Thursday, April 27, 2006
Instapundit has a good post up on the NIMBY - Wind Farm issue, and one of his readers (a Ms. Jackson) sent in a nice shot of the Tehachapi wind farm as seen from Mojave Airport.
I left that area (the Antelope Valley) in 2003 after living there for a decade. I watched the number and size of windmills grow while flying in and out of Edwards AFB for a decade before that (been blinded flying over the solar farm east of there too). Ms Jackson is spot on in everything she says.
However, there is a lot NOT to love about them.
My last boss in CA is a 'Birder'. I consider him a responsible conservationist (rational) and not a rabid 'environmentalist' (emotive) by any measure - He IS an engineer after all. He's a member of the Audubon Society and often burns some of his vacation time in the mountains just north of Tehachapi doing volunteer work collecting data on migratory birds. It turns out that the Tehachapi wind farm is planted right in the middle of the Pacific Flyway, one of the major U.S. migratory bird routes. (They have pretty much the same problem at Altamont.)
Birders (like him) refer to these wind generators as "Bird Cuisinarts" or "fill-in-bird-name-here" Cuisinarts. At certain times of the year dead birds are known to pile up at the bases of towers.
Hmmmm..."Well Sited" eh?
Here's a map of the major migratory bird routes in the United States.
And here is where the best wind (class 3 or above) for wind turbines is found in the U.S.
Now, here's an overlay of the two maps (grey areas indicate suitable winds):
It makes one wonder: perhaps smart birds use the wind to their advantage, or that the same conditions that create high winds (like mountain ridges) might also have some other aspect (shelter?) that facilitates bird migration?
It also irritates me that when advocates of Wind Power talk about “waste streams” they never mention the waste stream from manufacturing wind generator systems and infrastructure. I live just off a major interstate and I frequently see trucks with loads of huge generator blades and housings made out of composites – and composite work tends to have nasty waste byproducts, and electronics often do as well.
Wind power conceivably has lower or more benign waste streams compared to many other energy sources but nonetheless there still has to be one. I say conceivably, because I don't think even the industry really knows: they’re taken at face value as being ‘better’ than other power sources.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Looks like UW Student Senate is reconsidering their earlier transgressions and is moving towards a memorial for alumnus Pappy Boyington after all....of sorts. According to this article, Col Boyington's memorial will be part of memorial to a larger group of UW alumni who were awarded the Medal of Honor. Any memorial would still have to be OK'd by the University, but that seems promising given UW also started a scholarship in Boyington's name last week.
Most interesting is the reporter's brief mention of how UW
"is also trying to cool public tempers that student leaders raised when, among other things, some questioned whether the university should honor a Marine who had killed people or another rich white man."As we discussed earlier, the kinds of things like the statements referenced above were what really drew the public's ire in the first place.
The article closes with some mention of related student initiatives:
One calls for a UW student to publicly apologize for comments she made about the military and read a book about Boyington -- or lose her senate seat.I REALLY hope the first one passes, especially if it affects the hypocrite who made the "another rich white man" crack.
Another asks the senate to support military recruiters' right to be on campus.
A third calls for UW students to recognize members of the military who have died in Iraq with a campus monument.
Probably one of a series
SO DOES THE FACT THAT BUSH IS HALTING DEPOSITS TO THE STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE mean that we shouldn't expect a shooting war with Iran any time soon?No.
It just means don't expect a long one.
Monday, April 24, 2006
This weekend, Jane Harman had a meltdown on one of the talking head shows.
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee complained on Sunday that the fired CIA employee who leaked classified information to the Washington Post about top secret interrogations of al Qaeda suspects was being held to a higher standard than President Bush.Um….no.
First off, this is (among other things) a battle of semantics, and I’m tired of giving the lead to the spinmeisters on the left. ‘Leaks’ happen when you have radiator hoses, or don’t change your kid’s diapers in time. ‘Leaks’ is just too dammed cute a word for Criminal Disclosure of Classified Information to An Unauthorized Person which, at the minimum, is in violation of Title 18 USC, but due to the nature of the information might also be in violation of Title 50 USC.
"While leaks are wrong, I think it is totally wrong for our president, in secret, to selectively declassify certain information and to empower people in his White House to leak it to favored reporters so they can discredit political enemies,"It is neither a ‘leak’ nor an Unauthorized Disclosure, Jane, it is a Declassification and Public Release of Information. That you do not like that it was done, or how it was done means absolutely diddly-squat.
"That is wrong, that is unprecedented," Harman claimed. "I have never, ever heard about that happening in other administrations."
Then why it is a "Washington aphorism" that "The ship of state is the only vessel that leaks from the top?"
"[Bush] wasn't breaking the law because the president claims to have power that no one else has," she complained.This is my favorite, Jane.
Tip: He DOES have powers that no one else has.
You're "The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee"?
"He should be reminded that . . . . the inherent powers of the presidency are not unlimited."Why? Between you lefties and the RINOs, Congress often stymies him. I think it far more likely Jane, that YOU need to be reminded that the inherent powers of Congress ARE limited.
Volokh Conspiracy posts more on the latest 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hijinks. We are in material agreement, with him (of course) providing far more meat to the argument concerning supposed and selective rights to not be offended as well as the other major aspects of the case.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
in population, that is....
Power Line has a good post about and link to a Washington Times article on the future of Russian demographics. According to the post, at this birth rate, there will be 1/2 as many Russians in 2050 than today.
How 'Russian' will it be, when they aren't making any more Russians? I wonder who will be replacing them? Let's see, what cultures and nationalities are on their borders....
I can't blame the Russian people though: I wouldn't want a "Putin" future for my kid either.
Eugene Volokh has the temporarily alarming story of more 9th Circuit Lunacy.
Why ‘temporarily’? This will probably be overturned (read the dissenting opinion linked in the article – the Supreme Court can just cut and paste their own names and court info over it and stick it to Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s forehead.
What makes me think this ruling will fall by the wayside?. If one follows this link to a great Matt Rees article, you’ll find Judge Reinhardt was ‘probably one of the most overturned judges in history’ when the article was written…in 1997. He has to be THE most overturned black robe in history by now.
The Judge is the personification of the 9th Circuit. Which reminds me of a joke I heard in a law class:
Your Honors, we move that the findings of the 9th Circuit be overturned....and on other grounds as well.-------
Just checked before posting. Instapundit has already gotten the word out. Dang. Never get in a public argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel and never think you can scoop a blogger that has a laptop grafted into his lap.
I was told my punch line was "off".....since corrected
First Volokh wrote:
Tyler Harper wore an anti-homosexuality T-shirt to school, apparently responding to a pro-gay-rights event put on at the school by the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school. On the front, the T-shirt said, "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned," and on the back, it said "Homosexuality is Shameful." The principal insisted that Harper take off the T-shirt. Harper sued, claiming this violated his First Amendment rights…….And then Carpenter wrote that the outcome was ‘The Right Result Under a Bad Precedent’:
The problem is that it's expressed in a context that is already a living hell for gay kids in many public schools, as it probably was in this one, making it difficult for them to concentrate on getting an education.Let’s do a hypothetical shoe-on-the-other-foot thing, by merging Volokh’s description of the apparent cause of the young man wearing his "Homosexuality is Shameful” t-shirt with Carpenter’s “Right Result-Bad Precedent” post:
When you're a closeted gay kid sitting in math class behind that guy wearing that T-shirt staring you in the face the whole time, and you know you have nobody to talk to about how it demeans your most intimate feelings, your whole world starts to look pretty desolate. At the very least, it's hard to focus on hypotenuses. Judge Kozinski put the point well in his dissent, when he said he was sympathetic to the argument that "students in school are a captive audience and should not be forced to endure speech that they find offensive and demeaning." Such messages, he wrote, "may well interfere with the educational experience even if the two students never come to blows or even have words about it.
The problem is that [the pro Gay Rights Event is] expressed in a context that is already a living hell for [many religious] kids in many public schools, as it probably was in this one, making it difficult for them to concentrate on getting an education.Seems to me the school facilitated the imposition of a hostile environment upon the student who was just trying to get his POV across.
When you're a [devout and traditional Christian] kid sitting in math class [the day of the big Gay Rights Event with advocates getting] in [your] face the whole time, and you know you have nobody to talk to about how it demeans your most intimate feelings, your whole world starts to look pretty desolate. At the very least, it's hard to focus on hypotenuses. Judge Kozinski put the point well in his dissent, when he said he was sympathetic to the argument that "students in school are a captive audience and should not be forced to endure speech that they find offensive and demeaning." Such messages, he wrote, "may well interfere with the educational experience even if the two students never come to blows or even have words about it.
I posted in the comments of Carpenter’s post:
Actually, the Kozinski point seems pretty lame to me, because it was not the authorities who were imposing views upon a captive audience in the case that was before the court. If the case had been about suing over the school sanctioning of a ‘Big Gay Event’ with the resultant imposition upon the children/others who feel homosexuality is wrong, then there might have been some logic to it. As it is, it looks like we are just one step closer to only certain segments of the population having “divine right to never be offended”, at least until the ruling gets overturned (which I believe will happen).
The ballyhooed ‘sonar-evading’, super-fast “Iranian” torpedo caused a brief bubble of water-cooler talk in the aerospace sector when it was announced a few days ago. At MilitaryOutpost.com is a good ‘public consumption’ summarization of the weapon type, probable origin, and where it fits in to the ‘threat’ equation of the U.S. Navy.
Russia seems to be of two minds as to whether or not the source of the Iranian weapon is a Russian design.
I have my own opinions as to how we will neuter the Iranian Navy if so required. If I had a super-secret blog buddy, I would ask them to keep the info in a sealed envelop under a set of Funk & Wagnals encyclopedia, until if and when it happens. Thus, when the time comes the world might marvel at my prescient ability…or more likely point out my amazing grasp of the obvious.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
We Don't Need More Troops, Heck We're Cutting Back!
Some might be surprised to find one of the military services 'downsizing' in the middle of the War on Terror, but it is true.
The Air Force is trying to downsize, while faced with (according to some of the links below) extremely high retention rates. They're in the middle of Phase II of "Force Reshaping" right now, and as the widely circulated letter below indicates, all is NOT well with the morale of the force. I am told that the individual involved got the letter vetted by his commander prior to transmission, but just in case he didn't, I'm not going to be circulating what base it came from and who wrote it. All other words (with typos) were as written when I received it. (Link referenced in the letter was added by me for completeness)
22 Mar 2006
XXXX XXXXXXXX Road
Lieutenant General Roger Brady
1600 HAF Pentagon
Dear General Brady
I am writing in response to an article posted on Air Force Link which quoted your testimony to the Senate about Force Shaping. I am separating voluntarily under Force Shaping and have some comments that I feel are not accurately reported or viewed by those up the chain. I am unsure where this disconnect begins; but either someone is not passing accurate information from the ground up, or it is not being receiving in the spirit with which it is originating.
Force Shaping has had a significant impact on the morale of not only the members affected, but everyone around them, from airmen to squadron commanders. Lieutenants who were not vulnerable this time around wonder when their time will come. NCOs who have seen cuts in junior airmen and now officers wonder the same thing. Airmen wonder what else they have to look forward to. In light of the Chief of Staff hinting at six month deployments, and the Air Force planning on cutting tens of thousands more positions, every rank has to wonder who will fill these deployments, and how much more often they will deploy. These are not all directly related to Force Shaping, but they tie together when you consider its effect on the myth of ‘job security.’ No one is safe anymore. I know commanders who don’t believe they would have made a similar cut at that point in their careers considering their records.
Six months ago I was a career officer. I was prior enlisted in the Marine Corps and have 13 years of total service. There were other considerations in my decision to leave, but Force Shaping, and its strike against any modicum of job security was in the top three. I love this country, and I relish the idea of leading men in battle, it is almost a life obsession. I have a paper from second grade that states: ‘I want to be a Marine. I want to live on a ship. I want to help people.’ I was blessed to have the chance to do all those things, and then when I started a family, I chose to leave the Corps for the Air Force because of the quality of life and deployment length. Of course, we are now in a heightened state of war, which changes everything, but for me the trade off of more and longer deployments becomes a much bigger consideration when there is the constant chance that the Air Force will decide they no longer need my services, and that all that time will count for nothing. It is really a no-brainer. I would be willing to risk my life if I knew that the Air Force would reward me by allowing me to serve to retirement (provided I continued to serve with excellence and honor, of course). But it no longer does, so I cannot.
To imply that ‘Blue to Green’ and a guarantee of one year or 18 month deployments in the Army is a morale saver makes absolutely no sense to me. These branches are worlds apart; there are reasons people choose to join the Air Force. I venture to guess that unless an individual had already planned on going to the Army they would see it only as a last ditch option to continue in service, not as an ‘opportunity’ and that their morale would be anything but higher. As for the Guard and Reserve, when they face the same (or greater) deployment vulnerability as the active force, with fewer retirement benefits, and the strong likelihood of facing another Force Shaping cut, that option falls short as well.
Another aspect that affects morale is the way this problem has been dealt with. Everyone knew at least three years ago that the junior officer imbalance was a problem. I don’t know about the inner workings of the highest bean counters, but from the view below, it looks like these decisions are being made with out consideration of the facts, and that if someone had faced these realities head on years ago, we wouldn’t be facing this process right now. Why would anyone think that this type of decision making would change, especially when senior leadership is saying morale isn’t a problem?
My personal opinion is that the Air Force has and will force good people, with exactly the decisiveness, initiative and courage the Air Force needs, out the door; and many of the people who ‘make the cut’ will be folks who can write themselves a good OPR, but lack the courage to make the tough decision at a crisis point.
, First Lieutenant, USAF
CC: U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
The General's Testimony
The General's testimony referenced in the letter included the following:
"The Air Force began 2006 with a significant force imbalance -- too many officers and too few enlisted Airmen," .........
...."To fix this problem, officers under their initial service obligation can now voluntarily separate from active duty service earlier than they would have otherwise been eligible. Some of those who don’t separate will be considered for involuntary separation by a force shaping board later in the year."
As a less cynical Public Affairs officer also noted in an article where she put on a very brave face:
The subcommittee voiced concern with the effect force shaping may have on Airmen morale and stress levels. General Brady said he doesn’t foresee any major dips in morale.The General also stated:
“As we look forward, we have to look at our focus,” he said. “We have to look at where our skills are, and if we are using them efficiently. We’re looking at about 40,000 people (being) cut, but we’ve bounced these numbers against the war plans, and this is what is going to work.”
Pay No Attention to the Elephant in the Room
What is significant about the General's testimony?
It is what was NOT emphasized or acknowledged that is important.
First, why is a particular Officer/Enlisted balance so important? In and of itself, it is not. It is only important if you are locked into a particular force concept that requires it. Officer/Enlisted Balance is fungible. Pick a ratio and build a rationale behind it. The late, great Carl Builder, would probably have referred to this kind of process as the Naval Method of Analysis: pick your solution and build your argument around it.
Second, what is the driving force behind Air Force downsizing in the first place? Its not expressed anywhere, other than to talk about meeting top line Congressionally mandated manpower numbers. I see three driving reasons behind the move. From least to most important:
1. Offering officers a chance to 'Go Green' [besides providing the basis for a humorous powerpoint presentation made by some company grade officers that also included 'Go Brown' (UPS) 'Go Yellow' (McDonalds)] hints as to what must be part of the answer: getting more bodies for the Army.
2. Another likely driver is what has become a rather unhealthy mentality that does not fully take into consideration this caveat:
Unless your business is toppling tyrants and preserving freedom through the force of arms, the 'business' model in many respects does NOT translate to the military realm.
3. We (the AF) were locked into the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) operational and organizational model by an unrealistic expectation of smaller post cold-war force sizing, imposed upon us by that @#$% Les Aspin and his &*%#$ Bottom-Up-Review (BUR). In short: We are reaping the unintended consequences of the 'Peace Dividend' of the Clinton Administration.
We are frozen at a force size and composition that required us to implement the AEF concept to carry out the mission even before the events of 9/11, and it is absolutely politically unacceptable in the current climate to ask for more troops so we can change our way of doing business. A suitably sized Air Force, is one where we we do not have to chronically abuse our troops to fulfill our mission. One could use up a lot of time and energy tracking down the facts (start here if you'd like) and deducing the origins of the modern AEF if one did not live through it. On the surface, it seems born out of the lessons learned in Desert Storm, but it really was born from the realization that after Aspin's BUR we couldn't pull off another Desert Storm.
There was also a huge shift in Air Force culture that began during Vietnam, but the AF could have recovered from until the BUR, and that was the rise of the Fighter Mafia* (There is another huge post lurking in that statement alone). With a 'fighter' mentality, deployability is absolutely paramount. If fighters could (in a practical manner) strike foreign countries from their home bases on a three-hour mission, the AEFs would never had materialized.
*I love fighters....as fighters: for air dominance against airborne and surface-to- air threats to airpower assets. You know, what they're good at...
Monday, April 17, 2006
But the root of modern Jihadism is?
Hmmm……could it be “Arabism”?
Instapundit, directs us to an excellent article (April 14, 2006) by Jonathan Rauch: my earlier post calling this war as essentially one against “Arabism”, which if not the current driving force behind Jihadism, is certainly the incubator that allows it to fester.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
When I want a more-cerebral-than-usual web read on the media and the military , I catch up at Ranting Profs, a weblog posted by Cori Dauber, a UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor of “Communication Studies (and of Peace, War, and Defense)”.
She’s in fine form this last week and has a particularly illuminating post on how the press coverage in Afghanistan is one-sided, with nary a mention domestically of a major Afghan/US offensive called operation Mountain Lion (a recycled name if I'm not mistaken, or it could be another phase of a very long term operation).
Not only is it one-sided, but apparently a lot of it is done in abstensia. In the comment thread, and in response to a reader’s post that speculated that another reader’s son never saw the media in his recent tour because they were all “back at the bar”, she states the following:
When it comes to Afghanistan, beyond the Post, the Times' permanent stringer, and the AP, you can't even generally say that much. My understanding is that even Reuters is covering Afghanistan from Pakistan.~sigh~
Did you ever get the impression that the media just doesn’t care about Afghanistan anymore? I guess the press decided that even with the insurgents, victory in Afghanistan is already in hand: unlike in Iraq.....where because of the insurgents a victory may never be achieved.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
This is a rundown on developments related to yesterday’s post on the whole Rumsfeld-Guantanamo thing. Not a lot of morphing of the story line yet. Perhaps it is because the Angry Generals story isn’t played out yet. We’ll see. If this story dies, I'll drop the subject. But here's a report on what's happening to-date.
Some media reports assert Rumsfeld allowed “Abuse” or “Mistreatment’, pick your synonym
Media inside and out of the U.S. report that the SecDef “closely monitored” the interrogation, “linking” him to the interrogation
The Advocate has a kind of a ‘funny’ blurb emphasizing the you-are-a-homosexual terrorist taunting technique. At least they note that the Pentagon describes the Salon report as ‘fiction’, which is something not all the media acknowledges. They also remain delightfully neutral reporting the 'doing tricks wearing a dog collar' detail.
Human Rights Watch spits out a predictable press release that Reuters laps up then vacates on the rest of the world. Even though the terrorist in question, Jabran Said Bin al Qahtani, is up before a Military Commission on a non-capital case, expect more and louder protestations out of HRW and other similar Non-State Actors (NSAs). No doubt HRW sees this as a potential wedge against the case for Military Commissions in general. Good thing they tend to be wrong about these kind of things.
Jabran Said Bin al Qahtani is a "bad actor", who not only was a bombmaker, but also a propagator who developed training materials in the art. How many of his "students" are still active in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Let us hope Justice will now be swift.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Or Is this just some kind of modern record for sustained media malfeasance?
No other industry operating in the public view could actually be this incompetent and/or malevolent and survive. Maybe this is part of some MSM grand design? A “strategery” to test the fact-checking limits of the blogosphere so that they may someday return to their roles as exclusive information gatekeepers?
Here's a roundup of the week so far:
PLAMEGATE & “THE LEAK”
1. CNN breaks the news that President Bush authorized the Valerie Plame name leak.
2. Oops. No he didn’t. Sorry.
3. But President Bush authorized a ‘leak’ on other national security information!
4. Democrats demand explanations concerning the White House involvement in the ‘leak’.
5. Uh-oh, President Bush didn’t direct Libby to “leak” anything.
6. Wait a minute! The President DID request that Libby perform the disclosure!
7. OK. Well, so the President didn’t directly request Libby to disclose the information.
BUSH LOSING A KEY ALLY
11 April 2006
1. Newt Gingrich reverses position and says U.S. made "enormous mistake" in occupation!
2. Well actually, he said nothing of the kind.
SADDAM'S WMD BIOLAB WEAPONS TRAILERS
12 April 2006
1. Bush KNEW the trailers weren’t WMD labs two days before he gave a speech that said they were WMD labs!
JOE WILSON & NIGER YELLOWCAKE
9 April 2006
1. Bush Authorized the hyping of the Iraq-Nigerian Yellowcake story to discredit Joe Wilson
11 April 2006
2. Oops. The Special Prosecutor filed a correction. Seems there was no effort to hype the yellowcake story after all.
13 April 2006
3. NY Times issues a late and lame correction (Subscripton Required). Details here (5th Item)
THE NEXT NON-STORY?
14 April 2006 (Tonight)
Salon, perhaps best known lately for pimping Abu Ghraib photos in an effort stay afloat reports “Rumsfeld allowed Guantanamo Abuse”
But did he really? 8-10 paragraphs down we find:
Salon cites Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, an Army investigator, as saying in a sworn statement to the inspector general that “The secretary of defense is personally involved in the interrogation of one person.” Rumsfeld had weekly contact with Miller, according to Salon.
Schmidt is quoted under oath as saying he concluded that Rumsfeld did not specifically order the interrogation methods used on Kahtani, but that Rumsfeld’s approval of broad policies permitted abuses to take place.
Rumsfeld had approved 16 harsher interrogation tactics for use against Kahtani on Dec. 2, 2002, Salon reported. Strategies included the use of forced nudity and removing religious items. Rumsfeld has said publicly that none of these policies led to “inhumane” detainee treatment, Salon said.
It gets better. The very next paragraphs:
Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, dismissed the report’s allegation that Rumsfeld or the agency condoned abuse.
“We’ve gone over this countless times and yet some still choose to print fiction versus facts,” he said by telephone.
“Twelve major reviews, to include one done by an independent panel, all confirm the Department of Defense did not have a policy that encouraged or condoned abuse. To suggest otherwise is simply false,” he said.
I can hardly wait to see the headlines tomorrow.
Hat tips: Byron York at NRO, Captain Ed, James Taranto at Best of the Web Today
Thursday, April 13, 2006
A Most Important Question
In my last post I referred to this interesting article written by Brigitte Gabriel and presented in February of this year to a forum known as "The Intelligence Summit". In this article she describes how we in the US are hated and targetted for terror because we are the 'infidels', and (like so many others) calls Islam the real enemy in the War on Terror. Ms. Gabrielle's point of view is that of someone who escaped persecution in the Middle East:
My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. I learned at 10 years old the meaning of the word infidel. I had a crash course in survival not in girl scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night waiting to be slaughtered and by the age of 20 I had buried most of my friends who were killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London, we were Arab Christians living in Lebanon.
I also referred to an equally compelling comment on the article from someone who is in my extended circle of military e-mail 'correspondents', and that I would post it if I received permission. I received that permission yesterday on the condition of 1- anonymity, 2- that I not identify his employer, and 3- stress that this is his personal views only. Consider #2 & #3 "done".
If I just posted the comment as is, references to his background alone would reveal the author: instantly to quite a few people and in about 5 minutes to anyone with a passing interest and access to a search engine. To meet the condition #1 above. I have redacted a minimum number of words in the text.
This individual takes a slightly more narrow view than "Islam is the Enemy":
A little editorial response from one who has spent over a decade working the "Middle East", ultimately becoming the Deputy Division Chief for Middle East Policy in XXXXXXX and also a tour as the Ops Group Commander and Installation Commander for XXXXXXXX XXXXXX.
What she describes is right on track for Lebanon in the 80s and 90s. What is left out is the Arab Vs Arab struggle for power that virtually destroyed Lebanon. There was horrendous blood on all sides. One of the worst atrocities was a Christian attack on several Muslim villages aided (or at least overlooked) by the Israelis. It cost Ariel Sharon his Job as the head of the IDF.
I have said repeatedly that this a struggle for the control of Islam that is now engulfing the whole world and that alone may ultimately cause this to eventually be referred to as WWIII. Also remember that Arab cultures embrace power and the raw, brutal exercise of it (hence mostly dictators and Monarchs in their governments).
However the real majority of Muslims (there are many more Non Arab Muslims that there are Arab Muslims) want what everyone wants, peaceful prosperity and respect for their culture and practices. Unfortunately they are not leading the effort to confront radical Islam for fear of lack of support in the West where the real power in the world has been focused since WWII.
Take a look at Vietnam, Somalia, Angola, Cambodia, Afghanistan with the Russians and where is a strong Western dictated outcome. Our (US/EU) attachment to negotiations and appeasement have been weak responses in their eyes and only embolden those, beginning with Iran in 1979, who think we are spineless and will cave to threats and pressure. So are we in a mess, yes, and the battle is for control of Islam.
The US and Europe and the rest of the world must choose sides and through economic, political and military support insure the radicals do not achieve any more objectives.
I think it was Rumsfeld who said we are in for a long hard slog......well we are and surrender is not an option.....
I agree. The game theorist in me also tells me we should first attempt to address the problem as an Arabist one. If we're wrong, we can always expand the scope later.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Think of this post as a preview of upcoming attractions....
In trying to gain a little distance from the illegal aliens and border security issues, I've decided to do a series on Mexico's Elements of National Power as the root cause of our ‘immigration’ problem. I’ll cover what works for them and what doesn’t, and probably set it up as a Pro & Con argument for each Element in separate posts. These will be interwoven with the other topics such as…….
Yes I’m still working on it. My sweet wife, who knows I take in most books like some people take a breath, turned to me a couple of nights ago and accused me over the top of one of her darned Sodoku puzzles: “You’re not reading that book are you? You’re studying it.”
But I’m making progress. I’m finally past page 100, and have entered more ‘negative’ margin notes than I’ve read pages. It was just last night that the book laid out what I would call the first strong, supportable, criticism of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, after pretty much trying to condemn the Administration’s war effort the entire part of the book I’ve read to date.
Now that I’m getting to the point where factual accounts of actual battles will be given, the reading should get easier. I just have to be careful and not let them slip a zinger by me. Honestly, so far the most frequent thoughts this book has brought out in my mind are “Well that’s a stretch”, “Who IS this unnamed source?”, and most frequently: “Where in the blazes did that come from?
AIR FORCE MORALE
I’m still hooked in to Air Force network (and other services) by friends that were junior officers when I was senior enlisted, and relatives who are now serving. I also pick up the vibes when I visit the local BX and Commissary.
And I don’t like what I’m seeing and hearing.
I think there is a lot of Pollyannaish 'sunshine' being put out concerning Ops Tempo, Morale, and Force Structure (especially as it involves so-called 'Force Reshaping').
Like I just wrote above, I’m still hooked in to the network. My circle of correspondents (like everyone else’s circle of correspondents) send info and news around for each other to view and provide commentary. A piece came across my desktop recently that was “interesting”, but I think one of the comments that came in reply to the rest of the group merits very wide distribution. Since this person is in a position of responsibility at a major aerospace firm and is a widely cited authority on the Gulf War in ’91, I want to get permission to publish his reply from him (even if it is on condition of anonymity) before I put it on the web.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Mexico's Plan, that is.
Georgie Anne Geyer has been around a while: long enough to be well connected to the powers-that-be in probably more countries than many a career diplomat. She has also observed the international goings-on long enough to see what is really going on in the world, and in an opinion piece she wrote last week, she rips back the curtain to expose Mexico's conniving ways (emphasis mine):
I am not saying that this plan, propagated by Mexico City, could challenge the lies, secrecy and Machiavellian scheming of American war plans in the Middle East. I am not saying that the Mexican Foreign Ministry, with its offshoot the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, is directing an "invasion" of the United States.
But what is happening with illegals in America -- the riots, the refusal to become American while demanding all the rights of committed citizens, the desperate hanging on to "Mexicanness" -- is not accidental. It is the result of careful and cynical plans on the part of the Mexican government to develop its own constituency inside American society -- and to keep it forever Mexican.
Read the whole article here.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
A veritable Norman Rockwell-like scene of Americana! All those brand-spanking new American flags! Such an outpouring of genuine 'American' interest would be quite convincing, if only they hadn’t tipped their hand last week.
I do have one question though: If these ‘outpourings’ happened everywhere, why are all the major old-media outlets (like where the links in this post take you) carrying the Dallas event? Could it be because there just were too many foreign flags elsewhere, and that wouldn't support an agenda?
I really do have no idea what it was like elsewhere, I'm just curious and hope someone has an answer…….
Friday, April 07, 2006
“Enabling” is the subconscious allowing of the illness to continue by taking care of the addict and helping them avoid the pain and consequences of their behavior. Many enablers are also co-dependent.
The United States could be viewed as a Codependent Enabler of Mexico’s problems, when it chooses NOT to clamp down on illegal aliens entering the country and force Mexico to face its own internal problems.
The remainder of this post is an extract from a web page (there are many similar out there should you choose to look for them) on Codependency, The words in (brackets) were all that was changed to illustrate my point. I could polish it a little more, but you'll get the drift.
The Enabler (U.S.) stops communication by making attempts to understand.
(Illegals entering from Mexico is presented not) as unusual but normal. There is some excuse, underlying problem, or stereotype which explains (the rampant problem of illegal entry).
The Enabler (U.S.) may evaluate, diagnose, label, blame. Feelings are avoided.
"(Mexico is an economic pressure cooker and) needs to blow off steam. (Mexico) has problems that can’t be dealt with any other way."
"Lots of (countries have) people (who are entering illegally”) ,
"Why dwell on the past (illegals who have lived here for years) ? It would only be upsetting."
" (The flood of illegals from Mexico is) just (part of our international relationship: it is just that the relationship is) going through a phase."
The problems of (Mexico) are ignored and focus is shifted to the Enabler’s (U.S.) inadequacies. The Enabler (U.S.) becomes mired in their hurt feelings and guilt.
"If (we) cared about (Mexico) half as much as (we) care about (Other Countries) , maybe (Illegal Aliens entering the U.S.) wouldn't (be such a problem)."
" (American dominance is) enough to drive (any country) to (ruin) ."
"If (America) shaped up, (Mexico would) be all right."
The Enabler withdraws all feedback or contact, represses feelings, keeps the (root source of the) problems secret.
"After what (the illegals and their supporters) did (when we publicly identified the problem), let's just not (bring it up) any more."
" (This kind of certitude) just doesn't seem to belong in (Congress right now); (Let’s punt) the (problem down the road a few years with a ‘compromise’) ."
" (The public) isn't as (pli)able as (they) used to be. I don't think we should (listen to the opinions of) our (constituents and deal with this right now)."
To avoid a deepening depression, the Enabler (U.S) reacts, tries to manipulate social events, assumes extra responsibilities, (attempts to) directly control the (debate on the problem), lectures, problem-solves, argues, questions, threatens, begs, commands, consoles, or simply gives up and joins in the (acceptance of illegals coming into the country) .
Update: I corrected some places where I fell into the PC trap of calling Illegal Aliens entering the country "Illegal Immigrants". I have no excuse and am mortified over my error.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I got an e-mail from a friend of mine the other day where he asks what I think is a very important question. Here's the text from the e-mail:
Did we just lose something here?
Driving into work this morning I passed our local High School. I noticed that about 30 students had ditched class and were marching in protest of the Immigration bill. But I noticed something significant that really bothers me. It Bothers me a lot !
They were draped in Mexican flags, they were waving Mexican flags and there was not one American flag amongst them, not one. This is turning into a trend here in California: just read the papers, or look at car windows on the freeway.
Now I support everyone's right to protest, and I respect everyone's culture. BUT, I fought for this country under the American flag and so did a lot of Hispanic friends of mine, and very bravely too. They fight today, and die, in the Middle East to preserve someone else's right to Freedom.
My Mother's ancestors came from France and my Fathers from the U.K., and they respectively settled in Canada and what is now the state of Georgia. They intermarried with American Indians, Abitibi on one side and Cherokee on the other.
I don’t have an English flag or a French flag on my car, I don’t wave or boast about being an immigrant. I don’t consider myself to be hyphenated, French-American or Brit-American or Indian-American, I'm an American.
My Grandmother was fluent in French, and in all of my life I never heard her speak in anything but English, the 'Business' language of this country. Her policy was simple, this is America, we speak English here. Every male member of my family, and a few females, all the way back to the French & Indian wars of 1755 fought here. Fought for Freedom and the right to live free. I also fought for 30 years of my adult life to preserve our way of life, my Father 33 years, his Father - WWII in Patton's army for all three campaigns (Africa/Italy/Germany), his Father in WWI as a sniper, and so on and so on...
So why is it that foreign flags are waving in High Schools across America ? Is this supposed to be politically correct ?
OR, are we being politically correct in being silent about something like this ?
Why is it that young students are being taught to walk around with foreign flags on their shoulders on city streets and sidewalks that Americans paid for? Is this pride...or a slap in the face for Americans?
This is the United States of America...or is it?
Immigration? You bet, that’s what this country stands for. The freedom to a better life.
Illegal? What part of illegal, or breaking the laws of this country, don’t you understand?
Just my opinion...
To presume to answer my friend's question: I think it depends on whether or not we recognize the moral imperative to nip this nonsense in the bud. My personal answer to the 'protests' planned for this weekend begins with my flying my American Flag at home from Friday through Sunday. I hope the weather is lousy so I can wear my flight jacket with an American Flag patch on the shoulder. I'll display any other Americana I can find. If I thought anyone was reading this I'd encourage them to do the same.
BTW: the author of the e-mail is FAR too humble about his own military service. He retired about a year ago last January. He was a SEAL when I met him 20+ years ago, and he was a SEAL when he retired. I have no idea how much time he has in the Sandbox, but he used to disappear regularly from his day job with our little activity to 'visit' the CENTCOM AOR. His 'tourism' spans from the days of the Tanker Wars through at least 3 separate trips over there that I'm aware of between 9/11/2001 and his retirement.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Black Five has a list of books he read on vacation along with his reviews , and one of them is the book I’m working on: Cobra II. Black Five has many of the same misgivings as I'm developing, although I think my critique will even more severe.
This effort is really cutting in on blog production, but one of the reasons I’m being so careful with the read is that I find at least one of the book’s sponsors highly suspect. The “World Security Institute” is an umbrella organization that has under its letterhead the Center for Defense Information (CDI), which has been (IMAO) historically a major refuge for displaced military and political egos: those that have in some way or another been spurned even though they 'really know better' than those who ignored their ‘invaluable’ advice. (There’s a whole story or two in there for another time.)