Yahoo! Mail -

From Email:

JHD sends:

Col John Coleman, USMC, Chief of Staff, I MEF in Fallujah, Iraq as
quoted in the Boston Globe 16 Sep:

'I'll be damned if when I'm 65 I'm going to be sitting on the redwood
deck of my double-wide and read some snot-nosed grad school thesis about
another failed US foreign policy example in the early part of the
century,' he said. 'I'll die staying here so I don't have to read that.'"
Of all the reasons I've heard for staying the course, that one is probably the most prophetic. I'm afraid that, no matter what we do, snot-nosed grad students will write that line.


Word from Home:

I talked to my mother last night. I don't do that often. Normally when she calls the wife talks to her about artwork, which is their shared tie, or the little boy.

Still, Ivan blew through the mountains and I wanted to make sure the house was still standing, and that there was nothing she needed. My father is out of town, as he often must be, and she was alone. Everything was fine on that score.

She knows in a vague way what I do, and wanted to talk about politics and world events. My mother is not a very political person -- she gets interested once every four years, for the two months or so before the election. She is a self-described feminist, and as liberal as you're likely to find in the mountains of North Georgia -- that is, not too liberal to love Zell Miller in spite of his recent speech.

Like most sons, I long ago accepted that my mother would broadly disapprove of everything I do. It is therefore always a shock, though a pleasant one, to find that she doesn't: that she approves of my wife, loves her grandson, and is pleased with what I'm doing and why. It was also interesting to realize that she is supporting Bush this year.

She told me that she was ready for peace; that she's always wanted nothing but peace, even before 9/11, and even after. She was not in support of military action even in Afghanistan -- she felt that we ought not to have attacked anyone in the wake of 9/11.

But she knows we did, and that we are now engaged with the enemy. Whether or not we should be where we are, we are there.

And she knows she can't trust John Kerry in that situation.

She worries about his multiple statements on every issue; on his apparent dishonesty in everything he says. She doesn't agree with or approve of Bush, she says, but she knows he's telling the truth when he lays out his positions. She knows he means what he says, and she can rely on at least that much.

That's the real question this year, she says, and so she'll vote Bush. She wishes there were a third choice -- not Nader, but someone. This is not new; she was a Perot supporter in '92.

If you've lost my mother, you've lost a lot of liberal, feminist women. I agree with what is now common wisdom: the polls are wrong. But I think they're wrong in the other direction -- I think things are much worse for Kerry than they show.

BeldarBlog: Judicial Watch strikes out with demand for Navy Dep't investigation

Navy Investigation into Kerry's Medals Concludes:

The Navy has made an interesting finding in its investigation. It has refused Judicial Watch's FOIA request for Kerry's unreleased records, which amount (it says) to at least 31 pages.

It has also found that Kerry's medals were issued by officers with "proplerly delegated" authority -- which apparently means that the regulations requiring SECNAV approval for Silver Stars do not apply. That resolves the prima facie appearance of wrongdoing that Judicial Watch had noted; therefore, the Navy will not after all conduct a full investigation into Kerry's medals. There will be no resolution to the questions about Kerry's medals after all -- the Navy is the only group that could provide such resolution unless Kerry releases his military records, since currently the Navy is the only one with the secret records.

You can read the story in full here.

Secrecy News 09/17/04

Secrecy News

This week's edition of Secrecy News, a publication of the Federation of American Scientists, is unusually good reading. I sometimes post a story or two out of it, but this week almost everything in it is highly interesting (well, except for the Waxman rant). Topics include: defending against clandestine nuclear attacks, the development of small-scale nukes for nonstrategic use, "Red team" tactics for espionage against US military forces, a reprint of the new DOD framework for transformation, and other things as well.

JustOneMinute: At The National Guard

Citizen Soldiers:

It's interesting that the National Guard Assoc. gave Bush seven standing ovations, to none for John Kerry. But it's even more interesting that one of those standing ovations came when Bush attacked Kerry for planning to cut National Guard forces in Iraq.

That would appear to suggest strongly that these men would rather finish the fight in Iraq than not, even though it means possibly being deployed under fire for an extended period. One expects that of the regulars -- Live to Fight, Love to Fight -- but it's reassuring to see it from the "citizen soldiers" as well. These men tend to be older, with wives and children and careers outside the military. One could understand if they felt sympathy for (one of) John Kerry's position(s), which is that the National Guard should stay at home (where they are betraying their country by not fighting in Viet... er, that is, nobly serving the cause of freedom).

That isn't what they think at all. They want to be defending the walls too. I understand that entirely. We win, or lose, the GWOT in Iraq. Whether it had to be part of the war on terror, it is now the front line. It is natural to want to do your part.

Kerry's left turn scares Democrats

At Least He Was Honest:

Completely, for a change:

Last Friday, Sen. Kerry abruptly returned to the safely buried gun control issue by decrying President Bush for permitting the assault weapons ban to end. On Saturday, he addressed the Congressional Black Caucus with a liberal harangue. On Sunday, Kerry rested.

Allah Is In The House:

Teddy Bears:

Allah solves a mystery.

John Kerry for President - 126th National Guard Association of the United States General Conference

Kerry on the Military

Today's speech was almost a perfect mirror of the speech Kerry gave to the VFW. Kerry, after a career of voting to downsize and disarm the military, now wishes us to believe that he wants to increase it. Speaking at the 126th National Guard Association association today, he pledged that he would increase the size of the military by 40,000 men.

He also repeated another promise:

I will also double our Army Special Forces to hunt down the terrorists. In Afghanistan, after September 11th, our Special Forces fought the Taliban with remarkable skill. We saw what they could do during the Iraq war, when two teams of American Green Berets totaling 31 men worked with Kurdish troops to defeat an Iraqi force numbering in the hundreds. The victory at the battle of Debecka Pass is a tribute to the flexibility, training, and courage of our Special Forces.
Now, there are two things to be said about that. The first is that the part about the Special Forces being extremely skillful and highly successful is true.

The part about doubling the size of the Special Forces is not. It cannot be done while maintaining the standards of the Special Forces. Ralph Peters wrote about this the last time Kerry proposed it:
Specific promises Kerry made were outright nonsense. He claimed he'd double the size of our special operations forces. Sounds great. But to do so would rob regular line units of critically needed, experienced NCOs and officers, fatally compromise the high standards of our special operators and take at least a decade — unless he means to ruin special ops entirely.

And Kerry's going to increase our ground forces by 40,000 troops. Good idea. But he's not going to send them to Iraq, you understand.

Having it both ways again.

Kerry said we should never go to war without a plan to win the peace. Agreed. But where was he 18 months ago, when such a criticism could have made a difference?

Back then, he was voting for the war. Before he opposed it. Before supporting it again. Now he's against it again. Although he supports our troops, of course.

Does Kerry have no shame at all? No spine, whatsoever? Is it possible to be nothing but a bundle of pure ambition, with no shred of ethics? Is Kerry so hungry for office that he'll change any position to buy a vote?
Since Kerry gave the same speech, I suppose it's fair to recycle the critique, too. Keep reading until you get to "eel in a vat of olive oil."

Mudville Gazette

Clausewitz & The Triangle:

As some of you have noticed, I'm on the guestblogging team at the Mudville Gazette while Greyhawk is in Iraq. I've just posted a piece there on Von Clausewitz and the situation in the Sunni Triangle. It's a long piece, but will probably interest those of you who enjoy applying military science to the questions of Iraq.

It might also be of interest to those of you who are afraid of "losing the peace," or those opposed to the war altogether. It is a counterargument to both positions.

A Marine's Plan for Healthcare Reform:

Doc Russia has composed one. If health care policy is one of your things (I confess it is not one of mine), give it a look.

Yahoo! Mail -


The 2/2 is coming home. JHD sends the final letter, which I am reproducing in full. It's long, but worth your time.

Hello again Warlord families!

As I began this final letter to you from Mahmudiyah, Iraq, it is fitting that I do so on September 11th. That day and the tragic events that were the catalyst that brought the Warlords to this troubled land will forever be etched in our minds. It will not only be a day that we always remember where we were, but also a day that we remember as the day that so many of our country's citizens were lost to terrorism and also remembered as the day when so many stood up and said "enough!" Your Warlords were some of those who said "enough!" Accordingly, I consider it a singular honor, on this day in particular, to pass on to you some of the things that your husbands, sons, brothers and fathers have done since I last wrote you at the end of June.

I related to you at the beginning of the last letter that we had moved again (for the fifth time) and returned to our original location in Mahmudiyah where we relieved four Army battalions that had been conducting operations in this area while we had been in Al Kharma, Fallujah, and Zaidon. Upon returning to Mahmudiyah, the Task Force immediately rolled up its sleeves and reasserted its presence in the area with an aggressive series of actions that ignored the sometimes 140 degree temperatures. Those actions seized and maintained control of nearly 22 miles of six lane highway that had become one of the most volatile sections of road in Iraq, and put the terrorists on their heels within a nearly 800 square kilometer area of operations. Combined with those offensive and defensive operations, we rekindled old friendships with local leaders and families as the battalion assumed control of those civil-military actions designed to rebuild the infrastructure here in the Mahmudiyah area.

Unfortunately, the level and type of enemy activity in our absence spiked to a degree that made our final three months in Iraq less characterized by actions that would exemplify the "No Better Friend" portion of our mission, and more consistent with the "No Worse Enemy" angle. As has been their custom, your Marines and Sailors responded to this challenge and performed magnificently. The three rifle companies found themselves rotating through stints providing fixed site security along the main supply routes strategically supporting the links to Baghdad and Fallujah, providing security for other key infrastructure, conducting patrols to deter enemy activities designed to disrupt the functioning of the Iraqi National Conference and conducting raids and searches in the dead of night that kept the enemy looking over his shoulder and

wondering where the Marines would come from next. At every turn, the Marines of Easy, Fox and Golf and their assigned snipers met the enemy on his home ground with raids, cordon and search operations and coordinated stay-behind operations designed to ambush the insurgents … and on every occasion when he chose to challenge the Warlords, he was defeated decisively. There was no doubt in the mind of these cowards that there was a "new Sheriff in Town."

While the rifle companies asserted their presence with these missions, Weapons Company's 81's Platoon not only kept the enemy at bay by providing "spot on" counter mortar fire but continued their role as the Battalion's Combined Action Platoon helping to train the fledgling Iraqi national Guard. Capitalizing on the foundation they built during our six weeks here in March and April, they transformed a ragtag group of Iraqi soldiers into a Battalion that now regularly patrols and operates alongside their Marine counterparts. This is a singularly impressive accomplishment because not only did they keep their fighting edge, but they also overcame the language barrier and cultural differences to teach these Iraqis the basics of warfighting and provided them the foundation to begin assuming responsibility for security in their own country. Simultaneously, the Red, White and Blue Sections of the CAAT Platoon continued to earn their reputation as the workhorses of the battalion by conducting operations twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with mobile patrols, escort duty for our Explosive Ordnance Disposal heroes, and aggressive actions designed to hunt down and kill terrorists with their hard-hitting firepower. Again and again, the enemy engaged our CAAT's with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's), direct fire and indirect fire in order to try to shake them from accomplishing their mission. No matter the method the enemy tried to use, the Marines of this platoon stood tall in their turrets fast in the face of daily attacks against them and kept the pressure on. Incredible courage and attention to duty are the two phrases that most come to mind when I think of their daily ability to be "in the enemy's face" and defeat his best efforts.

Equally impressive were the efforts of our Combat Engineers and Counterintelligence Marines. The Engineers continued as the most productive platoon in theater finding dozens of enemy caches, adding to the survivability of our Marines on fixed site security missions with their construction skills, and as always adding their considerable infantry skills to an already deadly team. Their search methods are now used as the template for the entire Division. Complementing their actions were the warriors of our Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Exploitation Team (CI/HET) who continued to rack up the most significantly actionable intelligence of any team in theater. Their efforts alone, when combined with the rest of the Task Force's combat power was specifically responsible for the detention of dozens of high value terrorist personalities operating within our Area of Operations and some whose influence was international in scope.

A significant and welcome addition to our Task Force came with Artillery Marines from both the 11th Marine Regiment and 10th Marine Regiment as we returned to Mahmudiyah. Sixteen indirect fire attacks during our initial return here highlighted the need for a more robust counterfire capability. With that in mind, RCT-1 and later, the 24th MEU provided the Warlords with a split battery of 155mm howitzers. As a result, any time the enemy was foolish enough to engage us with indirect fire, the canoneers fired with responsiveness and pinpoint accuracy that in once case, forced the enemy to leave his position so quickly that he left his rocket launchers and ammunition in place.

Finally our Headquarters and Service Company kept every conceivable aspect of the Task Force supplied, supported and operating like a well-oiled machine. Our Battalion Aid Station and its Corpsmen literally saved the lives of dozens of Marines wounded in engagements with the enemy. Often under fire, these Sailors not only took the fight to the enemy themselves but often found themselves shielding their Marine brothers as they rendered lifesaving medical care—proving once again why a Navy Corpsmen will never buy a drink when there is a Marine infantryman present. As Corpsman triaged our Marines, our Motor Transport Marines drove thousands of miles supporting every combat need, and worked around the clock and with the enthusiasm of a well-practiced pit crew conducting "triage" on vehicles that if back in the states, would have been relegated to the dump. They worked around the clock installing life-saving armor, ballistic windshields and keeping our vital rolling assets in working order proving once again that "the pride don't ride without Motor "T!"

The Marines and leaders of the Communications Platoon continued to stretch the limits on every piece of equipment the battalion owned in ensuring timely and reliable communications across this 800 square kilometer area of operations thereby allowing the battalion to respond with devastating effects. The Communications reliability and versatility of this Task Force has literally become the envy of the Division because of their efforts. Other standouts include our Supply section, our Armorers, the NBC section and our administrators. Each Marine, in addition to their "day job" of keeping the battalion supplied, paid, and our weapons and chemical gear in top condition, also found themselves as the primary security for multiple tasks supporting the battalion's myriad missions. Each has proven unmistakably that "every Marine a rifleman" is more than just a catchy phrase.

A special mention during this letter must go to the Marines from H&S Company supporting us in the chow hall. Throughout the deployment, their extraordinary efforts, sometimes under fire, have ensured our Marines have had the best field mess support possible regardless of the conditions. Unlike so many other units, the Warlords maintained their own organic capability and these Marines worked twenty hour days consistently in 130 degree temperatures to make sure that the members of the Task Force were well-fed and able to enjoy the occasional special meal. Their commitment to their task added immeasurably to the morale of our Marines and Sailors.

As you can imagine, to try to recap all that your Marines and Sailors have done during the past two and one half months would be an almost impossible task from the standpoint of volume alone. To try to recall the hundreds of acts of heroism and compassion becomes and even greater task but one that merits some mention here as I try to share my immense pride in what these fine men have accomplished. As the commander of the Task Force I have had the privilege of reading the recommendations recognition for all of our Warlords. It is not uncommon for me to find myself up until the sun rises after I have returned from a mission, reading with great admiration and pride, the courageous acts of so many Marines and Sailors. I am not trying to sound melodramatic, but their deeds will now become part of the legends that make up the lore of the Naval Service as a result of their consistently selfless actions.

Examples of some of the more than 150 recommended awards for valor include men who crossed fire swept terrain to save Iraqi families caught in deadly crossfire as terrorists used them as human shields, Corpsmen who protected Marines with their bodies as indirect fire landed around them, Marines who continued to fight after having been wounded, not willing to give up their positions for fear that their buddies would pay the price, admonishing themselves to "stay in the fight," maintaining their fire to protect their fellow Marines without the slightest regard for their own danger. Most importantly however I will remember the dozens of Purple Heart ceremonies where we recognized those who day in and day out, put on their gear, checked their ammunition and headed out to get the mission accomplished regardless of the dangers they knew were waiting for them. That my friends is courage—and that is why these Marines and Sailors deserve every accolade a nation can bestow. They have paid the price for freedom with their courage.

If you remember, prior to the deployment I wrote you that "Those who would challenge us have underestimated the capability and resolve of the Warlords. They do not know what you know … that these men are of the same stock that won at places like Belleau Wood, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, Dai Do, Grenada, Kuwait and Al Kut. They are also men who are fathers, sons, brothers and husbands whose capability as warriors is exceeded only by their compassion and strong moral compass." I must tell you that those words were written based on my confidence in these men and what I had seen them do to prepare. I can tell you that that confidence was not misplaced. They exceeded my most ardent hopes and reminded me again what it means to be a part of a fighting unit like the Warlords of Task Force 2/2. Their actions are indeed the stuff of legend.

I will also tell you without reservation that much of our success is arguably the result of the strength we drew daily from your support. Your letters, your packages, your prayers and most of all your complete commitment to our mission here by your devotion to your Warlord gave us not only the focus we needed, but the promise of what we had to return to. In particular I must thank the Key Volunteers throughout the Task Force who consistently gave to us, and to each other, the support and sustained commitment that provided the foundation on which we succeeded. Your Marines and Sailors were able to focus on the mission because of the confidence they had in all of you at home to take care of each other when they could not be home with you. For all that you have done for all of us I will remain forever in your debt.

As uplifting and inspiring as the performance of your Warlords has been, each of you also know that those successes have not been without cost. Sadly, as the deployment comes to a close, I am reminded of each of the more than one hundred and fifty wounded and our six fallen. I ask that each of you continue your prayers for these men who gave so much in support of their fellow Marines and Sailors. Their names and their deeds will be remembered by each of us who were privileged to serve with them. But well after the welcome home celebrations are over, after Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II becomes part of the battalion's lineage, and after a new generation of Warlords carries the color forward, you must remember that the true legacy of their sacrifices will be revealed. First, their legacy will be in the gift of freedom and hope they gave to a nation ruled by a brutal dictator for four generations, and second, that legacy will live on in the example of courage and compassion that they gave not only to each of us, but to a nation. With that in mind, I ask that each of you keep the families of Sergeant Michael Speer, Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Baum, Lance Corporal Andrew Zabierek, Lance Corporal Bryan Kelly, Lance Corporal Nick Morrison, and Corporal Chris Belchik in your thoughts and prayers. They never broke faith with us or with you. I ask that you pray that their families are sustained and strengthened as their Marines sustained and strengthened us through their actions. Pray that their families and all Americans remember that it is in how they lived their lives that makes their memory the treasure it is, and the gift they gave so precious.

In closing, I will say yet again what an honor it has been to have been given the rare privilege of commanding such fine men under difficult conditions. They led, they fought for a nation and for a people, and they kept faith with each other and with you. They inspired the world with their example of what is best among the youth of our country and they have established a legacy of leadership and courage that will become the foundation for the leadership of the Naval Service well into the twenty-first century. As we reunite with our families and recall the moments of courage and compassion that changed our lives during the past seven months, I think you will see a change in these men. That change will reflect the special knowledge of what it means to have given freedom to a nation, hope to a people, and strength to each other during moments when the measure of a man's life is defined by his actions. You and they will find that those actions will stand the test of time and be remembered with great pride. Freedom has taken hold in Iraq and it will not let go because of what these brave men have done.

God Bless each of you, God Bless America, and Semper Fi from your Marines and Sailors in Iraq!


Giles Kyser
"Warlord Six"

New Build

New Build:

Grim's Hall has a new look. Let me know if it's hard to read, or if you like it. The comments here are the place for that.

DNC Video: Fortunate Son

So Much For That Being A Rumor:

I guess the DNC isn't any brighter than I thought. They're going with the "Operation Fortunate Son" ad after all. This, by a campaign that admitted to the Washington Post this weekend that it was having to restrict its ad buys in order to compete in a "smaller" battleground through election day. This is what they're spending their money putting together.

As BlackFive points out, Op.FS is wrong on a major point.

Meanwhile, the ad itself actually uses Dan Rather footage -- from the Ben Barnes interview, which was the same piece that included the forged documents! As today's Washington Post piece unmercifully slams the CBS forgeries, Rather's credibility is going under.

Just after the Rather footage, they start showing blurry documents, but never quote them directly to let you know which ones they mean. Between the Rather footage and the document pictures, the DNC just tied the Kerry campaign to CBS' sinking ship in the strongest possible terms.

What are the odds that Kerry's campaign will not, now, be linked in the minds of the public with these forgeries? As poll numbers show Kerry with a favorability rating eleven points lower than Dukakis' in 1988, you can figure that people are already ready to believe something bad about Kerry. The DNC just handed them something very bad to believe, on a nice platter. - Lost nuclear bomb possibly found - Sep 13, 2004

I Knew There Was Something Odd About Those Fish:

From CNN:

Government experts are investigating a claim that an unarmed nuclear bomb, lost off the Georgia coast at the height of the Cold War, might have been found.... A group led by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Duke of Statesboro, Georgia, said in July that it had found a large object underwater near Savannah that was emitting high levels of radioactivity, according to an Associated Press report.

The group said it used radiation and metal detection equipment to search an area in Wassaw Sound off Tybee Island where the bomb reportedly was dropped, the AP reported.
This will not surprise any Savannah residents. I lived there myself for four years, and I have to say it all makes perfect sense.

Hewitt On Kerry:


Calling a reporter on a Sunday while not appearing on the Sunday shows is an admission of both panic and certainty that the candidate couldn't have managed other than a controlled interview, and certainly not a television interview that would provide tape of a bumbler/stumbler still clutching his magic hat fantasy. What if Russert had rolled tape from StolenHonor? What is Chris Wallace had asked about the gun-running to Cambodia? The handlers can't risk letting Kerry out of the box he built for himself, so Campaign 2004 Deathwatch continues.
That's surely right. We must be very careful not to let the press ask the wrong questions, which they will surely do if we go talk to them. Everything must be carefully controlled.

Of course, I still want them to ask about that Senate pay. Taking money you know the law forbids you to have is stealing, right? Stealing taxpayer money, to pad your personal bank account? One of the wealthiest men in America?

Andrew C. McCarthy on the 9/11 Commission Report and Kerry on National Review Online


Here you can read a rather brutal assault on Kerry's service (or lack thereof) on the Senate Intelligence committee.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

A Little Bit More from Zell:

The Honorable Zell Miller has a piece in today's OpinionJournal. It begins:

My critics in the national media are working overtime trying to paint me as an angry nut who got the facts all wrong in my speech to the Republican National Convention. Since there's not enough time to challenge all of these critics to a duel, let me set the record straight here and now.
There follows a perfectly fine rendition of the speech I've given myself often enough not to need to repeat it. Zell was right, and he remains right. He concludes:
So, my critics can call me a psychopath and fire spitballs at me and froth at the mouth when an ex-president sends me a nasty letter. That's the freedom of speech they all enjoy, courtesy of the American soldier.... So, they can call me names and ridicule my angry demeanor all day long. But facts are facts. And the fact is, John Kerry has a long record of proposals to weaken our national security in a time of war. And I would never put my family's safety in those hands.
Nor should anyone. | Higher | Space probes feel cosmic tug of bizarre forces

Something Big On The Event Horizon:

Isaac Asimov once wrote: ""The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny....'" / News / Boston Globe / Ideas / Against types

More On Psychology:

Via Arts & Letters Daily, there is this article on the dubious nature of personality tests. It highlights some of the ethical issues Jean and I are discussing below:

DO YOU PREFER a bath to a shower? Are you fascinated by fire? At parties, do you sometimes get bored, or always have fun? Do you sometimes feel like smashing things? Do you think Lincoln was greater than Washington? Do you feel uneasy indoors? Do you think questions like these tell us anything meaningful about ourselves, or do you think they're nothing more than parlor game fodder?

Regardless of how you answer that last one, the fact is that personality tests featuring questions like those are everywhere these days. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, is taken by as many as 15 million people a year and used to screen applicants for jobs from police officer to nuclear technician to priest. Eighty-nine companies in the Fortune 100 use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to determine how and with whom their employees work best. The Rorschach test, the granddaddy of them all, is used diagnostically by eight out of 10 psychologists and routinely submitted as evidence in child custody cases, criminal sentencing, and emotional damage lawsuits.
I've actually taken all of these tests for various employers and potential employers (as well as IQ tests, given by certain kinds of employers in spite of the loud arguments against them). I made a point of asking about the "bath or shower?" question, and was told simply that it didn't mean anything by itself, but was factored into a matrix of dozens of questions to see if a pattern emerged.

"What pattern?" you might be inclined to ask. "Seriously, what other activity in my life forms a pattern with that? If I like baths and swimming, I'm not afraid of water; but if I prefer showers and hiking, I am? And so what? Why should any aspect of my future career be predicated on this kind of question?"

The article is far kinder than I would be in its conclusions, but those of you interested in background are welcome to read it. It's not the first time Arts & Letters Daily has been interested in the question: you can also read this article, or this one, which shows how the inkblot test functions in roughly the same way as palm reading. Print Page: TIME Magazine -- "I've Been in Worse Situations"

Hey, Kerry Gave an Interview:

TIME has the first one in 43 days. I can see why they got it, too: not one hardball question. Nothing on any of the stuff his campaign has had to backtrack on (e.g., Cambodia, self-inflicted wounds), the Naval investigation into his record, his antiwar statements, the veterans opposed to him rallying today, none of it.

He was asked about timetables, but only if he had any. His response:

I have said that I have a goal to be able to bring our troops out of there within my first term, and I hope to be able to bring out some troops within the first year. But what's important here is that I can fight a more effective war on terror.
So: 'Yes, our enemies can count on my commitment to withdrawal. But I still expect to be more effective, with fewer troops, in the face of an enemy who knows I expect to get out ASAP.'

Blogs for Bush: Web of Connections Update -- Forged Documents Version!

More Fun with Rathergate:

The Blogs for Bush are now poking fun at the New York Times. They've built a Times-style "Web of Connections" between the players in Rathergate. It's mildly amusing, especially since it correctly points out that Ben Barnes is a Kerry Campaign vice-chair. It would have been nice if they'd mentioned Rather's attendance at Democratic fundraisers, in despite of CBS' ethics policy, but you can't have everything.

There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged CBS documents

Money Where His Mouth Is:

This fellow is serious about that forgery thing. He's not only posted the longest and most comprehensive attack on the docs I've seen yet, but he's also posted a prominent link to his resume, in case you doubt his credentials to make the charges. "No fan of Bush," he says, but an enemy of fraud.

Drudge, on the other hand, points to a rumor of a new DNC campaign that will "attack Bush's guard service." "George Bush has a clear pattern of lying about his military service," it says. Drudge notes dryly that this means Clinton's advice to stay away from Vietnam is being ignored by the Kerry campaign.

Now, Bush has done all that really can be asked of a political opponent to save Kerry's bacon on this issue. He has repeatedly said that Kerry should be proud of his (Kerry's) service, and he's called for a stop to the Swifty ads and to 527 ads generally. He's had to put up with them paying him back by saying that "George Bush betrayed his country" by not serving in Vietnam, and now that he has "a clear pattern of lying about his military service."

Do they really think this is going to help? You can't win against a well-known incumbent by trying to redefine him in the eyes of voters. This kind of negative attack can work against a John Kerry, an empty suit lacking a national reputation (and the guts to talk to the media -- an incumbent can "do his job" to show his worth in the office, but a challenger has to talk and take questions). Negative ads can define who he is in the minds of the voters: in Kerry's case, a waffling, spineless, weak-on-everything playboy, who 'by the way served in Vietnam,' where he was known by hundreds of fellow veterans who now hate his guts.

But the voters know perfectly well who Bush is. Effective negative ads against a well-known incumbent have to attack the things people already believe about him. And to spend money on this kind of ad campaign right on the heels of Rathergate, when the minds of voters nationwide are fixed on how this very issue was used by people trying to slander the President with blatant forgeries?

Astonishing. Kerry almost certainly would have gotten a pass from the American people on any charge that he was connected to the forgeries. Rumors in the American Spectator don't generally rise to the public's notice, and people would assume such charges were partisan politics, like the charges that Bush was driving the Swifties in private while scorning them in public.

But if Kerry's camp insists on pushing the Guard angle, they're going to associate themselves with the forgery story in peoples' minds. Is this really the "issue" they want to be talking about? With an official US Navy investigation ongoing into his record, does Kerry really want "a pattern of lying about his military service" to be the thing people are discussing?

Well, it's just a rumor from Drudge, for now. Maybe he's brighter than that.

Belmont Club

Yeomen Bloggers:

If you haven't seen it yet, the Belmont Club has a charming comparison of blogs to longbows. I lift my cup of good October to you all, merry men.

Mudville Gazette

Milblogs on Rathergate:

Both the Mudville Gazette and BlackFive have the same reaction to Rathergate: the are outraged at the slander to LTCOL Killian. Greyhawk:

Not much has yet been made of the fact that this fraud has been perpetrated in the name of a deceased military officer, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian of the Texas Air National Guard. CBS's claims actually besmirch the reputation of a man who served his country nobly and well, a man whose opinions (by all accounts of those who knew him best - his family) were the exact opposite of those expressed in the Rather Forgeries. A man who after spending a lifetime defending his country is no longer able to defend himself.
By allowing the forgeries to stand against all logic - including statements against the documents issued by Killian's son (also a retired Air National Guard Officer) and his widow - CBS is defaming the character of the service of LTC Killian.

Defaming LTC Killian's character?

I am sure that you military folks (and many of you who never wore a uniform) understand that writing a memo referenced to CYA is craven and not looked upon as worthy of the uniform of our Armed Forces. To military Officers, putting your career ahead of doing what is right is possibly one of the most distgusting acts for someone to commit (anyone thinking of the VVAW?).

If any of this pisses me off, it's the fact that CBS probably doesn't care about that.
The thought had come to me, in less strong terms, that it was a bit cowardly to forge documents in the name of a man who could no longer speak in his defense. But BlackFive's point is well taken: the "content" of the memo is itself slanderous to Killian.


"Vietnam Veterans for Truth" Rally:

It's on C-SPAN now.You can watch if you're so inclined. I'll live blog it for a bit. Quotes are as best as I can transcribe, but perfect accuracy is not guaranteed. I'll try to demark the ones I am sure of with full quotes, and the ones I'm doing my best with with half-quotes.

Right now Jim Warner is on to talk about what it was to be tortured by the Communists, and to have Kerry's words thrown in his face.

Warner, five and a half years a prisoner, began his statement by saying, "Semper Fi," and then said that he wanted to thank his country for the chance to fight in Vietnam. He spoke about the justness of the cause, and the harm caused not only to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, but to the people of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia by the withdrawal.

Then he launched into a discussion of interrogation sessions in which Winter Soldier and John Kerry's words were used against him. He said, 'John Kerry said this was official policy... I remember my in-country briefing, where they said that these were all the things we weren't allowed to do.' He then went on and said, 'The Vietcong were defeated utterly at Tet... we were all they had left to bargain with... they said, "Your own naval officer says you deserve to be punished!"'

He says, "Everyone knew we were being tortured." 'Nobody had any way of knowing that we would not get hurt. But they did have a way of knowing that, if they said things like that, it could cause us to be hurt.'

Now he's talking about studies of military history. 'The first thing you need is a commander with sound judgment and steadfast character.... John Kerry made a famous statement, I'm told, "Don't be the last man to die in a lost cause." How is Communism doing now? Whose cause is lost now, John Kerry? It wasn't ours.'" That's a misquote of Kerry, I'll note (Kerry said not 'lost cause' but 'mistake'), but the point is valid.

Now he's wrapping up. He says he has something he wants us to take away, "Seared, seared! into your memory." This is it: "Here is a test you can apply universally every time someone wants to be your commander, or your leader... you'll know he has good judgement if he knows the best way to stop a war against an evil enemy is to win it. God bless you, God bless America, and Semper Fi."

Next speaker is now being introduced. He's a Swifty: John O'Neill, it turns out. The introduction contained the line, "Did you notice Dan Rather was more polite to Saddam Hussein than he was to the Swift Boat Vets?"

O'Neill begins: 'I'm no hero, but I served in a unit with a lot of heroes in it.' How many times have I heard that formula, from veterans from many wars? And never from John Kerry.

O'Neill digs at Kerry for hiding for 43 days (and counting) from the press, since the Swifties started raising their charges.

"When has there ever been an American presidential candiate who met with the enemy in time of war?"

He's not backing off of anything the Swifties have charged. Lots of applause from the assembled vets.

Talking about Arlington, 'across the river that divides life from death.' 'They were not the army of Genghis Khan. In fact, they were the greatest people I've ever known.'

The New York Times > Opinion > On Guard, America

The NYTimes Blows It Again:

Here follows a critique of yesterday's lead editorial, "On Guard, America":

As regressive milestones go, few are as frightful in this new era of homeland security as the decision by Congress and the Bush administration to allow the expiration of the 10-year-old law protecting the public from assault rifles and other rapid-fire battlefield weapons. The law - a far from perfect but demonstrably effective restraint on high-tech gunslingers - expires on Monday with not a whimper from the White House.
This lead paragraph needs as much correction as any whole article normally would. I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I shall begin with the outright untruths.

First, none of the weapons banned by this bill -- not one! -- were "rapid-fire." All of them fired one shot per pull of the trigger. All weapons that do otherwise (properly termed "automatic" weapons, or "select-fire" if they have a switch that lets you choose the rate of fire) were illegal before the ban, and remain illegal now. They were regulated by the National Firearms Acts of the 1930s. No one may legally own or possess one except the military, certain police units, and persons holding what is known as a "Class III" permit. A Class III permit requires large fees, extensive background checks, and other safeguards. In a lifetime spent around shooting ranges, I've met only one person who actually had one.

Second, none of these firearms -- not one! -- were "battlefield weapons." The military has firearms that look like these, but they don't function the same way. Battlefield weapons are generally speaking select-fire. None of these are. The Army would not issue any of these to forces it planned to send into the field.

Third, there is no evidence of any sort that this law was "effective" at stopping crime.

Fourth, I object to the notion that this is "regressive." As Chesterton pointed out, what's regression to one is progress to another. I consider this a major step forward in removing unconstitutional restrictions from the law; I also think it's generally progressive to strip away useless laws. But my goal is that of building a society based on individual liberty and independence, not that of building a society based on a life that is regulated 'for our safety.'

Fifth, I wonder at the suggestion that these were "frightful" and "high tech" weapons. Most of them have been around in their current form for between thirty and fifty years. All of the Kalishnikov variants, for example, are based on a WWII-era design. There have been minor adjustments and refinements since then, but it's pretty much the same rifle as ever.
When George Bush was a candidate four years ago and under campaign pressure from moderates, he announced that he did support the renewal of this highly popular law. It turned out that he was shooting rhetorical blanks; his support depended on the renewal's ever getting through Congress in the first place. As president, Mr. Bush has never once demanded that his G.O.P. leaders cease playing first responder to the demands of the gun lobby and take the initiative on this public safety issue.
The Times has an annoying habit of assuming the mantle of moderation. Anyone who agrees with them is a "moderate." Now, honestly, the fact is that the Times' position on gun control is reflected by the laws of only a double-handful of states; the vast majority of states now permit concealed carry on a shall-issue basis. Most of the rest permit concealed carry, though not on a shall-issue basis. The Times' position is hard to the left of what the majority of America practices, and the momentum is on the side of those who believe in the Right to Bear Arms.

Roughly the same objection can be raised against the notion that this was a "highly popular law." If that were the case, why have the Democrats been so quiet about gun control this election season? Kerry took a swipe at Bush over this, but made sure the same week to get out to the gun range and get photographed blasting away at sport clays. (Amusingly, the firearm he used was one he voted to ban.)

Again, pretty much the same argument can be fielded against the Times' demand that Bush should have done more to resurrect this monster. If this were such a moderate, highly popular law, why should it have been a hurdle to say that you would be glad to sign it if Congress sent it to you? The fact that the bill had no chance of getting through Congress is a little telling. Blaming it on the influence of the "gun lobby" doesn't get you out of the pit. The "gun lobby" is just American citizens, after all. I'm the NRA! (And so are you, Sovay, if you'll get around to cutting them that check you promised after losing a certain bet, which forfeit has been outstanding since February.)
A decade's experience with the assault weapons ban showed clearly that the only people who were inconvenienced were the criminals, the gun lobbyists and the least responsible gun dealers. Certainly the Second Amendment rights of responsible hunters were never crimped. Anyone taking to the woods next week with a freshly unfettered AK-47 or Uzi, or a TEC-9 assault pistol, will only make mincemeat of the game and a mockery of sportsmanship.
First of all, this garbage about "sportsmanship" needs to stop. The argument for firearms rights has almost nothing to do with hunting. By far the majority of the argument has to do with self-defense, and a citizen's duty to protect himself, his family, and his community. We have both the right and the duty under the law, and we also have a constitutional right to the tools.

However, since you mention it, an AK-47 is a .30 caliber rifle (7.62x39mm). Since (again!) none of these are automatic weapons, there's no fear of making "mincemeat" out of the animal; you get one shot per pull of the trigger. One shot from a .30 caliber rifle is the single most common means of bringing down a deer for your table. The AK-47 is not ideal: most people prefer a scoped .30-30 or .30-06 for the task. On the other hand, some persons apparently prefer crawling on their belly through the mud with a 12-gauge, so to each their own.
....Now the greedier gun dealers are preparing to profit on the law's expiration as if it signaled the arrival of Beaujolais nouveau. The Bush administration has allowed the right to bear arms to degenerate back to the right to brandish battlefield weapons on the home front.
"Beaujolais nouveau." Somehow that phrase does as much to show the Times' bias as anything else in the article. If you didn't get it, though, they hammer the point one more time: they repeat the dishonest formula, "battlefield weapons," and they refer to a restoration of our rights as "degenerate."

Once again, the Times has misrepresented the truth about these firearms. They have dishonestly portrayed them as automatic weapons, "rapid-fire" "battlefield weapons" that would make "mincemeat" out of their targets. They have suggested, in despite of the facts, that the ban somehow impacted crime rates. They have also misrepresented the argument of firearms rights proponents, who have never suggested that hunting was the reason for these firearms' legality.

The editors of the Times have, in other words, approached the issue without any regard for facts or fairness. If they wish to know why the majority of the country is opposed to their suggested policy, they might take that as a starting point.

Grim's Hall

Nuclear Test?

By now everyone's heard that the DPRK may have detonated an atomic weapon, although the US gov't and ROK gov't are both denying it. It's possible that it was non-nuclear: the DPRK may be trying to sort out what kind of bunker they need to contain an underground nuclear test. The US gov't did several similar tests with conventional explosives out in the desert back during the Manhattan project, as I recall -- they took a rough estimate of the explosive power from the scientists, loaded that much TNT into a hole, and blew it up.

Several people are pointing to the mushroom cloud that was reported. Well, here's a picture of last week's explosion in Jakarta:

If you get a big enough explosion, even with conventional explosives, you'll get something shaped in this fashion. It has to do with the way the air is pushed and heated by the blast (forming the cap of the "mushroom," which rises, being hot). Cool air rushes in below, drawn into the partial vacuum created both by the explosion's push, and by the rapid rise of the heated air. That keeps the stem of the mushroom slender, and helps drive the cap even higher.

Of course, instead of a test, this could be one of several other things: an uncontrolled explosion at an underground facility, an assassination attempt (that was what the official state media finally settled upon as the cause of the railway explosions), &c.

Still, Grim's Hall has been predicting a DPRK nuclear test for nearly as long as Grim's Hall has been on the internet. Their progress is slower than I've expected.