Chapomatic

November 26, 2006

Borat

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:42 pm

Haven’t seen the movie.  Don’t like Candid Camera even without the poop jokes.  Have previously ranted about how transgression is useless if it’s safe and approved transgression, and that transgression by itself isn’t worth as much as what you do with it.  I’m just a wet blanket that way.

But I’m not as alone as I thought I was.  Check out this roundup at Harry’s Place.  Hitchens and Krauthammer; good company.

And yes, I did have an entertaining conversation with a Kazakh colonel about the movie.  He had some stories about the Old Days; I listened…

Another Disaffected One Star Talking To The Kiddies

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:50 pm

Here’s an interesting piece of dissent in the Pittsburgh (leftish) paper from an Army brigadier who landed a gig running a college in South Carolina. It’s a speech to the kiddies, and an interesting bit of dissent; one of the more coherent pieces of disagreement I’ve seen in a while. It’s worth a read. Interesting that the Post-Gazette puts a rather jarringly inappropriate photo for a speech that a college president’s giving as a convocation to a bunch of college types.

I don’t agree with the speaker’s “not enough troops” argument–the issue is that we were strategically surprised by a preplanned insurgency, not that Shinseki Was Right; look at Afghanistan for a parallel without the flypaper that is Iraq; look at van Steenwyk’s brilliant takedown of the Not Enough Troops argument for the period immediately after the world’s longest rush to war; look at a map and a calendar to deal with the argument for Anaconda.

I also see this retired brigadier using constricted thinking in attacking the other services for perceived shortfalls in his parent service and in not understanding that a large organization has to simultaneously deal in the now and in the later, and not bankrupt the future by focusing on today’s war exclusively. Most importantly, the author treats Iraq as if there is only one actor there–the U.S.–and ignores the effect of anyone else who might have a stake in affecting the outcome, for instance the enemy. The term “information war” might be of use somewhere in the speech; I’ve heard that somewhere related to the war, perhaps.

That said, the speech isn’t too bad.

Ralph Gets A Beatdown

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:16 pm

Peters’s latest column got some people thinking, but Mark Steyn isn’t having any of it.  Usually when I disagree with Peters, it’s because he’s too shrill, or more likely channeling the worst of David Hackworth; Steyn, however, has a more specific gripe involving Peters’s argumentative methodology that I’ve heard before but not as acidly.

Can’t Waste It, Now, Can I?

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:34 pm

I was obligated to drop an mp3 into a comment at Lex’s; it just fit, somehow. Why not link it here?

Malpractice?

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:00 pm

Hey, I’ve got a dumb question.

Our enemies are engaged in an information war. They’re also using lawfare, leveraging our own legal sysem and rule of law to advance their interest. Last week, they’ve had two successful information fires: the Patterico-identified mess that Lex pithily characterized as

The point is not that the Times is happily swallowing and uncritically regurgitating terrorist propaganda. It’s that, if they were doing so, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and what they wrote on 13 November.

…and this other faked-but-reported event identified over at Flopping Aces which includes some interesting sources and methods of how bad information gets injected into the news stream.

Information gets results, but those results are slow in coming and it’s hard to see stimulus-response except in hindsight. We’ve had enough time to see the results of this fake news–and the results of the corrections appearing in a box on A-12 after the initial report went all over the front page and NPR and caused opinions to form.

So what’s a standard by which a person or organization can call out, sue, or otherwise cause a chilling effect on blatantly false and insufficiently corrected news that’s known to be a force multiplier for an enemy’s war efforts? I’ll have to better understand the legal line between free speech and responsibility for that speech to know this question better, of course. But if there’s a “yelling fire in a crowded theater” standard, is there a legal analogy? If people are dying, directly or indirectly, because the AP picks up a phoned-in report from some Baghdad jounalist blindly regurgitating a jihadi stringer’s blatant lie, why is this not malpractice? Is there anything stronger to combat this than merely complaining (as was done for, say, Rathergate)? Put another way, what other corrective possibilities exist for speech that is still subject to the First Amendment, but also a blatant, killing falsehood intended and willingly used as a strategic attack on an American center of gravity?

Any ideas? Anyone have historical precedents–previous wars or other big issues, perhaps–that identify that line and what is do-able?

November 25, 2006

Any Truth To The Rumor…

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:21 pm

that Hilton’s merging with Harrod’s?

Beating It Into The Ground

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:21 pm

Michael Young doesn’t like realism either.  Neither does Russell Berman.

November 23, 2006

We’re A Very Dangerous Ally

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:34 pm

The United States’ tendency towards chaotic foreign policy and the machinations of same have resulted in some shameful letting down of our allies at times.  The example that first comes to mind is how we let the Kurds twist in the wind in ’93, but there are many many others.  Sometimes it’s due to war weariness and our tendency to demobilize too far and get tired, such as the abortive attempt to aid the White Russians in their resistance against the Communists, an investment entirely too small after WWI that could have prevented enormous loss of life and world trouble later on.  Other times it’s due to other things.

Max Boot details a few more in an LA Times article worth reading in its entirety.

Which kinda reminds me.  The next two years, will we tire, falter and fail?

November 21, 2006

Fela 45 Alert

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:18 pm

If you don’t know about Fela Kuti, and like music at all, then the wonderful blog Funky 16 Corners has a post with background information and a scratchy mp3 from a Kuti 45 that I’d never seen before.  (Fela’s songs tended to be about twenty minutes long–the side of an LP, pretty much–and a 45 is pretty mindblowing.)  1970s Afrobeat; imagine a marching band conducted by James Brown singing Yoruba-language funk in Lagos, Nigeria, and you get the general idea.  Where does F16c’s Grogan get such lovely records?

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:53 pm

I don’t want to agree with anything in this article because of what that would imply for other conflicts, and as Lex reminds us I’d like to maintain the standards of my own tribe as universal. However

Wars are won by destroying the enemy’s will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women.

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:45 am

Meanwhile, South America’s civilian submarines seem to be powered entirely by blow.

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:20 am

Japanese submarine collides with merchant (Japanese details via Google News here and I learned that “no comment” in Japanese is “nokomento”). Sounds like it’s minor–but I guess JDS Asashio isn’t going to win during Annualex

November 20, 2006

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:23 pm

Hey, I talked about Rangel’s foolishness the last time he pulled this stunt.

Pat Conroy At MilBlogs

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:51 pm

I’ve got an essay over at the other place.  Comments are encouraged.

November 19, 2006

I Don’t Recommend The Crab Fritters

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:35 pm

I had a busy Friday planned.  After a week in Baltimore dealing with work issues, I had an extra day to visit a bunch of people in Washington, some connected with my current job, some connected to the new career.  I found Smash and arranged for coffee with him, and got the map for Walter Reed for the Friday ‘do.

After a nice dinner in Shirlington, I went back to the Baltimore hotel and put the uniform together…but things weren’t feeling so nice.  The next thirty six hours were very unpleasant ones, without the comfort of any raucous party beforehand.  The irony of a bout of what I assume was food poisoning on a guy who just spent the week talking about, among other things, biological weapons, was not welcomed.

So I have yet again missed out on a chance to be at Walter Reed on Friday, and missed several opportunities to get smarter about my job.   I feel terrible missing out on a chance on honoring guys who have given their all just because I was too dizzy and feverish to drive, but risk is risk.

So.  My apologies if I missed you in D.C., and I would much rather have been in different circumstances.  For the rest of y’all, that’s one reason I’ve been incommunicado for a few days.

Remind me not to get sick like that again.

November 16, 2006

The One In The Back Clinched It

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:51 pm

I think this is a photo of Jacques Chirac’s new synchronized swimming team.

(You don’t want to click anywhere else on that site…it might melt something and cause your NetNanny to go beep) 

November 15, 2006

Just Following In The Grand Political Tradition Of John Wilkes Booth

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:00 pm

Booth wasn’t for the war, either, you know.

Bay on Baker

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:04 pm

Austin Bay writes of decisions and James Baker.  I worry that Baker would be encouraged.

Murtha

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:53 pm

What a lovely, lovely man.

November 14, 2006

I Bet The Answer Isn’t Pleasant

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:34 am

Why is it that every news clip I heard today about the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument mentioned the color of his skin before even alluding to the content of his character?

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