Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fuzzy Thinking

I think this is almost impossible to believe that this has occured...but the NY Times has printed some really strange thoughts uttered by a Supreme Court justice...

Odd Connection to the Death Penalty: Lawprof and legal journalist Jeff Rosen had a very interesting New York Times article about Justice Stevens a week ago. The whole thing is much worth reading; but here I wanted to comment just on one part:

[Justice Stevens] won a bronze star for his [World War II] service as a cryptographer, after he helped break the code that informed American officials that Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese Navy and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, was about to travel to the front. Based on the code-breaking of Stevens and others, U.S. pilots, on Roosevelt’s orders, shot down Yamamoto’s plane in April 1943.

Stevens told me he was troubled by the fact that Yamamoto, a highly intelligent officer who had lived in the United States and become friends with American officers, was shot down with so little apparent deliberation or humanitarian consideration. The experience, he said, raised questions in his mind about the fairness of the death penalty. “I was on the desk, on watch, when I got word that they had shot down Yamamoto in the Solomon Islands, and I remember thinking: This is a particular individual they went out to intercept,” he said. “There is a very different notion when you’re thinking about killing an individual, as opposed to killing a soldier in the line of fire.” Stevens said that, partly as a result of his World War II experience, he has tried on the court to narrow the category of offenders who are eligible for the death penalty and to ensure that it is imposed fairly and accurately. He has been the most outspoken critic of the death penalty on the current court.

I recognize that much can get lost in such pieces, even when they are written by experienced, thoughtful, and sympathetic interviewers such as Rosen. Perhaps Stevens gave some further explanations that were omitted, or perhaps Rosen's paraphrases are not quite right. But what I see in the article strikes me as a perplexing chain of reasoning.

This was via The Volokh Conspiracy, which was in its self via Ace of Spades.

As has been said in other spaces, I can only hope that the judge was misquoted or misunderstood, because to use this event in WWII as the reason to oppose the death penalty all one can say is...HUH?

To take out one of the masterminds of the Japanese Navy, the guy who planned the raid on Pearl Harbor...why wouldn't you want do that in a time of war? But then again he never said as far as I can tell they he was opposed to that, it just made him think about the death penalty...which is odd also, because the two really have no connection at all.

Thanks for your service to this nation Justice Stevens, that is about all I can say that's nice and doesn't sound catty and wrong.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Girl Friday, 26 OCT 07

It's the last Friday of October...where did that month go?

A little bit over a month left on my desert adventure...can't wait for some sizzling fajitas from Papasitoes. Can't wait for a lot of other stuff either.

I usually don't feature ladies who are really well known during this segment we all know as "Girl Friday" but today because I'm lazy, I'm featuring someone you may remember from her days as a spokes model for Doritos chips...Ali Landry

Enjoy your weekend.

Hey, call THAT baseball?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

15 Minutes That Lasted An Hour

From the 1st CAV Newspaper, The Crossed Sabers

By SGT 1st Class Rick Emert
1ACB, 1CD Public Affairs

CAMP TAJI, Iraq – For the past year, Apache pilots from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade have conducted countless reconnaissance missions in search of roadside bombs and mortar systems aimed toward forward operating bases or Iraqi neighborhoods.

Four pilots from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, were flying just such a mission when they happened upon up to 20 insurgents armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers and manning four anti-aircraft gun trucks Sept. 29.

Three short seconds after the pilots spotted the gun trucks, they were under fire.

“From the time that I first saw them first and could get (a visual) on them was probably three seconds until we were passing by. It was a pretty quick amount of time until we got into the actual getting engaged,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Terry Eldridge, pilot in command for the lead aircraft, who calls Killeen, Texas, home. “As soon as we passed, I kind of veered off to one side, and they started tracking us with the guns from the back of the trucks. As soon as they got where we were inside their range, effectively for their shots, they started shooting – so, about the time it takes to swing a turret, in this case a gun on a tripod mount.”

...Although they fled the open area at (a) four-way intersection, the insurgents continued to fire on the two Apaches once they found cover in nearby buildings. “Pretty much every person out there had a weapon of varying degrees,” Eldridge said. “For the first seven to ten minutes, somebody was shooting at us the whole time. We established a pretty on-the-fly dynamic plan. We put together the best attack angles that we could at the time to keep each other covered. That was … the primary intent –to keep their heads down, get effective fires on the enemy
and keep each other protected.” The four continued to engage the insurgents while the sister Apache team that had arrived a few minutes into the fight remained at a higher altitude to prevent having too many aircraft in the area. “We were trying to get them into the fight, but, from what they said, we were kind of all over the place looking like angry bees. They didn’t want to get into the area and cause a mid-air (collision) while we were trying to engage the enemy.”

By the time the Apache team was out of ammo, up to 15 of the insurgents were dead and the gun trucks were disabled. They handed off the targets to their sister Apache team to further engage the vehicles and destroy them...

The entire engagement lasted less than 15 minutes...

If you'd like to read the entire article it's on page 10, on the PDF file at this Website. You'll find this article and a lot of other stuff I bet you didn't know about from Iraq.



A RedPlanet Cartoon

A better description about our "friends" in the media has yet to have been done...

For more outstanding political cartooning...unlike the crap in the post below this one... go to RedPlanet Cartoons

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Ted Rall...Worthless POS

Ted Rall is the piece of shit that drew the cartoon above. In a lame reference to Mike Judge's film, Idiocracy...he labels all soldiers as idiots and goes downhill from there.

I can not believe this guy is still employed...besides being tasteless, this cartoon is not funny either.

Real irony would be Ted Rall being put into the hospital after a traffic accident on the highway with an eighteen wheeler carrying CONEXs coming back from Iraq...but I wouldn't wish that on anyone. My name isn't Ted Rall...professional asshole.

H/T Weasel Zippers

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Anecdotal Evidence

I guess I'm a little late at this nay saying the naysayers when it comes to the war here in merry old Iraq. But better late than never I always say...besides it's not like they are listening or anything.

I know in the past I have used the quote that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, but I saw an interesting stat today, and for several weeks now as a matter of fact.

Being an aviator in Uncle Sugar's Army means that I get to receive, gratis, an intelligence briefing...every single day of the week if I so desire. Ahhh, the perks of being a soldier!

One of the many slides they show us is a slide called "SIG ACTS", that is significant activity in the area of operations in the last 24 hours. Lately that side has been pretty barren. Just how barren becomes apparent when the slide from today is compared against the slide depicting SIG ACTS from a year ago is easily a 50% or more reduction in enemy action. This is not just today, but for several weeks now.

Is this the SURGE working? Is AQI taking a well deserved R&R only to return just in time for the holiday season? Hell, I don't know. What I do know is that we have a lot less to do today than we did when we got here over a year ago...and by most people's definition that would be progress.

But what do I know, I just work here.



Girl Friday, 19 OCT 07

Another week week closer to home.

It's Friday and back home in Texas everyone is getting ready for the weekly ritual known as High School Football. Here in Iraq, Friday is another day where we do the same thing we've been doing for over 13 months now.

But as you well know Friday also means Girl Friday, and today I bring you the beautiful vision known as Cara Zavaleta, a Playmate of the Month a few years ago and I'm sure the kind of girl you'd bring home to mom...if mom was into girls who pose nude in a well known men's magazine.

Have a superior weekend!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

LT Michael Murphy...Navy SEAL

Will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Neptunus Lex has a great little piece about it.

If you haven't already, you need to go pick up the book Lone Survivor and read it. It describes to events of the day that LT Murphy would earn the Medal.
It actually made the "LA Paper" as well.
Having worked with SEALs before I can tell you that they are very motivated and special individuals. LT Murphy was special among the special.
Go tell the Spartans,Passerby,
That here, obedient to their laws,
We lie.
Simonides (556 BC - 468 BC),
Epitaph at Thermopylae

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Thoughts of A Wingman


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Friday, October 12, 2007

Captain America Lives!

I think everyone pretty much knew he would be back. I think the heartburn was with the stupid way he was bumped off...and the entire storyline that involved.

Alex Ross did some of the artwork for the return and as usual he does a great job.

Holy Schnikes, he's got a gun!

For the rest of the story please go to this Website

H/T Keith

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Girl Friday, 12 OCT 07

It's Friday, the 12th of OCT 2007...another week gone in our 15 month adventure into the middle east. Another another Friday means it's time for "Girl Friday". This week's young lady is the Playboy Playmate of the Month for APR 2007, Giuliana Marino. Apparently her technique for obtaining roadside assistance doesn't use a cell phone.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For The Thousandth Time...

Not that it will do any good.


And now a little piece on the subject from someone who said it a little better than I can...

An Open Letter Home
by CSM James Pippin

...Most Americans say, “I support the troops.” “Supporting the troops” is far more than sending a care package, or shaking a service member’s hand, or tying a ribbon on their lapel. Supporting the troops should also be backing our mission.

People back home may not realize how effective this enemy is using the media as a weapon. Every time some talking head gets on the TV and shouts anything negative about this war, it motivates our enemy, who interprets dissent as weakness and who uses our free press against us. That is exactly how “the terrorists” win. For the Terrorist does not have to defeat us, he just has to outlast us.

I am disappointed in the way the American people in general seem to have lost their resolve since 9-11. When I hear that over half of America’s citizens believe this war is a lost cause, I think that is a tragedy. Less than 2/100ths of 1 percent of our own citizens have ever served in the armed forces, which means most Americans don’t have a clue about our military.

The media does not tell all the good things happening in Iraq. They rarely, if ever, report the successes of our Armed Forces. This causes our citizens, most of whom will never cross an ocean in their life, let alone fight in this or any war, to think we are losing and to believe we can’t win. This war is much like the 3 rednecks in the story above. It will take time. We CAN win, and we WILL win, but I worry that the American people have lost their patience and their support will dry up before we get the job done.

I hear the concern about America’s sons and daughters being killed and I know the media drum rolls the daily death toll. There have been more than 3,000 service members who have died fighting this war. And every one of those deaths is a tragedy. I, myself have lost a close friend. Contrary to the media reports, this war should be gauged by what is at stake if we lose. I believe the stakes of this war are even higher than those we faced together in both World Wars combined. In the words of Darryl Worley, “I say there are some things worth fighting for. Our freedom and the piece of ground we call The United States of America.” Don’t think for a second that terrorists will stop attacking Americans and our way of life just because we pull out of Iraq...

For the rest of the CSM's letter please go over to Michael Yon Online...he's the bombdiggity, yo.

And while you're at it read more about the CSM and the soldiers who serve...HERE. It's well worth your time and effort to do so.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In Case You DIdn't Know...

Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive celebrates the anniversary of the departure from this orb, of one Che'Guevara.


Cynical Reporter Visits AUSA

The Association of the United States Army, is a professional organization that produces Army Magazine and lobbies congress on Army issues. Its annual convention is being held in Washington DC right now.

Bettina Chavanne who blogs at Ares, visited the convention and reports on a presentation by Secretary of the Army, U.S. Army Secretary Pete Gerren who opened the convention by giving a speech to the assembled members and guests.

Here's a short bit of what she wrote:

...But no matter how much family support he offers (how he would fund his
"Army Family Covenant" program was not discussed), it doesn't change the fact
that not only have troops been in Iraq for six years, but that from the sound of
it, they're going to be there for a very long time to come...

...He closed his speech with a video about "Army strong" families - a
series of images of Army families welcoming home and bidding farewell to their
loved ones. It was moving and manipulative, as it was intended to be. In "an era
of persistent conflict," pretty music and carefully choreographed images aren't
going to bring anyone home, but I think (sic)Geren (sic) hopes they'll be enough to rouse
Congress to fund his programs and support the troops for as long as they're
going to be stuck on the battlefield.

You can read the rest HERE.

There is nothing in Ms. Chavanne's bio to suggest a reason as to why she's so cynical about Secretary Gerren's presentation. As I stated in the comments over there, if the Secretary of the Army can't make a positive statement about the Army and Soldiers at the AUSA convention then where can he?

Would it be too much to ask of a reporter that they could actually know that we have been in Iraq since 2003 and not 6 years as she states?

Her obvious distaste for the subject bubbles to the surface in her article. It would be interesting to hear some real discussion about issues facing the Army rather than snarky cynical sniping at the Secretary of the Army for giving a tribute to the Soldiers he works for.

I've been in Iraq off and on now for around 24 months and my feelings about being "stuck" here aren't anywhere as pronounced as someone whose greatest danger is more than likely fighting beltway traffic and fighting off the lecherous advances of a drunken congress critter or two. I guess I'm just too dumb to appreciate how I'm being manipulated by the man.

Pretty pathetic stuff.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Kingfish and the Oxcart

The CIA has released it's official history of the "OXCART" program. For those non aviation geeks out there, that is the program that eventually resulted in the building of the SR-71.

The Woracle has pictures, links to more stuff and the CIA report.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

The 50th Anniversary of Spaceflight

Spacecraft Films is a great place to get your spaceflight geek fix. This month marks the 50th anniversary of spaceflight and they produced this little clip to celebrate.

If you are serious about the history of spaceflight, and who isn't? I recommend, ney compel you to go to Spacecraft Films and buy some of their stuff. It's outa' this world.

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Girl Friday, 5 OCT 07

October is here...when I was a kid, this was a great time of the year. The fair and rodeo were in town and football was in high gear.

Here, it means we are a little closer to finally going home.

Today is Friday, and that means, Girl Friday is here as well. Today's Girl Friday is Miss Spencer Scott, Playboy Playmate for this October. She's been a bad, bad girl.

Have a great weekend. HOOK EM HORNS!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Cowboys are Popular

From our good friends over at Yahoo comes this NFL story...

The Dallas Cowboys are in the most popular among fans. Which along with a buck fifty will get a cup of coffee in many places.

From the story...

The Dallas Cowboys may be a few years from their last Super Bowl, but they are the favorite football team among adults who follow professional football, rising one spot since last year. Since this survey began in 1998, the Cowboys have always been in one of the top four positions, usually in the top two.

I used to subscribe the Dallas Cowboys Newsletter, had Cowboys gear, stickers etc. I've been to Texas Stadium many times over the years...but since Jerry Jones took over the team it's hard for me to get excited about them, knowing some low life classless idiot from Arkansas will benefit from any good my once beloved team will's a sad situation. Seeing that grinning jackass on Papa John's commercials before I came to Iraq a year ago was about enough to make me wreck a perfectly good TV. It's somewhat amazing to me that people still care enough about the Cowboys to rank them number one.

I guess everyone isn't as turned off by baboons in blue blazers as much as I am...which I guess is a good thing for Jerry Jones.



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The U-Boats Are Here To Save Us All

There is an interesting article over at Ares concerning USAF Gunships and their use in the GWOT.

Written by David Axe, the article features parts of another article written by USAF MAJ Robert Seifert. MAJ Seifert proposes that if his gunships were released to patrol around Iraq, instead of being teathered to specific operations (usually SOF missions/ which feature high risk and usually mean going after an HVT (high value target)), that they could change the dynamic of the conflict.

Here's a taste...

Gunships fly every night in Iraq but rarely identify a single insurgent due to the inefficient manner in which they are requested by the Army and employed by the Air Force. ... A simple yet fundamental change in AC–130 employment can kill or capture more insurgents, save friendly lives, and improve prospects for coalition success.

"I am convinced that if I was allowed to employ my gunship the way I propose, I would find and kill insurgents every single night," Seifert told me:

I would ask where the insurgents are most likely to be (although I would start figuring it out pretty quickly myself) and I would then fly over those areas as much as possible all the while being on a frequency that all of the ground forces in the triangle knew to call at the first sign of trouble. Sure a lot of insurgents would get away every night but you catch a dozen insurgents every night and you start demoralizing them pretty darn quickly. I've shot dozens of them and they don't even know what's shooting them. AC-130s against insurgents is a total and complete unfair fight. We've made it fair, though, by sitting the gunships in the same spot for hours at a time "defending" whatever ground force happens to be in that location.

My concept is no different than how police forces are used. Do cop cars sit in the same spot and defend a neighborhood? Or do they roam around looking for bad guys all the while being on call to EVERY citizen in their jurisdiction. Cops are the best weapon against bad guys and gunships are the best weapon against insurgents. Another example is F-15 employment. Do F-15s sit in the same spot defending a particular army unit against air attack or do they roam the skies looking for MiGs and waiting for AWACS to push them to the first indication of MiGs? The Air Force has perfected the art of air-to-air and is the reason the Iraqi Air Force wouldn't even take off. Put the same effort and expertise into gunship employment and you'd start seeing insurgents that didn't want to leave their houses.

What's interesting, to me at least is that US Army attack helicopters already roam the battlefield and are already minutes away from most troops in contact situations and don't require a JTAC to engage. Our 30mm cannon "danger close" distance is comparable to an AC-130 as well.

The AC-130 is an awesome weapon. It's sensors are second to none and the crews who fly them are nothing short of superb. But all the things being suggested by MAJ Seifert are already being done by Army attack helicopters. If the USAF wishes to use its Gunships like the MAJ proposes I am sure the firepower will be welcome and appreciated by all parties involved...but don't act like you're the Lone Ranger out there MAJ Seifert.

We are told by the ground forces that the one thing that insurgents fear is the Apache...and there is a reason for that. It's stories like this.

Also it's funny that Mr. Axe illustrated his post about USAF gunships with a still frame from an Apache gun tape...

Although it's obvious from the file name that he thinks this is from an AC-130...OOPS.

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The Flava Of Tequila

MEH...the only tequila I'm interested in comes in a kamikaze. What's with all the tats?

...And I thought we couldn't get any lower than "reality shows" with that guy from Poison or Flava Flave looking for love in all the wrong places, I am pointed in the direction of this train wreck called, "A Shot At Love...With Tila Tequila"

From the show's MTV Website

Are you ready for the ultimate battle of the sexes? Well, you better be 'cause there's about to be an all-out war over cyber hottie Tila Tequila!
Although Tila has racked up more than 2 million MySpace friends, she still hasn't found "the one," and she's ready to do anything to find him -- or her! This self-proclaimed "bisexual freak" has had her heart broken by men and women, and she's tired of being alone. With our help, she's inviting 16 luscious lesbians and 16 sexy straight guys over to her place for A Shot of Love With Tila Tequila. Yes, it's time for Tila to unfurl her freak flag and find true love.

Oh boy, I think I'll take a pass on this one...even if I could see it...which I can't. Is this the same network that I once watched Duran Duran and a Flock of Seagulls on?

Do they even play music videos anymore?


H/T Reader and frequent commenter, Peggy

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