Friday, August 31, 2007

Lawfare kills again

...internal military correspondence obtained by The Associated Press, U.S. commanders were telling Washington that many civilian casualties could be avoided by using a new non-lethal weapon developed over the past decade.

Military leaders repeatedly and urgently requested - and were denied - the device, which uses energy beams instead of bullets and lets soldiers break up unruly crowds without firing a shot.

It's a ray gun that neither kills nor maims, but the Pentagon has refused to deploy it out of concern that the weapon itself might be seen as a torture device.
So can a pocketknife. Nice voice of confidence in the troops REMF.
On April 30, 2003, two days after the first Fallujah incident, Gene McCall, then the top scientist at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, typed out a two-sentence e-mail to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I am convinced that the tragedy at Fallujah would not have occurred if an Active Denial System had been there," McCall told Myers, according to the e-mail obtained by AP. The system should become "an immediate priority," McCall said.

Myers referred McCall's message to his staff, according to the e-mail chain.

McCall, who retired from government in November 2003, remains convinced the system would have saved lives in Iraq.

"How this has been handled is kind of a national scandal," McCall said by telephone from his home in Florida.
Sounds like one. August 2003, Richard Natonski, a Marine Corps brigadier general who had just returned from Iraq, filed an "urgent" request with officials in Washington for the energy-beam device.

The device would minimize what Natonski described as the "CNN Effect" - the instantaneous relay of images depicting U.S. troops as aggressors.

A year later, Natonski, by then promoted to major general, again asked for the system, saying a compact and mobile version was "urgently needed," particularly in urban settings.
In October 2004, the commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force "enthusiastically" endorsed Natonski's request. Lt. Gen. James Amos said it was "critical" for Marines in Iraq to have the system.

Senior officers in Iraq have continued to make the case.
"We want to just make sure that all the conditions are right, so when it is able to be deployed the system performs as predicted - that there isn't any negative fallout," said Col. Kirk Hymes, head of the Defense Department's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate.

Reviews by military lawyers concluded it is a lawful weapon under current rules governing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Nov. 15 document prepared by Marine Corps officials in western Iraq.

Private organizations remain concerned, however, because documentation that supports the testing and legal reviews is classified. There's no way to independently verify the Pentagon's claims, said Stephen Goose of Human Rights Watch in Washington.

"We think that any time you have an emerging technology that's based on novel physical principles, that this deserves the highest level of scrutiny," Goose said. "And we really haven't had that."
You will never make those people happy. How does he sleep at night knowing the following?
According to AP statistics, more than 27,400 Iraqi civilians have been killed and more than 31,000 wounded in war-related violence just since the new government took office in April 2005.
Let's say .5% would have been saved by the tool. That works out to 137 dead and 155 wounded. All to avoid this,
The Active Denial System is a directed-energy device, although it is not a laser or a microwave. It uses a large, dish-shaped antenna and a long, V-shaped arm to send an invisible beam of waves to a target as far away as 500 yards.

With the unit mounted on the back of a vehicle, U.S. troops can operate a safe distance from rocks, Molotov cocktails and small-arms fire.

The beam penetrates the skin slightly, just enough to cause intense pain. The beam goes through clothing as well as windows, but can be blocked by thicker materials, such as metal or concrete.
...which makes them run away - instead of being put 6-feet in a hole.

Industry is ready to go with a few prototypes,
Mike Booen, Raytheon's vice president for directed energy programs, said the company has produced one system that's immediately available.
...but Lawfare rules, I guess.
A Dec. 1, 2006, urgent request signed by Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Robert Neller sought eight Silent Guardians.

Neller, then the deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, called the lack of such a non-lethal weapon a "chronic deficiency" that "will continue to harm" efforts to resolve showdowns with as little firepower as possible.
In the time it took to go from bolt-action M1903 rifles in Wake Island to nuclear weapons ... we are here.

Fullbore Friday

Often, the boring is not. The ordinary never is - and the mundane is actually quite sublime. That is where the USS Harry Lee (AP-17/APA-10) comes in.

She was built in 1931 by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, New Jersey, the ship was originally a commercial supply ship for American Export Lines as the Exochorda. She worked the New York-Mediterranean run until 1940, when she was acquired by the U.S. Navy. That is when she got to work.

Her wartime record:

-Harry Lee spent the first few months of her commissioned service transporting U.S. Marine combat units to the Caribbean for training exercises, helping to build the amphibious teams which were to find such great success in the later stages of World War II. After a stay at Norfolk, Virginia, the transport was assigned in July to the Iceland route, carrying troops and supplies to that country from Norfolk and New York.
-After making two such passages, she returned to Boston, Massachusetts, 22 December 1941 to take part in additional training exercises. With America then in the war, Harry Lee spent the next 18 months in amphibious maneuvers in the Caribbean area. During this time the ship carried out many valuable experiments with landing craft and boat control procedures, all of which bore fruit in the dangerous months to come.
-Returning to Boston 6 April 1943, Harry Lee was designated for use in the upcoming offensive in the Mediterranean, and sailed 8 June for Algeria. She anchored at Oran 22 June to prepare for the landing and found herself off the southwest coast of Sicily 10 July with Vice Admiral Hewitt's Western Naval Task Force. During this giant invasion Harry Lee debarked her troops through the heavy surf at Scoglitti and withstood several Axis air attacks before retiring 2 days later.
-After the success of the Sicilian operation, the transport returned German prisoners of war to the United States, arriving Norfolk 3 August. It was then decided that her amphibious prowess was needed in the Pacific, and she sailed 24 August for Wellington, New Zealand, via the Panama Canal and San Francisco, California, arriving 12 October 1943. At Wellington Harry Lee loaded Marines in preparation for the big push of the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.
-She proceeded to Efate, New Hebrides, 1-7 November and for the next few weeks held amphibious practice landings in preparation for the landings on Tarawa. The transport departed for Tarawa 13 November, and arrived offshore 20 November. There she launched her Marines onto the bloody beaches, under threat of submarine attack and air attack and sailed the next day for Pearl Harbor.
-Harry Lee participated in rehearsal landings in Hawaiian waters after her arrival at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1943, and sailed 23 January 1944 for the invasion of the Marshall Islands, next step on the island road to Japan. She arrived off Kwajalein 31 January. She effectively carried out her role in this complicated operation by landing troops on two small islands in the atoll; they met little opposition. Harry Lee remained off Kwajalein until departing for Funafuti 5 February. From there she sailed to Noumea 24 February and by 14 March was anchored off Guadalcanal to load troops and continue her amphibious preparations.
-fter carrying troops to Bougainville and New Guinea in April, Harry Lee sailed to Aitape, New Guinea, under Rear Admiral Barbey for the Hollandia operation. She arrived 23 April after the initial assault, unloaded her troops, and proceeded to bring reinforcements from other points in New Guinea to the landing area. This accomplished, the transport arrived Espiritu Santo 11 May.
-Harry Lee was next to take part in the invasion of the Marianas. After landing operations conducted around Guadalcanal the ship sailed to Kwajalein and got underway in convoy for Guam 12 June. During this gigantic operation, in which troops were projected over 1,000 miles of ocean from the nearest advance base, Harry Lee was held in reserve for the Guam landings. She arrived off Agat, Guam, 21 July 1945 and debarked her troops. The transport then remained offshore loading and relanding troops for tactical purposes until 25 July, when she steamed with her fellow transports to Eniwetok. They arrived 29 July, and 2 days later sailed for Pearl Harbor.
-Arriving Pearl Harbor 7 August 1944, Harry Lee set course for California and a much-needed overhaul. She arrived San Pedro, California, 18 August and remained in California until departing 21 October with troops for Seeadler Harbor, Manus. Until 31 December the ship conducted practice landings in New Guinea and the Solomons for the upcoming invasion of Luzon, and departed the last day of 1944 for Lingayen Gulf.
-Enroute, Japanese planes attacked the task force savagely with suicide planes and bombers, but Harry Lee by effective gunfire and luck escaped damage. She entered Lingayen Gulf 9 January 1945 and began landing troops under constant air alert. That night the transports retired off the beaches under smoke screens, returning next day to resume the dangerous job of landing supplies. Harry Lee sailed 10 January for Leyte Gulf, anchoring 14 January.
-With troops ashore at Lingayen, Harry Lee departed 19 January for Ulithi and arrived 2 days later. She soon was back in action, however, sailing 17 February for Iwo Jima and her last amphibious operation of the war. The transport arrived via Guam 22 February, 3 days after the initial landings, and after sending a reconnaissance unit ashore 24 February disembarked her troops. The ship remained off Iwo Jima until 6 March acting as a hospital evacuation vessel. She then sailed with casualties to Saipan 6-9 March.

Harry Lee spent the rest of her time in the Pacific transporting troops and supplies, as the American thrust at Japan neared its final phase. She touched at Tulagi, Noumea, New Guinea, Manus, and the Philippines, bringing reinforcements and vitally needed supplies. The ship was at Leyte Gulf 20 July when ordered back to the United States, and she arrived for a brief stay 8 August. It was during this time that news of Japan's surrender reached the veteran transport

Task Force Life/Work-Work/Life, whatever, may have had a few issues with that.

I found her following a story by reader Mike about how he picked up a book that was once owned by a then LCDR and later RADM Alvin Fisher (you can read his wartime papers at the Navy Historical Center in D.C. if you want). Interesting guy who graduated from Annapolis in 22 as a "Passed Midshipman" - not even given a Commission due to the post-Washington Treaty reductions in the Navy. Went on to MIT and then the USNR (because he felt it right to serve) until the tide of history pulled him back on active duty.

You can also read some of his wartime diaries via a link provided by his son
here. It is a short read, with some great jewels of how , again, the sublime mixes with the mundane - especially if you are CHENG. Some things never change. These two jumped out.
07 DEC : It has started. Just before 1430, I was passing the lounge and just happened to stop to look at a magazine. At 1430, a program on the radio was interrupted to announce that the Japs had attacked Hawaii. Almost immediately a radio messenger with "Air raid on Pearl Harbor xx This is not a drill." They are said to have sunk 2 battleships - said to be West Virginia and Oklahoma. It is unbelievable. Practically my first thought was to send home my Christmas presents that I had bought a month ago. I had the package all wrapped and mailed when censorship was ordered. I hope that I won't have to unpack them. Rumors are thick and fast. I guess that I'll have to give up all thought of getting out for at least 5 years. I hate the thought.
11 DEC : Germany and Italy declared war today and so we did we. The brazers made the crack bigger. A conference this morning decided that it will take at least 36 hours more to do it right. We haven't the time for escort and Canadian convoy are mixed up in it all and sailing cannot be postponed. So they're going to hold the casting together with strongbacks and I'll have to take the leak and like it.
A jewel. Give the crew a visit here while you are at it. One last note on the family. If you like ASW, you will like this. I looks like RADM Fisher's son wrote this great bit on shallow water ASW in 1994.

Anyway; seven Battle Stars during WWII? That ain't Auxiliary - that is Fullbore.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Democrat voter interviews

Thanks to ninme, it is all clearer now.

For you 300 fans

Looks like Lex has some dinner company.

Hat tip ADB.

Seaman Tomlinson - welcome aboard

Another Annapolis football player not going to the Fleet, and perhaps a byproduct of a military institution who thinks it should spend a lot of effort and time trying to be a sports institution.
Jason Tomlinson should be a commissioned officer preparing to begin a Naval career in surface warfare. Instead, the standout football player is still a midshipman and is working at the Naval Station facility on the Severn River.

Tomlinson elected not to graduate from the Naval Academy last May, a personal decision that stunned his coaches and fellow players with the football program. By all accounts, Tomlinson was on course - both academically and militarily - to graduate and simply chose not to do so.

"I came to realize during my senior year that the military just was not for me. I had been thinking about it for a long time, I prayed about it a lot and I had to do what I felt was right in my heart," Tomlinson said yesterday when contacted by The Capital.

"I did not think it would be fair to the men I would be serving alongside and leading to go into this with reservations and misgivings. My heart wasn't in it."
In life, we often find ourselves in positions where we have to do things because we have to honor to keep our obligations that we freely took.

I don't know if the fact that NFL scouts were interested in him or not. One way or another, he is going to pay six figures - or he will go to the fleet as an Enlisted Man.

Time to set an example. If he doesn't want to lead - he can follow. If it is a religious issue - get promoted fast enough and there are the options there for you.

Hat tip Spook86.

Joe's fleas

From Sandy "Stuffy Socks" Berger, to the German-American Bund, to the Chinese Clinton Comintern.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 (€17,000) in donations she has received from a Hong Kong-born fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.

The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.

Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu's contributions to charity. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu's contributions.
Nice friends you have now, RADM (ret.). Is it all worth getting back at Mike? Gee Senator, how much of a soul is there left to sell?

IA assignment time

Chief of Staff was wandering around the newly minted CAPT and O-5.5 crowd for a IA. Narrowed in on of the folks due to strap it on in the next year. Kind of looked like this.

Yep, those are the Community Managers in the SUV. Typical.

General Order №11

As we get to the end of August - let's look to our own past for a second, and just pick from our own Civil War for some perspective.

General Order #11 does not have a good history. Pogroms and ethnic cleansing.

What nation did this take place in?
The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department [the "Department of the Tennessee," an administrative district of the Union Army of occupation composed of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.

Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.
That my friends was then General, and later President Grant. For reasons we won't discuss here - yes my family has a beef against him - so I don't have a problem bringing up some of his lesser moments. There is more.
In the fall of 1862, Grant's headquarters were besieged by merchants seeking trade permits. When Grant's own father appeared one day seeking trade licenses for a group of Cincinnati merchants, some of whom were Jews, Grant's frustration overflowed.

A handful of the illegal traders were Jews, although the great majority were not. In the emotional climate of the war zone, ancient prejudices flourished. The terms “Jew,” “profiteer,” “speculator” and “trader” were employed interchangeably. Union commanding General Henry W. Halleck linked “traitors and Jew peddlers.” Grant shared Halleck's mentality, describing “the Israelites” as “an intolerable nuisance.”

In November 1862, convinced that the black market in cotton was organized “mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders,” Grant ordered that “no Jews are to be permitted to travel on the railroad southward [into the Department of the Tennessee] from any point,” nor were they to be granted trade licenses. When illegal trading continued, Grant issued Order No. 11 on December 17, 1862.

Subordinates enforced the order at once in the area surrounding Grant's headquarters in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Some Jewish traders had to trudge 40 miles on foot to evacuate the area. In Paducah, Kentucky, military officials gave the town's 30 Jewish families—all long-term residents, none of them speculators and at least two of them Union Army veterans—24 hours to leave.

A group of Paducah's Jewish merchants, led by Cesar Kaskel, dispatched an indignant telegram to President Lincoln, condemning Grant's order as an “enormous outrage on all laws and humanity, ... the grossest violation of the Constitution and our rights as good citizens under it.” Jewish leaders organized protest rallies in St. Louis, Louisville and Cincinnati, and telegrams reached the White House from the Jewish communities of Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
To President Lincoln's great credit,
Cesar Kaskel arrived in Washington on Jan. 3, 1863, two days after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. There he conferred with influential Jewish Republican Adolphus Solomons, then went with a Cincinnati congressman, John A. Gurley, directly to the White House. Lincoln received them promptly and studied Kaskel's copies of General Order No. 11 and the specific order expelling Kaskel from Paducah. The President told Halleck to have Grant revoke General Order No. 11, which he did in the following message:
A paper purporting to be General Orders, No. 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms, it expells (sic) all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked.
Grant revoked the order three days later.

0n January 6, a delegation led by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise of Cincinnati, called on Lincoln to express its gratitude that the order had been rescinded. Lincoln received them cordially expressed surprise that Grant had issued such a command and stated his conviction that “to condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad.” He drew no distinction between Jew and Gentile, the president said, and would allow no American to be wronged because of his religious affiliation.

After the war, Grant transcended his anti-Semitic reputation. He carried the Jewish vote in the presidential election of 1868 and named several Jews to high office. But General Order No. 11 remains a blight on the military career of the general who saved the Union.
He grew in office.

And for those who might guess why I do not think "Jayhawk" is a good college mascot - we have another General Order #11.
General Order Number 11

District of the Border
Kansas City, Missouri
August 25, 1863

First, ___ All persons living in Jackson, Cass and Bates Counties, Missouri, and in that part of Vernon included in this district, except those living within one mile of the limits of Harrisonville, Hickman Mills, Independence and Pleasant Hill and Harrisonville, and except those in the part of Kaw Township, Jackson County, north of Brush Creek and west of the Big Blue, embracing Kansas City and Westport, are hereby ordered to remove from their present places of residence within fifteen days from the date hereof. Those who, within that time, establish their loyalty to the satisfaction of the commanding officer of the military station nearest their present places of residence will receive from him certificates stating the fact of their loyalty, and the names of the witnesses by whom it can be shown. All who receive such certificates will be permitted to remove to any military station in the district, or to any part of the State of Kansas except the counties on the eastern border of the State. All others shall remove out of the district.

Officers commanding companies and detachments serving in the counties named will see that this paragraph is promptly obeyed.

Second, ___ All hay and grain in the field, or under shelter in the district, from which the inhabitants are required to remove, within the reach of the military stations, after the 9th of September, next, will be taken to such stations and turned over to the proper officers there; and reports of the amounts so turned over made to district headquarters, specifying the name of all loyal owners and the amount of such produce taken from them. All grain and hay found in such district after the 9th of September, next, not convenient to such stations, will be destroyed.

Third, ___ The provisions of General Order No. 10 from these headquarters will be at once vigorously executed by officers commanding in the parts of the district, and at the stations not subject to the operations of paragraph first of this order, especially in the towns of Independence, Westport and Kansas City.

Fourth, ___ Paragraph 3, General Order No. 10, is revoked as to all who have borne arms against the government in the district since August 20, 1863.

By order of the Brigadier General Ewing,
H. Hannahs, Adjutant
Ethnic cleansing like you read about.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vietnam and Iraq – IBD channels CDR Salamander

Well, they could at least have given me a Hat Tip! Should sound familiar to my regular readers. It is for subscribers only, so instead of the Hat Tip, I will just post their editorial in whole. They write better than I do anyway.
Vietnam: Nothing destroys conventional wisdom like the truth. Those on the anti-war left don’t like to be reminded that the fruits of their policies are death and defeat. But the lie they agree upon is not history.

In 1975, Sydney Schanberg wrote a piece for the New York Times about the consequences for the region of our abandonment of South Vietnam. It bore the Orwellian title: “Indochina Without Americans: For Most A Better Life.” Substitute “Iraq” for “Indochina” and you have the Iraq plank in the 2008 Democratic
party platform.

Last Saturday, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece by Andrew J. Bacevich, a Boston University history professor and Vietnam War veteran, that fellow vet John Kerry
could have written, and which could have borne a similar title regarding Iraq without Americans. Professor Bacevich takes President Bush to task for reminding
the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week that, far from enjoying a better life, the people of Indochina, after they were betrayed by Democrats, became victims of the
“killing fields” of Cambodia, inmates of the re-education camps of Vietnam or, if they were lucky, boat people in the South China Sea.

The consequences of following the Democrats on Iraq, Bush said, would result in a similar human catastrophe and a greater terrorist threat to America. Bacevich’s piece is titled “Vietnam’s Real Lessons,” yet it is he who ignores the truth by writing about a “U.S. defeat” in an “unconventional war.”

The U.S. military was never defeated in any battle. Not until 1975, after a Democratic Congress cut off aid in a fit of post-Watergate pique, did Saigon fall to an army of
570,000 North Vietnamese regular soldiers and some 900 Soviet tanks, well supplied and armed by their Soviet and Chinese benefactors.

For two years, South Vietnam stood on its own without U.S. boots on the ground. Had we continued military and economic aid, it would be standing today — like South
Korea, which we did not abandon.

South Korea was no Athenian democracy back then, and yet we did not throw it to the wolves. Bacevich says we should look at “the condition of Vietnam today.” He
should look at the condition of South Korea.

One of the first actions of the Democratic “Watergate babies” was to vote to deny South Vietnam $800 million in military aid, including ammunition and spare parts.
Five weeks after that vote, a surprised and delighted North Vietnam began planning an armored invasion of the South, knowing we had grown war-weary and would not
help. Bacevich speaks of a “Republic of Vietnam, created by the United States,” that was not “able to govern effectively or command the loyalty of its people.” Yet, as history shows, Vietnam did not fall to a popular uprising by pajama-clad patriots.

The 1968 Tet offensive by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese was a military disaster. Gen. Giap failed in his plan to seize and hold 13 of 16 provincial capitals and trigger a popular uprising. The communist forces lost upwards of 50,000 killed and as many wounded.

After Tet, the Viet Cong were effectively finished as a fighting force, with the NVA taking over. North Vietnam’s 1972 Easter offensive also failed.

It was these failures that led to the January 1973 Paris Peace Accord. Butwhena Democratic Congress legislated an end to U.S. operations in Indochina that summer, it also stopped U.S. air support of a friendly Cambodian government under
siege by Hanoi and the Khmer Rouge.

Former Rep. Tip O’Neill, D-Mass., who was later to becomes speaker of the House, declared at the time that “Cambodia is not worth the life of one American flier.”
There—as they say, professor—is history.
Let’s see, I am with Investors Business Daily, POTUS and fact.

Some of you are with John F'ing Kerry and Sydney Schanberg (what a putz – ignore the shamelessly self-promoting way he presented in The Killing Fields. One of the most brazen displays of autofelation ever put on the screen.

Carry on.
UPDATE: Check out what Bacevich has to say about Gen. Petraeus.

Scare me less in a Panzer

Somehow - I think something like this is waiting for those French who make it to he11.

Incroyable! Bread and Sunday shopping!

Will France survive?!?
The surge in global wheat prices is finally catching up with France. After English breadmakers and Italian pasta makers, it is now the turn of French boulangers to put up prices of the country’s staple – the baguette.

With international wheat prices at a 10-year high, bakeries across France are expected to raise the price of the baguette by about 5 cents in the coming weeks.
Yes, in France that is critical.

And in a parallel universe...
Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, has taken a bold step towards loosening his country's tough labour laws with a call for more flexibility on the Sunday trading ban.

Speaking during a visit to the Gironde region of France, he said reform of Sunday shopping opening hours would be to the benefit of the country's tourist industry.

"Why prevent tourists from spending their money onSundays?" he asked, noting that 78m tourists visit France every year, making it one of the most visited countries in the world. "If the employee is willing to work, if the shop owner is willing to open, why prevent them?"

With a few exceptions, Sunday trading is outlawed in France under the country's century-old labour code. Stores which provide "urgent'' economic needs, such as restaurants, bars, tobacco shops, newspaper kiosks, florists and pharmacies, are exempt from a nationwide ban.
Baby steps. Baby steps.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Chinese Clintons

Or is it the Clinton's Chinese? Do we really have to live through another 8yrs+ of this?
One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.
t isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.


Isn't English a grand language? Antitransformationalism. There; I have coined a word. Check google – I’m it.

Building off its first mention in yesterday’s post, let’s look at the concept a bit closer. 

Though the detailed definition is still being refined, in essence Antitransformationalism encompasses the concept that there needs to be an active opposition to those very smart, but modestly ignorant/arrogant people who seem to have decided that they either do not need to study history or the hard-won lessons of those who have come before them – or that they are just so much smarter than anyone else who has ever lived, that they simply do not need the past.

Founded on the bedrock assumption that there is nothing new under the sun – that most any problem you encounter in the POLMIL world would be quickly understood by Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Frederick the Great, Nelson, Sun Tsu, and even the Great Khan. The technology and tools have improved, but the base of everything, the human condition, has changed little. Evolve into a more perfect professional. Don’t Transform into irrelevance.

With that bedrock, you must embrace new technology and concepts, but use them in a manner consistent with established avenues to success and within the constraints of financial, physical, and political realities. 

Evolutionary progress (US Navy vs. Confederate Navy) in numbers will defeat revolutionary perfection (US tanks vs. German tanks in WWII) in smaller numbers. Victory in the future is reliant on a firm knowledge of the past (US rediscovering counter-insurgency – again).

Now, leaving the POLMIL world, let’s look where Antitransformatinalism is taking hold (though they are not calling it that) in the world of finance. In the Sunday Financial Times there is a tremendous piece called Doomed to Repeat it?

Like combat, nothing focuses the mind like pretty little theories being blown up by cold, hard reality.
For as investors and financiers recoil in shock from this summer's violent market swings, and as a crisis in the subprime mortgage lending sector has triggered gyrations in stocks, many are now reaching for the history books with a newfound enthusiasm - or desperation - to assess how this crisis will play out. "Everyone is muttering about 1987, 1998 or 1929," says one senior hedge fund manager. "I don't know much about 1907, but probably I should."

From some perspectives, this sudden fascination with the past marks something of a U-turn. After all, the financial sector has spent much of this decade operating with a short-term view that was focused on the future, not the past. Indeed, as recently as this spring, it was rare to find any financial trader who spent much time pondering events more than a decade old - or beyond the data points typically found on a trading terminal.

That partly reflected the fact that financial traders are often too young to remember many economic cycles. However, more importantly, many of the instruments that have been in the eye of the recent market storm have only risen to prominence this decade. Thus the "historical" data bankers feed into their computer models to assess market swings, or measure their levels of risk-taking, is often based on just a few years of records. That can potentially distort the way these computer models work, since it means that bankers are effectively presuming that the future will be similar to the past - but based purely on very recent experience. "What is remarkable is that the risk models currently applied [in some markets] do not reflect the experience of the autumn of 1998, only a few years ago," says Harald Malmgrem, a Washington-based economist.

However, the other reason for the recent lack of interest in history is that many bankers have believed - at least until recently - that this decade's burst of market innovation had rewritten the rules of finance.
At last though, it seems as if the Antitransformationalists of the financial world are getting some traction.
As a result, the indifference towards the past is being replaced by a violent thirst for historical knowledge, as financiers reacquaint themselves with the unpalatable truth that almost every bubble is accompanied by a belief that innovation has changed the rules - a belief that typically proves to be false. "This neo-modern credit market is not very dissimilar after all from its classical predecessors," says Jack Malvey, an analyst at Lehman Brothers. "The catalysts differ, but market reactions feel similar [to crises before] . . . in our view long-term economic and capital markets history is the best teacher and best model [to understanding the present]."
It may not be sexy, but like counter-insurgency – it is the difference between doing it right to others – or having it done right to you.

Ignorance of the past is intellectual stupidity. In our line of work it gets people killed and wars lost. Why do I worry? I have YN3s out there who are better read than the LT standing OOD who graduated from Annapolis. He knows more about the where and why than the 3.85 Electrical Engineer graduate that is “leading” him, and in a few years may have Command. That is why it worries me. 

It also worries me that we have very important people with Birds and Stars who still, after the last 4 years, think the Navy has nothing to learn from the Army about how the fundamentals learned in the past still apply. They and their fellow travelers think that War is New and everything must be Tranformational. Well, it is time to stand athwart the quarterdeck and yell, “Stop!”

JAX, Pearl, Norfolk - here is your chance

Think the whole Life-Work thingy is an idea whose time is warped? Here is your chance!
UNCLAS //N03000//
- LT STEPHANIE xxx, OPNAV N134, AT (703) 695-xxxx/DSN 225 OR EMAIL
- CAPT KEN xxxx ,OPNAV N134, AT (703) 695-xxx/DSN 225 OR EMAIL

Hat tip Mike.

21st Century Marine Corps

All I have to say is, "Must have been a long deployment."

Monday, August 27, 2007

The straws of August

With the general acknowledgment that the Surge is working, the anti-war crowd is looking hard for the next line of attack. With the Haditha bloody shirt also going away, you can almost taste the desperation of a group of people that are in dire need to find a defeat and even better to totally discredit the President and Administration they quite literally hate.

Two different straws that have come up this week are curious contrasts. You have Kaplan's rather long Yingling inspired attack on the GOFO gaggle that Bookie has asked folks to weigh in on - and then you have something that seems to come from someone who needs to check his meds.

Via Capt. Ed, we have Hollywierd-addled "British-born, Hollywood-based humorist, commentator, producer and radio host" Martin Lewis at the Huffpo calling for, well, you read it.
General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.
you have the legal responsibility - under Article 134 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice - to protect the troops under your command by relieving the President of his MILITARY command.

If you have reason to believe that the President is responsible for "disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and for "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital" then you have the obligation to act.

In addition to relieving him of his command as Commander-In-Chief, you also have authority to place the President under MILITARY arrest.

...and the madness goes on from there. I posted about it along with Lex over at MilBlogs and I know almost all of you have already read about it - but I wanted to mention it again as it is part of the whole weekend mash.

The only thing worth spending any time on though is Kaplan's article. Though not directly related to Kaplan's bit, Bookie has caught on to something I postulated about earlier in the year; that eventually when the anti-victory group has bled Bush white and/or has run out of other things to do in pursuit of their existential crisis, they will go after the military in full force. Not the pin-pricks we have seen even prior to 911 - but a full court press. Throw in the smear movies lined up to go, other supporting attacks will join up for a ride.

In the whole though, Kaplan's bit is not a smearing hatchet job - though the Left will use it as best it can. Regular readers will know that when it comes to GOFO, I have no problem calling a spade a spade, and I do not hide my disdain for some who have made it to the exalted position where they have warriors assigned to pick up their dry cleaning and mow their yard if needed - so I have some sympathy with Kaplan and Yingling, and in places agree with them.

We have not had the leadership since 911 like General Marshall in WWII who would fire people not ready for prime time - wholesale. We are not promoting all the right warfighters and personalities for this war. That is clear. There are the rare exceptions, but as pointed out in the good for Newsweek article about the hunt for OBL,
(the blame for many of our lost opportunities belongs to).. risk aversion in career officers, whose promotions require spotless (“zero defect”) records—no mistakes, no bad luck, no “flaps.” The cautious mind-set changed for a time after 9/11, but quickly settled back in. High-tech communication serves to clog, rather than speed the process. With worldwide satellite communications, high-level commanders back at the base or in Washington can second-guess even minor decisions.
Boy, oh boy. That is spot on. So spot on.

There is also the fear of the selection board. In Kaplan's article, he discusses the fact that the Col. McMaster (I am a fan) of Dereliction of Duty fame has twice been passed over for Brigadier General - twice. Now, I know enough about boards to know you don't know the whole story if you don't know the whole story - but if anyone needs a star it is Col. McMaster. Then again, we know what can happen if you bump the wrong person the wrong way and they show up on your board...

An item that caught my eye as well in Kaplan’s article, and rings very true. It is also related to the reason I blog as CDR Salamander.
McMaster’s nonpromotion has not been widely reported, yet every officer I spoke with knew about it and had pondered its implications. One colonel, who asked not to be identified because he didn’t want to risk his own ambitions, said: “Everyone studies the brigadier-general promotion list like tarot cards; who makes it, who doesn’t. It communicates what qualities are valued and not valued.”

A retired Army two-star general, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to anger his friends on the promotion boards, agreed. “When you turn down a guy like McMaster,” he told me, “that sends a potent message to everybody down the chain. I don’t know, maybe there were good reasons not to promote him. But the message everybody gets is: “We’re not interested in rewarding people like him. We’re not interested in rewarding agents of change.”

Members of the board, he said, want to promote officers whose careers look like their own. Today’s generals rose through the officer corps of the peacetime Army. Many of them fought in the last years of Vietnam, and some fought in the gulf war. But to the extent they have combat experience, it has been mainly tactical, not strategic. They know how to secure an objective on a battlefield, how to coordinate firepower and maneuver. But they don’t necessarily know how to deal with an enemy that’s flexible, with a scenario that has not been rehearsed.

“Those rewarded are the can-do, go-to people,” the retired two-star general told me. “Their skill is making the trains run on time. So why are we surprised that, when the enemy becomes adaptive, we get caught off guard? If you raise a group of plumbers, you shouldn’t be upset if they can’t do theoretical physics.”
And if I might add, you never promote someone who gets out of step with a senior officer’s pet acquisition program. Never.

The following is also something that is also very true to the Navy. Exceptionally true.
Capt. Kip Kowalski, an infantry officer in the Captains Career Course at Fort Knox, is a proud soldier in the can-do tradition. He is impatient with critiques of superiors; he prefers to stay focused on his job. “But I am worried,” he said, “that generals these days are forced to be narrow.”

Kowalski would like to spend a few years in a different branch of the Army; say, as a foreign area officer, and then come back to combat operations. He says he thinks the switch would broaden his skills, give him new perspectives and make him a better officer. But the rules don’t allow switching back and forth among specialties.

”I have to decide right now whether I want to do ops or something else,” he said. “If I go F. A. O., I can never come back.”

In October 2006, seven months before his essay on the failure of generalship appeared, Yingling and Lt. Col. John Nagl, another innovative officer, wrote an article for Armed Forces Journal called “New Rules for New Enemies,” in which they wrote: “The best way to change the organizational culture of the Army is to change the pathways for professional advancement within the officer corps. The Army will become more adaptive only when being adaptive offers the surest path to promotion.”
Many an officer has taken a set of orders, or turned one down, knowing that this was the end of his career. Without community top-cover at the job he is heading to, or going to a “non-select” job – he was, “sending a message to the board.” Actually, no – the selection board is just closed minded and parochial.

While we are on the subject of close minded and parochial, there are two other items in the news that tie into this on the edges. First let’s talk a bit about Sen. Warner (R-VA).

About a decade too late, Sen. Warner is going to retire. An interesting man in many respects, I had a chance to see the man up close and personal for a period of time in the late ‘90s. A much smaller and frail man in person (make-up and TV can do magic) than you would think (and that was 10 years ago), he is unquestionable “Senatorial” in the way he carries and thinks about himself.

Backing up his public persona you can get from watching and reading him – he has contempt for almost everyone else but himself. He has never been a great supporter of the war, so his efforts to undercut the Gen. Petraeus now as we start to see success - to me iy seems a bit self-serving and daft. At times it is best to step away.

Whatever you think of Bush and his pals and their conduct of the war for the last 4+ years – if at last he has hired the right staff to make it work – why not step away and let the crop grow to harvest?

In January of this year, Warner declared that the Surge would fail. Knowing what I know about Warner’s opinion of his opinions – it would be almost an impossibility for him to declare that anything he once said could be incorrect. Senator Warner, you see, simply does not make mistakes. I just don’t think he can, at this stage of his life, have the mental flexibility to accept that perhaps something he declared dead in the womb might be walking around getting the job done.

Senator Warner is also making the common professional politicians who are used to bullying their way to getting what they want make; that taking away something from a recalcitrant Senate colleague to make him support your pet project next time is like getting what you want in Iraq by taking away 5,000 of ~160,000 troops on the ground.

That is ~3% of the total – but besides the usual effect of 3,000NM screwdrivers – this sends the wrong message to our Iraqi allies who are already worried that we will, like we have in the past, leave our allies high and dry. He thinks it sends a signal, it does - it sends a signal that what OBL says is true, we are a weak horse and a fool for picking our side. Anyway, funny timing by the Senior Senator from VA going after the Iraqi gov'munt.

Speaking of 3,000NM screwdrivers – all sorts of stuff in the news about the Joint Chiefs recommending to the president that the troop levels be lowered in Iraq by big fat numbers next year. Ahem. Are they fighting in Iraq? No. Let a 4-star that has actually proven progress make the recommendations. You just keep the toilet paper and tampons moving east - ok?
According to administration and military officials, the Joint Chiefs believe it is of crucial strategic importance to reduce the size of the U.S. force in Iraq in order to bolster the military's ability to respond to other threats, a view that is shared by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
There is also some ego work going on here,
Pace's recommendations reflect the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who initially expressed private skepticism about the strategy ordered by Bush and directed by Petraeus, before publicly backing it.
Don't ever underestimate the ability for some people not to like something just because it wasn't their idea - or for the press to not get the story right. Either way, an interesting bit floating around.

In the end I would like to ask them (or whoever is making the story up); shouldn't you focus on winning the war you are in now before you start worrying about what you may or may not have to fight in the future? Victory now is the best preparation for victory later.

At last – an end to an exceptionally long post (thanks Bookie for giving life to what is most likely the most long-winded, rambling post I have put out in, well, ever).

OK, not the end. One more rabbit hole to go down. Well, maybe the last one....I want you to ponder a word that I think I will give an example of tomorrow. This is a Salamander word – so give credit where credit is due. Antitransformatinalism.

Antitransformationalism is the solidly held belief that in the end there is really little new under the sun. The loud, proud, smart, and ,on average, very ignorant advocates of “Transformation” are really just mal-educated, intelligent men spouting "weekend-seminar, 2-week Outward Bound MBA-speak camp" Bullsh1t Bingo lingo because they lack the historical perspective to understand the core nature of the socio-military-political environment they are in. To justify their response to the world around them - everything must be Transformational - because they don't know any other word. Windex for all ills - Transformational ideas for the trolls under the bridge and the Minator in the maze.

Note that McMaster and Nagl are both historians.

Case in point. As I was reading Kaplan’s bit a third time and finding myself nodding my head, I was reminded that much of this has been around before. Some of my favorite quotes from Nagl’s “
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam” came to mind.

Well, we have a variation of, “As Iraqi forces stand up in number, we will stand down.”
“…we could not win the war without the help of the population, and of the Chinese population in particular; we would not get the help of the population without at least beginning to win the war.”
- Colonial Secretary Oliver Lyttelton to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Montgomery on 23 DEC 51 on Malaya.
You have the “We need a new plan (surge) and the right General to run it.”
Montgomery to Lyttelton:
“Dear Lyttelton,
We must have a plan.
Secondly we must have a man.
When we have a plan and a man, we shall succeed: not otherwise.
Yours Sincerely,
Montgomery (F.M.)
Afterwards he selected General Sir Gerald Templer. Pp.87.

We have an almost verbatim quote you are starting to see from some parts of the MSM and even Democrats in Congress.
31 July 1960. In its Special Edition proclaiming the end of the Emergency, the Straits Times commented, “Perhaps there is no great point in recalling all the tragic and idiotic blunders, all the false optimism, all the unrealism of the first phases of the war, but it is not possible to appreciate fully the heroism of the Security Forces unless the stupidities of some of those in command are remembered.” Pp. 103.
You have the problem of a bunch of great peace time Generals just not ready for war time,
“Twenty years after the debacle at the Kasserine Pass, it was hard to find a General in the U.S. Army who worried that he or his colleagues might squander resources and waste the lives of soldiers. The junior officers of World War II, now the generals of the 1960s, had become so accustomed to winning from the later years of that was that they could no longer imagine they could lose. (The failure in Korea they rationalized away as the fault of a weak civilian leadership which had refused to “turn loose” the full potential of American military power against Chins.) They assumed that they would prevail in Vietnam simply because of who they were.” Pp.133. Neal Sheehan, “A Bright Shining Lie” – pp.287
(BTW, have you notice none of the problem Generals we have had right now have been USMC? Just saying.)

We have the “The first part of the war was not right…”
“I don’t believe the way the Vietnam problem – which is basically not a military problem – was handled in the early days was the right one. I didn’t carry out my tactics in Malaya by raising masses of local troops and putting them all in British uniforms and giving them enormous loads to carry so that they became completely immobile. We did it by equipping them and training them as near as possible to the enemy they had to compete with in a particular terrain. This applied not only to the local forces, but also to all the British units. Their street fighting and jungle techniques were worked out with the very greatest care. I only used bombing in the jungle or mountains in Malaya in order to flush out the Communists.”
- Field Marshal Templer in ’68. Pp204
And this quote kind of stands all on its own.
Rather than squarely face up to the fact that army counterinsurgency doctrine had failed in Vietnam, the army decided that the United States should no longer involve itself in counterinsurgency operations. The “Weinberger doctrine” of 1983 made such involvement less likely by creating a series of tests that in practice precluded American participation in any wars that did not allow full exploitation of American advantages in technology and firepower. The army returned to its organizational roots, creating a force that triumphed in the extremely conventional Gulf War of 1990-91. The day after that victory, President George Bush crowed, “By God, we ‘ve licked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”

In fact, the Gulf war simply confirmed the army’s Jominian concept of fighting purely military battles with high-technology weaponry and overwhelming firepower. By refusing to acknowledge that most wars, unlike the Gulf, are and will be bought on battlefields populated by people who may support one side or than other (or one of many), the army continued to prepare itself to fight wars as it wanted to fight them. Pp.207.
Oh, and to go really far back – we have Proverbs 23:11,
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
Man, did that ramble. BTW, if you didn't read all the articles linked above - please don't comment - you probably didn't see the thread that connects all the rambles and rabbit holes. Heck, I barely do. Did this do Bookie? I'm not happy with my post - but for a Monday, it is about all I've got.

Anti-victory goobers - try again

I guess they will have to stick with "the US military is full of fools, and egomaniacs" and "..Bush lied and the military needs to oust him in a coup.." (both to be discussed in a post here in about 6 hours).

The "Maliki isn't fit to be dog-catcher" just lost some of its "Big Mo!"
Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.

The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands.
Maliki's appearance on Iraqi television with the four other leaders at a brief news conference was a rare show of public unity.

The other officials present were President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi; Shi'ite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Masoud Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iraqi officials said the five leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service and military.

Consensus was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as well as setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without charge, a key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are Sunnis.

The laws need to be passed by Iraq's fractious parliament, which has yet to receive any of the drafts.


Yasin Majid, a media adviser to Maliki, told Reuters the leaders also endorsed a draft oil law, which has already been agreed by the cabinet but has not yet gone to parliament.

More work needs to be done, but if you don't see this for what it is, you are blinded by BDS. Tools.

Hat tip CoRev and a few others.

Britain's endgame?

Knowing, as many do, that not too far buried below the PC/multi-culti rot - there is in the UK and Europe the stomach to do what needs to be done if threatened. The Titan in Winter, William F. Buckley asks - is Britain ready to do what it must?
What we have, said a British patriot in one of the darkest days of the war, is “the British way of life.” That way of life is ever so vulnerable if examined under lacerating glass, and indeed that is exactly what happens every week at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions, where the students tear themselves and their country to pieces for a noisy evening and then submit decorously to the ruling of the Union’s President, and get on with the British way of life.

But the threat to it is not, this time around, in the shape of a continental army threatening invasion, or Nazi bombers darkening the sky. The threat now is the Muslim immigration. There are fewer Muslims in Britain than in France — two million — but that’s still a lot. For many years Britain faced the problem of its commitment to members of its empire: Any citizen could leave Malaysia or Pakistan or India or Jamaica and simply show up, declaring himself a British resident. That problem was hotly debated in the days of Enoch Powell, when he insisted, departing England for a constituency in Northern Ireland, that some limits had to be observed or the British way of life would disappear.

The crisis is focusing now on the schools. The Muslim community has demanded its own schools. Wherein what, exactly, will be taught?

There are many interpreters of the true meaning of the commandments of the Koran. But among them are men and women who are prepared to end their own lives for the satisfaction of defying the British way of life. Four such persons, in the summer of 2005, attached themselves to bombs and blew up handy British targets, including three Underground trains.

What one got then from assorted imams, and continues to get now, is reverent disapprovals of incidental killings as contrary to the faith. But in the name of Jihad — holy war — such homilies against murder and arson are satellized by the dominant commands of the Koran to make war against infidels.

One hears exactly what one would expect from British authorities. The new prime minister, Gordon Brown, spoke at his first news conference of the “importance we attach to nonviolence.” That attachment makes unpalatable “the extreme message of those who practice violence and would maim and murder citizens on British soil.”

You said a mouthful, Prime Minister. But it is time for the mother of parliaments to look unruly, unassimilable creeds in the face and say: No more.

Oddly, the British way of life tolerates an established religion. In the end, the English are not hampered by toplofty commitments to freedom of speech and of conscience. Still, when the United States was seriously inconvenienced by our commitment to freedom of religion, we found means to handle Mormon polygamy. All the world waits to see how Parliament handles this threat to the British way of life.

You don't need your knee pads anymore

Don't even think it.... Some of the best military goodies have been taken from the sports world. I would love to give a million dollars worth of this to the USMC and tell them, "Figure out what we can do with this stuff....."
Mike Peake meets an award-winning inventor who sold his house to launch a revolutionary range of protective sportswear

He shot into the spotlight at the recent Entrepreneur of the Year awards in London, when he leapt in the air and landed with a thud on his knees. Palmer, 40, was showing off the mesmerising potency of the product that had just earnt him top gong. It is called d3o, it was sewn into his trousers and, in layman’s terms, it is the kind of armour plating that Batman donned before fighting baddies.
What do you think? Soft spot reinforcement - Riot Police (like this)? Would it help contain the blast wave in an IED as part of a uniform or integrated/meshed with other armor? This is good stuff, check out the details.

Fjordman - the early years

Well, it could be OMC - but I think the language is more Nordic. Anyway, I am sure that is The Brussels Journal on band - and no question that is the ILYS gang dancing.

Hat tip K-lo.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Sunday Funnies

Just to point out the parade of Dhimmi led by the WaPo. If they won't defend themselves from radical Islam - why should you expect them to point out the danger it poses? At least hasn't wet itself.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Your part of the elephant is boring

You know the old story of a blind man describing an elephant? Well, especially when you are close, very close to the elephant - and blind - you can only describe what you can feel, hear, and smell. Depending on where you grab hold of the elephant and what the elephant is doing right now, how you describe the elephant can be very accurate, very funny, and/or very wrong.

The blind man who gets the trunk has a much more accurate and entertaining time with the elephant and describing it.

The blind man who gets a big, broad ribcage is probably out to lunch on his guess and can't get beyond, "big with a few stubby hairs." What he feels is there - the description of what he feels is accurate and true from his perspective, but not enough is there for him to tell you what thing he has hold of. Not his fault.

The guy getting a hand full of the stern just is not having a good day at all.

Back on the 22nd, the esteemed BlogBuddy of mine, Bookie of bookwormroom, asked where all the Milblog and/or Conservative response was to seven junior NCO's from the 82nd ABN OP-ED in the NYT.
What really intrigues me right now is the dead silence in the conservative blogosphere about this one. I don’t recall any of my favorite conservative sites discussing this article. That’s really unusual. And for those of you who count yourselves among my liberal readers, and are inclined to think badly of conservatives, let me assure you right away that the reason for that silence isn’t simply because this story goes against the prevailing wisdom in the conservative blogosphere — namely, that that the War can still be won and that the surge is working. One of the things I’ve loved about the conservative blogosphere is its willingness to tackle all fact and opinion articles, whether the bloggers see the articles as occasions for celebration, deconstruction or despair. No matter the article, if it’s about a hot topic, as this one is, silence is never the response.
True. But, I did read it - I just didn't think it was worth the effort to reply to because - it just didn't break new ground or make a point that broke above my background noise. I didn't want to beat up on them either - as they are entitled to their opinion from their part of the elephant. They also reminded me of many a smart, aggressive junior NCO or Officer that I have worked with throughout my career who thought that they had the big picture - they knew what was going on - and they did. The saw what they could see from their POV - but with the exception of some specific details, when it came to the "Big Picture" issues, they were also wrong.

Heck, I have the same shortfall now and then.

Grim and others you can find over at Bookie's place have some solid replies that are worth your time. Me? I still just don't have the desire to Fisk their effort. They think they have a giant Heterocephalus Glaber - fine, let them think that.

'Ole Joe Sestak - no change there

Rep. (nee RADM) Joe Sestak (D-PA) has not changed. Look at the below. Somewhere in the Capitol either he (or more likely some poor staffer) is working on a Saturday morning looking to see who is saying what about him via Technorati. I don't think they liked what they found here - but I hope next time they follow the Sestak label for the full treatment.

Vain, workaholic, consumer of young lives. Nope. No change. As for the staffer - we pray for you. Good luck! If it was Joe Actual; good morning Congressman! How is the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doing?

A greater Netherlands?

Hey, history never stops. There used to be a Yugoslavia. There used to be a Czechoslovakia. Why can't we say, "There used to be a Belgium."? There is a significant constitutional crisis in Belgium. It boils down to the Dutch speaking Free Market Flemish getting tired of underwriting the Socialists Walloons. As usual, the best summary can be found over at The Brussels Journal.
Belgium is rapidly unraveling. Following the June 10th Belgian general elections, won by Flemish-secessionist parties, the Belgian parties seem unable to form a government coalition.

Belgium is a multinational state, the model for the European Union’s efforts to turn Europe into a single multinational state. Belgium is made up of 60% Dutch-speaking, free-market oriented Flemings and 40% French-speaking, predominantly Socialist Walloons. The Belgian Constitution stipulates that the government should consist of 50% Flemings and 50% Walloons. Belgian governments always have to rely on a majority in both Flanders and Wallonia, since major decisions need the support of both parts of the country. In practice this means that 20% of the population (i.e. half of the Walloons) can veto every decision. This has made the Parti Socialiste (PS), the Walloon Socialist Party, the power broker in the country.

The refusal of the PS to reform the welfare state system has caused growing Flemish frustration, and turned what used to be a linguistic conflict into a dispute about economic and welfare policies. While Flanders pays most of Belgium’s taxes the bulk of the money flows to Wallonia. There a welfare-receiving electorate votes for parties which for over three decades have been blocking any attempts at reforming the collapsing welfare system.


Last week, Prof. Em. Robert Senelle, one of Belgium’s most prominent constitutionalists, a Flemish Socialist and formerly a teacher of the Belgian Crown Prince, advised the Flemings to annul the Belgian Constitution and solemnly declare Flemish sovereignty. Following this advice Filip Dewinter, the leader of the secessionist Vlaams Belang party, the largest party in the Flemish Regional Parliament, called upon the Flemish Parliament to convene and declare Flanders an independent country.

Yesterday another Flemish constitutionalist, Prof. Paul Van Orshoven said thatTennis Court Oath. The Tennis Court Oath refers to 20 June 1789, when the representatives of France’s third estate [the bourgeoisie] declared themselves to be the true representatives of the nation. “In the spirit of the Tennis Court Oath it is permitted that, even if it violates the Belgian constitutional rules, a simple majority of the Dutch-speakers in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and the Senate declare to secede.” “intelligent people” should consider a Flemish secession from Belgium. “Because the situation cannot go on where a minority denies the majority its legitimate and democratic aspirations.” Prof. Van Orshoven said that if Flanders secedes this obviously violates the Belgian Constitution, which requires that the Walloons approve of such a decision. He referred, however, to the historical precedent of the

Apart from the media in Belgium and the neighbouring Netherlands, the international papers and broadcasters have hardly reported about the disintegration of the EU’s host country. On Tuesday a survey of the Dutch [Netherlandish] television network RTL4 showed that 77% of the inhabitants of the Netherlands are in favour of the Netherlands and Flanders merging into one country.

In Belgium, an internet poll of Flanders’ largest newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws, showed 50.9% in favour of reuniting Flanders and the Netherlands. The Flemish provinces were part of the Netherlands until 1831, when the international powers established the Kingdom of Belgium.

Many parts, if not the balance, of their military is already split up, with what I understand both Dutch and French speaking fighter squadrons and other units. Obviously, Flanders would get the Navy. Being that Walloonia cannot support her welfare state on her own - perhaps she could beg France to take her back?