Archive Logo.jpg

December 08, 2006

H&I* Fires, 8 DEC 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...

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

First off: Break a leg Big Bro'. You don't need luck 'cuz you got skillz, but I'm wishing you luck anyways.

Second: gollum's back hurts. Seems everyone and their Mother has been coming down with both boots on the ISG and the regional talks recommendation. Oi. Getting jumped by Ralph Peters with biblical metaphors leaves a nasty welt. And being called 'Nevil' by the Boston Globe doesn't quite leave the same kind of hurtin', but it still stings. Barnett is calling 'hack!' over the ISG. Even SWWBO is taking a turn dropping an atomic elbow. Man, does it suuuuuck to be at the bottom of this dogpile.

Well, tdaxp kinda has my back. Thanks Dan. Barnett still calls 'Hack!' but sees what I see: playing for time to rebuild support back home. I think. Even with MountainRunner trying to hold up the ISG as not entirely crap we defenders of it have been savaged. No lemon juice throwing please.

I think I'm going to hide down in Castle Argghhh! Purgatory. It may be cold. The parachuting hamster may steal the blankets and eat all the Pringles. But at least nobody can jump from the top rope.
ry

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

I'm in Stand-To! For those who don't know, it's "a daily compendium of news, information and context for Army leaders," an official Army publication [see the bottom of the RH column]. - FbL

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

Warning! NSFW (In a Miss Thang Environment, especially!) Graphic new photographs of a newly discovered atrocity in Iraq, allegedly perpetrated by the Myrmidons of the US Armed Forces. We gotta cover the bad with the good, people, much as it grieves me to do so. -the Armorer

**********************
Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick dies at age 80. There is more info over at the AEI website......Princess Crabby

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

Greyhawk seizes the high ground in the Weblog Awards! -the Armorer

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

This is a hoot. Google "touchy-feely liberally retards Democrats" and see what news organization pops up as "Number One in Google." Snerk. Good on ya, Chuck. -the Armorer

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

I want one of these coloring books! Really! H/t, Chris M. -the Armorer

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

These days, I can think of few subjects that would motivate enough Americans to support a nationwide push to amend the Constitution.

This might.

I'm not talking something complicated here...like trying to balance the separation of powers with, say, an amendment establishing a means to overturn a SCOTUS decision (Senate supermajority override, whatever). I'm talking about an amendment that doesn't change the national charter but clarifies it, i.e., one that would specifically state that the Second Amendment does, in fact, include the individual's right to keep and bear arms. In other words, a SCOTUS assault on what I think a majority of Americans take for granted being met not with a lot of harrumphing and rending of garments, but a quick, spare and cogent rejoinder that you don't have to be a ConLaw prof to understand, might just sail through the states. Comments, John? -Instapilot (H/T to Glenn Reynolds)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 08, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

More secrets released by the NYT...

...a Top Sekrit photo representative of the extensive testing the Army Combat Uniform went through has been released by the New York Times.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hey - one thing's for sure... the ACU works in an urban environment!

H/t, Mike L.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 08, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

On the issue of whether to let officers be in charge of procurement or not...

...better known as the "Answer to the Whatziss" posed earlier this week.

Also known as the dangers of a college education.

This one.

The Great and Powerful Og got it right, as did Rick and Rod - it's a gauge. Pogue sorta fell into my visual trap (I figured people would try to find it to be a fuze) and stumbled into the answer backwards.

It's a gauge used to check fuze setters. It's post-WWII Brit, though the US has equivalents.

Gauge, Testing, Fuze Setter No 1

In use, looking sorta like this.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Expensive piece of kit, when procured, I don't doubt. It's made of tough stuff so that it can handle the use and still maintain it's dimensional integrity and accuracy.

So what's this got to do with the title of the post, you ask? Simple.

But you'll need to go to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry to find out.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 08, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Artillery | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

December 07, 2006

H&I* Fires, 7 DEC 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...

******************************************************
Just a reminder that the War on Terror is actually a global endeavor and a multi-generational one. Somalian Union of Islamic Courts offers praise to al-Queda support and influence in that country. -ry

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

Someone we know and love 'round here finds herself being blogged about over at PBS... -the Armorer

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

"Um, Lieutenant, sir? Don't you think we've been driving a long time for a 10 mile road march?"

"Of course not, soldier! I've got the GPS thingy. Keep heading Southwest."

"Uh, yessir - but the road sign back there said..."

"Troop, I'm not going to tell you again - keep driving!"

"Yessir."

This is why we neep to keep maps and map-reading skillz, in addition to the nice gizmos. Snerk. H/t, CAPT H. -the Armorer

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

Chapomatic with an interesting list of readings on Organizational Change. I particularly indentify with the one regarding information displays, as I've spent a fair amount of time in the last 15 years trying to get a handle on exactly this issue. -the Armorer

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

Jay over at Stop The ACLU made it onto Brit Humes last night... Not in person, but, still - whee! -the Armorer

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

Supporting our Allies. Landstuhl receives Canadian Forces’ Unit Commendation. H/t Damian and CAPT H. -the Armorer

***********************
[Snipped and made it's own post below. - the Armorer]

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

A little Canadian Political Humo(u)r, eh? -the Armorer.

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

They've released the name of the Viper driver who went down recently. Now, let's see how long it takes the Kos Kids to declare, "Screw 'im." -Instapilot

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

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Heh. Sergeant Boggs speaks truth to power...

"War sucks but a world run by Islamofacists sucks more."

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

And more memories fade away.

USS Oklahoma survivor Jerry Tessaro, left, shakes hands with fellow USS Oklahoma survivor Raymond Richmond during the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, USS Oklahoma Lobby Display Dedication ceremony at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2006. The ceremony is honoring the historic tie between the Pearl Harbor shipyard workers who aided in the rescue of 32 Sailors from the capsized ship in the days following Dec. 7, 1941. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl, U.S. Navy. (Released)


USS Oklahoma survivor Jerry Tessaro, left, shakes hands with fellow USS Oklahoma survivor Raymond Richmond during the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, USS Oklahoma Lobby Display Dedication ceremony at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2006. The ceremony is honoring the historic tie between the Pearl Harbor shipyard workers who aided in the rescue of 32 Sailors from the capsized ship in the days following Dec. 7, 1941. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl, U.S. Navy. (Released)

But this year's reunion holds an urgency that hasn't been part of gatherings past: Most Pearl Harbor survivors, nearing their 90s or even older, say it will be their final trip back to this place that changed the course of their lives and their nation forever. Event organizers--many of them children of survivors who are ailing or already have died--pragmatically are calling this the "final reunion." And survivors' extended families, including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, are coming along to the reunion in unprecedented numbers to glimpse history firsthand through their loved one's eyes before the opportunity is gone.

Read the rest here.

And locally, it's fading here, too.

Survivors’ message expected to fade. Pearl Harbor veterans fear that, as they make this year’s local remembrance their last. By BRIAN BURNES The Kansas City Star The goal of those who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor: Keep everyone else from forgetting the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941.

That will be harder to do after Thursday. At 10 a.m., local survivors who have been organizing an annual anniversary remembrance will hold their last observance of the event that ushered America into World War II.

Time has greatly thinned the ranks of the Kansas City Metro Chapter III of the national Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Those still alive are getting too old to organize the annual event or, sometimes, to attend it.

So Thursday’s observance at the Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission, they say, will be the final chapter.

“We think it’s been valuable for people who hadn’t known anything about Pearl Harbor,” said Jack Carson of Overland Park, who left last weekend for Hawaii to attend ceremonies marking the attack’s 65th anniversary. “We’ve invited schoolchildren and everyone else.

“But we are all getting old now, and it’s almost too much to get anything done.”

Read the rest here. I almost caused an early decrement to the number of Pearl Harbor survivors. I was driving from Fort Sill to Fort Leavenworth for a conference, and I passed a car with an older couple in it on the turnpike. The car had a Pearl Harbor Survivor license plate. I was in uniform, as I was going straight from the car into a meeting.

As I passed, I saluted. The driver, somewhat startled, returned the salute. And almost drove off the road. So, ma'am, if you're still out there and you visit the Castle - I apologize for causing your husband to scare you witless. At least that's what I assumed you were saying, but it was hard to tell from all the wild gesticulating going on...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Historical Stuff

0755AM, December 7, 1941.

Air Raid Pearl Harbor. This is no drill.

Hosting provided by FotoTime
Hosting provided by FotoTime

There are more pictures. I moved them below the fold into the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry to ease the burden on our dial-up visitors.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Historical Stuff

Band together or hang separately?

We’ve got a problem on our hands. The latest election has caused some cracks to form in the US domestic coalition supporting the war. Two camps seem to be forming and both are pointing fingers that accuse the other of being dumb or worse. One can be called ‘kick their backsides until they get tired of it and quit as the path to victory in Iraq’ while the other can be considered the ‘Ack! We need to take half a loaf and take a longer view even if means cozying up to crapheads to win in the Long War!’ And we’re starting to see some real hatred form between the two.

My stance found here and of the ‘Ack’ school of thought, makes me kind of unpopular in some circles. My unpopularity is evidenced not only be the response it got in that thread but also by Lex’s dissing it in an illustrative manner to voice his displeasure of the general position here, which puts him in the ‘my leg don’t get tired of butt kicking’ school. Luckily, I’m not alone and have good company (or more like I hide in the shadow of some choice people).

(Rest is below the fold. Modified 23:50 7/12/06)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | I'm an idiot...

Kewl. The USNS Alan Shepard.

Navy to Christen USNS Alan Shepard


The Navy will christen the USNS Alan Shepard, the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, during an 8 a.m. PST launching at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif.

The ship honors the first American in space, Rear Adm. Alan B. Shepard Jr.Like the legendary explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, for whom the first ship of the class was named, Shepard bravely volunteered to explore the unknown and became the first American in space. Thus began one of the most challenging endeavors in human history: the manned exploration of space.

Shepard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in 1944. He served aboard destroyers in the Pacific during World War II and later entered flight training, receiving his designation as a naval aviator in 1947. Shepard served several tours in fleet squadrons and was selected to attend the Navy Test Pilot School in 1950. He logged more than 8,000 hours of flying time.

In 1959, Shepard was one of seven men chosen by NASA for the Mercury manned space flight program. Two years later, he became the first American to journey into space in the Freedom 7 spacecraft launched by a Redstone rocket on a suborbital flight. He reached an altitude of 116 miles.

In 1963, he was designated chief of the Astronaut Office with responsibility for monitoring the coordination, scheduling and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts. Shepard made his second space flight as spacecraft commander on Apollo 14 in 1971. He was accompanied on the third U.S. lunar landing mission by Stuart A. Roosa, command module pilot, and Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot. Shepard logged 216 hours and 57 minutes in space, of which 9 hours and 17 minutes were spent in lunar surface extravehicular activity. He resumed his duties as chief of the Astronaut Office in June 1971 and served in this capacity until he retired from NASA and the Navy on Aug. 1, 1974.

After his Navy and NASA careers, he entered private business in Houston and served as the president of the Mercury Seven Foundation, a non-profit organization now known as the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation that provides college science scholarships for deserving students. Shepard died July 21, 1998, at the age of 74.

John H. Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Laura Churchley will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her father. The launching ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition when the sponsor breaks a bottle of
champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship "Alan Shepard."

The USNS Alan Shepard is the third ship in the Navy's new 11-ship T-AKE 1 Class. T-AKE is a combat logistics force vessel intended to replace the current capability of the T-AE 26 Kilauea-Class ammunition ships, T-AFS 1 Mars-Class combat stores ships and, when operating with T-AO 187 Henry J. Kaiser-Class oiler ships, the AOE 1 Sacramento-Class fast combat support ships.To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship will support two military logistics helicopters.

Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing replenishment services to U.S., NATO and allied ships, the USNS Alan Shepard will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. Ships such as Alan Shepard provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. The ship will transfer cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expendable supplies and material) to ships and other naval warfare forces at sea.

The USNS Alan Shepard is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, a navigational draft of 30 feet, and displaces approximately 42,000 tons. Powered by a single-shaft diesel-electric propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of 20 knots.As part of the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, the ship will be designated USNS. The term stands for United States Naval Ship. Unlike their United States Ship (USS) counterparts, USNS vessels are manned primarily by civil service and civilian mariners working for the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C.

I would just note that Shepard went into space on an *Army* rocket.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 07, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

December 06, 2006

H&I* Fires, 6 DEC 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...

******************************************************
gollum is having some trouble getting at research materials for something he’s trying to write for Big Boot (And hopefully get out of Castle Purgatory thereby---I like the Russian Hamster Paratrooper and all, but he’s not much of a conversationalist and you can only read the comics so many times.).

Anyone have the ability to get at stuff from the archives at the Naval War College that can get me a look at stuff on PLAN doctrine and capabilities? Well, stuff that’s open source level anyways but for some reason I can’t access from home. Pleeeeeease? If so please drop a line in the comments section.

(gollum does too know how to write in a professional and sourced manner. He’s just typically to lazy to do so, and vitreous about his spelling.)
---------------------------------------------------
Oh, and the Iraq Study Group report should be out today. I wonder how badly some people are going to feel betrayed. -ry

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

Well, I think I discovered "shilling matters." The nomination process for the 2006 Weblog Awards is over. The Finalists are announced.

I find myself vaguely disquieted. In the 2004 Awards, we came in 4th for Best Milblog. In the 2005 Awards, we came in 5th, with those newbies, Op-For, pushing us down a notch.

This year, we didn't make the cut. We're not on the list at all. I admit, I didn't put forth any effort. I made one post about it, mostly because I wanted to see what difference it made. Sigh. Boy, did it make a difference, huh?

We did make the list for "Best of the Top 250 Blogs", along with these guys:

Best of the Top 250 Blogs

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
All Things Beautiful
Castle Argghhh!!!
Stop The ACLU
Feministe
JustOneMinute
Orcinus
Sisu
The Median Sib
Talk Left

Winning in this category is, well, frankly, equivalent to... winning the NIT, eh? Consolation prize for the also-rans.

I know all the issues about popularity contests like this. But for some reason, not making the cut as a mil-blog, well, bothers me.

I guess I really *am* retired. And, damn but there's a lot of grey in this beard. -the Armorer

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

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 06, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

This might pique some interest.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2006 - Just in time for the holiday season, Marvel Comics' "The New Avengers" and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service have teamed up to bring troops stationed around the world another free, military-exclusive comic book.

Marvel Comics, a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc., is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting ways Americans and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.

"The New Avengers: Letters Home" is scheduled to arrive in U.S. exchanges around Dec. 20 and overseas, including the 53 BX/PX facilities throughout operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, shortly thereafter. It's the fourth installment of the military-only comic book series.

"Due to their limited availability, collectors have historically shown great interest in these special AAFES/Marvel Comics editions," Army Col. Max Baker, AAFES chief of staff, said. "If the past is any indicator, 'The New Avenger: Letters Home' issue should go quickly."

Available exclusively at AAFES stores, the newest issue once again features Marvel's superhero Captain America, who, because his regular supporting cast is away for the holidays, is joined by Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider and special guest, The Punisher. When Hydra takes over a military communications satellite, the superheroes spring into action to ensure troops' e-mail messages to loved ones make their way home.

Because of the highly collectible nature and the anticipated demand for the 36-page comic, AAFES officials advise that "The New Avengers: Letters Home" is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 06, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Feh! Since I'm all bummed...

...about the Weblog Awards, I'm going to take it out on you guys.

Whatzis?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Post WWII. NATO, not Warsaw Pact.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 06, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

That's funny, he didn't *look* like a demon...

He really doesn't. Doesn't sound like one, either.

Who? Josh Rushing, the former Marine PAO who found himself employed by Al-Jazeera.

That would be Al-Jazeera "dot.NET" vice "dot.COM," a distinction lost on many people. Including yours truly.

Debbie Schlussel wasn't impressed with him. Over at Euphoric Reality, "traitor" was tossed about.

Not surprisingly, the Left likes him.

Mother Jones likes him. I would note that the author of the Mother Jones piece, Daniel Schulman, obviously got nearly the same pitch we did here at Leavenworth, but it's certainly flavored differently. Whether by Schulman and his filters, by Rushing's targeted pitching to his audience, or my recollections being flavored by my filters.

The Salon story tracks well with the general outlines Mr. Rushing's pitch, as well. So, his story is generally consistent.

So, how did I manage to meet Josh Rushing? Easy - he was a guest speaker at the Command and General Staff College, where he was brought in to address the Information Operations elective. The college also runs a faculty development program, where many of the guest speakers or people who are here for other purposes are asked to address the faculty. As they occur during the normal instructional day, attendance at these things is usually low enough that non-faculty people like myself are invited to attend (That shouldn't reflect badly on the faculty, btw - these are targets of opportunity, and classes still have to be taught and students mentored!).a We've also had Ralph Peters, Max Boot, and Ry's buddy Tom Barnett come visit.

One of the interesting things that none of the stories about Rushing captures is... Al-Jazeera. And the fact that most of us are thinking Al-Jazeera.com, when the organization that Rushing works for is the english language arm of Al-Jazeera.net.

Hey, one's a magazine, one's a television network. And they're probably flip sides of the same coin, right?

Apparently not. According to the disclaimer on the .com site (which resulted from a trademark-infringement lawsuit brought by .net against .com) the two are not related.

From the "About Us" section of the .com website:

About Aljazeera.com Aljazeera Publishing owns and operates Aljazeera.com, bringing you the world today. Aljazeera Publishing is an independent media organisation established in 1992 in London. Aljazeera.com has a particular focus on events and issues in the Middle East covering major developments presenting facts as they happen.

Important note: Aljazeera Publishing and Aljazeera.com are not associated with the controversial Arabic Satellite Channel known as Jazeera Space Channel TV (also known as Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel) station whose website is Aljazeera.net.

Aljazeera Publishing disassociates itself from the views, opinions and broadcasts of Jazeera Space Channel TV station.

Emphasis in the original.

So, what did Mr. Rushing talk about? He was there to do what he normally does to his military audiences (which include the Counter-Terrorism Center at West Point, the National Defense University, and others), he talks about Public Affairs, his role in OIF, and how he got to where he is now.

To his military audiences, his thesis, broadly restated, is "We don't know jack." Especially about managing media in the middle east.

He uses al-Jazeera as his example. How? Basically he asserts (and I have no reason to think otherwise) that Al-Jazeera is more powerful in the middle east than any equivalent US news operation is in the United States.

CENTCOM did not understand that, nor the distinction to be made about the .net incarnation vice the .com incarnation. His example? "The "boot" was on Al-Jazeera." "Boot" being Marine slang for newbie. I.e., Lieutenant Rushing was the face of the American War Machine on al-Jazeera.

He made three points about how that affected things.

1. The issue of trust. Mr. Rushing asserts (and challenged us to find evidence to the contrary) that al-Jazeera television never once showed a beheading. Mind you - not that they didn't show excerpts from the videos (as did the US media) but that they didn't show the actual beheadings themselves. In other words, they reported no differently than US and other international media did. Mr. Rushing avers that the viewership of al-Jazeera knows this, and when Secretary Rumsfeld stood in front of the cameras lambasting al-Jazeera for showing the beheadings, he lost credibility with the audience.

2. Al-Jazeera as the "Mouthpiece of Al-Qaeda." True, al-Jazeera has been a preferred place for al-Qaeda tapes to premier. But Mr. Rushing points out the wording of the disclaimer on al-Jazeera.com - the part where it says "Aljazeera Publishing disassociates itself from the views, opinions and broadcasts of Jazeera Space Channel TV station." is explicit aimed at protecting the .com people from the fatwas issued against the network for their support of Zionism and us. Support being defined as not being a reliable mouthpiece for... al-Qaeda.

3. His third point, I've already covered - the distinction to be made between the .net and .com entities - a subject too complex for this post.

He then moved on to discuss what he thought the US should do in the arena. He called for 'limited strategic engagement'. Mr. Rushing says there are two centers of gravity in the ME. Mosques, and al-Jazeera. We can't realistically get into the mosques, nor should we. But we can, should, and in fact *must* get into ME television sets. Find the progressive journalists (in the ME context of progressive) and give them access. His point being that if we continue to stiff-arm the biggest television voice in the ME, *someone*, usually the opposition, will fill the void.

Mr. Rushing pointed out that the US Gov engage with al-Jazeera. So, al-Jazeera then defaults to conservative think tanks to find people who will speak up *for* US interests. But the conservative think tanks don't trust al-Jazeera much either, and will usually only come on for a fee, with the attendant baggage that brings from a journalistic perspective. So they go to liberal think tanks, who are happy to come on for free - which then sets up the situation where people who *don't* really support US policy are brought on to *defend* US policy - and generally don't. Now you see why they're happy to come on al-Jazeera for free. Mr. Rushing suggests the USGov does itself, and by extension, the rest of us a dis-service by what he sees as the government's fundamental misunderstanding of al-Jazeera.

He talked about his own experience dealing with the USGov as an al-Jazeera correspondent. He said military people, to include senior military people, will engage him and al-Jazeera (hey, he was there talking to us, right?). But the senior DoD civilians stiff-arm him. He certainly knew his audience.

He had some other policy suggestions.

First - train soldiers down to the squad level on how to deal with the press. Not make them PAOs, but train them in how to engage with reporters, *and* report the results of those engagements up the chain, quickly, so that the PAO can be more proactive in responding. His term? A "media ninja".

On a more macro level, he brought up the "split branding" of the United States, i.e., on one hand, anger and annoyance with US foreign policy, while on the other hand, those same people many times can't wait to get here and make it home. He has a simple solution.

Be consistent. If we're going to act in what we perceive to be our best interest from a pragmatic point of view - then tell people that. But don't talk one thing and do another - or let the perception be that you're doing another if in fact you don't intend to be doing so.

More simply put - Change the message to match the policy, or change the policy to match the message.

Of course nothing in Life, the Universe, and Everything is that simple, is it?

Interesting fellow, who is treading an interesting path.

I don't know what I expected, but what I got was a tallish fellow with bright blue eyes, standing there looking tired in a blue suit, mauve shirt, and a striped tie.

He didn't look like the Devil Incarnate. He has an interesting view worthy of consideration. All in context. He does work for al-Jazeera, so he obviously has an interest in changing the perception of al-Jazeera.

But that doesn't mean that our perception of al-Jazeera is accurate, and that he doesn't have reasons other than the obvious professional ones for doing what he's doing.

Glad I went.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 06, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Politics

December 05, 2006

H&I* Fires, 5 Dec 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...

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

The blogfather posted a link to this (and others sent it to me as well) - Weapons That Don't Exist, but Should. Looks like a peek into BCR Labs. But you really should start here, in an entry I could have written. Weapon.

Carnival of the Recipes is up. Born August 20, 2004, SWWBO created something that has taken on a life of it's own. Kewl. How many of us can say that? I can't!

I'm really busy today, as you can tell. -the Armorer

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

Looking for info, pliz ... Why izzit that this tool of the pacifist left isn't sweating in a military court room, but is free to appear at a screening of 'his story'??
- Barb

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

Hey, Mike - good thing you got those drugs, eh?

Flatulence brought 99 passengers on an American Airlines flight to an unscheduled visit to Nashville early Monday morning.

Yep. Flatulence. -the Armorer

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

Princess Crabby - on why *all* the amendments are important. So you can repel the whale pushers when they come for you.

And Maggie, it may not be the best, but it's certainly up there. -the Armorer

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


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 05, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A little spirit of the season.

There's giving, and then there's... giving. What I give, I really don't miss. Not in any real causing-of-pain way. I don't know (or care) how much was given here, but I'm impressed that anything was given at all. On many levels. Good on yaz, Trias. However much our donation was appreciated, yours outscores us in karma.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 05, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Something for the Soul

A serious blog survey.

I met David Perlmutter (in digits) via email during the recent Israeli invasion of Lebanon, while I was helping Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee debunk the doctored pictures.

David is a photojournalist himself, who wrote an article in Editor and Publisher about the danger the photoshopping posed to ethical journalism. He is on the faculty at Kansas University, just down the road.

He's also interested in blogs and blogging. Heck, he sends his students to go read SWWBO!

Anyway - KU and Wisconsin are collaborating on a study of blogs. SWWBO was in the first wave of the survey. The Castle is in the second wave. If you've got some time, click the link below and take the survey. It's not too painful, I took it for SWWBO. And I'm not going to be hurt (nor will I know, either) if you aren't listing the Castle in the Top 5 blogs you visit every day. This place ain't striving any more to be that kind of place. We're where you come to relax.

Click here to take the survey.

If you missed it at SWWBO's, go here.

Well, unless Sanger or Ry has a hair up. Then it can get lively. When they have the results, we'll publish 'em if they'll let us.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 05, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Shameless Self-Promotion

Jules Crittenden, on "The Dream of Mature Nations"

This will incite the maple-syrup swillers, perhaps.

A number of Canadians took offense recently to a Boston Herald column in which I slammed Canada and Europe in general for failing to hold up its end in this war for democracy, freedom and security. Specificially, I slammed them for being smug democracies that do little to help the truly oppressed of this world, while throwing insults at us and obstacles in our way.

Whatever I thought about their government's attitude toward Iraq, and the insults that were leveled at our president, Canadian soldiers have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

I would like to commend and thank the Canadians and others for what they are doing in Afghanistan, and to express my respect for their sacrifices.

But I would still like to know where the Canadians, the French and the Germans in particular were when we needed them in Iraq ... if only to get out of the way. In fact, we could use a lot more troops in Iraq right now. More to the point, the Iraqis could use a lot more troops. They could also use the knowledge that the world actually gives a damn and is willing to stand with them, rather than always against us.

Some people say they don't want the French there ... deer hunting with an accordian. Some people say coordinating a multinational force can create as many problems as it solves. More to the point, most people would say this is all idle and pointless dreaming.

But I'm an optimist and a dreamer. Why not? Tens of thousands of troops flooding in, under NATO leadership, to engage aggressively as we've seen them do in Afghanistan. Do these nations care about Iraq? They claim to. Do they care about freedom and stability in the Middle East? They pretend to. So let's end the hypocrisy. We all know what is needed in Iraq. It isn't a pullout.

Read the rest here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 05, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

December 04, 2006

H&I* Fires, 4 Dec 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...

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

A number of must-reads today...

The NYT covers American intelligence agencies' efforts to modernize, particularly the application of innovations like blogging to spying. It's a long but fascinating read, and somewhat encouraging, too.

Jules Crittenden calls the AP to task for their shoddy/fabricated reporting.

Taliban-style threats and attacks come to Gaza.

If you haven't heard yet, here's the real story on the "flying imams," including the police report. Some of the details are rather eye-opening.

And Soldiers' Angel Laurie informs us in comments on yesterday's H&I Fires:

Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers' Angels, will be on MSNBC with Allison Stewart on Monday, December 4 [today!] at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 Central, 1:00 Mountain, 12:00 Pacific). If viewership goes up, they may have her on again which means more exposure for Soldiers' Angels and more help for our troops.
Here's a list of the many projects of Soldiers' Angels. And if anybody has the capacity to record and post the interview with Patti, please do! - FbL

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

Strategy Page on Rumsfeld's Memo.

Ah, this Fuzzy's-up-early stuff is *nice*! -the Armorer

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

Given just how "Blue" an area Lawrence, Kansas is, being the home of Kansas University - this was good to read. The guys of Beta Theta Pi are sending Care Packages to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Good on ya, guys.

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

Hello everyone. THIS may seem quaint; but I do miss the old days where Kremlinologist busily dissected our enemies' intentions. Things were much more simpler then.

Let’s see… Iran and Syria, are busily endeavour to destabilize our work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Lebanon, etc. and now we are going to break bread with them? Call me a simpleton, but this GWOT business, and the way we are prosecuting it is way too muddled for my taste. - BOQ

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

Bush Accepts Bolton's U.N. Resignation
Unable to win Senate confirmation, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will step down when his temporary appointment expires within weeks, the White House said Monday.
Why??????? Maggie

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

Lex delivers a smackdown to the morally blind Kofi Annan.

The NYT hits back on bloggers' deconstruction of AP reporting. Flopping Aces responds in the link above and has a roundup of the bloggers involved (the article is subscription-only, but widely excerpted. Or you can click here and enter "nytimes.com" for a password)- FbL

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

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 04, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Victor Davis Hanson.

A bracing breath of fresh air.

Yet if some think the strange alliance between the new Democratic Congressional majorities and old Republican realists will ameliorate some of this by urging direct talks with North Korea, Iran, and Syria, pressuring Israel, gravitating to a European approach to problems, or withdrawing from Iraq, they should remember the Carter administration's experience with Iran, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Central America, and the Clinton response to the first World Trade Center bombing, Khobar Towers, the East African embassy bombings, and the USS Cole. Even more illuminating is to remember that the old appeasement of treating numerous enemies better than our few friends did not even win affection, but only outright contempt. I remember the visceral Iranian hatred for Jimmy Carter, and the worldwide ridicule of Bill Clinton, and sad US shuttles of the 1990s to beseech Assad and Arafat.

So we are in strange time, in which we see the known failures of the past offered up as correctives for the perceived failures of the present. In response, what the administration needs to do is to nominate someone from the uncompromising Bolton stamp who pursues UN reform, rethink tactics in Iraq to secure the country, renew diplomatic efforts to isolate Iran and foster internal change, continue the investigations and pressures on Syria, and craft an energy policy that collapses the world price of petroleum and with it the juice that powers a Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Putin, et al.

You should read the first part, too - over at The Corner.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 04, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Politics

Heh.

The first paragraph squares with my sources in the box and recently out.

The American military is fed up with Maliki. The ground commanders in Iraq felt betrayed by him this summer when he undermined a push to get control of the streets of Baghdad. The Iraqis failed to deliver on a promise to put enough troops on the ground. A four-star general who declined to be identified discussing a confidential conversation told of this encounter with Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who was in charge of day-to-day ground operations. "Do you have enough forces? Enough to clear an area and stay there to secure it 24/7?" Chiarelli replied, "Of course not." The four-star recalls replying, "It's going to fail, it's absolutely going to fail." The Americans never had enough forces to sweep even half the city, much less secure it. Maliki made their job tougher by in effect forbidding the U.S. military from taking on Shiite fighters; ordering them to lift roadblocks around Sadr City, the Shiite slum, and ordering them to release prisoners suspected of running death squads.

It's not clear whether the military made its frustrations known to the White House. Generals tend to salute and say can-do; if anything, the military has not been accurately portraying the dismal events on the ground, at least in the eyes of some White House aides. But with Donald Rumsfeld's departure, the Pentagon is entering a new era of leadership, in hopes it will be one in which the uniformed brass and their civilian bosses will communicate better. Gen. John Abizaid, the overall theater commander, and Gen. George Casey, the ground commander, are exhausted and overdue for replacement. ("There might be a sense that a fresh perspective is needed," said a senior White House aide.) Rumsfeld's former right-hand man, Stephen Cambone, has announced that he is stepping down. Others are expected to follow, stripping the Pentagon leadership of the group around Rumsfeld whose neocon certainties led to such catastrophic miscalculations in Iraq.

Read the whole thing here. I find the sublede mordantly apt: "Folks used to wonder why he didn't push into Baghdad. Baker doesn't hear that question much anymore."

The second paragraph is more troubling, if baldly true, vice filtered through Newsweek's editorial sunglasses. I suspect the truth is somewhat different, more from the effects of the normal filtering of impressions as they go up.

Just like in the intel community, when stark assessments are softened on the way up the briefing chain, the same happens in battlefield reporting.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 04, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Book Review: Sea of Thunder, by Evan Thomas.

I like Simon and Schuster. They send me books to read.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This is a title I would not have bought, simply because of competition for shelf space and time, but I'm glad I got it to read. Made me expand myself a bit.

The book is Sea of Thunder - Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign, 1941-45, by Newsweek journalist Evan Thomas.

I've not read a quick-reading one volume history of WWII in the Pacific, except in context of the land campaigns. So I've read several detailed histories of some of the battles covered here, but I've never really had a sense of the overall flow of the Naval Campaign. I say naval campaign in caps there because the book is not about MacArthur's Navy, the 7th Fleet, nor does it touch on the land campaigns much, except where needful.

This is the story of the maneuverings, nautical and political and personal, of the Big Blue Fleet, mostly when under the command of Admiral Halsey, and the Imperial Japanese Fleet, as they strove to achieve the Decisive Battle in the Pacific Theater, told via the wartime careers of 4 naval officers. Admiral Halsey, commander of the Big Blue Fleet. Commander Ernest Evans, skipper of the USS Johnston, a ship and captain made famous in the Last Stand of the Tin-Can Sailors at Leyte Gulf. Admiral Takeo Kurita, commander of the Second Fleet on it's last, ill-fated sortie, and Admiral Matome Ugaki, commander of the biggest battleships ever built, the Musashi and Yamato, and who would achieve a sad fame as "The Last Kamikaze".

Thomas makes good use of Japanese sources to give the reader a far more nuanced view of the Japanese Navy and it's commanders and sailors than I have read elsewhere (a failing that may be more due to my soldierly, vice naval, interests). It was especially eerie to see the witless paranoia and fantasy that the Japanese Imperial Staff engaged in that mirrored that of the German General Staff, comprised, as both were, of people far too removed from the fighting and who held their positions due to being good staff weenies and game-players than deep-thinking strategists.

He also strips away any lingering pedestals for Halsey and Evans, applying as he does, the one thing about the book that annoyed me. Evans lets his "90's kind of guy" sensibilities suffuse his writing, as he makes sure we all know that these guys were, in many ways, uncultured, sorta uncouth, and racist (especially Halsey). I don't mind truth-telling. It's far more useful to know that Halsey was so affected by the stress of his job that he had psychosomatic illnesses and yet kept on doing his job, than the image of an unbreakable man at the helm. Humanizing these men is a good thing. There are just moments in passing where Evan's lets his sensitivities mar his prose, to my ear. Your mileage may vary.

[Update: Heh. I fell into my own rhetorical trap - *I* still think Halsey did a great job overall, and that Evans *earned* his Medal of Honor, whatever we after-the-fact guessers have to say. They were the "Man in the Arena" many of us are the cold and timid souls who know neither victory of defeat. That said - you have to be able to look past the aura and see the truth, to both try to learn from the mistakes, and, in the final analysis - makes great people greater, as you learn of the real cost of doing what at the time seemed so easy, because we wanted it to appear that they were Olympians. -the Armorer]

But if that's the only complaint I have, it's not much.

I suspect my compadres of the Naval community will not find much in here that is new or revelatory, aside from the Japanese perspective. I admit to being a little surprised at the unity of command issues and long-running sore of strategic comms, and how Naval Tradition (with those caps) got in the way at times, but no more so than happened with MacArthur. I was completely unaware of the effective incompetence of the highest levels of the Japanese armed forces, simply because I really had never paid attention to the Japanese side of the war from the operational and strategic end of things.

My recommendation? If you like military history and aren't looking for geek-level reading, it's worth the money. If you aren't that up on the naval campaign in the Pacific in WWII, and would like an easy-to-read precis on the last gasp of the Gun Club Admirals and the rise of carrier warfare, as well as an interesting window into the Japanese, this book will fit that niche. If you've never read naval history before, this is a good introduction to the subject - well written in an easy to read style, and decent history from a substance perspective. If you're a serious naval historian/geek, unless the Japanese side of this is new to you, there isn't much in here for that level of reader, except that if it's a subject you last read about in Samuel Eliot Morison's history of the war some time ago, it might be a good way to revisit the topic and refresh those neurons. Especially if you've moved from junior officer to more senior officer in the intervening years. Revisiting the subject might cause you to see some things you didn't notice the first time.

A good Christmas gift for the naval enthusiast in your group who doesn't already know enough to write a book themselves... In other words, if I hadn't read it already, it would have been a good choice for me! (Thanks, Leah!)

Sea of Thunder, by Evan Thomas. Released November 2006 by Simon and Schuster. List $27, online $18.90 or less.

Coming up later this week: Masters of the Air, by Donald Miller.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 04, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

December 03, 2006

H&I* Fires, 3 Dec 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...

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

Since the Armorer seems to be otherwise occupied, I thought I'd do a Denizen round-up. - FbL

Princess Crabby renegotiates her Army-Navy bet with Anthony.

The Torch reports that the Canadians are on the receiving end of "holier than you barbaric warmongers" rhetoric.

Fuzzybear Lioness has a very Fuzzybear adventure and meets a remarkable immigrant sailor.

The League of Disgruntled Majors returns with a story of officer roster hijinks.

AFSis has a video that will put a smile on your face.

Barb reports on her blogson.

If you didn't before, be sure to read Bad Cat Robot's stories of adventures in the Northwest snow.

SWWBO gets an award!

Trias looks at a new website about Australia's involvement in Vietnam.

The Blog Princess reminds us of Operation Santa and takes a test that shows something we already know: she's a master of the english language.

Jack has your depressing but thought-provoking quotes for the day.

Sgt. B has a good excuse for blogging laziness. He's at his first drill weekend and the inside word is that he's revelling in hearing "Sgt. B_____" at the end of every sentence when he speaks to the younger guys.

Alan reports on Santa's Butt and the ACLU.

The O.E.S. Project returns (they're the guys who saved U.S.S. John Rodgers.

Murray has a story that will have the animal lovers and gallant protectors of the ladies reaching for a gun.

That's it. Have a great day, everyone!

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

Boy-o-Boy am I glad I checked - because I was literally getting ready to do what Fuzzy just did. Thanks Fuzzy! I really appreciate the effort!

For those of you who played the Whatzis yesterday, y'all got it pretty quick - it is the SMAW spotting round, from the website that John S. directed you to. For those who didn't follow his suggestion, you can do so by clicking here. If any of you find one of those cut-away's laying around, gimme a call! Me Want!

And since my email is being flooded by people sending me this link - I guess I better post it - IED Hunter, a Marine tribute to the Crocodile Hunter. -the Armorer

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

World's First Blog-Rant discovered... in England. It's Roman. H/t, Jim C. -the Armorer

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

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 03, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A Commonwealth moment.

News of our Brothers-in-Arms from Canada and Australia.

The Canadians lost a Regimental Sergeant Major in Afghanistan. That is the equivalent in the US Army of losing a Command Sergeant Major, the senior Non-commissioned officer in a battalion-and-higher unit.

CAPT H sent me this, from the Globe and Mail:

Suicide bomber robs regiment of its soul. When Robert Girouard was killed, his unit lost more than its Chief Warrant Officer.

CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

As Chief Warrant Officer Robert (Bobby) Girouard and Corporal Albert Storm came home to Canada last night, their flag-draped caskets arriving at CFB Trenton in a light rain, there was nothing to tell the non-military observer what a profound loss he was witnessing.

While the army properly grieves every fallen soldier equally, regardless of rank, the death of CWO Girouard was felt keenly not only on a personal level, but also as an enormous symbolic blow.

The 46-year-old husband and father of three wasn't just the senior non-commissioned officer of the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, he was also the unit's Regimental Sergeant Major, the first of about 25 RSMs in the battalion's storied 123-year history to be killed by enemy action.

He and 36-year-old Cpl. Storm, a native of Fort Erie, Ont., and a father of two, died Monday when their Bison armoured personnel carrier was struck by a suicide bomber just west of the main base at Kandahar Air Field.

You should read the rest of Ms. Blatchford's piece, and can do so here.

Canada's warriors have had their own problems with the media not covering them all that well - if at all, topics mentioned elsewhere. What I think interesting in this story is how Ms. Blatchford, recognizing her lack of knowledge on the subject, chose to do some research.

She did do by using the Canadian Army Forums to gain some understanding.

Our own Damian, of The Torch, made a contribution to that thread. One that is illustrative of a good Sergeant Major. His co-blogger, Mark, has more to say on the subject.

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

On a more upbeat note - Canadian Armour goes driving in the countryside. In Afghanistan. I do like The Torch's take on it.

Shifting over to Australia, Trias sends us this link showing that just day to day work in the military anywhere is dangerous. At least if you're training like you mean business.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 03, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Mr. Rumsfeld's Memo.

Let's leave aside the issues of governance by leak, etc. Apparently, once you reach a certain level, leaking classified information is a promotion criteria. Until you reach that level, you get to at least get fired, and sometimes go to jail. I never made it to the top, obviously, because the thought of leaking classified material, even inadvertently, makes this blog a far different thing than it could be. (However briefly, before I got to go reside in the Big House.)

Rumsfeld's memo as published by the NYT (I'm thinking there's no copyright violation here by me...)

Nov. 6, 2006

SUBJECT: Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action

The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough. Following is a range of options:


ILLUSTRATIVE OPTIONS

Above the Line: (Many of these options could and, in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others)

¶Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).

¶Significantly increase U.S. trainers and embeds, and transfer more U.S. equipment to Iraqi Security forces (ISF), to further accelerate their capabilities by refocusing the assignment of some significant portion of the U.S. troops currently in Iraq.

¶Initiate a reverse embeds program, like the Korean Katusas, by putting one or more Iraqi soldiers with every U.S. and possibly Coalition squad, to improve our units’ language capabilities and cultural awareness and to give the Iraqis experience and training with professional U.S. troops.

¶Aggressively beef up the Iraqi MOD and MOI, and other Iraqi ministries critical to the success of the ISF — the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Planning, Health, Criminal Justice, Prisons, etc. — by reaching out to U.S. military retirees and Reserve/National Guard volunteers (i.e., give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it.)

¶Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007.

¶Retain high-end SOF capability and necessary support structure to target Al Qaeda, death squads, and Iranians in Iraq, while drawing down all other Coalition forces, except those necessary to provide certain key enablers for the ISF.

¶Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province.

¶Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.

¶Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.

¶Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.

¶Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.

¶Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.

¶Initiate a massive program for unemployed youth. It would have to be run by U.S. forces, since no other organization could do it.

¶Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not “lose.”

¶Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) — go minimalist.

Below the Line (less attractive options):

¶Continue on the current path.

¶Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.

¶Increase Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. forces in Iraq substantially.

¶Set a firm withdrawal date to leave. Declare that with Saddam gone and Iraq a sovereign nation, the Iraqi people can govern themselves. Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.

¶Assist in accelerating an aggressive federalism plan, moving towards three separate states — Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.

¶Try a Dayton-like process.

Nothing wrong with the thoughts of the boss as he's trying to figure out what to do.

But this passage is just depressing.

¶Aggressively beef up the Iraqi MOD and MOI, and other Iraqi ministries critical to the success of the ISF — the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Planning, Health, Criminal Justice, Prisons, etc. — by reaching out to U.S. military retirees and Reserve/National Guard volunteers (i.e., give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it.)

(i.e., give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it.)

This is a corner the Secretary painted himself into, with his seemingly cavalier disregard for other USG agencies in the early days of OEF and OIF.

This is a corner the US Gov painted itself into, when agencies of the government set themselves above the President and his policy pronouncements, and, in effect, rebel, whether overtly or passive-agressively. A refusal to wear the adult pants, but rather to wear the petulant adolescent pants.

And that, ultimately, rests on the shoulders of the President and his appointees, for the failure to really clean that up. Sigh.

Which does not relieve the employees of their duty to do the job they've been told to do, once the decision has been made.

But like I said, because I think like that (among other things) is why I'm not trotting about amongst 'em.

Sigh.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 03, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Politics