Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chavez and Airborne Reconnaissance

Chavez claims to have intercepted or detected US recon aircraft in or near his airspace twice now. The tone of his claims is aggressive, but framed to sound as if we are the aggressors. Electronic warfare is what it is, but to the average person, it sounds nasty. Not something you want being done to your country.

Flying reconnaissance missions is a passive operation. You fly off the coast, stay out of their airspace, and monitor what's going on. Nothing to get excited about. But Chavez is getting excited. The fact that our aircraft are being noticed is worrisome. Is he laying the groundwork for a more serious "incident?"

Remember this guys and gals - When you are flying near hostile airspace, where you actually are is not as important as where they think you are.

Keep flying, but let's be careful out there.
Do Our Goals in Afghanistan Doom Us to Fail

In the Washington Post today there is an interesting article on the "controversial" approach of training villagers as basic militias.  The idea is to let them secure their neighborhoods and provide a counterbalance to the Taliban.  What caught my eye was this quote,

"At the end of the day, how sustainable would a program like this be?" said a State Department official based in Kabul, who like other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal disputes. "It runs counter to the goal of giving the state a monopoly of force."

Our goal is to give the state a monopoly on force? My understanding is that Afghanistan, by and large, is tribal, with a tough terrain and almost infinitely complex communications (transportation) problems.  I understand that the Afghans who are willing to pick up a gun are a tough independent sort. Are we really thinking that centralizing power, or as they put it, giving the state a monopoly of force, will work well here?  Has AFG ever been a country with a strong central government? It just doesn't sound like a very smart goal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

PBUH and Support South Park in the Draw Mohammad Day - May 20

I've been a fan of South Park for years. It's the best social political satire out there. I watched both of this season's super best friends episodes. (In South Park they depict Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, John Smith, Lao Tzu, Moses and Sea Man as Segway riding super heroes) The joke in this episode was that since they couldn't depict Mohammad, they put him in a U haul, then in a bear suit. The easily-offended went nuts, "predicting" that the South Park creators would wind up dead in the street like Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh. Comedy Central caved, at in the second episode, they censored both the bear suit and the commentary on censorship. Yes, you heard that right, they censored the kids' commentary on censorship. (I had both episodes on DVR, but deleted them, thinking if I wanted to watch them again, I could see them On-Demand. Bad decision.)

So.... in support of the First Amendment, and as a finger in the eye of the censors,
I announce that I will participate in Draw Mohammad Day on May 20.

My other regular reads that are supporting this effort are (of course)
Hot Air
Commander Salamander

Update: Jon Stewart gets it....

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
South Park Death Threats
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testing mobile blogging with blogpost lite

Hmm. Can I post straight from my iPhone?

Friday, April 09, 2010


The difference between the good guys and the bad guys is whether they use human shields or make themselves human shields. H/T OPFOR

Reminded me is this classic shot below. I didn't have it, but found a copy on Carols Blog where she had apparently pulled it from Flopping Aces.

If you want to know more, read about the difference between wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.

Monday, April 05, 2010

"Collateral Murder" NOT

I've read the various descriptions of the gun camera video that was published today on the Wikileaks site. I won't link to the site, because their slander doesn't deserve the traffic. I did go to the site to read the Wikileaks post, but I probably won't watch the video. War is ugly, people died, viewing it would probably not add much to my understanding. Several respectable and respected bloggers have commented, including Ed Morrisey, Rusty Shackleford, Phib, Roggio, and Uber Pig.

Here is what I gather from their descriptions: There was an armed group of men in Iraq. Under the ROE at the time, they could be engaged. They were engaged and destroyed. A vehicle came on the scene to assist the targets. It too was engaged.

That's not murder. It's combat.

The following thought occured to me while reading something by Mike Yon the other day. (I can't find the exact post, otherwise I would link it directly.)

People, both military and civilian, must understand once a target is identified it can be engaged immediately. Sleeping, hiding, running away, even wounded. (If you think wounded fighters on the field of battle are somehow out of the fight, take a look at a few Medal of Honor citations.) While warfighters have an obligation to accept surrender, they are under no obligation to ask for it.

UPDATE: Here's something that would answer a lot of questions. The photographs from the dead photographer's camera. Assuming they weren't destroyed is reasonable. We know who he was. It seems highly likely that someone from his family would save "his last pictures." So how 'bout it Reuters? What were his final photos that day?

UPDATE II: Rusty at mypetjawa has the photos. They were included as items in the Army's investigation of the engagement. I watched the video and listened to the audio. You could hear the tension in the pilots voices when they had saw the guy with the RPG peaking around the corner down the alley from where the US patrol was passing. They didn't have a clean shot yet and thought the enemy was going to engage before they got one. Anyone who can't hear that must be willfully ignorant or just ignorant. It sucks that that was the guy with the camera. ... but the group was armed. As for the van... I don't know the ROE on that. But the pilots did, and the investigation (also at the jawa site) cleared them. No cover up. Clear statements of fact. War sucks, but do not condemn warriors because they take you somewhere you would rather not be.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Христос Воскрес!
Да, истенно воскрес!

(He is Risen!
Yes, He is truly Risen!)

Lk 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Happy Easter to All!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Stuff White People Like and Tea Parties

I'm a fan of the social commentary blog "Stuff White People Like" written by Christian Lander. (I support it by owning a copy of his book.) The author's style nails so many of the artifacts of "white culture" in an understated way that I find enjoyable to read. I think it's the same voice that many successful stand-up comics use. The ones who don't tell jokes, but who point out some of the silliness of modern life.

Although he hasn't made the entry yet, something that white people definitely like are protests and marches. Just look at the stuff white people like an you see the logical connection. The list includes Political Prisoners, Being Offended, Bumper Stickers, The Ivy League, Scarves, San Francisco, Having Gay Friends, Hating Corporations, Threatening to Move to Canada, Recycling, Knowing What’s Best for Poor People, Lawyers, Arts Degrees, The Sunday New York Times, Public Radio, Marijuana, Vegan/Vegetarianism, Non-Profit Organizations, and more. This stuff is either a topic of protests or marches, supports the protests or marches, or could be found at a protest or march (along with message T-shirts).

So if white people like protests and marches, why then is much of "white culture" (the people who like the things above) dismissive of the Tea Party movement? It's got speaking truth to power, outdoors, Diversity, lawyers, bumper stickers, sticking up for the little guy, signs, being offended, even some weed and good t-shirts. The answer is that these protests are attended by the wrong kind of white people.

The wrong kind of white person is the one that "right kind" white people want to avoid when camping (the one in the RV); the one that watches Leno; the one who doesn't like hummus or find Sarah Silverman funny. It's the one who, when he goes to San Francisco, makes the Rocket Boat the highlight of the trip. It's the white person who drives a truck, not to reject the political statement of driving a Prius, but because he needs it for work. Sarah Palin, even though she's a strong woman, in a Native American, union household with a disabled child, and an unwed mother single mother daughter is the wrong kind of white person.

This is why a protest against big corporations that has dozens of the right kind people attending will get national news coverage, and a protest against big corporations government with thousands of the wrong kind of white people gets ignored, minimized, or dismissed.

The challenge is to frame the issues in terms that white people can understand and join in. Tea Partiers are a diverse bunch. There is room for everyone. The only thing we ask when you join is a commitment to get the federal government out of our pocketbooks and now our doctors' offices. (I don't think they belong in our bedrooms either, but that's a separate issue.) While we have many of the wrong kind of white people, we also have much of the stuff white people like.

UPDATE: Instalanche! Thanks Professor Reynolds!