Sunday, December 31, 2006

Upcoming Events...

Sorry for the lack of serious content around here the past few days, but I've been gummed up with a variety of things: family Christmas with my mom's side, getting caught up on my Christmas gift reading (I got No True Glory, Dereliction of Duty, Guests of the Ayatollah, and Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife; reviews of all when they're completed), and taking advantage of break to play some poker. Lest you think I've been entirely slacking, though, I've been kicking ideas around in my head about three different, yet related topics: the blogosphere and how ideas disseminate in it, blogs and the larger media as a weapon, and the internet as a front in the war (not necessarily just media info, either.) Haven't gotten anything down on paper yet, but hopefully will be able to do that before classes start up again.

Anyway, since he was so nice to extend me glad tidings in the New Year, I'd like to extend the same to him. Head on over to SJS's place and say hi! He's got a new focus for the blog in the new involves a bear, a dragon, and a guy named Chavez, among others.

Since I probably won't be able to post Sunday at all, I'd like to wish all my readers a happy New Year. May it treat you well.

I'm not dead yet...I feel happy!

"Castro message says he could recover."

I saw that, and all I could think of was this video clip. Enjoy.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Idiot of the Day

German tourist winds up 13,000 km off course.

This goes under the "you can't make this shit up" category...

"A 21-year-old German tourist who wanted to visit his girlfriend in the Australian metropolis Sydney landed 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) away near Sidney, Montana, after mistyping his destination on a flight booking Web site."

Read the whole thing, it's worth it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thoughts on Somalia

The situation has been developing very rapidly in that country the past couple of days. The latest development is that the UIC has withdrawn from Mogadishu (more on the strategic implications of that later.) Eaglespeak, as usual, has a good roundup of the most recent info, including the interesting addition of Somaliland entering the battle on the side of the Ethiopians/provisional government.

A few days ago there seemed to be a meme making its way around the blogosphere that's best represented by these two posts, one by Cliff May at the Corner, and the other over at New Sisyphus's place. (UPDATE: add this post by Froggy at B5's place to the mix.) They tried to draw a conclusion between our recent seemingly fettered and fickle actions in Iraq and other places and the bold actions of the Ethiopian military in the invasion of Somalia. The problem here, of course, lies in the fact that we're talking about two completely different types of warfare. To use one of my "overused phrases" (inside joke with the roommates), it's comparing apples to oranges. The invasion of Somalia is a conventional military action, fought along traditional lines, where one army lines up on a battlefield and engages another army, trying to seize strategic terrain and cities in order to put the enemy in an untenable position. The U.S. accomplished this quite rapidly in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

What followed in Iraq was a low-intensity insurgency where the conventional application of force generally doesn't work (excepting cases such as Fallujah, when we need to clean out a city...but that's a post unto itself). I would not be surprised if the the UIC intends to engage in an insurgency against the transitional government. Indeed, Bill Roggio suspects as much. The Ethiopian government will then face a tough decision. Either withdraw and abandon the transitional government to face an insurgency for which it is ill equipped (which is what I think they will do), recognizing the fact that they'll have to come back in and do this all again in a few years when the transitional government falls again, or they can try and engage in some sort of occupation/nation building effort to support the transitional government. Then, and only then, does a comparison to the MNF in Iraq become accurate. And I strongly suspect that if the Ethiopians were to choose the latter course of action they would fail miserably, because their army simply isn't trained or equipped for that type of operation.

However, those options regarding Somalia does beg the question, why weren't those options available to the U.S. after deposed Saddam's government in '03? Well, if you remember The World's Longest Rush to War, WMDs weren't the only, or even the main, reason we went to war. The primary, although rather understated, reason we went to war was to democratize and liberalize Iraq in order to transform the Middle East. While that sounds like a joke now, it was the stated intention of going in, and if you look at the background of terrorism, it makes a lot of sense. (Look at where the 9/11 hijackers came from...countries that have repressive governments who are nominally allies of the U.S.) To go in Ethiopia style, laying waste with our conventional military forces and then leaving (if Ethiopia acts as I suspect they will) wouldn't make things better and would probably make things worse, as the newly installed strongman would be seen by the oppressed population as a U.S. ally. This would simply piss off a whole 'nother population in the Middle East.

Like it or not, we're stuck fighting insurgencies and we had better get used to it. Unfortunately, it's hard and it's counter to the traditional mission of militaries. The posts I referenced above seem to be an oblique pushback against fighting a counter-insurgency, saying that the Ethiopians just went in and laid waste, so why can't we? Left unsaid is that they're tired of fighting a dirty COIN war and want to return to simpler days when the military was tasked with killing the enemy and seizing positions, and didn't have to worry about what the people think of their ROE or how the populace will react to raids.

This is dangerous thinking in the style of Nicias and the Weinberger Doctrine/Powell Corollary. I've blogged about it before here. Just because something is dirty, hard, and dangerous doesn't mean that we should refuse to do it for those reasons. That's in effect what the above posters are arguing, and it is not the way forward to victory. We've been down that road already in the '80s and '90s, and I think we know where that road leads.

Not a Ken Burns Film

Like the CDR says, makes me proud to be an American. The fact that we can laugh at ourselves over almost anything is one of our society's greatest strengths.

Atrocities of the Mullahs

I've blogged about some of the horrors of modern day Iran before. Here's one more to add to the list...

"Some of you may be familiar with the case of Atefeh Rajabi, a girl-child hanged to death in the city of Neka in the early hours of August 15 of 2004. Her crime was officially declared to be "adultery," even though she had never married and was only 16 when the very judge who had condemned her to death served the added role of executioner by personally placing the noose around Atefeh's tiny neck and ordering her body to be lifted. Unofficially, however, Atefeh's crime was defiance – defiance of the un-natural and unreasonable rules that were forced upon her by the Islamic government; defiance of her status as something less than human; defiance of the inequality, poverty, and misogyny that has infested Iran in the past 27 years; and defiance of the binds designed to break the human spirit and destroy the essence of childhood. To the very end, Atefeh maintained her defiance. Witnesses speak of an unusual sense of calmness in her beautiful blue eyes to the last minute. They recount the girl-child's insolent last words, which were: "At the very least, you could have given me a glass of water. Animals are slaughtered more humanely than this.""

Hung at 16 because she committed "adultery." This regime deserves nothing but our contempt. Read the whole thing.

h/t: Countercolumn

A Compelling Read

A taste...

"Like bleached teeth, they are whiter than the older markers which have endured the elements far longer. Few of the deceased are buried alongside loved ones, another indication of how freshly dug these graves are and how young most of their occupants were when they died. The religious symbols on the headstones are also more ecumenical — the Christian cross still dominates, but you see trumpeting Mormon angels and the occasional Muslim crescent.

The biggest difference, however, is the sheer volume of flowers and memorabilia left by survivors. Seeing all these pictures, wreaths and seasonal poinsettias triggered in my mind a story Woodward recounted when he went to Section 60.

He met a mother who was reading a book to her dead son. She told him that when she first started coming to visit, her son was in the last row. He wasn’t any more."

Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

British Spy

A British soldier is currently being held and will stand trial on charges of passing secret information "to the enemy." And by enemy, they mean Iran. I actually heard about this last week, but I didn't get around to blogging it till now. The twist in the story is that the soldier was the translator to the general in charge of all British forces in Afghanistan. That's what is known as a "highly placed" source. His background screams sleeper agent, which isn't surprising once you realize the fact that Iran's intelligence service is one of the most efficient and wide reaching in recent memory. Check this out for more. One of my recurring hesitations with any action regarding Iran is the havoc they could wreak in the West, which is considerable. Michael Ledeen's take is here. The bottom line is that Iran has been at war with us since 1979, and has been acting like it. We need to start acting like it as well.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Flame of the Day

" After watching The View and following the inane statements made on the program, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is true what Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton said: Women, without male guidance, are illogical, frivolous, and incapable of making any decisions beyond what to make for dinner."

Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

h/t: Countercolumn


It's fitting that the insurgents would pick Dec. 22 to deliver their surrender "demands" to the U.S. For those of you who are historically ignorant, the 22nd is the day that Gen. McAuliffe delivered his famous reply to the commanders of the Wehrmacht units who were beseiging Bastogne.

Van Steenwyk has the proper reply to the al-Qaeda allied idiots...

To: Omar al-Baghdadi
Emir, Al Qaeda In Iraq
All-around pig-licking father-raper




1. Your proposal of 23 DEC 07 has been received in this headquarters.

2. NUTS.

3. POC is your mother, 1-900-CAMEL-HO

Splash, out

Jason W. Van Steenwyk"

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fuel Conservation

Folks around Elmendorf AFB are a little up in arms over the fact that jets up there occasionally dump fuel. For those of you who aren't aware, military aircraft have the ability to dump fuel in order to get down to a safe landing weight; to explain a bit further, aircraft typically take off with a higher gross weight than what they are able to safely land at, with the assumption that when the airplane reaches it's destination, it will have been lightened considerably due to burning fuel, among other things (dropping stuff that goes boom also lightens the load). Obviously, when something goes wrong with the plane or something else happens that requires an immediate landing (like weather rapidly approaching minimums and no divert available) you have to dump fuel in order to get down to a safe landing weight.

Anyway, one critic (whose authority on the matter is that he's a Professor of Marine Advisory) questions whether or not these are real "emergencies," and then says that the military shouldn't be wasting fuel. I'm sorry, the next time a plane's on fire I'm sure the pilot will be willing to stay up there for a few hours and burn fuel the old fashioned way so we won't be wasting any. The other critic (a state oil spill official) is concerned with the effect that dumping fuel has on the environment. Of course, it doesn't matter to her that according to Elmendorf officials, less than 1% of all fuel dumped even reaches the surface. I was only in the engineering field for 3 semesters, but I picked up a few of those is "negligable for all practical purposes." I should think that less than 1% would fit within that category.

Yeah, it's things like this that make me thank God I'm not a PAO, because dealing with these people would have a severely adverse effect on my sanity.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Nothing too much, as it's extremely late. Had a poker game/bullshit session with the guys tonight, was fun as always. Ended up finishing second in the tournament out of 10, so can never complain when you finish in the money. Smoked a good cigar afterwards, so all in all a good night.

First, we have more relevations in the Sandy Berger pants stuffing scandal. Forgot about that, did you? Well, to refresh your memory, ol' Sandy walked out of the National Archives with 4 classified documents stuffed down his socks. In case you were wondering what the documents covered, they were related to the Clinton Administration's handling of Al-Qaeda and Osama, especially with regard to Sudan. The Administration may have had a chance to capture Osama in '96 when the Sudanese government wanted him gone, but turned the offer down. No reason at all for Sandy to want to cover that up. This whole incident makes me sick because of the blatant disregard for classified material that both Mr. Berger and the Archives staff exercised. The staff didn't feel they had enough evidence to confront an official of Mr. Berger's stature. The man walked out of the archives with classified documents, for Christ sakes! Disgusting.

Next, a good piece from Christopher Hitchens about the way forward in Iraq. He brings up some points that I think need to be addressed; namely, what exactly WOULD happen if we don't see things through to a relatively stable federal state. It's fine to advocate a timetable of withdrawal, etc., but these actions have consequences, as he lays out, and too often I think these consequences are overlooked. He says, discussing the federalist solution, that "Quixotic though the third solution may seem, it is the only alternative to the most gruesome mayhem—more gruesome than anything we have seen so far." Again, something else important to remember. Iraq is not a state of civil war today. Civil war would look something more like divisions of the Iraqi Army turning on each other, waging open war in the streets with the full and overt support of regional players like Iran, Syria, and the Saudis, and the Turks getting involved to screw over the Kurds. The bloodshed would be unprecedented in modern history, as would the regional conflagration that would result. Also, I have to like any essay that calls the "realists" for what they really are: "the American friends of the Saudi royal family." Spot on.

Finally, we have the combined brilliance of Scott Ott and Scott Adams double teaming al-Zawahiri. From Adams comes what Zawahiri's day at al-Jazeera must be like. And from Ott comes this video:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blackwater is my Anti-Qaeda

So says Josh Marshall. Pretty interesting read on the future of conflict with regard to NGOs. Raises a valid point (in passing) about what exactly the Mahdi Army is. Finally, he discusses how NGOs like Blackwater might impact genocides in the future. It's a subject that has been brought up before when we're talking about counter-genocide action, and I strongly suspect it will be the future.

h/t: Instapundit

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Open Season...bitch

Chap's got the gouge on a band that certainly appears to "get it." Here's a taste:

"Man up yo time to ride, No need to hide behind slogans of deceit, Claiming that you're a religion of peace, We just don't believe you, We can clearly see through, The madness that you're feeding your people, Jihad the cry of your unholy war, Using the willing, the weak and poor, From birth drowning in propaganda, rhetoric and slander"

These appear to be folks who will be on that hill with sword in one hand and rock in the other, if it comes to that. Certainly a bit more...unconventional...than to what I'm used to from music today. But as Chap says, it IS an information war, after all, and we're going to need more of this sort of thing to disseminate the message. What's the message you ask? Quoting Chap:

"I am not afraid of you."

They also have a video, if you're interested.

More trouble in AF?

NATO doesn't seem to get it. Hot on the heels of a conference at which nothing was really accomplished, and set to the backdrop of the continuing fracturing of the Alliance, comes this news out of Afghanistan: NATO doesn't have a unified system set up to compensate the families of civilians killed during fighting.

This is counter-insurgency 101. If you don't try and pull the people on your side, especially when you use force, you create a vacuum which will be filled by your enemy. If I can get it, one would think the professionals running the NATO mission in Afghanistan would get it as well.

Karzai weeping because of the number of civilians killed by NATO airstrikes is not a good sign. Combine that with the lack of commitment displayed by the Alliance as a whole and you have a very dicey situation.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jamil Hussein and crow recipes

So Marc Danziger has stated that he may have found the elusive Captain Hussein. Bully on him, and it's true that a lot of people around the blogosphere will have to eat some crow over this (although, as Glenn points out, it says a lot about the AP when a blogger operating out of California is able to do more than the AP itself). But unless there's some severe pushback over this, the AP will get off scot free. And they shouldn't. Regardless of whether or not Capt Hussein exists, the AP ran several stories that both the Iraqi Govt. and CENTCOM repeatedly and emphaticaly stated as being false. Even if Capt Hussein does exist, the background of the stories is what should really be at question. The AP's continued use of stringers with even less developed backgrounds than Capt Hussein is what really should be attacked here.

What is comes down to is that the AP is saying that they believe one guy over the combined weight of the Iraqi Government and CENTCOM. Even after the Iraqi Army sent patrols to the supposed mosques and found no burned bodies. Even after CENTCOM and the Iraqi Government have stated they received no reports of burning mosques. Even IF Captain Hussein does turn out to exist and be an actual cop, the question still remains why the AP believes one guy over the Government and CENTCOM. How does the AP know that this one officer isn't a Mahdi Army member or a Sunni extremist? Hell, the AP had admitted as much in many of their stories where witnesses names were witheld since the Iraqi police force has some sectarian infiltrators.

The bottom line is that a lot of old media's reporting in general on Iraq, and the AP's in particular, has sucked as of late, and that needs to change. It would be unfortunate if the discovery of one guy is able to deflect a lot of that criticism and remove the calls for reform.


As of Sunday the 17th, this blog is 2 years and 11 days old. Yeah, I missed the actual two year anniversary, but I think that finals and other end of semester stuff is a good excuse. Plus, given my hit and miss history with posting occasionally, it's kind of fitting. Anyway, it's been about 2 years, and it's been one helluva ride. There's too many people to thank individually, so I'm going to pull a Time and just state that I'd like to thank everyone who's read this, because sharing thoughts and ideas is the whole point of blogging. And that thanks goes double for anyone who's ever commented here, especially the regulars. Sharing ideas is nice, contributing something back is even better.

It's been interesting to have a record of my thoughts/feelings over a period of two years. First off, it's cool to see how my political views have morphed over that time. On the foreign front, I've been rather consistent/constant (9/11 was the big point of change there) but domestically I've definitely become more libertarian inclined. I definitely had libertarian tendencies at the start, but they've become a lot more extremist in past months, not that there's anything wrong with that. Personally, I was gung ho about college, but I've since become more cynical about that. I'm changing my major, which is another big change. But I haven't lost my sense of humor, which is good (basically I still find the same stupid shit funny 2 years ago as I do now).

Most importantly, I still want to serve in the military. Since that's been one of the cores of my existence/future, that's a very good thing.

Anyway, like I said, thanks to all my readers and commenters, and here's to another 2 years (and more).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Terrorism Online

As you well know, terrorists do a lot of their organizing and training via the internet. Here's a couple of posts outlining that, one that has a list of internet sites and IP addys used by Hezbollah, the other that discusses a jihadist pub regarding the proper use of tech, etc. They come from a new blog I happened upon kept by a guy named Dancho Danchev. Well worth checking out for the wealth of tech related info about jihadists.

h/t: The D-ring

"Work Hard and Play Smart"

So sayeth the USAF. Skippy oughta be pleased; it'll just confirm his suspicions about the Air Farce pogues he has to deal with on a regular basis.

Seriously though, who's brainchild is this? A "Culture of Responsible Choices (CoRC)"? This sounds like something out of Office Space. I don't understand the need for catchy phrases and acronyms. It just makes the idea easier to mock. This whole idea comes to me as an overarching way for the USAF to try and exert control over its airmen. Really, as long as I show up to work on time, sober, and ready to work, its none of their business what I do in my off duty time. If I ruled the world (or at least the Air Force) I'd just tell airmen what really matters: if you choose to drink, that's fine. Just don't be stupid about it and don't drive drunk. And for the love of God, make sure you think with the proper head. Other than that, have fun and I'll see you Monday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Orwell would be pleased

Former (thank God) President Carter writes a provocative book on the Palestinian-Israeli situation that is supposed to inspire dialogue and action. According to the Former President, "There is no debate in America about anything that would be critical of Israel."

So what does Carter do when challenged to a debate? Turns it down. Why? "I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz," Carter said in Friday's Boston Globe. "There is no need ... to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."


Oh, and Mr. Carter? A lack of knowledge hasn't stopped you from writing a book, so I don't see how that is a valid criticism of Professor Dershowitz.


I'm in an exceptionally good mood. Why you ask? The end of semester party that I held over at my apartment just broke up an hour ago...plenty of debauchery and fun was had by all. Coupled with last night's cigars and bullshit session over at a friend's place, a great way to end the semester.

But more importantly, I found out today that I got a C- minus in Phys 221!!!!! Yeah, that's right...I'm bragging about grades on my blog, and a C- at that. I don't think I've worked harder for a C- in my life. Thank God for the curve. Now if only the same miracle could happen in calculus, I might salvage a decent GPA out of the semester yet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Something Dark is Coming

So this post actually has a bit of history behind it. Originally, I was going to write a rant about things that piss me off. However, that fell by the wayside primarily due to me passing out from lack of sleep (43 hours of being awake cramming will do that to you.) Anyway, I read several things today that helped gel some thoughts I've had floating around my head. You might want to, as they say, grab a cup of coffee because this is going to be rather long-winded.

A few of my friends are involved with College Republicans. Something that has always struck me about these people (CR in general) is that they always seem to value the party above all else. If one shows the slighest Democrat/socialist/independent/otherwise non-GOP leaning, they are instantly persona non grata. I really hold the culture in which they were brought up as the culprit. These people have no concept of true bipartisanship because there hasn't been much of it in the past 15 years. Democrats hate everything Republican and vice versa. If you happen to be not of one of the two parties, your ideas don't really matter unless you happen to be the swing voter flavor of the month that everyone is trying to triangulate to. Oftentimes you'll hear people discuss their domestic opponents as "the enemy."

"Enemy, " of course, is a very loaded term. It implies battle, war even. And this takes us down a very slippery slope. The slope ends when you have people who support a women's right to choose lining up with those who support the Islamists' right to deprive women of all theirs. This is the slope of moral relativism, a narrow short sighted myopic view of the world where all that matters is the short term. Bush is against abortions, Bush is against terrorists, I like abortions, therefore I will like those who support terrorists because it will help my "enemy" out of power. This is the viewpoint that happens when one forgets the democratic nature of our republic, the inherent need for parties of differing viewpoints if we are to remain a viable and succesful nation. Our domestic opposition is just that: opposition. The enemy are those who doesn't want there to be any domestic opposition. Of course, it's hard to see things any other way when one party allows its knee-jerk hatred for the other party to influence every decision it makes. Think Scoop Jackson would last a second in today's Democratic Party? Joe Lieberman sure hasn't.

Adding to this disturbing trend of witch hunts is the policy of the country as a whole to listen to the cries of victimization from Muslims. We unquestioningly accept the pleas for equality, non-discrimination, and religious tolerance while their religious bretheren have engaged, are engaging, and will engage in horrific acts of religious based violence with nary a peep from their domestic apologists. If Muslims living here really do support our values, our system of government, and our way of life, they need to fix their leaders and fix the message. Right now the message the American people are getting is the one I stated above: victimization and demands for tolerance. In my eyes, they have no place to be making demands of anyone, and they won't until I hear the CAIR fifth columnists decry, in full and graphic detail, the daily acts of violence committed in their religion's name. Pie in the sky denunciations of "terrorism" in general aren't going to cut it. Until CAIR directly states that they do not support the acts of violence committed by Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and all the other militant groups around the world, they shouldn't complain about how things are so bad for them in the U.S.

It's not like it will matter a damn, though, since our elected leaders seem to have trouble telling all those damn A-rabs apart. And even when they can tell them apart, they still can't tell who is on who's side. This kind of conduct is reprehensible, although not entirely unexpected. We should just be glad these people aren't busy stocking their freezers full of cash or texting young interns. But is it really so much to ask that someone who is directly responsible for the oversight of a very important front in a battle for the survival of our civilization at least have a basic understanding of who is who? Apparently that task is too much for a Congressman to master.

These three seemingly disparate areas of interest are combining to create a kind of perfect storm when it comes to the war. As regular readers of this blog know, one of my major concerns is maintaining the will of the American people in order to fight a generational war. It is the Center of Gravity, after all. Apparently I'm not alone in this:

"Gen. Schissler said he is concerned that Washington politics is weakening the will of the nation.
"I don't care about the politics. I care about people understanding the facts of what's our enemy is thinking about, what's our strategy to defeat them, and for [Americans] to understand that it will take a long fight, mostly because our enemy is committed to the long fight," he said. "They're absolutely committed to the 50-, 100-year plan."
"One of my concerns is how to maintain the American will, the public will over that duration," he said." (h/t to Eagle1 and Spook 86)

We have a seemingly endless unpopular bloody war, domestic "opposition" that sides with our enemies, and a minority population here at home who seems more intent on preserving their victim status and sowing discord rather than defending their religion against those who supposedly hijack it. Add to all that sunshine an incompetent government, and things look bleak indeed. Lex has more thoughts on that.

There is one very important but often overlooked thing that needs to be made clear. This war is not one of a primarily military nature. As such, we will not be defeated militarily. No, this defeat will be of the long and quiet variety, and it will be of our own doing. We are already seeing the start of such a defeat in parts of Western Europe. A civilization which is no longer willing to fight for its values and ideals is as good as dead, even if it still sputters on in name. This is a defeat that will be ushered in by misguided idealism, by a desire for all creeds and ideas to be equal, by a wish to not offend others. Forgotten in this insane rush for equality and politeness is the cold fact that some creeds and ideas are better than others, and that some ideals are worth fighting to defend, and others are worth fighting to destroy.

It is a defeat that only we can impose upon ourselves. Right now Western Civilization still holds the keys to its own gates. We can reverse this tide, but only if we act soon. If we do not, the collective struggle we have engaged in over the past 300 years for the betterment of man will have been for nothing. We will sacrifice our beliefs, our values, and our way of life because we were not willing to tell someone that our way of doing things was superior to his.

This is a very dark post, I will admit. But that is because we live in dark times. As you may or may not know, I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan. I've been listening to the Season 2 soundtrack for the past couple of days. The entire soundtrack is deliciously dark (which makes sense if you've seen that Season) but I like one song in particular. Appropriately, it is entitled "Something Dark is Coming." That statement sums up my feelings quite well, and leads me to my last point.

The USAF Gen. I quoted above also had this to say: "Ultimately, Muslim scholars, clerics and other religious and government leaders will have to "take a stand," albeit one that carries grave risks because of the extremists' harsh methods" Left implied in that statement is something of great importance; namely, that if these scholars, clerics, and other leaders do not take a stand, the patience of the American people with their religion as a whole will grow thin. Eventually, probably sooner rather than later, we will be forced to act. When we do, we will not differentiate. And things will get a lot bloodier.

For them.

Something dark is coming, indeed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All Nighter

I'm sure I'll get a little shit from my dad and roommates for blogging while studying, but whatever...this video is too perfect to pass up. The thought struck me at around 4:30 this morning while studying my butt off for a Calc III exam that is going to

Anyway, this guy sums up how I feel about Calc and Physics right now. He swears like a sailor, so fair warning...probably NSFW.

h/t: The CDR.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm really studying, I swear...

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

Take quiz here.

h/t: SJS

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Those dang A-rabs all look the same to me. So sayeth the incoming chair of the Intel Committee. He apparently was under the impression that al-Q is primarily made up of Shi'ites, not Sunnis. Oops. But lest you think I'm partisan, at least he knew there was a difference. Two GOP members of the committee didn't understand the difference between the divisions in Islam. Neither did several top FBI counter-terror officials. Hell, Trent Lott actually SAID that "they all look the same to me."

So how is it that someone who is getting paid $165,200 a year to supposedly provide oversight for the intelligence community doesn't even know the basic differences between Muslims and someone like me, who isn't even technically studying it, much less getting paid for it, is able to explain the minute differences between the different sects at a drop of a hat? There's really no excuse for this kind of ignorance. We're 5 years into a war that's been going on for 30 and our leadership doesn't even know the very basics of the people we're fighting.

Like I said. Disgusting.

h/t: Milblogs.

No Way

From the Beeb: "Civilians killed in Darfur attack."

Most understated headline ever.

While we're talking about Darfur, was following the links earlier this week and came across a pretty cool blog, called "Soldier of Africa." It's written by a South African Air Assault Captain who is currently part of the AU Mission to Darfur. It's a rather unique perspective into a part of the world that lacks a lot of first person reporting. Also, he's got pictures!

In other news, I've gone through all 5 stages of Brendan Loy's 5 Stages of Exam Preparation. Exams start tomorrow, and end on Tuesday. Which isn't too bad, until you consider that I have to take a Calc III exam and Physics exam on the same day...separated by 3 hours. Oh well, then I'll be done with enginerding and on to getting a B.A. in, political science.

Finally, this is mainly for my dad because I know he'll appreciate it, since he had to deal with "the Bobs" at work, but I think everyone who's ever dealt with a consultant will like it. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, came up with this idea: "My goal is to see if a group of executives will allow somebody who has very few credentials, except for good hair, to come into their meeting and get them to write a mission statement which is so impossibly complicated that it has no real content." The results are hi-larious. Check it out.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Wishlist

This was originally intended to be posted last night while taking a study break and watching an ep of South Park (it was the ep where Ike has an affair with his kindergarten teacher and runs afoul of Cartman, aka the Dawg.) Thanks to Firefox taking a shit right as I was putting the finishing touches on, it's being posted tonight, before I go to bed, while watching an ep of South Park (the one where Stan's dog is gay and the boys have to play in the Homecoming game against their big middle school.)

Anyway, my Christmas Wishlist...I'm actually rather simple. Give me a good well thought out action-drama movie (preferebly directed by Michael Mann) and a book or three on counter-insurgency and I'm rather happy. Without further ado, this wishlist...


Taut, fast paced thriller that doesn't waste any time on demanding you feel for its major characters. Either you do or you don't, but that's not the point. This movie makes you feel what life is like for them on the visceral level. This might just be Michael Mann's most visually pleasing film, and that's saying something considering he did Heat, Collateral, and The Last of the Mohicans. It also has the greatest movie shoot-out scene. Ever. (Better than the bank heist in Heat...barely.) Plus with not one, but two Barret .50's featured in two separate scenes, what's not to love?

Collateral is the first Mann film I ever saw. I actually caught the last third on HBO late/early while on vacation in Florida, and I was absolutely blown away. Continues the love affair with L.A. Mann started in Heat. The cinematography is gorgeous, as always, and Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise couldn't be better. This is one of the few films I will watch Cruise in, and I honestly think that Foxx should've won his Oscar for this film, instead of Ray. He's that friggin' good.

Heat. The Mann masterpiece. If you haven't seen this movie, you're doing yourself a great disservice. There is really no reason not to love this film. It has great acting from a plethora of extremely talented stars, an incredible story, an in depth look at what exactly makes professional criminals and the detectives that chase them tick, well done action sequences, including one of the greatest movie shoot-outs, and since it's Mann, you know it's going to be a work of art, literally. There is a scene near the end when Robert DeNiro's character is driving through a tunnel and the lights of the tunnel hit the car in just a certain way...I can't even describe it. It's incredible.

Batman Begins continues the trend of remaking action heroes to be modern and hip. However, Batman Begins goes a little further than the standard. It is actually a good film on its own merits, not just a good superhero film. I've said for a while that Christian Bale is one of the most talented actors around, and this film simply proves that point. Add Michael Caine to the mix, along with direction by Christopher Nolan, and you can't go wrong. We get to see how Batman came to be who he is, and we get to see him as a real individual, warts and all. While you're watching keep in mind that all the stunts involving the batmobile were performed in real life, using a custom-built vehicle worth about $500,000.

Tom Hanks. Paul Newman. Father-surrogate son/Father-son relationship. Did I mention that it features Hanks and Newman? A well done drama that focuses on two different father-son relationships set to the background of the violence ridden world of a gangster in the '20s.

The submarine classic. No movie has ever done a better job of telling the story of life on a submarine, and very few have done a better job of conveying the general hopelessness and waste of war. The best war movies are, by their very nature, anti-war movies. This is no exception.


Books: No commentary on these because I haven't read them yet.


First, the Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: The Adventures of Tek Jansen t-shirt. If you watch the Colber(t) Repor(t) you get it...if not, I'm not even going to try to explain.

Finally, courtesy of the folks over at Flex Your Rights, the t-shirt for every lover of the Constitution, freedom, and apple pie. Has text of the 4th Amendment on the back. (h/t: Radley Balko.)

One Good Thing About Growing Up in the Midwest...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland


North Central

The Inland North


The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

h/t: Robert, who is up and posting again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Date which will Live in Infamy...

These guys haven't forgotten...

Have you?

SJS, Eagle, Lex, and the Cdr all have good stuff as well.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quote of the Day

According to the illustrious co-chairmen of the ISG, Iran will deal with the U.S. on the issue of Iraq because they "don't want a chaotic Iraq on their borders." Yes, that's the same Iran that is currently sending weapons and agents into Iraq to...destabilize Iraq.

Oh, and apparently if we can engage Syria, we'll be able to get them to control both Hamas and Hezbollah and "cure Israel's problem."

Jesus. Can't say I was disappointed, though; the report delivered exactly what I expected: the ramblings of a bunch of senile old men who are still stuck in the Cold War and who really just want to deal with the Shah, Saddam, and the Saudis.

Heh, Ralph Peters had a good soundbite: "Vanity intoxicated Washington has-beens."

Anyway, the Cdr's take is more positive, and he does raise a valid point. The one positive I can see coming out of this is that it'll provide top cover for everyone to come together and half ass a passable political solution in the short term. Of course, the action we take in the short term very well might screw us over in the long term. But that's irrelevant.

I'll have a more in depth post on it later.