Friday Linkzookery – 12 Oct 2007

Gates backs faster Army growth
Probably good. Left unsaid in the press, though, is the fact that the Army is growing and still meeting recruiting and retention goals.

SEAL to Get Posthumous Medal of Honor
Michael P. Murphy, killed in Afghanistan in 2005.

Cold War missile tracker to be sunk in spring
The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg will sleep with the fishes.

Reapers take to the war zone
It’s official. Predator’s big brother, the MQ-9, is on the prowl.

Halleluiah! Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize! Planet Is Saved!!
So says Gateway Pundit, though I suspect he may be being sarcastic.

Shiites grow disillusioned with militia in Baghdad
What? Just because of the all the death and violence and oppression?

Extremists mortar school in Diwaniyah
That’s how the bad guys win hearts and minds. (I’ll probably be scolded for calling folks who mortar schools “bad guys”…)

Brits are armoring up
More mine-resistant Mastiff vehicles for the British army.

Israeli Jamming Mystery Deepens
We will never know the full story. In fact, I suspect that at least half of what we do know is intentional or accidental misinformation.

Freedom (LCS 1)’s Automated Stern Ramp and Side Launch Doors Will Offer Unprecedented Launch & Recovery Access For Ship’s Waterborne and Special Operations Missions
Press release from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT).

Crazy at work? It may just be office ADD
Is there anything in the world that isn’t a disorder? Sheesh.

Air Force’s FY ’10 budget plan will reflect greater emphasis on directed energy
Zap!

Nintendo to launch ‘Wii Fit’ game
I know someone who used ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ on an XBox as a fitness program.

Dawn Patrol
All sorts of links at the Mudville Gazette.

Comments

  1. Left unmentioned by the article on the Wii Fit, was the detail that it will not support users over 300 lbs. So this is helpful for the merely overweight; but 3.8 million americans will have to lose weight the normal way. And good luck finding a Wii. They are still perpetually sold out at Target.

  2. The U.S. mission in Iraq is a ‘nightmare with no end in sight’ because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday. Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency – such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled. He called current strategies – including the deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this year – a ‘desperate attempt’ to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq. ‘There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight,’ Sanchez told a group of journalists covering military affairs. Sanchez avoided singling out at any specific official. But he did criticize the State Department, the National Security Council, Congress and the senior military leadership during what appeared to be a broad indictment of White House policies and a lack of leadership to oppose them. Such assessments – even by former Pentagon brass – are not new, but they have added resonance as debates over war strategy dominate the presidential campaign. – Drudge

  3. It seems this General has done both. Personally, I have a hard time believing that the government can so thoroughly screw up everything and yet expect us to believe they are doing a bang up job on this war that has lasted far longer than it should have and is being prosecuted primarily by mercinary government contractors who are possibly even less accountable than people such as myself working here in the US. Maybe things are just ducky over there, but at this point I’m asking myself, what is the more likely scenario?

  4. Defens- IMO the war – The initial prosecution of the war went great. Once we ‘won’ things went downhill. I attribute this to a lack of competence, both by white house and the pentagon. Currently I believe that general Petraeus has good plan, though he needs some more troops. That said, I believe in the ‘trust but verify’ credo. I tend to put more faith in the independent reporters on the ground then spokesmen.

  5. I think what they did initially would have been fine, if they’d taken Saddam into custody and not killed all of his government officials and cronys. They should have concentrated on getting as many al Quaeda operatives as they could and as much information as they could. They should have swept through, put the fear of God into Saddam, then pulled out as quickly as they went in. It could have been a ‘don’t f with us’ warning, not only to the Iraqis, but to the whole region. Instead we chose to go in too fast for an occupying force. We didn’t kill enough bad guys. We didn’t destroy enough explosives and weapons. We didn’t establish a propoer infrastructure as we went in to support an occupation. We didn’t break the Iraqi’s spirit, which is a requisite to any occupation. We didn’t win the hearts and minds. We didn’t sell the idea we were there as liberators. We took too long to set up an indigenous government. Now we are dying the death of 1000 cuts. It is incompetence. Ultimately it is Bush’s fault, but I’m sure there was plenty of stupidity to go around.

  6. Apparently this General blamed the lame stream media and the Democrats before he blamed the White House.. funny how most media outlets failed to mention that eh?

  7. Sounds like someone who was really, really sorry he got caught, to me.

    ‘Mr. Riechers was found deceased in his home, cause of death appears to be suicide, time of death is unknown,’ said the memo, which was issued late Sunday. Charles Riechers, principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, was working on the Air Force’s highest priority weapons programs, including a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker that is due to be awarded late this year or early next, and a $15 billion combat search and rescue helicopter. His death comes against the backdrop of heightened concerns about Air Force weapons programs, but the service said it was not expected to affect any contract awards. ‘While Mr. Riechers was an integral part of these programs, the Air Force does not foresee any delays to these acquisition program schedules,’ said spokeswoman Jennifer Bentley. She said the Air Force was deeply saddened by Riechers’ death, but gave no details about his death. The Washington Post reported on October 1 that Riechers was hired for two months by defense contractor Commonwealth Research Institute at the request of the Air Force while Riechers was out of work and awaiting Senate confirmation for his new position. The job paid $13,400 a month. Commonwealth has close ties to the Pentagon and has received hundreds of millions of dollars in military grants and contracts in recent years, according to the Post report. ‘I really didn’t do anything for CRI,’ Riechers told the newspaper. ‘I got a paycheck from them.’ At the time, the Air Force downplayed the report, saying the temporary job was a common arrangement to help the service under an existing contract. A spokeswoman also said Riechers had been quoted out of context. But Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, criticized the deal and asked the Air Force to explain the arrangement. New questions arose on Friday about Commonwealth when Pemco Aviation Group amended its protest of a $1.2 billion contract to Boeing Co for maintenance of the existing fleet of KC-135 refueling tankers. Pemco raised questions about Riechers’ possible conflict of interest because of ties between Commonwealth, its parent Concurrent Technologies, and Boeing.

    I wish I could get a job that paid $13K/month for doing nothing. But I’m sure it was nothing. Probably no graft or corruption involved. Just go on your way, folks. Nothing to see here. Just another isolated incident like Darlene Druyun, Jack Abramoff, and Duke Cunningham. He probably just had a ‘wide stance’ in the airport bathroom, that’s all. Why do you people have to make something of everything when nothing’s going on? Everything is fine. Our weapons programs are not spiralling out of control. Just because they’re all over budget and over=schedule does not mean they’re being administered incompetently by a bunch of self serving crooks and liars. So there.

  8. Remember, we are only outsourcing the low skilled, low tech jobs that Americans don’t want to do. This should free us to get high tech, high skill jobs, like working in fast food at McDonald’s:

    A rising number of U.S. lawmakers are expressing concern about a business deal that would give communist China access to vital U.S. defense technology. Eight members of Congress have now called upon the Bush administration to block a proposed buyout of 3Com because a Chinese company is participating in that deal. 3Com provides the Pentagon and other government agencies with secure network wireless technology. Lawmakers say the founder of the Chinese company is a former PLA army officer who may still have links with the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Our nation’s airlines may be trading security for profits. Some U.S. airlines are now, unbelievably, contracting with foreign companies to provide passenger security checks. A congressional investigation didn’t identify the airline’s testimony today before a House committee, but that information is ready to be released. Lisa Sylvester has our report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The airlines that you fly have found a way to cut costs: outsource. From the plane’s maintenance to screening against terror watch lists, that work is increasingly being done by foreign companies. Congressional critics worry it’s compromising safety and security. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: What I can’t figure out why there is no sense of agency about foreign repair stations, especially in light of the fact that we have now non-certified foreign repair stations that are doing significant work. SYLVESTER: A Transportation Department inspector general report found that nine major air carriers it reviewed outsourced 34 percent of heavy maintenance in 2003. By 2006, 67 percent of significant maintenance for those airlines was contracted out. The report says a full third of that workload went to foreign providers who are not required to use FAA certified mechanics or meet other basic standards. LARRY WILLIS, AFL-CIO: You have drug and alcohol testing standards mandated when aircraft are repaired in this country, but overseas those standards do not need to be applied, even when those individuals are working on U.S.-registered aircraft. SYLVESTER: The Transportation Security Administration said it’s working on closing the gaps, but insists it has other security measures are in place. KIP HAWLEY, DIRECTOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: As you know, there are layers that are in place, so it is not completely uncovered. It’s part of the layer and risk management that we look at. SYLVESTER: But that’s not the only thing some airlines are contracting out. The Transportation Security Administration requires air carriers match the names of passengers against terror watch lists. Some airlines have opted to rely on outside foreign companies to screen passengers. CATHLEEN BERRICK, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: Some carriers contract out with foreign countries and the foreign countries are actually doing the name matching. So, obviously, there’s concerns there. SYLVESTER: The Transportation Security Administration says the contractors are held to the same standards as the airlines that do the work in-house, including following confidentiality rules. (END VIDEOTAPE) SYLVESTER: Still, the Transportation Security Administration favors taking over the job of matching passenger lists from the airlines. It’s also working on new guidelines and standards for airlines that use foreign repair stations. But TSA has been a little slow getting around to that. Congress mandated that the TSA have those new rules in place by August 2004. The TSA still has not issued those guidelines — Lou. DOBBS: Well, the TSA is not doing its job. It is at the same time attempting to provide some, perhaps, improvement in terms of outsourcing terror watch lists. But the idea — Senator Claire McCaskill put it — the idea of outsourcing 67 percent of heavy maintenance for American airlines, U.S. airlines, and half of that maintenance going to foreign repair stations that are unregulated, do not have to make, as you reported, federal — meet federal standards, is Congress going to do anything about this absurdity? SYLVESTER: It is extremely frustrating. And the more that members of Congress realize just the scope of this, of how much it has increased, Congress is looking at trying to close that loophole. And one of the things they’re doing is requiring the TSA come up with those new standards and fulfill that requirement for that rule that they were supposed to do back in 2004 — Lou. DOBBS: It is becoming extremely clear that one of the greatest travesties in this country in terms of regulation was deregulating the U.S. airline industry nearly 30 years ago. They have made a mess of it. They continue to make a mess of it, and, really, frankly, appear not to know how to run an airline, the number that are in bankruptcy, outsourcing critical jobs. It’s disgusting.