Friday, November 30, 2007

Fullbore Friday

How do you define sacrifice? How do you respond to loss? How do you focus pride, grief, love and honor? Do you try to take positive action in the face of a horror you never expected to face? Can you go beyond the emotional and tap into the intellectual? For today's FbF, I ask you to step back , absorb, and most of all - be humble.
His son, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff, 25, had been killed in a December 2006 roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.
The younger Krissoff joined the Marines in 2004 with a background that might not have predicted a military career. He wrote poetry as a youngster and was an accomplished pianist.

Before graduating from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., he was captain of the swim team, in addition to being a whitewater kayaker and alpine skier.

The outdoor activities were a joy shared by Nathan, his father, and his younger brother, Austin, 24, who joined the Marines shortly before Nathan died.

The family kept word of Nathan's death from Austin until after he graduated from the same Marine Corps officer school in Quantico, Va.

"Nate was an extraordinary man in a lot of ways," Bill Krissoff said.
Like many who have lost their loved ones in this war, they had an opportunity to meet with the Commander in Chief, President Bush.
Bill Krissoff never figured to be in a position to look President Bush in the eye and ask a favor.

But there he was, sitting in a room in Reno, Nev., with Bush and several other families who had lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I said, 'Yeah, there is one thing. I want to join the Navy medical corps and I gotta get some help here,' " recalled Krissoff, 61, who lives in California, near Reno.

Three days after that meeting, the Navy called.

His waiver had been granted.
What waiver?
Months later, Krissoff came to a carefully considered decision: He would honor his son by leaving a flourishing orthopedic practice, a comfortable life, to join the Navy as a combat surgeon.

But his application for an age waiver was mired in paperwork.

So, on that August day in Reno, when Bush went around the room and asked if there was anything he could do, Krissoff spoke up.
That is how the CINC got involved. You get action that way.
Krissoff was commissioned as a lieutenant commander Nov. 18, and he expects to attend officer development school in January. Attached to the 4th Medical Battalion, he plans to join a combat surgical team and hopes to serve in Iraq.

It is a story of loss and sacrifice being told on national media outlets. But Krissoff considers himself anything but a hero. He reserves words like that for people such as his son.

"The loss of a son puts a certain perspective on things.

"It's my turn to serve. I'm honored and privileged that the Navy will have me in the medical corps," Krissoff said.
This was a family decision.
He and his wife, Christine, plan to sell their house and move to San Diego. They see it as another chapter in their life, perhaps a way to ease the grief they have shared for nearly a year.

"Really, I'm just inspired by the dedication to service of both my sons," Krissoff said.

Christine Krissoff, 56, has made peace with his choice as well. But it doesn't mean she won't miss her husband.

"I am not fine with the amount of time he's gone. But none of the wives of the military people who serve are going to be fine with it.

"That's just part of the deal."

His mother, Sylvia Krissoff, 88, said she was "shocked" when she learned what he planned to do. Then it started to make sense to her.

"I think, for him, it really is great. It's really an extension of his love for Nate and, in some ways, carrying on for what Nate would have done.

"Nate would have been so proud of him."
LCDR Krissoff and Christine - welcome aboard. Your response to your son's death and your other son's ongoing service is, simply, Fullbore. Thank you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The march to the low 200s....

Money talks, ....
England, in his memo, directs the Navy to seek funding for two Littoral Ships in 2009 instead of the six planned, three in 2010 and 2011 instead of six each year and four instead of six in 2012. He directed the Navy to add one ship in 2013, raising the number that year to six.
The U.S. military plans to delay its purchase of 11 warships now under development by Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.

The Navy planned to buy 32 of the new Littoral Combat Ships over the next five years and now will buy only 21... ``If the Navy doesn't keep this program on track, it will never get to its goal'' of building the U.S. fleet to 313 vessels from 280 today, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Virginia.
Yes, you heard it here first ... what a couple of years ago?
The Littoral Ship program has been ``burdened by big cost overruns and a controversial acquisition strategy'' that included use of shipyards that have no history of building warships, accelerated development and ``bypassing the Navy shipbuilding bureaucracy,'' Thompson said.
the Navy has told Congress that the vessels could cost as much as $460 million apiece, more than double the initial estimate of $220 million.
England approved adding a total of $2 billion in fiscal years 2009 through 2011 to allow the purchase in 2011 of two Northrop Grumman Corp. Virginia class submarines instead of just one, according to the document.

England approved adding $693 million through 2013 for the new Zumwalt class DDG-1000 destroyer to be built by Northrop and General Dynamics, bringing funding for its development to about $9.29 billion, the Navy's highest projected cost.
Oh, another thing that a Program Office spy indirectly sent my way. You know all that talk about "hybrid sailors" and outsourcing a lot of our maintenance to civilian contract and offboard shipyard work? Well, ahem - can you put them on a MV-22 and get them anywhere in the world - because this has maintenance nightmare written all over it.
(the) LCS 1 engineering plant ... is a CODAG. It has 29 line shaft bearings with a forced lube system...and that is the least complex aspect of the plant.
Byron? I know you are a Shipfitter and all, but .... do you want to be 12NM off Somalia when that goes Tango Uniform? Forget Hybrid Sailors, I want an old school EN1 who can take this thing apart and put it together again, blind and/or drunk. He doesn't need an Assoc. Degree, OOD qual, CMEO collateral duty, nut'n. Just covered with grease and nodd'n his head saying, "Give me 20 minutes - it will be work'n su'h."

All that speed and nowhere to go .....

Diversity Bullies run'eth amok on AKO

Have you seen the "Words Hurt" ppt? Did you know that the Army's Diversity Bullies have published an "Enemies List" of verboten words? Well, thanks to Michelle we have an email being put out by one of the Diversity Bullies Stormtroopers at the Army Intelligence and Security Command’s , SFC Blanding, USA - where she breathlessly states,
"Some will find this list irritating just reading it. I became irritated just typing these words ... these words should not be used in the workplace. All it takes is for someone to hear it. (earshot)"
Sure, we have the words we can all agree on; Nigger, Chink, Spic, Jewboy, and Wop. Not to mention my own favorite, "blue eyed devil' (I usually get kissed after I hear that, however).

There are also some that are iffy, like Cracker. You see, in North Florida, Cracker is actually a good thing to be called. How non-multi-culti ignorant of the SFC, but I don't blame her. If you look at the Diversity Bullies Calendar of Important Genetics - native White culture isn't too far up on the brainwash list.

But here my main bone of contention. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the following; Black Ball, Black List, Lowest on the Totem Pole, Indian War, Indian Summer, Guinea Pig, Savage, Caught Red Handed, Lackey, Working Like a Slave, Sounds Greek to me, Indian, Jezzebell (that one is for AW1), Colonial, and Canuck (SFC must not be a hockey fan - see Cracker above).

For sheer childlike fun though, I did enjoy the idea of someone typing out on AKO the following (which I have not and would not use at work, home, or in the bedroom); Step-n fetchit, Beaner, Honkey, High Yellow, Kimosabe, Redman, Limp-wrist, You People, Coloured (talk to the NAACP please), Trailer-trash, spear-chunker, and Holy-roller. There is more.

Then there are the "huh?" ones; Uncle Charlie, boy, girl.

Get a life, please SFC Blanding. I bet you don't like your collateral duty either - in that case nothing personal, you are doing as job as distasteful as I found participating in the Haitian embargo in the 90s. If it is your full-time job though; well, get a life.

Hat tip Mike.

The beneficial propeller

Admit it, this is funny.
Iran had achieved the technology of submarine battery manufacturing prior to some other countries, the rear admiral remarked.

All Iran's naval units benefit from modern equipment such as propellers, weapons and sensors, which have been produced by Iranian engineers, he conclud
Did this guy use to write for the Soviets?

Task Force Life/Work poster child

If this is the message we are putting out there, we aren't helping ourselves all that much. There is a lot to chew on here, but I'll stick to the following selling points,
DON'T WORRY about that swooshing sound you can occasionally hear at 5:30 a.m. in the swimming pool on the Dahlgren naval base.

That's just the first female commander in the 89-year history of the base's Naval Surface Warfare Center doing her indoor laps.

Hitting the road from her Prince William County home at 4:15 a.m. is part of the morning drill for 47-year-old Sheila Patterson, who followed her interest in sports to the Naval Academy just two years after women were first admitted.

Despite the eye-opening schedule for Patterson, a self-described "morning person," some things in her Navy life haven't stayed strictly on schedule.

For example, there was that plan to put in seven years of service in the Navy after the academy, and then focus on raising the family. The two boys and one girl arrived ahead of schedule.

So Patterson has made a career of it, rising in May to the command of a 2,800-person center of scientists, engineers and sailors who have become, in Sen. John Warner's words, "one of the crown jewels of American defense."
Active in sports, especially swimming and crew, she avoided some of that first-year hazing by earning a seat at an athletes' table.

She's still pushing the athletic limits, including some recent golf lessons. Patterson has occasionally played in a Dahlgren "men's league"--from the men's tees.
During a recent chat in her office on the Dahlgren base, Patterson leafed through that day's to-do list, the short-term to-do list and the long-term to-do list.

Then there are those weekly menu lists at home, where Patterson cooks dinner Monday through Thursday. Friday is eat-out night with her husband, Bill, a retired naval officer who works for a contractor in Northern Virginia.

Quick with a laugh, Patterson doesn't let the lists get in the way of her people connections. She describes her management style as "participative," and is OK with important meetings running long, provided they don't waste time. Surrounded by "smart people," she invites department heads to key meetings with private-sector contractors.

The other day, Patterson's meetings stretched from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with three half-hour breaks.
Ok. I'll work for GE instead. At least there you could afford to hire a nice Polish Au Pair to take raise your three kids - because with both parents working those hours, someone has too. Might as well buy the very best.

CAPT, nothing personal here. You are a great officer, administrator, and engineer, but ... Head of Surface Warfare Center? Any discussion of finding someone for the job with personal experience in Surface Warfare like
PRAYING MANTIS, TLAM in ODF, OIF, OEF? Anti-piracy? You know, someone to bring the operational perspective to Surface Warfare decision making leadership - something we can, hopefully, state is sorely needed? Perhaps a different perspective to break the habits that have created many of the problems we have right now in the Fleet? Ummm, guess not.

If we could just break the Millington Diktat - there are some great CAPT coming off Major Command at Sea that would be perfect for the job - who will know the real issues in the Fleet because they have had to deal with them up front and personal. Another lost opportunity for Big Navy, methinks.

Move along. Nothing to see here. Move along. More important things to talk about,
...someone who's also making gender history...

Don't let the door hit you in the ...

I won't miss Senator Lott (R-MS) as he heads out the door to make money as a lobbyist - but the shipbuilders in Mississippi sure will.
Minority Whip Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) announced yesterday he is resigning from the Senate, further changing the team of legislators who have protected the shipbuilding industry.

Lott, who is expected to leave by the end of the year, will depart before Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) who has said he will not seek another term in office. Earlier this year, the shipbuilding caucus on the House side unexpectedly lost Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), who died of breast cancer.

Additional shifts could result from the 2008 elections, as other members of the Senate who represent coastal shipbuilding states face tough races.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), another SASC member, is a proponent of the DDG-1000 program, which is being built at Bath Iron Works. She is locked in a tough re-election battle against Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine), who is capitalizing on anti-war sentiment. On the Democratic side, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is on the Senate Appropriations homeland security subcommittee and is alone in her party feeling the heat in a state with a Republican governor-elect--Bobby Jindal.
Warner's impending departure, coupled with the death of Davis was a larger blow directly to the state and Northrop Grumman Newport News [NOC], which is located there, because of the singular role Warner played, an official said.

In addition, this year Congress has made a concerted effort to help the industry, providing additional funding where it could. With so many problems facing programs like the Littoral Combat Ship, congressional support is less difficult than getting the Navy to provide more certainty about its programs, said one industry source.
Speaking of Lott - this about says it all,
By leaving before the end of the year, Lott will not be bound by new ethics rules that prevent lobbying two years after leaving the office.

But in a press conference yesterday in Mississippi, Lott downplayed the role that lobbying rules played in his decision to step down.

"It didn't have a big role in that decision. You know, there are limits on that already. And as I've talked to my former colleagues, they say that a lot of what you do anyway is involved with consulting rather than direct lobbying," Lott said, adding that he would have retired in 2006 but stayed on to pass legislation that would help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. His own home was destroyed in the 2005 storm, and he secured more than $500 million in aid for Nothrop Grumman, which has three shipyards along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi (Defense Daily, May 3, 2006).
His departure will shore up the Republican base about as good as anything else out there. Man, I wish we had term limits.

Hat tip reader Mike.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Liv'n large and look'n cheap

Oh come on Bill! When one is a sitting or former President meeting the leader of another country, you should dress and act in a sufficiently formal and classy manner. That goes with your decorations as well.

Note the picture on the right from a few days ago when former President Clinton was meeting another man of the left, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero. Did you notice what is on his right hand? It looks like some cheap trinket of a bracelet (blow up, though quite pixelated here).

If Bill was a Grandfather and he had the Grandkids on a trip with him, I would cut him some slack; but he doesn't have any Grandkids. Oh, I know. It is probably one of those Compassion Bullies "cause of the month" bracelets, so I guess I can't say anything - not that it will stop me.
In the end, it cheapens President Clinton, and his nation to wear something that looks like it was made in a 7 year old's Sunday school class. It also is an insult to PM Zap. Is this a cheap shot? Sure. Does he deserve it? Yes.

The real Chinese snub

It is one thing to mess up a liberty call - this is a whole different kettle of fish - and a more important issue.
Roughead, who was commander of U.S. naval forces in the Pacific before he replaced Adm. Mike Mullen as chief of naval operations on Sept. 29, said he was even more troubled by China's refusal, several days before the Kitty Hawk incident, to let two U.S. Navy minesweepers enter Hong Kong harbor to escape an approaching storm and receive fuel. The minesweepers, the Patriot and the Guardian, were instead refueled at sea and returned safely to their home port in Japan, he said.

"As someone who has been going to sea all my life, if there is one tenet that we observe it's when somebody is in need you provide (assistance) and you sort it out later," the admiral said. "And that, to me, was more bothersome, so I look forward to having discussions with the PLA navy leadership," he said, referring to the People's Liberation Army.

Keating made a similar point. He called the denial in the case of the minesweeping ships "a different kettle of fish for us - in some ways more disturbing, more perplexing" than the Kitty Hawk case because the Chinese action violated an unwritten international code for assisting ships in distress.
That isn't just a slap in the face. Take it for the warning it is - the Chinese are not our friends.

Hat tip The Tank.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One must love Japan

Mostly because they don't have as many trial lawyers.

Hat tip Hotair.

Never underestimate,,,

... your detailer. Nuff said.

CDR Nanny

Oh my, this guy sounds like he was once Skippy's liberty-buddy.
I do feel that there needs to be a break from where it is sold. I propose that a separate location be made for the selling of alcohol on all bases, take it far away from the rows of toys, dog food and cleaning supplies.

Do not have it piled higher than my toddlers near the check-out registers. Find a separate building to sell it from — and you can put all the tobacco products (another issue by itself) there, as well. Maybe even with our fancy Common Access Cards, those on rehab programs or with previous alcohol incidents could be identified as “not to sell to.”

It might not make a measurable difference — the unit SITREPS probably will still come rolling in at the same rate. Those who really want to get their hands on and abuse alcohol will find a way no matter where it is sold. However, if any effort made manages to keep just one sailor from picking up the 12-pack on the way out of the store, would it not be worth it?
Ungh. Maybe not.

The worst temptation of naval paternalism. I am sure CDR Owen is a great guy, probably not the one you should put in charge of your Admin while in Trieste - but I think his desire to "help" is just a bit too far. Next thing you know, our Sailors will find movies are too rough for them and ask their COs to remove them on cruise. Oh wait, that has already happened.

When someone says, "For the children..." or "If we could save one .... " grab your freedoms and Constitution; and run for the hills. We give up enough freedoms in the service, can we at least get some beer close to the checkout?

Anyway, it is attitudes like CDR Nanny held by those who sign FITREPS that caused Junior Officers years ago to stop socializing a beer anyway. Not that it has helped the drinking problem either. As for me, I will let my spokesman handle this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I want one for DC1 to play with


Hat tip Jawa.

A global naval force

This is what it looks like (approx).
Via Stratfor. BTW, look at the unavailablity periods. That is why with the Big Decks; numbers matter.

Serbia's window

Most, and I agree with them BTW, feel that cooler head will prevail in Kosovo - and no one is going to declare independence unilaterally and no one in Serbia is going to roll tanks - but I have been wrong before as have most who think they can either predict or know what is going to happen in the Balkans. Back during Wesley's Folly - there was one thing Serbia understood; blunt force. Mostly US, but with British and Dutch and a smattering of others (sound familiar) helping in - we pounded Serbia from high and far mostly due to Russia still being down hard and wheezing. Russia under Putin is flexing. The US is about war'd out. Due to most of Europe being less than helpful to the point of being negative help in Afghanistan - the American people will have a hard time being sold that we should help Europe clean up its own yard. Serbia though must still think about how hard they will be hit if they say "no" to Europe and North America (a nod to my Canadian friends) about Kosovo wanting to break away? America is fully employed right now and not in the mood to play in the Balkans. How about Germany? How are they doing in Afghanistan right now?
THEY are on the front line of the war on terror, but German pilots facing the Taliban are insisting they stop at tea time every day to comply with health and safety regulations.

The helicopter pilots, who provide medical back-up to Nato ground troops, set off for their base by mid-afternoon so they can be grounded by sundown.

Their refusal to fly in the dark is hampering Operation Desert Eagle, an allied offensive, which involves 500 Nato-led troops plus 1,000 Afghan troops and police.

Although Germany has sent 3,200 troops to Afghanistan, they operate under restrictive rules of engagement.

They spend much of their time in an enormous base, complete with beer halls and nightclubs, in Mazar-e-Sharif, a 90-minute flight from the fighting. They also have a base at Kunduz.

Germany, which has lost 25 soldiers in Afghanistan to suicide attacks and roadside bombs, commands the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the north. But its men are not allowed to travel more than two hours from a “role two medical facility” - a hospital equipped for emergency surgery.

The restrictions have fuelled tensions among allied troops. Norwegian soldiers, who were fighting to stem a growing Taliban insurgency in this remote stretch of Afghanistan’s northwest frontier, were forced to desert their Afghan comrades midway through a firefight when German medical evacuation helicopters withdrew.

One Norwegian cavalry officer, who was engaged in a day-long fight with more than 40 Taliban near Jari Siya in Badghis, said: “It’s hopeless. We were attacking the bad guys, then [at] three or four o’clock, the helicopters are leaving.

“We had to go back to base. We should have had Norwegian helicopters. At least they can fly at night.”

Abandoned by their western allies, the 600 men from the Afghan army’s 209 Corps were forced to retreat until a convoy of American Humvees arrived the next day to reinforce them.
OK. Is that isolated? Hundreds of thousands are dead in Sudan, are the German, Italian and French powers (sic) doing any better there?
Yet, as the Associated Press tells us, the launch of the Eus peacekeeping could (yet again) be delayed, while the force commander Gen. Henri Bentegeat waits for firm commitments on the supply of vital helicopters.

All the man wants is a meagre dozen transport helicopters, which are absolutely essential to the mission as force multipliers to move peacekeepers quickly along the vast, sparsely populated borderlands west of Darfur.

Bentegeat says he is "very confident" nations would come up with around one dozen transport helicopters during the meetings in Brussels starting Monday but the very fact that the mission is supposed to start in December and he is still having to hand round the begging bowl tells you everything you need to know.
Not that there are many more to save now anyway. OK, how about the belligerent Brits?
So, which is it: a memorable or shameful moment for the Brits?

It’s neither. The withdrawal is better understood as a tightly-controlled PR stunt designed to make the British elite’s lack of political will for staying in Iraq look like something more meaningful. The movement of the last-remaining British troops from the centre of Basra to the outskirts of Basra doesn’t represent a break from Britain’s strategy in Iraq, in the form of a final victory or a crushing defeat. Rather, the withdrawal only makes the political reality – which is that in spirit the British pulled out of Iraq long ago – into a formal reality, too.

All the talk of victory or defeat overlooks the fact that the British army has not been fighting a war in Basra. British soldiers effectively withdrew from the streets of Basra two years ago and have spent much of the time since hunkered down in their barracks.
OK, they have their fill. How about Afghanistan?
The former United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered his dire prediction after being proposed as a new "super envoy" role in Afghanistan.

Lord Ashdown said: "We have lost, I think, and success is now unlikely."
Sure America is out? Well, it has a significant part of the 15,000 NATO boots-on-the-ground, but.... If Kosovo UDIs (Unilaterally Declares Independence) and the Serbians say no; is NATO going to go kinetic on them? If each KFOR base has a nice polite Serbian Army Colonel drop by to say, "We are here to take our country back - the locals broke the agreement. Please stay here while we take care of our business. Thank you." What do you do? KFOR goes toe to toe with Serbian armor and infantry? The Capitol area is manned by Swedes, Finns, Czechs, and Irish. Yes, the Irish.

In the end; what a mess. Bosnia is bubbl'n as well. Let's be honest, do we want to fight here too? This is Europe's backyard, but do they have the ability and will to do it? What is Russia decides in the beginning of winter to cut back on energy supplies to Western Europe if they start bombing Serbia again? Ungh.

If they are smart, patient, and careful, the Serbians have a window to take back their Virginia if they want to take it. Could they get away with it? Ask those in Darfur. Ask the secularists in Basra. Ask the Danes taken by pirates off Somalia. Ask the terrorists released by Spain. Happy New Years early Serbia. Many may - but I don't underestimate you.

Them Blue State Nooses

Ahhhh, how sweet the irony. You know all the hyperventilating about the "noose-hate" post Jenna-6 allegations? Well, soak up the map below tracking the nooses. I would ask you to note where a state near and dear to my heart, Mississippi is? Also note the capitol of the CSA? The below map, BTW, is from the deliciously titled magazine, DiversityInc. Pay the place a visit, they even have a "Ask a white guy" section. ISYN.

Blue State Dem; heal thyself. The South still has some work to do, but sure has come a long way baby, NY, NJ, PA? Nosomuch.

Hat tip Byron York.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Worth a prayer on Sunday

For these brave military personnel from the UK.
Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.

The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a rehabilitation session at a leisure centre, when two women demanded they be removed from the pool. They claimed that the soldiers “hadn’t paid” and might scare the children.

The incident has sparked widespread condemnation. Adml Lord Boyce, a former head of the Armed Forces, said last night the women should be “named and shamed”.

“These people are beneath contempt and everything should be done to get their names and publish them in the press,” he said. “It is contemptible that people who have given up their limbs for their country should be so abused when they are trying to get fit again.”

It comes after calls for the public to do more to welcome home troops back from tours of duty and to recognise the bravery of those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Send them to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia, Bethesda or Walter Reed if there is no room for heroes left in the UK. I will tell you this, they will be welcomed with open arms here in the USA - their families as well.

Name and shame those women - and name and shame the nation that would let this happen. Admiral Boyce (sorry, I don't do titles), I would offer that talk is cheap. Who is leading the charge for action?

Just a side-bar here; you probably do not know it but Tony Blair and his Labour Party closed all the military hospitals in the UK. As a result, the injured are thrown on the horrible NHS. Read in the article that they are only now trying to do damage control.

Perhaps there would have been a place and time when the Church of England would perhaps weigh in on such a subject - but sadly guess what the Archbishop "Harry Hippy" of Canterbury is talking about?
The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a stinging attack on the United States, comparing it unfavourably with the British Empire at its peak.

Dr Rowan Williams criticised America for intervening overseas with a "quick burst of violent action" and claimed its foreign policy had created the "worst of all worlds".

The wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim lifestyle magazine included the Anglican leader's most outspoken criticisms to date of the US and the war in Iraq.

He also said that the modern Western definition of humanity was not working, and that there was something about Western modernity that "really does eat away at the soul".He offered only mild criticisms of Islam in the magazine Emel, describing the political solutions offered by the Muslim world as "not the most impressive".

He also said he was surprised that the small Christian community in Pakistan was seen as "deeply threatening by an overwhelming Muslim majority", and he condemned the Israeli security wall that cuts Bethlehem in two.

However, he also commended the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, saying that it allowed the remembrance of God to be "built deeply in their daily rhythm".

This Sunday at Supper, say a prayer for these men. Lions governed by jackasses.

Hat tip Michelle.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, November 24, 2007

SECNAV shows some Riverine love

The SECNAV gets better and better marks on by book day after day. He visited his Sailors from RIVRON 2 while they did their work near the Hadithah Dam on Thanksgiving. BZ SECNAV; looks like it was a good day for a boat ride.

Skippy, what the h311 are you thinking?

Find yourself asking that question now and then? Well, Skippy have a very interesting where he uses up some NPR like brain space. I think we would all love to have NPR give Skippy his 15 minutes - but this will do. Stop by Skippy's place and join in.

The Balkans rumble...

If you have not yet received the hint that history is about to kick you in the backside - here is another reminder from the place that produces too much history to consume locally.
As negotiations go nowhere fast, an independent Kosovo is widely being accepted as inevitable. But the consequences will be far-reaching, not just for the Balkans, but for the EU, the UN and relations between the West and Russia.

If the path to hell is paved with good intentions, then the way to political irrelevance may well be paved with pointless negotiations that everyone knows will fail.
Few have any illusions about what that situation might look like. Kosovo has remained nominally part of Serbia since the war ended in 1999, but the small, ethnic-Albanian province has long made it clear it will be happy with nothing short of independence. Both the EU and the US have been supportive of that ultimate goal. Serbia, though, refuses to give up control of Kosovo and has consistently been backed by Russia. Kosovo's potential United Nations path to independence -- as outlined by special envoy Martti Ahtisaari this spring -- has been blocked by Russia's Security Council veto.

Absolutely No Alternatives

Now, with former rebel leader Hasham Thaci winning elections in Kosovo last Saturday, it is no longer a question of whether Kosovo will declare unilateral independence. It has become a question of when.

"Our vision and our stance are very clear," said Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu following the most recent meeting of the troika on Tuesday. "It's the independence of Kosovo and its recognition. There are absolutely no alternatives."
My visions involve the EU looking the other way as Serbian tanks move to finish the job with the Russians playing "Big Brother will protect you from the kids from Strasbourg" part.
Kosovo issue has already become yet another irritant in relations between the West and Russia, and it threatens to erupt into all-out diplomatic conflict. On Wednesday the Russian member of the troika spoke out against US policy in the region. "The Americans believe that Kosovo's de facto separation has already taken place," Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told Russia's Izvestia newspaper. "We look at the situation from the point of view of international law, not pseudo-reality."
His comments come just days after Holbrooke lobbed a verbal grenade in the other direction. "The Russians have decided to act very unpleasantly," Holbrooke told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Vladimir Putin's government wants to bury the Dayton Accords, for one reason: Russia wants to use every means to be a world power again."

Reljic, for his part, thinks the Russians are right to be upset. "If you look at Russia's position, even since 1999, not for a single moment did the Russians indicate they would play along with this. It was a policy of 'eyes wide shut' not to look at what Russia was saying all the time."

But no matter who is right, the result might be a bad one for Europe. Serbia is rapidly losing faith that the European Union will invite it to join any time soon. Its close alliance with Russia could develop into a weakness for EU security policy in the region. That, at least, is the future Reljic sees for the region.

"History does not stop the day the US recognizes the independence of Kosovo. A new phase, even more complicated phase might start," Reljic says. "We are not seeing any kind of endgame in the Balkans ... it could throw back the region for many years."
Also keep this in mind. 60 years ago, Serbians were a majority in Kosovo. Muslim Albianians, in fact, simply out-bred the Serbians in their own heartland. History belongs to those who show up. If a Serbian woman only has 2 kids and starts her family in her 30s, while her Albanian neighbor has 6 kids starting at 18 - the demographic math is telling. Now we find Kosovo with a significant Albanian Muslim majority (helped by the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Serbs overseen by EU soldiers with the US looking the other way) wanting to break off and be its own country. Is that the precedent that Europe wants to set? By 2050 I can see the same thing in Brussels, BE - Malmo, SW - Rotterdam, NL - a few choice places in France, and so on. Be very careful, Europe, what standard you set or what tut-tuting you give to the Serbs. You're next. Don't forget the warning the Italians received the other day. Halal sausage, I am sure.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ohhhh, now they've done it

There is a klatch of angry Navy wives in Hong Kong - I wonder is Skippy is drinking with them?
The Chinese government on Thursday reversed its decision to bar a US carrier group from visiting Hong Kong, but the about-face came too late to save the Thanksgiving holiday for 8,000 American sailors and airmen and their families.

Fullbore Friday

When do you quit? What value is your word?

this man. You lose your country - fight for and gain a new one. Leave that one to fight for your first country again, and lose. Never return to your second country, and as you are true to your word - turn down a chance to fight for the freedom of your first country a third time. I give you a great American and Polish hero, Brigadier General Kosciuszko.
Thaddeus Kosciusko was born in February 4, 1746 in Siechnowica, in the Eastern territories of the Kingdom of Poland. He attended the Cadet School in Warsaw and in 1770 left to Paris to continue his studies. Poland was undergoing the first partition of 1772 when Kosciuszko was in France.

In 1776 Kosciuszko left for America and took part in the fight for the freedom of the North American colonies. Young Kosciuszko joined Washington's army, and received a commission as officer of engineers. He served with distinction through the war, and was made a brigadier general, where Congress granted him $15,000 and 500 acres of land in Ohio. General Kosciuszko was the first of a galaxy of foreign officers to receive a commission from the Continental Congress to serve in General Washington's army.

He served under Nathaniel Greene in the southern campaign after Gates had been relieved of his command. He organized the successful blockade of Charleston. His development of the battlements there was the decisive factor of the victory at Saratoga. For two years afterward he worked on the fortifications at West Point. At war's end before he would return home, Congress made him an American citizen and promoted him to the rank of brigadier general.

In 1784 Kosciuszko returned to his homeland and as an outstanding strategist, he commanded his troops during numerous battles in the war with Russia. Kosciuszko helped organize the Polish Army, and led his country to an adoption of a new constitution, consequently into an armed uprising against the two big powers Prussia and Russia. On March 24th Kosciuszko took his oath in Cracow: "I swear to the whole Polish nation that I shall not use the power vested in me for private oppression but that I shall exercise this power only in the defense of the whole of the frontiers and to regain the independence of the Nation and to establish universal freedom". After several victorious battles in October, 1794, the Polish forces suffered a defeat at Maciejowice. The commander, heavily wounded in the field, was taken prisoner. Kosciuszko remained in Russia as a prisoner until 1796 and was released on the condition he would never return to Poland.

In 1806 Napoleon wished him to join in the invasion of Poland, but he felt bound by his parole to Russia and refused it. Kosciuszko died on October 15, 1817, in Solothurn, Switzerland, and his body was brought to Poland and laid to rest in the royal crypt at Wawel Castle in Cracow. In his will he left his money and property for freeing and educating slaves.
So, how is your life/work balance by comparison? Do you really have "career challenges?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Explains no 4th star

Retired LtGen Sanchez, USA Ret. is back in the news. Looks like the Democrats have snatched another winner.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, is scheduled to speak on behalf of the Democratic Party this weekend in support of a House war funding bill that would require President Bush to bring the bulk of U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of next year.

Sanchez, who has spoken out against the Bush administration's handling of the war and has assailed current war strategy as doomed to fail, plans to argue that the United States cannot win in Iraq with the military alone and that it is prudent to bring troops home to bolster national security.

Now listen to the rest. What you will hear is the reason why we were having such a hard time getting with the program in '03 and '04. It will also show you the mindset of a peace time General Officer - one that General Marshall would have fired before '42 was over.
Sanchez also plans to argue that U.S. armed forces have been stretched thin by bad war policy and that the House war funding bill, which requires the redeployment of U.S. troops and other measures for the Pentagon to secure $50 billion in funding, is the appropriate approach. Sanchez is expected to say that the war has significantly hurt the military. The White House has threatened to veto any bill that attaches strings to the war funding.

"Our Army and Marine Corps are struggling with changing deployment schedules that are disrupting combat readiness training and straining the patience and daily lives of military families," according to a portion of Sanchez's speech released last night. "It will take the Army at least a decade to repair the damage done to its full spectrum readiness, which is at its lowest level since the Vietnam War. In the meantime, the ability of our military to fully execute our national security strategy will be called into doubt, producing what is, in my judgment, unacceptable strategic risk."
That translates into "We should quit and lose this war so we can get back to being a peace time army that doesn't require us to do anything harder than set ourselves up for a cushy Military-Industrial Complex job when we retire. I like thinking about wars I want to fight - not the ones I have to."

It is almost like he can't stand that someone else is able to when where he lost (Therapist1, help us out here) - and he is stabbing his Soldiers in the back while he is at it. Dems can have him. Another McClellan - but that might be an insult to McClellan.

Scales calls it

This is what I am giving thanks for - what MG Scales, USA (Ret) wrote about.
I've just returned from a week in Iraq with Gen. David Petraeus and his operational commanders. My intent was to look at events from an operational perspective and assess the surge. What I got was a soldier's sense of what's happening on the ground and, although the jury is still out on the surge, I came to the conclusion that we may now be reaching the "culminating point" in this war.

The culminating point marks the shift in advantage from one side to the other, when the outcome becomes irreversible: The potential loser can inflict casualties, but has lost all chance of victory. The only issue is how much longer the war will last, and what the butcher's bill will be.
The word is "culminate."

Hillary, what naughty friends you have...

No, that isn't a picture of your humble scribe after a liberty call in Souda Bay - no, that is the "taste" in art that Hillary's friends love to show their friends. No, I am not kidding - and at least here you will know what they are talking about. Always, ahem, full disclosure at CDR Salamander.
Censorship! That's what some art lovers whispered during the Hillary Clinton fundraiser Nov. 5 at the Woodley Park home of Tony and Heather Podesta. The huge photograph of the nude man was missing from its usual spot on the living room wall, and some guests concluded that politically correct Clintonites had demanded that the naked guy disappear.

The Podestas are part of Washington's Democratic elite: He's a top lobbyist and brother of Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta; she just launched her own lobbying firm. They're also nationally known collectors of contemporary art, and one of their favorite pieces is "Soliloquy VII," an eight-foot-tall color photo of a nude man lying on his back, by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood.

"It's an iconic photograph in political fundraising circles," Tony Podesta told us yesterday. The $250,000 picture made quite a backdrop at a fundraiser for Clinton's Senate campaign, where the official photographer spent the night with his back to the art to prevent her from appearing in a shot with the naked guy. "She teases me about it all the time," said Podesta.

Two weeks ago, 250 women were invited to a Clinton fundraiser hosted by the Podestas. The candidate was missing and so was the infamous artwork -- which led to whispers that the picture was deemed unsuitable for a presidential campaign. Nah, said Podesta, who told us the picture was taken down a year ago for "conservation reasons." All valuable photographs, he said, are rotated into storage to prevent fading.

"Soliloquy VII" will return in a year, he promised. "We are resting it for the presidential campaign but bringing it out for the inaugural ball."
Ahhhh, the Clintons and their friends. Oh, and don't dare say this is NSFW! This is ART! All the "right" people say so! Senator Clinton loves it! Don't be such a Republican rube! Neocon!

In the end though, in my mind - I kind of see the Podesta house as being fitted with art like the house below.

Also, happy Turkey Day. I hope the photo at the top helps control your appetite. If not; visualize President Hilliary Clinton.

Ian Smith, RIP

Avoid the PC knee jerk and go with the flow with me for a bit.

Little did I know last month when I alluded to him in context of a song from the Boomtown Rats (that BTW, none of you got) - that it would be time to bring him up again.
Ian Smith, the former prime minister of Britain’s rebellious colony of Rhodesia, who once promised that white rule in Africa would endure for 1,000 years, died yesterday in South Africa. He was 88.

The cause was a stroke suffered at a nursing home near Cape Town, said Sam Whaley, a friend and former senator in Mr. Smith’s Rhodesian Front government.

Mr. Smith’s resistance to black rule led to a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965 and, later, severe repression and a seven-year guerrilla war, costing about 30,000 lives, most of them black fighters and civilians.

Second only to the apartheid rulers of South Africa, Mr. Smith became a symbol, both to black Africans and many others, of iniquitous white rule.

The land Mr. Smith left behind is markedly different from the one he nurtured before white-ruled Rhodesia became majority-ruled Zimbabwe, an era in which a tiny white minority of mainly settlers of British descent clung to privilege, prosperity and power in the teeth of international pressure.

In the earliest years of independence, in the 1980s, Zimbabwe impressed many outsiders as a stable and prosperous land, where high school enrollment for black children, held back in the long decades of white minority rule, soared and tourism to game parks and the famed Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River flourished.
I think in the West we should be careful judging Ian Smith. In an American context, the very thought of the Rhodesian government of minority rule is repugnant and unexplainable in the second-half of the 20th Century. The thing is, the Rhodesians did not exist in an American context. In many ways, they lived in a parallel universe that you can only vaguely grasp. Like many things in the Carter Administration, they let their emotions overrule their intellect and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe never had a chance. They did not have the peace at the right time to transition. Mostly, they did not have a Mandela; they had a Mugabe.

In the end, though - even his critics; most of whom don't give a d@mn about Zimbabwe or its people, would have to admit that he was right.
But in later years the formerly white-owned farms that once fed much of southern Africa and earned millions of dollars in foreign exchange were decimated by a precipitate land-redistribution program. The economy is in tatters, with hyperinflation running at such a pace that currency bills change hands in brick-sized bundles.

An urban elite with ties to the regime of President Robert G. Mugabe prospers while the poor go hungry. Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to neighboring African states. Political opposition to Mr. Mugabe’s regime has been suppressed with the same zeal as Mr. Smith himself once displayed in the fight against African nationalist strivings for majority rule.

Zimbabwe’s troubles only fed Mr. Smith’s unwavering white supremacist views, his unshakable belief that Africa without white rule would not work.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of people who come to me and say, when you were in the chair, we thought you were too inflexible and unbending; we now see that you were right,” he said in an interview during a visit to London in 2004.
I hope that South Africa will prove him, at least about Black Africa, wrong. So far, so shakingly good.

Read his obit to read his remarkable WWII service history - but thinking of military; that is one thing the Rhodesians left when it was all done - a remarkable military history. 99.9% know nothing of it or only the PC history of it - but, well, let it speak for itself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wesley's folly

More of Clinton's bills are about to come due. We already talked about Bosnia a bit, time to dust off your Kosovo maps some more.
It appears to many American observers that Moscow has been gravitating toward Cold War behavior without any rationale. This would certainly be puzzling behavior, given that, as some astute observers have pointed out, this is a Russia that recalled the Red Army from everywhere outside Russian borders, a Russia that allowed its satellite states to be thrown out of power, a Russia that recently embraced freedom and capitalism and let us show them how to do it

But soon after, the U.S. did something to sabotage, and ultimately reverse, this progress, making Russia legitimately wary of U.S. “interests” and leading it — and other nations — to conclude America is capable of being as mischievous as Russia. We bombed Europe. Specifically Serbia, for the crime of launching a counteroffensive against a terrorist insurgency in Kosovo whose aim was to snatch 15 percent of the country's land. And now the United States supports severing Kosovo from Serbia via a precedent-setting unilateral declaration of independence next month by the province's terrorist masters — over Moscow's logical objections. One of those terrorist masters, Agim Ceku — the province's “prime minister” — made the terrorist case in last week's Wall Street Journal.

To this day, almost no one grasps the significance of the damage the 1999 intervention single-handedly did to American standing and American credibility, when the United States turned NATO into an aggressive body, attacking a sovereign nation fighting none other than Islamic-financed separatists within its borders.
Not sure what the full story is? Read the whole thing.

I want to see the White Eagle

I'm sorry if you don't, but this is the kind of thing I get excited about. Very excited about.
“This is one of the most important discoveries of all time,” said Andrea Carandini, a prominent Italian archaeologist. He has long held that the myths of ancient Rome could be true. He said he derived added satisfaction from the cave’s location.
Italian archaeologists have inched closer to unearthing the secrets behind one of Western civilization’s most enduring legends.

The Italian government on Tuesday released the first images of a deep cavern where some archaeologists believe that ancient Romans honored Romulus and Remus — the legendary founders of Rome.

The cavern, now buried 50 feet under the ruins of the palace of Emperor Augustus on the Palatine Hill, is about 23 feet high and 21 feet in diameter. Photographs taken by a camera probe show a domed cavern decorated with extremely well-preserved colored mosaics and seashells. At its center is a painted white eagle, a symbol of the Roman empire.

“This could reasonably be the place bearing witness to the myth of Rome,” Francesco Rutelli, Italy’s culture minister, said Tuesday at a news conference in Rome at which a half dozen photographs were displayed.

The legend concerns Lupercal, the mythical cave where Romulus and Remus — the sons of the god Mars who were abandoned by the banks of the Tiber — were discovered by a female wolf who suckled them until they were found and reared by a shepherd named Faustulus. The brothers are said to have founded Rome in 753 B.C. The legend culminates in fratricide, when Romulus kills his twin in a power struggle.

The cave later became a sacred location where the priests of Lupercus, a pastoral god, celebrated ceremonies until A.D. 494, when Pope Gelasius I ended the practice.

The cave was discovered in January by Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of Palatine Hill, which abuts the Roman Forum and the Coliseum. It was found during restoration work on the palace of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, after workers took core samples that alerted them to the presence of a cave.
I am a big Roman Republic/Empire guy. Can't get enough of the stuff when it comes across the transom. I know this area of Rome well, and it is amazing that we are still finding things like this.

Aid and comfort to the enemy

Remember poor old Chaplain Yee of GTMO fame? Well, whatever you do - don't question his patriotism.
Interviewer: How was religion being used against those prisoners [in Guantanamo Bay]?

Yee: Great question. One, we’ve all heard how the Koran has been desecrated down in Guantanamo and as Koran, the holy Koran - the words which Muslims all over the world consider the literal words of God – was being desecrated in Guantanamo in many different ways.

Interviewer: It was thrown into toilets and whatever, that’s what we read.

Yee: The initial report that was printed by Newsweek indicated that perhaps the Koran was thrown into a toilet by an interrogator. It was unfortunate, that Newsweek had to retract that story, but I talked firsthand with prisoners who were held in Camp X-Ray, which was the first prison camp of Guantanamo, very early on in 2002, and prisoners told me directly that the Korans that they had brought with them were tossed into buckets - buckets which were used as toilets in that makeshift camp. I myself...

Interviewer: So... Buckets basically of urine and feces, is that correct?

Yee: Right, right, exactly. This was before I got there and this was in Camp X-Ray, where, again, it was a quick makeshift prison, set up for the first prisoners who arrived there. When I got there, Camp Delta, which was a little more sturdy and each cell had its own toilet, was already built by the time I got to Guantanamo in late 2002. The Korans were thrown on the floor by guards when they conducted cell searches. It has been reported and I have learned now that interrogators also were throwing the Korans on the floor or stomping on it. This was happening when I was there, and this was an issue.

Interviewer: You actually saw this happening?

Yee: I didn’t see it because I wasn’t a part of the intelligence operation, but I was aware directly from the prisoners, when they came to me with the complaints and concerns. It became such an issue that prisoners carried out massive protests. Some of them even attempted suicide in response to how awful the Koran was being abused. So this is something that was occurring, was addressed officially...
What a weasel. And poor widdle Yee. Sure pal - this sounds like the military I know. my view, it happened to me – all of this – because of three reasons: One reason is because I am a Muslim, and in this post 9/11 era, in the West, in America, we find this tremendous anti-Muslim hostility and Islamophobia, in which, all Muslims are see as potential terrorists. And I’m a Muslim, an American Muslim, and I believe that played a large role in why I was targeted. The second is because of my ethnicity - I’m a Chinese American. I learned that when I was...

Interviewer: So you are not blond and blue eyed and whatever.

Yee: Yes. I learned that when I was under investigation someone had said of me: “Who the hell does this Chinese Taliban think he is, telling us how to treat our prisoners?” So the fact that I was called a Chinese Taliban is an indication that my ethnicity also played a role.
Hey, on the other hand - he does give us some funny stuff to read.

Some people pay good money for this - I bet Skippy would.
Yee: I learned from the prisoners that female interrogators were a big part of the intelligence gathering operation, and I recall even the commander of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Major General Jeffery Miller, often saying in media interviews that female interrogators were very creative in their approach to gathering intelligence and conducting interrogations.

Interviewer: What did he mean by “creative?”

Yee: What was actually going on in these interrogation rooms with these female interrogators was that they were very ready to conduct their interrogation by stripping off their clothes, being nude in front of Muslim prisoners, thinking that Muslims who come from a conservative Muslim society might break or be shattered by this type of behavior. But they went farther than that, and they would inappropriately rub their bodies against these prisoners. It has even been reported, and suggested in FBI memos that have been subsequently released, that female interrogators even went so far as grabbing the genitals of Muslim male prisoners in the course of interrogating them. For me, as a Muslim, and for many of the other Muslim Americans who were down there, when we learned of this, we thought this was not only degrading towards the prisoner, we thought this was degrading towards...

Interviewer: The women themselves.

Yee: ...The women themselves who are engaging in this type of behavior. But we can take that even a step further, and say this was degrading to all women. Because what was essentially happening, these women were presenting themselves as simply sex objects and this is not how we should view women in any society.

Hat tip LGF.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Renouncing Empire

Here is an interesting point for discussion;
Nonintervention and global neutrality should be the national security creed of the United States. Every soldier deployed abroad — whether in South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere — should be returned to deter and defend the United States at home.
The author is Bruce Fein. Not a fan of this White House or the VP - but I don't think his points are a Left/Right divide. Though some on the Left would have a neo-Isolationism lead to a neutered military - I think that the case can be made that Switzerland like, the opposite may be true, and it has a good pedigree.
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned against "overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty." He warned against entangling or permanent alliances. As president, he insisted on strict neutrality between feuding European powers. But his words and actions have been honored more in the breach than in the observance.
The best defense is not a good offense, but a good defense. In his Fifth Annual Address to Congress, he explained that to secure peace, "it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War." Armed neutrality would be both a viable and desirable national security posture.

Washington elaborated in his Farewell Address: "If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving of provocation."
In other words, don't bother us, and we won't bleed you white, lay waste to you and that which feeds your aggression.

Just for full disclosure, regular readers will know that I am not a fan of having hundreds of thousands of military personnel garrisoned all over the world on a permanent basis. As the Europeans and Japanese with their sub-2% and sub-1% military spending shows - it is a bargain for them and a graveyard for the Americans that provide their security. We also have to ask though, will this nation support punitive expeditions? On line with this?
No patchwork scheme—and all our present recent schemes…are mere patchwork—will settle the Waziristan problem. Not until the military steam-roller has passed over the country from end to end, will there be peace. But I do not want to be the person to start that machine.
(NB: that quote is about 100 years old). Perhaps not - perhaps so - but we are not that Roman I am afraid, at least not yet. On the other hand, do we really think we can save the world from itself - chase all the dragons? I don't think the American people want that either.
Who feels guilty about the United States nonintervention policy toward the tens of millions who perished in Josef Stalin's purges, Mao Tse-tung's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, and Pol Pot's dystopia?
Why ask? Bertrand Russell advised, "In all affairs, it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
Indeed. Asking questions is a good thing. Even healthy.

Define "affordable"

Press releases (or articles that don't do any intellectual rigor and quote press releases) never sense to be a source of great amusement to me.
DDG 1000's affordable and flexible design, unmatched stealth and precision volume strike make this ship an important asset to the U.S. warfighter.
That is just funny. Here is the truth.
The Navy's new multi mission DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer, for instance, is slated to get 10 new technologies, featuring automated damage-control systems, advanced guns and sophisticated launch systems for Tomahawk and land-attack missiles. As its design has evolved, the ship's estimated cost has tripled from the original $1 billion. (NB: that is ~$3 billion)

Critics question whether so much capability is needed for a single ship. "They make them incredibly expensive before they've even started to build them," said Tim Colton, an industry consultant in Delray Beach, Fla. "The Navy needs to think in terms of smaller and simpler."
Why the disconnect? Because some people have not been fired yet.
Allison Stiller, the Navy's deputy assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition, said the service designs ships based on its assessment of future enemy threats.

"I don't see this as we're over designing our ships," she said. "From the acquisition side, it looks to me that we are setting the requirements adequately to pace the threat."
Heads; pikes. Some assembly required.

Boomer bambooz'l'n

When I heard Brokaw's interview on what I think was Dennis Miller's radio show or Pragar's I'm not sure, about his new book Boom! Voices of the Sixties, he made a comment like this that made me cock my head a bit.
There is certainly greatness in the '60s generation. They changed our attitudes about race in America, which was long overdue.
I didn't pen a response when I heard that, but Bill Kristol over at The Weekly Standard took care of that for me just fine.
Whoa! The '60s generation changed our attitudes about race in America? Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King Jr.--were they from the Vietnam war generation? Earl Warren, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey? For that matter, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, murdered on June 21, 1964, in Mississippi? None of these was a member of the " '60s generation." None was a boomer.

There really was greatness in the "greatest generation." It fought and won World War II, then came home to achieve widespread prosperity and overcome segregation while seeing the Cold War through to a successful conclusion. But the greatest generation had one flaw, its greatest flaw, you might say: It begat the baby boomers.

The most prominent of the boomers spent their youth scorning those of their compatriots who fought communism, while moralizing and posturing at no cost to themselves. They went on to enjoy the benefits of their parents' labors, sacrificed little, and produced nothing particularly notable. But the boomers were unparalleled when it came to self-glorification, a talent they began developing as teenagers and have continued to improve
up to this day. They were also good at bamboozling their parents, and members of the "silent generation" like Tom Brokaw, to be overly deferential to them--even to the point of giving them credit for things they didn't do.

Now the first boomers are applying for Social Security. Their time is passing--without eliciting any discernible consternation among their successors. It's not that every last one is unworthy. But for each David Petraeus or Ray Odierno (two very impressive members), there are countless posturers and blowhards who have received wildly disproportionate attention.
'Nuff said.

24 in '94

I was always a CompuServe guy myself.

Hat tip The Corner.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You, me, and PTSD

For the record, though it pi55es many off - I am more of the B.G. Burkett school when it comes to PTSD - and nosomuch an angle like this from Argghhh!!! - but as friends I think we can respectfully not-fully-agree on everything. Beyond that, I won't say much more. There are a couple of things out there though that have caught my eye. Over at BLACKFIVE, Grim has a good read.
There is a sense that combat changes people, but it really doesn't. It brings out parts of yourself that were always there, but that you hadn't encountered directly. Those parts are in everyone else as well. No one has clean hands. No one is different from you. That is important, so let me repeat it. Everyone around you is just like you. They don't know it, but they are. You are not sick; you are not broken. Everyone else is just the same.
...and offers some very sound advice. Also, over at The Weekly Standard, Dean Barnett does a great service to us all, making sure we see what the MSM, music (Springsteen), and movies are doing in a political context.
To celebrate Veterans Day, the Los Angeles Times ran a two-part story on James Blake Miller, the battle-exhausted soldier in the iconic picture of the Battle of Falluja in November 2004. The photograph caught the 20-year-old Blake caked with blood and soot as a cigarette dangled from his mouth. He looked young, but also prematurely old. To many, the picture represents the modern American fighting man--resolute, determined, and much older than his years.

Today, Miller is home from Iraq and suffering from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. His is a heartbreaking saga, and the Times's lengthy story detailed the efforts of Luis Sinco (the Times staff photographer who took the photo) to help him. Near the end of the story, Sinco quotes Miller's 21-year-old brother saying to him, "I'm glad I didn't join the Marines. I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters, and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer." His brother said that the returned soldier's "head is screwed up."

The Boston Globe celebrated Veterans Day with an editorial titled "When Johnny Comes Home Less." Citing a National Alliance to End Homelessness study, the Globe stated that over the course of a year, half-a-million veterans go homeless. (A subsequent correction dropped this number to 337,000.) The Globe proceeded to expose the grim facts that "Veterans are at risk. Many grapple with traumatic brain injuries, the loss of limbs, post-traumatic stress disorder, and
mental illness. Some need to find jobs and housing."

These are important stories, and shouldn't be ignored, but it is also hard to ignore the political agenda at work here. Individual tales of heroism don't interest papers like the Times and the Globe; individual tragedies do. Portraying veterans as lost souls is a narrative that is politically convenient.

I like this quote from a California National Guard Col.
I recently exchanged emails with a colonel in the California National Guard--an attorney when not on active duty--about Bruce Spring-steen's new song "Gypsy Biker." The song portrays Iraq war veterans as gullible dupes who shed their blood while "the speculators made their money," and the colonel wrote:
It's this portrayal of vets as burnt-out losers with nowhere to go but out on the open road that gets me. I was in court today, a vet, arguing a million-dollar case, in front of a judge who was also a vet. Vets aren't burned out losers--we're leaders. For every vet with problems--and they certainly exist, though I would guess in percentages far below that of the comparable civilian population--there are dozens of vets out there building businesses, raising families, and leading communities. Many give up weekends and vacations to stay in the Guard and Reserve. But I guess those guys aren't cool enough or useful enough.

The stereotypical vet is the burned-out homeless guy with a torn old green field jacket. I say it should be the dad dropping his little girl off at preschool before he goes to the business he built from nothing while fielding phone calls from his Guard unit's full-time staff and driving a car with a trunk full of military gear so that, when the next earthquake or riot hits, he can go out and protect his community--again.

This all flows in to something I posted about in DEC 04 where I found a very good pull quote from B.G. Burkett's Stolen Valour He was talking about the post-Vietnam smear and lies - but it works here as well.
“The VVA, while claiming to be the spokesman and friend of Vietnam veterans, has actually done more damage to their public image than any other group in America. They’ve made patriotic and honorable men appear to be whining welfare cases, men who have no pride in their service, and men who can find nothing better to do with their lives than bellyache about what an immoral government did to them.”
Listen to Grim and cowboy-up.

Adds you will never see in the USA

Hat tip No Pasaran!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CNN Pwned

A rare exception to my blogg'n Sabbath - but this is too good to pass up. The power, and joy of the Internet exemplified.

Remember the Democrat, yawn, "debate" the other day where the Wolf was a lamb? Well, it seems that the "CNN is scared of the big bad witch ... " is the least of their problems. Get the details from Jawa, and Allah - but the best summary is at Doug Ross' place;

CNN presented questions from six "undecided voters" during the debate - you know, regular Joes and Janes off the street. Who were they?
Plant #1: LaShannon Spencer, whom Blitzer introduced as an "undecided voter", was tagged by Dan Riehl: in truth, she served as the political director of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

Plant #2: Khalid Kahn, who expressed concern about profiling and the Patriot Act, asked "[m]y question is that -- our civil liberties have been taken away from us. What are you going to do to protect Americans from this kind of harassment?" Classical Values notes that Mr. Kahn is the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, who has hosted conferences like this one (with guest speakers like Muzzamil Siddiqi). In fact, Kahn in no stranger to CNN, appearing on a show called Keeping the Faith in Sin City.

Kahn's background as a heavy Democratic contributor (e.g., $2000 to Harry Reid earlier this year):

Plant #3: Suzanne Jackson -- mother of a three-term Iraq war veteran -- is aso a well-known antiwar activist. She appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal
protesting -- with a poor monkey, no less -- outside of Harry Reid's office in May. ... She's active on the site of Soros front group Americans United for Change and hangs out at Dem site Think Progress. She also had a harsh antiwar letter published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Plant #4: Maria Luisa -- the UNLV student who asked Hillary Clinton whether she preferred "diamonds or pearls" -- wrote that CNN forced her to ask the "frilly" question instead of a pre-approved query regarding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility.

(Plant #5:) ... the "50-ish lady who 'asked" her memorized question was a union offical. Gee, lucky she got in!" Judy Bagley, a 27-year cashier at Fitzgerald's was quoted in RGT Online (a gaming magazine) in an article about Culinary Workers Union Local 226's collective bargaining agreement. ... Judy Bagley was definitely a fifth plant. An anonymous email alerts me to this portion of the debate transcript:
Obama: Well, first of all, Judy, thank you for the question, and thanks for the great work you do on behalf of the culinary workers, a great union here.
(Planet #6:) ... George Ambriz is an Executive Director of the ¡Sí Se Puede! Foundation and is a recruiter at UNLV. His bio states:
George joins our team from Douglas, Arizona, having earned his associate’s degree in administration of justice from Cochise College in 2000. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice from Western New Mexico University. He is currently completing a master’s degree in ethics and policy studies at UNLV. He plans to pursue doctorate and law degrees, practice corporate law, and become active in politics.
Care to guess which party's politics George is active in?
Ambriz was just before my time at WNMU, but I later met him in Las Vegas at a model United Nations conference. Like me, Ambriz was heavily involved in student government and other clubs while at WNMU — he served as president of MEChA...
What ic MEChA? According to this website, "The official national symbol of MEChA is an eagle holding a machete-like weapon and a stick of dynamite... The acronym MEChA stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan... [it] is an Hispanic separatist organization that encourages anti-American activities and civil disobedience... [they] romanticize Mexican claims to the "lost Territories" of the Southwestern United States -- a Chicano country called Aztlan. In its national constitution, MEChA calls for self-determination by its members to liberate Aztlan."
Do we really want the Clinton-MSM axis to run the country again? Also, imagine what would happen if Fox did something like this at a Republican debate?

I will give CNN one last out here - this was a Democrat debate. Neo-Marxist, Racist Revolutionaries, Illegal Aliens, Anti-war Moonbats, Union Bureaucrats, and Islamist Apologists; heck I guess that is the Democrat base. I am sure this cold just be a random sample. I am sure that the Wolf was as nice to Clinton as she would be to Romney or Rudy. I am sure.