As is the tradition of the Hall, I am going to repost "Enid & Geraint," which I wrote on 9/11. Three years on, I suppose it could use some editing, but I have left it in the form I composed that day, sitting on an island in a stream, when I could not watch the towers fall any more.

Enid & Geraint

Once strong, from solid
Camelot he came
Glory with him, Geraint,
Whose sword tamed the wild.
Fabled the fortune he won,
Fame, and a wife.
The beasts he battled
With horn and lance;
Stood farms where fens lay.
When bandits returned
To old beast-holds
Geraint gave them the same.

And then long peace,
Purchased by the manful blade.
Light delights filled it,
Tournaments softened, tempered
By ladies; in peace lingers
the dream of safety.

They dreamed together. Darkness
Gathered on the old wood,
Wild things troubled the edges,
Then crept closer.
The whispers of weakness
Are echoed with evil.

At last even Enid
Whose eyes are as dusk
Looked on her Lord
And weighed him wanting.
Her gaze gored him:
He dressed in red-rust mail.

And put her on palfrey
To ride before or beside
And they went to the wilds,
Which were no longer
So far. Ill-used,
His sword hung beside.

By the long wood, where
Once he laid pastures,
The knight halted, horsed,
Gazing on the grim trees.
He opened his helm
Beholding a bandit realm.

End cried at the charge
Of a criminal clad in mail!
The Lord turned his horse,
Set his untended shield:
There lacked time, there
Lacked thought for more.

Villanous lance licked the
Ancient shield. It split,
Broke, that badge of the knight!
The spearhead searched
Old, rust-red mail.
Geraint awoke.

Master and black mount
Rediscovered their rich love,
And armor, though old
Though red with thick rust,
Broke the felon blade.
The spear to-brast, shattered.

And now Enid sees
In Geraint's cold eyes
What shivers her to the spine.
And now his hand
Draws the ill-used sword:
Ill-used, but well-forged.

And the shock from the spear-break
Rang from bandit-towers
Rattled the wood, and the world!
Men dwelt there in wonder.
Who had heard that tone?
They did not remember that sound.

His best spear broken
On old, rusted mail,
The felon sought his forest.
Enid's dusk eyes sense
The strength of old steel:
Geraint grips his reins.

And he winds his old horn,
And he spurs his proud horse,
And the wood to his wrath trembles.
And every bird
From the wild forest flies,
But the Ravens.
The wind from that horn has shaken the world, but the forest has proven deep. There is still much to do; but over the fresh graves of Russian schoolchildren, we can only renew our oaths to see this to the very end.


A Colleague Writes:

A couple of weeks ago there was a bombing in Afghanistan that took out a DynCorp building. I don't work for DynCorp, but two of my colleagues had been in that building on several occasions while on an Afghan project.

Today, I got a mail from another colleague, about a bombing in Indonesia:

Here's some photos from a good friend and former colleague in Indonesia. BTW, **** (in one of the photos) is the headquarters of ****, where I used to work. The last two offices that I've worked in before coming home to the US have now been hit by car bombs.
He then suggests I consider another line of work. Heh. I don't think I'm in any danger in my heavily-armed compound in Warrenton, VA, where I'll be for at least another month and a half. Still, the overseas market is getting dangerous for "mercenaries," as KOS would have it.

The Scotsman - Top Stories - British couple shot dead by Thai policeman after restaurant row

The Wild East:

Out of Thailand, a story that could have come from an old American ballad. One doesn't expect good Buddhists to act in quite this way:

A THAI policeman ran down a British tourist in his car and shot her dead after murdering her boyfriend following a row in a town on the banks of the river Kwai....

Police said the couple had been involved in a violent argument with a man at a restaurant in the town, 100 miles north-west of Bangkok.

"We don’t know what the argument was about, but after Adam and Vanessa left, this man followed them on the way back to their guesthouse," said Inspector Milind Phienchand, of the tourist police.

"He followed them in his car. He shot Mr Lloyd three times - once in the head, once in the arm and once in the body.

"He tracked Ms Arscott for 200 metres and hit her with his car. Then he shot her once in the head and once in the chest."
This answers to the point raised earlier today, on the relative wisdom of arming only the 'servants of the state.' At least you might have returned the fire, poor Brit, in the brave old days of Dickens, but no more.

Mudville Gazette

Dan Rather Replaced:

The Mudville Gazette has the story. He got a nice sendoff, though:

Dan Rather will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity.

Walking The Walls

Death In the Afternoon:

Walking The Walls reports that the Senate has adjourned. The gun ban now expires at the end of the weekend, with no chance of renewal.

Good riddance. Thank you again, watchmen.

The Corner on National Review Online


That Howard Dean is a funny fellow. Via The Corner, an interview with the non-candidate who is still giving a lot more press interviews than the actual candidate:

"The Republicans have the best propaganda out there since Lenin, and they just make stuff up and they keep repeating it, and hope people are going to believe it," said Howard Dean.
And then:
"I think that George Bush is certainly going to have a draft if he goes into a second term[.]"
Given that Rumsfeld and the Secretary of the Army have both categorically rejected the notion, does this count as "just mak[ing] stuff up and... repeating it, and hope people are going to believe it"?

Walking The Walls

On Gun Rights:

Walking The Walls has a beautiful post this morning -- not what I expected, since it was created just to provide a go-to place for news on any attempt to renew the Clinton Gun Ban. Apparently someone wrote in to tell the folks that the existence of a blog devoted to restoring gun rights frightened them.

One of the authors responds at length. It is a respectful, honest, and I think a convincing explanation of why they are opposed to the gun ban. If you're one of my readers who is a little frightened by guns, you might want to read this reply. It may not convince you to oppose the ban also, but it should ease your mind about the intentions of those who do oppose it.

Kitten killing soldiers appeal sparks outrage - National - www.smh.com.au

And You Thought Michael Moore Hated Soldiers:

You haven't yet read about the Great Australian Kitten-Killing Case.

Jesse robbed from the poor
and he gave to the rich.
He never did a friendly thing.
And when his best friend died
he was right there by her side
and he lifted off her golden wedding ring.

Poor Jesse had a wife
who mourned for his life,
three children, they were brave.
But that dirty little coward
who shot Mister Howard
has laid poor Jesse in his grave.

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'Secrets of the Soul': Is Psychoanalysis Science or Is It Toast?

Death To Pseudoscience!

The New York Times asks, "Is psychoanalysis science? Or is it toast?" A hint:

Almost from the moment of its inception... the mongrel of a discipline known as psychoanalysis was in a struggle for its life.
Few things have brought more damage to the cause of human freedom than psychology. We now live in a day when boys are regularly drugged to make them easier to handle. This is called "medicine," but it is poison. We will be better off when the last psychologist has been... well, I won't recycle metaphors from Communists. But we'll be better off when the "discipline" is dead, and these fake-doctor schools are forever closed.


All Veterans Against John Kerry:

There's a rally on Sunday, for those who are not (like your correspondant) too sick to attend. Details from BlackFive:

A gathering of Vietnam veterans from across America

Where: Upper Senate Park, Washington, D.C. It is easy to get to, shady and pretty, with a great view of the Capitol dome in back of the speaker's platform. THIS IS A NEW LOCATION AS OF 7/17/04

When: Sunday, Sept 12, 2004 2:00-4:00 PM (EDT)

Why: To tell the truth about Vietnam veterans.
To counter the lies told about Vietnam veterans by John Kerry

All Vietnam veterans and their families and supporters are asked to attend. Other veterans are invited as honored guests.

NOTE: Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. None will be provided.
Any of you who can manage it, go and give good cheer. I'll be here, coughing away and drinking "the ten year old cough syrup" until I feel better. (Actually, I'll likely make do with Guinness.)

Grim's Hall

Kill the Beast:

One more day. My salute to those keeping watch on this. Victory is nigh, so keep your head up: and give a call to Congressmen and the President. You can get the right numbers here.


Polls Flawed:

Spacetown has an interesting point about the polls being conducted today. Almost all of them are telephone polls, he notes, and the polls are based on "2002 version of a nationally published set of phone CDs of listed households, ordered by telephone number."

Since 2002, an estimated 9 million customers have quit keeping "landlines," and gone to cell/digitial phones only. This is true for my household: we had a landline in 2002, but since 2003 have been cell-phone only.

What does this mean for polls? No one knows, except this: they aren't accurate.

INDC Journal: (UPDATED: Almost Positive It's a Fake)

Are the CBS National Guard Documents Fake?

All's Fair:

INDC Journal hires one of the nation's top forensics experts, and he says that the CBS memos are "90%" probably fakes. Hat tip: Allah, who has a lot more.

But this is all fair in the wake of the Swiftee stuff, right? Except, of course, that the Swiftees put their own names on sworn statements and, of course, Unfit for Command, putting their lives and fortunes at risk under slander and libel law. (Also, of course, they've been proven correct on several points... and then there's that US Navy investigation it's spawned into Kerry's records).

Wow. This really is turning into an ugly race. Forging federal documents is a federal crime, right? I suppose we'll be seeing the same folks who were calling for an investigation into the Plame business calling for a full investigation into CBS' source for these memos. Since I was one of the ones who wanted the Plame matter investigated, I'll start:

Let's get these reporters under oath.

Grim's Hall

Walking the Walls:

Two days. I just got off the phone with one of my Senators' offices. The other one has a recorded message playing saying that they are taking such a high volume of calls that no one can answer the phone. They aren't even taking voice mail. I sent an email instead.


Nov. 2nd is Veteran's Day:

Via the Sage, I see that the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have both endorsed President Bush's reelection. VVAW, oddly enough still around, says it doesn't endorse candidates in order to protect its tax status, so there's no way to know who they support.

UPDATE: You know, after I wrote that, I wondered why the VVAW would have a limitation on its endorsements the VFW doesn't. So, I looked into it and found that in fact the VFW can't endorse candidates either. A closer reading of the story Instapundit linked shows that it was actually some of the leadership who endorsed Bush, speaking one supposes for themselves, but identifying themselves as leaders. I expect this means that the VFW would like to endorse Bush, if it could legally do so.

WorldNetDaily: Kerry Navy probe to expand scope?


Did you folks see this WorldNetDaily article?

Judicial Watch's supplemental filing points out Navy regulations state that only the secretary of the Navy can sign a Silver Star, on behalf of the president. But Kerry's first citation is signed by Vice Adm. E.R. Zumwalt Jr., commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam, and Adm. John J. Hyland, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Farrell said today he thinks there is reason to believe Kerry has attempted to 'paper over an unauthorized Silver Star.'

'It appears there was an attempt, by autopen, to 'ratify' what had been done in an unauthorized manner earlier,' he said.

'We don't know this for sure, but that's precisely why there should be an investigation,' Farrell added.
I was convinced that the whole "combat V" thing was a clerical error, and that the third citation would prove to be a political favor -- perhaps something done at Ted Kennedy's request, to bolster the language in order to make Kerry look heroic for his 1984 Senate run. Nothing big, nor actually illegal.

Well, WND is hardly gospel, but they are citing a bipartisan group with a decent reputation. So the one question I had about it earlier:
I mean, it's a Silver Star citation. How bad can it be? Why not release it, like he did the two others?
...may have a good answer. It may be that first citation wasn't properly signed. And since the Secretary of the Navy says he didn't actually sign the other one, or know of it...

It can't really be this bad, can it? I'm no naif, but really -- we're talking about felonies now. It's one thing to scoff at the US code when it says you can't be paid for work you don't perform; and it's another thing to scoff at the Logan Act. Neither of those have ever actually been enforced.

But to falsify a Silver Star? I'm no fan of Kerry, but even I have trouble believing it. Godspeed to the Navy investigators in sorting it out.

Walking The Walls

Walking the Walls:

For those of you who haven't been following it, just three business days on the deathwatch. Call your congressmen tomorrow.

Cogicophony: Timetables: Suck or No Suck?

Who's Advising Kerry On Military Matters?

The answer appears to be, "No one."

The question came up during the Cogicophony debate on Kerry's new timeline-to-withdrawal. I looked into the matter, and discovered that Kerry's titular advisor on military matters is retired Air Force General Merrill A. McPeak. I'm not sure what McPeak's qualifications are beyond what is listed in his official biography, though I assume he has some. He's only published two papers in the last twenty years (one of which dates to 1985), both of which are on exclusively USAF matters. He attended War College, but it's been in the 1970s; since about 1976, he's been out of the "theory arena" and in the field and the bureaucracy. As a consequence, while I'm certain he must have views on military transformation, guerrilla war, and the like, I don't have any way to know what they are.

One reason for his position would appear to be that he was nominated for the USAF Chief by GHWB, served under Clinton, supported GWB in 2000, and now supports Kerry. He therefore has bipartisan credibility, which counts more among the press and citizenry than having the right ideas. Relatively few of the press, as we've discussed frequently, have the background to evaluate the ideas anyway. What matters is that you can say, "Here's a man who's been on both sides politically, and now supports our boy." What ideas he uses that credibility to advocate, I can't say.

However, it appears that it doesn't matter anyway. Kerry flatly ignores his advice.

General McPeak told Steph: “We need to about double the size” of our contingent of forces in Iraq. He’s JF Kerry’s military advisor, and Kerry said Friday:
“I believe that within a year from now, we could significantly reduce American forces in Iraq, and that’s my plan,” Kerry said. “I believe we can.”
So apparently he's just a figurehead. One more veteran used to bolster Kerry's credibility, whose interests are ignored when they're inconvenient.

UPDATE: I found an interview with McPeak; the original is behind subscription walls, but a cache of it is here. It pre-dates the Iraq war. He appears to be "fighter mafia," which is to say that he belongs to that segment of the Air Force that believes the Army should eliminate its heavy divisions entirely, concentrate on special forces only, and let the Air Force do the work of destroying enemy armies. This is glorious, he says:
The man who headed the U.S. Air Force during Desert Storm will tell you, over black coffee in a Lake Oswego cafe, that the potential attack on Iraq is "the fight you dream about, a wonderful kind of war to have."

The former fighter pilot calls the conflict a "no brainer," pitting the U.S. military machine -- with precision-guided munitions that he conceived -- against a nation whose gross national product is dwarfed by what the Air Force spends each year.

"Everybody's going to get decorated out of this thing," says Tony McPeak, a four-star general who retired to Oregon in 1995. "Everyone comes home. It has a lot of appeal to me."
But what to do when the war is over? The Air Force can't do the work of occupying nations that need rebuilding, but that's OK, as McPeak is against it:
Airstrikes would wipe out Baghdad's communications system again, McPeak says. "If we go in there and occupy the place for 50 years, which is my prediction, we'll have to rebuild it."

Close combat in Baghdad would be stupid, he says, despite what Army generals may advocate. "We've already radicalized 99 percent of the Arabs in the world. We'll get the holdouts if we start doing hand-to-hand combat in Baghdad."
So, in short, he believes in a military that strikes from afar, destroys enemy civilizations, and then leaves them in ruins. Baghdad's people he would have left in the hands of the Fedayeen Saddam, and without civil services.

This kind of punitive-strike warfare was practiced by the Imperial Roman Legions to great effect. There is something to be said for it. But in a world in which failed states are the breeding ground for terrorists, who export rather than contain their misery and wrath, it must be regarded as a fool's approach.

In retrospect, McPeak seems to realize that. As in the quote above, he is now calling for doubling the forces on the ground. But where would those forces come from, if the Army disbanded its divisions to focus on "agile" special operations teams?

Not, as I say, that it matters. Kerry doesn't listen to his military advisor. But, even should he begin, this is the advice he'll get.

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall

Carter Responds to Miller:

I see that Talking Points Memo has obtained a copy of a letter by Jimmy Carter, to Zell Miller. You can see the whole thing at Josh's site if you like. After scolding Zell for speaking out against the national party, and suggesting that dissent is improper in a Democrat, Carter says this:

I, myself, never claimed to have been a war hero, but I served in the navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don’t believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacificist.
We thank the former President for his service in the navy. This is the first time, however, I have heard it suggested by anyone that the Carter presidency "strengthened our military forces," to say nothing of "greatly strengthened." I wonder if he also believes that he "greatly strengthened" the CIA?

My Way - News

Kerry: I Guarantee Victory for the Enemy

Good lord.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Monday called the invasion of Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in a first White House term.
I honestly don't know what to say. "Elect me, and I promise that I'll withdraw troops before I leave office" means nothing other than, "If I'm elected, Zarqawi, keep your head down for a few months and I'll hand Iraq to you on a silver platter."

Chairman Mao wrote that a guerrilla campaign had three phases. The first was survival in the face of a superior army. The second, once dispersal and recruitment were achieved, was an engagement of the army. The third phase, when the guerrillas could actually face the enemy, had to wait until the enemy drew down its forces.
Iraq’s insurgents can’t defeat U.S. forces on the battlefield, and the insurgents know it. Unable to advance to a third phase of insurgency, a realistic goal of the insurgents is to stay deadlocked in a second phase until they can drive out the U.S.-led coalition....

The job of U.S. military forces is at minimum to contain the second phase of insurgency and reduce it to the level of the first phase as rapidly as possible.

Offensive operations of the sort begun in Iraq in November will have to continue and emphasize tactical interdiction — finding and destroying enemy capability before it can be used against American and allied coalition forces. These operations have been fruitful and led directly to locating and capturing Hussein.
The second phase is the most costly for a guerrilla movement. They have to engage a superior foe openly, and absorb the losses it costs them. We've seen the costs of such a policy in the fighting in Najaf, where several thousand of Sadr's forces have died since April. Yet the insurgents continue to engage, as failure to achieve anything that can be called "victory" means that the insurgency burns out, and cannot recruit replacements.

As long as Bush is in office, they will continue to engage us against their interests. This is because they know we're not going anywhere. They continue to press the odds in spite of massive fatalities because they have no choice. Elections approach, and time is not on their side. This dynamic will eventually break them, just as it broke the Viet Cong during Tet. There is no NVA to carry on the fight once the VC are broken. Iran, which everone now more or less openly recognizes is bankrolling this insurgency, cannot face the US openly, as no Soviet Union stands behind them to cast a protective arm around their shoulders.

But Kerry has handed the insurgents a promise of pulling out US forces if he's elected. All they have to do is wait. Nine months of relative peace, while the insurgents gather strength and recruit replacements, and he can send the troops home.

Then comes the third phase. What will it look like, when the insurgents overrun the country while President Kerry watches from Washington? Just what it looked like in South Vietnam, where half a million died because the US would no longer support the ARVN, not even with air power. Just what it looked like in Laos and -- dare we say it? -- Cambodia, where two million died at Communist hands, no longer restrained by the proximity of US firepower.

Astonishing: to have run on Vietnam, and to have learned none of its lessons.

UPDATE: Greyhawk thanks Kerry for his support, and requests some of yours.

UPDATE: KGC at Cogicophony has started a topic for this debate.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has noticed this too:
Memo to Fallujah terrorists: If Kerry wins, all you have to do is endure at most four years, then you can have another Afghanistan. If Bush wins, you will die in Fallujah or give up your war.

Could Kerry have done anything more stupid than to telegraph to terrorists everywhere that there is a party of retreat in the United States?
UPDATE: Citizen Smash adds his opinion: "Kerry has just given our enemies in Iraq a goal to shoot for. Thanks, Senator."

UPDATE: BlackFive has something to say also:

My friends who gave their lives knew what they were doing and supported the decision to go to war. I mourn them every damn day, but I don't pity them. I honor them. I remember them. The number one thousand has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with politics.

Then, I heard John Kerry speak, in reference to one thousand, about bringing the troops home. Doesn't he know that he's fueling the fires instead of supporting the troops? What the hell is he thinking?

Iraqi Sites Guide - The Mass Graves

The Mass Graves:

Via Mike the Marine, the mass graves of Iraq. It's hard hitting. The only thing I've seen like it lately are the pictures from Russia.

John F. Kerry's response to President Bush, Republican Convention -- 09/03/2004

John Kerry: John Kerry is Unfit for Command!

I've been thinking a bit about this line from the "Midnight Madness" speech:

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation.
Now, I watched "The Kerry Iraq Documentary." It's a production of the Bush campaign, and therefore has no cause to be kind to Kerry. Still, it presents Kerry's position in his own words, and in his own voice -- usually through videoclips of him appearing, time and again, over several years, to advocate war with Iraq over WMD.

Kerry eventually voted for the Iraq war resolution, and said at the time that he "fully supported" it.

Kerry had a seat on the Senate Intel committee, although apparently he didn't make much use of it. Still, he has had direct access when he wanted it to the CIA's intelligence on Iraq; to CIA staffers for questions; and to the documentation from the rest of the intel community as well. Whereas Bush had access to this information only after 2000, when he assumed office, Kerry has been 'in the know' for a decade and more. He should have been familiar with the intel backwards and forwards, and indeed in the television spots he makes a big deal about the fact that he was.

And Kerry supported the war resolution, as he supported the President's call throughout 2001 and 2002.

So, what to make of his statement?
Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation.
There are two possible answers. The first is that Kerry is, today, acting in bad faith. He knows that Bush did not mislead the nation, as he himself had the same information and access and advocated the same course. Kerry is parroting the Michael Moore line because he thinks it is an effective attack, not because he believes it to be true.

The second possibility is that Kerry does believe Bush misled the country. In that case, however, Kerry misled the country too. In his own words, he is unfit to lead this nation.

Since we prefer to give veterans the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, I'll choose to believe that Kerry really thinks he is unfit to command. If I'm right to believe Kerry's words, all sides now agree on the point: Vice President Cheney, the Swifties, the Honorable Senator Zell Miller, and now John Kerry himself.

SurveyUSA: Momentum Shifts to Bush; Big GOP Bounce After RNC Convention

SurveyUSA Poll:

We've all recognized that the Time and Newsweek polls are disproportionately Republican. However, here's another poll that says much the same thing. It asks not, "Who will you vote for?" but "Who do you expect to win?" It finds that there's been a thirty-six point bounce for Bush in NYC, in spite of the massive protests everyone got to watch all week; and in other liberal markets, the numbers are bigger still (thirty-nine in LA, for example).

We'll see if it holds.

Clinton Urges Kerry To Sharpen His Attack (washingtonpost.com)

Clinton Calls Kerry:

It's bad when a man undergoing a quadruple bypass calls from the hospital to tell you that you're dying. Kerry seems to be responding with another shakeup of his campaign staff, and another attempt to craft a message. So much for clearing that national defense hurdle, eh?

Google Answers: Defending the infallible Bible

The Infallible Bible:

While looking for something else entirely, I noticed an advertisment for "Google Answers." One of the answers they've recently provided is apparently called Google: Defending the infallible Bible.

You can judge for yourself -- Grim's Hall takes no official position on religious questions. Grim himself does, but doesn't blog about them or discuss them socially. I merely refer you to this because I thought it was a curiousity, seeing experts in the newest technology researching and replying to the oldest questions.

UPDATE: I suppose that's not quite true. I did undertake to defend Forn Sidr, "the Old Way," and disprove atheism on one occasion. The Raving Atheist didn't bother to reply to the challenge, which is odd since he issued it.

Low Casualties

Low Casualties:

I am glad to see someone finally picking up on this. I remain astonished at how low casualties in Iraq have been, considering the numbers of troops, the numbers of operations, and the fact that there has been continuous resistance for more than a year. Back in April, when there was heavy rumor of a draft, I wrote this at FreeSpeech:

Here you can find the official DOD figures for OIF as of 9 April. As you can see, including DOD civilian contractors, there have been 652 American killed and 3269 wounded during OIF. Of the wounded, 1137 were returned to duty within three days. The number not RTD within the three day period was 2,132; of these, some were sent home, and others returned to duty after rehabilitation.

(Compare with Afghan operations, btw, which are just below, and you'll notice that the Afghan theater is actually far more deadly. We've had about 1/6th the casualties, with a force 1/15th the size. Note also that OEF lists KIAs in unspecified areas 'other than Afghanistan.')

To keep the math simple, let's assume that all soldiers not returned to duty in three days don't return to duty at all. 2,784 combat losses out of a force level that approximates 150,000 means that we have lost 1.856 percent of forces deployed in Iraq.

This is not accurate, however, due to troop rotations--I MEF fought in the invasion, rotated out and was replaced by 82nd Airborne, then rotated back in; 3rd ID rotated out over the summer, but 4th ID rotated in, etc. 150,000 is the approximate number of troops in country at any given moment, but the actual number of American soldiers who have served in Iraq this year--that is, who have given the enemy a chance to kill them--is far higher. As a result, the loss level is much lower than the almost-two-percent we calculated above. I'm not sure what the exact numbers are for all forces, so I can't calculate the exact level, but my impression is that it would be around one percent.

Any military that can't keep up with a wartime loss rate of two percent is in trouble--and as I said above, our rate is lower than that, especially if you take into account the troop rotations. We have no need to consider a draft.
The Sage of Knoxville picks up an article from Strategy Page that says the same thing in a different way:
American combat losses continue at a historically low level. Since March, 2003, American troops have suffered 7,900 casualties (including 976 dead.) This is an unprecedented killed to wounded ratio of 1:8. In past wars, the ration had been 1:4 or 1:5. American combat deaths over the Summer were 42 in June, 54 in July and 66 in August. There are the equivalent of three American combat divisions in Iraq, each running several hundred patrols and other combat operations each day. Never have combat divisions, operating in hostile territory, kept their casualties this low. The news media, concentrating on any losses as the story have generally missed the historical significance of the low casualties. The American armed forces have developed new equipment, weapons and tactics that have transformed combat operations in an unprecedented way. This is recognized within the military, but is generally ignored, or misunderstood, by the general media.
I suspect that the reason this doesn't get much play is that it is misunderstood, rather than ignored. We've talked about the media's lack of understanding of military science before (many times), and this looks like one more effect of it.

There may be an additional cause: media outlets may be afraid that, by talking about the remarkably low loss rates, they could appear to be downplaying the value of those who have died. The fact that the military has learned to fight with so few casualties is of tremendous importance to you if you are the mother of a Marine; but if you are the mother of a Marine who was killed yesterday, hearing about how few Marines die will not comfort you. Sensitivity to the dead may be a primary cause of this underreporting. If so, it's a noble reason to underreport.

However noble, it is the wrong tribute to pay to the dead. The focus on rising numbers makes it more likely that the American public will misunderstand Iraq as a losing war, rather than a war that we are winning, but which will take time. This underreporting makes it more likely that the American people could vote to withdraw forces from Iraq before the war is won. The cost of this tribute to the dead would be, finally, that they died in vain.

That is no kindness.

BLACKFIVE: Veterans'Day '04 Will Come Nine Days Early

Some Call It Treason:

A few days back, I suggested that I didn't know anyone who had actually accused Kerry of treason, excepting one fellow with a Veteran license plate and a bumper sticker to that effect. Well, make that two:

How liberals do defy the mind
For nothing in theirs’ can we find,
That willingly will look with reason
At how their man committed treason,
Skulked off to Paris this effete
To grovel at the Madame’s feet,
Betraying his sworn officer’s oath
To become the turncoat we so loathe.

Our law is clear you shall not treat
With America’s foes nor their cadres meet;
Give aid nor comfort to enemy forces
Nor espouse a view from hostile sources.

Without a mandate from the state
Wherefrom your right to negotiate?
Was treason, John, and is treason still
To this very day your unpaid bill.

Don’t try to hide behind your youth.
You knew the law you knew the truth.
You knew your faux negotiation
Would further tear our war-torn nation

And all for what, John, your career
So you can shameless brazen here,
And claim now that you’re fit to lead
The very nation you made bleed?

And yet before us there you stand
With medals blazing you demand
Such treachery we must ignore
Your treason that lost us our war.

But hold on, John, we veterans say,
You had your turn, now comes our day.
You thought we slept, forgot your crime?
Oh no, John boy, it’s come our time.

Some say let you apologize
But that won’t do it in our eyes.
A man astride of each position
Could we believe your true contrition?

The vindication we’ll accept
In settling up this long-held debt,
Is each of us will do his best
To deny you, John, your lifelong quest.

Listen carefully John to what we say,
November 2nd is Veterans’ Day.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66
November 2nd is Veterans' Day. There's something to be said for that idea.

The Australian: Mark Steyn: No other word for it but slaughter [September 06, 2004]


Mark Steyn has a stemwinder of his own, on the Russian dead and what it means:

What happened in one Russian schoolhouse is an abomination that has to be defeated, not merely regretted. But the only guys with any kind of plan are the Bush administration. Last Thursday, the President committed himself yet again to wholesale reform of the Muslim world. This is a dysfunctional region that exports its toxins, to Beslan, Bali and beyond, and is wealthy enough to be able to continue doing so.

You can't turn Saudi Arabia and Yemen into New Hampshire or Sweden (according to taste), but if you could transform them into Singapore or Papua New Guinea or Belize or just about anything else you'd be making an immense improvement. It's a long shot, but, unlike Putin's plan to bomb them Islamists into submission or Chirac's reflexive inclination to buy them off, Bush is at least tackling the 'root cause'.

If you've got a better idea, let's hear it. Right now, his is the only plan on the table. The ideology and rationale that drove the child-killers in Beslan is the same as that motivating cells in Rome and Manchester and Seattle and Sydney. In this war, you can't hold the line against the next depravity.

The Politburo Diktat: Death Wish

Beautiful, Comrade:

The Commissar composes an open letter to Chechen rebels, to explain why their murderous tactics won't work against the Russians like they work against America or Israel:

Perhaps you don't understand the rules. As Yogi Berra might say: 'Ninety percent of the world's problems are America's fault; the other half are Israel's.'...

If the Americans arrest four hundred Iraqi fighters, headlines follow. More editorials and self-righteous denunciations of America. And foreigners won't like it either.
Sadly, that's all too true.


From Sharp Knife:

Noel of Sharp Knife sends this story, for your reading pleasure. It is from the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal" (which, oddly enough, seems to be down this morning).

Noel adds, "Somewhere, Mr. Jackson just chuckled, if not Mr. Hamilton."

In the wake of Zell Miller's fiery denunciation of John Kerry at the GOP convention, the national media has been working overtime to remind people that Mr. Miller once worked for Georgia's axe-handle wielding segregationist Governor Lester Maddox backed in the 1960s. Curiously, this is something they never brought up when Mr. Miller was a loyal Democratic Governor or Senator.

But last night at a Club for Growth reception honoring Mr. Miller, Herman Cain, the former chairman of Godfather's Pizza and an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Mr. Miller's Senate seat this year, isn't having any of it. An African-American, Mr. Cain says attacks on Mr. Miller are 'bunk.' 'When I campaigned and people asked me who I wanted most to be like in the U.S. Senate, I always said Zell Miller,' he told me.

Later, Messrs. Cain and Miller embraced on stage and Mr. Miller was presented with a pair of 18th-century dueling pistols -- an obvious reference to the duel he said he'd like to have with Chris Matthews of MSNBC as the two tangled on air Wednesday night after Mr. Miller's controversial speech.
There really is something to be said for a return to duelling. Even the reminder of the institution, though, is clarifying. Consider the "Go to Hell, Zell," John Kerry Infant creeper, for those who think that American life isn't sufficiently profane for children. This shirt allows those of a particularly cowardly persuasion to express obscenity without fear of retribution. No reasonable person would take the baby to task (the baby would be just as happy if the creeper said "Vote Bush, 2004," or said nothing and was decorated only with carrot stains). No decent man would engage the parent in front of the child, as anyone bent out of shape enough to dress an infant in such garb would surely cause a scene upsetting to the innocent.

Or consider this interview with Zell, from the Imus program. He was asked about his defense of Michelle Malkin, whom he doesn't seem to have known at the time (during the Hardball interview, he called her 'that young lady you had on the other day'):
[I] ought to stay down in Young Harris with [my] two yellow labs, Gus and Woodrow, and let the world go by, I guess. I had just been holding one for Chris Matthews ever since I saw him browbeat Michelle Malkin on his show that night. He wouldn't let that little 5'2", 95-pound girl say a word, and I just said to myself, 'If he ever gets into my face like that, I'm gonna pop him.'
The image of the crossed pistols reminds us that men used to take responsibility for their words -- that the things they said were things they would risk death to defend. They remind us that once men would not permit women and children to be abused, which is no longer a popular sentiment. Today women wish to defend themselves, which is excellent. It nevertheless speaks very well of a man that, if he should see the strong abusing the weak, whether strong from size or from position of power (e.g., anchor of the news program), that he should take their part.
"I should in that case hold you,'' replied the yeoman, "a friend to the weaker party.''

"Such is the duty of a true knight at least,'' replied the Black Champion; "and I would not willingly that there were reason to think otherwise of
Malkin, who has certainly proven quite outspoken in her own right, still appears to have appreciated the courtesy.

How many times have I had to hear people toss around the words "lie!" or "liar!" in this election? It seems to be the very first line of defense, when anyone says anything you'd rather not believe. Not only do these people hide behind children, they sound like children. They spit deadly insults freely, knowing that they can never be called to account.

The end of the duel may have brought some good effects, but it has also ended the culture of responsibility that went with it. No one is called to account for their slander. That John Kerry of the VVAW is a candidate for the highest office in the land says this as truly as anything.

I'm with Zell. It is a shame that duels are no longer legal. Duels were private wars, and like wars they could be just. Like wars, for all the harm they did, they often did more good. In a world fallen from hope of perfection, that may be the best you can ask.