February 28, 2007

Chaotic Synaptic Has Moved

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:07 pm

He’s got new digs here.

An Accidental Poem On Achewood

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:45 pm

On IM, discussing how to properly feel like crud:

Me: Yeah, that’s funny right there.

Some Other D0od: Except for the part where IT BURNS.

Yes! Hi! Repeat!

Let’s Add Some Stars On That Flag!

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:22 pm

Dr. Barnett’s blog notes the latest radio show transcript. Sean Meade pulls out a section I like:

Well, you know, the history of the United States has been that we’ve expanded over time. I mean, we’re a rare country in the history of humanity that’s basically added new members progressively over time.

We did with our last additions being 1959, and then we got sort of stuck on this number fifty, and it’s become sort of a sacred notion, and that America’s closed for membership, until you get to the post-Cold War era, and then you start watching a European Union seemingly replicating many aspects of our model, political, economic, military, and adding members, and that not being seen as imperialism, but really sort of a brand that’s attractive, and is attracting new members.

And I would like to see the United States get back in the business of being a brand so attractive that countries want to join us. I think it’s happened, economically in many ways, you see the dollarization of economies in many parts of Latin America. I think it’s happened, security wise, and has really been a reality going all the way back to the Monroe Doctrine. I don’t see why it can’t happen politically over time, especially when you start thinking about the rising Hispanic quotient in our population, where you’re looking at by the time I’m an old man in 2050, you may have one out of three voters basically Hispanic. And under those conditions, I think it’s pretty open the question of whether we can get back in the business of expanding this country.

Juan Enriquez, a Harvard sociologist, a really interesting guy who likes to know, he wrote a great book called The Untied States of America, and I spent some time with him, he likes to note that no American president in this country’s history has ever been born or died under the same flag, and that basically take a president born after 1959, to have served and then died before that string will ever be unbroken, I don’t think it’s going to happen, because I think when you see Cuba go, I think that’s going to be a potential candidate. And once we crack the barrier from 50 to 51, I think we’re going to recognize in some ways, this is a positive sort of race between us and other countries that are going to have that kind of magnet effect over time, China in Asia, the growing European Union.

I’m glad this concept’s being discussed. I am in favor of this concept, although my focus has been in looking at the small states trying to figure out whether or not to join the EU or similar organizations, instead of acquiring states that would have to secede from their current nation. The latter to me sounds a wee bit harder (quite a negotiation problem!) than it would be for an independent nation to take the plunge.

We’ve absorbed nations before, by the way. Here’s what I wrote about it in 2005, in a short paper describing some of what’s involved.

February 27, 2007

Currently Reading

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:07 pm

Via the Spinney-disciple Rose Covered Glasses blog, a Vanity Fair article on the corporation SAIC.

Since DOPMA requires that officers leave the service at certain points (for instance, if you fail to select twice for lieutenant commander you go home in about three months), the experienced folks can’t stay in uniform. Also, it’s sometimes useful to have a person doing the same job for ten or twenty years. So they hire an SAIC contractor at the desk. This should be interesting to see where VF takes their story.

February 26, 2007

Dissidents Freed

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:39 pm

…in Bahrain.

Kareem is still in an Egyptian jail.

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:10 pm

Rich Galen has a take on the “Building 18” scandal.

Lots Of Incoming Links

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:48 pm
  • Gus van Horn has some interesting thoughts about the Michael Oren interview in a useful link roundup. He points out that we’ve had to deal with the nexus between faith and American warfare. He makes good points, although I’d argue that the Japanese were beaten in ways that the Islamists in the time of Jefferson may not have been, or our current enemy could be. Thinking that through will be a worthy use of neurons.
  • Chicago Boy David Foster discusses innovation and laments the inability to innovate in ways we seem to have used to, similar to the essays here.
  • Apparently Fumento’s piece, which I commented on here, generated some discussion. Here are a few of the folks who have posted and linked:
    1. I hit the Dawn Patrol! Cool!
    2. Spook86 talks about his concerns about lowering the standards for SOF, using his experience.
    3. Eratosthenes describes the Fumento piece and points to Buck, who has the Snark Of The Day:

      Hint: it’s because they’re special. “Special,” in the Dem lexicon, has more to do with things like the Special Olympics than Special Forces.

      I wouldn’t characterize that for everyone in the whole party–Inouye grokked SOF–but the guy who put that plank in the Dem platform? Whoof.

      Back in the day I contemplated a T-shirt for our boat, which carried the smaller wet submersibles the SEALs used. Front of the shirt: “We Drive The Big Bus”. Back: “They Drive The Short Bus. Special Operations, Special Warfare.” It wasn’t going to win popular points…

    4. A Jacksonian has an extensive discussion of the unique requirements of mountain warfare, not a SOF-specific mission but one that requires special training and thus useful for the discussion of the nontrivial nature of recruiting and training. In the comments below he writes:

      One of my points has always been that expanding military forces must be done slowly so as to not dilute the skills that exist, the training structure or the overall force-structure and to get the logistics in place for handling a larger force. All of that takes time… years of it. The days of mass warfare are over, and the idea of a draft military brings up the problem of what to do with the people who can’t hack it, as the skills necessary to fight today are a different magnitude than WWII, Korea or even Vietnam. The great quip that the Gulf War was won on the playing fields of Atari is not too far from the truth… compare the average skills need for a Sherman tank to an Stryker, and that base need has gone upwards.

February 25, 2007

Me? Still Working This Through.

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:10 pm

Donald Sensing has an interesting and unsettled post that matches a song he mentions. I’d offer an alternate version to him.

And I’d recommend the Gerard Vanderleun post he discusses to Cobb, who’s thinking along slightly related lines.

I keep thinking of a report or two of the people we’re fighting and what they do to little kids.

Whither American Innovation

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:01 am

It’s sort of interesting to compare this Mark Steyn column with this one by Bill Gates.

Yet Again Proving We Need More Than One Party That Understands Warfare

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:52 am

Update: The great Fumento points to a version of his article with hyperlinks at his place. I’m honored he dropped by here.

— — —

This article should not have to come from the rightish Weekly Standard. First, it shouldn’t need to have been written in the first place; the vow to “double the size of our Special Forces” should have been crushed or made viable by some military-savvy Dem. Secondly, the concepts in this article are not Republican or Democrat concepts; they’re military. This kind of correction should have equally been able to come from The Nation as it would The Weekly Standard. Michael Fumento writes:

First, doubling can only be accomplished by going a disastrous route–making special ops no longer special. Second, false solutions crowd out real ones. Much can be done to improve the quality of our armed forces, but this Democratic proposal doesn’t make the grade.

Just as it’s disturbing that in 31 pages the Democrats couldn’t devote a single line to how they plan to achieve their lofty goal, it’s unsettling that they can’t get their definitions right. “Special Forces,” properly speaking, refers to U.S. Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. But, as Drew Hammill in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office confirmed to me, what the Democrats want to double is the much broader group of “Special Operations Forces”–SOF in military shorthand, or just “special ops.”

I can understand some random congressman messing up SOF and SF, or “clandestine” with “covert”, which are terms of art. That congressman should have staffers who understand this stuff, who served (and not exclusively one tour guys), who do research to get these terms right, who know that when they propose something like this they come up against the SOF culture and their “four truths“:

  1. Humans are more important than hardware.
  2. Quality is better than quantity.
  3. Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
  4. Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.

Peter Beinart, a fellow with whom I’ve sometimes disagreed, has been an inspiration for this argument over the years (this link should work as a search for “Beinart” on this site). He also understands that both parties need institutions, processes and cultural understanding that support a knowledge of warfare and the military. Democrats such as Congressman Ike Skelton, driving the military over the decades to direct resources to war colleges and joint training–or Senator Inouye, Medal of Honor winner who fiercely protects his constituency’s military infrastructure and maintains close ties to Hawaii military–are the exception rather than the rule. As the Fumento article indicates, a plank in one party’s platform depends on a logical fallacy and mischaracterizes the intent of the plank through ignorance. Institutions that disregard the core of why national government exists (monopoly on force) don’t effectively serve the public. The Republicans make big mistakes on occasion with regard to understanding the military, but at least they have think tanks that accept the existence of war, and guys who served who aren’t only in military-heavy districts, and connections to be able to reach out to understand the military concerns even if they’re not doing so sometimes. Who’s building those connections now for the Democrats as well as the Republicans?

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:19 am

The Liberty Papers talks classical liberal and libertarian thinking. A very polite smackdown is involved and the comment string is worthwhile.

Freeing Kareem

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:07 am

There are a few ambassadors out there who have some real courage and audacity in the way they further the interests of the United States. In Cuba, the “72” Christmas signs and the billboards are a thorn in the side of that tyranny. Belarus and Venezuela’s American embassies are fierce advocates of human freedom, shouting into the hurricane when that’s all there is that can be done, but working hard to advance our interests on a consistent basis.

Sharansky said that Reagan’s naming the Soviet dissidents had real power. We’ve got a dissident here in Kareem; his life is in real danger because it’s not just the gulag; it’s Islamist and nationalist murderers-in-waiting. Therefore if it’s in American interests to expose and protect that dissident, and I think that argument is consistent with President Bush’s Second Inaugural, then we need to be mentioning Kareem in public, in official statements.

The ambassador to Egypt has a bio that indicates he knows the country and region, and has worked with military. Here’s the embassy web site. It may be worthwhile for that embassy to speak in public–or send a cable about the situation to big State so that the Secretary or President can speak it first. A neighboring country doing the same can also have an effect.

Kareem likely does not wish to be a martyr. In any case I don’t wish him to be abused as he is already reported as being. Only if he is a name–and a public one, mentioned by powerful people–can he have a chance of staying alive and whole.

We need to get back in the habit of saying the names of the dissidents in tyrannies.

February 24, 2007

Rhoda Scott Can Play That B-3

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:27 pm

Courtesy PCL Link Dump, a jazz player I’ve never heard before, Rhoda Scott (with a video that cranks). It’s time to go buy some records. (And she’s still playing today!)

Helo Down, IRGC Killed

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:12 pm

…IRGC are the more fanatic and nasty Iranian guys. Rantburg has the description. Gateway Pundit has a roundup. Some of this reporting may be trustable but definitely not all.

It would be interesting to say that this is a subtle tit-for-tat vis-a-vis the US and Iran, but my guess is more that there’s light to heavy fighting in the Kurdish and Azeri parts of Iran. Last year we had several mysterious downings of aircraft with senior IRGC (and journalists, in the case of the Teheran crash into the apartment building) aboard. Connections? Who knows…

Which is also interesting.

Wall-To-Wall Counseling, Blog Style

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:54 pm

The senior enlisted train the junior officer. Sometimes the officer, when he gets older, returns the favor. Ziegenfuss isn’t exactly using FM 22-102 (note: bad words and worse concepts; don’t try this, kids), but he does get his point across.

The Big Secret Revealed

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:26 am

A fascinating post: John Scalzi tells what money he made this year from writing science fiction, and from what source.

Mine is somewhat easier than his to describe, and it’s public record since I get paid by y’all American citizen types. I get pay from three buckets of money that are ripped from the pocket of the American taxpayer:

  1. Basic Pay, a monthly rate that changes by rank and time in service. If you look at this .pdf and go to O-4 over 16, that’s where I looked.
  2. Basic Allowance for Subsistence, which is not taxed (it’s an “allowance” not a “pay”). Officers last year got about a hundred and eighty bucks a month.
  3. Basic Allowance for Housing, an allowance that supposedly covers your rent and some of the utilities. It’s not bad for around where I live, about thirteen hunnert a month or so.

Some guys get bonuses and whatnot. I am not in that fortunate group–as a matter of fact I had some serious repaying of bonus money to the gummint to do when I left the submarine force. All in all, though, I did pretty good for myself, enough to stay debt-free (house excepted), put away a chunk for retirement and avoid having both of us parents work if we don’t buy anything too fancy. On the other hand, nobody’s going to be reading any books I wrote this year, so advantage Scalzi!

I Think We’ve Got A Customer

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:30 am

…for cleaning solutions or berber carpet.


Filed under: — Chap @ 12:17 am

The web site gives a weird error in Mac Firefox but the post is a must read. Badger 6 talks about how his men were killed.

One of his soldiers says it’s the straight scoop and describes what he saw that night.

I am sad to hear of their–our–loss. There will be more. I wish I were able to be there helping somehow, instead of manning a desk back home.

February 23, 2007

Dante Fontana Has A Public Service

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:02 pm

Mr. Fontana has some good taste in internet type music videos. Lester Young, Dolly Parton, Devo, not one but two videos with ridiculous fake Afros (Pizzicato Five and Fatboy Slim), and some such. This is good stuff.

February 22, 2007

Why, Yes, I Surfed The Net Today

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:55 pm

Here are some poster ads for beer that might make the Tasteful Club this week. Reminded me of this ad from the Ad Graveyard, except these are the punchline of the advertising joke.

(h/t Drink Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For War)

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