28 May 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

dc_pics 052

Photo Courtesy of Ponsdorf.

299th Engineer Battalion
PFC Rayshawn S. Johnson, 03 NOV 03
PVT Scott M. Tyrrell, 20 NOV 03
"First on Omaha"

16th Engineer Battalion
SSG William S. Jackson II, 11 NOV 06
SSG Misael Martinez, 11 NOV 06
SGT Angel de Jesus Lucio-Ramirez, 11 NOV 06
SSG Robert L. Love Jr., 01 DEC 06
SPC Alan E. McPeak, 02 FEB 06

All other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, members of the Coast Guard, and those who were not wearing a uniform when Freedom called.

Absent Comrades.

27 May 2007

Yet another piece of proof:

A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

"The tall one reached in his pocket and pulled out a silver gun. And they both started running towards me."

"At first I just backed up, but then I turned around and started running and screaming."

"When I started running, the short boy stopped chasing and went back to the car. But the tall boy with the gun kept following me. I ran to the corner house and started banging on Mrs. Jones' door."

"I was wrong," he said Friday.

"I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife.

"I've changed my mind. You need a way to protect yourself and your family.

"I don't want to hurt anyone. But I never again want to be in the position where I'm approached by someone with a gun and I don't have one."

DeBose said he knows that a gun doesn't solve Cleveland's violence problem; it's merely a street equalizer.

"There are too many people who are just evil and mean-spirited. They will hurt you for no reason. If more people were packing guns, it might serve as a deterrent."

25 May 2007


You know, there seems to be a basic fundamental disconnect between folks I talk to about the war.

A lot of people are under the impression that the United States is 'losing' the fight in Iraq.

I'm baffled by this thought. I'm a historian. I know what it looks like when an insurgency is actually winning. You see convoys ambushed and wiped out. You see insurgents forming larger bodies of troops an operating in a more conventional manner. You see safe areas established throughout the country. You see successful defensive battles against government units trying to move into safe areas.

This is insurgency theory 101. Little Red Book stuff.

We aren't losing in Iraq, and never have been. As of right now, the only way to lose the fight in Iraq is to pack up and go home. And if we do, it will be because a lot of folks are misinformed by people in the media and in politics who, for what ever reason, prefer to see the United States lose a campaign. Some of these people actively hate the United States and everything we stand for, others hate George Bush to the point that they hope everything he touches falls apart. Others have simply decided that they can make a few more points in the polls with their core constituencies by taking a pro-Insurgent stance.

Are we winning as fast as we might have under ideal circumstances? No. But that's something for historians to wrangle about. Joe Citizen doesn't have enough information on what is going on in Iraq to make an informed decision, just like Joe Citizen didn't know enough about the German defenses in Normandy to be able to make the call whether to invade France in June of 1944 or not. That's why we have a professional officer corps, and don't necessarily submit our tactical plans to public approval.

Case in Point:

The Ferret, on Livejournal
, has an excellent post about the idea of cutting funds to the war in Iraq. In this post he makes the valid point that people who say they are in favor of ending the war don't really want to end the war in Iraq, they simply wish to remove US troops so that they no longer feel any obligation to care about the war in Iraq. It will continue without us whether we like it or not.

"It'll be like Darfur with a hangover - that distant genocide with the unpleasant tang that we were somehow responsible for it once upon a time, but hey, not our problem."

But the post is somewhat twisted by the assumption that we are not winning in Iraq, that no progress at all is being made. That, to me, changes the tone of the post a great deal.

Meanwhile, under the heading of "things that just don't surprise me," there's apparently an ammo shortage. I don't shoot in military calibers (9mm sucks, and I don't own any long guns right now) so I haven't noticed it much. But I think it's vaguely interesting that this is, so far as I know, the first impact that the war has had on the US population at large.

We have a new contestant in the contest for 'dumbest terrorist, evah!'. I think it's a little amusing that his defense against charges of terrorism is that he's too disorganized. . .

I'm still laughing up my sleeve at the Democrats, who caved into the Administration's demands that they actually do their job and fund the damn war without the assorted grandstanding nonsense of trying to tell him how to do his job of running the war. Not, mind you, that I think Bush has done a stellar job of it, but then again what President has? Running a country at war is such an impossible task that no President has done so mistake-free. Even Lincoln kept promoting incompetents to command the Army of the Potomac. Bush has done a far, far better job than a Democratically-controlled Congress could. In order to get it past the assorted jackasses on their side of the aisle, Congress included a minimum-wage hike. And these people want to micromanage a war?

22 May 2007


On the subject of folks on the Left who have their priorities twisted, the Weekly Standard lights up the feminist crowd. I don't entirely agree with all of this article, but certainly some folks have their heads pretty far up their butts. While the United States and the West in general isn't perfect, compared to the Middle East, this is pretty much paradise. There is room for improvement, and I consider it worthwhile to work to further advance women's rights in the US--which the Weekly Standard article seems to poo-poo. But when it comes to the Middle East, women are murdered for doing things that the most benighted backwoods folks in the US take pretty much for granted. The NOW's Peace Petition would be the greatest step backwards for women's rights in the Middle East since the Taliban tooks over Afghanistan after the Cold War. When did it become 'progressive' to support medieval-minded theocratic facists?

A slogan I've heard uttered by folks who want to decry the war and pretend to a level of patriotism is that 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism' typically attributed to Mr. Jefferson. This does turn out to be an Urban Myth. This myth is specifically repudiated by the Jefferson Library.

A rather moving tribute to some of the real heroes of this war apparently occurs at the Pentagon weekly.

Winds of Change takes the Dems to task for their stupid "we just want to take care of the troops" moralizing attached to their withdrawal bullshit. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. We know the score better than fat-cat politicians, and we are all volunteers. My kids are nervous in the service (those who haven't been deployed) but they are ready and eager. Both my 'seasoned specialists' have been there twice and re-enlisted for this.

This is merely a charming story, but it speaks volumes about the character of General Petraeus.

The Immigration Bill:

I love the internet. Specifically, I love that you could have the entire draft bill up within a few days of it being released to the press. With introduction. Hehe. No Mainstream Media would do this.

There's a pair of rants I've run across. One take both parties to task for the way their fringes grab most of the attention and way more power than they deserve based on numbers alone. The other pretty much focuses on the wing of the Republican Party which is screaming about the immigration bill, sight unseen.

21 May 2007

Guilty until proven to be a Scapegoat.

New information has come to the fore in the trials of the Haditha Marines.

You all remember the Haditha Marines? Tried and convicted in the court of the Press, with Surrender-Monkey-in-Chief "Semper I" Murtha himself presiding over their presumption of guilt.

The initial investigation conducted by the unit found that after an IED attack, the Marines were attacked by terrorists fighting from a house nearby. The Marines attacked the house, and some civilians used by the terrorists as human shields were killed. It sucks, but that's pretty much the nature of the game as played by the terrorists. You can't let them get away with it, even at the cost of human life. Sucks, but there it is.

The jihadists told the media, however, that all 24 killed were innocent civilians and that the Marines basically went berserk. So of course, the Media trumpets this claim from the hills, dismissing with a sentence or two the fact that the Marines on the scene determined that at least 8 of those killed were definitely terrorists. This is defined for purposes of this discussion as 'person with an AK-47 shooting at Marines'.

So the Marine Corps, in an attempt to shut up the media, begins a series of court-martials.

On trial now is a Captain Stone, a young JAG. Unfortunately, things just aren't going as the media, the terrorists, and the politicians want. Seems they are repeating their story that weapons found on the scene and the eyewitness testimony agrees that at least a third of the dead were actually fighters. Now, 2 civvies for every 1 terrorist killed in a firefight may be a sucky ratio, but I can see how it happened, and anyone who hasn't been in a situation like that probably can't.

As the Prairie Pundit remarks, the real question of war crimes centers around the actions of the terrorists who fought from houses also occupied by civilians and knowingly exposed civilians to Marine Corps fire in hopes of staging an incident for propaganda purposes.

It's all part of Information Warfare, but it is still a crime.

Immigration Bill

I'm divided on the subject of immigration.

Let me rephrase that. I'm not divided on the subject of legal immigration.

I'm not a big fan of illegal immigration.

I do have beef with the folks who want to round up between 12 and 20 million people, and deport them all. First, I don't think it is practical. It might be ideologically sound, and it might give you a warm and fuzzy to advocate it, but I just don't think it is possible.

As for the new immigration bill?

I think Cheat Seeking Missile sums it up pretty well. The bill is still being written. It will attempt to be all things to please all people. It will be ugly. It is more text than the Holy Bible, and probably more poorly written.

Captain's Quarters, based on some objections to the bill coming out of the Right already, addresses what he sees as the good points. Domestic politics is the art of the possible, and this bill is at least an improvement over the status quo. The perfect bill will never be written, much less passed. This is at least a lesser weevil. The Anchoress makes very similar points, while Big Lizards elaborates on Cap'n Ed's points.

Big Lizards also has the best summary of the bill I've yet seen on the internet.

As for myself?

Some things I have believed for a long time are included in this bill. 18,000 additional border patrol agents is a huge bump, and probably will take years to implement without diluting the quality of BP agents significantly. Reforming legal immigration to take into account an immigrant's English language skills and value to the economy at a higher priority than distant familial relations is another long-overdue change. The difficulty and length of the process given for regularization of the status of illegals is not merely "amnesty" which would have been Bad.

I guess it is probably the best bill politically possible and able to be put into practice.

20 May 2007

I'm going to be totally unfair here.

Because this is my blog, I can do this. I'm going to dissect a comment and use it as the springboard of a larger apologia. I am not going to limit myself to the intent of the Commentator or the points he raises. I will ramble off on a tangents. I am not speaking to him alone, but to the universe at large.

This is not so much aimed at the person whose comments got this post percolating in my crazed brain, but at the society and culture of which we are both a part.

I realize that I'm terribly bad at polemic, but I try.

The Commentator spake thus:
The issue I take is with bandying about the words "treason" so casually. As a soldier in the U.S. Army you're arguing from a bully pulpit here whether you realize it or not.

First, I am arguing from such a bully pulpit as a civilian does not have available. I think the commenter is attempting to use the phrase as it has been commonly (mis)used in these latter times, but I mean it as Teddy meant it. I have a stake in the argument that most people don't have, and a level of experience unavailable to those who have never smelled what an inside-out Iraqi smells like. It's one of my major issues with the way the United States is trying to fight this war.

In World War II, over 16 million men and women served in United States Armed Forces, some 12% of the population of 133.4 million in 1945. Roughly one in eight people, in other words. If you assume that most of these men had two living parents and two siblings, and half were married, with half of the married men having 2 kids each (these are more or less pulled out of thin air, but see where I'm going with this) that would mean that another 80 million folks in the country had an immediate family member--son, brother, husband, or father--serving in the military.

That's 60% of the country. Total: 72%. Almost 3 out of 4.

Most families were larger than they are today. The average age of the WWII infantrymen (a young man's branch if there ever was one) was 26--well past the normal age to marry in the 1940s. My numbers are probably low-balled.

Damn near everyone in the country had a stake. Everyone was at war. No one could sit one their couch and watch the war in living color as if it were a reality show. And anyone who did take the inexcusably stupid attitude that the war didn't matter was, sooner or later confronted by reality in the form of a living, breathing fellow American who had gone and put their life on the line. 418,000 died, a bit more than 671,000 were injured in lesser or greater ways. That's nearly 1% of the nation's population.

Today, your average civilian does have that luxury. Most people in this country don't even KNOW a single Soldier--and reading his blog on the internet doesn't count.

So, when confronted by a Soldier making strong arguments, it makes them uncomfortable. It makes them squirm. Due simply to our rarity and the perception of Soldiers created by the media, a Soldier that does not conform to the stereotypes is something people no longer have experience dealing with.

Good. Something should make them uncomfortable. I've stood around upended rifles with dog tags on them one too many times to give a flying fuck about some civilian's FEELINGS.

One of the problems that this disconnect between American society--liberal, conservative, it doesn't really matter--and our Armed Forces creates is that we have fundamentally different views of the nature of reality. In the Army, we have standards. Pass/Fail standards. You don't get extra points for effort--if you fail, you fail. You succeed at a mission or you don't. You meet the standard, or you don't. You are right, or you aren't.

You live to see tomorrow, or you don't.

In the interest of protecting everyone's feelings, civilian society has backed away from standards to the point that people can't deal with being told that they are wrong. They can't deal with being told their ideals and reality do not line up. They do not deal with the world as it is, but as they wish it were. In their ideals, the world is "fair". I imagine that in some lines of work, people can apply this to at least part of the job. Mechanics, for instance, pretty much realize that either they fix the truck and make it run, or they don't. However, that does not penetrate to their larger world view in many cases.

War sucks. War sucks in ways you can't ever imagine, and it is my raison d'etre to ensure that you never can imagine it. But one of the ways war sucks is that it doesn't fit into the modern wishy-washy, politically correct bullshit way of thinking where everyone is a 'winner', and there are no 'evil' people, just misunderstood people. You did not learn everything you needed to know about War in kindergarten. In a war, no one gives a rat's ass about your goddamn self-esteem. War is fundamentally, not fair.

Here's another way War sucks: You don't get the luxury of being the nice guy, and still walking away alive and successful. You either win, and win by playing hardball, or you die, or you run away. That's true for Soldiers and it is true for nations.

Don't get things twisted--I am not advocating the commission of war crimes, or torturing Iraqi grandmothers, or any of the other crap the Left likes to get their rocks off on. Putting words into my mouth will henceforth result in deletion of comment. Stick to what I say. War crimes are crimes not because they are mean or cruel. War is cruel. War crimes are crimes because they are unnecessarily cruel.

What I am advocating is a serious national debate in which all sides face up to the implications of their decisions.

You want the United States to withdraw from Iraq? Fine. Face up to the fact that war is a zero-sum game. You don't get to just change the channel when it gets ugly. If you don't win, you lose. If you die in place (Germany in 1945) or run like a rabbit (USA, 1975) it doesn't matter. You're still a damn loser. The other guy wins. The enemy wins. Advocating losing is advocating the other guy winning.

The only guaranteed means to ensure peace is surrender. Give up. Withdraw from whatever piece of the world your enemy is contesting. Then, when he goes after somewhere else, withdraw. When he decides he'd like New Jersey, withdraw.

Just call a damn spade a damn spade. Don't tickle my balls about how you "support the troops." Don't try to pretend you want what is best for the United States. And don't blow any smoke up my ass about you don't support the terrorists either.

Zero Sum Game. Zero Sum.

Spake the Commentator:
If it's with ye or ag'in ye, and with ye = no treason, then you're labeling anybody who disagrees with you as a traitor.

No. I am not holding people's opinions to be criminal in and of themselves. Never did. I am not even holding people's speech to be criminal in and of itself--though it is stupid and implies treasonous sentiment. Treasonous sentiment, while an offense against common sense and decency, it not a crime.

It is a crime to "knowingly or willfully advocate, abet, advise or teach the duty, necessity, desirability or propriety of overthrowing the Government of the United States or of any State by force or violence, or for anyone to organize any association which teaches, advises or encourages such an overthrow, or for anyone to become a member of or to affiliate with any such association."

Since 1957, due to Yates v. United States, teaching this in the abstract is not criminal but is a form of free speech. Only when it crosses the line to concrete incitement or planning to commit a crime can it be prosecuted.

The relevant section of the Constitution discussing treason has been posted.

But voting to cut off funding from Soldiers as they are engaged in combat? Is that speech or an action?

Sadly, Congressmen cannot be held accountable for their actions unless impeached by their fellow Congressmen. It is still treason, just like it is still double parking even if done by a car with diplomatic plates by a driver who is immune to prosecution for that reason.

Cutting off funds is NOT rpt NOT an academic issue. It is not the equivalent of yelling "cut" on a reality show. What that means is that vehicles don't get spare parts. Ammunition, food, fuel, become scarce. People fucking die because of stupid stuff like that.

Whether your views align exactly with the Constitution I leave to legal scholars to determine, but
as you are presenting this is the definition held by .

Pretty much everything I put on my blog is what I believe. If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't write it.

By defining everybody who is not "with ye" as a traitor, well, what does that mean, exactly? What happens to traitors? The traditional method is firing squad, but hung by the neck until dead is still popular.

I wish people would read what I write, not what they wish I wrote in order to provide a fine strawman to punch against.

A traitor is by definition worse than an enemy, because while an enemy opposes what you believe, a traitor has rejected what you believe. Enemies can become allies, but traitors burn in a society's collective hell.

Fair enough, for someone who supports lunatics who cut other people's heads off for giggles and drop mortar bombs on soccer fields full of kids.

I do not agree exactly with what you say. If there is zero nuance, that apparently means you think I'm a traitor and that I should suffer the fate of all traitors.

If there is zero nuance, that apparently. . . That's about as insulting a formulation as I could possibly imagine. "I'm going to assume you are a raving lunatic, and continue arguing against as extreme a form of your position as is possible to postulate." I love how people do this. It's prevalent on the internet, but I run into it in real life. The only thing this is missing is a warning to 'Think of the Children'.

Well, what the heck am I supposed to say to that? Do I call the actively serving sergeant in the U.S. Army on his hyperbole? How can a lowly U.S. citizen with treason in his heart possibly win that battle?


Provide an alternate course of action for the United States that doesn't translate into letting the terrorists take over Iraq and run it like a medieval theocracy. My personal preference would be for a course of action that doesn't require a specific timeline. Unlike what HBO would like you to believe, no war is scripted and planned out with no concern for enemy reaction. I realize that few Americans realize this, but the enemy gets a vote on the course of a war. We act, they react, we react to their reaction, and so on and so forth. Regardless of what armchair commentators would have you believe, no one predicted precisely the course of the insurgency. No one can completely predict the future course of the insurgency.

Let me introduce they who wish to comment upon strategy to a fellow that anyone who dares discuss the topic should be familiar with, Generalfeldmarschall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke.

He is well known for two aphorisms you should reflect upon.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.
War is a matter of expedients.

Take these into account in your brilliant plan.

Use facts and ideas, rather than emotions and idealism to debate. I am open to reason. Weak ad homenium and reductio ad absurbum merely bores me. If you believe I am engaging in hyperbole, feel free to call me on it.

The anti-victory movement, which includes the national-level leadership of the Democratic Party and many of their hard-line supporters, is providing the greatest possible encouragement of the enemy. They are explicitly encouraging Mr. Hajji to stick bombs under American vehicles and attempt to blow me up personally. They are providing positive reinforcement every single time someone manages to blow up a father of three or someone's fiance or some kid six months out of high school.

How do you expect me to view them, other than as the enemy?

They may be very nice people, ordinarily. They may be kind parents, loving spouses, or whatever. They may be nice to stray dogs. They may adopt kittens.

But when the rubber meets the road, they are on the other side of a vast divide. I am in favor of the United States achieving victory over political and politicized Islam. I am in favor of a peaceful, united, democratic (well, at least relatively), stable Iraq. I am in favor of Usama bin Laden's head on a spike erected in the Rose Garden at the White House.

They are not. And whether they realize it or not, they are working for a world where non-Muslims have the opportunity to die for their faith on a daily basis, where women are walking vaginas shrouded in black, and where any dissent however minor is punished by beheading.

I will not live to see that world.

I wish you the joy of it.

18 May 2007

The Lighter Side of Life

The Northern Muckracker has the latest thing that makes me snicker.

"Those meanie viewers won't watch our token female!"

Maybe if CBS hired one of the many QUALIFIED female news anchors who are doing a perfectly good job at local affiliates, folks would watch them.

Maybe if CBS did something radical, like actually engage in journalism, folks would watch them again.

Right now, all the networks are pissing in the wind of the modern information age, and I for one hope that they all go broke.

17 May 2007

Palestine and Perspective.

Well, the Palestinians, in the interest of keeping their unbroken streak of doing the stupidest and most self-destructive thing possible, are holding a civil war.

Note that this war is actually a civil war, unlike Iraq. There are clearly defined factions separated by ideology and approach to religion and few, if any, foreign players trying to invade the Gaza Strip (as, for instance, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is in Iraq). I find this via the Belmont Club, who got it from Instapundit, who got it from The Times Online.

I love this stuff. You have the unilatteral decision by Israel to do what the Palestinians (allegedly) want and withdraw from Gaza and chunks of the West Bank. Within a very brief time, as nations go, they are at the point where the Palestinians are killing each other at a rate Israel hasn't managed since the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

I have only a few options to choose from. Either:

1) Palestinians are, by their very nature, incapable of governing themselves in a more civilized manner than the boys in Lord of the Flies.

2) There is something fundamentally wrong with the organizations (Fatah, Hamas) which the Palestinian people have decided to elect to represent them.

Personally, I think there is likely to be something to the argument that governments composed of murderers and thugs are not likely to act in a manner that could not be described as murderous and thuggish. The gunmen and assassins who make up Fatah and Hamas are not part-time militias of ordinary citizens with ordinary concerns, they are full-time thugs and many have been their entire adult lives. It is unsurprising that they cannot find anything to do other than shoot each other.

For comparison, the United States was founded primarily by businessmen, lawyers, craftsmen, farmers, and plantation owners. We got on with the business of, well, business in short order. Even though there was a fundamental question of whether this country would exist half free or half slave, it took us decades to get pissed off to the point that we started killing each other over it.

The Palestinians don't have that much of an excuse.

As usual, their only hope is for a foreign power to step in and restore order, although I have to ask why in Hell the Egyptians (as one Palestinian quoted in the article suggests) would WANT the Gaza Strip. It's pretty much a run-down hellhole. What's in it for the Egyptians?

What a mess. And this one they did all themselves. No blaming those nasty Jews and Crusaders for this one!

Foreign Object Damage asks another question, tangentially related to this one but of far broader application.

He quotes a presidential candidate, a Republican by the name of Ron Paul, who says,

“I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it”

Now, Ron seems like a guy with his heart in a very Libertarian place, which suggests to me that he's pretty idealistic.

For those not tracking, when I say "idealistic" I mean, "Uses non-reality based thinking."

Or, slightly less sarcastic, "considers ideology to be more pertinent to decision making that minor inconveniences such as facts."

FOD argues rather succinctly that the question is irrelevant. Who cares? You wouldn't ask a Nazi why he believes that the world is a better place with fewer Jews and more air pollution caused by burning Jews. And the specifics of why a KKK member hates are also irrelevant.

In the same way, pretending that we have any interest in the terrorist viewpoint is silly. We don't accept their basic premises (militant Islam, or what ever other skewed ideology motivates that particular terrorist faction) and we know by now that they are using piss-poor logic at best. Their answers are unacceptable and antithetical to civilization, so why waste time with them?

If you really feel like wading through the "terrorist viewpoint", I can point you towards the CENTCOM Exposing the Enemy website and you can read through terrorist drivel to your heart's content. It doesn't take long to reach FOD's conclusion on the matter.

Islam, Democrats, and the ties that bind.

I'm beginning to like Raymond Ibrahim, especially his latest. He's a research librarian and author of the 'al-Qaeda Reader', a collection of translated religious and propaganda (how do you tell the difference, with Islam?) materials. His latest essay up on VDH's website is a sort of Islam 101, the basic dissection of why folks associate Islam with violence.

That being that Islam is, in and of itself, a fundamentally violent religion. I mean, there are all sorts of progressive Muslims trying to disassociate themselves and their religion from the ancient cycle of violence that began when the pseudo-prophet Mohammad first ordered the murder of poets and pregnant women. Some of them are nice guys, even. But pretending that there is a Koranic commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself even if thy neighbor happens to be a Jew or a Christian. . . That's an outright lie.

The latest point of contention is, of course, the three Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division who were captured by enemy forces a few days ago. Given al-Qaeda's track record, it is safe to say that those Soldiers were tortured and murdered. The search continues, using every means available.

May God have mercy on the souls of those Soldiers, and may he grant peace to their comrades and families.

Of course, sez Nancy Pelosi, this is all a dirty, underhanded trick by the Administration. There is no al-Qaeda in Iraq. It's all lies, lies I tell you!

"My thoughts on the president's representations are well-known," Pelosi said. "The 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the president is resorting to it again."

Oh, wait. That was in November of last year. I'm sorry folks. It's so hard keeping up with the lies spewed by the Democratic Party leadership.

Meanwhile, in the interests of supporting the troops, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton were engaging in public grandstanding by voting to cut off all funding for US forces. You can read about here, but what I think is even more surreal is the video clip of Hillary debating with herself about the Iraq campaign. That's one of the beautiful things about modern data storage and video search capabilities. It used to be that a politician could not be shown in color lying through his or her teeth. You had the stance of the week, and like good mindless subjects, we were supposed to forget that last week's official stance was totally different.

The elites in Washington are so used to lying without accountability that they no longer have the decency to admit to actually having changed their mind, without an excuse (George Bush lied to me!!). VDH takes them to task for this lack of integrity. A Second Hand Conjecture posits an explanation for the change in the Democratic Party stance.

Now, some folks have accused the Democratic Party of being treasonous in their support of al-Qaeda. Let's ask the Constitution of the United States of America what the definition of treason is.

Section 3 - Treason Note

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Thank you, Mr. Constitution Man. It's always nice to get a definition of controversial or inflammatory terms.

So, does the Democratic Party's actions meet this definition?

According to the Washington Post, it does. h/t Ace of Spades.

Mohamad al-Janabi, a reputed al-Qaeda member in the nearby city of Salman Pak, said in a interview that he was unable to contact his comrades in Mahmudiyah to determine whether they were responsible for the attack.

But he added: "I can assure you that we will start pressuring Bush in a new way at the same time he is facing pressures from the Democrats and the American people. And there will be no problem to sacrifice 10 soldiers in order to abduct a single American soldier and get him on television screens begging for us to release him."

So, that sounds to me that according to at least one member of al-Qaeda (well, reputed member) is taking aid and comfort from their actions. And they are quicker to adhere to al-Qaeda operatives than US Soldiers, unless of course they think they can make some sort of political point by it.

Compare the outcry from Democratic congressmen over the treatment of al-Qaeda operatives in Guantanamo Bay vs. their position regarding captured United States Soldiers. Hear the resounding silence? Yeah, that's the Democratic Party position on US prisoners of war.

It's in this atmosphere that the LA Times writes a story about the Democrats attempting to overcome their anti-military image.

Oooooh. . . How nice. They want to include vets on their list of constituencies to buy with token monetary bribes while ignoring our real interests. I feel honored to be on a list with the other favored perpetual victims -- ethnic minorities (except Asians, who are too hard-working, economically successful, and well-educated to vote Democrat), queers, atheists, and radical feminists. While we are slinging the stereotypes, let's offend everyone. Who did I leave off the list?

That sort of facile pandering is proof, as if any more were needed, that very few Democrats have one iota of a clue what sort of person joins the Armed Forces.

14 May 2007

Three Little Stories you haven't heard on the MSM

1) Diyala is forming a Salvation Front similar to the tribal alliance that is securing al-Anbar Province.

2) Zimbabwe has been appointed to head the UN committee on sustainable development even though Zimbabwe doesn't have much of an economy, and just finished destroying the only healthy sector of their economy by confiscating land from all successful (white) farmers and handing it out to folks that don't actually know how to farm. Incidentally, Zimbabwe can't pay their electrical bills and have nearly 3 million refugees living in South Africa. It's also half a step away from holding a civil war, near as I can tell. And folks wonder why those of us on the Right, who see reality for what it is, just can't take the UN seriously.

3) While referring to some black females as 'nappy headed hos' can get a radio jock fired and grab headlines for a week, jokes about raping another black female will get no notice what so ever in the national media. What's the difference.

The black female is a conservative Republican and the folks making the jokes are liberals.

That's all for now, folks.

12 May 2007

New Links

I updated my blogroll and would like to introduce the new faces real briefly.

First, I changed the link with the poetry to point to my wife's LJ which she uses, rather than the blogger that she really doesn't.


There's the Musings of an Ex-pagan, who is now a, what do you call it. . . Byzantine Catholic. Because 'Uniate' carries perjorative connotations to some folks. Good stuff on both politics and religion.

While I'm linking to Catholics, there's the Anchoress. Politics, religon, feminism. . . She covers pretty much every topic and covers it with witty insight.

I've blogged about Gathering of Eagles, so it makes sense to link to the home page of the folks coordinating that movement.

Finally, two fellow Milbloggers that I noticed during the recent brou-haha over AR 530-1, An Army Lawyer and Dadmanly.

Links, Miscellaneous Domestic

On the subject of "hate crime" Lawdog hits the nail on the head.

Money Quote:

"If Joe Schmoe walks out of his house and punches a 22 year-old-man in the mouth, it is assault. And Joe is punished for the act.

"If Joe Schmoe walks out of his house, punches a 22-year-old-man in the mouth, whiling yelling, 'Queer!' what is the difference?

"Both acts are assaults. Both acts involve a fist and a mouth, and both acts involve the same level of physical damage.

"The difference is that in one, Joe thinks -- thinks -- that his victim is somehow deserving of an assault because of sexual orientation. Or he thinks the sexual orientation is evil. Maybe he thinks his God has a case of the red-arse towards that particular sexual orientation.

"Whatever the excuse, it still boils down to the fact that the Federal Government wants to add extra punishment, more charges because of What.



The point here is that while certainly such attitudes are deplorable, the entire point of the US Constitution is to protect attitudes the some people find deplorable so long as those attitudes do not translate into actions which violate the rights of others.

Note: ACTIONS, not speech (Constitutionally protected) and not thoughts. If you want to to hate me, fine. Could care less. I know lots of people do. If you say so, I might be offended and return with a dissection of your particular breed of illogic, but then afterwards I continue my life.

If you are the sort that gets so wrapped up around the axle that the thought that people out there dislike you cripples you (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and anyone else who feels the urge to sue over the phrase 'nappy headed ho') then I have just a few words of wisdom for you.

Get over yourselves, you stupid emo whiney bitches.

While I'm offending folks, let me discuss illegal immigration. I love Dr. Pournelle's politics almost as much as his fiction. He suggests an answer. The only question I have is to the efficacy of actually closing the border. We can try, but if you think smugglers of drugs and people (or both, for the enterprising smuggler) can't find a way around it, you're sadly mistaken. However, at least making it hard for them would cut down significantly. I agree that hunting down illegals is probably a waste of time--but that removing the ability of their children to automatically become citizens of the United States at birth is more effective. As far as I'm concerned, citizenship should be limited to those born of at least one US citizen or long-term resident alien. And if you aren't a citizen, and you get so much as pulled over, deportation. Good-bye, you are the weakest link.

My solution to the "Amnesty" question: Illegals should also be permitted to register to pay taxes and that information NOT shared with any other agency. If they can demonstrate a continuous history of paying taxes and not otherwise coming to government attention for a period (5 years? 7 years?) then they are better de facto American citizens than some of the born and raised types here and should be granted resident status.

Immigrants that do this sort of thing, on the other hand, should be executed by firing squad as spies and saboteurs used to be, back in the day.

Just my opinion here.

I think I'll juxtapose that story with this story, about some folks who just don't want a mosque in their back yard.

Remember that bit a couple paragraphs up about how speech is protected, actions aren't? Yeah, well. . . It is truly tempting to make an exception for this. Haha. Just kidding.

Or not. Incitement to riot is still as crime, as is criminal conspiracy. It all depends on what sort of Muslim you've got in your back yard. But from a public relations standpoint, reading your talking points off of CAIR's script is NOT a way to settle ruffled feathers.

"As I've said before, my first thought after hearing a CAIR official instruct me that I must go out of my way to learn more about Islam is 'Good God, how many did they kill this time?'"

Islam is antithetical to both Western culture and the logic that was formalized in Greece, spiritual ancestor to all of Western culture. The more Muslims assimilate, the worse they become as Muslims (by the letter of the law, which is of far greater importance in Islam than in other religions due to their understanding of human relations with God or lack thereof), opening their disaffected younger generation up to the teachings of radicals who call for a return to 'true' or 'pure' Islam. Once that hooks the kids, they are off and running with political Islam and blowing themselves up. Raymond Ibrahim explores the problems raised by the multiple understandings of Islam.

"Thus, even if we were to agree with Ramadan that the vast majority of Muslims are 'moderates' and that, say, only a mere 20 percent of Muslims are 'literalists,' that simply means that some 200 million Muslims in the world today are dedicated enemies of the infidel West. At any rate, when it comes to instilling terror, numbers are of no significance. It took only 19 to wreak great havoc and destruction on American soil on 9/11. It won’t take much more to duplicate that horrific day. This is precisely why, to use Ramadan’s own words, 'we are obsessed by the few [radical Muslims] and not seeing the many [moderate Muslims].' That most Muslims are good, law-abiding citizens and that only a mere minority of the umma, say, 200 million, are hell-bent on destroying the West — how is that supposed to be any comfort to us?"

Now, given this problem and the dramatic increase in what Victor Davis Hanson calls 'al-Qaedism' in incidents in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, and North Carolina, it is reasonable that the residents feel threatened by a mosque. After all, if a Mosque has a mere 30 attendees (I don't know what the Muslim equivalent of 'parishioner' is) then there is a good chance that they will have at least 6 lunatics attending. Given this reality, it is reasonable to treat a mosque as one would the KKK or the Communist Party of the United States during the period where the United States was engaged in a global confrontation with Communists. In other words, while membership in the organization is not illegal, it is suspicious because the organization has goals antithetical to the Constitution of the United States of America. Law enforcement agencies would justified in keeping tabs on them at the least.

Not to say that all Muslims are SUV-wielding madmen. At least one community in Pennsylvania has decided not to tolerate incitement to commit murder from those who represent them. This is a positive step, which should be encouraged. The sooner the Muslim community in the United States adopts this attitude wholesale, the better off they will be.

"'The board and members of the Islamic Center of Johnstown were shocked and regret the comments made by Imam ElBayly regarding the visit of author Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The statements regarding the Islamic Center's reaction to her visit were incorrect, unfounded and not the views of its members,' Dennis J. Stofko, the center's attorney, said in a letter to the Tribune-Review.

"Stofko indicated that ElBayly's views 'are not shared or tolerated by the Muslims' associated with the Johnstown center.

"'The Islamic Center of Johnstown was established to foster religious tolerance, education and the exercise of its religious beliefs,' Stofko wrote, adding that members 'strongly believe in exercising religious freedom, which is the right of all citizens. The Islamic Center of Johnstown sincerely respects the rights of individuals to speak their opinions openly and freely without the fear of reprisal.'

That's properly American, perfectly respectable, and I am proud to call those folks fellow citizens.

11 May 2007

People Without A Clue

Well, it's sad. My post on people with a clue (immediately preceding this post) was about a Country Music singer.

Country musicians are, well, entertainers. They might have a clue, or not, and it really doesn't matter, so long as they are entertaining.

But when a man is attempting to achieve the pinnacle of power that a single individual can wield in today's age, the office of the President of the United States of America, I as a voter feel entitled to demand that the man have a small clue.

Not a big one. Lord knows we've had mentally mediocre Presidents before. But this pathetic example. . .

John Edwards got confronted by a nutjob asking about World Trade Center 7.

For those of you unfamiliar with World Trade Center 7, it is shorthand in conspiracy theory circles for the theory that the United States Government or nefarious individuals therein planted controlled demolition charges because they were aware of the 9/11 hijacker's plans and wanted to ensure maximum damage to mobilize the American people behind their pre-planned invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ace of Spades and Hot Air both castigate Edwards, and deservedly so. Faced with a nutjob who accuses the United States Government of deliberately murdering 3,000 people, he doesn't tell the guy to get a life. He doesn't roll out some basic Logic 101. He doesn't look the loon in the face and tell him that believing in a conspiracy theory is evidence of mental instability, insecurity, and a small penis.

He panders. He is polite. He is deferential. He makes sure moon-bat boy leaves his contact info.

Now, I don't think (please, dear God!) that John Edwards is stupid enough to believe this line of drivel. But the reality is that his electoral base, the people he HAS to have voting for him to win in the primaries, are frootloops. They are lunatics. They are mentally disturbed people who are so disconnected to reality that they practically give him a standing ovation.

These are the people that the Democratic Party depends on.

Notice a pattern in Edward's statements to the press? He told the Associated Press that he went to work for a "hedge fund" in order to, and I quote here, “mainly in order to learn about the relationships between financial markets and poverty.”

This was such an egregiously stupid lie that even the reporter called him on it. No matter--the answer was not aimed at the reporter. The answer was aimed at the Democratic Party faithful who have excused the flagrantly consumerist lifestyles of their fantastically wealthy leadership for decades, all the while lapping up their socialist nonsense about the evils of wealth and capital and the importance of the environment.

These are people who do not live in what the rest of us refer to as "Reality Land".

Someone with a Clue

This blog is mostly about serious stuff, politics and warfare and whatnot. But even in this "serious" incarnation, I'm not immune to the urge to discuss the lighter side of life.

Or is it lighter?

Country Music fans know who Darryl Worley is. He's really well known for his hit single Have you Forgotten, which Jen dislikes but I love. Since his first USO tour in 2002, a significant majority of his songs have either featured or mentioned the Armed Forces, especially those overseas. It might be the theme of the song, or we might get a mention as in Awful Beautiful Life. He even did one about the Civil War.

I heard this one on the radio the other night.

If you understand, you understand. Anyone who doesn't, can't. It is truly rare, and a mark of high artistic ability, that anyone not a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine can put it into words and images that begin to convey some of the sense for those who were never There, where ever There is for your generation.

09 May 2007

New Terrorists and Old Terrorists

First, the Old Terrorists.

In Iraq, it seems that everywhere I turn around, there is some serious Coalition butt-kicking going on.

Haifa Street, in Baghdad was once a byword for violence, so out of control that US Forces were restricted from operating on it for convoy operations. Now, there are cops, a low murder rate, and a constant security presence from both US and ISF. The US commander there is now working on getting trash cleaned up.

Two and a half years ago, no one cared how much trash was on Haifa Street.

Ramadi used to be the most dangerous city in the world. Thanks to the Ready First Brigade Combat Team and the local sheiks, you just don't hear news stories about Ramadi on a nightly basis like you used to. Here's one story on the town, while On Point has a story about the mayor and the Sons of Anbar tribal alliance.

Meanwhile, there's a new police academy in Kirkuk, and even al-Qaeda admits the Iraqis popped their spokesman.

Harry Reid can kiss my pasty white ass. We are winning. Slowly.

Meanwhile, another victory is won in, of all places, France. Nicholas Sarkozy, who appears to be as palatable and pro-US as anyone who can be elected in France could be, not only won the election, but forced the French Socialist Party to show its true colors.

Prior to the election, his Socialist opponent threatened that her followers would engage in violence if he won the vote. Sure enough, they rioted. Even the Guardian admitted as much, even if they minimized the issue. Granted, it wasn't terribly good rioting, but after all, we are talking of French Socialists.

What's a terrorist? Here's three definitions:

  • One who utilizes the systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve political objectives, while disguised as a civilian non-combatant. The use of a civilian disguise while on operations exempts the perpetrator from protection under the Geneva Conventions, and consequently if captured they are liable for prosecution as common criminals.
  • Use should be restricted specifically to references to people and nongovernmental organizations planning and executing acts of violence against civilian or noncombatant targets.
  • a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities

  • A radical who employs terror as a political weapon. . .

    So, would a Socialist who tries to use the threat of riots to influence elections count? Especially when her followers do in fact riot?

    In November 2004, a UN panel described terrorism as any act: "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act."

    Does this mean we get invade France as the next stop in the War on Terror? I wouldn't mind invading a place with a livable climate. . .

    04 May 2007

    AR 530-1 changes and why I will keep blogging.

    On 19 April, 2007, the United States Army released a now version of AR 530-1, Operational Security which became effective one day later, 20 April. The regulation is marked "For Official Use Only" which means that as this blog is a public forum, technically I am not supposed to quote from it.

    It was, however, released to the press in its entirety. Someone up in Washington is smoking way the hell too much crack. The contradiction between the Army's institutional culture of obsessive secrecy and the open nature of the 21st century American society is obvious. All information is out there if you know where to look.

    By the second of May, there was an article in Wired magazine.

    Reading paragraph 2-1g (quoted in full or in part in many of the articles I will link to--you can read it for yourself in the above-linked copy of the regulation) one way sounds as if ALL communication, including blogs has been banned by this regulation. This is the interpretation put upon it by a large number of folks out there. Captain's Quarters has taken this stance.

    Dadmanly posted a fairly alarmist interpretation of the regulation, and has since posted a "fact sheet" passed to the internet community by the Army. Frankly, as the "fact sheet" has no regulatory authority, I have no interest in it.

    Blackfive has an interesting story on the subject, with updates. In this, he makes a couple excellent points:

    "The soldiers who will attempt to fly under the radar and post negative items about the military, mission, and commanders will continue to do so under the new regs. The soldiers who've been playing ball the last few years, the vast, VAST, majority will be reduced. In my mind, this reg will accomplish the exact opposite of its intent. The good guys are restricted and the bad continue on...

    "Operational Security is of paramount importance. But we are losing the Information War on all fronts. Fanatic-like adherence to OPSEC will do us little good if we lose the few honest voices that tell the truth about The Long War."

    There is an interview with the author of the regulation floating around.

    "The regulation says that a Soldier or other U.S. Army personnel must consult with their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer prior to posting information in a public forum. However, this is where unit commander or organization leadership specifies in orders, policies, or directives how this will be done. Some units may require that Soldiers register their blog with the unit for identification purposes with occasional spot checks after an initial review. Other units may require a review before every posting. A private e-mail message to Family Members is not considered posting information in a public forum, but U.S. Army personnel are informed that unclassified e-mails can be intercepted and that they shouldn’t write anything that they wouldn’t say on an unsecure phone. While it is not practical to check all communication, especially private communication, the U.S. Army trusts that Soldiers and U.S. Army personnel will do the right things to maintain proper security when they understand their role in it."

    More relaxed interpretations are provided by An Army Lawyer and Maj (ret) Donovan at Castle Argghh!.

    So, with a huge hat tip to the Army Lawyer (probably the next entry in my blogroll when I get around to updating it), here's my take:

    Paragraph 2-1 has 10 sub-paragraphs. All ten of them refer to "critical and sensitive information". In 9 of those, the term 'critical and sensitive information' is used explicitly. In the 10th, subparagraph g (the so-called "blogger clause"), the term is left off. Piss-poor wording, IMHO. But that's the nature of regulations. In a 76 page regulation, there are going to be some wording screw-ups. Sub-sub paragraph 2-1g(2) does use the term 'critical and sensitive information.'

    Let's assume for a moment that the phrase 'information' was really meant, not 'critical and sensitive information'. I, and all 500,000+ Active Duty Soldiers, as well as all mobilized Reserve Component Soldiers, would be required to consult with their company commander before publishing:

    Letters to the Editor (local paper, Stars and Stripes, Army Times, National publications).

    Articles for professional magazines (officers get this more than junior enlisted, but hey, whatever).

    Posts to Dungeons and Dragons on-line forums.

    Emails sent to email lists for the fantasy football league.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    That's clearly ridiculous. No one could enforce such a regulation. No commander without serious mental problems would interpret this regulation in this manner.

    It is quite clear to me that the Army's Public Affairs Office was not included in this regulation. The Public Affairs branch is supporting Milblogging--I have been contacted by an NCO in Centcom's PA shop and I now receive regular email news releases--which, when I get around to writing about Iraq again, will be useful in providing point-by-point rebuttals of the anti-victory crowd's favorite talking points. This is not to say that this blog is endorsed by or a spokesperson for the United States Army, CENTCOM, or anyone else in the world, simply that the PAO in the Army is aware of and supportive to at least some forms of milblogging.

    One additional fact is that the regulation specifically makes it a responsibility of the commander of a unit to establish an OPSEC policy to include guidelines to enforce the problematic paragraph. In other words, if there is not an explicit set of guidelines for "consulting" with the commander prior to putting information out in a public setting, then it is not on the Soldier to create those guidelines, it is on the commander. The term "critical and sensitive information" is defined by two elements:

    The classification of the material in question, and

    Whether or not that information is an indicator of Essential Elements of Friendly Information.

    I don't blog critical and sensitive information. If something is classified, I don't discuss it, refer to it, or hint at my awareness of it. That is already a Federal criminal offense for civilians, and a court-martial offense for Soldiers. If something is a part of EEFI, I don't talk about it either. I don't discuss Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. I don't talk about mission timing or planned operations, or how we react to IED strikes, or where the latest mortar rounds impacted, other than in the most general of terms.

    I go one step further, in that I don't air dirty laundry on the damn internet. This is a public forum. While I am operating in my capacity as a citizen of the United States of America, not in my official capacity as a Non-commissioned Officer in the United States Army, I still abide by Articles 89, 91 and 134.

    Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
    Any warrant officer or enlisted member who--
    (1) strikes or assaults a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer, while that officer is in the execution of his office;
    (2) willfully disobeys the lawful order of a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer; or
    (3) treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office;
    shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
    Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.
    Now, as a professional, I accept restrictions on my personal conduct and speech. While I might gripe and complain to my wife, or a fellow NCO, or to certain other folks, I will not (generally) do so in public. I might have griped a little in the past, but I really don't believe in airing serious dirty laundry. That's conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces. No-go.

    Here is what I intend.

    If my new unit has a Blog policy and briefs me upon it, I will comply with that policy provided that the policy is in keeping with law and regulation.

    If my new unit does not have a Blog policy, I will not alter my blogging in any way.

    I will not post information that constitutes an OPSEC violation. I won't discuss whether or not my vehicle is broke, or when we are getting on an airplane to deploy to Iraq, or what part of Iraq we are going to. I will try to illuminate the positive aspects of our operations without revealing any technical or tactical details which would help any smelly goatherder kill me or my buddies. If I dislike or feel contempt for any elements of my chain of command, I will not express those feelings on the blog in such a way as violate Articles 89 or 91.

    I will not hide what I am doing on this website.

    I will not bring it to my chain of command's attention unnecessarily either.

    I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!