29 November 2005

Death then sex?

Fine, fine editing at StrategyPage
" It turned out that it was a lot easier to get killed, then sexually satisfied, in Iraq. "

I'm curious how necrophilia goes over in Islamic countries.

08 October 2005

Prophetic? Or merely amusing?

Anti-War Protesting from the _____ Wing

What Goes Around, Comes Around

October 7, 2005: What goes around, comes around. Leading Republicans protested Clinton’s “War on Serbia,” in the 1990s. Military operations in the Balkans back then were enthusiastically supported by Europeans, Moslem nations and U.S. Democrats. For reasons best left to future historians, the roles were completely reversed when it came to removing a tyrant in Iraq a decade later.

Some of the anti-war comments made in the 1990s;

§ "You can support the troops but not the president." – Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)

§ "Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." – Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

§ "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" –Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

§ "[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." – Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

§ "American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." – Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)

§ "If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." – Karen Hughes

§ "I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." – Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS)

§ "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." – Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

§ "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." – Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

27 August 2005

Why are we more worried about politics than defense?

Panel deals Pentagon base-closing setbacks - Yahoo! News
The day's biggest reversal was the decision to preserve the Ellsworth base for the Cold War-era B-1 bomber was a victory for Sen. John Thune, a Republican who beat former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle last November by claiming that he would be better placed to save the facility.

The base is the second-largest employer in the largely rural state of 750,000 residents.

'This is a great day for South Dakota, but we think it's a great day for America,' said Thune, adding that he spent more
time lobbying base commissioners in the last three months than he had with his family."

I'm sorry that your state has been unable to sufficiently diversify its economy that you've become dependent on the federal government, but that's your own damn fault. The Defense Department is not the Department of Federal Job Assistance.
And if you've spent more time with the BRAC folks than your own family, you damn sure haven't spent enough time dealing with legislation - you know, the passage (or better yet, repealing) of laws, for which, get this, legislators are elected. It's not "a great day for America" but rather a great day for South Dakota's open hand, greedily grabbing for slices of a federal pie that were already deemed undeserved.
Sp much for removing politics from the BRAC process...

24 July 2005

This is really important

Normally I just link to these things. But sometimes those links expire, and this one is too damn important. If you're in the military, you should be afraid, be very afraid, that the guys disregarding the advice of the experts are those with no expertise themselves. There are a lot of problems in the military, but perhaps none bigger than this one.

At Pentagon, the truth will not set you free

At Pentagon, the truth will not set you free
Knight Ridder Newspapers

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
That idea began with the Bible. But at the Pentagon, that law for military leaders could be: If you speak the truth it will make you free... free to seek other employment.
There was a time when the first and greatest loyalty of any military officer was to the truth, and his obligation was to tell the truth as he knew it to his superiors, military or civilian.
They still teach it that way at West Point in the honor code that guides a cadet: I will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate anyone who does. Even quibbling - any semblance of an evasion of the truth - can lead to expulsion from the academy.
Before the invasion of Iraq, when the planning was under way, the civilian leadership made it clear that this war was going to be done their way and anyone who got in the way would regret it.
If anyone in uniform needed an object lesson they had only to look at what happened to an honorable and loyal soldier, Army chief of staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, when he reluctantly answered a senator who demanded his opinion on how many troops it would take to occupy Iraq. This was in late February 2003.
Shinseki answered that, based on his experience as the first commander in Bosnia, that it might take "several hundred thousand soldiers" to occupy Iraq with its 25 million people.
One military commander told me that on that day, when Shinseki said what he said, the plan called for 280,000 American troops to carry out the invasion and the follow-up occupation. The next day that force was reduced by 60,000 troops. Later the occupation force would be much smaller, well below 200,000. Well below 150,000 in fact.
The civilians would prove Ric Shinseki wrong no matter what it cost, and they would do everything in their power to punish him and everyone who liked him and supported him. Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, publicly rebuked Shinseki, saying his estimate was "wildly off the mark." They also made him a lame duck by leaking the name of his proposed successor more than a year before he was to retire.
When Army Secretary Tom White spoke up on behalf of Shinseki, he was fired.
All the while Rumsfeld and his civilian inner circle kept singing the same tune: Anything the commanders over there ask for they will get. As the younger generation likes to say: Yeah, right. If they ask for more troops they will get the ax.
Ask Army Lt. Gen. John Riggs. In September 2004, while Rumsfeld and Army chief Gen. Peter Schoomaker were doing their best to keep Congress from adding more troops to the Army, Riggs was quoted in a newspaper article (Baltimore Sun, Sept. 13, 2004) that even 10,000 more soldiers might not be enough.
"You probably are looking at substantially more than 10,000," Riggs told the paper. "I have been in the Army 39 years and I've never seen the Army as stretched in that 39 years as I have today."
Riggs had already requested retirement. It usually takes 60 days for the paperwork to get done. Two days before that period ended Riggs was told that he was being demoted to two-star rank and would retire at that rank and pay. Riggs has appealed.
Meanwhile the Pentagon leadership continues to respond to all questions about the troop strength in Iraq by singing the old song: Anything the military commanders over there ask for they will get.
That is the answer even though those same commanders don't have enough troops to permanently base any of them along the wide-open Syrian border crossings where hundreds of foreign jihad terrorists have crossed into Iraq on their way to become suicide bombers, killing Americans and Iraqis alike.
That is the answer even though those same commanders have never had enough troops to secure the hundreds of old ammunition dumps scattered all over Iraq that contain more than a million tons of bombs, artillery shells, bullets, rockets and launchers.
No doubt that will still be the answer when the Army and the Marine Corps have been utterly broken by unending combat deployments that grind up soldiers and equipment alike. When the Army cannot recruit enough replacements for those who are leaving something they love because they love their families more.
You shall know the truth, but if you are a general you must remain mute. Try teaching that at West Point.
Mr. Galloway is the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers.

07 July 2005

Oil for food - Names and numbers

Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 164

Very detailed list of who received oil-for-food vouchers from Saddam Hussein and some background on each of them.

I'm still digesting it, so comments will follow

21 June 2005

TSA's problem

Wired News: 'TSA is losing the public's trust,' said Tim Sparapani, a privacy lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. 'They have a repeated, consistent problem with doing one thing and then saying they did another.'

It's not that they're losing anyone's trust. It's that they're a freakin' pain-in-the-ass obstruction to an otherwise perfectly safe way to travel.

Has the TSA interrupted any hijack plots?

They are constantly pulling people out for inspections that have no reason to be inspected, and yelling at everyone else to hurry up thru lines that are slow because of the TSA not the patrons of the airports.

I was pulled out for additional screening recently. I have a top secret security clearance. If I was a terror threat, I wouldn't have received a security clearance. If I was a danger to the country, I wouldn't be in my position in the National Guard.

And if the asshole running the screening station at the Columbus, OH had a brain he wouldn't have been yelling at my wife, who was left to wrangle 3 carry-on bags and a 2-year-old while trying to put her shoes (flip-flops, actually) back on because I was standing around in a separate screening area waiting for some numbskull to come off of his coffee break so I could get my additional save-the-world-from-the-scourge-of-the-patriotic-national-guardsman-volunteering-to-serve-the-country potential hijackers.

23 May 2005

Mis-aimed Muslin Rage

Mis-aimed Muslin Rage
Originally uploaded by thebrant.
Stray Voltage's first graphic! A great cartoon from Ariail, at The State newspaper in Columbia, SC.

17 May 2005

A good look at the Koran outrage

USS Neverdock: "Where was Newsweek and the rest of main stream media when The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity tore up Bibles for toilet paper?Where's the outrage? Where's the indignation? Why is the world media so hell bent on portraying Islam as some kind of sacrosanct religion, better and above the rest? Is their book somehow holier than everybody else's? Not bloody likely!"

OK, so he's a little hysterical here, but the point is still valid: why's everyone pissed about desecrating the Koran, but not the Bible? Especially when one was substantiated, and one was not.

16 May 2005

an interesting take on the iraqi "insurgency"

Power Line: What Does Zarqawi Want?

So what do we have to do to "win" the "insurgency"?

It reads like a pretty grim picture...

But at least it gives you a defnition of success.

13 May 2005

Another BRAC moment (pretty much written as I watched the NBC news story)

I was just watching NBC where the mayor of Portsmouth was whining about the closure of the submarine base. She was chanting "he must help us, he must help us, for God's sake, he's from around here."
Gee, I thought he was some good-ol'-boy from down-home Texas, not some pampered daddy's-boy from an uptight rich New England family...

And for all the hyperbole about Groton and the Navy submarine base, they are not the only sub training facility in the country, since San Diego still has SUBTRAFAC.
And I'm sorry if you've tied your entire town to the local military base and never tried to diversify your local economy. The Navy didn't "betray" you as Mr O'Connor claimed. There's no room for "tradition" or "history" when it doesn't make military sense to keep the base.
And if you've been on the hit list before, and survived, and still didn't overhaul your local economy? Well dammit, you're just stupid enough to have the base pulled out from under you.

Hey Olympia: 1 word, 4 letters, starts with "W" and ends with "H"

CNN.com - Lawmakers scramble to save bases - May 13, 2005: "U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, called the recommendation a 'travesty and a strategic blunder of epic proportions on the part of the Defense Department.'"

'Cuz we all know how that Olympia-freakin'-Snowe knows more about national defense strategy than, say, Donald Rumsfeld, or, oh, Anthony Principi. The closure of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is a "travesty and a strategic blunder of epic proportions" in the context of her re-election, not the defense of our country.

12 May 2005


Allies refuse to get tough on nuke builders: So why haven't China and the EU said these things? "Like that girl with the brussels sprouts," Mandelbaum said, "the Chinese and the Europeans are all for combating nuclear proliferation - just not enough actually to do something about it."

The article is deadly serious and yet still brings a smile to your face.

11 April 2005

Big "oops" from the Washington Post

washingtonpost.com: Opinions on Attire Not Quite Uniform: "The unit normally runs the military's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., where it scrutinizes other units in microscopic detail and brooks no deviation from military discipline."

Anyone who knows anything about Ft Irwin knows that (1) that's not a true statement, and (2) the OPFOR vehciles looked like rolling gypsy wagons every time they hit the road. There was never a shortage of coolers, sleeping bags, and hibatchi grills strapped on the backs of the Sheridans they used. Everyone was always in an impeccable uniform, even in the field, but they were rather pragmatic about their vehicles.

The NTC is run by a headquarters that supervises the Operations Group (who really runs NTC) the NTC Support Battalion, a maintenance unit that does not head for the field very often, and the 11th ACR, whose job is to play the bad guys when units come to train. The certainly do not "run" the NTC. And the "military discipline" that is referred to is most often enforced by the combat-veteran NCOs of Ops Group, who offer their sage wisdom and life's lessons to units they evaluate as O/Cs (observer-controllers) during the exercises.

Don't forget that everything the Army does is for a reason, and you might not understand it, but that doesn't mean that someone doesn't think it's the right thing to do. It's rare that people invent stuff to do just for the sake of doing it.

10 April 2005

23 February 2005

Randi Rhodes really screwed this one up...

Apparently it was a re-run (mp3 file) because Randi was out with adbominal surgery, so I don't have the full archive to link you to, but she was complaining that no one took any disciplinary action against the Marine general who said that some people - like al Qaeda - are fun to kill, since they're complete schmucks.
Her argument with a caller was comparing the following:
  • Why is she personally fine $500,000 for saying bad words on the air
  • Why is he not punished at all for saying it's fun to shoot people

    Randi missed the essential element of the comparison:
  • What she says on air is the intrinsic part of her job. If she never spoke on-air, she would not be a radio announcer, and never subject to such actions.
  • LTG Mattis is paid to lead and command troops. He is not paid to give speeches or sit on conference panels. He does these things outside the official scope of his duties, and he is not there as a representative of the US military (despite the uniform) any more than my father is representative of the US military when is a guest on a local radio show memorializing Veterans. My father was on the radio because of his military experience; LTG Mattis was on a panel because of his military experience. Neither were official representatives of the military. Otherwise, what are we to make of any current or former military member who wears his uniform anywhere - to church, to the mall, to a funeral, to panel discussions, to a parade? Are military war protesters who wear their uniforms to rallies there representing the government? Neither was LTG Mattis. It was outside the scope of his official duties.

    Now, if LTG Mattis leads an attack in the wrong direction, or gets a bunch of his own soldiers killed because he botched the planning of an operation, then string him up like Randi would be for cussing on-air. Otherwise, sit down, shut up, and leave the man alone.
  • 05 February 2005

    What you take to every military operation

  • Something to eat

  • Something to read

  • Something to keep you warm

    They Army will always make sure there's enough water on hand. And you can try to stay dry, but the only truly waterproof item made by the Army is the brown bath towel. But more often than not, you will find yourself cold, hungry, and bored, so always bring those 3 things with you.