Archive for February, 2007
Something that just occurred to me, though I think it’s crossed my mind before, is that most political debates leave me staunchly defending George W. Bush almost every single time. Not usually because I’m what would considered to be a “staunch defender”, but because the opposition is so outrageously…errr…outrageous.
There are so many legitimate things to criticize the man and the administration over, but now it’s the poor Army not being allowed to train that is being laid at his feet.
We deserve better Democrats. Well, we deserve better Republicans too, but I don’t think they’re going to change much if the Democrats don’t. The Democrats won in November, but I guess I haven’t seen much of change in their attitude since they took over. Still pretty much a bunch of whiny-donkeys.
Bush, meanwhile, is free from having to try to make sure that the GOP wins the next election. Any tied hands in anticipation of 2006 are obviously unbound. And with the Republicans working overtime to distance themselves from him for 2008, he might have the openings he’s been looking for.
I’m not a big fan of most of his policies and results. But he’s addressed the biggest external issue (the 4th World War) and the biggest internal issue (tax cuts) that I care about. If he’d do something about the borders, I’d maybe even change my mind about “most of his policies”. But it ain’t lookin’ like it’s gonna’ happen, and I expect that I’m going to continue defending him not because I’m a believer but because I think the opposition is a pack of lunatics.
I mean, can’t Congress pass a non-binding resolution condemning the lack of desert training, or something?
UPDATE: I guess I wasn’t real clear about what it was that “makes Murdoc mad”. It probably looks, from this post, like stupid Democrats make Murdoc mad. They do, of course, but that’s not what I was getting at. What makes Murdoc even madder than stupid Democrats is the fact that Murdoc constantly ends up defending Bush tooth and nail when Murdoc’s not even a major Bush supporter. Defending Bush tooth and nail certainly makes Murdoc look like a Bush supporter, but it’s the sheer stupidity of so many of his critics that gets the teeth and nails out in the first place.
I know that I look like a Kool-Aid Drinking Republican Yes-Blogger a lot of the time. I don’t think I am, but a lot of times what I say sure sounds like one. And that makes me mad.
UPDATE 2: In all fairness, I also suspect that folks who “support the troops but not the war” could find themselves in similar situations of defending things they don’t necessarily support. I do honestly believe that many of these folks don’t really support the troops at all, but I can see how some who do would find it difficult to not end up standing with the anti-military moonbat crowd.
I want to make clear, though, that this sort of thing is no excuse for not supporting the troops.
This was on yesterday’s front page in the Grand Rapids Press:
The caption reads:
Different atmosphere: Members of the 4th Stryker Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash., prepare to go to Iraq by training in the rainy, forested terrain of the Pacific Northwest.
A lot has been made of the fact that some units deploying to Iraq as part of the “surge” are not going to the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California. While some seem to be trying to present this as “the troops aren’t trained”, the fact is that the troops are getting their training. Just not at the NTC.
Army News Service has this: The Gearing Up: JRTC Trains 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., for Accelerated Deployment:
The keystone of the effort was the Joint Readiness Training Center, the Army’s premier combat training facility for light infantry and special forces units.
“We provide training specifically geared toward BCTs (brigade combat teams) that are deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Klawunder, chief of the JRTC Plans/Exercise Maneuver Control Group. “For the past two-plus years, all we’ve been providing is mission rehearsals for what they’re going to encounter in theater.
The overwhelming majority of the action troops are going to see in Iraq, particularly troops “surged” into Baghdad, will be in an urban environment. The forest terrain vs. desert terrain isn’t really an issue.
Also, it’s not like these are inexperienced units on their first deployment. Many of the troops, particularly the junior officers and the NCOs, have been to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once previously.
Take a look at the soldier on the ground in the picture. He’s probably simulating a casualty. (Or maybe looking for the insurgent air force?) On his right shoulder, under the US flag, is a patch. That’s a Shoulder Sleeve Insignia – Former War Time Service (SSI-FWTS), commonly referred to as a “combat patch”. That means that that soldier has seen combat, and as that appears to be a 172nd Brigade patch, it means he saw it with the Alaskan Stryker Brigade that spent a year and half in Iraq.
Honestly, I’m not sure that he’s going to suffer much because he’s training in forested terrain urban settings rather than desert terrain urban settings.
Incidentally, the 172nd Brigade no longer exists, having been reflagged the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry. Those combat patches, though, can be worn by eligible soldiers forever.
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Defense Industry Daily notes that India’s Special Forces, after a lengthy and trouble-filled initial implementation, are set to begin receiving the Tavor-21 Assault Rifle (TAR-21) into service.
Tests in Israel during 2006 went well, clearing the contracted consignment for delivery. The new TAR-21s will have a ‘modified’ single-piece butt and new sights, as well as Turkish-made M203 40mm under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs). Singapore Technologies will supply the 5.56mm ammunition.
The standard Tavor, which the Indians are buying, is chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge (using standard mags) and is also available in a short-barrel model for commanders, paratroopers, and vehicle crews. Other models available are a 9mm version and a 5.56 NATO designated marksman configuration (pictured above right).
I can never figure out if these Gary Brecher things are real or if it’s some weird sort of Onion-ish thing, but this quote is worth noting:
The kids in Iran are pissed off at the way the old Mullahs won’t let ‘em rock and roll, but the idea that they’ll support an American invasion because they’re bored is totally insane. It’s like imagining that the kids in Footloose would’ve backed a Soviet invasion of Nebraska because John Lithgow wouldn’t let them hold school dances.
The truth is that Footloose would have turned into Red Dawn pretty quickly. And, for that very reason, I don’t support the idea of a general ground war in Iran. Air strikes? Probably. Commando raids? Maybe. But a massive invasion at this point seems absurd. And I’m not sure who thinks that’s what’s possible.
But at least he’s not struggling to come up with a position. I guess that’s the difference between knowing what you believe, and trying to figure out what will sell.
That’s exactly it.
I’d like to point out that Murdoc’s vote can be bought. All you have to do is convince me that you’re serious about properly addressing the issues that I think are the most important. Pretty cheap, really.
And I still don’t understand why Lieberman’s not being hailed as a courageous maverick Senator.
Via a reader:
When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to “reboot” the systems to no avail.
Luckily for the Raptors, there were no weather issues that day so visibility was not a problem. Also, the Raptors had their refueling tankers as guide dogs to “carry” them back to safety. “They needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or had the weather been bad, they had no attitude reference. They had no communications or navigation,” said Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. “They would have turned around and probably could have found the Hawaiian Islands. But if the weather had been bad on approach, there could have been real trouble.”
“The tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. It certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad,” Shepperd continued. “It turned out OK. It was fixed in 48 hours. It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code, somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes.”
No attitude reference. No communications. No navigation.
Haven’t mentioned the esteemed professor from the University of Michigan for a while. On Sunday he wrote:
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can’t possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
Well, yeah, it’s basically a stupid post.
But get a load of one of the comments:
We are Afghanistaning a previously modern country back into a collection of feudal fiefdoms, under the control of local warlords. We already have Somalia and Afghanistan as failed states; must we add Iraq?
I’m not sure what this means. We could have bombed Somalia and Afghanistan “back to the stone age” with a squirt gun and a couple of water balloons. They were already there. Most parts of those countries never left it.
But blame the US anyway.
CVN-77 USS George HW Bush will use one of CV-62 USS Independence’s 30-ton anchors. The Reagan, Truman, and Stennis also reused anchors from Forrestal-class ships. (via Alert5)
UPDATE: Speaking of ironworks, if they’re going to use the Independence’s anchor, they might as well use the Independence’s fighters, too:
Flight deck crewmen secure chocks on the wheels of an F-14A Tomcat aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62). Camera Operator: PH3 JULIAN EVANS Date Shot: 14 Apr 1988
Pic from DVIC.
Yeah, I know this is beating a dead hornet…
UPDATE 2: Pinch, a Tomcatter from way back, has turned over a new leaf when it comes to the F-18 Hornet. I never thought I’d see him endorsing a “bug” for anything. But here he goes. Can you feel the love?
Well, it appears that the America is at the Mall photo has taken off a bit throughout the blogosphere. I first noted it on Thursday. Castle Argghhh! linked. Mike the Marine did the same. My buddies at Op-For then posted it (and scored an Instalanche–life and blogging are so unfair).
It’s turned, predictably, into a discussion of if/why Americans are “at the mall”, and some interesting thoughts have surfaces here and there.
I mentioned “war fatigue” last fall during the “nuke the Muslims” spat:
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.