June 30, 2005

Bobby’s Top Five

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:13 am

Via Technorati (I got linked! Thanks!), Bobby Bran’s got an interesting way of thinking about how he reads.

I suppose I don’t like to read things that reinforce my preconceived notions, but prefer to challenge my most basic assumptions. Not only that, but I really can’t stand right-wingers: I hear left-wing rhetoric and smirk at their foolishness; I hear right-wingers and generally get disgusted. As a self-confessed moderate who has rejected politics, I have that luxury.

He also offers some high praise indeed for a blog I hadn’t seen, Alexander the Average.

you get posts from a guy who does the best job I have ever seen at removing his political bias and approaching issues from a very neutral, unbiased position, which is one of the things I really like about him. The other thing I really like are the subjects of his posts– Kris likes to take on projects about Effects-Based Operations (EBO) and operational metrics in Iraq, and he’s often way, way, way ahead of the Army’s curve on those issues. Moreover, reading Alexander the Average is as close to reading a peer-reviewed scholarly article as I’ve seen in the blogging community– he uses quantifiable analysis, facts and evidence to back up his arguments, instead of relying on the self-confirming information that others tend to do (i.e., I’m right because Tom said it on his blog and he cited Judy, none of whom post anything more than their opinion).

Bran’s list is worth looking at. Especially if you’re an Armchair Generalist–Bobby reads you daily…

Got The Need To Feel Like A Submariner?

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:04 am

Then join the Lubber as he does what brings joy to the heart of any COB, even a Soviet one: Field Day!

So, Comrade Jim (AKA Lubber’s Line) has volunteered to trek to the northern port of Providence, RI each weekend to help restore the Soviet Project 651 vintage 1960’s cruise missile diesel submarine. I have to admit this is going to be a field day from HELL if ever I saw one. The ballast tanks leak, there’s paint where there shouldn’t be any or it is the wrong color, rust rust and more rust. This is one boat load of work so it ‘s got to be rewarding. Anyway how many cold war era bubbleheads can say they worked on a Soviet missile boat?

It can indeed be rewarding to work on such beasties. I was lucky enough to be part of the USS Requin‘s cleanup before it was set up as a Pittsburgh Science Center exhibit. The most enthusiastic guys were the ham radio operators, who spent all their time renovating old electronics anyway.

Bring a poopie suit and elbow grease…

June 29, 2005

Skippy The Bitter Male

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:23 pm

would enjoy this little Town Hall meeting with Rumsfeld…

since he’s bitter and all.

True Music Fans

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:19 pm

…will enjoy this piece WFMU found–a Sabbath cover from Conan O’Brien.

It’s not an ordinary Sabbath cover. It’s with Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa, and John Tesh.

OH dear. Witness the deploying of the cheezy keyboard guitar-thing by a guy who rocks like the A/V helper in elementary school! Witness the pure joy of Zappas rocking out with John Tesh!

June 28, 2005

Chuck and Carrie In Walter Reed

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:31 pm

Tu mentioned something most folks have already blogged about–we’ve got a milblogger hit by an IED in Walter Reed right now. His wife is now in town.

If you’re in the D.C. area you might want to say hi, or quietly give Carrie a hand, be it dinner or helping a less fortunate soldier there.

Heavy Metal Gets Geeky

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:02 pm

So it turns out that the guy giving the brief today is a war hero type.

Tired Tanker

CPT Conroy on break from the Thunder Run into Baghdad

I won’t go into the details but will note two things about the brief, which involved geek stuff:

(1) Good O-3s with a wild hair idea will brief like hell but have a great idea in there that should be listened to. Especially when the decision makers have VCRs that flash 12:00 at home.

(2) It’s really powerful when you break from “Not Invented Here” syndrome and make good tools work in new and appropriate environments.

Turns out the fellow in front of me resplendent in Teutonic tanker’s boots and camo is an author as well. He independently came up with the same reasoning that submariner Gene Fluckey did for his book–a way for his team to remember what happened. (Fluckey’s scheme was to deliver proceeds from the book to an annual reunion cruise for the remaining Barb submariners.) Conroy’s book is called Heavy Metal.

The guy reminded me a little of the PC commanding officers. I’d bet there’s a little cultural commonality there.

I’ll see if I can drag Conroy into blogging…

Okay, This Is Teh Funny

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:28 pm

Update: The Therapist is unhappy someone’s gone real on his schtick and still wants to drive the bulldozer.

Update: Unlike me, one of the Chicago Boyz has something to add to the story.

Via Drudge, the joke we made last week has come true, as someone’s trying to use eminent domain to yank Justice Souter’s house in New Hampshire:

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:06 am

For later discussion: an animated map of coalition fatalities. This is the kind of time based work I was looking for.

No Venison For You

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:57 am

Well, hitting a rather large deer at three o’clock in the morning in the first third of a many hour drive with a Mini pretty much guarantees the beastie doesn’t get to be lunch. Plus adding an entire month’s worth of sandwiches on the hoof to the three hundred boxes still to open in the house move would be….imprudent. Ah well.

And yes, the goal is to post once a day when not at sea (highly unlikely nowadays), for now; it’s been the unofficial house rule since last year, so as to keep the blog from going dark from lack of use. Seems to work okay unless I change it.

June 27, 2005

More Of A Break

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:30 am

…than I originally intended. The deer in the road zigged when I did. The car’s got a nasty (and expensive-looking) dent, and the deer is much worse for wear.

I think I’ll be in the car shop for a while.

June 25, 2005

Taking The Weekend Off

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:44 pm

I’m still driven to Post Every Day but need a break.

So here’s some Bobbie Gentry. Sounds like she was hanging at the same party Alex Chilton was at before he sang “The Letter”. The blog this song is from, by the way, is just wonderful–a song and a story every post.

It’s good have friends who will hook you up when you go traveling, though. My friend mentioned the Jazz Museum is at the same place as the Negro League Baseball Museum, too–looks like I’ll have something to do…

June 24, 2005

Hey, Look At That

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:24 pm

Comment spam has been coming in hot and heavy. I found five comments that real humans did about six weeks ago in an obscure section of the admin panel I will never be able to find again. So if you had a comment disappear then it might be there again.

Or not.

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:07 am

Remember me talking about ABOT and KAAOT? Michael Yon has the goods.

Afghan Warrior Reports

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:48 am

This is an interesting piece of news from Waheed.

Taliban rebles admitted to executing the Mian Nushin District Chief of Police along with six other policemen on sunday. They have been holding 31 policemen and officials as prisoners since thursday, in the southern province of Kandahar. Mulla Abdul Latif Hakimi who claims to be the Taliban spoksman; said the District Police Chief of Mian Nushin District (Nani Agha) was executed and shot to death by three bullets at 8:30 am Sunday morning after a brief trial of Mullah’s Taliban religious leaders. Hakimi added, District Police Chief Nani Agha was involved in killing numerous taliban fighters in Kandahar province since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. His crime was most serious therefore he should be executed. He revealed that the body was dumped in a village near Mian Nushin district, and the Afghan Government is free to claim the corpe. This is the first known trial and execution by the Taliban since 2001.

That’s right, a trial by the Talibani; they’re trying to reestablish credibility.

Except they are having a little problem with that.

A large Taliban force including a number of the movement’s leaders was reported to have been surrounded by US and Afghan National Army forces in southern Afghanistan yesterday, in the most intense fighting in the country since 2002.

An Afghan government spokesman said that 132 Taliban fighters had died during three days of fighting. Three Afghan National Army soldiers were reported to have been killed, and six US soldiers wounded. Two US helicopters were hit and one made a forced landing.

Lutfullah Mishal, spokesman for the interior ministry, said that some 150 Taliban fighters remained under attack and surrounded in the Deh Shapan district of Zabul province.

Prisoners reported that two of the Taliban’s 10-man governing council, Mullah Dadullah and Mullah Brother, had been with the trapped force at least until Tuesday.

Most of the Taliban dead were the result of what US army spokesman Colonel Jerry O’Hara said were “devastating” air attacks by coalition aircraft, including British Harrier jets based in Kandahar.

“Their camps were decimated. Bodies lay everywhere. Heavy machineguns and AK-47s were scattered alongside blankets, kettles and food,” said police general Salim Khan from the scene. “Some of the Taliban were also killed in caves where they were hiding and US helicopters came and pounded them.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph from a secret location, Taliban spokesman Maulvi Abdul Latif Hakimi claimed they had killed 16 Americans, 23 Afghan National Army soldiers and shot down two US helicopters.

By the way, you may want to drop by Waheed’s site and leave a comment or a buck. If Iraq the Model gets 200 comments per post, and Waheed gets zero, perhaps there’s a bit of an inequality…

Maybe I’m Missing Something

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:32 am

James McMurry reports on a Web-based seminar by a guy best known as a Mac evangelist.

The seminar, of course, requires Windows and Internet Exploder.

Oh there‘s a well-thought-out plan.

Found On B3ta

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:31 am

A Divine Vision

Thank you Beau Bo D’Or

Mistakes And Mistakes

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:16 am

Another Tennis Lob Into The Side Of Mt. Philo

John’s got some interesting meat on the next round of the ongoing conversation spurred by the Diamond book (scroll down for more).

were the actions and/or policies of the Bush Administration and its Defense Department which have proven to be demonstrably negative in outcome, mere “mistakes: with unintended and/or unforeseeable consequences, or is there significant culpability?

He mentions that we’ve been ripping on Diamond a lot. Yeah, he was in the right place at the right time to be critiqued. I plead guilty to spending too much time discussing his work to try to get a related point across.

He follows up with a string of various bobbles, big or small, in the immediate afteraction of the war. Some are bigger in scope, some were smaller. I’ll cherrypick so I get at least a couple of hours of sleep tonight.

On some of his complaints I’ve got little beef. I’ve covered my own opinions on the “don’t ask/tell/pursue” thing before; I’d only add that

  1. the services do an abominable job of getting people training in languages, because it’s always pri 2 or lower until the crisis hits, and (with the exception of the Marines) excrable in tracking what language skills they know already–a case of “not knowing what they know”
  2. Some of these guys will be useful to the nation and if they aren’t there’s a further problem–the skills are needed where we get collection but not translation
  3. Some of these guys had other problems that would get them booted out anyway–like getting caught in flagrante delicto in the barracks, which was sufficient for straight guys to get thrown out on ADSEP with other Article 15 things that went on to tip the scale
  4. Others also get kicked out–like fatter folks who can do the job but failed PRT standards–without a loud advocacy group, and what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander
  5. Three hundred gay linguists in the military dumb or horny enough to enlist and get discharged for violating DADTDP? Is this nuts? Did the recruiters trawl the wrong bars? Doesn’t that number seem, you know, a little high? Not as in “boy that’s bad” high but as in “how did they inflate those numbers” high?

Some of the Mountain Philosopher’s complaints indicate differences in basic positions. The Powell Doctrine (actually the Weinberger Doctrine with a slight twist) is DOA when you shift from a post-Vietnam, Cold War mindset to fighting a transnational fight carried to home soil like this one. (There’s better folks than me who have fought this out–the public discussion about the time of the “just war” discussion was good–but that’s where John and Chap differ, I think.) A better question might be “is this the right war of choice?” and that’s a good discussion (but one I’m not interested in doing yet again). Bush 41 and his coterie would have, and advocated, a strategy of stability; this is a strategy which I would argue would only invite more and escalated attacks (since that’s what happened when we did it).

Some of my own complaints might be good ones that would work with the Philosopher. Should we have let Sadr go when we had him earlier? Should we have backed down on Fallujah the first time? What went wrong with the Garner period? Was there another way to anticipate the enemy strategy of directly attacking the American will to fight over an extended period? What the heck are we doing with the Saudis, and why? Should we be more ruthless, instead of waiting until the next attack at home to change tactics? What are we doing now to have more guys as strategically important as the one Foreign Area Officer colonel who came out of retirement to singlehandedly arrange for us the basing and support we needed to take down the Taliban? What are we doing with intel now and can we change enough to learn from lessons learned?

But this line of inquiry–listing mistakes and bashing the guys who made it–has two problems at its core.

The first problem is that the magnitude of lessons learned is not necessarily known right now, and some things are more important than others. There is a case to be made that backing down in the first battle of Fallujah was a mistake. How important was that? Is it important enough to be something to carp big about? The model I would think of would be things like WWII battle critiques–so Mitscher did this instead of that. We’re still fighting the war, fix what we can and press on. If we’ve gotta fire McArthur, then do so–but be sure beforehand. “Europe First” lost us a lot of the Pacific, which needed retaken. Was that a firing offense for FDR or Churchill, or the best that could be done under the circumstances? How big is the error or lesson compared to historical precedent? How bad would the mistake be to be a firing offense? (For the antiwar folks, the recent election was an excellent opportunity to discuss and choose such things. But, the guy was reelected.)

The second one is that this is also a political strategy with wartime implications. If the President says “X is a mistake” then two things happen–first, he gets piled on with other claims expecting the same or better, and second, it now becomes a tool to be used by AQ. They’re a thinking enemy and use the advantages we give them–and our weakest center of gravity is the political will. It’s not a good thing for any of this instant critique to be even publicly acknowledged by the guys still running the war for that reason. Also, once you make an operational decision sticking to it is almost always better than vacillating. So we still need to capture lessons learned and adapt, but not in the front page of the paper, and certainly not things like guys in Kuwait being prompted about armor shortages for a quickie “gotcha”, or running lengthy critiques because one of the guys yanking down a Saddam statue brought his own flag and rubbed it in the statue’s face before the locals got him an Iraqi flag. There is a difference.

This line of logic (I thought it up, so it’s probably not logic but humor me here) results in a lot of carping as a result. The administration gets to live with the carping.

June 23, 2005

That’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:06 pm

Fred (the kidlet who suddenly appeared around here one day and fills the house with child things when I am not looking) said his first word.


Mom heard it too so I have confirmation of the event. This from a kid who came out, I kid you not, waving. Social little critter this is.

Oh, yeah, “mama” came out the next day. “Dad” will not be employed until the little critter needs to borrow money, most likely.

Snark Attack

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:18 pm

More snark, this time from A Small Victory reviewing a creepy children’s book.

What’s the protocol for when you receive a review copy of a book in the mail? Am I under any obligation to like it? Do I have to write nice things about it? What if, say, I think the book I receive in the mail is a waste of pulp, a detriment to society and is frightening in the way that indoctrination literature always is? Should I actually say that or should I just ignore the whole thing and, when the publishing company asks where my review is, just tell them the book must have gotten lost in the mail?

You want to know more about this book, don’t you? Ok.

Need Some Snark?

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:05 pm

Lileks has got you covered.

In snark, that is.

In case you needed it.

Q: History is boring. C’mon. Why do they hate us?

A: Because our women wear thongs, our media are naughty, our homosexuals walk around unstoned, and we refuse to let them finish Hitler’s plans for the Jews. Because we are the infidel sons of monkeys and pigs who do not believe that most holy of books, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Also because we had something to do with Afghanistan.

Q: Afghana-what?

A: Afghanistan is a large, mountainous country that suffered an unimaginable geographical calamity a few years ago, when the entire nation slid off the front pages of the newspapers. Poor country: not a single runaway Caucasian bride to interest the media.

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