28 February 2007

Politics n' Stuff

OK, I'm going to mostly focus this blog on the politics 'n stuff, and the other on more personal crap. I'm not interested in the LJDrama[tm] that I seem to run into on LJ.

Cool Map Thingie

Shows the thumbnail sketch of history, though it kinda deletes those empires which ran simultaneously, only showing them at their greatest extent.

Update on the Surge

In case you missed the past few weeks of the War because more important things like an ex-Playboy Bunny's drug OD took up 90% of the air time on the so-called "news"

Update on the Baghdad Security Plan

Again, some info you WON'T see on the evening news.

The "Civil War" may be what the Democratic Party wants you to think of the Iraq War as, but when a bunch of foreigners come into a country and try to blow up the local sheiks, it doesn't look like a civil war to me.

Castle Argghhh! has commentary on the Walter Reed story I referenced. I agree in every particular.

24 February 2007

Fairness in Blogging

OK, I bag on the MSM a lot. So it's nice to see some old-fashioned muckracking journalism.

The first stories lay out a beauracratic nightmare encountered in long-term recovery at Walter Reed. Crap housing is one of the failures spotlighted.

The followup
is also well-done.

OK, let's take a look at why I consider this a good piece of journalism.

1) It spotlights a real problem. We aren't talking some terrorist in Gitmo whinging because his lobster dinner is cold. Wounded GIs living in moldy rooms is a real problem.

2) The article wasn't written in a manner that uses the the problem as a way to take cheap shots at politicians or to push a partisan political agenda.

3) Follow-up. This is a serious failing of Journalism Today [tm]. Something is the Story of the Day, and you never see any follow-up. I hope sincerely that the WaPo keeps on this story.

Now, it traditionally is considered a Bad Thing to 'skip the chain of command' and let outsiders into Army business. Calling your Congressman is the equivalent of waving your penis in public, etiquette-wise. The Media is about as trusted as a convicted ax-murderer. BUT, in this case I believe it is and was appropriate. There are likely good folks in the system, but the system is broken beause it was not designed to house hundreds of Soldiers for long periods of time. So the system needs to be fixed from above and outside. The officers involved aren't going to scream and shout because they will get told, 'Find a solution' but won't be given any help. A reputation as a whiner doesn't get you promoted to general.

I had some more to write on the subject, but there's this really smokin' hot chick nibbling on my ear and I've forgotten what I had to say. Gotta run.

She hasn't worn me out yet. . .

It's interesting here. Things havn't been proceeding quite as I imagined--but most of that is due to two factors. Unrealistic expectations prior to redeployment, and the associated stupidity which goes with redeployment. There's already been one foul-up having to do with delivery of household goods. They tried to deliver them yesterday and, surprise, surprise, I bloody well wasn't in the barracks because no one told me that anyone was getting household goods at all. So now I'm going to get to fight with The System to get my HHG, only to get them packed up immediately afterwards.

But seriously folks, we are doing pretty well. Having fun rediscovering each other. I can't imagine wanting to be anywhere but where I am, defined as 'with her'.

19 February 2007

Gie├čen

Yes, that's an esset in my title. I'm in a German internet cafe.

Couple points coming ahead. Reintegration runs for a couple more days, then we mark time until 12 MAR and I fly.

I've got orders which show a DEROS of 30 April, which means I start clearing as soon as I get back off leave. Watch my Chain of Command do backflips now, since I'm a hand reciept holder. Neener, neener.

The past two days have been wonderful, with Jen here in FRG. She's been introduced to German architecture (that's only a century old, let me show you a really old church) and German food (no, it's not low-ANYTHING).

16 February 2007

Kuwait

Bags are through Customs. We wait.

In answer to the question in the comments regarding the "Shrieking Sisterhood;" the term was applied both suffragettes, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and similiar organizations during the 19th century. I use in reference to the modern descendants of the latter--sanctimonious fools who go into flights of umbrage when they see a copy of Maxim magazine upon a PX shelf or discover that 18 year old privates consume alcohol and no one does a thing about it unless they do something stupid and get caught under the influence.

I can't believe people get deployed here. .

Like for a full year, and they STILL GET COMBAT PAY.

Yeah, whatever.

Bite me, pogues. All of you. Fobbitty pogues whose pogueness exceeds all other pogueness.

My freakin' Brigade Sergeant Major is less of a pogue than you are, and he spent his deployment living out his childhood fantasy of being Highway Patrol, pulling over speeding golf carts.

Never mind that he didn't have a radar gun and hence could not actually impose legal consequences.

I'm in lovely Camp Virginia, which except for not having beer in the Shopette and no spouses in the PX, is more or less like post in the US.


Funniest thing I've seen today:

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?cat=14

Yeah, gamer or LoTR geek will enjoy, those who are both (like, not to name names, my little brother) will enjoy the most.

I see from the Stars and Stripes that Fort Stewart has opened a club on-post to try to keep Soldiers from drinking and driving. Hip-Hop music, cheap booze, an expedited system for civilians to get on-post to go there, and it is within walking distance of the majority of the barracks on post.

Yeah, we had those, once upon a time. Back in my Father's Army, they had Officer Clubs that were actually nice places to take your family for dinner (during the day) and good places for 2LTs to act like 2LTs during the evening. They had NCO clubs where we could sit around and gripe about the stupid friggin' officers. They even had clubs for enlisted folks to act like animals--I mean, act like lower enlisted. Then along came the Kinder, Gentler, more Politically Correct military where we don't "glorify alcohol" and encourage drinking. Because you know, if a 21 year old SPC doesn't get told by his chain of command that drinking is acceptable, he'll become a friggin' monk and not drink, smoke, or chase loose women. Verdammt Victorian nonsense.

There's also this huge "force protection" issue which meant it was like pulling teeth to get civilians onto post. And if you don't have civilian barracks ho's, errr. . . , women of questionable virtue, then you remove the entire point of going to the club for your average single enlisted Soldier. If he can't chase skirt, he's not going to the club.

There were other restrictions slapped on the Club system to protect the Perpetually Indignant from the suggestion that their tax monies might possibly theoretically be used for anything they might find even slightly objectionable. And of course, if you provide a safe place for GIs to consume alcohol and meet girls, then you are Condoning Alcoholism and (whisper it) sex . . .

So the club system died. And more and more GIs started owning cars and driving excessive distances to consume alcohol and meet the opposite sex, and then plowing their cars into nearby stationary objects.

Under most systems of value judgement, plowing one's car into a stationary object is Bad. Especially when piss-drunk and speeding. It tends to be hard on the car, the driver, and the stationary object.

To the tune of a fatality or two a month at some installations, plus numerous injuries.

One hopes the Shrieking Sisterhood never finds out about this. Because, you know, it would seriously be immoral or something for GIs to be dancing, getting drunk, and having sex with governmental approval. Far better that they should be dancing, getting drunk, having sex, and plowing their cars into stationary objects at a high rate of speed. They'd be dead, they'd still be immoral, but at least the Shrieking Sisterhood would have a warm and fuzzy that can only come from hypocritical sanctimonious moralizing!

15 February 2007

Assuming the Air Force doesn't screw up. . .

I should be in Kuwait by morning.

Lord willing and the C-130s don't break.

14 February 2007

Not in Ramadi

Well, I'm at a lovely dump called 'TQ', or al-Taqqadum (I think that's how we transliterate it) Air Base.

It's not Ramadi. This is a huge plus. I got out of there last night before 2200, on US Army CH-47s. I might leave for Kuwait tonight, or I might not and there is now way of telling before about midnight or so. :)

Anyway, on the 12th we had a wonderful going-away concert by the 1-77th Armor rock band. Lots of fun. And sadly, more than we are getting when we get back to Germany. Apparently USAREUR has cancelled all 'welcome home' festivities because of budgetary difficulties. We will, however, be having the mandatory stupid formation where a bunch of officers congratulate each other and tell each other how great they are while all us scum enlisted stand at parade rest. That doesn't cost the Army much and makes the officers feel almost as good as a fest does.

I notice that al-Sadr has decided Sadr City is leetle too hot for him. Nice. This means that Maliki has likely hung him out to dry. Serious crackdown on Shia militias would be a huge step towards making this place actually governable.

If the media lets us. Meanwhile, Certain People will continue to decry Bush's "confrontational" stance towards Iran. Folks, they are engaging in a proxy war with us, and this just makes it so obvious it can't be obfuscated by even the most head-in-sand peacenik. Sniper rifles and EFP you can try to blather around. This is pretty blatant.

13 February 2007

Supporting the Troops

12 February 2007

Glee. . .

Bag drop in1 hour for A-bags to be linehauled to the (base with a runway for fixed-wing) because the choppers don't have the room for them.

Living out of a rucksack with 7 days clean drawers and socks.

Glory to God for all things.

11 February 2007

Observations.

The Ferret, as he often does, hits it on the head. Important. . . Why is Barak Obama's Speech important? Because the Media tells you it is, and the Media is always right. Trust the Media, the Media is your Friend.

Move along, Citizen, nothing to see here. There is no truth the rumor that Obama has been running for President for at least six months, and probably closer to a year. Anyone who spreads such rumors is obviously a pinko commie mutant traitor.

If you've never played Paranoia, the above paragraph is likely not more than mildly amusing. Rest assured the rest of us are giggling maniacally.

Comparing Iraq to another war, but not, shockingly enough, the late Unpleasantness in Southeast Asia.

More interesting takes on Media verbage. Nothing slanted here, Comrade! We speak the Pravda!

My SI containers are sealed. Hooray. I am, more or less, unemployed. Hooray more.

Further, my blogger account is no longer asking me nicely to switch to the New Blogger. If have been forcibly converted to the New Blogger. All hail the new Blogger.

In a bizzaire crypto-fascist (well, not really, but that's such a cool word to work into an otherwise boring blog entry) twist to the New Blogger saga, the process of converting to New Blogger has also translated the Blogger website into German.

German = Nazis = George Bush! This is all George Bush's fault! Impeach George Bush!

I need sleep. And a beer. And my wife. Not necessarily in that order.

My wife freakin' rocks, in case I havn't mentioned it lately. It took me three tries to spell 'rocks' and I almost announced to the world that my wife 'rocs' but I have not seen her play in a high enough level campaign to roc. I have no doubt, that given a character with enough levels, she would roc.

07 February 2007

Links to Why They hate us, and why we despise Them

The left, of course, and their poster child Weaselboy the cowardly soon-to-be-ex-officer.

Jen explains the Watada case better than I can. I endorse her post without any reservation.

Revolutionary Defeatism is Rurik's term for the Left's love of anyone Not American. Not sure I can buy the theory completely, but it would account for some of the wierdness of progressive atheist gay feminists demonstrating in support of al-Qaeda, the Ba'ath Party, Hizbollah, and Iran, none of which are progressive, atheist, feminist, or particularly pro-gay. Although the Iraqis do seem to engage in casual homosexual activity when they aren't busy molesting innocent donkeys. That's neither here nor there, though.

04 February 2007

Good Muslims vs. Bad Muslims.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=433208&in_page_id=1770&ito=1490

The suspects are alleged to have plotted an Iraq style kidnapping of a Muslim serviceman who has recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The idea was to kill him and post images of his bloody end on the Internet after forcing him to beg for his life and denounce Tony Blair.

Yesterday senior military sources told how they had been alerted to the possible abduction by police several weeks ago after the list of potential victims was narrowed down to just two.

But instead of taking the possible targets into protective custody, the men agreed to act as bait to try to smoke out their would-be attackers.

One insider added: "It was a brave thing to do. Effectively they agreed to act as bait - like tethered goats - without any way of knowing how real the danger was. They had to trust the police."

The 330 Muslims serving in the UK military - including some 250 Army soldiers - have been ordered to take particular care over their own security.

The Mail can also reveal that three of the nine are known to have visited Pakistan in the past year - one spending four months there - and investigators are trying to establish exactly who they met.

British officials have asked the Pakistani authorities for assistance in recent days on the background and movements of four of those now being questioned.

Another suspect is even said to have visited Afghanistan in 2004.

There have been also been claims that videos of beheadings have been found - although police sources were unable to confirm that last night.

Investigators say a "clear pattern" has emerged in the way young disaffected British Muslims linked to UK terror investigations in recent months have travelled to Pakistan where they have met with fundamentalist leaders, clerics and pro-Al Qaeda radicals.

01 February 2007

As far as I am concerned, being an employee, reporter, editor, manager, or owner of the New York Times is tantamount to membership in an organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of the United States Constitution.

As such, it should constitute revocation of American citizenship.

Yes, I mean the janitor too.

Should I ever have the misfortune to meet a reporter or photographer for the New York Times, I wouldn't piss on him or her if he, she, or it was on fire. I would only refrain from beating his, her, or its sorry ass with a 2x4 if I were in uniform and on the clock.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/29/world/middleeast/29haifa.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

You can link from this story to the video the jihadist, err reporter, took and released to the world.

From a later article on the brou-haha

"Army commanders in Baghdad maintained that the Times violated a signed agreement, as a condition for being embedded with Leija's unit, not to publish images of any wounded soldier without the service member's consent. As a result, Times reporter Damien Cave and a contract photographer for the newspaper, Robert Nickelberg, were banned at least temporarily from embedding with U.S. units."

"Leija's immediate family in the South Texas town of Raymondville has declined to talk about the soldier's death. A cousin of Leija, who did not see the photo, said she was shocked that the images were made public and that they would add to the family's burden. Army officials said they were angered by the images."

You want to know how to support the troops?

Write the top ten advertisers of the New York Times, express to them that as long as they advertise in the NYT you will not purchase their products, and forward a copy of the letter to the NYT editorial board.

Some things are beyond the pale. Shooting footage of graphic deaths of American troops for advertising revenue, and then having the mendacity to claim that the US chain of command approved it? That's pretty damn despicable. But allowing a family to be notified of the death of their Soldier by streaming fucking video from a website? Kiss my ass.