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Marines In the Deepest Desert:

Amid the tallest dunes on earth, the new Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorist Initiative is hunting the GSPC, "Algeria's last powerful rebel force."

JunkYardBlog: September 19, 2004 - September 25, 2004 Archives

Sovay, This Is For You:

From JunkYardBlog, Japanese fan-dancing droids.

Kerry's Unlikely Detractors (

"It is NOT Enough"

Colbert I. King has a piece in today's Washington Post that is entitled "Kerry's Unlikely Detractors." Some excerpts:

[In a previous article] I had taken to task the authors of the blistering anti-Kerry bestseller "Unfit for Command" for giving readers an unbalanced view of Kerry's service in Vietnam, and for not revealing their own connections with the Bush campaign and the sources of their financial support. The column also criticized "Unfit for Command" for smearing Kerry, a decorated former naval officer, as disloyal because of his antiwar activities. Writing as a former Army officer, I concluded: "Speaking for myself, it is enough that he served."

A number of readers agreed with that conclusion. Many more, however, most of them angry veterans, did not. Most striking was the fact that those who identified themselves seemed to span the political spectrum, with one even describing himself as a Howard Dean Democrat.

Two weeks later, another e-mail arrived on the same topic. It was from a Howard University classmate, a friend of 47 years, former assistant secretary of the Air Force Rodney Coleman. A Democrat, Coleman has local roots, having worked for the D.C. Council and later the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp.

Bill Clinton appointed Coleman to the Pentagon post, in which he served from 1994 to 1998....

Coleman, who served in Vietnam for 13 months in 1971-72, wrote that he found disheartening the protracted mudslinging between Bush and Kerry and their respective camps about military records. But the favorable conclusion I drew about Kerry's service was, he stated, "with all due respect, not mine!"

"Some of those 58,000 who died [in Vietnam] were at DaNang with me, and some were under my command, in the 366th Air Force engineering squadron," Coleman wrote.

Then he got to the heart of the matter.

"I vividly recall Kerry's antiwar testimony in April 1971. I was a White House fellow at the time, on a leave of absence from active duty, as were five of the 17 fellows selected. Two of them had Vietnam experience with Silver and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts awarded for their heroism. In early April 1971, I volunteered to go to Vietnam after my year as a White House fellow. I could have very easily taken steps to forgo a tour in 'Nam, but as an Air Force captain committed to the ideals of the oath of office I took, Vietnam was the only game in town."

The oath of office was a serious matter for products of Howard's ROTC programs. I know. I was commissioned in the Army; Coleman joined the Air Force. Unlike some college campuses, Howard's ROTC programs were a source of pride, having produced, according to the school, more African American general officers than any other university in the country.

"When Kerry made those critical statements of the war," Coleman wrote, "my parents, God bless them, went ballistic about their son going in harm's way. My military colleagues in the fellows program who had been there and were shot up were incensed that a so-called military man would engage in such insubordinate actions. At the time Kerry made those unfortunate remarks, America had POWs and MIAs, among them my friend, Colonel Fred Cherry, the longest-held black POW of the Vietnam War. How could a true American fighting man throw away his medals, while thousands he fought alongside of were in the midst of another example of man's inhumanity to man?"
Coleman wishes to vote against Bush this year, but he says he cannot make up his mind. "Kerry still hasn't satisfied me and many others... It's September and I'm still conflicted. Speaking for myself, it is NOT enough that he served!"

Yahoo! Mail -

A Celebration Is In Order:

Hail the Hall!

One of our own is coming home. JarHeadDad, faithful commenter and fellow Georgian, sends:

[Da Grunt] called on Wed night (Thur morning 0200) and was waiting on a C-130 to fly him and the boys to Kuwait! He's out of it and in one piece.

And we'd best be keeping him and his compadres away from John Kerry for awhile! They are not real fond of him right now considering he threw them under the bus and they spent their last week fighting like hell because, and I quote, "The a**hole has let these %^&$* believe they can win and we're paying the price! Half of everything we worked so hard to do has gone to s**t!". I don't believe Kerry will get the Marine vote! If the new guys survive his rhetoric. Everyone over there will sure feel better when November comes! BTW, there was a huge absentee vote before the new guys went over. Enough politics but I thought y'all should know what the real story about the "quagmire" is and who is getting our boys killed again. Leopard never changes his spots! (In case you didn't notice, I'm really pissed at the crap spewed out this week and so is my son who had to pay a price for it!)

Anyhoo, 2/2 is cooling their heels in Kuwait. Janice and I will pop a bottle of bubbly as soon as I get off the computer!
Let me be the first to thank Da Grunt for his long service, and suffering in the defense of the Republic. And, let me be the first to say to JHD: we've all been holding our breath with you. Give the boy our very best, and tell him he's always welcome here.

And not just in the virtual hall. If he's ever out my way, be sure to let me know.

BLACKFIVE: "That's my president, hooah!"

Morale Is To Physical As Three Is To One:

Via BlackFive, an object lesson in how to be Commander in Chief.

New York Post Online Edition: postopinion

Some Call It Treason:

Another broadside from Ralph Peters:

IMAGINE if, in the presiden tial election of 1944, the can didate opposing FDR had in sisted that we were losing the Second World War and that, if elected, he would begin to withdraw American troops from Europe and the Pacific.
We would have called it treason. And we would have been right.

In WWII, broadcasts from Tokyo Rose in Japan and from Axis Sally in Germany warned our troops that their lives were being squandered in vain, that they were dying for big business and "the Jew" Roosevelt.

Today, we have a presidential candidate, the conscienceless Sen. John Kerry, doing the work of the enemy propagandists of yesteryear.

Is there nothing Kerry won't say to win the election? Is there no position he won't change? Doesn't he care anything for the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq?

And if he does care about our soldiers and Marines, why is he broadcasting remarks that insist — against all hard evidence — that the terrorists are winning?

Has he seen the situation with his own eyes? I'll gladly tell him how to get there. I'll even be his guide. And he can smell what remains of Saddam's mass graves — with new ones still being discovered. He can taste the joy of freedom among the Kurds. He can see the bustling commerce throughout the country — despite the violence that alone makes headlines.

Above all, he could see the magnificent performance of our troops, their dedication and professionalism. And their humanity, their goodness.

But Kerry doesn't want to see those things. He's reverting to form. Just as he lied about our troops three decades ago, encouraging our enemies of the day and worsening the suffering of our POWs in North Vietnam, today he's pandering to a new enemy.
Peters, an analyst Kevin Drum called "military analyst generally respected by both left and right," has a point. I refuse to call it treason: a man has the right to speak his mind, and if this what Kerry believes, he's got every right to say it. Of course, so does Mr. Peters.

UPDATE: And so does InstaPundit, who also links to the Peters piece at the end of a long post about other propaganda coming from the Kerry camp. InstaPundit cites "a pattern of behavior," including the recent (unapologized-for) remarks to the Australians by the Kerrys, the constant slurs against our real allies ("the coalition of the bribed and coerced"; the 'fake coalition'), and now the remarks against PM Allawi by a campaign that couldn't even be bothered to meet with him or attend his address to Congress.

They did find time to describe him as a puppet: "'[Y]ou can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips,' said Joe Lockhart." That, once again, is precisely the line being used by the enemy, except that they describe him as a CIA puppet rather than Bush's. Both intend to discredit him, and with him the provisional government. I have seen little evidence that Allawi is anyone's puppet -- to me he looks like an operator who realizes that he needs US support, and is trying to earn it. That means he is the one pulling the strings -- the heartstrings.

Yet both the enemy, and the Kerry camp, try to discredit him by saying he is the tool of the administration. Surely they have different reasons. The enemy wishes to destroy the Iraqi government; the Kerry camp has already written it off. They are willing to participate in its destabilization and destruction, in order to achieve political victory at home. On this point they have sided with the enemy in Iraq: not because they want the enemy to win, but because they expect to achieve their own political goals through the same events.

Yes, these are harsh words. They are entirely deserved. The success of the Iraqi transition depends in part on the provisional government's survival. A great number of American lives are at risk today, defending that hope. Kerry and his camp are intentionally undermining it for political gain. For that they deserve condemnation.

It is not treason to say what you believe to be true.
[H]e made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue.

Shortly before Wilkie died, he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter.

Where are such statesmen today?
It is easy to say where they are not.

Dynamist Blog: We Need More Feature Reporting from Iraq

A Suggestion for West Point:

This is a great article on honor and hospitality in Iraq, and how a US Army officer made use of them to achieve his goals. After having two vehicles looted, his training said that he should tear the village apart with search teams:

Instead, Capt. Ayers, 29 years old, took a risk. He went to the village sheik's house. As a sign of respect, he said, he wouldn't search the village. But he gave the local leader 48 hours to find and return the equipment. "If we don't get the equipment back, I am going to come back with my men and tear apart every house in this village," he recalls saying. If the gear was returned, he promised to reduce patrols in the area.

The gamble ran counter to Capt. Ayers's training, which states that the longer troops wait to search an area, the less chance they'll find what they are looking for. His bosses told him he had made a huge blunder. Two days later, though, the sheik returned every scrap of looted equipment to the Army....

Earlier this summer, the same team, led by retired Lt. Col. Leonard Wong, concluded: "Junior officers have become the experts on the situation in Iraq, not higher headquarters." The fast-moving insurgency is forcing lower-ranking officers, who spend more time in the field, to take a more prominent role.
It turns out that the Army knows a good thing when it sees it, even if it takes a few days to sort it out. They've appointed our Captain to West Point:
Capt. Ayers, who was recently selected by the Army to teach at West Point, has begun to think about how a young soldier could prepare for what he's been through. Before deploying to Iraq, he and his soldiers fought a giant mock tank battle at the National Training Center. It wasn't helpful.

Instead, he says, "I guess I'd drop soldiers in a foreign high school and give them two days to figure out all the cliques. Who are the cool kids? Who are the geeks?" he says. That would be pretty close to what he has been doing in Iraq, he says, with one big exception: There would also have to be people in the high school trying to kill the soldiers.
One of the best ways to teach these kinds of skills is to introduce young American soldiers to the heroic literature of the West. An eighteen year old arriving at West Point already knows nothing but High School. What he needs to learn is how to be a hero.

If you want to know how to deal with an Iraqi sheikh, you need to learn to think of yourself as Menelaeus, Lord of the Warcry: a study of the Iliad (and I do recommend the Fitzgerald translation) will teach you a great deal about honor, shame, the great violence they can spawn, and how to make amends.

Or read the Saga of Burnt Njal. It has a great deal to teach about vengeance and violence, and the way that friendships can stand the tests of both. It teaches, also, quite a bit about wisdom amid violence, as it shows both how to make things worse, and how to make them better.

Read the Beowulf, where the horrors of war and the need for strong kings and gift-giving are explored. Being aware of our own heritage makes us able to speak the same language that the Iraqis speak -- the heroic language.

Read the Havamal, and it will teach you everything a hero needs to know, from how to enter a room to how to behave in company, from how to make and keep friends to how to be respected among great men. It is in its way a complete education.

This will teach our soldiers what they need to know to relate to the sheikhs, and indeed many other cultures abroad. But it also does the soldier a great kindness, as it makes him an educated man. These are exactly the things you need to know to comprehend the Western tradition. With these as your base, nothing in America's history is forbidding. Both Plato and Aristotle are far simpler if you know Homer first. Should you choose to become a lawyer, the writings of the Norse and Anglo-Saxons are a window into the origins of our laws. Should you choose to study literature, the great works all reference these. Should you choose to study business, the same lessons about honor and shame, how to enter a room and look like a hero, these lessons will stand you well.

American - Beer for Soldiers - Thanks

Beer for Soldiers!

Via BlackFive, I found this excellent idea. I'm sure we've all said that we wished we could buy a drink for the Marines and soldiers in Iraq.

Well, now you can. They've made donations easy -- so go send 'em a brew.

Mudville Gazette

"On Leaving"

You should not miss Greyhawk's farwell to his children, as he departs for Iraq.

Swimming through the Spin: These aren't the Droids I'm voting for


Here is a delightful piece, entitled "These aren't the Droids I'm voting for." I have to admit that I was laughing pretty hard by the end of it.

Microsoft software caused air traffic shutdown -

Now Here's A Comforting Thought:


Nearly all of Southern California's airports were shut down and five incidents where aircraft broke separation guidelines were reported. In one case, a pilot had to take evasive action.

The newspaper said that a Microsoft-based replacement for an older Unix system needed to be reset every thirty days 'to prevent data overload', as a result of problems found when the system was first rolled out. However, a technician failed to perform the reset at the right time and an internal clock within the system subsequently shut it down. A back-up system also failed.
And this is without hackers going after the thing. This is just the way it usually works.

Inaugural Address of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Burdens and JFK:

John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage -- and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge -- and more.
John Forbes Kerry:
We should also intensify the training of Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened. Otherwise, U.S. forces will end up bearing that burden alone.

If the president would move in this direction, if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and to train the Iraqis to provide their own security and to develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people, and take the steps necessary to hold elections next year, if all of that happened, we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring our troops home within the next four years....

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear. We must make Iraq the world's responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should have always been bearing the burden.
We shall bear no more price; we shall shirk any burden.

The Command Post - 2004 Presidential Election

This is the plan?!?

In the name of...

John Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists.
THIS is how Jean Kerry plans to get more support for the Coalition? THIS?

Grim's Hall

Comments Policy:

A repost, with a couple of additions due to the increased number of trolls. The comments policy at Grim's Hall has always been this, adopted from the (currently in suspension) Texas Mercury:

As we see it, modern society has all the important ideas of life exactly backwards: we are completely against the belief in sensitivity and tolerance in politics and raffish disregard in private life. The Texas Mercury is founded on the opposite principles- our idea is of tolerance and polite sensitivity in private life and ruthless truth in politics. Be nice to your neighbor. Be hell to his ideas.
That stands, but I would like to clarify: hit & run attacks, whether they are on ideas or people, will be deleted.

If you're a regular, you can say anything you want and expect to be treated kindly, personally, even if we beat your ideas to death. Cowards do not drink in this Hall. If you haven't got the guts to stick around and defend your ideas, but just want to launch attacks and then run, you go on elsewhere. We neither need nor want your kind.


Kerry Was Right!

The US military is reminiscient of Genghis Khan! Well, at least, the CO of the 1/6 Marines is.

Captain's Quarters

In Denial:

Maybe Sovay is right, and I'm wrong, and so is The Belmont Club, the President, and LTCOL Kyeser, CO of the 2/2 "Warlords." It could be we are all in denial about the impending military defeat if we don't rush out to elect President Jean Kerry.

But it's refreshing to know that, if I'm in denial, this Major of Marines is right there with me. Except her part of "Denial" is in the sandbox, where she commands a unit of Multinational Corps Iraq.


Evil Jeff:

Here find "The Guide to Concealable Weapons," published by the FBI. It turns out that Evil Jeff Gordon is involved. I always knew a man who'd paint his car like that couldn't be trusted.

France: We Should All Pay "International Taxes"

Another great idea from the cosmopolitan set.

French President Jacques Chirac will put forward ideas for an international tax scheme that would help build a 50-billion-dollar war chest to fight poverty during a 55-nation conference on economic development opening Monday in New York.... Their document suggests that a tax could be imposed on greenhouse gas emissions as well as certain financial transactions, arms sales or multinational corporations.

Other proposed approaches raise the possibility of taxes levied on ships transiting key maritime straits, airline tickets, credit card purchases as well as an international lottery.
For "greenhouse gas emissions," read, "Kyoto 2." Since the whole point is to find a way for the international community to lay claim to part of your paycheck, this plan would need the same unfair standards that characterized Kyoto, designed to punish the United States for every bit of economic activity while giving credit for not one of our greenhouse-gas sinks.

The rest of these would hamper economic activity worldwide, except perhaps for the lottery. The lottery is the only one of the lot that would have a decent chance of passage, probably raise enough to achieve its goals without crushing economic activity, and not be unfairly aimed at the US. Sounds good, right?

Well... one problem. Lotteries tend to be patronized by the poor. My old economics professor said that lotteries were "a voluntary tax on stupidity." Georgia has one, which it uses to pay for college education for citizens who can maintain a 3.0 or better GPA. Thus, take from the dumb and give to the relatively smart or hard-working: a good plan overall.

But the whole point of Chirac's plan is to give to the poor, who are the very ones most likely to be buying these tickets. Ban their sale in poor nations? Hello, black-market: the poor still buy the things, desperate for the dream a winning ticket represents, but at inflated prices due to the costs of smugglers-as-middle-men.

Helping the poor is a worthy goal, one that we should all work toward. But it has to be done voluntarily, or the problems it creates are greater than the effect of the solution.

The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election - Election Observers Arrive in U.S.

We Will Rue This Day:

From The Command Post:

A team of 20 independent democracy experts from 15 countries and five continents has arrived in the United States in order to observe this year's presidential election campaign.

The election monitors, who have been brought here by the San Francisco activist group "Global Exchange"...
Nothing says 'Communist Sympathizer' like "San Francisco activist group."
In addition to [Marxist organization] Code Pink, Benjamin’s San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange was the founding force for United for Peace and Justice coalition, the nexus of the anti-war protests.

The United for Peace coalition, which includes Socialist Action and the Socialist Party USA, is also led by Leslie Cagan, who has a long history of activism with the American Communist Party. If you want to know what anti-war activities United for Peace and its more radical partner, Act Now To Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) have planned for the near future or contact information for how you can join in, you can click on the Communist World Workers Party website, one of the central grassroots clearing houses for communist organizers in the United States and around the world.
A Google search on "international answer stalinist" returns "about 30,500" results. A Google search on "'global exchange' communist" returns "about 4,180" results -- but only 417 if you include "Kerry" in the search. Many of these arise from his wife's financial dealings, which include funding several of these groups, including Global Exchange, to the tune of $4 million through the TIDES foundation.

These are the folks who are going to be observing our elections. They'll be the ones telling the world whether or not the elections were fair and honest. Their verdict will be blared from every wire service from the AFP to Interfax, and from every newspaper from the International Herald Tribune to the Bangkok Post.

And just what do you suppose they will say? Reckon they've written the press release yet? "Just hand out file 'Alpha' if Kerry wins; but otherwise, the 'Omega File' will do."

UPDATE: The Global Exchange page on this is here. Just to make sure you understand what the challenges to Democracy in America are, it lists some: "This is the place to find articles about Attorney General Ashcroft's attacks on the constitution, the Guantanamo Bay detainees, Diebold's suspect electronic voting machines and all the other threats to democracy that are multiplying in this day and age."

The links section for the Global Exchange project is here. Their partners include the Alliance for Democracy, whose mission is "to free all people from corporate domination..."; IndyMedia, which recently published the names and addresses for Republican delegates to the RNC, along with their hotel information; and United for a Fair Economy, which states that "[i]ts goal is to revitalize America through a more fair distribution of wealth."

Doubtless we shall see complete evenhandedness from this project, then. It's not at all an attempt to bludgeon their political opponents with charges of election stealing or corruption, backed by the expert opinions of biased "international observers."