Archive for September, 2006
Just a few days ago I posted a 1979 image of an F-14 Tomcat intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber. A few days later NORAD F-15s do it up near Alaska:
An F-15C Eagle from the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base flies next to a Russian Tu-95 Bear Bomber during a Russian exercise Sept. 28, which brought the Bear near the west coast of Alaska. The Eagle took off as part of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s reaction to this training opportunity provided by the Russian 137th Air Army.
The Rooskies penetrated North America’s Air Defense Identification Zone but did not cross into US air space.
Read more in the Seattle PI: Fighter planes intercept Russian bombers
Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, commander of Russian long-range aviation, said the exercise involved 70 bombers, which test-fired 18 cruise missiles, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
The Russians had announced the plans last week.
This sort of thing (without prior announcement, in most cases) was quite common during the Cold War. How often are our planes still intercepting Russians these days, though? I don’t think it can be very common.
UPDATE: I switched to a far-higher resolusion image. Even bigger version here.
Israel Navy eyeing new US warship
The Israeli navy is considering some Littoral Combat Ships for its fleet.
Israeli Speed Boats
Meanwhile, they’re also getting more Super Dvora Mk III patrol boats. I wonder if these babies might not have a place in the US Navy, as well.
Dragon Skin: Proven Tough?
The Dragon Skin opera continues.
AFA to reopen south gate to public for first time since 9/11
I didn’t realize that the gate was closed to visitors. I used to drive to work (Civil Service) through that gate every day.
Few embeds in Iraq not all media’s fault
Donald Sensing notes that the fact that only 9 reporters are embedded with Coalition forces in Iraq isn’t only the fault of the media. Just mostly.
Read the rest of this entry »
I think it’s pretty clear that the battles in southern Afghanistan have been pretty significant. They haven’t been getting a whole lot of coverage here because relatively few US forces have been directly involved, but the reports of major victories by British, Canadian, and other Coalition forces have been pretty steady.
The British in Hemland, in particular, have seen a lot more action than they expected:
Describing the range of actions, a senior Whitehall source said: “You are talking about bayonet and grenade actions, Chinooks landing troops while being raked by gunfire and 105mm guns in direct fire mode.”
British troops and flyers have been recommended for nearly 180 decorations, including several Victoria Crosses.
UPDATE: Here’s another Telegraph story on the action on Helmand: Limited mission that turned into bloody firefights
Jay Tea at Wizbang summarizes the cast of characters in the National Intelligence Estimate leak/release story:
Government officials who cherry-pick the summary portion of an intelligence report and release only the elements that support one political position: heroic whistle-blowers.
Government officials who declassify the entire summary to counter the partisan allegations and attacks based on the prior, partial leak: opportunists and crass political manipulators.
Government officials who demand that the entire report — even the parts that reveal “sources and methods” — be released, in addition to the summary: noble leaders.
Government officials who say that the summary is sufficient, that it was written by the same people who put together the entire document, and people on both sides agree that the summary is a fair representation of the details outlined within the body of the report: secret-mongering, conspiratorial villains.
This whole thing sort of reminds me of the sloppy attempt by Richard Ben-Veniste to use the title of the infamous 8/6/01 Presidential Daily Brief against Condeleeza Rice (and, by extension, the Bush administration) during the 9/11 Commission hearings. Here’s what I wrote about it in April of 2004:
Read the rest of this entry »
This post by Dean Esmay, “calling out Michelle Malkin,” is what is known in the business as traffic bait.
So go ahead and click it and give Esmay more of the traffic he wants. I highly recommend you read his post as the classic blogospheric example of how not to argue about Islam.
Or anything else, for that matter.
For the record, I’m not sure that I recall Malkin saying things exactly the way Dean says she does, and as I pointed out yesterday, the “Islam is incompatible with democracy” is certainly not the property of the Conservative Right.
If you read Dean’s post, you will find that some of his comments get a bit unhinged. As do some of the comments from others. Dean’s obviously quite upset about this subject, and he’s on the rampage. Very well.
I happen to agree with his basic position that those claiming “Islam is incompatible with democracy” are a big part of the problem. I also happen to agree that insulting those Muslims who are our allies (and even our own citizens) will not get them to step up to the plate and denounce those of their faith that are trying to destroy civilization as we know it.
I had a conversation last week where this very subject came up, and I’ve done some more thinking about it since then. I’m wondering if a sort of “war fatigue” has set in and is responsible for the increasing number of calls to “wipe out Islam” and whatnot that I’ve been seeing on message boards and in comments sections lately. Are some folks just so tired of the Long Global War (World War IV) that they’ve decided that the answer is to just press the button and nuke ‘em all?
I’m tired of the war. I’m tired of our soldiers dying. I’m tired of all the civilians suffering and dying. I’m tired of the expense. I’m tired of it all. But, damn it, I think the fight is one worth fighting. And I still want to win. Nuking ‘em all isn’t winning anything.
One thing that I think might set me a bit apart is that I never once believed that we’d be seeing large troop withdrawals this year. This spring things looked real good, but not only haven’t the troops been coming home in droves, they’ve had their tours extended or started early.
Is it frustration with the pace of things that’s making some folks throw up their hands and declare that this will never work?
If so, they had better take a deep breath. We won’t know if this is really working for at least twenty more years. When the Iraqis who are very young children now are those making decisions in Iraq, when large numbers of those who lived their entire lives in the Old Iraq have passed on, only then will we really begin to get a good idea.
They aren’t calling it the Long War for nothing folks. And I’m not willing to give up on all those people just because a certain percentage of them are murderous monsters who want to build a world in their own murderous image. We might be able to win without Muslim democracies, but we cannot win without Muslims.
For what it’s worth, what in the Bible or in fundamental Christianity is particularly “compatible with democracy”? If the pope (or your local pastor) began calling for you to kill in the name of Jesus and rule the world with the iron fist of God, would that make Christianity incompatible with democracy?
No doubt, there are serious problems with wide swaths of Islam in the world today. No doubt, a certain segment of the Islamic world will fight to the death (gladly, even) and we will be forced to kill, kill, and kill. No doubt, it would certainly be nice to see a clearer split between the two. But don’t confuse “the Muslims” with our enemies who are Muslims. It’s a critical distinction, and one that a lot of folks don’t seem to make all the time.
Also, Donald Sensing has a good post up on this discussion.
Tacoma News Tribune:
The old man in robe and head scarf told the Stryker troops from Fort Lewis they must be lost.
“No, no, suspicious cars ever here,” the Iraqi said through an interpreter. “The whole country has not security, but in this neighborhood is security.”
Just a few minutes later Wednesday morning, the soldiers found a mortar round buried in the mud and dirt field behind the man’s Baghdad house.
The troops, from the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, kept looking. They hit the jackpot beneath the rusted skeleton of a bus.
A hole with 260 mortar rounds.
Many of the rounds were of the size favored for car bombs and improvised explosive devices. There are only about 3-4 million similar caches left in Iraq. (Murdoc’s estimate.)
But the 12-hour mission also reflected some of the frustration U.S. troops face in Iraq. Residents claimed ignorance of insurgent activity, and the soldiers couldn’t get enough evidence to detain anyone Wednesday.
One man in the neighborhood made it clear that he would be “slaughtered” if he dared to give information to the Americans.
Many of the locals just wanted the US troops to leave and were unmoved when the troops pointed out that they were trying to help. (via Stryker Brigade News)
UPDATE: I had originally wondered if this unit was actually the 4-23 INF from the 172nd SBCT. It apparently isn’t, and is really the 1-23 INF as identified in the article. The 1-23 INF is part of the 2nd Division’s 3rd Brigade, the first Stryker Brigade.
Dean Esmay is getting tired of some drivel coming from the Right:
This very statement–that Islam is incompatible with democracy–is why I fight so hard with many of my friends on the Right: accepting that statement means we have to declare war on the entire Muslim world if we’re to hope for human freedom to survive.
Other than pointing out that many on the Left say the exact same thing, using it as a reason why our efforts in the Middle East are doomed to failure, I pretty much agree with his post. As I noted yesterday, the fact that virtually everyone we’re currently at war with is Muslim doesn’t mean that we’re at war with all Muslims.
There are two very distinct groups: those that are our enemies and those that are not. Granted, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to tell them apart, but the fact remains that many Muslims are on our side and many more are not, yet still opposed to the jihadists who are trying to destroy civilization as we know it. I do truly wish that we’d see more open rejection of the jihadists by civilized Muslims, and I’m troubled that we don’t. Until we do, I fear that we’re going to have trouble making much more progress.
Yesterday I cautioned against thinking that the kinder, gentler approach we should be taking with the vast majority of Muslims must not be used with the fraction that is actively trying to kill us. Today I caution that we don’t let that fraction make us forget all about the kinder, gentler approach.
“Islam is incompatible with democracy” is an obvious lie and nothing more than bigoted ignorance. Or is it ignorant bigotry? Either way, it’s shameful.
Instapundit links to this USA Today story about the women who wrote the book The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew– Three Women Search for Understanding and writes:
It’s easy to make fun of this kind of earnest, can’t-we-all-get-along stuff, but in fact it’s exactly what we need.
This immediately reminded me of the recent incident in Iraq where Muslim women went to church with Christians to provide a bit of protection following the mass hysteria over the Pope’s recent comments. (The fact that the terrorists don’t seem to mind causing “collateral damage” doesn’t discount this gesture. In fact, it makes it even more amazing.)
In short, we need this. A lot of this. A worldwide dose of this. Unless we get it, there will be no peace.
But it’s important that we don’t mistake this sort of thing, which can only occur at the moderate level, with the effort to defeat the jihadists (of all flavors) who either
A) Cannot be convinced to forsake their one-track minded interpretation of their faith, or
B) Are only using their faith as a means to a political end.
We can (and should) grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves with those of different faiths and cultures who are willing to act like responsible members of civilized society. We don’t do enough of that, and we need to start.
However, it would be fatal to mistake such worthy bridge-building efforts for a sound policy of defeating the enemies of civilization. Those that are committed to imposing their perverted interpretations of justice upon the rest of us must be destroyed. Dialogue is useless. Deal-making is worse. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Even the USA Today article touches on this:
Everywhere they go, people who already have heard of the book say they want to start their own clubs.
There are stumbling blocks, however. Will everyone be as open, as bold, as willing to press on with these women’s mantra of absolute honesty, constantly asking one another, “What do you really think?”
For anyone who reads the Quran or the Bible literally, rather than metaphorically or in cultural context, the women say, their views will be too liberal. For people who believe there is exactly one way to one heaven, described and delineated only by their own faith, The Faith Club may not offer a template.
“May not offer a template?” May not?
I’ve said before that this war is, in many ways, a rear-guard holding action while the global Muslim civil war resolves itself. We’re basically trying to hold things together while the honey bees pollinate the apple trees and all. That’s admittedly a bit simplistic and Western, but it certainly seems to be the case most of the time. It’s nice to see moderates playing nice, and I wish we’d see more of it. But that doesn’t change the fact that many of these folks are brutal murderous thugs who have devoted their earthly time to wiping out all that we value.
Here’s a great rear shot of the USS Swift clearly showing the ramp:
A Stern on view showing the US Navy (USN) High Speed Vessel, USS SWIFT (HSV 2) conducting unassisted mooring operations at Souda Bay, Crete, Greece, during a port visit. The SWIFT is assigned to Commander Mine Warfare Command (COMINEWARCOM) Ingleside, Texas. 12 Jan 2006
Pics of the ramp in action below.
Read the rest of this entry »