'know, I too am a veteran of the Carter/Reagan/Bush/Clinton Army... and up through Bush 1 it was a fine Army for fighting a huge horde moving west out of Eastern Europe, or engaging and destroying pretty-looking 3rd rate wannabes like, well, let's face it - most standing Arab armies, however brave their individual soldier might be. Then, starting under Bush 1 and continuing under Clinton, we dismantled and tinkered with that Army - and since we didn't see any huge immediate threat, we tinkered and dilly-dallied and muddled our way through, as our national and service politics essentially demands we do in times of no obvious Damocles's Sword.

And thus, we got to go to war with the Army we had, vice the one which was just perfectly tuned for the job. Of course, we've *never* had that Army...

And I'm still up to my armpits in Bush 2's Army, where I work every day. And I'll tell ya Captain Kevin - the junior officers of this version are smarter and much better at their jobs than my peers of the early 80's - because they've been challenged in ways we never were. They've had to work in environments we never really did. And while yes, a lot of 'em are tired, and the equipment is particularly so - they still have better gear than we did, and they are much smarter, subtle, and experienced in it's use than we are. They're better warfighters than you or I ever were. The question of are they fighting this war in the best way - well, that's not the subject of the book, and is still rather a roaring subject of debate, isn't it?

Certainly, everybody can use a rest, and everybody would like to come home, and have their scariest moments be zero-illum brigade attacks down the central corridor at NTC or night jumps at the JRTC, or CALFEXes in Poland.

But you're putting a lotta stuff on a book that is simply by the people fighting the war and their families - and where most of the 'support' shown is for the soldiers doing their jobs, and awe at how difficult those jobs are.

That's all it is.

To draw a different parallel for you - the book is perhaps better compared to a book of the experiences of the First Responders, professional or volunteer, who waded and boated around New Orleans after Katrina - and not page after page after page of slamming Nagin, Blanco, Brown, Chertoff, and Bush. It's more about the people doing the job they had handed to them, one or two of whom might move on to be the Russ Honore's of the next disaster, than it is a bashing of the people who send them into harm's way.

Sorry the book isn't what you think it should be - I recommend you write that book yourself. Perhaps you'd like to put forth the effort that Douglas Brinkley did, and write The Great Deluge -equivalent for The Global War on Terror.