24 August 2006

Uh... so fuckin' what?

CNN.com - Former Iraq POW Jessica Lynch is pregnant - Aug 24, 2006
Jessica Lynch, the former prisoner of war whose 2003 rescue in Iraq made her an instant celebrity, is pregnant.

She's famous because her unit was incompetent. Can we stop worshipping her now, and focus on the real heroes of the war: 3-15 IN, 1-8 Marines, 4-64 AR, 7th Cav, the 187 IN, and the soldiers who shot straight, cleaned their weapons, and knew how to read a map.

19 August 2006

Confederate Yankee: The Show Must Go On

Confederate Yankee: The Show Must Go On

This is an entertaining bit of photography.
The pristine sofa cushions are one bit of amusement. The non-dust-covered black blanket another. But the teleporting bottle of water is the best.

15 August 2006

Apostrophitis in Iraq

Military Photos Military Photo Military Pictures

People really need to learn how to use apostrophes properly...

08 August 2006

When did a machine-gun become a non-lethal weapon

The microwave weapon has a range of about 500 meters. ADS is carried on a hummer or Stryker, along with a machine-gun and other non-lethal weapons.

Anan piles on Israel while ignoring Hizbollah

Anan says Qana killings could breach international law as ceasefire sought - Yahoo! News
'The attack on Qana should be seen in the broader context of what could be, based on preliminary information available to the United Nations, including eyewitness accounts, a pattern of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, committed during the course of the current hostilities,' Annan said.

Why not 'The attack on Haifa should be seen in the broader context of what could be, based on preliminary information available to the United Nations, including eyewitness accounts, a pattern of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, committed during the course of the current hostilities,'

I thought the UN was supposed to be a neutral arbiter.

05 August 2006

Finally! Someone gets the conflict between Israel and Hez-bollocks

The State | 08/04/2006 | No sympathy for those who destroy life
No sympathy for those who destroy life
Washington Post Writers Group
Watching the anguish in Lebanon following an Israeli airstrike that killed at least 37 children in Qana Sunday put me in mind of Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who drowned her children several years ago.
The Smith parallel requires a small stretch of free association, so bear with me.
You'll recall that Smith killed her children, then tried to blame a fictional villain. After allowing her car to slip into a lake - with the boys strapped in their car seats inside - Smith claimed the children had been kidnapped. Her infertile imagination provided a racist cliche: A black man did it.
Fast forward a few years, and I bumped into a woman who had just visited Smith in prison, where she is serving a life sentence for the double murder. When I asked how Smith was doing, the woman replied: "Like any grieving mother, she's mourning the loss of her children."
Then Rod Serling stepped into the frame and cued the "Twilight Zone" soundtrack. Let's see: You kill your children, and then you get sympathy for your loss?
That dissonant comment has haunted me ever since, and it came to me a few days ago as I watched reports of the Qana airstrike. As the Qana myth unfolds, the children's deaths are blamed on the Middle East's perpetual villain - Israel - while Hezbollah's minions gnash and wail for the cameras. We are expected to join in vilifying Israel while Hezbollah enjoys a bounce in popularity.
Obviously, the anguish of the Lebanese people is heartfelt, and no one celebrates the loss of innocent life. Wait, correction. No one except Hezbollah, which pioneered that nihilistic addition to modern warfare, the suicide bomber. The suicide bomber's purpose, of course, is to kill as many civilians as possible. Hezbollah excels at that sort of thing. The "Party of God" is also a proud innovator in the use of human shields, especially women and children.
Indeed, Hezbollah relies on the civilized world's outrage as part of its strategy. By bringing the war to suburbia in violation of the Geneva Conventions and launching rockets from villages such as Qana, Hezbollah virtually ensures that civilians will die.
Pending an investigation, many facts are unknown, including whether the building in which the children died came down as a result of Israeli fire. The Associated Press and others now report that the Israeli strike on Qana came between midnight and 1 a.m., but the building didn't collapse until 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., possibly as a result of munitions inside the building.
Whatever the case, Israeli Defense Forces had dropped leaflets into Qana a week beforehand, warning residents to evacuate. Although international humanitarian law forbids the deliberate targeting of civilian areas, exceptions are tolerated under certain circumstances.
As Human Rights Watch explains on its Web site (humanrightswatch.org), a civilian area can be targeted if it "makes an 'effective' contribution to the enemy's military activities and its destruction, capture or neutralization offers a 'definite military advantage' to the attacking side in the circumstances ruling at the time."
The humanitarian guidelines also call for "proportionality" in "dual use" areas and for precautions to protect civilians.
Parsing the language of "dual use" when bombs are killing sleeping children seems absurd when measured against such senseless loss. But it is also necessary if we are to maintain perspective against a cowardly enemy that hides among women and children, then relies on emotion to gain traction on the battlefield of public opinion.
Why some residents of Qana didn't leave given fair warning is a point of speculation, but Hezbollah reportedly has blocked residents from evacuating other areas. Proportionality is a trickier question, but let's be clear on the issue of moral equivalence. There is none. Hezbollah aims to kill civilians; Israel aims not to. But by firing rockets from civilian areas, Hezbollah forces Israel to return fire, thus inciting the condemnation of civilized nations and fueling the reliable outrage of the Arab street.
The fog of war may prevent absolute clarity, but this much seems certain: Those dead women and children are casualties of Hezbollah, not Israel. As in the case of Susan Smith, we mourn the deaths of the children, but have no sympathy for the responsible party.
Only in the Twilight Zone is Hezbollah a victim.
Write to Ms. Parker at kparker@kparker.com."

02 August 2006

In other late-breaking news, gravity continues to hold people to the planet

CNN.com - Army Guard 'in dire situation' - Aug 1, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than two-thirds of the Army National Guard's 34 brigades are not combat ready, mostly because of equipment shortages that will cost up to $21 billion to correct, the top National Guard general said Tuesday.

'I am further behind or in an even more dire situation than the active Army, but we both have the same symptoms, I just have a higher fever,' Blum said.

This crap has been going on since Kosovo. The Georgia guard, then the Texas guard, and every one since then, has been hit with a retention drop since they came back. It's even worse with units that are now on their third deployments in the last 6-7 years. This has been a problem since before 9-11. We were over-committing units loooooong before the war on "terror" (which seems to not include Irish terrorists, or Tamil Tigers, or Chechnya, or the Chinese government).
Now don't get me wrong, most national guard guys are more than happy to chase Al Qaeda around Afghanistan, but the ones I've talked to are mad as hell about Iraq and sick of dealing with it. They don't see Iraq as significant enough to put their lives on hold (again, for many of them) while the President invents emergencies. The national command folks act as though the National Guard should have expected to be gone from home 1-2 out of every 5-6 years. Try selling that to their civilian employers - especially if the guardsman is self-employed.

There's a big difference between defending the country and an expeditionary force exerting their firepower to bring about the deluded policy aims of a few over-thinking, underperforming bureau-weenies. National guard troops mostly signed up for the former, not the latter. And yes, they are smart enough to tell the difference.