November 30, 2004

Oh No!

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:40 pm

The article’s title?

UN unveils sweeping blueprint for reform

What they’re really saying?

“There is little evident international acceptance of the idea of security being best preserved by a balance of power or by any single — even benignly motivated — superpower,” the panel said.

Mouse, cat, bell, you do the math. Scowcroft was on the panel, by the way.

It gets worse:

“The yearning for an international system governed by the rule of law has grown,” it said. “No state, no matter how powerful, can by its own efforts alone make itself invulnerable to today’s threats.”

Whose law is that, henh? Sudan’s?

Argh. Tranzi pomos.

Jason Gets, um, Jiggy

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:27 pm

Okay, y’all have got to look at this thing all the way through. Gallows humor at its finest.

While the BC was on the radio trying to find himself a truck, we did some traffic stops. Any chance we get to pull vehicles over, we take advantage of. The more random the occasion, the better. The less predictable we are about traffic stops, the more effective of a deterrent it is for insurgents to use the highway to transport their evil wares. And you won’t believe some of the stuff we find this way. On this particular night, we found a car that had…

Oh I am such a tease. Click and check the photo at the bottom of the page…

Stop The Presses: Elvis Gets Drafted

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:42 pm

So I’m dragging my butt through O’Hare Airport, and news is popping up all over on CNN. The Ridge resignation, presidential travel, the Spanish Inquisition, you name it. So what’s on the entire cover of the Chicago Sun-Times?

Daley's Son Enlists In Army

Now, good for him. He’s 29 and with a postgrad degree, so he coulda gotten a commission, but decided to enlist instead. But on the front page?

November 29, 2004

Argh Volume 92

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:57 pm

They want to hold a hail and farewell. Nice of them to think about it.

Of course, it’s got to be after I am supposed to check out of the command.

I was hoping to go to this meeting, but I guess I won’t be able to.

What I’ll be missing:

The Conference will feature some of the world’s leading experts on Al Qaeda, Islamic fundamentalism, and transnational terrorism.

So if you’re able to play hooky around DC Thursday, you might want to register.

November 28, 2004

Barnett Gets Snarky

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:40 am

Best use of heavy sarcasm this week. Professor Tom Barnett really doesn’t like it when people opine about his book without having read it. I’ve seen him just blast radio people who make conclusions based on assumptions before reading it. Maybe he’s just picky, but that’s his baby book, and it’s only fair that someone who argues with him about it have at least read it.

This book review is just savaged by Barnett.

I guess because Jim was never on welfare he probably never should have written about domestic policy in the first Bush administration. The fact that I’ve spent a career working with the military doesn’t mean anything because I haven’t seen combat. Then again, not that many in the military actually do see combat, so they must all be idiots about such matters as well. So the only people who should opine about war and peace should be combat vets, just like only cancer survivors should be oncologists, and only ex-cons should be judges. Education and training is completely worthless. If you haven’t REALLY experienced something, you know absolutely nothing about it.

Ah, but that’s being unfair. Jim didn’t have anything to do with any of that because he’s not a foreign policy or national security expert whatsoever, which is why it’s perfect that he’s reviewing my book. It wouldn’t be fair for me to lump him into some conspiracy with Oliver North. That was a completely different part of the White House—many doors down the hall.

Pinkerton can just lump me in with the neocons because he knows the inner workings of the Office of the Secretary of Defense like all domestic White House advisers do.

I love the smell of fried book reviewer in the morning.

November 27, 2004

Falluja Update 3

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:44 pm

2Slick gives us the benefit of his West Point alumni mailing list, with another firsthand account of the battle. All of these accounts are meshing from our side–not a bad way to try and figure what happened from the wonm’s eye view.

The Marines are still occupying the city and helping with the rebuilding process—they still meet some sporadic resistance, usually a group of 3-5, shooting from a mosque or faking surrender and then shooting at them.

We were very disturbed to find one house with 5 foreigners with bullets in their head, killed execution style. Marines also came upon a house where an Iraqi soldier in the Iraqi National Guard had been shackled to the wall for 11 days and was left there to die. These insurgents are some sick people and Fallujah proved that more than ever. 2 mosques were not being used for prayer…but rather for roadside bomb making. They were literally IED assembly line factories, with hundreds of IEDs complete or being built. They also had several houses with high-tech equipment where they conducted their meetings.

In Fallujah, the enemy had a military-type planning system going on. Some of the fighters were wearing body armor and kevlars, just like we do. Soldiers took fire from heavy machine guns (.50 cal) and came across the dead bodies of fighters from Chechnya, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, and so on…no, this was not just a city of pissed off Iraqis, mad at the Coalition for forcing Saddam out of power. It was a city full of people from all over the Middle East whose sole mission in life was to kill Americans. Problem for them is that they were in the wrong city in November 2004.

Now that it’s over, there is a lot of things that people back home should know. First of all, every citizen of Fallujah (non-insurgent) is getting $2,500 USD (that’s a lot over here) to fix up their house or buy new things that may have been destroyed in the fighting. Insurgents took up positions in resident’s houses so we were forced to destroy a lot of buildings.

There is over $100 million dollars ready to be spent to re-build the city. This may seem like a lot of money, but I can assure you that it is a small price to pay for the amount of evil people no longer alive, contemplating how to kill more Americans. The intelligence value alone is already paying huge dividends. Some of the 900 detainees are telling everything they know about other insurgents. And the enemy never expected such a large or powerful attack and they were so overwhelmed that they left behind all kinds of things, including books with names of other foreign fighters, where their money and weapons come from, etc.

Anyone back home who thinks the world is a safe place needs to come here for a day and learn real fast that there are an awful lot of people out there who hate Americans so much that they risk their lives to try to kill us. We cannot live peacefully back at home right now unless we continue to stay on the offensive against our enemies and fight them in their backyards. Remember, radical Arabs started this war…and they continue to fight it, proving to America over and over that they need to be fought.

I am hopeful that most Americans understand that you have to accept death to defeat evil; all of us soldiers accepted that the day we signed up.There are some things worth fighting and dying for, and making the world and especially America, a safer place, is one of them.

Evan Maloney On Broadband

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:15 am

I’ve got broadband back, and used it to load and watch Evan Coyne Maloney’s Brainwashing 101. To paraphrase a part of the movie: “Mindless Conformity Will Make You Popular!”

Does anyone other than me get a twinge of Jello Biafra-style punk when they hear something like this?

Are the real punk rock people these days the guys like Maloney?

What the heck happened?

Back to Emergency Sex

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:10 am

I finally finished this book. The book was not the best written book I’ve ever read, but there’s an immediacy to it that asks questions that are uncomfortable and hard, if not impossible, to answer. Three authors means that three voices are different–one seems as much an erotic novel as it is anything else, two more different. One-sentence summary: three fluffy UN types wind up in several really crappy situations, become not so fluffy, and deal with life in a tough place.

I was surprised, but gratified to see, that the three people saw that weakness is provocative–the weakness in Somalia enabled Rwanda for similar reasons that the withdrawal from Somalia and Beirut for US military emboldened Islamists and nihilists. They know implicitly that military force is needed to carve a space to allow aid workers to do their job. This is counter to standard conventional wisdom, I guess. I also find it funny to see that a quick Google shows that most of the reaction has been in the conservative side of the blogosphere; I wish things like this were nondenominational, but apparently not.

I wonder what things to which I am blind because of my own viewpoints. I hope my blind spot is not as big.

An interview with the three from NPR’s The Connection is here (RealPlayer–the question at 33:00 in from a Raleigh caller is great); another radio interview from KPCC Pasadena is here. NewsMax reported at the time that they feared repercussions from the UN. A Captain Ed commenter, Marc points to a Telegraph article documenting an attempt to block publication.

In light of my own forced career change in a few years, and the opportunities and challenges that posits, the ideas behind this book raise difficult questions. What to do…

November 26, 2004


Filed under: — Chap @ 1:30 am

I’m still busy moving. Here’s what I helped take part in before hopping on the plane. Others had more fun and shot guns instead of sit around on the radio like I did.

“It always hurts to see beautiful ships sink, and my sympathy goes to all Sailors who sailed on them, but the important thing is that the weapons fired did their job. That’s the thing it’s all about in the end,” said Rear Adm. Leon Bruin, commander, Standing Naval Force Atlantic.

Upon completion of the firing exercises, Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, Det. 26, assisted in sinking the ships through detonating positioned explosives along the hull.


Hayler getting a little EOD love

Falluja Update

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:23 am

Updates are starting to filter out of Falluja.

  1. Time Canada article, via INDC.
  2. Donovan’s commentary to a presentation (accept cookies)
  3. A discussion about the Kevin Sites/Marine “double tap” issue
  4. USA Today’s powerful photo essay
  5. In other areas, the caches keep getting found and the Iraqis and Americans are working hand in hand. Northern Babil province is getting a little attention, too.

Finally, since it’s still Thanksgiving here, a letter from the CO of 24 MEU.

November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:52 am

Be Thankful There’s no Turducken At Your Table

And another thing to be thankful for–although we’re in a new town, we have friends, and will not have to sit through Thanksgiving alone in a house full of unopened boxes. And that although there’s some missing furniture, there’s still enough stuff in the house to fill it up. And that the cork on that bottle of Springbank didn’t come completely out of the bottle all over the papers in the box below.

Lex is back and making up for lost time.

Zeyad might have survived this thanksgiving. So may have Diggs. Tammi is free of hurricanes.


November 24, 2004

Roasting Turkey The Bonfire Way

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:42 am

…with extra ham!

November 23, 2004

Link Dump

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:23 am

Here’s a list of links I thought were interesting. My wife and I are moving into Chez Chapomatic West, and so you’ll be stuck with this until I get the computer up and acquire time to surf’n’type.

  1. Little Green Footballs excerpts an article showing the outrage of Falluja.

    In Fallujah the depravity of the mujahideen is revealed, with the discovery of nearly 20 torture chambers and slaughterhouses…

    ..while also mentioning the millions given to Clinton by Saudis for his library. (Now that you mention it, eight years of ambassadors and generals and other nominative officers came from that administration, and had an opinion on the region…)

  2. Call girl blogger Belle de Jour has her book listed on Amazon UK. It’s gonna be racy.
  3. Kevin Sites is apparently feeling bad about the results of his taping a Marine killing a guy faking death. Wretchard (Belmont Club) has an analysis, but doesn’t analyze the information war aspect of the tape release. I don’t know how to do such an analysis–but it does need to be done.
  4. David’s Medienkritik has a translation of a German newspaper article that’s Kagan-ish:

    Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word “equidistance,” now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam’s torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush.

  5. If you happen to know anyone on the board of CNN, I recommend you either (a) whack them on the head and ask them “what were you thinking?”, or (b) find out what they were smoking–because this has to be the stupidest CEO choice I’ve seen in a while. That’s right, they picked the guy who dissed bloggers and then supervised the fraudulent pre-election 60 Minutes newscasts, and he crows about his skills in those fields:

    “Six years steeped in the digital information industry have helped me understand today’s news consumers in ways never before available to media executives.”


  6. Somebody’s finally paying some attention to the rabid extremism at Columbia University. The movie that students made seems to be getting some reaction.
  7. And finally, another expression of European unity and love.

November 22, 2004

Ralph Peters On Immigrants

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:46 pm

Ralph Peters, no idle polemicist, has a good balancing article to counter the “where are the moderate Muslims?” cry from places like Little Green Footballs.

No matter their backgrounds, new immigrants have to work through a period of disorientation. Emotional ties to their native cultures tug hard in difficult times — and no one likes to be vilified over an accident of birth.

Personally, I wish more American Muslims would speak out publicly against extremism, against the punitive visions that disfigure Islam and against the oppression they felt compelled to flee. But I also recognize that these new Americans have been badly shaken by the events of recent years. They’re not sure where they stand, or if they’ll ever be truly welcome. They’re wary of criticizing their own kind, partly from shame and partly because their community is their only safety net.

We need not gloss over the failings of our newest immigrants, whether Muslim, Catholic, Hindu or of any other religion. But we do need to have faith in the transformative power of America.

It’s a worthy essay, and it’s worth a click to read all of it.

November 21, 2004

Halifax Photos

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:58 pm

Remember a while back I mentioned a trip to Halifax? These are some pictures I mentioned, with commentary. Hit the “more” tag–not so much to save my bandwidth (although it does) as to keep me able to view my own webpage on dialup!


Filed under: — Chap @ 3:28 pm

Go read Greenside’s latest. He’s made light colonel.

And, oh by the way, was fighting in Falluja.

Natan Sharansky on Book TV

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:09 pm

I caught a few minutes of a lecture on CSPAN (finally–CSPAN on the TV, now I can actually turn the thing on!). Natan Sharansky was a Soviet political prisoner; now he’s Israeli. He’s got a new book and if it’s as good as the give and take during the questions I saw then it’ll be well worth a read.

It’s on again Monday 22 Now at midnight EST (Sunday night). I recommend it.

You know, this was at a hotel in Chicago. This kind of thing happened all the time in DC–the hard part was finding out what was where. Now I have to find out what of this is going on in San Diego.

Thirty Five Bucks Down The Hole

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:59 pm

Bill Whittle’s book is now available for purchase.

Bill started by commenting at Rachel Lucas‘ place, and then Rachel put a bunch of his comments together as a post, and drove him to start a blog.

After two years of really good essays, and a rabid following, Bill has finally put out a first book. Rachel better get a free book out of this!

I’m buying one. Now, where are the book tours?

November 19, 2004

Baby Milblogger

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:43 pm

Speaking of corpsmen, there are a lot of them blogging these days. This one has photos I’ve seen many times before, but if you haven’t maybe you might like them.

He’s a little busy, and he’s in a little trouble, but he’s still in and doing the job as best he can.

Did I mention earlier I felt old?

Last Night In Town

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:34 pm

I shouldn’t have ordered dessert.

I got off duty (relieved by the guy who wanted me to take his duty too, no thanks) and rushed to get some final errands done before jetting off to S.D. on my own dime again. At the Portsmouth hospital I encountered a junior Hospitalman, his Johnny Cash blues beat all to hell, single CNN ribbon askew, tie bar at an impossible angle, his “cutter” (little foldable hat, sails in the water if you drop it in the head) screwed onto his head like a doo rag. But he had some bounce to his walk despite what was clearly a hard duty day.

I asked him about his intentioned. Seems he was also checking out, to Pendleton. “Everyone’s telling me that the Marines are the wrong thing to do, that we might have to go to Iraq. But that’s the reason I enlisted. Why should I run from it?” We stopped the conversation in mid-stride because a chief, clearly agonizing about being medical boarded after eighteen years in, needed to be told by the HN that “I know the corpsmen down in that shop. They’ll give you as fair a shot as anyone can.”

Doc, I thought about you too late–he was in his little black piece-of-crap car and gone in a flash. if you see a HN show up from Portsmouth, he could use a mentor. Looked like a good kid from a thirty second assessment.

Following that I moved the mail, moved the last of our household goods that had been sitting in a friend’s house and our car, spent a few hours playing with the friend’s kid and talking Deep Things from decades of friendship, and hit the store for the next trip.

Since I have been eating food that seems scientifically designed to have all the joy removed from it (our cooks do wonders to turn ingredients into gruel), I splurged and ate at a nicer place out in town. I had forgotten that it was Friday, or that the prom kids were out. I saw about every possible kind of outfit imaginable except for a nice pair of pants and button down shirt no tie–which is what I was wearing. Man, am I old.

The dessert? Pear bread pudding with bourbon and vanilla sauce. With ice cream on top, of course. Oh. My. Goodness.

I feel like Steve Graham after a timpáno binge session.

I hope they figure out some way to fit me on through the plane’s hatch tomorrow.

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