31 March 2008

Eternal Memory

SSG Keith "Matt" Maupin, USAR was confirmed Killed in Action based on DNA testing of a set of remains recovered last week.

POW Network
Associated Press
Yahoo News
Michelle Malkin
NB: Michelle Malkin actually gets SSG Maupin's rank right, unlike the AP. Isn't that telling?
Blackfive - post from 2005 on the Maupin family's donation of computers to a computer center in Iraq.
Columbus Dispatch
Patriot Guard - It does not surprise me that Mr. Maupin is also an active Patriot Guard Rider.

It is something that few outside the Armed Forces understand, and almost no foreigner comprehends, but the United States does not leave our fallen behind. Even when we know they are dead (and if you don't show up after a week or two, the odds are pretty good), we never stop looking. There are teams still poking through the jungles of South East Asia, and recently the DoD sent a team to a remote area of the Himalayas in India looking for some transport aircraft that went down "flying the Hump" during WWII. It is a commitment intended to sustain all United States fighting men when cut off, surrounded, lost, or captured.

We have fulfilled out commitment to SSG Maupin and his family.

I will never accept defeat
I will never quit

I will never leave a fallen comrade

26 March 2008

And now, for something completely different.

Tilapia, sauteed in olive oil, and accompanied by a glass of wine.

And some mighty fine chanting. This hymn is a favorite of mine, being rather consonant with my frame of mind of late. Unfortunately, my parish held liturgy this morning, when I was occupied with teaching folks driver's education, Army Style. Yes, I'm a Master Driver. That should frighten anyone familiar with my driving record.

Anyway, this Feast is one that I have come to love. The veneration of the Theotokos was probably the greatest stumbling block to my conversion to Orthodoxy. I mean, I could understand most of the Saints pretty easily, but the Theotokos is everywhere in Orthodox liturgics.

And now, I say with St. Proklos,

O desired and wondrous gathering! O nature, celebrate that whereby honor is rendered to Woman; rejoice, O human race, that in which the Virgin is glorified. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom 5:20). The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here. She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of Second Adam, the place where the union of natures (divine and human) was accomplished, and the Counsel of salvific reconciliation was affirmed.

Who has ever seen, who has ever heard, that the Limitless God would dwell within a womb? He Whom the Heavens cannot circumscribe is not limited by the womb of a Virgin!

He Who is born of woman is not just God and He is not just Man. He Who is born has made woman, the ancient gateway of sin, the gateway of salvation. Where evil poured forth its poison, bringing on disobedience, there the Word made a living temple for Himself, bringing obedience there.

. . .

What an incomprehensible mystery! I see the miracles, and I confess that He is God. I see the sufferings, and I cannot deny that He is Man. Emmanuel opened the doors of nature as man, and as God He preserved the seal of virginity intact. He emerged from the womb at birth the same way He entered through the Annunciation. Wondrously was He both conceived and born: He entered without passion, and He emerged without impairment.

20 March 2008

The Next 455 Days

The next 3 months are going to be a bit chaotic.

31 MAR - Sign out on leave.
Approx 1 APR - Come in to work while on leave in order to get promoted. Provided, of course, that my name actually shows up on the April promotion list. The list is supposed to come out today. I'm checking the website obsessively to find out when the list shows up.
11 APR - Sign in off of leave. Some time before then, I need to get my security clearance periodic review squared away and all blocks checked and forms filled out. I will likely do this while on leave also.
17 APR - Report to BNCOC at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
5 JUN - Graduate BNCOC.
Some time in JUN - Deploy back to Iraq. Embrace the Suck.

Right now, the deployment is scheduled for 12 months only. I won't be out kickin' ass and looking for IEDs on the side of the road. Instead, my assignment will be to a training team that is going to go teach other Engineers to go looking for IEDs. Translation: I'll be moving around a lot, and probably have a fair bit of time for blogging. But everything I DO will classified up to the gills (enemy and friendly Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, which are the ultimate no-go territory for milbloggers) and I won't be able to actually blog about it. No fun outside the wire missions, no shakey photography of controlled detonations, nothing cool in any way.

To say that I am less than thrilled is a bit of an understatement. I love leading Soldiers, for all that Momma's Precious Darlings and Special Snowflakes give me a pounding headache on occasion. Leading Soldiers in combat is an honor and a privilege and one of the few things that I can honestly say that I love fiercely.

However, this is something the Army wants to form teams to do. So I shall go forth and do. It's a decision way above my paygrade. I'm an NCO. I don't write policy, I just execute it. Whatever.

Anyway, there is also something else in the way of format modification in the works for this blog. We'll see how that pans out.

Staff Duty, AGAIN

For those of you who have never experienced the joys of the DA 6 duty roster, let me explain one of the quirks.

As many (if not all) of you know, my last name starts with the letter. I'm the only NCO in my company with the initial letter.

The rosters run separately for weekday duties and for weekend duties. So when a new First Sergeant comes in and decides to set up a new, correct DA6 roster, he starts over.


For both rosters. Which means that SGT(P) ME is first for weekend duty and first for work week duty. Weekend:Work Week ratio is about 2:5 so by the time it gets to the letter C or D, it's been uncoupled enough that no one works twice in the same week. I, on the other hand, can hardly avoid working twice in the same week.

If I couldn't take a joke, I wouldn't have re-enlisted.

I've got three things going on in my mind here, at least blogging essay-wise. Heller vs. DC, Barack Obama's speech, and IVAW's Winter Soldier Bullshit conference.

But first, something better. My lovely wife is the sexy one quoted briefly.

Heller vs. DC.

The oral arguments are on-line. Other places as well, it's all over the place. Other, more qualified folks have put out plenty of commentary. Other, less qualified people have put out plenty of commentary. On the internet it's hard to tell. This story appears to be typical of the media.

From where I sit, it looks positive for the side of those of us who prefer the Constitution as written. You know, where "shall not be infringed" means "shall not be infringed". I have a loaded pistol on my night table, which is one of many reasons I can't vote Democrat. I admit, I have a hard time compromising on this issue.

Barack Obama's little speech.

Let me be frank. Rev. Wright is a heretic, and an exceedingly offensive one at that. He preaches an ethnocentric heresy in which Jesus Christ is cast as a black man sent to minister to black people and whose opposition is not Satan, but white men.

"Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love."

That is Black Liberation Theology. That is school from which Rev. Wright draws his heresy. That is the Prof. Cone whose theological authority Rev. Wright was appealing to on the Sean Hannity Show.

That is heresy, and worse than that, it is heresy which espouses revolution, violence, and hate. Anathema on him and all who think like him.

That is Rev. Wright. Enough on him.

Barack Obama has been a member of his church for twenty years. Barack Obama has referred to him as a "mentor" and a "spiritual adviser" in the past. He has spun it a number of ways in the past week or so. This has failed, because there is no way you can put "God Damn America" into a context that it was allegedly taken out of and claim that it is a good thing. There is no way to argue that Rev. Wright has only made these statements on rare occasions. So Barack decided to attempt a new tack.

Here's the speech itself. The Belmont Club gives the speech also, but with some words about the context of the speech. Victor Davis Hanson asks a couple questions Barack left unanswered.

I'm disgusted. Barack says,

"I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy."

When? Where? I haven't heard it. I've heard a lot of quibbling.

"Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."

Nope. I have never stood in an Orthodox liturgy while some madman espoused heresy and disloyalty to my nation. If I did, I would take steps to bring the madman to heel, or to remove myself from that heretical nonsense.

Anyway, whatever. I still ain't going to vote for him.

I was considering blogging about WSII, but I am going to do a bit more research and hit it up later. Initial impressions are underwhelming.

17 March 2008

Staff Duty Sucks, but I write a lot.

Staff Duty.


And I have it again on Wednesday, which at least turns my rather cheesy 3-day for Western Easter into a 4-day. I already wrote about the commemoration of the day on my Other Blog. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with any serious insanity.

Grim's Hall has a thought-provoking little philosophical piece on the place of folks like me in Christianity. I'm always inclined to think highly of an argument that involves quoting GK Chesterton twice.

Speaking of good ol' GK, let me share the following quotes on the modern spirit:

"A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt -- the Divine Reason."

"At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table."

"To sum up our contention so far, we may say that the most characteristic current philosophies have not only a touch of mania, but a touch of suicidal mania. "

GK on courage:
"But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which is a disdain of death; not the Chinese courage, which is a disdain of life."

However, not all my thought on this day is of such a high and lofty mode. There is also the muck of partisan politics and world affairs to consider.

Rurik on Kosovo, which is a well-reasoned and cogent argument. It is, sadly, uninspiring to me but probably not far off on the solution, which is for the rest of the world to simply butt the hell out and let the Serbs settle it on their own terms. Sucks to be Albanian, but there it is. There is nothing noble about the Albanian cause, and it has the deep disadvantage of being an Islamic cause, and that's a Bad Thing in terms of the Long War.

The EU, having more or less toppled the United Kingdom, is having problems with, of all places, the Baltic Republics. Plucky is the main word I've always had come to mind when dealing with Lithuania and Latvia and Estonia. It used to be the word I associated with Finland, but now "Fascist" is.

I've been griping about the lack of Global Warming lately, most notably when we got snowed out of a range (freezing rain, sleet, and lightning which finally shut it down) during the week before last. But apparently this is not merely a local trend. Global Warming is bunk. Throw another log on the fire, and get those greenhouse gases flowing!

Barak Obama is almost becoming too easy a target these days. I mean, check it out. Now, Barak is not stupid enough to mouth these phrases, but if you choose to call a man your "spiritual advisor" you get tarred with the same brush. His minister isn't the only one of his Chicago associates that I have huge questions about. It appears that he has ties to PLO agents, which makes sense given that his pastor is anti-Israel and anti-Semetic (in addition to being anti-white). And anti-United States, which is probably most relevant given that his loyal parishioner is running for president of said nation.

In other Partisan Political News, we have two outbreaks of intellectual honesty among liberals.

David Mamet has decided he can no longer be a liberal.

"And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace."

Kenneth Theisen has come out of the closet in Berkeley. He's come under a LOT of fire from Conservative bloggers but I'm going to stick up for him, as much as I can. Mr. Theisen is a vile, slimy piece of work who should be deported, but AT LEAST HE'S HONEST!

"If you 'support the troops' in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the other more than 100 countries in which they are located, you also objectively support U.S. hegemony in the world. I believe that the vast majority of people who say they support the troops do not wish to support U.S. imperialism, but that is what they are really doing by putting forth the slogan of 'support the troops'.”

"They are unjust, illegal, and immoral wars. Can you support the troops in these wars? Why is this any different from a German in World War II saying, 'I oppose the wars launched by Hitler, but I support the troops of the German army which are making these wars possible'.”

Thank you, Mr. Theisen. Thank you for a moment of unbridled honesty and clarity and common moral sense. It's only obvious. If you believe that the war in Iraq is "unjust, illegal, and immoral" you CANNOT support it, and by extension you cannot support me as I re-enlist to continue to fight it. If you believe it was not the best possible course of action for the United States, you can support me. But you cannot support me without supporting my actions.

Thank you for being honest. Thank you for being clear and to the point. Thank you, Mr. Theisen, for not hiding behind a cloak of hypocrisy. At least I know where I stand. You may be a damned fool, and a coward, and a parlor pink who will never amount to shit except among your fellow socialist schoolboys, but at least you are honest!

Now of course, some Bleeding Heart Type will say, "You said he should be deported. Shame on you for opposing his free speech!" Others will recall that I have stated that this sort of stuff is tantamount to treason and support of the enemy, namely al-Qaeda. Turns out that I'm right after all--Harvard has gone and done a study statistically correlating certain types of statements in Western media with attacks on US troops. Which I could have told you about--and did, years ago--based on my studies of the Philippine Insurgency. But I don't have a degree in Economics.

Along the same lines, I've found this little piece. Kinda makes my little rant the other day seem not quite as irrational as you might think, no? Trends, folks. Trends.

Meanwhile Colonels are arguing with each other, and getting busted by my old Brigade Commander, the Marine Corps is using big game hunters as trainers, an Archbishop turns up deceased, and the IVAW's little festival is falling through.

I've give the Final Word to Greyhawk.

13 March 2008

Busted, Decisively

I mentioned that my wife and I were planning to do some experiments to verify one odd claim made by a certain IVAW member, one Jennifer Sprager, that she poisoned detainees by putting MRE heater material into cigarettes.

First reported here in the local press, this was repeated over at Obiter Dictum.

Parts of her story have already been debunked by Chickenhawk Express.

But I was curious about the MRE heater question. For those playing the Home Game, MREs come with a heater package consisting of a light green plastic bag with a package of some sort of stiff fabric containing a gray powder. You rip open the bag, shove a sealed package of food inside, and add water. The powder reacts to the water and heats up, giving of foul-smelling vapors in the process which you aren't supposed to sniff as they displace oxygen, although they are harmless enough in and of themselves.

Step one was to ask (for safety purposes) what happens when you attempt to burn some of the gray powder. So I slit one of the heaters, took a couple pinches of powder, and applied a BBQ lighter (Weber brand, in case it matters to someone), and got. . . Nothing. It doesn't burn. I held flame on it for two minutes, and got no burning at all.

Then I attempted to roll it into a cigarette. This powder has the consistency of sand, so you have to use a good bit of tobacco to hold it in. If you do not hold the cigarette level, you get bits of gray powder falling out of it. The cigarette lights, but taking a drag on it results in a mouthful of gray powder. It is variously described as "nasty," "disgusting," and "tastes like licking a salty engine block".

So. . .

If you roll MRE heater crud into cigarettes, it tends to fall out. If you attempt to smoke the cigarette, it tastes obviously revolting and tampered with. No one can stomach the taste long enough to actually poison themselves with it.

As Mythbusters would say, this one is "BUSTED"

10 March 2008

Watch This Space

The first question when assessing a story that one hears is, "Is it physically possible?"

You know what I mean--if a guy claims there were six guys inside an M-1 tank on patrol, you gotta figure the rest of his story is pretty sketchy.

So, in the interests of Science, I am going to fact-check the physical possibility of "Jen" and her MRE-heater cigarettes.

I am ashamed, as a Combat Engineer, to admit that I have never set an MRE heater or the crud inside them on fire. Never really had a good opportunity while I had the subject on my mind. Pyromania plays only a small part in my burning curiosity as to precisely how this works.

Tomorrow, I'll be at a range and MREs are on the menu for lunch. I should be able to snag a heater unused. I will stop by the "Smoke Shack" just outside East Gate and pick up rolling papers and low-grade tobacco. I figure that this will give me (a non-smoker) a far better chance to roll something that looks decent that my original plan, which was to buy a pack of cigarettes and slit them open with a razor blade.

Tomorrow, I'll do a test run or two and post preliminary results. However, Saturday my lovely Lady Wife will be present with a camera and stopwatch to run multiple iterations and post pictures and time-lines.

Does it burn?
Does it burn without spectacular pyrotechnics that could not be mistaken for normal cigarette burning?
Does it give off a smell that is noticeable?

I suspect (I remember you're supposed to have a hypothesis from all those stupid middle school science projects) that the answer is, respectively, yes, no, and yes. If that is so, we'll have to call this one "Busted". For it to be credible, it has to be yes, yes, and no.

Obama-mania, and Badasses

I've done a couple posts with themes, so it's about time to do one with collections of links.

Obama-mania seems to have settled down. SNL made fun of him, NAFTAgate has blown up in his face, one of his advisors lost her damn mind, and his latest endorsement came from narco-terrorist communists in South America. There's questions about finance.

His biblical exegesis is raising eyebrows. One of his good buddies and fundraisers is on trial.

He's even been caught waffling on whether or not he'll withdraw troops from Iraq, which amuses me greatly.

I'm giggling with glee. Yes, that's right folks. I am enjoying this presidential campaign a great deal. Here's how I see it. If McCain isn't caught in bed with a 12 year old boy between now and November, the Democrats are going to spend the next 5 months savaging each other. If we are lucky, Hillary will file suit to attempt to force the party to seat her delegates from Michigan and Florida. Frantic political deal-making inside the convention will play against scenes of street violence from anti-war groups who don't feel that the Democrats are moving fast enough to scuttle the Iraq War. After four days of this (or if we get REALLY lucky, 8 or 9 or 10 days if there are enough deadlocked votes) the American Peepul (bless their stinky feet) are going to be so sick of all things Democratic that their ears will bleed upon mention of either Hillary or Barak.

And between 1 SEP and Election Day, all McCain will have to do is ask the country if that's what they want for the next four years. He'll play all the sound bites that the Democrats have obligingly compiled for him.

In Other News:


We have British Badasses. I wish to draw your attention to the sentence:

“My stomach was cut open, so I tucked my shirt in to keep it together and kept firing until more lads from the platoon arrived.”

That's badass.

We have an American Female Airborne Medic Badass.

"After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said."

Not quite as badass as tucking your intestines in your shirt and fighting on, but commendable non the less.

We have former Presidential Badasses.

Roosevelt received letters from army cavalrymen complaining about having to ride 25 miles a day for training and, in response, Teddy rode horseback for 100 miles, from sunrise to sunset, at 51 years old, effectively rescinding anyone's right to complain about anything, ever again.

While campaigning for a third term, Roosevelt was shot by a madman and, instead of treating the wound, delivered his campaign speech with the bleeding, undressed bullet hole in his chest.

I doubt Barak Obama, should he become elected President of the United States, would make even the top twenty in this list.

We have Danish Cartoonist Badasses. Not quite in the same category as fighting with your guts tucking into your shirt, but I still like anyone who will, in the face of death threats and crazed babbling from the Muslim world, publish anything that closes with,

"We reserve the right to not let ourselves be intimidated by people who meet verbal arguments with violence."

Not nearly as badass, but nearly as stressful as fighting with your innards in your tunic is being a general and commanding thousands of bad-asses. (Soon to be) GEN Odierno is moving on to ACoS. I remember when he was a 'lowly' division commander. Awww. . .

Journalism is not a profession one normally associates with badassery, but JD Johannes is the exception to the rule. Check out his film trailer. I'm planning to fix the link to his blog on the right, it seems to have gotten broken.

What's the opposite of a Badass?

A sniveling punk.

Let me share a couple with you.

A judge who would deny a 17 year old permission to enlist in the US Marine Corps is a sniveling punk.

This article highlights two sets of sniveling punks.

First, "Victims had drill holes in their bodies and deep gouges caused by blow torches." Anyone who would do that to a tied up helpless victim is a punk. Second, anyone who believes that this is somehow justified by America's actions or policy is also a punk.

Finally, Rurik makes the cogent argument that anyone who filed for Conscientious Objector status after enlisting in the Armed Forces is a sniveling punk. I'd modify that to argue that you should have the opportunity to do so free of consequence after you return from a deployment provided you fought honorably during your deployment. Other than that, you just defrauded the United States government and people out of monies for a service you are too cowardly to render.

09 March 2008

From Whence Comes the Money?

Unanswered questions that I've had for a while regarding IVAW. . .

Whence comes the money? IVAW offers to cover funding for veterans to fly to Colorado for the new "Winter Soldier" hearings. Not chump change, really. There's money floating around here somewhere.

Let's play Connect The Dots. I like that game.

IVAW is VFP. From their website,

"Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Boston." They have their tax-exempt status through VFP, so to me, it's a daughter organization.

IVAW is also The Action Mill, since The Action Mill seems to provide a majority of the staff at the national level for IVAW. I can't find much more about The Action Mill, except some amusing shots of their founder being arrested for protesting some planned casinos and a reference to his former job at Resource Generation. Resource Generation is a socialist organization that uses the rhetoric of class warfare to guilt young rich kids into donating money to progressive causes. I think there is more to it than that They seem to have a penchant for the theatrical, as does IVAW.

Back to Veterans for Peace.

What does VFP believe? A list of causes they have supported answers this question.

"closing of the Army's infamous School of the Americas,"

"Today we continue to work for an end to that conflict through our Korea Peace Campaign."

"VFP sent fact-finding delegations to this violence-torn land and educated U.S. citizens to the US military involvement, the murder of union leaders by para-militaries and other human rights abuses,"

"we opposed US sponsored wars and continue to support people struggling for their rights and dignity. We regularly send election observers to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador in support of justice and peace."

Translation for the Progressive-Speak Impaired:
"We support the DPRK, FARC, the FSLN and FMLN."


Look, good old-fashioned communists. . .

How 1969.

VVAW is currently a smokescreen, since VVAW's National Coordinator is ALSO the President of Veterans for Peace. Same leadership means same ideology. But VVAW is also heavily involved in Communist organizations, and was at one point more or less controlled by Maoists.

You find IVAW, VVAW, and VFP hanging out with Front Organizations such as United For Peace and Justice, which is a Front Organization founded because folks with access to the internet were starting to connect the dots and realize that anti-war organizations are largely run by Communist retreads from the 1960s. They kind of screwed themselves by installing Leslie Cagan as the co-chair, since she was a no-kidding member of the CPUSA. WTF? Couldn't they find someone else to serve as a figurehead? Doesn't slow them down much.

Well, I haven't quite gotten the answers I was looking for. I can speculate about where some of these organizations get their money, and other folks have done so in more detail than I can. But the question continues to bother me.

Either way, I actually wish the IVAW luck in their Winter Soldier hearings. If they vet those giving testimony carefully, and if they put enough detail into making credible allegations, maybe some of those guilty could be prosecuted. I'm sure that after being burned again and again by liars and fakers, IVAW's vetting procedures have been tightened up considerably. Hopefully there will be something better than the silliness quoted in lgf about some MP allegedly putting MRE heater stuff in cigarettes to kill detainees. Because seriously, even the stupidest Iraqi is going to notice the smell and appearance, and either way, the amount of stuff you can stuff into a cigarette isn't going to kill anyone.

07 March 2008


Writing is, for me, something that comes and goes. I feel inspired, or I don't. And then if I am inspired, and I have time, I write. I have not had these two coincide for some time now.

But did I get a wakeup call today or what?

The "Anti-war" (anti-)American Left, in a wonderful display of "supporting the troops", decided to engage in an act of armed insurrection in New York City.

In the name of "peace," someone has decided to step up from moonbat protesting and petty harassment to the Real Deal. Some people have compared being a Leftist to having a mental disorder. I say the real issue with the American Left is that they are dumb. American Soldiers get bombed all the time in Iraq by people with a lot more expertise and balls (not that this is saying much) and we don't surrender nor quit. Do you seriously think this shit is going to put us off our feed?

If you, the transnational socialists of the United States, wish to play by these rules, bring it. You will not prevail. Do you seriously think that by attacking us, you will intimidate us? No, you will harden us against you. How many of us do you believe empathize with your city-dwelling rich white politically correct yuppie asses? You have removed yourself from our Armed Forces. You have attacked and demonstrated contempt for both the Armed Forces and the communities most Soldiers are raised in. If you wish to separate yourself fully and THEN engage in violence, you may expect to be answered in kind. Decisively. Who will defend you? You cannot defend yourselves. Your sympathizers are largely disarmed and passive, for you have told them that 'The Government' is the omnipotent answer to all problems, and that they are helpless except when acting through you.

If you set the preconditions for civil war and ignite that civil war, the Republic may or may not survive. It will not survive in its current form. The form it takes will not be to the liking of those who are gleefully precipitating the civil war.

"If we sunder ourselves internally, if we accept the false divisions, then we bring with those false divisions all their ills, all their blood of centuries. Where then, can we find trust? If we cannot see the difference between the evil that stands here before us with blood-soaked hands and what we are told is the evil we do in bringing peace and plenty to foreign shores, where then is the trust? If we cannot remember who we are, if we cannot comprehend what it means to be this shining light on the hill, this country of wonder and riches, this . . . America, then we shall surely slip into the long dark night that the enemies of our freedoms so richly desire.

"We are told, always, that there is no black and white. That there are only shades of gray. This is a picture that is held up to us. But it is only a picture and it is false. Each day, each of us makes countless choices, and each of these choices is black and white. If we choose, over and over again, as we have for so long, to choose the black choices because they are easier, to choose 'me' over 'us,' to choose division and strife over assimilation and trust, then we slowly slip into that black night.

"I do not so choose."
--John Ringo, The Last Centurion

Normally, I endorse Uncle Jimbo's rules for dealing with moonbats.

But when you start throwing bombs, the rules change.

If we can kick al-Qaeda in the teeth so badly that we are about to hand what used to be the most dangerous city in the world over to the Iraqis, along the way teaching Iraqis to shoot and setting up a democratic government capable of making hard decisions, what do you think we can't accomplish? Of course, you don't know about these things. Why not? I wonder.

Speaking of which, Palestinians are At It Again. If there is a people less ready for self-determination, I cannot imagine what people it is.

On the other hand, every time I'm ready to completely write the British off, they prove me wrong.

Lately, Cornet Wales of the Blues and Royals was the case in point, managing to deploy to Afghanistan and stay there 77 days before the media frenzy wigged out his superiors to the point that they returned him to the UK. This decision makes me wonder precisely what the British Army high command is using in lieu of testicles, which were once well know and were even used as a substitute for brains among Englishmen of officer rank. Badgers Forward explores the question of the cornet's hair, most notably seen here as being outrageously long to this American NCO's eye. But different cultures produce different styles. At one time regulations required Soldiers to grow facial hair.

There are good folks in every culture, though. Even the softest liberal society gone to rot can produce heroes, even if they must join another nation's Army to be allowed to live up to their ideals.

"And what are you doing so that we can have peace? How much longer do you think you'd be sitting around drinking coffee in fancy Berlin cafés if people like me didn't exist? If there was nobody to make sure you could live in peace? If there was nobody to fight terrorism?"
--SPC Jeffrey Jamaleldine

Lest anyone should think I'm engaging in narcisstic "I love Soldiers" crap, there's always a Special Snowflake or two in any crowd, and this post amused me to no end. I love Barracks Lawyers who think that they can twist regs in any way they like for their own purposes. Simple fact of life: Professional Soldiers don't engage in politics in uniform. I write on politics--but not in a professional capacity. My experiences inform my politics, and I don't mind explaining why they do, but damn! You don't see me engaging in political protest in uniform.

3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.

I love their argument. You can always wear a uniform at a protest, because gosh darn it, you're protesting! No one will confuse that with an authorized activity! Neener, neener. . .

Whatever. The credibility of the IVAW has always been shaky to me. I've met precisely two members. One of them was a dirtbag and a coward who cracked under fire downrange. The other was an honest, sincere individual who I would cheerfully characterize as misguided, and a poor fit for the Army in any case. This is not a representative sample by any means. If that's the sort of logic they use to act in an unprofessional manner (a stricter standard than mere regulations, but I wouldn't expect That Guy to understand the distinction--and every organization always has That Guy) then they pretty much pigeonhole themselves. That Guy is often a very bright person who is simply convinced that rules don't apply to him. Usually they have overlooked something obvious like, for instance, AR 670-1 para 1-10j(1) and 1-10j(2) . There are folks who dissect IVAW in more detail than I am inclined to do. But of course, IVAW will represent itself as the spokesman for all servicemen and the lie will be accepted by those who wish it to be true.