Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iraq Study Group war warning

In the finest Bush family tradition, it looks like the President is set to take more moves that will dishearten his friends and encourage his enemies - and be left with nothing to show for it.

I had hope, but it is fading fast. The following is a small clip from a small heads-up from a member of the Iraq Studies Group. Heck, The Corner doesn't need my traffic, I'll quote in full.
I’ve been a member of the “expert” advisory group of the Baker/Hamilton panel. The frustration I and a few others faced: We thought our task was to develop options to move forward in Iraq. Most of our colleagues thought the task was to develop options to move out of Iraq.

In other words, the few hawks (or conservatives or neo-cons or whatever you want to call them) were arguing not for “victory” as Bush once envisioned it (Iraq as a shining city on the Middle Eastern hill) but against accepting defeat at the hands of such groups al Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam loyalists, against lamely attempting to disguise defeat as “redeployment” or “an exit strategy.” At the very least, we implored, let’s imagine and plan for the likely consequences of American defeat. That was derided as subscribing to the “domino theory.”

The Foreign Policy Establishment types who dominate the Iraq Study Group had opposed the war from the start and, in my view, mostly wanted to send Bush this message: “Idiot! We told you so!”

They were unconvinced by the case that I and a few others were making: That if the U.S. mission in Iraq sinks, it won’t just be Captain Bush and his neo-con crew that will drown. America will have a lost a key battle in a serious global conflict.

I think the following quote from one unnamed commission member who was a source for the NYT story today, confirms what I’ve said above: “We had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out.”
Looks like the fix was from the beginning. Lets see what comes out, but it can't be good for someone like Mr. May to put this out. This will get ugly.

It is somewhere in my archive, but this is looking like a variation of what I thought was coming a couple of years ago. This could turn towards a CIV/Press/Military divide not seen in 30 years. I thought this was just going to be a Left Right divide. No, this is going to be different, I think. Those in uniform should start circling the wagons.

This can be made a defeat very easliy. It can be won with patience and hard work. But if ordered, we can retreat if so ordered. We've done it before. The usual suspects are already out there.

If we as a nation don't do this right, there is a good chance that a push will be made to put the resulting Charlie Foxtrot in the lap of the military from both Right and Left looking for someone to blame.

At this rate, added to some of his domestic priorities, I think GWB may be leading himself towards one of the lowest approval ratings within his party of any President - much less the nation.

Iraq Civil War?

Not so fast says the BBC.
There is no single picture in Iraq – no single term can do justice to the complexity of what’s going on there. For now, we’ve decided not to use the term civil war – not because the situation isn’t bad, nor life for those involved increasingly difficult. Others will continue to describe it as a “civil war” – we’ll continue to report their comments with attribution. But it’s precisely because things are critical, that we need to explain and provide the context – something, one simple phrase can never do.
That is fair and clear headed for the BBC. Makes those calling it one look simple minded and biased - as they are.

Visual Demography

I can (and often do) babble on for hundreds of words what this does via picture. Here is your order.

Picture in your mind the 4 nations you would least like to populate and start to dominate the planet in 2050 on a basis of civilization, culture, human rights, etc. Then picture in your mind the 4 nations you wish the world was more like in 2050.
Then take your mouse and put it over those nations. Note for them the time it takes for the next death, and the next life. If more people are dying than being born - that nation is going the way of the Dacians, Assyrians etc. If they are breeding like rabbits - those are the ones that will either fill the gap - or fight their way into it. Be humble.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATO finding its footing?

There are some good things coming out of the Riga NATO summit. We will have to wait and see the walk after the talk - but the trends are in the right direction.
Nato leaders at a summit have hailed the relaxation of curbs on deployment of some members' troops in Afghanistan.

Nato commanders say they believe they can move an extra 2,500 troops around the country now some smaller members have relaxed their mission conditions.
Nato chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer welcomed the relaxation of "caveats" on deployment in Afghanistan.

He said about 20,000 of the 32,000-strong Nato force were now more usable for combat and non-combat missions.

"We have made real progress on caveats," he said.
Those agreeing to ease the restrictions on deployment against the Taleban include the Dutch, Romanians and smaller nations such as Slovenia and Luxembourg.
I know, I know. That still leaves over a third of your troops (the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements (CJSOR) is still not filled) only partially usable. The Dutch are a major player with over 2,000 - but you will never win Afghanistan with the Romanians, Solvenes, and Luxembourgese. It is critical that they will do that. Leading from the front - even little Luxembourg (fought with us in Korea, BTW) can look with distain at the Fwench. That is the right noise, but not a total victory.

The Axis powers, fellow Fascist traveller and their lacky are still balking, though heading in a better direction.
France, Germany, Spain and Italy have said they will now send help to trouble zones outside their areas, but only in emergencies.
That being said (I know I was being mean to our allies - but you should hear what the Canadians have been calling them), there are positive moves.
The summit also saw several countries offer additional troops and training teams, while France agreed to send more helicopters and aircraft.
Yes, the friends are getting along better now - but there are still some sharp elbows being thrown about
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told the BBC the summit had made significant progress towards generating enough force to defeat the Taleban, but they still "need to make those last remaining steps".

But a foreign office minister was more critical of the effort.

"This view seems to say it's all right for British soldiers to die in defence of the West but it's not all right for other soldiers," Kim Howells said.
Prior to Riga, The Economist gave a solid overview of the incredible importance of what is going on between the better hotels in Latvia and the working dinners.
For some NATO members it has been the most intense fighting since the Korean war. This year 49 soldiers, 34 of them Canadians, have been killed in NATO operations, and a further 14 British servicemen died in a plane crash. A few thousand Afghans—including Taliban, government forces and civilians—are believed to have died in the conflict.
Andrew Krepinevich, director of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defence think-tank based in Washington, DC, says that Europe and America have reversed historical roles. “A hundred years ago America was like Europe today,” he argues. Europeans preserved the balance of power, and the British fleet protected trade, while America criticised military adventures, such as the Boer war, as immoral. “America got a free ride on the Pax Britannica. Now it is the Europeans who are getting a free ride on the Pax Americana,” he says.

Despite many predictions of its imminent death, NATO soldiers on. Other organisations can offer much but they cannot match NATO's military power. This is why so many countries still want to join the alliance: it offers an insurance policy in uncertain times, with its promise of protection by the world's superpower.
A solid read.

He's all yours VA

You voted for him, you've got him. In my optimistic outlook (yes, I have one) - I had hope that Senator-elect Webb would be gone beyond his goofy campaign by now to be a sound, mature, reasoned voice. Well, scratch that.
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
What a petulant, narrow minded, immature response. My Mom and Dad have wanted me home for two decades and three major conflicts - but that isn't what they would have told the President if he asked them about me. The election is over Webb - get the Moonbat extracted out of your ass (say that about Webb while I can) - it is still speaking for you - and it isn't all about YOU. You have important things to do. Chop, chop!

Celsius 751

The temperature that France burns.

The Fwench gov'munt has been kind to provide a list, map included, of those places in Fwance you should best avoid. At least without a veil or one of these on the dash of your car. All 751 of them as counted by Daniel Pipes. They go by the euphemistic term Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS), or Sensitive Urban Zones. What a nice little term for "Areas the Government no longer controls." Sure we have high crime areas that we "Red Zone", but this is a totally different game.

Ahhh, the new sound of Al-Fwance.

For you dog lovers...survivors of PI liberty

Must viewing. Dog Years 1 & 2. In #2 it reminded me of one of the last port calls in the Philippines....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Coup d'Etat in Turkey?

It may be the best outcome in the long term, if the quasi-secular nature of the government moves more Islamist. Why, read the whole thing here - but here is the pull quote.
In recent weeks I have spoken with Turkey's most senior officers. All made clear that, while they would not want to see an interruption in democracy, the military may soon have to step in to protect secularism, without which there cannot be democracy in a majority Muslim country. These are no-nonsense people who mean what they say.
As for the no-nonsense part. He is dead right. In many ways, working with the Turkish military can be refreshingly 19th Century.

Kristof mis-reads Early Bird - and you

I an excessively childish rant titled The Cowards Turned Out to be Right, Nicholas Kristof sounds more like a know-it-all 10 yr old asthmatic child than someone whose writing is usually respected, even by those who do not agree with him. The title gives you a hint on the substance, I'll let you read it for your self.

What caught my eye though, was a little something at the bottom where he let a little ankle sneak out from under his skirt.
Take the Defense Department’s Early Bird news clipping service, which traditionally had been a dispassionate collection of outside articles to keep senior military officers informed. Lately it has been leading with in-house spin. The Early Bird of Nov. 20, for example, began with three separate unpublished letters to the editor by Pentagon officials before getting to the news from around the world.
'Ole Nick here lets out two aspects of his world-view WRT the military. Did you catch it?

1-Senior military officers need the MSM (via the Early Bird clips) in order to be "informed" about what is going on. Ummmmm, no Nick. The Early Bird is used in order to see what the MSM reports on about things the Senior Leadership knew about days, weeks, and months ago. What spin or twist is the MSM putting on what facts you know as a primary source? Is it accurate? That is 85% of the use of the Early Bird, Nick. Shocking, but most Senior Leadership, and ahem, many of the pauchy middle leadership, not only read more than one paper a day, but often more than one book at a time.

2-Why would the Early Bird publish "unpublished letters to the editor?" Simply, there are MSM reports in the Early Bird that are know to be totally false or misleading based on the facts as known by the Pentagon. The MSM will not police or report the corrections so the Early Bird is the only way to do it. I guess it depends on where you stand.

Both the above point out the condensation and arrogance of the MSM that Nick represents. Reminds me of that smear in Rick's book Fiasco where he states that most officers prefer to read Bass fishing magazines. Nick needs to perhaps address some of his own faults. He has him. Mote like.

He is a better writer than this article. Do better Nick.
UPDATE: For more MSM foolishness, Bookie has a good review of the latest.

Iraq Studies Group

I hope the first reports, as they usually are, turn out to be wrong.

Tony Blair's true legacy

Head on over to Nineme's place for the verbiage - I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rangel rebuttal: the facts

Not that some in Congress want to be bothered by facts, but here they are in the Philadelphia Inquirer if you want them.
Rangel and others believe that poor young volunteers from rural communities and inner cities, many of them minorities, suffer a disproportionate share of the casualties in our military.
By 2005, the percentage of recruits who came from the poorest one-fifth of neighborhoods had dropped to 13.7 percent. In the war years of 2003 to 2005, the percentage of all military recruits from the country's wealthiest zip codes actually increased slightly, from 22.17 percent to 22.85 percent.

There is evidence that Hispanics are over-represented in the military, especially in the Marine Corps, and that they have a slightly higher "death risk" than non-Hispanic personnel. About 75 percent of the United States is white; 73 percent of military personnel are white.
The big problem, like I put in my second post in '04, the Damn Yankees are all yellow!
The South continues to be overrepresented in the volunteer Army. About 43 percent of all enlistees come from southern states, which have only 38 percent of the total U.S. population.
How the Yankees ever won that war.....

USNA: a serious institution?

A few questions:
1. Is this what you want your tax payer dollars paying for?
2. Is this what a serious military institution does in a time of war with a newly minted officer?
3. What smart, motivated High School student did not go to Annapolis so this bucket of FOD could get a slot?
4. Again, are we a nation at war?
5. Isn't there a place in Diego Garcia, JTF-HOA, or Thule that this quasi-man could serve the nation that served him so well if he can't be in Aviation, SWO, or Chop (not even a chance at 1120)?
6. What does this say about leadership, example, honor, courage, commitment?

In a word: shame. Oh, and the previous 'Dant was promoted to Rear Admiral. Nice message.
The Miami Dolphins signed rookie running back Kyle Eckel to their roster this season after he left the United States Navy. Eckel was one of the best players in the history of the Naval Academy, but The Navy Times reports that Eckel and the Navy didn't part on good terms:

Former Naval Academy standout football player Kyle Eckel, now playing professionally for the Miami Dolphins, was kicked out of the Navy last month and will have to repay a portion of the cost of his Annapolis education.


"Ensign Eckel was administratively separated on 31 October 2006," said Lt. Ryan Perry, a spokesman for the Navy's Office of Information at the Pentagon. "Due to personal privacy of the individual being discharged, the Navy does not discuss the reason for the service member's discharge, nor the characterization of that discharge."

In August Eckel faced two assault charges and a sex-offense charge, but those charges were dropped and were not related to his discharge from the Navy. Eckel's salary this season is $275,000, but he'll have to pay about $96,000 of that to the Navy for failing to fulfill his military service commitment.
And yes, after reading the first thing that came to mind was, "Funny, he doesn't look gay." There are rumors that it was a DWI. So? I know many officers who served their nation well following a DWI.
Citing privacy concerns, the Navy would not characterize the specific nature of Eckel’s “administrative separation” saying only that it was “involuntary.” Eckel declined an interview request through a team representative, and attempts to reach his agent were unsuccessful.
According to Cmdr. Ed Austin, a Naval Academy spokesman, Eckel graduated in May 2005 and was commissioned as an ensign. After graduation, he was assigned temporary additional duty in the Physical Education department at the Naval Academy, Austin said. In August 2005, Eckel reported to his next temporary additional duty assignment at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., where he assisted the NAPS athletic director and coached NAPS football, Austin said.

At the same time, Eckel began practicing with the New England Patriots football team.
Yep, there is a MILPERSMAN bit out there somewhere. Maybe the Fleet would have been a tough nut for him.
In recent months, Eckel has been battling more than just the Navy and NFL lineman. He faced two assault charges and a sex-offense charge in Anne Arundel County District Court for an August incident, according to District Court of Maryland records. The charges were later dropped. Navy officials however, said those charges were not connected to Eckel being booted from military service.

“The [Anne Arundel County] charges were not a factor in Ensign Eckel’s separation from the Navy,” Perry, the Navy Pentagon spokesman, said.

Eckel, however, could face another court appearance very soon, this time as a witness in a rape case involving former Navy football teammate Kenny Ray Morrison. In the criminal charging documents against Morrison, Eckel is identified as being present in a Washington, D.C., hotel room during a midshipman party Feb. 3.

During that party, Midshipman 1st Class Morrison is alleged to have raped a female midshipman.

The charges against Morrison allege he showed the “nude or partially nude” body of the female midshipman to Eckel and another male midshipman by lifting a blanket off her.
Yea team.

Oh, in 2003 he was in a "Spirit Spot" titled, "Navy Football: Professionalism On and Off the Field." Nice.

The more I think about this, the more is makes me sick. Here we are, a nation at war. His former teammates and Shipmates are heading off to war as officers in the Navy and Marine Corps - leading Sailors and Marines to defend our nation and way of life. This moral coward does nothing for anyone but himself. Ensign Kyle Eckel; to the Wall of Shame with you. That is the team you belong on.
UPDATE: Hey there PatsFans. Funny how a year old post can get a new life. Just a quick note or two for you. The MarineCorpsTimes article above is no longer available, but the NavyTimes article from the same time period is here. And no, I don't plan to post again on Eckel. By hook and by crook, he ran away when his classmates went to war. That is about all that needs to be said about him. A man who has done that in his life says worse things to himself in the mirror than I ever could on this 'lil blog.

Remember Tarin Kowt

Lost in the leftover Turkey in the US press - Radio Netherlands (in English) reminds us of the battle that defeated the Taliban five years ago.
But why Tarin Kowt, a desolate small town in a desolate region? Well, for one thing, many of the Taliban leaders had their roots in the town or places nearby. Second, Hamid Karzai was a respected tribal leader or Khan from one of Uruzgan's Pashtun tribes - and he knew he had supporters in the town. Major Amerine explains:
"In Karzai's words, Tarin Kowt was the heart of the Taliban. He believed that if we could seize Tarin Kowt, we'd rip out the heart of the Taliban movement." "And in the end, I think that is what proved to be true. Tarin Kowt was really so important in a symbolic sense, that by seizing Tarin Kowt, the Taliban movement lost its credibility in the Pashtun tribal belt. And ultimately, on December 8, the Taliban finally surrendered Kandahar to us".
But before that happened, the 'Battle of Tarin Kowt' still had to be won.
Sigh: once again I have to send you to PBS's Frontline.
At Tarin Kowt, the 11 members of U.S. Special Forces A-team 574, with a few dozen Afghani fighters, called in airstrikes to defeat a convoy of hundreds of Taliban forces on their way to attack the village where Hamid Karzai was based. It was a pivotal battle, and a crushing psychological blow for the Taliban. Team Captain Jason Amerine tells the story and Lt. Col. David Fox analyzes the battle's significance.

Steyn vs. Ralph

Like I implied last month, Ralph has jumped the shark - there is not question now. My instinct is to ignore him, but Mark Steyn just spanks him so hard I have to pass this on.

Long term readers know that demography is one of the core topics I come back to. Mark Steyn has an exceptionally important book out (I still need to read it) America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. In addition, he has a great "perspective" out on what demographics means to the future in Quartet of Ladies Shows Where We're Headed. On the other side of the coin is a poorly thought out bucket of FOD by Ralph, The 'Eurabia' Myth. There is some good give and take over at PowerLine when Steyn just blisters Ralph's behind.
Ralph Peters is late to this debate. If heÂ’s going to join the discussion, he might do better to tackle the facts. But that would require him to acknowledge real specifics rather than "“a rash of pop pundits"”. YouÂ’ll notice that his column and mine differ not just in their approach to worldviews but in their approach to argument: mine cites four specific persons, their actions and assertions; his boldly batters anonymous generalizations. I know which I regard as more effective.
Oh, it hurts from here!
UPDATE: Looks like Lex is reading the same stuff.

Photoshop Contest!!!!

I really can't help myself. I want you to take a close look at the below photo (NB: yes it is Cindy - and she is protesting in Skippy's back yard - for context go here). Now, do you see what I see?

The short angry bottle-blonde is Medea Benjamin, the founding director (click that link to learn that "Medea" isn't her given name...and why) of Code Pink. Now, our buddies Citizen Smash and BLACKFIVE can tell you plenty of thing about Code Pink. I think we can add dyslexia to it.

Note to Moonbats - to study peace you should also study spelling - or at least give each other a
standard instrument backup.

This is a ligit photo - check out the original from AFP. Now, all the grown-ups who spent a fair percentage of their High School time in detention or at the Vice Principal's office know that few things lend themselves better to photoshopping (even MS Paint, ahem, works well) than a poster, almost straight on, with a white background and black lettering ... so ...

I will start with a very lame initial entry. At a minimum I expect "the usual suspects" to at least give it a shot. Hey, here is an offer - Scott, Turkeyhead and the other CAT4 types are out of mothballs over at Scott's Conservative News & Commentary - if they give an entry, I'll give them another free link! That has to be worth something...well...maybe not - but it is an offer! Click here to download a jpg with a blank sign. That should get you started. NO EXCUSES!

Hat tip PowerLine.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Funnies

That stuff happens. Even out in the "real world." You have to watch this almost unwatchable cover of One. I may never do business with Bank of America again - out of respect for U2 alone.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

LCS - will they listen past the PPT?

Sid, again, sends along a winner. Worth reading the whole thing. Once again, don't expect the enemy to fight the battle YOU want him to fight.

My big take away? All that Smart Ship bean counter driven personnel policy leads to dumb warfighting. See bolded points below.
Committee: Israel Navy's Understanding of Lebanon
Operational Reality Deficient
Defense Daily 11/08/2006
Author: B.C. Kessner

TEL AVIV, Israel--The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) yesterday released key findings of a special committee that investigated the Hezbollah-fired C-802 missile attack on the Israel navy ship Hanit in July 2006, and the report said deficient understanding of the operational situation was to blame in the incidentthat killed four sailors.

"The committee found deficiencies in the forces' understanding and assimilation of the operational reality, thus affecting the level of operational performance--which was deficient," an IDF statementlast night said.

Brig. Gen. Nir Maor headed the committee and submitted the findings to the IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz on Sunday. Halutz stressed that the investigation was thorough and of high standard and accepted all the operational recommendations of the committee and instructed to implement them, the IDF said.

According to the findings, the investigation showed that despite the lack of specific prior intelligence regarding the weapons held by Hezbollah, there was certain information received by the Israeli navy in the past, which could have lead to the operational assumption of a possibility that the enemy holds coastal ammunition.

"Accordingly, it would have been advisable to operate in a way that would precede this threat," the findings said.

The July 14 attack on the INS Hanit emerged as one of the key puzzles of the recent Lebanon war that the IDF and Israel's defense industry would be pressed to explain once the war was over (Defense Daily, Aug. 11).

In the last couple of months, industry and defense sources have told Defense Daily that any of Hanit's "four rings of defense" could have defeated the Chinese origin C- 802 if they had been on and working properly.

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and RAFAEL spent many years and many millions of dollars to develop the Barak-1 missile defense system found on Hanit (and many other platforms from now very watchful international customers), which was designed specifically to beat threats like the one on July 14.

The Hanit was also equipped with a close-in weapons system (CIWS), electronic counter measures and chaff.

There was some talk of possible 'service interoperability issues' in the local press and defense circles as one cause for some Hanit's systems to have been off when the attack occurred, although nothing official was ever released to that effect.

Sources say that, for its part, the Israeli navy has been particularly clear of pointing any fingers at the other services or placing any degree of blame on systems in the wake of the missile incident.

"It boils down to an operational outlook problem and an over reliance on the Intel estimate, and they realize that," one source said recently.

Following the investigation, the Halutz instructed the Israeli navy to raise the level of operational management required from the commanders, alongside preservation of the level of the professional operation of the navy vessels, the IDF said. "The Chief of Staff instructed the IDF commanders to operate based on strict operational assumptions whenever precise intelligence regarding the enemy does not exist."

Additionally, Halutz instructed that intelligence information, such as information held by the IDF, would be examined by several bodies in the Israel navy and not only by one organization and instructed the navy to prepare for all possible threats, the IDF added.

The Israel navy has been operating off the coast of Lebanon for a long time. Prior to the escalation of the war and the C-802 attack, the generally regarded estimate of the 'threat zone' offshore was out to six kilometers, or sufficiently past the maximum 5500-meter range of the Russian-built AT-14 Kornet laser guided anti-tank missile. Reports here said Hanit was hit about 14 kilometers offshore, though it may have been closer deterring small craft earlier before heading to that position.

Doctrinally, during wartime Israel's Saar-5 missile boats like the Hanit are intended to sail out, attack and sink enemy vessels and return in relatively short order. Long-term operations for the Israel navy, like what it faced with the blockade and extended area patrols, are very challenging.

The extended wartime operations require almost continuous full battle stations, akin to the U.S. Navy's Condition One. On a vessel crewed by about 55 personnel, only the commanding and executive officers are typically career officers, and the rest of the wardroom is rather junior.

Maintaining a readiness state between full battle stations and wartime steaming (Condition Three) for days on end is particularly taxing with such a setup, one source said. "At some point the CO's got to get some sleep, and the crew's got to eat and rest."

It was a wartime environment, and Israel Air Force aircraft were in the air, but they were fighting Hezbollah, not some country known to have weapons like the C-802, the source added. "One can understand why the CO didn't keep the systems on full auto."

There could have been other considerations, but none are likely to mitigate the fact that there was lack of appreciation on several levels that the situation leading up to July 14 had changed, with devastating consequences.

Across the board, industry and defense sources privately here have been saying the navy was extremely lucky with the result of the attack on the Hanit, and that if the angles had been slightly different, or the missile fusing had been different or had it detonated at a different location, the Saar-5 missile boat could have suffered much more severe damage or been sunk.

Information has not yet been released as to who in the navy will ultimately bear responsibility for the incident, be they the Hanit commanding officer, the Saar-5 flotilla commander or someone higher.

The Immigration Debate

I'm with the naked harry dude (but not in THAT way - or that way, well, not really, I just wanted to type 'naked harry dude').

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dutch election or color wheel?

It seems no one knows what happened with the Dutch elections. The Brussels Journal sees bad things for the Right, but good things for the Pat Buchannan Left;
Wednesday’s general elections in the Netherlands were won by the far-left. The Communist Socialistische Partij (SP) added 17 seats to the 9 it previously held, securing an overall number of 26 seats in the 150-seat Dutch Parliament. The SP became the country’s third largest party, overtaking the center-right Liberal Party VVD, which fell to 22 seats from 28. The centrist Christian-Democrats (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende remained the biggest party with 41 seats (44 previously), followed by the center-left Labour Party (PvdA) which lost ten seats, ending up with 32 seats. To the right, the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF), the anti-immigrant party of the late Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002 by an animal-rights activist, lost its 8 seats. It was replaced by the “islamophobic” Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders, a breakaway Liberal, who gained 9 seats. The remaining 20 seats were divided among five parties, including the PvdD, a party of animal right activists who gained 2 seats in the first elections they participated in, and the Christen Unie (CU), a Calvinist and morally conservative but economically leftist party, whose seats doubled to 6.
Some see bad for the Left.The BBC sees nothing good either way.
The Dutch used to go in for consensus politics, but a swing from the centre to the margins in the latest election has left even seasoned observers scratching their heads.
CNN, as is usual, is confused because they can't blame Bush.
After Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Austria, now the Netherlands has woken up to an election result that has yielded no clear winner and promises a prolonged period of political drift and uncertainty.
The Economist has a knee jerk reaction - totally off phase.
ONCE a country renowned for tolerance of minorities of all stripes, the Netherlands now risks being known for an ugly debate over its growing Muslim population. As preliminary results emerged from general elections on Wednesday November 22nd, it became clear that a previously insignificant far-right party, the Party For Freedom, may claim as many as nine seats in a parliament of 150. The party had campaigned for a halt to all immigration, and in particular was hostile towards Muslims, calling for a ban on the building of religious schools and mosques and for a ban on veils worn by Muslim women.
If their panties were in a wad over Communists and Maoist that were also increasing in power - then perhaps they would get more respect.

Me? It's a mess and makes me glad we have the system, however flawed, that we have. But if you are looking strictly Right and Left - looks like a 50/50 nation - which means that the Left won't get a chance to pull The Netherlands out of Afghanistan. I thought the Left would win this one. So, on balance. I am happy.
UPDATE: A reader send a hint along to an English version of the "Voter Test" many in the Netherlands used to determine who they should vote for. Below are my results. I'm with List Fortuyn. I can live with that.

Israel. Paris. Soccer hooligans. Black policeman. Gun. Stir.

Please, I really do not want to hear another rant about how much better the French are WRT race, violence, hygene, etc.

Let me set the scene. Paris St. Germain (PSG) plays Hapoel Tel Aviv in the UEFA Cup, in Paris. Sacre Bleu! PSG lost. Reaction - of course - find a Jooooo (with or without a well). No Americans to protect you, so you (the Hopeol fan) run to the next best thing, a McDonalds. One of Paris's finest, in plain clothes, runs to defend you (a ballsy act, when there are ~150 hooligans out there).

Well, a black man defending a Joooo - can't have that, now can we? You now how that went;
A policeman shot dead a Paris St Germain fan and seriously injured another late on Thursday following the French team's defeat by Hapoel Tel Aviv in the UEFA Cup, police officials said.

Early indications suggested the plainclothes policeman came to the rescue of a French supporter of the Israeli team who was attacked by PSG fans outside the stadium in southwestern Paris.

A group of up to 150 fans then turned on the policeman.

At first he let off a tear gas canister to try to disperse his assailants, then fired his gun, killing one man immediately and injuring another.

Police said the PSG fans appeared to be far-right sympathisers and were chanting 'France for the French' as they confronted the Hapoel supporter. The lone policeman was black.
But it said initial indications suggested that the policeman had acted in legitimate defence after he was attacked, either on his own or while trying to protect a Tel Aviv supporter.

A journalist from weekly news magazine L'Express who said he witnessed the incident, said he saw a young black man in plain clothes apparently trying to protect someone from a menacing crowd before taking refuge in a nearby fast food restaurant.

In an account published on the L'Express website, the journalist, Philippe Broussard, said the crowd, which was shouting racist taunts and nationalist slogans such as 'Red, White and Blue, France for the French!' was apparently initially unaware he was a policeman.

Broussard said he did not actually see the shooting.

The explosion of violence came after PSG suffered a shock
4-2 loss to their Tel Aviv opponents.
Funny, usually the French react like this when they lose. The policeman should be given a promotion.

Fullbore Friday

U-123? Yes. A U-boat for Fullbore Friday? You betcha. Ever gone toe-to-toe with a Q-ship?
At 2053, radio stations at Manasquan, New Jersey, and at Fire Island, New York, intercepted the distress message:

SSS SOS Lat. 36-00 N, Long. 70-00 W, Carolyn burning forward, not bad.

Two minutes later, a second distress message further amplified:

Torpedo attack, burning forward; require assistance.

As U-123 proceeded around under her victim's stern, her captain, Kapitänleutnant Hardegen, noted one boat being lowered on the starboard side and men abandoning ship.

Because such attacks were a regular occurrences at this time and because all available surface craft were on patrol the dispatch from Carolyn produced no immediate action. The Duty Officer in the Control Room had not been informed as to the secret nature of Carolyn, and consequently his only action was to forward the dispatch to Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet (Cominch).

"Carolyn" was not out of the fight. After U-123 turned to starboard, Atik gathered steerage way, paralleling her course by turning to starboard as well, and dropped her concealment, commencing fire from her main and secondary batteries. The first shell dropped short of the U-boat, as she made off presenting a small target; the others were off in deflection. A hail of .50-caliber machine gun fire, though, ricocheted around the U-boat's decks as she bent on speed to escape the trap into which Hardegen had fallen. One bullet mortally wounded a midshipman standing watch on U-123's bridge. Gradually, the U-boat pulled out of range behind the cover of a smoke screen emitted by her straining diesels, and her captain assessed the damage. As he later recorded, "We had been incredibly lucky."

U-123 submerged and again approached her opponent. At 2129, the U-boat shot a torpedo into Atik's machinery spaces. Satisfied that this blow would be fatal, U-123 stood off and watched as Atik settled by the bow, her single screw now out of the water.

Once again, Atik's crew could be seen embarking in her boats, as their ship clung stubbornly to the surface. U-123 surfaced at 2227, confident that Atik was no longer a threat, and continued to watch until 2250 when a cataclysmic explosion blew Atik to pieces. Ten minutes later, U-123 buried her only casualty -- the midshipmen killed by Atik's machine gun fire. Atik's entire crew perished -- either in the blast or during the severe gale that blew up soon after the ship disintegrated.
Never underestimate your opponent. Don't get your dander up at the U-boat commander. He is a great, honorable warrior. You Jax folks should know the story.
During this time, the oil tanker, SS Gulfamerica had set sail from Texas on her maiden voyage, laden with oil and petroleum bound for the war. The new ship rounded the tip of Florida and sailed parallel to the east coast, northward. At a point just four miles off of Jacksonville, on the night of April 11, U-boat 123 struck the tanker with torpedoes that ignited the fuel into a massive firestorm aboard her. But the ship was slow to sink. The submarine then surfaced and, with her deck gun, began to shoot into the hull to expedite the sinking.

U-boat Commander, Kapitanleutenant Reinhard Hardigan prepared to engage the ship but observed the nearness of the shore - there he could see evidence of the well populated coast of Jacksonville. Realizing that if he fired, there was a possibility that overshots could hit the shore, putting civilians at risk. He navigated around the Gulfamerica to a place where his fire would be directed to sea. In doing so, he lost valuable time and was engaged by American warships. The damaged U-123 made a narrow escape back to Europe.

The Gulfamerica sank, losing nineteen of her crew, but Hardigan's humane conduct in not firing on the shores of the city was recognized.

Long after the war, the
former U-Boat Commander visited Jacksonville and was warmly hosted by the community that was once in his gunsights. The friendship has remained.
A great ship as well. I know some of you are wondering what sub that is up there. Oh, that is her. She was scuttled prior to the war's end - was raised by a lesser navy - and served with the French Navy until the late 1950s.
42 ships sunk for a total of 219.924 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk for a total of 3.209 GRT
1 warship sunk for a total of 683 tons
5 ships damaged for a total of 39.584 GRT
1 auxiliary warship damaged for a total of 13.984 GRT

Thursday, November 23, 2006

CIMIC officer of the month

General Abizaid at Harvard

Once you have a belly-full this Thanksgiving, if you are like me you need an hour or so away from all the noise and dirty dishes. This will fit the bill.

If you have not had a chance to hear General Abizaid in person - you need to see this. Of note, watch close. No notes. Maybe down the road we will see a Secretary of State. Or more. My mind is open, his is huge.

I will let the General speak for himself. It is worth and hour. Click here.
For those who are having trouble seeing the video, let me take you to one of the better parts (it is all great, but one must make decisions now and then). No transcript if available, but if you go to the 1 hour and 3 minute mark, you have this bit your humble scribe transcripted for you. Happy Thanksgiving folks. I give thanks we have General Abizaid.
When I come here and read the newspapers and I watch television, I hear the commentary; it’ all about how we’ve already lost. How this is not worth it, how this is too hared, this is too difficult, “Oh my God…”

This is a dangerous place. This is a difficult place, but when I talk to my young Commanders, when I talk to my old Commanders, that they are not afraid of what they are doint out there. When I go see our Special Operations guys who are conducting raids day after day against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are not afraid of what they are doing. They know what they’ve got to do the tough things; to get the mission done. When I talk to Iraqi officers, they’re not afraid of what they’re doing. They’re very worried about the sectarian problems, but they don’t believe it is failure.

It’s costs a lot of money. It’s cost a lot of blood. It’s cost a lot of treasure; but there is no reason to despair. We can’t be defeated militarily; we’ve been fighting in this region for 5 years. We’ve never lost a platoon incombat. No one is going to throw us into the sea.

Yet, I come back and I feel like General Wainwright at Corregidor in 1942 and that is not the way it is. The way it is, is a bunch of competent professionals out there fighting the fight who can’t seem to get the word across the Atlantic to let people know it’s hard, it’s tough, but we can do this. And so one of the reasons I am here tonight to tell you know it’s hard, it’s tough, but we can do this and don’t despair over the 24hr news cycle. Don’t worry about what Bob Woodward wrote in his book. Worry about what the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are saying out there. Believe me they will tell you when it is not winnable – and they don’t say that.
Hat tip Soldier's Dad over at MilBlogs.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NATO @ War

Want to see Danish infantry on the attack - under the Danish flag in Afghanistan? Canadian armor rolling through the desert that you can almost feel in your mouth? How about some UK ABN? Head on over to CelestialJunk - they have a nice series of video.

Hat tip John at Argghhh!!!.

I think this is my CMDCM

Make sure you use the potty and don't have any liquid in your mouth before you listen to my Command Master Chief talking to some Third Class Petty Officer working his second job.

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West

Must viewing. This 12 minute video sets the stage for the whole movie, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Month 4 as a MAC user

And things aren't that bad.

Hat tip Hog on Ice.

Contribute to Sen. Clinton's (D-NY) re-election?

SUCKER! I would love to see her budget if President .. respectfully - of course. (remember, she wasn't even running against anyone that was a threat)
$30 million, ... Mrs. Clinton also bought more than $13,000 worth of flowers, mostly for fund-raising events and as thank-yous for donors. She laid out $27,000 for valet parking. Around $160,000 was spent on private jet travel for her and her advisers in 2006. Her catering and entertaining bill was at least $746,450, with tabs ranging from a $124,155 bill at the New York Hilton, ...

Kramer pops a circuit breaker

Yep, old news I know...but have you see it yourself. Everyone is yapping about it, but few show the whole thing. Here it is. It is always good to see such things it "first person." Kind of like watching a grand wooden ship run aground on a jetty.

Return of the Taliban

If you missed this Frontline, you need to see it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Can you get ASW readiness points for this?

Snicker. I want pictures.
U.S. Coast Guards have seized a submarine carrying 3.5 tons of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica and arrested three Colombians on board, the Costa Rican Coast Guard said on Sunday.

Thanks to reader Kramer, we now have pictures. Looks like they should have listened to the British.

Poland roars - Fwance, Italy and Germany piddle

While I was watching for what was coming out of Riga, I should have been watching Quebec City more.
The limitations some European countries put on their troops threaten to divide NATO and undermine counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, the Secretary- General warned yesterday.

“NATO is about solidarity and sharing burdens and risks,” Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, urging NATO parliamentarians to lift restrictions on their soldiers so they can assist Canadian, British and U.S. soldiers who are fighting the toughest battles in southern Afghanistan against the Taliban.

“I won't start the blame game,” Mr. de Hoop Scheffer said. “You will not hear me mentioning names and blaming allies in public.”

But clearly some of the 26-member countries need to do more, he said via video link from Brussels to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Quebec City.
“In Afghanistan, we've been tested like never before, even by suffering casualties. Our resources are stretched thin.”
The corridor talk here was pointed. Parliamentarians from France, Italy and Germany were repeatedly asked why they would not lift so-called caveats that limit where and when their troops can operate.
Some soldiers are told by their governments they cannot fight at night.

Others are not permitted to fight at all, but simply to stand guard in safe areas.

A Spanish delegate complained that some of the caveats are unnecessarily secret, adding to the confusion about which military units can be brought into battle.From what my spies tell me kiddies, that is the bucket of FOD that is ISAF.
Yes, my friends. Watching your countrymen die (like Canada is relearning) while your friends hide under your skirts - is not a fun thing. Poland though, in the Polish nature, is refreshingly direct about such things.
Poland, one of NATO's newer members, is increasing its troop commitment from just 10 now to a thousand early in the new year.

“And there will be no restrictions. No caveats. Our commandos will fight the terrorists, ” Polish delegate Ryszard Gorecki said. “We have to be a reliable ally.”
If we only had Germans with as much fight in them as Poles. Ahem.

EUROCORPS: tool of the Anti-American Left?

EUROCORPS, that beautiful loser of a non-deployable-outside-Europe without US Strategic Lift test case of an EU defense establishment (just fun to say, it is another NATO formation not all that different from NRDC-I, NRDC-T, SPMARFOR ect) is what many think of in their fevered thoughts of a world, or at least an Europe, without Uncle Sam.

Ever wonder what happened to those who protested GLCM and Pershing II in the '80s are doing now? Well, they want to kill NATO.
Paul Dunay of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden said: "The problem is not with NATO as such, but with how the alliance has become almost a tool of the United States." ...
In an unprecedented statement from a German political party, Kurt Beck, leader of the Social Democrats, has suggested that Europe become "a global peace power" with its own military policy.
OK Europe. Be careful what you ask for. There are a few clear headed folks out there.
One of the first reactions was from Poland's arch-conservative President Lech Kaczynski, who, while agreeing with the concept of a European army of 100,000, stressed that such an army should be firmly linked to NATO. For some time, the alliance has advocated the need for Europe's greater role in security and defense.

Mr. Kaczynski's view is shared by several governments in the former Soviet bloc and its dissolved Warsaw Pact, which think that NATO's long-established prestige and U.S. involvement offer a better security guarantee than an untested joint European army.

The feeling reflects East European concerns about what these countries perceive to be the increasingly nationalist policies of Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Poland knows what it is like to rely on its fellow Europeans for help in its security. Then there is the whole paper tiger thingy.
All proposals for a united and independent European military force have run into problems of cost and opposition from NATO's Central and East European members, who prefer the pact's tested umbrella, combined with U.S. involvement.
The combined EU defense forces number around 2 million personnel, consuming 60 percent of the joint military budget on pay and pensions.
On its own, Europe's military is a static one that cannot go anywhere in any numbers. That is what the U.S. does. Some know that, some are too ashamed to admit it.

Remember the "Bear Box?"

74 does. Sniffle.

The Unbearable lightness of bigotry - Navy style

Another data point towards a nasty mess that festers under the surface of our Navy: blatant racialist policy. No, I am not talking about the soft-paternalistic racism of the Diversity Ninnies and their '70s-esque thoughts on racial equality, soaked in the acid of self-loathing condensation - no, we are talking about a desire to look so much like the photographs on their glossy propaganda sheets they will short change a smarter the child of a Bosnian war refugee in favor of the son of a Grenadian-American New York investment banker for a scholarship strictly on the basis of the color of his skin. Lex (..if I may paraphrase..) is right, there are people who mean well, but end up making policy that is racist on its face.

Sometimes, they do things that are illegal. One of the foundations of being an officer is to not obey an illegal order. Sometimes that means you don't line all the military age men against the wall and shoot them - sometimes that means you refuse to discriminate against your fellow citizens on the basis of the color of their skin - like MLK asked us and out laws demand.

One would think that we would cherish such officers. Well, LT Jason Hudson has a different story.
On page three was a new nationwide policy that, Hudson believed, broke federal law, including the Civil Rights Act, in no fewer than a half-dozen ways. Not to mention that it placed his recruiters in a very tough spot, making decisions that ran counter to the American system of equal opportunity.

The policy set a limit on the number of minorities admitted into the Navy whose scores on a standardized test classified them as "lower mental groups."
That was not the Navy way, not the Navy that Hudson had served proudly as an officer since 1997.

The lieutenant understood on that day in October 2002 that Directive 1133.8B was trouble. He also knew he would speak out against it, a risky business for a young officer. Orders were to be followed, not questioned, but this order angered him.

His Navy, the Navy he loved, the Navy he wanted to serve for his entire career, was about equal opportunity, not discrimination.

So in fall 2002, Hudson complained.

The recruiting policy he disliked was rescinded after five and a half weeks. After years of wrangling, the Navy has since admitted the rule was "legally indefensible."

But four years after he complained, Hudson said he is still paying the price for speaking out. Next year he may be forced out of the military. Meanwhile, his effort to steer the behemoth bureaucracy of the United States Navy to ask how a discriminatory policy had been adopted has failed.

"I've never gotten an answer," he said.
You know the phrase, "It only takes one FITREP."?
By November 2002, the lieutenant had taken his concern to the head of the Nashville recruiting district, who told him to follow the policy as given. However, a later investigation would reveal that he and other commanders had expressed the same concerns as Hudson about the new rule.

Hudson said the policy "was just so blatantly wrong. I couldn't do it."
On Nov. 18, 2002, the lieutenant filed a formal complaint with a Navy equal opportunity adviser, the equivalent of a civilian-sector Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigator.

Three days later, on Nov. 21, Hudson was relieved as head of enlisted recruiting in the Nashville district.
On Feb. 12, 2003, the same day Hudson was instructed to meet with inspectors general outside Memphis, he was given a negative job evaluation, which the Navy calls an "adverse fitness report."
An IG later found that the complaint was unfounded. All that for nothing you say? Well, why was it unfounded? Wait for it. Wait.
In April 2005, a Pentagon report acknowledged that discrimination occurred but said it was justified: "Lt. Hudson does not seem to understand or recognize the difference between 'lawful' and 'unlawful' discrimination." It said discrimination was lawful if it was "institutional discrimination," in other words, if the policy were applied to all minority recruits.

But one month later, the Naval IG's office concluded the directive was "not legally defensible," and said the Navy should have investigated whether the new rule discriminated against minorities. But the IG said it would not order a new investigation.
Hear that? The Navy IG admits that the Navy practices "institutional discrimination." The Diversity Bully that keeps emailing me can now officially stow it. The Navy has managed even to confuse itself - meanwhile this officer's career is over. Done.

Yep, but the good LT reminds me of one of my favorite Fleet LT (albeit without the salty language perhaps), he isn't taking this lying down.
As superiors took him to task for "going outside the chain of command," Hudson called a Vanderbilt classmate, Ross Booher, a former Navy attorney now with Bass Berry and Sims law firm in Nashville. He took the case without charge.

"To me it was evident that the system had broken down. Here was a man who recognized the Navy, an organization he greatly admired, had adopted a flawed policy. He wanted the organization to change, even at the peril of his own welfare," Booher said.
He even has some Congressional top cover.
Officially, Hudson's case is closed, but he has appealed to the Defense Department, arguing that the policy's discriminatory nature should still be investigated and that his adverse fitness report should be scrapped. The appeal is under review.

"It looks as if the Pentagon is stonewalling us," said U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has argued on Hudson's behalf.

He commended the young officer for "having the guts to spot a problem and get it changed."

The congressman said he hopes the lieutenant's case points out the need to protect military whistle-blowers. "We need an environment in our military in which junior officers and enlisted men can spot problems and report them to their superiors without fear," he said.
There is a Democrat that would get my vote.

There is some good that can come out of this - perhaps the Navy will have to come to terms with its hard and soft racism. "Goals," calls from the Commodore because you have too many minority Sailors going to NJP (nice implication and threat). Some communities that turn a blind eye to a AD 2-star that contacts members of a selection board to push a list of officers - all of his ethnic group. More than once.

Also, can we start by getting rid of that paternalistic, racist calendar first?

LT Hudson. Bravo Zulu. Though you may only get a Fleet Unit Commendation with decorative cluster out of this - many in the Fleet appreciate the stand you took - and by your example force us to ask, if we were in your shoes would we do the same. The message from Big Navy is clear - if you even think about not supporting our racist policy we will crush you like a bug.

(One disclaimer. There may be more to this story than meets the eye, but it has not surfaced. Until something else comes up, LT Hudson is getting straight 5.0s from me.)

Hat tip Chap via MilBlogs.

Hey while I am at it, let me tilt against one of my favorite windmills - retired flag officers. Who was responsible for the David Duke like "we don't want dumb negroes" 1138B?
Then came the directive from Rear Adm. George Voelker, at the time head of the Navy's recruiting efforts. Now retired and working for a defense contractor in California,
Of course he is working for a defense contractor. Oh, RADM Voelker isn't getting off that easy. Check out note 20 on page 24 of this bit of approved USAF racist apogetics for a Balkanized society.
The Navy Recruiting Command is collaborating with corporate sponsorships such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists and attending various conventions similar to the AF such as ones sponsored by National Council of La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens,
That is from,
Voelker, RADM George. Briefing: Navy Recruiting DoD Forum, National Image Conference, 28 May 2002.
Yes friends. La Raza - which means "The Race." It does not involve running. Is an organization that is called "The Race" racist? Sounds like it. Their fellow travelers seem to have problems "Borat like" with The Jooossss too. Mmmmm. We are playing with them? In this day and age - ignorance is no excuse. That goes for you too Mr. Rove.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A different Sunday Funnies - The profound Kiwi

If I said more, you would be mad at me for spoiling it.

I wish I could have worked on this for my Masters thesis (which is what this is).

This is an outstanding and strangely compelling work of art. Kiwi. Indulge me and watch. Kind of reminds me of my career in some ways...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bill INDC heads to Iraq

Add him to your reading list. I plan on checking in on a regular basis.
Starting in very late December, I'll be traveling to Western Iraq to embed with the Marines, publishing both independent blog items and op-eds for the Washington Examiner. Specific destinations (thus far) include Ramadi, Habbaniyah (the headquarters of the Iraqi First Army and several IA boot camps), Fallujah and Baghdad. Prioritized is an embed with Military Transition Teams advising First and Seventh Iraqi Army units:
His goal?
A look at the training, motivation and competence of Iraqi Army units primed to assume responsibility for security in Anbar - one of the two critical theatres in Iraq - should contribute to an accurate assessment of the war's progress. I have a month budgeted for the trip, with 1- 2 weeks still open for to-be-determined embed opportunities that arise while in country. There are a variety of reasons that I'm going, but a fairly compelling one is curiosity coupled with dissatisfaction about the present coverage of the war.
Bravo Zulu Bill.

Hat tip The Commissar.

What "leading from the front" means

Felt humble today?
Last Sunday, First Lt. Michael Cerrone, 24, exited his Humvee to check out a suspicious car. His gunner, Specialist Harry "Buck" Winkler was covering the platoon from the turret. As the Lieutenant neared the vehicle, a man exited the car and approached the Humvee. The man detonated a bomb strapped to his body. Specialist Buck Winkler and First Lieutenant Cerrone, the son of Brigadier General Cerrone (on the staff of the 18th Airborne Corps), died in the blast. Two other paratroopers were seriously wounded. Cerrone and Winkler were paratroopers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. Winkler leaves behind his wife, Charity, and son, Owen. Cerrone was single.
Much more over at BLACKFIVE. Fair winds and following seas to the Cerrone and Winkler family.

Punish the victim: Saudi style

A Saudi court has sentenced a gang rape victim to 90 lashes of the whip because she was alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married.

The sentence was passed at the end of a trial in which the al- Qateef high criminal court convicted four Saudis convicted of the rape, sentencing them to prison terms and a total of 2,230 lashes. ...

Saudi courts take marital status into account in sexual crimes. A male friend of the rape victim was also sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone with her in the car.

The court heard that the victim and her friend were followed by the assailants to their car, kidnapped and taken to a remote farm, where the raping occurred.
Even in the depths of witch-burning Christiandom hundreds of years ago, rape victims were not treated like they are in "advanced" 21st Century Saudi Arabia.

Hat tip CAPT Ed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dutch move forward to ban the Burqa

A small victory on the culture front in "The War for the West" from wooden shoe land.
The Dutch cabinet has backed a proposal by the country's immigration minister to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa in public places.
The cabinet said burqas disturb public order, citizens and safety.

The decision comes days ahead of elections which the ruling centre-right coalition is expected to win.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who is known for her tough policies, said it was important that all people in the Netherlands were able to see and identify each other clearly to promote integration and tolerance.

Last year a majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament said they were in favour of a ban.

An estimated 6% of 16 million people living in the Netherlands are Muslims.
Hey, what was that? "..the ruling centre-right coalitions is expected to win.." I thought this election was going to be a shoe in for the Socialists.

Outlaw Mike - report to the QuarterDeck with a SITREP!

Hat tip Michael Rubin at The Corner.

NATO quote of the week

Beyond parody. This guy is either a raging a55, or one of the most childish, pouty and pi55ant politicians to soak up taxpayer money.
Germany, Konigshaus observed, is not used to other countries being so anxious to have German troops on their soil - reference to the Second World War, which still shapes policy.
Oh, that is just rich. Konignshaus a comedian or just a tone deaf, spoiled Euroweenie? This is a serious subject that deserves a better cop-out than that. It has been over 60 years since you took off the hob-nailed boots. Get on with life. Sixty years after the U.S. Civil War was the middle of the 1920s for us. Southerners had their sackcloth and ashes off for, what...59 years by then?

Here is what really makes me mad; a first I thought he had to be a Socialist member of the SPD - but no, Konigshaus is from the FDP! If I was a German, that is the party I would be a member of. The horror!
As their conference nears its end, NATO parliamentarians were united Thursday on the need to bring more stability to war-torn Afghanistan, what they can't seem to agree on is who will do it.

A member of the German delegation, Hellmut Konigshaus, said his country is tapped out in terms of the number of troops it has overseas assignments. "We have Lebanon now and other commitments," he said.

At a reception following a closed-door session of alliance's defense and security committee, Konigshaus also denied that German troops are under any excessive restrictions that prevent them from taking up combat.

"They can go anywhere in Afghanistan," said Konigshaus, a member of the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's parliament.
Liar! That is a bold faces lie. He knows it. NATO knows it. Murray Brewster who wrote the article should know it - and I know it.

It is open source knowledge that Germany along with other EuroPansies keep their troops in the safer north and west of Afghanistan where it is ethnically Uzbek, Tajik and a smattering of other former Northern Alliance Taliban haters dominate. They have a whole series of national caveats that stops them from going where the real war is - and therefore let better nations and men do the fighting for them while they stay all smug and yappy.

The problem is that now that other NATO nations are having to fight, on the "other side of the glass" as General Jones put it so well, they are starting to see what the US, UK and others (now CN and NL).
NATO commanders have asked for an additional 2,300 soldiers - or a combat battalion. Poland agreed last month to supply 900 soldiers, but many of those were due to be sent anyway.

Canada, the U.S., Britain and the Netherlands have been lauded for carrying most of the fight but Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay warned a few weeks ago that Ottawa isn't prepared to carry on alone in Kandahar province.

A second committee report at the conference specifically chastised Germany, France, Italy and Turkey for not dispatching additional troops.

"At this point, no member country has heeded NATO's request for sending additional troops," wrote Bert Koenders, of the Netherlands.

"This is clearly unacceptable."

The U.S. has been particularly scathing in its backroom criticism of NATO members, pointing out that many European forces are not allowed to operate more than 80 kilometres away from their bases - limiting the amount of missions they can undertake and in some cases preventing soldiers from staying outside of the wire overnight.
This is all over the Canadian press, and the German press as well. Rightfully so, Germany is catching a lot of heat. For NATO, outside the U.S. and Turkey, they have the largest fighting bulk. An military of ~250,000 people, the majority Army, they are not even close to being over stressed.

Welcome to varsity football folks; cowboy up or shut-up.

BTW, want to drop Hellmut an email? Here you go. He even has a website.

As a side-note - I have nothing but the greatest respect for the German military. I have had the chance to serve with them. They are great professionals, and just like you and me - they just don't seem to have better beer. Good friends too. Their politicians though....