Thursday, March 29, 2007

USAF Readiness Down... 17 %.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Air Force readiness is down 17 percent since 2001, according to Gen. Bruce Carlson, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command.
But we don't need new transports or tankers or anything. And it's not like USAF personnel are being stressed by the war. Nope, just an Army and Marines operation.
"The Air Force uses a sliding scale of C1 to C4 to measure the readiness, with units graded C1 and C2 prepared to “go and accomplish the mission,” he said.

But when units are rated C3 or C4, “you have to find major workarounds,” Keys said.

Since 2001, the Air Force has seen “the percentage of units in C1 and C2 [status] in a steady decline,” Keys said.

“Wear and tear on the fleet is visible,” said Gen. Duncan McNabb, Commander of the Air Mobility Command.

But personnel are also a concern, Keys said, especially the so-called “one-to-one dwell time.”

One-to-one dwell is what the Air Force calls the six months on, six months off deployment schedule airmen with high-demand skills, such as air transport crews, military police, or intelligence experts, are experiencing."
Even with the Total Force concept well in place (since the USAF has been at war for over a decade and a half now), the Reserves are still facing significant strain.
"The Air Force is preparing to call for C-130 Reserve air crews to volunteer for deployments, said Lt. Gen. John Bradley, Chief of Air Force Reserve.

The service has to ask for volunteers instead of mobilizing reservists outright because all of the Air Force’s C-130 Reserve crews reached their two-year mobilization limit in the fall of 2006, Bradley said.

The Air Force has about 150 C-130 crews in the Reserves, Bradley said, and not having access to those crews potentially puts a serious strain on the service’s ability to provide transport in combat zones."
Keep this in mind the next time the USAF is asking for additional acquisition funds. We're not making it up. The force is stressed, and unless we get the funding we're asking for, America's Air Force is going to be broken.

h/t: Alert 5

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


What Would Lord Nelson Do?

That's the question asked in this RealClearPolitics piece with regard to the seizure of British sailors and Marines by Iran (h/t: Spook86). A taste:
"That noise you hear as you pass the crypt at St. Paul's cathedral in London is Lord Horatio Nelson spinning in his grave.

Admiral Nelson was the greatest seaman of a seafaring nation which has produced many. If he had been in command of the HMS Cornwall in the Persian Gulf last Friday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair would not now be begging the mullahs in Tehran for the release of his illegally seized sailors and marines.

"No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy," Lord Nelson said.

Lord Nelson, alas, was killed at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The captain of the HMS Cornwall is Commodore Nick Lambert, a more modern sort. He did nothing as six Iranian speedboats seized the boarding party from his ship as they were leaving the freighter they had inspected in Iraqi territorial waters."

It comes down to ROE. American ROE is quite clear about self defense:
""U.S. Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self defense, but also an obligation to self defense," LtCdr Horner told the British newspaper the Independent. "Our reaction was 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'""
British ROE? Not so much.
"British rules of engagement "are very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting," the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, told the BBC.

"Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away," he said."

Having "de-escalatory" ROE leads you to a place where you sit idly by and allow another nation to seize members of your armed forces on the high seas. Allowing this precedent to be set is a very dangerous thing. In another time, stuff like this was considered an act of war. Now we just roll over and take it, mouthing some platitudes about how serious of an act this is and the need for the personnel to be returned immediately. In other words, we get very angry, and then we write a letter telling them how angry we are. Color me skeptical, but I don't think words are going to convince the Iranians to give the British their people back.

We (meaning the West) have been at war with the Iranians for almost 30 years now. It's time to wake up and realize the only language these people understand is the language of dicks. Lord Nelson had some choice words for hostile actions undertaken by "neutral" actors:
"Never break the neutrality of a port or place, but never consider as neutral any place from whence an attack is allowed to be made."
Indeed. Time for us to heed his words.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Battlestar Galactica

Season Finale was last Sunday. Pretty wild, I'll let SJS take it away:
"So. Saul Tigh, Chief, Tory and Sam all think they are Cylons; Baltar, after being acquitted on charges, is spirited away by a group of religious nutcases and to top it off, Starbuck comes back from the dead to lead the fleet on to Earth...any one of which would have sufficed for a season ending cliffhanger, but all together? Could it be BSG may have jumped the shark, especially with Tigh & Co. claiming they are Cylons (which would account for 4 of the remaining un-ID'd five Cylons?). Or have they, because of their time on New Caprica, somehow become susceptible to long-range mind games fomented by the nearby Cylon fleet? Are the writers making this up as they go along? Hope not -- BSG has been a remarkable bit of theater and in light of the untimely demise of Firefly (yes, YHS was a fan of that too), one of the few good post Babylon-5 space-based sci-fi series available."
Ditto what he said about Firefly, as well. If you haven't watched Firefly and its follow-on movie, Serenity, you need to. Can't comment on Babylon-5 since I haven't watched it yet, but it's on my to-do list.

As for the season finale, it was definitely full of surprises. It certainly has a feel that the writers may have jumped the shark, but every time Ron Moore and Co. seem to do that they manage to reign it back in. I'm glad they brought back President Roslin's cancer, and it'll be interesting to see where they take Baltar's religious angle. Finally, it'll be nice to have some good ol' fashioned Battlestar vs Basestar action, which has been missing for the second half of season 3.

While we're speaking of BSG, here's a very interesting interview Salon did with show creator Ron Moore. Something you may not have known was Moore's background in NROTC, his military background (dad was a Marine officer), and his desire to allow the show to humanize military personnel, warts and all. Cool stuff.

I'll close with stealing a bit from SJS, what I consider to be one of Col. Tigh's best moments:

"Whatever else I am, I'm an officer in the Colonial fleet and if I die today, that's the man I'll be."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dining Out

Had Dining Out for my AFROTC unit last Saturday. A good time was had by all, I only went to the grog four times, and I got a nice little commendation for the work I've done on the Det. website. In case you were wondering what I got grogged for, once was by our lovely Field Training Preparation flight commanders for simply existing (the excuse they gave for me is that I hit one of the flight commanders while we were playing dodgeball. Twice. That's a no-no.) Another was for getting involved during an attempted grogging of two of our fellow cadets for showing up late to Llab one morning because they went to the wrong place then locked their keys in the car. I stood up to make a point of order that they were being grogged primarily for locking their keys in the car, but then since I opened my big fat mouth I had to go up with them. The third was for being AAS grog-worthy member of the month. This is a two-parter; the first is that I was driving back from Des Moines from singing the National Anthem at a hockey game when I noticed little specks of something hitting the windshield. I then commented that there seemed to be a lot of bugs out tonight. It was the middle of February with an air temperature of about 15 degrees. The specks were of course snow. The second part was that we were discussing homosexuals in the military one day when I made the mistake of saying that I really didn't care, but that if I got shot I wanted one of those big burly gay guys to come carry me out of the line of fire. This of course was quickly shortened to be that I wanted a big burly gay guy to come carry me away. I don't really remember what the fourth trip to the grog was for, but rest assured it was for me doing something stupid.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Me with the parents.

Me with my lovely date, Megan. Part of the reason I haven't been around here as much. (The other, of course, being the lovely weather we've been having in Ames.) Also, I look retarded in this picture.

Our excellent flight commanders at the mic attempting to rap in the process of sending us up to the grog. The one I hit with the dodgeball is in the middle.

Me saluting the grog.

Me drinking the excellent tasting grog. In case anyone is interested, the ingredients were ketchup, pineapple juice, beef broth, energy drink, lemon water, liquid smoke, chocolate soy milk, and oyster flavoring.

Group of us up front getting our commendations from the Colonel. I'm on the far right.

This one isn't from Dining Out, but I've been looking for an excuse to post a picture of me in cammies BDUs Battle Dress Uniform, and this is as good as any. That's me on the right, the guy on the left is our current Wing Commander. The picture is from the Tiger GLP last semester. Basically we, the active members of AAS, were chasing the Tigers (people trying to get in) around Central Campus. They were in their white PTs, we were in camouflage. It was fun.

Not Holding My Breath

"Drive for Mideast peace gains momentum."
"JERUSALEM - An international diplomatic drive for Mideast peace gained momentum Monday, with Israel welcoming the idea of a regional peace summit and Saudi Arabia suggesting it would consider changes in a dormant peace initiative to make it more acceptable to Israel.


The international officials are trying to break an impasse following formation of a Palestinian unity government that includes the Hamas militant group.

Immediately after the government was formed, Israel ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians until Hamas explicitly recognizes the Jewish state."

But on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he "wouldn't hesitate" to take part in a regional summit. Palestinian officials cautiously endorsed the idea."

I would hope that Israel would refuse to deal with any government that includes groups that explicitly call for its destruction, but I wouldn't put it by Olmert. The man has no cajones.

Anyway, there won't be any true lasting peace until stuff like this stops happening.
"Palestinian TV is showing a music video in which a four-year-old girl sings the praises of her suicide bomber mother and vows to follow in her footsteps.

The little girl grasps a stick of dynamite from a drawer in her mother's dressing-table and says: "I will follow Mummy"."

Not that it's new, but that doesn't make it any less sickening.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Heartless, cowardly, bastards. Kill elderly pensioners? Check. Use children with Down Syndrome as bombers? Check. Kill babies? Check. Use children as camouflage? Check:
"Insurgents in Iraq detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle with two children in the back seat after US soldiers let it through a Baghdad checkpoint over the weekend, a senior US military official said Tuesday.

The vehicle was stopped at the checkpoint but was allowed through when soldiers saw the children in the back, said Major General Michael Barbero of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion. We let it move through. They parked the vehicle, and the adults ran out and detonated it with the children in the back," Barbero said."

It's nice to see what "the Minutemen" have been up to. The more of these fuckers we kill, the better.

Knowledge and Courage

This is what we need more of.
"Atefa's dream might have ended on a bright winter morning 13 months ago.

The hazel-eyed 8-year-old still has a ways to go before she becomes a surgeon, which she confidently proclaims as her life's goal. Yet graduating from grade school is one important step – and on Feb. 10, 2006, that seemed almost impossible. Overnight, the Medrawer Girls School was burned to a charred husk by terrorists determined to prevent local girls from reading textbooks and learning geometry.


Even then, however, the village elders were beginning to formulate a decision that would change the lives of Atefa and – some would say – girls across Afghanistan. Later that day, they decided to take protection of the school into their own hands, cobbling together a corps of village volunteers that has stood watch over the now-rebuilt school every night since, sometimes armed only with spare farm tools and ancient swords passed down as family heirlooms.

There hasn't been an attack since."

Is education important?
""Education has a special importance in Afghanistan, and that is what our enemies know," says Mohammad Patman, Afghanistan's deputy minister of education.


"For 30 years, people said to the uneducated that [schools] are something from foreigners, so burn them," says Mr. Patman. Now, villages are coming to the government and asking it to establish girls' schools, he says. "The enthusiasm we see is incredible."

For a nation often conflicted about the trappings of modernity, the eagerness of rural villages like Medrawer to patrol their own schools is telling. It suggests that, after years of ambivalence or even hostility, Afghans have come to recognize the importance of education – and they are willing to defend it, even in the wee hours of the morning with ax in hand.

Terrorists "are coming here and misusing the illiteracy of my people," says Abdul Qader Damanewal, an elder from a nearby village who sometimes stands guard here. "As soon as we are educated, the enemy will not be able to use them."

What would your response to this be?
"Who the enemy was on the night of Feb. 9, 2006, the elders of Medrawer still don't know. Not surprisingly, Mr. Damanewal blames the Taliban for seeking to destroy what they see as an imposition of foreign values.

Medrawer could have been just one more school burned into oblivion. Allah Mohammad says that certainly seemed to be the plan. As the lone government guard on duty that night, the thin young man draped in a long beige shawl recalls the events with manic clarity. He scurries among the eucalyptus to show where some two dozen marauders poured over the wall after nightfall, where he was standing when they shot between his feet in warning, where they bound him hand and foot.

As they began to loot and burn, one put a can of gasoline next to Mr. Mohammad's face. "If you make a noise or try to escape, I will burn you alive," Mohammad recalls him saying.

They stayed for as long as four or five hours, after which Mohammad was able to sneak away for help. The town quickly converged on the school to put out the flames. But the damage was enormous. Photos taken in the aftermath show windows broken, walls seared by the flames, and what were once books scattered across the floor in ankle-deep piles of indistinguishable ash."

Windows broken, books in ashes, school ruined. Most 12 year olds would probably be terrified and not want to return. Not this one:
"This is what Narzia Wafa remembers of her school on that day. "Everything was black with cinders," says the 12-year-old student, a math problem of intersecting angles on the blackboard behind her. "But still I came, and I was not scared."

"If we stopped coming, the enemy would just be encouraged," she adds."

That's the future of Afghanistan. That's what U.S., NATO, and our other Coalition partners are fighting for. But we can only do so much. The people are going to have to step up for themselves. Are they capable?

"When the local elders in Medrawer met to discuss the future of the girls' school, they knew that one underpaid government security guard wasn't enough. Nor could the government of Laghman Province provide police support: The entire province has only 250 police officers and 199 schools.

The solution was clear. "This was our responsibility," says Sayed Omer, another elder. "Who should protect our school if the government is not able?""

Sounds like it to me.
"Sitting in a spare classroom with rows of benches and desks for about 30 girls, she has an open reading textbook before her, bright with pictures. While other girls stand and answer questions at nervous attention, she sits almost casually, her pale eyes fixed and unblinking.

"I'm not scared, because I want to serve my country in the future," she says. "If [children] don't know anything, how will they be able to build this country?""

This is how we're going to win. Behind Achilles, the suicide bombings, the kidnappings, it's everyday courage and hope like this that is going to be the ultimate factor in victory.

The Next Grant/Ridgeway/Abrams?

VDH asked the question before, I answered it then. He answers it now. Guess great minds think alike.

Grant, LeMay, Patton, Kitchener, Montgomery, Ridgeway, Sharon, and Sherman. As the CDR says, big boots.

h/t: the CDR.

Monday, March 19, 2007

That Others May Live

Good article from CNN on PJs and the larger overall USAF CSAR team:
"For every helicopter that goes down, an Air Force Combat Search and Rescue team, which includes the PJs, must go into that same hostile territory to rescue and medically treat the downed crew. The PJs are part of what's called the Guardian Angel Weapon System, which includes combat rescue officers and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists. Pilots and aircrews of high-tech rescue helicopters, A-10 Warthog attack jets, fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft and special refuelers round out the team.

"We're spring-loaded," said an A-10 pilot whose call sign is "Batt."

"You're looking at a whole wing of people to put a couple of us guys on the ground to get one guy home," PJ "John" added.

The PJs are the only unit designated by the Department of Defense primarily to rescue and recover U.S. personnel trapped behind enemy lines. These units take on other special duties that they do not talk about, but their main mission is to save and bring people home from hostile territory.

"The most comforting thing that was said to us was, 'Because of you guys, a warrior was brought back,'" rescue helicopter pilot "TC" said.

Air Force officials credit their Combat Search and Rescue teams with more than 750 saves in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. They also credit these units with saving more than 4,000 lives during and after Hurricane Katrina.


The work has always been dangerous, but it is getting more so, according to one PJ: Insurgents have laid ambushes, or placed bombs or other "secondary devices," that specifically target the rescue teams. They call these "SAR traps," short for Search and Rescue traps. Six PJs have been killed since the beginning of both operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Dan, the PJ injured in Afghanistan, said before he left for that special mission that his teammates know they can face hostilities every time they respond to a call.

"For the families of those soldiers and civilians, they should know we'll go out there and do what we can; we'll put our lives on the line to bring that person home," he said."

More history of the PJs here. If you need further proof of the dedication of these men, two names: Jason Cunningham and Tim Wilkinson.

It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, "That Others May Live."

Back for a Bit

Sorry for the lack of posting, I was off the net from Wednesday till Saturday, then St. Paddy's Day festivities combined with March Madness conspired to keep me away from the computer until now. The Anthro test I have tomorrow conspires to keep me from posting anything of substance now, but I've got the Al Stewart cranked, so I think I'll be alright. Roads to Moscow is playing now.

In any case, I was out of the loop in southeastern Iowa spending some time at a friend's place, just hanging out, riding some four wheelers, and doing some shooting, among other things. I learned a few things. 1) ARs are a LOT of fun to shoot, even with a scope that needs to be zeroed. 2) The Berreta M9 is a piece of shit. 3) Though few and far in between, there are still more than a few people in this country who think the Constitution means something and are willing to fight for that. Expect more on that later, probably over at The Liberty Papers.

Oh, and I know the squids in the bunch (you know who you are) will be happy to hear of my latest acquisition:

$5.50 in the bargain bin at the Wal-Mart in Oskaloosa, IA, at 12:30 in the morning. You'd be amazed what you can find at Wally World. Anyway, I'm off to finish studying now. Year of the Cat is goin', I think I'll be able to make it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

License Plates

Saw a cool vanity plate when I was headed home from BWW (couple of ROTC friends were in town getting fitted for mess dress so we got some food). Anyway, I wish I had run into the guy driving the car because I think we could've had an interesting conversation. The plate?


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Portraits in Courage

This is good. No, not good. Excellent.

" The story of Major Gilbert's sacrifice, along with the courageous actions of 14 other Airmen who are still serving, are highlighted in the inaugural edition of the chief of staff's Portraits in Courage. The vignettes are available on Air Force Link under the Portraits in Courage area. The stories also are compiled in a soft-cover book being distributed in limited numbers to the major commands.

The Airmen chosen for this first edition represent courage in time of war, from the physical courage to leap into harm's way to protect comrades, to the moral courage to continue to serve despite enormous obstacles, to the emotional courage to focus on the mission despite harrowing circumstances.

The men and women highlighted represent a variety of ranks and career fields, pointing to the diversity of Air Force missions in the war on terrorism. From security forces protecting airfields, transporters performing convoy duty with the Army, pilots flying close-air support, and medics giving life-saving treatment, the stories give a glimpse into the contributions and sacrifices being made by today's Airmen."
This needs to be spread far and wide. The USAF is in the fight, and we've made some heavy sacrifices.

Check it out.

Launch the Alert 5 Fighter!

Granted, it is Navy, but this is still pretty cool. Complete launch of an Alert 5 fighter from engine start to airborne in a little over 4 minutes.

h/t: ironically enough, Alert 5.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

War 2.0

This is one of the best summaries of the new kind of war we face that I have seen.

"Inventions can cast a seductive spell. Promising communication technologies in particular may mesmerize even serious men: “Space will be, to all practical purposes of information, completely annihilated,” enthused a House Commerce Committee report published on April 6, 1838. Its authors were enthralled by Samuel Morse’s recent invention, the telegraph.


War’s true transformation has a face very different from the one originally envisioned by the Pentagon’s civil and military leadership, in which the force with the more expensive cutting-edge equipment would prevail. Yet let there be no misguided enthusiasm: new means of communication neither “annihilate space” nor disperse the fog of war; on the contrary, the web makes warfare even more chaotic, messy, and deadly. Just as the telegraph once did."

If you've been out of the loop for say, the past 10 years (as it appears many of the senior leadership in the U.S. Military have been), then this is a must-read. It manages to tie together Web 2.0, standard COIN doctrine, old media, new media, learning organizations, the concept of the "strategic corporal," military/NGO relations, and of course, the internets. Really an amazing document. I'm sure I'll be coming back to it in the coming weeks.
"The web’s emerging organizational patterns have not diminished the significance of old, traditional businesses and their products. But management, communication, supply-chains, R&D, production, administration, marketing, customer relations, and competition itself are subject to fundamental changes — changes that come with both great risks and great opportunities. The same applies to the management of violence."

Apropros of nothing, check this story out as well. We need to be combating this:
" WASHINGTON, March 5, 2007 – The Internet is the most important venue for the radicalization of Islamic youth, the head of intelligence at U.S. Central Command, said in an interview aired yesterday.

Army Brig. Gen. John Custer and other experts described the effects of terrorists’ online recruiting and networking methods during a 60 Minutes interview with correspondent Scott Pelley.

“I see 16-, 17-year-olds who have been indoctrinated on the Internet turn up on the battlefield,” Custer said. “We capture them; we kill them every day in Iraq, in Afghanistan.”

Stephen Ulph, a researcher and writer on militant Islam, is a consultant at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where cadets are learning to recognize the Web’s power as a new weapon. Ulph told 60 Minutes that Jihadist recruiters online are waging a massive battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims.

“They throw a bomb into (a recruit’s) mental universe … and shatter it,” he said. “And, then (they) say, ‘Here’s how we’re going to reassemble these fragments.’”

Recruiters use the Internet to deconstruct moderate interpretations of Islam and then repaint the scripture in a more radical version, he said

“If your parents aren’t proper Muslims, if the sheik of a mosque isn't a proper Muslim, what are you doing obeying them?" he said. “Once they’ve softened (the recruit) up and he’s now in freefall, they say, ‘This is your identity. We're going to put the “j” back into Islam. It’s jihad.’”

Jihadist Web sites exploded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and an estimated 5,000 terrorist sites exist online, 60 Minutes reported. One Jihadi site they investigated had 17,869 members.

Custer described how Web sites are set up to entice possible recruits.

"You start off with a site that looks like current news in Iraq; with a single click, you're at an active jihad attack site,” Custer said. “You can see Humvees blown up. You can see American bodies drug through the street. You can see small-arms attacks.

“Next link will take you to a motivational site, where martyr operatives, suicide bombers, are pictured in heaven; you can you see their farewell speeches,” he said. “Another click and you're at a site where you can download scripted talking points that validate … religious justification for mass murder."

Two avenues spring to mind. First, the most important is to support organizations that are getting the moderate message out there. We need to put the "p" back in Islam. It needs to be an internet based thing, as well. Old style VoA broadcasts and such are nice, but they aren't going to cut it here. Second, we don't need to be afraid about making it known that jihadists who fight suffer an inglorious fate. Perhaps launch attacks on jihadist websites, replacing images and videos with our own choices.

h/t: D-Ring for both links.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Operation ACHILLES

Keep an eye on this:
"Nato and Afghan forces have begun what they say is their largest offensive against the Taleban in the south.

Operation Achilles will eventually involve more than 4,500 Nato troops and nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province, the alliance says.

Most of the Nato troops will be British, with US, Dutch and Canadian troops also taking part.

Last month Helmand's governor said up to 700 insurgents had crossed to fight British forces.

The operation began at 5am local time (0030 GMT) and will focus on the northern part of Helmand, said officials.


"This is the largest multinational combined ANSF [Afghan National Security Force] and Isaf [International Security Assistance Force] operation launched to date and it signifies the beginning of a planned offensive to bring security to northern Helmand," the head of the alliance's southern command, Dutch Major General Ton van Loon, had said earlier.

It would focus on "improving security in areas where Taleban extremists, narco-traffickers and other elements are trying to destabilise the government of Afghanistan", his statement said.

The operation in Helmand, where thousands of mainly British troops have been fighting daily battles against the Taleban, was launched at the request of the Afghan government, Isaf said.

The rebels have been engaging British forces around the Kajaki dam - a strategically important hydro-electric plant that the military wants to secure so that it can be repaired and put to work.

"Strategically, our goal is to enable the Afghan government to begin the Kajaki project," the statement said.

"This long-term initiative is a huge undertaking and the eventual rehabilitation of the Kajaki multi-purpose dam and power house will improve the water supply for local communities, rehabilitate irrigation systems for farmlands and provide sufficient electrical power for residents, industries and commerce," Maj-Gen Van Loon said."

As Phibian says, the dam is key. This is counter-insurgency 101, but it bears repeating. You win by giving the people a reason to support their local government and the side of order, as opposed to whatever snake-oil the insurgents are selling. One of the best ways to do that is get infrastructure up and running, which is why insurgents target said infrastructure so often. Operation Achilles is the start of an attempt to break the insurgency in Helmand. Ending the insurgency in Helmand is key to breaking the back of the overall insurgency.

'Nother cool vid

In the vein of the Web 2.0 post from a few weeks ago, here's another future themed YouTube video.

This one is a bit darker, but still has some very good points. Great music as well.

"Shift happens."

h/t: Skippy

Monday, March 05, 2007

Info Ops

I might be reading too much into this, but I don't believe in coincidences, and this is quite a coincidence.

"A NATO airstrike destroyed a mud brick home, killing four generations of an Afghan family - nine people in all - during a firefight between Western troops and militants, Afghan officials and relatives said Monday.

Militants late Sunday fired on a NATO base in Kapisa province, just north of Kabul. When fighter aircraft returned fire they hit a civilian home, killing five adults and four children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, said Gulam Nabi, 51, a relative of the victims."

This follows just a day after the roadside bomb and shootout between insurgents and MARSOC Marines in which "up to 10" "civilians" were killed. Use of scare quotes intentional. NATO has been extremely bad in Afghanistan, far worse than the U.S., about managing the media and fighting information war. Note the fact that the U.S. has already hit back over the Marine shootout story:

"A U.S. official called The Associated Press on Monday to say that military authorities believe Sunday's suicide bombing was a "clearly planned, orchestrated attack" that included enemy fire on the convoy and a pre-planned and arranged demonstration.

The official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said authorities believed criminal elements orchestrated the attack and demonstration and that it was related to ongoing Afghan efforts to eradicate the region's profitable poppy crop.

He said there was "no doubt in the minds of Marines on the ground that they were being fired on." The official said Afghan casualties could have been caused by militants on the ground or by U.S. gunfire."

This is exactly what NATO needs to do in the wake of this story. Investigate, find out what happened, and if it was a good shoot, shout it from the rooftops. Make sure the world knows that they are the ones who put civilians in the line of fire and are responsible for their death, not us.

In any case, it's shaping up to be one hell of a spring.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posting as of late; I've had stuff to blog about but haven't had the time. Same story as before, lots of little stuff eating up my time, plus I haven't been around my apartment too much the past couple of days.

This weekend is KQ. I will be awake, answering the most mundane trivia questions till 1800 Saturday. Regular blogging will resume Sunday, perhaps with a bit longer explanation of KQ (and results!)