Friday Linkzookery – 28 Sep 2007

U.S.: Senior leader of al-Qaida in Iraq killed
The posting seems to be a temporary assignment.

Medium ImageAre the French Looking to Sling Lead for NATO?
French military back in NATO after over 40 years? What do you think?

Can’t Win With ‘Em, Can’t Go To War Without ‘Em (26-page .pdf)
PW Singer’s report for Brookings on private military contractors.

On Private Military Companies and Contractors
Grim at Blackfive comments on Singer’s paper.

Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry
Singer’s 2003 book on the industry. A must-read.

Blackwater faced bedlam, U.S. Embassy finds
Meanwhile, the details of the latest incident continue to trickle in.

France offers to send anti-piracy warship off Somalia
Seems that the new leadership in France is walking the talk.

First troops in drawdown plan now out of Iraq
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit on its way home.

Dr. Who: What is the Appeal?
I enjoyed Dr. Who back in the day and now my kids do, too. 3rd and 4th Doctors, mostly. Haven’t watched the new ones at all.

Iraq and Afghanistan: ‘The political problem of hindsight bias’
I used to point out the hindsight thing quite often.

Alaska’s Strykers take on global task
Soon to become the Army’s designated Global Response Force unit.

New Bases, Barracks, Buildings Foster Iraqi Prosperity
I don’t think there can be too much of this sort of thing. One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made is not making enough petty cash type money available to be used by locals.

The Nuclear Renaissance Begins
Bring. It. On.

Red Dawn paintball – 11/14/2007
Wolverines vs. Rooskies and Cubans. Murdoc hasn’t paintballed in over a decade.

OK to spy on kidnappers took 9 hours
Last spring, with insurgents apparently holding three American soldiers in Iraq, it took the U.S. government more than nine hours to begin emergency surveillance of some of the kidnappers’ electronic communications.

Huntsville’s Bomb Cave
In case we need to hide. Complete with bats.

Medium ImageAustralia Buying 24 Super Hornets As Interim Gap-Filler to JSF
This isn’t surprising. I haven’t heard if this means the Aussie order for F-35s will be cut.

Band of Brothers
Watching it again. It’s too awesome for words.

Swastika-shaped US Navy building
This will no doubt convince many that the US government really is a bunch of Nazis.

Lex: Oops.
He notes that they’re going to fix the swastika building for $600,000.

Blue Angels picture gallery
Good stuff.

The Most Powerful Bomb Ever Constructed
Ivan the Tsar Bomba at Damn Interesting.

TN Cigarette Revenuers Crossing State Lines
Don’t stock up over state lines.


  1. Wow! I’m/we’re (contractors) are suddenly the flavor of the week! LOL! I’ve been working for three years now, two in the W. Bank and the last in the Stan (security contractor, and no………it wasn’t for Blackwater). There is a significant validity to ‘some’ of what Singer says. The current missions in Iraq and the Stan (and pretty much anywhere else) would collapse without contractors. It’s at least a one for one ratio, thereby doubling the boots on the ground, as opposed to just the military alone. I was unable to discern any overarching policy or procedure for our operations as promulgated by our government, and even if there had been, there was no monitoring or enforcement mechanism/unit. Each company is left on their own to formulate, develop, and disseminate policy and procedure within frequently vague government guidelines and/or contractual/program requirements. Oddly enough, there is a significant disparity in policy and procedure between companies with similar missions………….go figure. Not only that………….there is no real monitoring, or enforcment mechanism in place for those vital administrative functions within the company I worked for. The common view (I agree with it) amongst most military and contractor personnel I spoke with was there was a huge turf fight going on between DOD and DOS (primarily, but others as well) on how, when, where, why, and with whom…………to run contractor programs. Convoluted chains of command, and too many chiefs abound. Local Military Commanders telling us to do things contrary to instructions/policy/program requirements from our ‘client’ are quite common. We’re frequently colocated with and subordinated to the local ISAF military (often times not Americans)………we find ourselves trying to satisfy and get along with all the players so we can try to service the contract. If all that sounds confusing, counter productive, and frustrating……………well, you always were the smart one! LOL! As I stated, there’s a lot of validity to Singers ‘report’, however Grim’s observations/rebuttal to Singer’s report are totally correct. Contractors certainly aren’t guiltless, but problems encountered so far are largely due to no comprehensive government policy or procedure or utilization strategy, lack of oversight and enforcement, and poorly written contracts (scope of work) that are sometimes doomed to failure by their very structure.

  2. FWIW: The ‘Corportate Warriors’ book by Singer seems to be coming from a noticeably different direction than many of his recent comments. The book is more of a history of the return of professional military companies since the end of the Cold War and the basic situation as of the end of 2003. More of a ‘this is what they are, this is what they do, and this is why they’re going to be around for a long, long time.’ Not nearly so gloomy, though certainly cautionary. I’d really recommend those interested in the subject check the book out. You’re going to learn a lot more than you will reading sensationalized ‘Blackwater Sucks’, ‘Mercenaries are Evil’, and ‘This is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen’ books and news stories. It’s hard to tell why the shift in attitudes in Singer’s writing, maybe because in some places the ‘worst case scenario’ appears to be playing itself out, at least in public media.