04. January 2008 · Comments Off on Andrew Olmsted Died · Categories: General

One of the very first milbloggers (and my personal favorite), died in Iraq. He left a note behind in case of his death here. There will be tears.

25. May 2005 · Comments Off on Chino Air Show B-17 01 · Categories: General Nonsense

Picture courtesy of David George, Chino Hills, California

Testes, Testes, 1..2..3?

05. May 2005 · Comments Off on MilNews Idea · Categories: Site News, Technology

Okay, here’s the idea and tell me what you think.

I think it would be cool to have a website affiliated with this one and DW that deals purely with military news. I was kinda gonna do that with DW, but I found that it wasn’t fun to continually scope the web looking for that stuff.

Here’s how it could work:

-The stories could be manually entered or automatically pulled from several RSS feeds (or a combination of both) and displayed on the front page in a manner that puts the most stories “above the fold” but doesn’t look too cluttered or busy. It also has to look cool and have some color.

-The site will have different sections or categories, but will be pure news– not links to people commenting on news or mere opinion, but actual news. I don’t see it as a blog, but rather a news/information resource. Since it will already be tied to this site, an opinion resource will already exist.

-It should be integrated somehow with this one and/or DW. That’s one thing I could never figure out how to do effectively. How do you integrate two things without having them wash each other out and confuse the user or have one become ignored on the displayed page? If I could figure out a good way to appropriately display both and not have it look like ass, that would be really cool.

-Anyone should be able to contribute to the news site, but that brings up a problem: trolls. Should the software incorporate a mod feature, meaning that the whole of the registered users would have the power to vote or “mod” a story to the front page (like digg) or should certain people have the mod function (like Slashdot)? Or should it be a free for all and let the dice fall where they may?

-It should have a cool name that’s not already registered. It should be short, catchy, and easily remembered.

Anyway, it’s just an idea. And no talk of bulletin boards. I already tried that and it didn’t work.

11. March 2005 · Comments Off on First Podcast · Categories: A Href, Technology

No bells and whistles, yet; just me talking about crap (7 MB):

Stryker’s Podcast Thingamabob (This is the second one. The first one is no longer available).

Podcast RSS Feed: RSS.

Any future podcast updates will be announced at DW.

09. March 2005 · Comments Off on Zion! Hear Me! · Categories: A Href

I think I might do some cross-promotional stuff with the Shrimp Shack, like an experimental podcast thingie. If I did so, what would you like to hear? I scratched my first idea, since most of what I BS about (and what most people I know consider funny) uses rough language of a sort that makes Deadwood look like the Donnie & Marie Family Hour.

So tell me what you’d like to hear, if anything. I could just say every cuss word I know and leave it at that, but if I’m going to sit down and talk by myself into a microphone, I’m going to make the strangeness of that worth my while. I’m going to start going off on stuff, like astronauts and this sorry excuse for a space program. Free from the constraint of typing, I could probably fill-up 20 minutes just riffing on that, but I would like ideas about what you would like to hear. I’ve got some audio editing hotness, so it’s going to at least sound cool.

If I don’t get any ideas, I will not only say every curse I know, I will perform them in the melodramatic stylings of Lawrence Fishburne’s speech in Matrix 2.

12. February 2005 · Comments Off on Bring Me a Fatted Calf with Buttermilk Biscuits · Categories: Technology

I’m making a rare post seeking suggestions for software. I’m starting up a site for utilitarian purposes (ie, not a blog) that’s meant to be a centralized repository of useful information. What I need is:

1. Some sort of content delivery system that looks professional (or can be made to look professional)

2. Is easy to update, maintain and design

3. Is not some blog/hybrid kluge but was purpose built for the task

4. Is easy for a user to navigate between sections and categories and perhaps submit information of their own

5. Preferably open source, but not really required.

I can do the thing in Flash and make it do what I want to do, but I need something non-Flash based to serve people who want something traditional.

19. November 2004 · Comments Off on Log-In · Categories: Site News

Who can’t log-in to post?

Update: Apprently the “login” link is rarely used. Go figure.

04. November 2004 · Comments Off on Post-Hangover Headaches · Categories: Site News

The hosting service for this site is going belly-up on January 1st. If you know of a hosting service that offers the following, let me know:

1Gb of storage
20Gb/month traffic
Unlimited email accounts
5 FTP accounts
Unlimited SQL databases
$20 bucks a month

That’s what this hosting service offered. I’d like to find something similar.

10. August 2004 · Comments Off on Later · Categories: Site News

Have you ever been the only sober guy in a room full of drunks? It sucks. See you after the hangover.

I’ll be over here if anyone needs me.

08. August 2004 · Comments Off on War Quotes · Categories: War

I’ve seen the following quotes attributed to Goebbels:

This war is a defensive war. It was forced upon us by our enemies, who wish to destroy our nation. The only thing we cannot afford to lose in this war is our freedom, the foundation of our life and our future. No one has the right to complain about limitations on his personal freedom caused by the war.

Why of course the people don’t want war. But it is the leaders who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

What I’ve never seen is the source material for these quotes. Were they from personal diaries, newspaper interviews, or Party speeches? I’m just wondering, because I’ve always wanted to read the rest of the text that was originally placed about these particular sentences.

Here’s one from Caesar:

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor. The citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader. How do I know? For this is what I have done.

Where’s this one from?

04. August 2004 · Comments Off on Essential Reading · Categories: Wild Blue Yonder

Phil Carter has the Army’s new professional reading list up at his site, so I thought I’d share the CSAF’s professional reading list here. Unlike the Army’s list, the Air Force list isn’t divided between ranks, with different books recommended for different ranks. Instead, the list is broken into categories. Everyone is encouraged to read the listed books.

Category I
History of the Air Force from its beginning through its major transformations as an Institution.

Frank M. Andrews: Marshall’s Airman – DeWitt S. Copp and the Air Force History and Museums Program

Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the United States Air Force, 1947-1997 – Walter J. Boyne

The Transformation of American Air Power – Benjamin S. Lambeth

Winged Victory: The Army Air Forces in World War II – Geoffrey Perret

Category II
Insight into ongoing conflicts and the frictions that can produce conflicts in the future.

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror – Bernard Lewis

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order – Samuel P. Huntington

Age of Sacred Terror – Steven Simon and Dan Benjamin

Of Paradise and Power – Robert Kagan

Category III
Organization, leadership and success stories holding lessons for the present and future.

The Five Pillars of TQM (Guidelines for Organizational Greatness) – Bill Creech

An Army at Dawn – Rick Atkinson

American Generalship: Character is Everything: The Art of Command – Edgar F. Puryear

Category IV
Lessons emerging from recent conflicts – and the preparation for them.

Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime – Eliot Cohen

Prodigal Soldiers – James Kitfield

04. August 2004 · Comments Off on Time Extension Needed for Military Absentee Ballots? · Categories: Military, Politics

In yet another amazing coincidence, CNN ran a story today about overseas military absentee ballots and how a repeat of 2000 could occur again this year. The situation is made worse by the fact that thousands more people are deployed this time around, many of them to remote and inhospitable regions.

What’s most interesting about the article is that it appears to dispute my assertation that perceptions of heavy Republican voting by military members leads to Democrats applying strict interpretations of the law when counting military votes, and Republicans allowing improper ballots to go through as a means of maximizing their respective advantages.

Thousands of votes from U.S. troops overseas could go uncounted again in November without emergency legislation extending deadlines for the ballots, a Chicago election official warned President Bush in a letter Tuesday.

Nearly 30 percent of military voters who requested ballots in 2000 didn’t get them in time to vote. Theresa M. Petrone, a Democratic member of Chicago’s three-person Board of Election Commissioners, told Bush the problem could be solved if he proposed emergency legislation giving election officials up to 14 days after Election Day to collect and count ballots.

Note that this is a Democrat pushing the deadline extension– in Chicago, of all places.

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen the letter. Congressional leaders have opposed amending the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and such emergency legislation is unlikely before November.

Now note that “Congressional leaders”, who I assume to be Republicans, as they currently hold a majority in both Houses, are opposed to amending the act that would allow for an extension.

Is this a sign that perceptions are changing? Politics is an odd game with irrational actors, but you can get a grip on how people will behave if you know what their perceptions are, since politics is basically the creation and manipulation of perception for personal advantage. This story may be a sign that a perception exists among both Parties that the overseas absentee vote may not break heavily towards the Republicans in this election, and could in fact help the Democrats. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter. Politics isn’t about truth, it’s about perception.

I find this story odd, because I can’t imagine a Democrat pushing for something that would be disadvantageous to the Party, and the Republicans then resisting an amendment that would benefit them, especially in an election where the military overseas absentee vote stands a chance of deciding the Presidency.

Or it could be that Theresa M. Petrone is a good person who actually gives a shit. It’s been known to happen, even in politics.

04. August 2004 · Comments Off on I’m Obsolete · Categories: General Nonsense

Thanks to Ed Driscoll, I found out that the DoD is replacing me with a newer model:

Code name: “Stryker.” No, that’s not the latest Jerry Bruckheimer-produced explosion-laden action movie. It’s the file name assigned to the supercomputer IBM has been contracted to build for the U.S. Department of Defense.

I had a feeling– you know, people suddenly hushing-up when I walked by, odd glances, awkward moments with long time friends. It should come as no surprise, but I still feel a pang of sadness.

The artificial brain is comprised of a vast array of IBM computers connected via some 2,300 64-bit microprocessors made by AMD. The supercomputer is slated to run on the Linux operating system. Stryker would be the largest Linux-based supercomputer utilized by the U.S. armed forces, a spokesman for the Samuel Palmisano-helmed firm told Reuters.

Alas, I am but a Trash-80 jerry-rigged to run BASIC. Goodbye World.

03. August 2004 · Comments Off on SecDef Message About Personnel and Politics · Categories: Military, Politics

In an amazing coincidence, the Secretary of Defense has distributed an unclassified message for widest possible dissemination that touches on a couple things that we’ve been talking about here lately. It’s basically a reiteration of long-standing DoD policy and regulations covering the actions of military personnel vis-a-vis elections and political candidates. Note that most of these policies deal with acts committed while serving in an official capacity (i.e., in uniform, explicitly identifying self by rank and service prior to making political statements, on-duty, etc.). I’ll quote the salient points:

General Policy. As a matter of long-standing policy, DoD personnel acting an their official capacities may not engage in activities that associate DoD with any partisan political campaign or election, candidate, cause or issue.

Inquiries from political campaign organizations. DoD personnel must forward all inquiries from political campaign organizations to a public affairs officer (PAO) for awareness and appropriate action.

Installation commanders will ensure that candidates who visit military installations to conduct official business do not engage in any political campaign or election activity during the visit. The preceding prohibition does not apply to the President, the Vice President, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. To avoid the appearance of preferential treatment, installation commanders should offer all candidates for national office who are not current members of Congress or serving governmental officials the same access to installations as any other unofficial visitor.

Media coverage of installation visits. When an installation commander invites a candidate to an installation to participate in official business, and the media seeks to cover the event, the candidate may appear on camera and in photographs as an official participant, but may not make a statement or respond to media queries while on the installation. The Secretary of Defense may authorize exceptions to this policy on a case by case basis for the Pentagon Reservation, but under no circumstances will a candidate receive approval to make a campaign or election-related statement or to respond to a campaign or election-related media query. When an elected official arrives or departs a military installation via military aircraft, the installation commander will not authorize media coverage of the arrival or departure if the elected official’s itinerary includes political campaign or election activity in the local community. The preceding prohibition does not apply to the President, the Vice President, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. When the President, Vice President, or Speaker of the House arrives or departs a military installation via military aircraft and part of that official’s itinerary includes political campaign or election activity in support of a particular candidate, the installation commander will allow the media a photo opportunity to cover the arrival or departure of the President, Vice President, or Speaker of the House, but will not allow the supported candidate to be present during the photo opportunity.

DoD maintains a long-standing policy that DoD personnel acting in their official capacities may not engage in activities that associate DoD with any partisan political campaign or election, candidate, cause, or issue. Consistent with this policy guidance, installation commanders will decline requests for military personnel to appear in or support political campaign or election events. All military personnel, including national guard and reserve forces, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign or election events [doesn’t include color guards-S].

All military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve forces, acting in their official capacities may not engage in public commentary, including speeches and written submissions offered for publication, concerning political campaigns or elections absent prior clearance.


02. August 2004 · Comments Off on Thieves at Atlas Line · Categories: Domestic

If you thought the missing $30,000 from Atlas Line to Operation Give was resolved, then think again.

Update: Fixed the typo to reflect the correct amount of money.

02. August 2004 · Comments Off on Pirates of the Caribbean · Categories: World

I thought this was a neat story from Trinidad & Tobago:

Rose walked in front, a short distance away and on reaching the back of the house was grabbed and thrown to the ground by a gun-toting man who demanded money. Standing nearby was another bandit with a cutlass.

A cutlass? Did he have a peg-leg and say, “Arr!”?

The Coast Guardsman walked into the yard soon afterwards and was greeted with a gun pointed at his face. The officer then drew his licensed firearm and fired three shots hitting the gunman in his head and face. The bandit dropped dead.

The other bandit dropped his cutlass and ran off, but he was quickly held by the fleet-footed Coast Guardsman.

Update: Fixed the link to point to the story’s archive

02. August 2004 · Comments Off on Breast Scares Passengers · Categories: General

A couple was thrown off an American Airlines flight, because the male was wearing a T-Shirt that depicted a woman’s bare breast.

First, their side:

“It’s a picture of a man and woman, and the woman’s breast is showing,” Mr Arela’s girlfriend, Tala Tow, told the Miami Herald newspaper.

Now, the airline’s side:

But Mr Wagner justified the crew’s decision, saying that the T-shirt was more graphic than described by the couple.

The spokesman said that American Airlines’ policy clearly stated that someone “clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offence to other passengers” can be removed from a flight.

“Clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort”, eh? That’s a rule that can be applied to a thousand different situations. What if it were clothing worn by an Arab male that approvingly depicted a terrorist act? Or if he were wearing a T-Shirt with OBL’s mug on it? That’s an interesting question.

02. August 2004 · Comments Off on Hugh Responds · Categories: Military, Politics

Hugh Hewitt has responded to my last post, and his response is pretty good.

First, he points to an interesting article from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here’s the section that he quoted:

A series of polls by the Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press showed that Bush leads Kerry among men with military experience, 49 percent to 40 percent. Other polls gave Bush an even larger advantage.

A Battleground Poll conducted in late June by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and Republican surveyor Ed Goeas showed that likely voters among active military and reserve personnel and veterans favored Bush over Kerry, 52 percent to 44.

He didn’t quote this portion, though:

Research on the other 85 percent of military personnel – the junior enlisted service members – suggests that group is “pretty much mainstream American, not disproportionally conservative, not disproportionally Republican,” Segal said.

Guess where I fall? I’m not an officer, nor am I a senior enlisted troop. I work for a living and I work with this group of people who comprise over 85% of the military. So what I said, based on my own personal experience, is true. I’ll also note that Hugh’s statement never said anything about voting, but how an overwhelming majority of active duty feel. If this poll (taken from the same article Hugh cited) and my personal experience is true, then an overwhelming number of active duty people don’t feel that they’re 100% against the Democratic Party. Some lean Democrat, some lean Republican, but most don’t care either way.

But the career personnel are more likely to vote,

That’s also true, but I think that’s changing, at least for this election.

The article also included these interesting factoids:

However, Lake said there was some anecdotal evidence Kerry does better among military wives.

Last September, a Battleground Poll showed Bush’s approval rating among military family members at only 36 percent.

Peter Feaver, a professor at Duke, said Kerry is making inroads among the families of military personnel, particularly the kin of Guard and Reserve members deployed to Iraq.

That’s generally true from what I’ve seen.

Although the military has done little in the past to encourage people to vote, the Pentagon launched a major campaign this year to help the troops, particularly those deployed overseas, register to vote and to apply for absentee ballots.

That’s utter horseshit. As long as I’ve been in, there has always been a big push to get as many people to vote as possible, even in the off-years. We have people who act as Voting Representatives. They go around, encourage people to register to vote and help them do so. I’ve never seen is anyone tell us how to vote, not even implicitly. I guess it’s understood that we’re all going to vote Republican anyway, because we can’t help it.

Now I will quote from and respond to Hugh:

But it seems to me he’s trying to speak for his colleagues in the military far more than I am

I speak for my colleagues, because that is one of the things I’ve always done on this website. I speak for myself, but since no one else I know has one of these things, I consider it my responsibility to represent the point of view of the people I work with. Other people with different points of view, from different services and occupations within those services, can represent themselves as they see fit, but this point of view is mine and those I know, based on how we see it.

But let me again quote what Hugh said the first time, when a Marine, in uniform, said he was 100% against Kerry and 100% for Bush:

This is how the overwhelming number active duty military in this country feel about the Democratic Party and its Michael Moore-loving elites.

Based on the article Hugh himself quoted, this is not how the overwhelming number of active duty military in the country feel about the Democratic Party (not Kerry, but the entire Democratic Party). If that were the case, then an overwhelming number of active duty military are 100% against roughly half of this country’s voting public. Again, the first quote, where he builds upon his initial supposition:

The would-be commander-in-chief doesn’t have the respect of the men and women he seeks to command. George W. Bush does. So whose judgment do you trust when it comes to which man is better equipped to lead the military and guide the war?

The only thing I can say to that is to take that statement and use another group who are apparently the lapdog of a political party: African-Americans. The current President doesn’t have the respect of the people he is supposed to lead. John Kerry does. So whose judgment do you trust when it comes to which man is better equipped to lead this country?

I can extend that example out to roughly half of this country’s populace, perhaps more. If recent polls are any guide, than an overwhelming majority of Americans currently disapprove of the job Bush is doing. Aren’t the American people the best judge of who is doing a good job and of who is leading them? Then again, why should we listen to them? Shouldn’t we use our own personal judgement, instead of jumping on the bandwagon and going along with the crowd?

But we in the military aren’t average American citizens. We’re their servants, which makes this situation a bit more delicate than usual. Your own assertation refutes your advice to the American people to trust our judgement, since we’re apparently overwhelmingly Republican no matter what. If what you say is true, then we’re not a neutral party, but instead a special-interest group acting out of personal interests and desires. Since we’re as partisan as the next special interest group, then our judgement is automatically suspect, because we’ve just declared that we have a personal stake in the election and we’ve chosen our side. If that is the truth, then the military obviously can’t be held up as an example of unbiased and professional judgement. We’re as trustworthy as any other special-interest group, and our opinions should be treated as lightly as theirs.

Back to Hugh’s most recent post:

But he should ask himself if the Dems are as widely loved or not-loved as the President in military circles, why so much effort by Gore-Lieberman in Florida in 2000 to toss out the votes of military serving overseas? That’s the clincher in any argument over how the active duty military views the Democratic Party: When push came to shove, the Dems wanted the military’s ballots tossed out. Draw your own conclusion on which way the military votes.

That’s actually an interesting case, because it confirms what an overtly partisan military brings upon itself. Let’s shelve the matter of whether the military automatically votes Republican, and instead focus on the perception that we do. The military overseas absentee ballot debacle is a good illustration of what this perception brings about.

Now, I can’t make heads or tails of what happened in Florida. There seemed to be enough chicanery to spread around, but from what I’ve been able to gather from Googling the event, here’s what I think happened:

First, hundreds of overseas absentee ballots were tossed out by state election officials because they didn’t bear a postmark, which State law required. Among these non-postmarked ballots were military ballots, which in the past had been thrown out, but with the scrutiny of the 2000 election, they were given a closer look. Federal law stated that military absentee ballots were exempt from the postmark rule, and since people were actually paying attention this time around, the military absentee vote became an issue. Here’s an Op-Ed I found describing the situation and what happened:

Last Friday, some 1,400 overseas military ballots — 40 percent of all those cast — were excluded from the official count, many because they lacked postmarks as required by Florida law. Since the military vote was breaking for Texas Gov. George W. Bush by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, those disqualified absentees potentially could have added 200 to 300 more votes to his current 930-vote lead over Mr. Gore — which could be crucial to a Bush victory if the ongoing hand counts of ballots are allowed to stand.

The county vote counters were scrupulous about checking for postmarks thanks in large part to a five-page memo distributed last week by a Tallahassee lawyer who is assisting with Democratic election lawsuits in Florida. It outlined techniques on protesting absentee votes and included a section specifically on challenging postmarks.

Perhaps not surprisingly, counties won by Mr. Gore threw out more military overseas ballots (60 percent) than did counties won by Mr. Bush (29 percent). In one extreme example, Democrat-controlled Broward County disqualified 304 of its 396 overseas ballots.

What was obviously going on was political chicanery, but it underscores an important point: since the military is apparently openly Republican and is perceived to vote that way by everyone, then they’ve set themselves up for this kind of nonsense. If we’re “100% against the Democratic Party”, then we’ve declared ourselves to be hostile towards the Democrats who count our votes–Democrats who can suddenly decide to apply a strict interpretation of the law to our votes and a looser interpretation to other votes. And who can blame them? We’re “100% against” them.

From what I also gather, their was some tit-for-tat dealing between Republicans and Democrats over the hand counting and the absentee situation. The hand counting was apparently tilting heavily toward Democrats and the Republicans were crying foul because there was some shady work supposedly going on there, but the Republicans were no angels, either. For example, there was evidence that Republican election officials had improperly handled absentee votes. There was also evidence that many absentee ballots were missing signatures and what-not, which further confused the situation because of the overblown rhetoric swirling around at the time.

I also found this article covering Democratic reaction to the military absentee ballot situation:

Leading Democrats, including vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, are calling on Florida canvassing officials who have tossed a number of military absentee ballots out because they did not have postmarks to reconsider their decision and count them after all.

Lieberman, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, said Republicans had managed a public relations victory over Democrats in general because of the decision by some county election officials to disqualify over 1,400 military absentee ballots.


“My own point of view, if I was there, I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel, generally,” Lieberman said.

Of the local canvassing boards, he continued, “if they have the capacity, I’d urge them to go back and take another look [at accepting the ballots], because again, Al Gore and I don’t want to ever be part of anything that would put an extra burden on the military personnel abroad.”

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., joined Lieberman yesterday to urge county election officials to reconsider their decision.

“I believe that we ought to bend over backwards to have everybody’s vote, and particularly those men and women who are serving us in uniform in high-risk areas,” Graham told NBC’s “Today Show” co-host Katie Couric.


Meanwhile, Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, a supporter of Vice President Al Gore, advised counties that they “should count” overseas ballots, even if they bear no postmarks.

“No man or woman in military service to this nation should have his or her vote rejected solely due to the absence of a postmark,” Butterworth said yesterday in a letter to the state’s 67 counties, according to an Associated Press report.

County election officials of both parties have said such non-postmarked military ballots have been discarded in similarly large numbers in past elections, but that more attention has been given them this year because of the closeness of the presidential race.

My point remains, though. If everyone assumes we’re always going to vote Republican, then we’ve made ourselves the target of people that we’re “100% against”. Our votes could get tossed out by unscrupulous Democratic officials. What’s worse, what about those in the military who don’t vote Republican? Their votes get tossed out too because we’re apparently all the same, and have no problem advancing the perception that we’re all Republicans, even when we’re not.

This obviously doesn’t excuse the Democrats who engage in this sort thing, but like I said, who can blame them? The conservative military, speaking on behalf of us all, has declared them to be their enemy and by jumping headfirst into partisan political waters, they’re screwing us all over.

Update: So, as I was saying…

To wrap this monster up, I want to say that by openly declaring who we’re for and against, we’re possibly introducing doubt into the citzenry’s mind about our loyalties. The people of this country expect us to serve the Constitutional government, and by extension all of them, with all the dedication we can muster, no matter who is in charge. That’s why we have rules that say you can’t attend a political rally in uniform, that you can’t publicly campaign for candidates, and that you can’t run for Congress. That’s why it’s imperative that we not allow ourselves to be used as a politician’s or pundit’s prop to advance their own agenda, whether you agree with that particular agenda or not. We have to maintain the image of neutrality. Yes, I know it’s just for appearance’s sake, but appearances matter in politics, and it doesn’t take much to introduce doubt into the citizenry’s mind about our fealty to the government and to question just which master we serve. Once that doubt exists, it opens the door to things that are much worse, and you can’t just say, “Well, I may be a conservative, and though I donate large amounts of money and time to the Republican Party and hate Democrats, you can trust me to do my job no matter what.” Tell me, why should anyone take you at your word? Why should anyone trust you? You just told half the citizenry that you’re against the people they elected to represent them, which means that you just told half the citizenry that you’re against them. You don’t just serve the people you agree with. You serve all of them, and you have to keep that in mind before you try your best to destroy our credibility with the half you don’t agree with.

01. August 2004 · Comments Off on French Incarcerate Released Gitmo Prisoners · Categories: GWOT

Yeah, I’m on a France fix today….

According to the BBC, France has placed four men just released from Guantanmo into cusody.

The four appeared before judges Jean-Louis Bruguiere and Jean-Francois Ricard after being detained at the headquarters of the French internal security service, the DST.

Mourad Benchellali, Nizar Sassi, Imad Kanouni and Brahim Yadel were placed under investigation on suspicion of associating with a terrorist organisation.

Two of the men – Mr Benchellali and Mr Sassi – are also accused of using false passports in order to travel to Afghanistan.


At least two of the suspects were known to the French intelligence services before they reappeared in US detention.

Most of the other prisoners that have been repatriated back to their respective European countries have not been re-detained.

01. August 2004 · Comments Off on French Participation in Genocide? · Categories: World

The Rwandan government is launching its own investigation to figure out just what role the French played in the genocide of Tutsis:

Paris denies responsibility – although it has admitted supporting Rwanda’s former Hutu-led government.

The current Rwandan government, which took over after the genocide, argues that Paris knowingly armed the killers and provided an escape route after their defeat.


France has also been accused of allowing perpetrators of the genocide to escape when it launched a operation in south-western Rwanda in June 1994.

I doubt this investigation will find anything of note. The French supported the Hutu government, which would automatically implicate them in the genocide to many Tutsis. I think it’s safe to say that the French indirectly supported the Hutus, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they allowed a few to escape, but direct support doesn’t seem likely. With the French, though, you never know.

01. August 2004 · Comments Off on The Thin Line · Categories: Military, Politics

Everybody’s already linked to this story about Kerry and a couple of Marines eating at Wendy’s, and while I certainly agree that getting bothered by a Presidential candidate and the press entourage that clings to him like barnacles on a hull is a hassle, I did get a kick out of this bit:

“I’m 100 percent against” Kerry, he said. “We support our commander-in-chief 100 percent.”

So, if Kerry were to become the next Commander-in-Chief, would you still be against him 100%? Or would it come down to 60 or 75%? I’m trying to figure this out, because support for the current CINC is one thing, but when you openly express that you’re 100% against the guy who could be your next CINC, then you’re setting yourself up for a situation you don’t want to be in. We serve the Position, not the Man. The military has no business forming personality cults around politicians.

Oh, and what is this?

This is how the overwhelming number active duty military in this country feel about the Democratic Party and its Michael Moore-loving elites. Clip and save and reread when you hear Kerry-Edwards talking about how they will strengthen the military. The would-be commander-in-chief doesn’t have the respect of the men and women he seeks to command. George W. Bush does. So whose judgment do you trust when it comes to which man is better equipped to lead the military and guide the war? The active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, or John Kerry’s band of brothers?

I’m going to say this as nicely as possible: Go to hell. It pisses me off when fucking moonbats portray us as Pathetic Victims of the Man or Dumb Brutes Who Kill People for Fun. It pisses me off even more when people presume to speak on my behalf, and on my comrades’ behalf, as if we were some data point on a score sheet.

Let me clue you in on something, Hugh: We’re not fucking idiots. You will find as many opinions on Bush, Kerry and all the rest of it as you’ll find in the rest of the country. There’s about as many Democrats as Republicans in the military, especially among enlisted folk. There’s an even greater percentage of people who don’t care at all because they know that it doesn’t matter who’s President or who’s in control of Congress. Our lives don’t change.

When I first joined, Bush I was President. He deployed the military to Saudi, threw Saddam out of Kuwait and then authorized a series of deployments to various locales in and around Iraq. He also deployed us to Somalia. His Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, tried to nix or seriously reduce many of the critical equipment and programs that we eventually came to rely upon during the last 3 years. He also started the RIF, which gutted our force. It tooks us years to recover from that fuck-up.

Then came Clinton. He deployed us to Bosnia, Haiti, and a score of other countries for relief missions. The Ops Tempo remained at a constant high throughout most of his Presidency. Toward the end, we started getting money for quality of life stuff and the Ops Tempo decreased a little bit after the Kosovo Air War.

Then came Bush II. The quality of life stuff started drying up and he’s deployed us to Afghanistan, Iraq, Central America, and God knows where else. The Ops Tempo went back up.

Now you tell me: What has exactly changed during the past 15 years? I can’t tell any real difference between the three Presidents. I can’t tell any difference between the Congresses that have come and gone. Everything remains the same year after year and the motto remains unchanged: Do More With Less. In the Air Force, we’ve been on a wartime footing for what seems like my entire career. That’s three Presidents, Hugh. Nothing’s different and most people I know are aware of that, so don’t assume that we’re all gung-ho for Bush and the Republicans, and please don’t use us to lie to the citizenry. Some of us don’t like Kerry and a lot of us don’t care much for Bush, but most of us don’t care at all because it doesn’t matter who sits in the Oval Office. The only thing that changes are the places we go.

01. August 2004 · Comments Off on Commander Told His People to Lie · Categories: Military

I don’t know if this is true or not, since I’m not familiar with the source, but I found it interesting nonetheless:

The commander of U.S. soldiers accused of forcing two Iraqis to jump from a bridge into the Tigris River says he told his men to lie about the incident.

Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Sassaman, who was granted immunity for his testimony, but who also received a reprimand, said Friday he told his soldiers not to talk about the water, CNN reported Saturday.

In all the stories from Iraq involving bad soldiers, I’ve seen the same common thread: Piss-poor leadership. Abu Ghraib and this incident should be introduced into the various leadership curricula to illustrate why we do things the way we do. Every time someone asks, “Why can’t we be more familiar with our subordinates?” or “Do we really have to be anal about regulations and discipline?”, all you’ll have to do is point at these incidents for an answer.

The Command reflects the Commander. Look at the Commanders from Abu Ghraib, this Bridge Incident, as well as other breaches of discipline, and then note the character of their commands. The Command reflects the Commander.

31. July 2004 · Comments Off on Bush I Wore a Bunny Suit · Categories: The Final Frontier

(But zipped it up only halfway. Typical.)

SpaceRef has a short article that says Bush I wore a bunny suit to board the Space Shuttle well before John F’in Kerry visited NASA. Here’s one of the pictures:

Did I Ever Tell You That I Do Everything Half-Ass?

The big difference is that Bush I doesn’t look like an Oompa Loompa during the Mike TV sequence in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:

Oompa Loompa Doo-pa-dee-doo

31. July 2004 · Comments Off on Chutzpah · Categories: European Disunion

I was reading this article in the Guardian and did a double-take when I read this paragraph:

Increasing German pressure on the Poles for an admission of the wrongs done to Germans at the end of the war and for some form of material compensation are causing intense resentment and mistrust in Poland, where 6 million people died during the war and whose invasion by Hitler in 1939 triggered the outbreak of the conflict.


You’re shitting me, right? The Germans, who put Hitler in power. The Germans, who kept Hitler in power. The Germans, who loved Hitler. The Germans, who did nothing as Jews, gypsies and other “undesirables” were led away to the camps to be slaughtered and worked to death. The Germans, who were Hitler’s willing executioners, want compensation for discomfort suffered at the end of a war they started? A war that resulted in over 20 million dead? If they want to start talking compensation, then they need to take a number and stand behind about 500 million people who have a greater claim.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s this:

Some 12 million Germans were kicked out of central Europe, many of them killed, at the war’s end, when Europe’s borders were redrawn by the allies. Poland, in particular, was literally lifted from east to west and transplanted on to territory that for centuries had been peopled by Germans.

The rightwing Prussian Trust organisation, which represents the families of expropriated and resettled Germans, has been launching private lawsuits in Poland for the return of lost property, believing that Poland’s accession to the EU in May will make it easier for Germans to reclaim their former homes.

That is a box you really don’t want to open, especially when it comes to the Poles. For starters, let’s begin with the “Hey, You Don’t Exist Anymore!” partition, whereby Prussia, Russia, and Austria simply declared Poland to be theirs. Sorry, you don’t exist anymore. My ancestor who came over on the boat wasn’t listed as Polish, but as Prussian. He left because education was limited to the Germanic elite, he was prohibited from speaking both Polish and his tribal tongue of Kascubian, and because you guys were assholes.

If you really want to get into it, little Prussian Trust, the land that your squatter ancestors occupied for a time used to be called Pomerania. Before that, it was populated by several Slavic tribes, among them the Kascubians, from whom I am descended. My name was there long before the pagan Tuetons made you “Prussians”. And you know what –and I mean this from the bottom of my heart– I’m glad your country doesn’t exist anymore.

And to the Guardian: Poland was not “literally lifted from east to west and transplanted”. Its traditional eastern territories were carved-up to create Ukraine and Belarus. The Poles who were displaced from those territories settled onto Western lands generously donated by the Germans after their killing spree.

While Mr Schröder and his foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, have sought to distance themselves from any German claims on Poland, the lobby for the resettled Germans, led by the Christian Democrat MP Erika Steinbach, is pressing for compensation, and for a new museum in Berlin dedicated to Germany’s own “victims of ethnic cleansing.”

I’m sure that these people are merely oddballs whose absurd cause is given the slightest legitimacy because they occupy a seat in the legislature, but still, the question does require asking: Germany, do you need your pee-pee spanked again?

31. July 2004 · Comments Off on Viva La Pants! · Categories: Iraq

One of the criticisms I’ve seen of John Kerry is that he would be a tool of the Europeans. People have said that he would, in effect, cave to European and International interests in exchange for “cooperation.”

Well, he’s not President and we just gave in to the French in exchange for “cooperation.” I guess this means French Fries are back on the menu! Oh yeah, there’s nothing like good ole’ French Fries and thick, rich Heinz ketchup to dip them in.

I suppose it’s for the best, because those Freedom Fries were taking too many liberties with my digestive system.

27. July 2004 · Comments Off on Faith Manages · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I finally got the fifth and final season of Babylon 5 on DVD the other day, and noticed something interesting in the booklet that came with the set. In the booklet’s introduction, series creator J. Michael Stracynski talks about those who thought the series would never succeed or reach completion, but calls out only one doubter by name:

TV Guide critic Jeff Jarvis, weighing in on the odds of us making it to series, said simply, “fat chance”

26. July 2004 · Comments Off on Contest · Categories: A Href

The Washington Post is having a Best Blogs contest.