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September 23, 2006

H&I* Fires 23 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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I can't claim credit for this. Quick, Marvin the Martian is coming, get me a blunderbuss!

Thanks to Burke Sheppard of the FYEO mailing list. That's too funny.
ry
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Ry, me no do the maths, except the simplified versions for gunnery and calculating a tip. I do know the answer to this question though: "What is the volume of a pizza of thickness α and radius z? Confused? You have to read the *whole* post. -the Armorer

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So, Osama might be dead? Heh. I call Franco-in-Reverse* until we see confirmed DNA samples. Of course, as MaryBeth noted over at SWWBO's place (that link there, click it you fool - I get special credit for click-throughs!!!) if it's true, we'll be accused of spreading bioweaps in Pakistan. In addition to that, the anti-war left will inform us that it doesn't matter, OBL was a marginalized bit player figurehead and why the hell are we in Iraq still, diverting our attention from capturing [fill in the blank] who is the Real Problem (well, aside from Chimpy McBusHitler and his Puppetmasters Rove and Cheney, who we know are manipulating gas prices to steal another election so they can continue to kick welfare moms off of Medicare and give the money to Halliburton, so they can fund research into sterilizing inner city blacks by genetically modifying the malt used to produce Colt 45, while at the same time enriching themselves by steering all the contracts to build the border fence to their friends in Texas. Oh, and Cheney was the shooter on the Grassy Knoll).

Or something. Regardless, Osama will Not Be Important. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 23, 2006 | General Commentary

Meanwhile, over in Iraq...

U.S. Army Spc. Jeffery Moore prepares to exit a Bradley fighting vehicle on Camp Ar Ramadi, Iraq, following a raid in the Tameem district of Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2006. Moore is with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division based out of Baumholder, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock) (Released)

U.S. Army Spc. Jeffery Moore prepares to exit a Bradley fighting vehicle on Camp Ar Ramadi, Iraq, following a raid in the Tameem district of Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2006. Moore is with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division based out of Baumholder, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock) (Released)

An Iraqi man offers hot tea to U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Herman during a patrol in Tall Afar, Iraq, Aug. 27, 2006.  Herman is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey) (Released)

An Iraqi man offers hot tea to U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Herman during a patrol in Tall Afar, Iraq, Aug. 27, 2006. Herman is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey) (Released)

Interesting article on casualties.

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now match those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America's history, the trigger for what came next. Add casualties from chasing terrorists elsewhere in the world, and the total has passed the Sept. 11 figure.

The latest milestone for a country at war comes without commemoration. It also may well come without the precision of knowing who is the 2,973rd man or woman of arms to die in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, or just when it happens. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Not for the first time, war that was started to answer death has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked, quite apart from the higher numbers of enemy and civilians killed.

Read the rest here.

Considering the source, it has... balance. It manages to work in all the usual suspects, but it does manage to make a key distinction:

Historians note that this grim accounting is not how the success or failure of warfare is measured, and that the reasons for conflict are broader than what served as the spark.

...and has other aspects I wouldn't frankly have expected in an Associated Press article.

Someone you should know.

A casualty local to the Castle's Demesne (local in midwestern terms).

Kansas Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Bernard Lee Deghand, 42, was killed by small arms fire Friday while conducting combat operations as part of Operation Mountain Fury, said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, adjutant general for Kansas. He left behind his wife, his daughters Jami and Emma, and his stepson, Craig.

You can read the rest here: Karla sends.

You want an encapsulation the impacts of Transformation, the kind of war we find ourselves in, the ability of the Volunteer Force to allow us to conduct this war without a full-fledged buy-in by the American people (and mind you, I'm not sure that fighting this war *with* a WWII-level of commitment would work, under the circumstances) - in many ways, it's all right in this paragraph:

Deghand was a member of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th Division Artillery Embedded Training Team, Bunting said. His unit was involved in training Afghan soldiers in mechanized infantry tactics using armored personnel carriers.

National Guard Division Artillery Headquarters personnel teaching mech infantry tactics. Back in the 80's, when I wrote two of HHB 25th DIVARTY's AT training assessments, never would I have guessed that they'd find themselves one day training the Afghan Army in mech infantry tactics.

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


September 22, 2006

H&I* Fires 22 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Hey, turns out this is the real Wickerman day if the Druids were to be believed. Any plans? Maybe I will make a small one out of popsicle sticks this evening - Alan of GX40.

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Don't expect to hear about this much. The Army actually meeting its recruiting goals despite a 'endless pit of death' war on doesn't play as a controversy, a disaster, or a conspiracy.
ry
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Those Canadian Contrarians... their Gold Star Mother is not at *all* like Mother Sheehan. Thank heavens! H/t, CAPT H.

Moving on...

Just a small town girl on a Saturday night
Looking for the fight of her life in the real time world
No one sees her at all they all say she's crazy

Though, frankly, Ry, I prefer the songs that bumper it. Liked the movie though. If you don't understand this entry... you need to read things more thorougly. 8^) -the Armorer

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Confederate Yankee with another take on the Reuters vehicle fired upon in Gaza. Obviously, there are challenges here - Reuters wants to be where the news is - and they effectively wounded tuna moving amongst hungry sharks who already use ambulances illegally - why not use press vehicles? And how many reporters are going to choose to die resisting - and we already know that the news agencies will knuckle under to that kind of pressure to keep their people safe and to have access... though they keep that a secret if they can... and no, why, of *course* it doesn't affect the slant of their reportage... -the Armorer

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 22, 2006 | General Commentary

Mooning the Islamo-fascists

...so to speak...

Major "heh" -Instapilot

by Denizens on Sep 22, 2006 | Spirit of America

French Fusils

Since SWWBO and I will be attending the Gunblogger Rendevous in Reno next month (still time to sign up - you just missed the cheap room rates), I thought I ought to remind people that I don't just sit in the basement taking apart obscure pieces of ordnance to play 'stump the chump' with you guys. Hey, c'mon, Cam Edwards will be there. Rub shoulders with celebrities..

I do have bangsticks.

Since I finally got around to getting a French flag to put behind my French rifles, I thought I'd throw those up - and let the grognards have the easy task of identifying them. The pics do overlap, no extra credit for double-counting.

As Neffi would observe -it's an expensive way to show off your bayonet collection...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

We can skip the "only dropped once" jokes. They've been done before - and half of these weapons are Legion veterans, anyway.

Killing the music meme

Because The Armorer decided to skip out on the latest music meme he was tagged with by Cassandra I’ll answer it, and thereby uphold the honor of Castle Argghhh!. (Yeah, we know you’re busy doing God’s work, Boss. That’s why you keep us ankle biters around, on short leashes, right?).

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions your site along with your seven (for those of you who, like me can't count, that's all the fingers on one hand, plus two more) songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to:”

(songs below the fold)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 22, 2006 | I'm an idiot...

September 21, 2006

H&I* Fires 21 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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So, California is going to sue the automakers for greenhouse gas emissions... or izzit a nuisance suit to pressure automakers to drop their fight about the tailpipe emission law? I dunno. I have no doubt that the state of California would *love* to have a virtually permanent remittance from all industries above and beyond the current tax bite. I doubt the economics support this, and heck, it might even be illegal, I don't know - but if I were an automaker and I *lost* this suit, I'd be tempted to pay it off - but I would spread the cost of my share as a price increase on all vehicles sold in California... and California only. Oh, I know, like punishing the car dealers is useful... but since California is essentially trying a judicial end-run to impose a tax on every car sold everywhere - this is one way to localize the pain a little bit.

Regarding Chavez's speech at the UN yesterday - I think the Blogfather catches my feelings on the subject pretty well:

As For the General Assembly [Jonah Goldberg]

If I were John Bolton, I would send photos of each delegate who applauded wildly for Chavez to the relevant embassies and capitals with a note detailing how much those countries get in aid of one kind or another. And then I would simply write, "What's wrong with this picture?"

Of course, I'm one who thinks the UN should be a roving headquarters. In Darfur for a few years, and when they've fixed that problem, they could move to... oh, Southern Afghanistan, shoot, even Ramadi. Places that would keep the Secratariat *focused* on bringing peace to the regions, so that a few decent restaurants would open up. Just a thought... I think New York just makes it too easy on 'em. -the Armorer

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Disgusting and frightening reading: the full text of Ahmadinead's speech to the U.N. It's so much more than what's been reported. Notice in particular the last line, a reference to the destruction of the world and the comng of the 12th Imam. - FbL

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OK Listen up - All male gendered Denizens MUST abide by these rules here at The Castle's heads; Or else. All Female gendered Denizennes, may also find answers to many questions on male behavior HEREIN.

(Work Safe for the most part) - BOQ

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 21, 2006 | General Commentary

Interesting day in history today...

1780 Benedict Arnold gives British Major John Andre the plans to West Point. Such is the price of consorting with double-turncoats.
1792 French National Convention abolishes the monarchy, cutting off the head of the government, so to speak. Well, the following January, at any rate.
1858 Charleston: Black freedmen sail in sloop Niagara for Liberia - a nation that has strayed disastrously from the promise of it's founding.
1872 James H. Conyers becomes the first black USNA midshipman.
1941 The first Liberty-ship, Patrick Henry, is launched. The Liberty ships were a triumph of US industry and wartime logistics.
1942 First flight of the B-29
1944 Last British paratroopers holding the bridge at Arnhem surrender. I met John Frost, standing on his bridge (well, the replacement) during the 40th Anniversary observation during REFORGER '84.

In honor of that... how about some PIAT Pr0n?

The PIAT in the holding of the Arsenal of Argghhh!!! in the hands of a Brit Para re-enactor at a militaria show at Fort Leavenworth.

The PIAT in the holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh!!! in the hands of a Brit Para re-enactor at a militaria show at Fort Leavenworth.


I hadda keep an eye on this guy... he *really* liked the PIAT!

The thing's a bear to cock, with that 220lbs-resistance spring in there.

The thing's a bear to cock, with that 220lbs-resistance spring in there.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

by John on Sep 21, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Few Black Churches Get Funds

September 20, 2006

H&I* Fires 20 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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The sociology of the Blogosphere. Sigh. We were mortal humans once. For months! Then TTLB tweaked (appropriately, I think) his algorithms, and we've hovered as a highly evolved Playful Primate ever since. Well, except during the Great SQL Problem, when we rapidly devolved to a mammal... -the Armorer

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John,
If you want to evolve from a Primate to a Human... perhaps you should take some font lessons. At least the studying would be fun! ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 20, 2006 | General Commentary

It's not softer, it's better...

And in many respects, I'm sure that's true. Still, you've all had it easy since I went through the last hard basic in the 70's...

U.S. Army trainees take swings at each other during a hand-to-hand combat competition as part of basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Aug. 9, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall) (Released)

U.S. Army trainees take swings at each other during a hand-to-hand combat competition as part of basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Aug. 9, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall) (Released)


Ah, pugil sticks. Now *that* was fun. At least it was if you were a wrestler and noseguard... and no, I don't know why it's a US Air Force photo of BCT troops at Fort Jackson.

Army training not easier. By Bridgett Siter Fort Benning Bayonet

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Army News Service, Sept. 7, 2006) – Lt. Col. Scott Power was in the last hard Ranger School class in 1989. Lt. Col. Chris Forbes was in the last hard Officer Basic Course in 1988. And Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gaskin, he was in the last hard basic training in 1995.

“So goes it for every Soldier in the history of the Army. No matter when they came through basic training or Ranger School or whatever, they came through the last hard class,” said Power, who sums up his command philosophy to all the drill sergeants under his command at 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, with this message to naysayers and those who believe basic training has gone soft:

“I’m not impressed with leaders who think they have to abuse their Soldiers to train them to standard. I’m not impressed with leaders who think the lack of abuse makes basic training soft,” he said. “We were all in the last hard class – get over it. We do things differently now, and we’re producing Soldiers every bit as good as we ever have.”

A recent spate of letters to the Army Times from Soldiers lamenting the weakening of training, particularly basic and one station unit training, has those in the know – like Power, Gaskin and Forbes – mad as the word they no longer use when addressing new Soldiers.

“I’ve had it up to here with people who say basic training isn’t what it used to be, as if that’s a bad thing,” Power said. “We don’t need to use profanity. We don’t need to demoralize these guys who have volunteered to be here, knowing full well they’re joining an Army at war.

“We’re graduating Soldiers who meet all the standards. We stand behind what we put on Pomeroy Field,” he said, referring to the Sand Hill parade field where nearly 9,000 Soldiers graduate from the Basic Combat Training Brigade each year.

Another 20,000 graduate annually from the Infantry Training Brigade.

Power, Forbes, the commander of the BCTB’s 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, Gaskin and his fellow drill sergeants from 3 Bn., 47th Inf., Regt., addressed the frustrating accusations of a “dumbed-down” basic training last week.

Forbes insists it’s a misconception based on widespread misunderstanding about changes during the past few years. Take the issue of fitness standards, for example. It’s common knowledge, he said, that Soldiers are now only required to pass the PT test with a “50-50-50,” or 50 percent of the push-ups, sit-ups and 2-mile run on an age-based scale, to graduate from basic training.

“But what they don’t say, those who complain about it, is that these Soldiers must pass (advanced individual training) 60-60-60. They have to meet Army standard,” he said. “And the reason for that is we finally recognized that it didn’t make sense to break a Soldier trying to get him to standard in nine weeks rather than build him up in 13. We’re thinking smarter and producing Soldiers more fundamentally fit.”

Power elaborated on the subject of fitness. He’s repeatedly heard complaints about Soldiers doing push-ups on their knees. It’s a particular sore point with Power, because the media has hyped the misconception by printing photos of Soldiers in this position with no explanation.

And there is an explanation.

“We used to push them till they dropped,” he said. “We know better now. Now, when they reach muscle failure, they go to their knees instead of going to the ground. Using the modified technique is actually tougher than the old method; they can’t quit at muscle failure, they have to modify and keep going. We’re building a more physically fit Soldier.”

Power said claims of being among the last “old-school” basic trainees has traditionally been a matter of pride, a matter of jest, among Soldiers. But when they take it seriously, or the media takes it out of context, the facts get distorted or simply ignored.

“Standards change, they always have,” he said. “When I took my first PT test in 1984, we used the old three-event standard; push-ups 68, sit-ups 69 and the 2-mile run, 13.07. Two years later, the standards increased. It got tougher. So you want to talk about ‘back in the day?’ How far back do you really want to go?”

Gaskin, a 29-year-old combat veteran, said it’s the new Soldiers who ultimately pay for the spread of misinformation.

“They come here expecting summer camp, because that’s what they’ve heard. The first couple of weeks are a culture shock,” he said. “I say to anybody who thinks basic training is soft, raise your right hand, come on out and check it out for yourself.”

Gaskin insists basic training is actually “150 percent tougher” than it was when he attended 11 years ago. Back then, he said, training included a form of hazing Soldiers commonly call “smoking.” Gaskin called it unnecessary.

“Now we’re producing fit Soldiers who are ready for combat,” he said, “because they’ve trained with body armor, they’re geared up constantly, constantly doing battle drills and urban operations training and the kind of first-aid training that will actually save lives on the battle field, not the band-aid approach I learned in basic.

“Soldiers today will graduate knowing the kinds of things I didn’t learn till I got to my first duty station, and then some of it, I didn’t know a year later,” said Gaskin, who has been a drill sergeant for nearly a year. “I told myself it would never be that way if I was responsible for training. The worst thing that could happen to me is to know I had a Soldier here for nine weeks and he goes off to combat and something happens to him because of lack of training.”

Want to read the rest? Hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Chickamauga...

The Armorer, as he has mentioned, is the namesake for a family member who was a veteran of the Orphan Brigade, the Kentucky Confederates.

And the blood runs strong. Pappy and I share a taste for tweaking. Especially members of the 4th Estate.

Pappy was an original joiner of the Brigade, and was with them to the bitter end. The Brigade was present at most of the big battles in the West (almost all losses for the South) and was, over time, effectively destroyed. The only real win in their column was Chickamauga, where the remnants of the Brigade were shattered while facing Thomas doing his "Rock of Chickamauga" thing.

This being the anniversary of the second day of Chickamauga, this seems a good time to tell the tale.... somewhere in the badly-organized Archives of Argghhh! (in meatspace, not cyber, where Google is your friend) is a tattered, yellowed piece of newsprint, from a Chattanooga paper, holding an article on the first Chickamauga reunion.

The story tells of Pappy Hays, currently of Paragould, Arkansas, who was a veteran of the Orphan Brigade. A grand storyteller (hey, he was Mayor and Justice of the Peace) he held forth of the trials and travails of the Orphans on that bloody day in north Georgia. Telling of how the supply situation for the Orphans had been so bad that many went into battle with the weapons that they had brought with them from home, when enlisting.

He recounted how, during that terrible second day, he'd found himself moving among Union dead near a tree in a field. He'd taken the opportunity to secure a fine new M1858 Springfield Rifled Musket from a bluebelly who no longer needed it, along with cartridge case and belt. And a nice new tin canteen, too. Not to mention some boots, although those came from a different fellow. The battle not yet won, however, he didn't want his family fowling piece to fall into Federal hands, and he couldn't carry them both, so he stashed it in a hollow in the tree.

Lo and behold - the tale being told while walking the battlefield - could that not be the very tree? That one, the farmer's shade tree in the center of the field? Excited, breathless, the crowd surges to the tree, where Pappy reaches in and... pulls out a shotgun! Gleefully, gripping the shotgun tightly, he exultantly pumps it in the air - he's found the family gun!

What a tale! Breathlessly reported!

And all hokum.

Pappy arrived a day early, and went by himself to visit the battlefield and make peace with his ghosts. Walking along the path the Orphans had marched, he crossed a field and came across a farmer plowing. The farmer showed him a shotgun he'd plowed up - one in much too good a shape to actually have been a relic of the battle, but, hey, people lose shotguns all the time... right? [The shotgun is the greater mystery. -the Armorer]

He took the gun and looked for a place to hide it - found the tree... and the rest is Historical Fact as Reported by the Press. Heh. Pappy Hays, spiritual fore-runner of Reuter's stringers...

Pappy lived a long, colorful life, and is buried in his Orphan Brigade uniform in the Meriwether family plot in Linwood Cemetery, Paragould, Arkansas. If you're in the area and want to go give him a salute, we plant our dead just to the east of the mausoleum (except my grandparents, who are *in* the mausoleum). And there's another story in there... that one with a Kansas City tie-in.

September 19, 2006

H&I* Fires 19 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...

I wrote a never ending post. But I'm not hiding it in the magazine section(shakes fist at John for not allowing me to.). Other than that I got nothin'
ry

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Argghhh!!! Mateys! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day! -the Armorer [and to help those linguistically-impaired, here's a translator]

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Given that the greatest single Castle Bar expense is for tequila - this warning seems appropriate. Turn your sound down at work or around impressionable young 'uns, it's, um, well, *naughty*. -the Armorer

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Sgt. B meditates on donning the uniform again.

And in case you missed the big PR push yesterday, be sure to check out SpouseBuzz, the forum for military spouses and those who support them. Once again, cheers to Andi of Andi's World for leading the way. - FbL

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The guys at Powerline have an interesting take on the intersection of domestic and foreign policies:

It's perhaps understandable that, in the early going of the war on terror, our politicians would apply models of persuasion that have worked domestically. But with five years of experience under our belt (plus eight years of Clinton's gesture-laden foreign policy), we now should understand that the gesture model is persuading Arabs of things we shouldn't want them to believe and which we should hope are not true.

Check it out. - FbL

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The horrors of CIA interrogation. Can I get a redo on SERE? -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 19, 2006 | General Commentary

News from the Front.

1st: Congratulations to Captain Deiss on his promotion!
2nd: News from the front.

An Italian Soldier takes in the view atop the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq 's Dhi Qar province. The location, in southern Iraq , is purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Dhi Qar is slated to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control later this month. Al Muthanna, a neighboring province, was the first of Iraq 's 18 provinces to achieve this status in July. Department of Defense photo by Air Force Capt. Thomas Montgomery.


An Italian Soldier takes in the view atop the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq 's Dhi Qar province. The location, in southern Iraq , is purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Dhi Qar is slated to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control later this month. Al Muthanna, a neighboring province, was the first of Iraq 's 18 provinces to achieve this status in July. Department of Defense photo by Air Force Capt. Thomas Montgomery.



Monday, 18 September 2006
Dhi Qar: Rich past, hopeful future
By Staff Sgt. James Sherrill
124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD — With all its history, Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq is looking toward the future. It’s scheduled later this month to become the second of Iraq ’s 18 provinces to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control.

This means Coalition security forces will pull back and let the local provincial Police and Iraqi military handle security of the province, a key step for the eventual withdrawal of Coalition forces from the country.

Both Coalition officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have said they hope to have all 18 of the country’s provinces under Iraqi control by the end of next year.

Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, right, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force - Iraq , along with British Soldiers, climbs the stairs of the ancient Ziggurat of Ur in Dhi Qar province. Italian troops have shouldered much of the work in preparing the province for transfer to provincial Iraqi control later this month. Department of Defense photo by Air Force Capt. Thomas Montgomery.


Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, right, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force - Iraq , along with British Soldiers, climbs the stairs of the ancient Ziggurat of Ur in Dhi Qar province. Italian troops have shouldered much of the work in preparing the province for transfer to provincial Iraqi control later this month. Department of Defense photo by Air Force Capt. Thomas Montgomery.


Dhi Qar province is an archeologist’s dreamland. It contains the site of the ancient city of Ur , purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Near the ruins of the ancient city stands the Ziggurat of Ur, a towering ancient temple dating back more than 4,000 years.

Iraqis and tourists are now able to freely visit this area, something they could not do under the oppression of Saddam Hussein, said Maj. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategy, Plans and Assessment, Multi-National Force - Iraq .

Chichowski said there are four key conditions to determine a province’s eligibility for transfer: the capability of the Iraqi security forces, threat levels in the province, local government capacity, and that government's relationship with Coalition forces in the province.

The responsibility for getting Dhi Qar ready to transfer has been shouldered mostly by members of the Italian contingent there, led by Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force – Iraq .

“This result was attained by Dhi Qar provincial authorities and Coalition forces through a long and intense period of sacrifices and efforts,” De Pascale said.

About 1,500 Italian troops, along with Romanian, Australian and some British Soldiers, have been based out of Camp Mittica , just outside Ali Base, near Ur . The task force has worked closely with the local government in the province – training and equipping the local Police and Army, mentoring government officials, and organizing construction projects like schools and clinics.

“In the next days, Coalition forces in the province of Dhi Qar will hand over the security responsibility to Iraqi civilian authorities. This result is a clear evidence of the capability of Iraqi security forces, Police (and) Army, of guaranteeing security in Dhi Qar autonomously," De Pascale said. "It is also evidence of the maturity of the population in Dhi Qar. From now on, they will be able to contribute to the security, the social and economic growth of the province of Dhi Qar and Iraq ."

The Coalition transferred neighboring Al Muthanna province on July 13. Since then, Al Muthanna’s local Police and military forces have had full responsibility for the province's security and continue to run operations there without Coalition prodding.

“I wish all the best to the provincial leaders and to the people of Dhi Qar,” De Pascale said.

A ceremony marking the transfer to Iraqi provincial control is scheduled for later this month.

Of course, for balance: Bill Lind says they're just lying.

by John on Sep 19, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Thailand's military ousts prime minister

ry's got a beef. And in praise of Brothers

(Endless post warning. You've been warned.)
As we’re finding out around here, a brother’s love is a wondrous thing.

It’s no secret that I like Thomas Barnett and his work. I think he’s got a lot of the solutions to the current problems and some of the mid-term ones too in his Felix the Cat Bag of Tricks. I get the guy. I get what he says and why he says them. I get his motivations for his philosophy---as would Alan McLeod (definitely) and Trias (kinda sorta), but not Jack Grant (who would question it on many levels given what it calls for at times). Good guy. Good egg. Man with a heart of gold, most of the time, and the best interests of the world as his star to steer by.

But sometimes, only sometimes, I’d like to take a newspaper and smack him in the back of the head. Why? Well, he supports the kind of thing his brother wrote about neo-cons (me being a neo-con) that is just the usual tawdry list of ‘reasons why conservatives/republican are the devil’ with a neo stuck in front of it. I mean, it’s great that your brother gets that there’s a difference, a slight difference in the stream of things, between neo-cons, real neo-cons and not those who just have the tag hurled at them as an epithet, and neo-libs. That’s great. Having a brother have your back is great thing, and I’m happy for Dr. Barnett to have the backing of his brother. We all need that sometimes. And it’s good that where the distinction between the two was attempted (Writers at the New Republic, call your office!) But……

I wasn’t always a neo-con. At one point I was a crazy anarchist Punk (like mohawks, leather jackets with tons of safety pins in them, and listening to loud dis-harmonic stuff played allegro with bad lyrics by Gello Biafra Punk---though I still attended Mass and school (lettering in track and cross country), never cut my hair all weird and didn't wear the clothes that were part of the scene, and really worried about my Mom being mad. So I wasn’t really Punk. I just tried to be.). Then I woke up in my late teens. That chit just was not going to work and was the epitome of arrogance. Only we, the anointed few, who by listening to the same bands who hand fed us some really watered down philosophy, really knew what was going on and how to run the world? Baloney. We knew spit, less actually, and, worse, we knew it and just didn’t care. It’s just, well, rebellion is cool (though I still didn’t have my first date until I was a junior in HS while most of my punk buddies had lost their virginity by that age. Go figure.) and telling people they didn’t know anything while we of course knew everything made us feel good about ourselves.

So then I stopped that stuff.

I moved onto something else.

Call it isolationist populism. The world’s problems are their own. We had more than enough problems here at home. People matter first, philosophy a distant second. Helping people out is a good thing and the first good thing. Whatever does the job best is the solution regardless of ideological reasons--- though this last bit got modified a bit as I got older and learned more, the process often does matter.

But I differed in a lot of my friends on how to fix those problems. I asked the question: does gov’t intervention really help? Sometimes it did. Lots of times it didn’t. So I wasn’t for reflexive ‘gov’t solves it by throwing money at the problem’ type solutions, like Hillary Care. Growing up on Welfare like I did taught me something hard and true: gov’t programs have to toe a bottom line, but Father Scanal’s charity knew no bounds (and he could be viscous in getting the Parish to help us out); the gov’t would have to follow a schedule of payments regardless of our actual need, but the people my Aunt worked with at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station or The Strand could be counted on to take collections, loan money, or bring us food whenever we needed it ( Another sign of charity of the Navy: Once some officer brought Disneyland tickets on Armed Forces Day because the guy felt bad that a family that lived no more than 10 miles away had kids that had never been in their entire lives while his kids had been several times. Ociffers. Such a weird lot.).

[If you want the rest of this essay, just hit the "Flash Traffic/Extended Entry" button there and all will be revealed]

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 19, 2006 | I'm an idiot...

This is for Jack... sorta.

...an interesting compendium of alternative views of Pope Benedict's speech.

Christopher Hitchens, who's never met a Pope he wouldn't like to push down the stairs. Preferably while they're in a wheelchair.

Martin Marty - who calls the Pope an absent-minded professor...

Mark Shea, who, along with his own round-up of opinion on the subject, lays the blame squarely at the feet of a cherry-picking press.

And, Robert T. Miller contends that the Pope did it on purpose, as an opening gambit.

Heck, they may all be correct in some form or another. Regardless, while one should exercise some care in the use of "fighting words" the regrettable trend of the West to blame itself when parts of the Muslim world explode in juvenile fury at perceived slights, and go on pillaging binges with a soupçon of killing, the fact remains the bad behavior is a childish choice, and while we daren't act as parents here, we can act as adults - and not reinforce the behavior by giving the tantrum throwers what they want. And we can look at the parents (the governments and Imams) and suggest to them they get their children in line.

Just sayin'


Update - then there's Iraq the Model...

by John on Sep 19, 2006 | Politics

September 18, 2006

For John, Beth, and Shadow

Every good trooper deserves to go out in style. I don't imagine John and Beth feel much like talking, but please feel free to leave your respects in the comments section. They'll read them when they feel up to it.

Family is family :)

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying.
~George Bird Evans

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
- Samuel Butler

The greatest love is a mother's;
Then comes a dog's,
Then comes a sweetheart's.
(20th century). Polish Proverb

"To his dog, every man is King;
hence the constant popularity of dogs."
- Aldous Huxley

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons."
- James Thurber

Labradors [are] lousy watchdogs. They usually bark when there is a stranger about, but it is an expression of unmitigated joy at the chance to meet somebody new, not a warning.
~Norman Strung

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend:
and inside a dog, it's too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx

"If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."
- Woodrow Wilson

"If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man."
- Mark Twain

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull


Fare thee well Shadow, thou good and faithful friend...

Shadow - the Last of the Old Guard

If you're reading this, it's because Shadow has taken his last car ride, and has joined the Pack Invisible.

He's really not ready to go, but it's time. A great heart, being squeezed to death by lung cancer. Dammit dammit dammit.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance sing a soul to the Great Hunting Ground and Tennis Ball Chasing Facility.

Fare thee well, thou good and faithful friend.

Great farkin' gobs of spittle, I *hate* entropy.

But Lord knows, you'll have company. Ninja, Gabby, Sebastian, Little Guy, Mickey, and Whiskey. You guys come pick me up at Piddler's Green, 'kay? The last of the original Exterior Guard (Kansas Contingent) has passed and my world is smaller, greyer, and bleaker today.

Entropy has been rough on the Exterior Guard. From a high of 5, we allowed nature to reduce the force by attrition, hard as that was. Now we're having trouble manning the force. Our new recruit, Kiki, the brown yellow lab/bloodhound mix in the middle, has been with us about two months, and now we're back to two. Whodathunk that Permanent Private Houdini (he who goes AWOL a lot, and can move more dirt than an ACE), would end up the Guard-mount Commander?

...and then there were two.

I know that to many of you, the Castle is overrun - and with 5 dogs and 8 cats, we were. But now the place just seems... empty.

I'm done here for the day, I think. Anything else goes up, you guys do it.

[The comments are disabled on purpose. I just am not in the mood for an email assault - not that I don't appreciate it - I've just got only so much stoicism per day available... and didn't want to get pummeled by a lot of comment emails. And Shadow doesn't mind - he never read the blog anyway. He was a SWWBO fan. Whiskey was the Castle reader...)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

This one is for John of Oldguns...

...regarding his answer to question # 10549 - Carbine Double Size Trainer (located on this page, 3rd question down)...

How do you know it's a lazy Sunday at Castle Argghhh!!! and that SWWBO must be on the road?

Because this is on the deck, being cleaned (with all the kittty litter 'round here, *everything* gets dusty)

M1919 Trainer assembled

The Arsenal's double-sized, aluminum, M1919 cut-away trainer. Which was made for the Navy, btw.

M1919 trainer, field stripped

Now if John could just find me the bullets and belt that go *with* this... he *claims* to be a full service source for collectors... 8^)

A note from the front.

Via email.

Subject: A note from a Marine friend
Here is a recent note from the son of a Marine friend. (Hard to believe that he got that old!!) Like father, like son. He is on his 3rd pump to Iraq but still has a little humor left. One more trip and we won't need to worry about humor.

[Opsec deletion]

While he may be surprised about us not hearing about the Ramadi battles and deaths on the news, I am not. There are no hotels worth a crap in Ramadi. (The same thing happened in Vietnam. Everyone heard about Saigon and the terrible French Quarter. Who heard of Cua Viet, Dong Ha, Camp Bearcat, Central Highlands, etc? No good hotels to rack up per diem in those places.)

While we bicker about the politics, he and the other 150,000 brave souls get to live among the bad guys. Much like the Cold War (and the many small wars under that umbrella)--everyone complains but those at the pointy end of the spear. I do note that outdoor shitters made his list (a unique smell in every war zone) and that the "Biggest Hassle" and "Second Worse" sounds haven't changed. May God protect these kids.



Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading.Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for twenty hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record-setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.

Worst Case of Déjà Vu - I thought I was familiar with the feeling of déjà vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before - that was déjà vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same . . . everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment - Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. I had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

Most Profound Man in Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines (searching for Syrians) if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."

Worst City in al-Anbar Province - Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Killed over 1,000 insurgents in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.

Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - It's a 20,000 way tie among all the Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last - and for a couple of them, it will be.

Best Piece of U.S. Gear - new, bullet-proof flak jackets. O.K., they weigh 40 lbs and aren't exactly comfortable in 120 degree heat, but they've saved countless lives out here.

Best Piece of Bad Guy Gear - Armor Piercing ammunition that goes right through the new flak jackets and the Marines inside them.

Worst E-Mail Message - "The Walking Blood Bank is Activated. We need blood type A+ stat." I always head down to the surgical unit as soon as I get these messages, but I never give blood - there's always about 80 Marines in line, night or day.

Biggest Surprise - Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are - and they are finding them.

Greatest Vindication - Stocking up on outrageous quantities of Diet Coke from the chow hall in spite of the derision from my men on such hoarding, then having a 122mm rocket blast apart the giant shipping container that held all of the soda for the chow hall. Yep, you can't buy experience.

Biggest Mystery - How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?

Second Biggest Mystery - if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?

Favorite Iraqi TV Show - Oprah. I have no idea. They all have satellite TV.

Coolest Insurgent Act - Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.

Most Memorable Scene - In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past - their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate - Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here - all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a 'Band of Brothers' who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.

Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss - Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.

Worst Smell - Porta-johns in 120 degree heat - and that's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature - I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle - High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no affect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.

Biggest Outrage - Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest offender - Bill O'Reilly - what a buffoon.

Best Intel Work - Finding Jill Carroll's kidnappers - all of them. I was mighty proud of my guys that day. I figured we'd all get the Christian Science Monitor for free after this, but none have showed up yet. Talk about ingratitude.

Saddest Moment - Having the battalion commander from 1st Battalion, 1st Marines hand me the dog tags of one of my Marines who had just been killed
while on a mission with his unit. Hit by a 60mm mortar. Cpl B. was a great Marine. I felt crushed for a long time afterward. His picture now hangs at the entrance to the Intelligence Section. We'll carry it home with us when we leave in February.

Biggest Ass-Chewing - 10 July immediately following a visit by the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Zobai. The Deputy Prime Minister brought along an American security contractor (read mercenary), who told my Commanding General that he was there to act as a mediator between us and the Bad Guys. I immediately told him what I thought of him and his asinine ideas in terms that made clear my disgust and which, unfortunately, are unrepeatable here. I thought my boss was going to have a heart attack. Fortunately, the translator couldn't figure out the best Arabic words to convey my meaning for the Deputy Prime Minister. Later, the boss had no difficulty in convening his meaning to me in English regarding my Irish temper, even though he agreed with me. At least the guy from the State Department thought it was hilarious. We never saw the mercenary again.

Best Chuck Norris Moment - 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in the small town of Kubaysah to kidnap the town mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the bad Guys put down his machinegun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machinegun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

Worst Sound - That crack-boom off in the distance that means an IED or mine just went off. You just wonder who got it, hoping that it was a near miss rather than a direct hit. Hear it every day.

Second Worst Sound - Our artillery firing without warning. The howitzers are pretty close to where I work. Believe me, outgoing sounds a lot like incoming when our guns are firing right over our heads. They'd about knock the fillings out of your teeth.

Only Thing Better in Iraq Than in the U.S. - Sunsets. Spectacular. It's from all the dust in the air.

Proudest Moment - It's a tie every day, watching my Marines produce phenomenal intelligence products that go pretty far in tearing apart Bad Guy operations in al-Anbar. Every night Marines and Soldiers are kicking in doors and grabbing Bad Guys based on intelligence developed by my guys. We rarely lose a Marine during these raids, they are so well-informed of the objective. A bunch of kids right out of high school shouldn't be able to work so well, but they do.

Happiest Moment - Well, it wasn't in Iraq. There are no truly happy moments here. It was back in California when I was able to hold my family again while home on leave during July.

Most Common Thought - Home. Always thinking of home, of K- and the kids. Wondering how everyone else is getting along. Regretting that I don't write more. Yep, always thinking of home.

I hope you all are doing well. If you want to do something for me, kiss a cop, flush a toilet, and drink a beer. I'll try to write again before too long - I promise.

Semper Fi

I could offer some analysis - but it speaks plainly to me.

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Another Cold Warrior recognized...

Air Force sergeant receives posthumous honor for secret mission Associated Press McCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. - Air Force Tech. Sgt. Roscoe C. Lindsay died in 1959 carrying the secret of a mission he flew over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Now, the Air Force has recognized his service with the Distinguished Flying Cross, its eighth highest honor. Lindsay's widow, Loy Lindsay of Coffeyville, accepted the medal Friday in a ceremony at McConnell Air Force Base.

"He certainly deserved it, and I'm so happy for him," she said. "I wish he could be here."

Roscoe Lindsay died of a heart attack at age 38.

Seven years earlier, in September 1952, he was one of 12 crew members on a flight to determine if the Soviets were building a base that would pose a nuclear threat to the east coast of the United States.

The mission was so secret that they were instructed not to use their radios for the entire 15-hour flight. Crew members were also told that if they were shot down or captured, there would be no rescue attempt.

The crew successfully completed its mission, on which Lindsay served as an aerial photographer.

Because of the flight's classified nature, it was largely unknown for decades. In 2000, the government declassified details of the mission, and crew members began sharing their story.

Soon after, Lindsay's grandson, Patrick Logan, read that the lead pilot on the mission, Lt. Col. Roy Kaden, was trying to track down other crew members or their families. He wanted the crew to receive military honors.

Kaden, who lives in Arkansas, contacted Logan, who lives in Missouri, and told him: "I've been looking for your family for 40 years." Kaden lobbied to secure the Distinguished Flying Cross for Lindsay.

Col. T. Harrison Smith, vice commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell, presented the medal Friday to Loy Lindsay.

"I'm just in awe of all of it," she said of the ceremony. "I'm just speechless."

September 17, 2006

H&I* Fires 17 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Over at the Coyote Blog, a Princess Bride tie-in and fisking of Kevin Drum - all wrapped up in lies, damned lies, and statistics.

While many of us were talking the talk on MIA-POW Day, there's a group of military personnel and civilians who Walked the Walk instead.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2006 – As Americans pause to observe POW/MIA Recognition Day tomorrow, teams of military and civilian experts will be excavating sites in Europe, South Korea, Solomon Islands, Alaska and Hawaii, looking for remains to help identify servicemembers still missing from past wars.

Like these guys, working a site in Vietnam.

Members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and local villagers work together excavating a crash site in Dong Hoi, Vietnam, July 16, 2006. A 15-member JPAC team including a forensic anthropologist, life support investigator, explosive ordnance disposal technician and field medic, deployed from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, will be working in Vietnam for a month attempting to recover the remains of pilots that crashed in the area during the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Derrick C. Goode) (Released)

Members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and local villagers work together excavating a crash site in Dong Hoi, Vietnam, July 16, 2006. A 15-member JPAC team including a forensic anthropologist, life support investigator, explosive ordnance disposal technician and field medic, deployed from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, will be working in Vietnam for a month attempting to recover the remains of pilots that crashed in the area during the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Derrick C. Goode) (Released)

Jules Crittenden, a columnist with the Boston Herald, a red foil to the blue bludgeon of the Boston Globe, asks the question, "When did you stop dreaming?" I know when I did - and I'm still looking for a reason to dream again.

I gotta get SWWBO off to the airport - you guys run with it now. -the Armorer

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by Denizens on Sep 17, 2006 | General Commentary

Just... Hoo-ah!

Could we have some of this up here, please?

AUSTRALIA'S Muslim leaders have been "read the riot act" over the need to denounce any links between Islam and terrorism. The Howard Government's multicultural spokesman, Andrew Robb, yesterday told an audience of 100 imams who address Australia's mosques that these were tough times requiring great personal resolve.

Mr Robb also called on them to shun a victim mentality that branded any criticism as discrimination.

"We live in a world of terrorism where evil acts are being regularly perpetrated in the name of your faith," Mr Robb said at the Sydney conference.

"And because it is your faith that is being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem.

"You can't wish it away, or ignore it, just because it has been caused by others.

"Instead, speak up and condemn terrorism, defend your role in the way of life that we all share here in Australia."

From the Herald-Sun.

What will CAIR say?

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by John on Sep 17, 2006 | Politics

Pope Benedict and Manuel Paleologus...

SWWBO, Chief Catholic here at Castle Argghhh! has been all over this.

So, the Pope has apologized.

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn't reflect his personal opinion.

Over this:

In his speech on Tuesday, Benedict quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

Works for me - he's sorry that a bunch of ignorant punks took remarks out of context and got their panties in a twist.

Guess what? I'm sorry they're a bunch of ignorant punks, too. And I'm not just talking about the Imams and their congregations deep in the Muslim world who can be expected to have a profound ignorance of Christian and Western history and, fed by a sound bite secularist western media, only heard the remarks out of context, and then behaved in the (to my eyes) childish ways they have become so famous for... torching churches, tossing firebombs, the usual reaction of certain practioners of the religion of peace to words, any words, that might be perceived as... oh, I don't know, critical. Yet they look at you uncomprehendingly when you ask them about their criticism of, oh, judaism or christianity.

No, rather, I'm saving my greater contempt for the MSM and their reporting of he issue.

But I also like the fact that Benedict didn't apologize for the remarks, just expressed regret people got their panties in a twist.

Muslim reaction was mixed...

Mahmoud Ashour, the former deputy of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni Arab world's most powerful institution, told Al-Arabiya TV immediately after the pope's speech that, "It is not enough. He should apologize because he insulted the beliefs of Islam. He must apologize in a frank way and say he made a mistake."

What, quoting old dead white men to illustrate a point in how things have morphed over time is a mistake? Hmmmm, better check to see if this guy is on faculty at a Major University... He didn't make a mistake, he quoted from history to support a point. And if you aren't adult enough to work with that... okay.

There's no pulling the wool over the eyes of this academic, Mohammed al-Nujeimi, a professor at the Institute of Judicial and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, he got the point...

The pope does not want to apologize. He is evading apology and what he said today is a repetition of his previous statement," he told Al-Arabiya TV.

But the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, takes a more laid-back approach,

But the leader of Egypt's largest Islamic political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said that "while anger over the Pope's remarks is necessary, it shouldn't last for long."

Of course, why does he take a laid-back view? He senses victory in the long-term...

While he is the head of the Catholic Church in the world, many Europeans are not following (the church) so what he said won't influence them. Our relations with Christians should remain good, civilized and cooperative," Mohammed Mahdi Akef told The Associated Press.

Methinks he sees Europe as ready to accept dhimmitude, following a template laid down by Vichy France.

I mined this article for the quotes.

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by John on Sep 17, 2006 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Pope apologizes for comments on Islam
» Flopping Aces links with: Oh, The Outrage!
» Flopping Aces links with: Oh, The Outrage!