31 July 2006

Lebanese blog, and Militech lubricant


Lebanese milbloggers. Very interesting stuff.

It was brought to my attention in the comment section that by TM, Militech is not authorized on US Army small arms either.

Technically true. PM-Small Arms and PS Monthly have both denounced the use of militech lubricants on small arms, only authorized lube is CLP, blahblahblah. However, militech is in the supply system. Militech is a superior product to CLP, and no one has ever dared to even imply that Militech damages weapon systems. Same with GPL. I think PM-Small Arms is getting kickbacks from the CLP manufacturers. There's no other explanation.

Militech contains some sort of detergent-like stuff which helps break up carbon (better than CLP ever did). It also can be wiped off of a weapon and leaves a very light film which allows the weapon to continue to operate as if completely lubed without collecting excessive dust like CLP does. It's the best thing since sliced bread.

As a side note, PM-Small Arms (that's Project Manager) and PS Monthly also discourage the use of Q-tips.

30 July 2006

Interesting experiences

I've despaired of getting Chaplain Wozniak, the Orthodox chaplain out here. So I gave up and went to the Catholic service this week. I tried the Lutherans last week but they just didn't do it for me. There were some incongruities (why is the priest backwards? what is this communion in one kind? what's with the up and down all service?) but over all, not too bad. At least it is a proper liturgy with roots in the same practices I recognize.

Afterwards I had the obligatory argument about Filoque and papal monarchy with the priest. We were both having fun with it, and he invited me back any time.

Serendipitiously, I got Credo in the mail. It's 500 pages of Jaroslav Pelikan on the history of creeds in Christianity. w00t!

Also got Freakonomics in the mail, which is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Crack dealers operate much like McDonalds, but with more shooting. I didn't know that. I mean, it makes a great deal of sense, franchises are a good business model.

BTW, a freakin' West Point graduate dethroned everyone else in the company for nastiest weapon I have ever seen. What are they teaching at West Point these days?

And from Canukistan comes the best idea I've seen all week.


29 July 2006

Authorized Lubricants

There are lubricants which are authorized for use on US Army weapons. CLP, Militech, and GPL. I have about 3 gallons of this stuff lying around in three sizes of container. I hand it out to anyone who will take it.

Why anyone would use some redneck commercial spray lubricant, I do not know.

I do know that it caused an M-16A2 to rust heavily in less than 24 hours. Thankfully, I caught it in time. The Soldier in question got the spraycan from another Soldier who claimed his daddy uses it to clean his guns at home. The spraycan has been thrown away. The weapon has been cleaned. I have managed to refrain from shooting any of the Soldiers in question, but just barely.

Ghazi in Seattle

Well, after a nice relaxing morning servicing M-16s, renumbering them, and rearranging my rifle racks (Martha Stewart would have fun in an arms room), I find this all over the internet.




Well, white folks routinely go nuts and shoot each other, and inner city drug wars claim more lives on a daily basis. What's interesting, though, is that it is a Pakistani male whose stated motivation is anger at Israel.

Marla Meislin-Dietrich, a database coordinator for the center, told The Associated Press. "He said 'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,' before opening fire on everyone," Meislin-Dietrich said. "He was randomly shooting at everyone."

There is an Arab tradition, which expanded with the front of Islamic conquest. It is that when there was no formal military campaign going on along a frontier, young males would group together and cross the border. They might steal livestock, burn buildings, rape women and/or carry them off into slavery, and kill anyone they thought they could. These men were called 'ghazis' and were considered holy warriors of Allah. No sanction, no recognition, and no formal organization. It has long been a hallowed tradition in Islam that the infidel is fair game.

And this individual fits perfectly in with the tradition. He decided that it was his religious duty to kill Jews, which he has been told are evil subhumans since his first day in the mosque as a child, and so he went and did. Quite incompetently, as he only killed one person. If you have the only gun in the building, you should be able to take your time and aim well enough to kill folks. Chalk it up to the Islamic cultural reluctance to use weapon sights.

There are some Americans who are Muslim. I've linked to one in my blogroll. They, like any other immigrant, asimilate into American culture with distinctive traits carried over from their heritage. Most Muslims who reside in America (regardless of their citizenship status) do not seem to meet that description. They hang onto their culture and their loyalty to that culture. Look at how many Americans of German heritage fought Germany in WWII, starting with a fellow named 'Eisenhower'. Can we rely on putative Americans of Middle Eastern heritage? Unfortunately, the answer is 'sometimes, and you can't really tell the good from the bad'.

Solution? Don't know. For one thing, immigrants of Islamic heritage need to be scrutinized much more closely. Don't tell me this is prejudiced. It is no different from scrutinizing members of various Communist Parties during the Cold War. For better or worse, we are at war. And we are at war with many (most?) ideologies which are interpretations of Islam--and we (Western Civilization we) have been since the 7th century.

Muslims in the United States need to be better scrutinized. Sermons should be recorded and analyzed and those imams which incite violence need to be jailed or deported. Literature should be scrutinized. The Constitution is not a mutual suicide pact, and the Islamic community in the United States has been shown time and time again to provide cover for agents acting against the United States with the fixed intent of murdering a significant number of Americans and enslaving the rest of us. The First Amendment does not protect speech which constitutes incitement to riot. Why should it cover conspiracy to commit murder? And what does an imam do when he declaims from the pulpit that Jews are evil and the enemies of God, and should be murdered?

I'm sure there are problems with this idea in the implementation. But how many people have to die before the danger of Islam is fully recognized by the nation as a whole? And what will happen then? Americans have a history of being panicky critters when something finally sinks in. Ask the Japanese. Ask the Indians.

As an end note;


On a related note, a concise discussion of Just Warfare as it applies to Israel's operations in the Middle East. As done by. . . Der Spiegel??


28 July 2006

“You better tell SGT ----- that when he comes to get his ----------ing weapon, he better be wearing ----------- body armor. I’m pissed.”

So, we have this NCO who goes on leave. Prior to going on leave, he fills out a DA 5988-E (Electronic replacement for DA 2404, which is a maintenance worksheet). On this he list “No Faults Found”. This is an NCO, he should know what he’s talking about.

Silly me, I thought that meant I could breeze through services. So I service the rifle, no problem. I went to check out the M-203. First step, functions check. In other words, does the weapon WORK? Step one of the functions check is cock the weapon, step two is pull the trigger. The firing pin should shoot forwards, which if the weapon were loaded would hit the primer which would ignite the propellant, which would shoot the grenade out of the weapon. In other words, this is the whole reason we have the weapon.

Nothing happens.

I do it again. Nothing happens. Now I’m annoyed—and the weapon is ‘deadlined’. I check out the operator’s manual and sure enough, that’s the first step of the operator level PMCS. OK, I zip to the troubleshooting portion of the armorer manual. I do a couple quick checks that don’t identify the problem, and then it is time to disassemble the receiver. I pull it apart, and it quickly becomes evident the problem is a revolting black dirt/oil/carbon/sand mixture gumming up the works. Ten minutes with q-tips, a pipe cleaner, and lubricant, and problem is solved. Weapon works like a charm. Hooray for me! But I’m ready to sue the dumb bastard for custody. How long has he been walking around with a large, heavy useless chunk of steel attached to his weapon that serves no purpose. And it was such a simple fix, too. It frustrates me how little effort people put into weapon maintenance. A few minutes a day to clean up your weapon (don’t get me started on senior NCOs with layers of chunked dirt on their weapons—but whose privates have clean weapons) and look for any obvious deficiencies does wonders towards keeping it functional. And if it isn’t functional, I sit in the arms room and read books, write, and take naps pretty much all day. I welcome something constructive to do. You’d think this would be a priority in a war zone, but I guess not.

Last night I snuck off the FOB for a few hours. Got the hairy fobbit feet trimmed down a little. Nothing happened (of course) but we actually went into Ramadi. We kind of missed the whole four hour firefight along the route. Y’all are probably happy, I’m not so much so.


On the Lebanese front of the Global War on Terror (I gives a damn what George Bush thinks, it's all one war to me--and it's a war that started with the first invasion of the Roman Empire by the first Caliphs), this is an interesting response to the portrayals in the MSM of Lebanon in Flames.


The Liberal Left and the hangwringing crowd want to invite in the United Nations which is already ineffective in creating peace in Lebanon. Here's a better-written version of my opinion of that crap. The problem in Lebanon is not lack of third-world rejects in blue helmets. It's the fact that a vicious terrorist proxy organization for the Iranian and Syrian governments has been allowed to create an autonomous state in Southern Lebanon, and that organization decided to actively war with Israel.

And in the vein of snappy British WWII ditties poking fun at Nazi genitalia (Hitler has only got one ball/Goering has two but they are very small, etc), I give you:


26 July 2006

Busy, Busy

Services have been fun. It's nice to have something concrete to DO instead of just dinking around waiting for stuff to break. I'll admit to being underemployed most days.

Power is still twinky. Ours cut out at 1100 today in the building with company offices. No AC and no lights? I ain't trying to work by flashlight. Early lunch.

It's annoying how many deficiencies I'm turning up with services. People need to PMCS their friggin' stuff, and bring it in to me if there is a problem. I can fix most things, and order parts for the rest. But I am not telepathic. You'd think weapons maintinence would be a priority in a warzone. But then again, I'm used to being in a line company.

Gaming is contagious. I'm no where near a 7th Sea game and Jen talking about it is making me create a character. Unfortunately, building a bogatyr with halfblood sorcery, decent stats, and a sword school is nearly impossible on a 50 point budget. It would be nice if I could get to some place where I could actually game.

Which reminds me, I was discussing re-up with the CO, and he mentioned that 1CD is deploying real soon now, like September or so. I am not likely to PCS before April which means that Cav will have been downrange for 6 months, closer to 7 when I get to where ever I'm going. Plus the fact that they are standing up a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Hood means that Ft. Hood is a real possibility, if it is offered as an option when I re-enlist. I won't be re-upping this fiscal year, so there is some time to consider this. But I like Texas, and UT-Austin has a Textile and Fabric program that Jen would be interested in, and it's near most of my family (parents, brother, 1 grandparent, and an aunt excepted, unfortunately).

Plus, Jen and I really like Texas. Texas is God's Country. Texas also has great Concealed Carry laws, although personally I'm not big on CC. I'd rather carry a big honkin' automatic on a dropleg holster and dare the Socially Disadvantaged Youth of America to try me. Weapons serve their purpose best if they deter violence before it happens. Deterrance requires two things. First, people have to know you have a weapon. Second, they have to believe you will use it. This generally requires being actually willing to use it, but I digress.

Although, if I open carry in Texas, I will also have to purchase a tooled leather gunbelt/holster and an engraved revolver in order to wear to formal occasions. :) The belt and holster will probably be black so that it will go with the Stetson and boots. See, Jen? I'm figuring this whole Texan Fashion thing out!

I'm adding more blogs to my blogroll. Commenters on this blog may be added to the blogroll from time to time. I ain't promising, of course. Gotta write something worth reading in your blog. And if your only blog is an LJ and you're on my flist over on LJ, I'm not likely to link you here also. Such is life.

23 July 2006

Work as an antidote to depression.

I'm not terribly 'into' discussing my emotional state on this blog, but for the record let me say I've been pretty unhappy this week. It started when we ended up taking Ryan to the hospital, and didn't improve as I was worried about leaving. And really unhappy about it.

Yesterday was the pits. I was tired, cranky, and frustrated. So frustrated, in fact, that I kind of took it out in Jen's general direction.

So last night I did Compline, and this morning ate a large breakfast (low blood sugar does NOT make me a happy person) and changed up my work. I've been meaning to start weapon services and so today I spent all morning in the TOC, chasing folks down, stealing their weapons, and servicing them. That just means taking them apart, inspecting them, and annotating any deficiencies. This afternoon I'm going back with a handful of parts to fix some of the stuff.

Anyway, it has worked. I feel like I'm doing something useful and I like working on fixing this stuff. I'm feeling much better about life in general.

Had an interesting conversation with a guy I know who is a self-described CyberGoth (if that doesn't mean anything to you, don't worry). Seems he doesn't know the first thing about the 'cyberpunk' genre of SF, but would be interested if I could make some recommendations. I am not truly conversant with that subgenre, but am open to suggestions. The kid isn't a real big reader so I want something that will grab his attention with plenty of action. It's a major plus if it emphasises the cybernetics aspect of cyberpunk as well.

I also may be able to get him to take a look at Cyberpunk (the RPG) when I get back to Germany. Why didn't I think of this before?

22 July 2006

Bullying gets the job done

The CH-53 sucks. Everything I hate about a C-130, plus noise and shaking and odd smells. No upside. Took a CH-53 to Ramadi, and basically got greeted with,

"Welcome back. We're missing 2 PLGRs. Can you find them?"

So a couple minutes of detective work later, I tracked down the NCO who had charge of the Soldiers who signed for them. So I gave a little spiel about how the chain of command was pinging off the walls and I'd hate to see a Soldier have to pay for these things, but I've got hand reciepts. Very polite, and more in sorrow than anger, but leaving no doubt that I was issueing threats.

Sure enough, an hour later I had the items in question.

On the plus side, while I was gone, my air conditioner got replaced. It's now downright cold in my arms room.

I've almost got my personal laptop up and running, but I'm having fits because it just doesn't want to acknowledge any sound devices at all, not even the internal speakers, never mind the sound card. I hope it's just a driver issue.

20 July 2006

Booooring.. .


I like their two rules for fishies in a simulated digital fish tank. I do not think it is much of a stretch to apply these rules to human or societal interaction.

I'm stuck at TQ, more formally al-Taqaddum Air Base. USMC-run dump, and I ain't flying out any time real soon. Seems the Jarheads dislike to fly during the day. I managed to brute force myself back to Iraq time (stay awake for a day and a half, don't allow yourself to fall asleep until it is night time here, and make yourself get up at 0600 the next morning anyway). So I can't afford to go snooze somewhere because that would dink up my diurnal cycle even worse than it already is.

I have discovered I left my flippin' thumb drive in the US. This does not make me a 'happy camper'. My wife is, of course, going to mail it to me soonest, but I am annoyed. For at least another week I will not have my current pet project, nor any of the fiction I have been writing in the universe therein described. I am mildly annoyed.

Regarding the good news Jen mentioned, we are not going to commence with the Happy Dance until it is actually happening. But I think it is a positive thang overall.

My current read is Steven Brust's Dragon. I disremember whether I blogged about it on LJ before. I happen to love Dragon. It is, by far the best "war novel" in the fantasy genre. The characterization is better than almost any of the others. And the descriptions of military life and combat feel right. I reread it from time to time. I actually email Mr. Brust about it and got an answer back from him.

I read a Warhammer 40K novel which struck me as fairly entertaining pulp. Nothing more than what it is, which is pulp of a particularly specific breed. Not great literature for the ages, and nothing special. But better than I expected.

Boredom is possibly the worst threat in a warzone. I'd rather get blown up than get bored.

In case I hadn't mentioned it, my wife rocks. I know she ain't real thrilled with this whole seperation thing, but the second I got all mopey on the phone with her, she started trying to cheer me up. Strange thing is that it worked. I love her.

19 July 2006

The Abolition of Man, I'm Agin It (though it wouldn't be a bad idea to abolish Hezbollah)


Everything you ever wanted to know about Hizbollah. Alternatively, Hezbollah.

How can we take a political party seriously if we can't even figure out how to transliterate their name?

Pardon me if I'm cranky. Someone dinked up the thermostat here, and Kuwait is currently set on 350 degrees, coincidentally the same temperature as the oven is when baking Banana Nut Bread. Jen and I made a double batch (actually, I did about 80% of the work making the batter, and Jen baked them all) according to her Grandmother's recipie. They turned out pretty decent.

I'm currently reading C. S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man. First published in 1944, it is a fairly insightful book, albeit one somewhat dated. The trends identified in this book are largely being played out today in the popular media and the educational system. What was once considered beyond argument is up for debate, and debate in the most facile terms.

Lewis posits a core of belief which he identifies (for the sake of convenience) by its Chinese name, the Tao. Within nearly all cultures are found certain beliefs about what is good and right. Whether ancient Babylonian law codes, Egyptian cultic beliefs, Norse mythology, Greek philosophy, Jewish (and hence Christian) scripture, Chinese writings, Hindu Vedas, most of the religions of the world have a set of beliefs about right conduct which are not defensible, first principles as it were. They can neither be defended or attacked except in terms relating to other elements of this body of values.

And yet, beginning in the 1920s, it became quite fashionable among the so-called intelligensia to attack these beliefs in a variety of terms. Outdated, or relics of a medieval Christian past, or insufficiently efficient or progressive, or whatever the buzzword of the day was. This process accelerated dramatically by the 1960s, by which time the educational establishment and media were largely controlled by men who held these beliefs in scorn in favor of a "modern" ideology, most predominately socialism.

And yet there is a good argument to make that these modern ideologies are but cancers on the branches of the Tao. Instead of a moderate balancing of these teachings, one aspect is glorified to the exclusion of all others, which are treated as a hindrance to "progress." After all, is not Socialism simply the common doctrine of fairness grown monstrous and mad, trampling down the other commands to be honest, to respect justice, and so forth?

Anyway, I'm not quite done with the book, but I find it to be one of the most interesting (and fortunately, short!) treatises on the subject that I have yet to read. While it is informed by C. S. Lewis's Christianity, it is not specifically Christian. Mr. Lewis quotes Seneca, Cicero, Pharoah Senusert, Aristotle, the Laws of Manu (ancient Indian), Norse Eddas, the Bible, Homer, the Chinese Analects, the Babylonian List of Sins, and other sources in plenty.

Mr. Lewis draws together and phrases much more nicely trends which I have noticed and written about previously. His verbage is more exact, and I find that I can no longer write upon the subject of ethics without reference to this work.

Oh, and I love my wife. She is so much more evocative a writer than I will ever be.

Back to Kuwait

I'm in Kuwait for the next few hours, and there is no point in sleeping. :)

The last two weeks have been incredible. I've never smiled more. OK, so taking my cousin to the hospital was kind of not cool. But that's small stuff compared to how much fun I had. I like being around my wife. Even the worst times are better if we are there and can talk about problems freely, without worrying about how much it is costing or connectivity problems, or communications blackouts, or power outages, etc., etc., etc.

I was surprised by how normal I managed to feel. I only got wierded out by agressive stupid drivers (of which San Antonio has no shortage) and for a little while at 'Fiesta Texas' (AKA Six Flags) when the crowd got to be a bit much for me. This pogue stuff is too relaxing.

I've been ignoring the internet, so if someone wrote something really spiffy they want me to read and respond to, link here. Frankly, the internet ain't nothing to waste much time on if you have as little time as we had. Wasn't interesting enough. TV? Forget it.

So, for instance, while I was vaguely aware that Israel was stomping Lebanon flat in pursuit of the Hizbollah (always a worthy goal in my opinion) I was not aware until a few hours ago that this action is in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.

I've updated a dead link in my blogroll here. There are a number of others I need to add that I read (or should read) but I havn't gotten around to it. I might later.


Most cogent explanation of why we should fight in Iraq the way we are fighting (or mostly, not fighting) in Iraq. Because the other option is to really take off the gloves and make nations go away.

07 July 2006

Havn't died yet.

I've been in the US since the 1st.

Been busy. Not writing, paying attention to the internet or my usual blogs, nothing.

I have discovered the Wizkids Pirate game with the little plastic pirate ships. Jen and I spent a silly amount of money on them.

Also been cooking.

And doing other stuff, but further deportment sayeth not.