Japan Today - News - White House serves beef to Abe so he can see how safe it is - Japan's Leading International News Network


Japan Today notes this little piece of fun by the White House, at Japan's expense. Shinzo Abe is the leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and widely expected to be the next prime minister:

Liberal Democratic Party Acting Secretary General Shinzo Abe was served beef and asked by a senior U.S. official if he enjoyed it at a White House luncheon on Wednesday.

Abe was attending a lunch hosted by Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby when the conversation turned to Japan's 17-month-old import ban on U.S. beef.
At least this sort of diplomacy can't be called "ham-fisted."

Ledger-Enquirer | 05/06/2005 | Mother's call gets son in hot water

You Wanna See Defiant?

Via the Best of the Web, this story about a son of Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, deployed in Iraq with 3ID.

Francois, a junior at Spencer High School in Columbus, was suspended for disorderly conduct Wednesday after he was told to give up his cell phone at lunch while talking to his mother who is deployed in Iraq, he said....

The incident happened when Francois received a call from his mother at 12:30 p.m., which he said was his lunch break. Francois said he went outside the school building to get a better reception when his mother called. A teacher who saw Francois on his phone told him to get off the phone. But he didn't....

Francois said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Francois said the teacher tried to take the phone, causing it to hang up.

The student said he then went with the teacher to the school's office where he surrendered his phone. His mother called again at 12:37 p.m. and left a message scolding her son about hanging up and telling him to answer the phone when she calls.
This kid's getting it from both ends.
"Kevin got defiant and disorderly with Mr. Turner and another assistant principal," Parham said Thursday. "He got defiant with me. He refused to leave Mr. Turner's office. When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."
Defiant, eh? Just because a teacher was trying to steal his phone and hang up on his mother in Iraq? And then refused to let him answer the phone when she called back?

Arrested, eh? Yeah, I want to be on that jury. "We find the student not guilty, plus he gets to apply the remedy of the 28th Alabama to the teacher, if he feels inclined."

Range Day

Range Day:

It's been a gloomy and overcast day here in Virginia. I've spent most of it working, but I did find a little while to go over to the range. I went through a box of .44s. Here's the target I saved for the last six:

I've been going down there since July, after more than a year of not using any sort of firearm due to living in the socialist republic of Maryland. I planned to go once a week until I got back into shape as a shootist, and then once a month or so to keep in shape. As it's worked out, I've managed to get out there less than once a month at any point.

Still, I'm pleased with the result. I'm shooting handguns now as well as I ever have. My riflemanship still needs quite a bit of work, work it didn't get today as I had only twenty minutes on the range. Still, I'm pleased with the progress I've made, and look forward to the future: shooting not just as well as I ever have, but better than I ever have.



Kaplan's new piece in the Atlantic Monthly is stupendous. It's called "How We Would Fight China," and you must read it.

Every reader will find something to agree with and something that rubs him the wrong way. Set aside the parts that rub you the wrong way, and keep reading. Kaplan definitely knows what he's talking about here. This is an excellent history of PACOM and its capabilities, with a useful analogy to Otto von Bismarck, thoughts on current and future naval capabilities, diplomacy, and ways in which China might fight us with asymmetry.

Smitten in 8 Seconds

Maryland Cowboys:

Yeah, really. Here's an article on Bullriders in Libertytown, MD. The Washington Post gives a full history in the article, assuming that most of their readership will have never heard of such a thing.

Still, except for the hilariously inappropriate title ("Smitten in Eight Seconds"), it's a good read. I like the advice given to the cowboy with the newly dislocated shoulder on how he should have handled his ride.

The Daily News, Jacksonville NC

"Roster of American Combat Heroes"

Lisa Hoffman, writing for Scripps Howard, has composed an article called "Roster of American combat heroes in Iraq is rich." JHD sent it to me to fold into my morning reading, and I'm glad I did.

By rights this type of article should be a major focus of journalism. It's the kind of thing people love to read, so it sells newspapers. It makes people feel good, so it sells newspapers. It also happens to be true and important, which also sells newspapers.

Yet we rarely see it, and almost never as front-page items. Readers of the MilBlogs know that these things are not rare news; the occasional roundup item, such as this one, has a wealth to pull from, and they can only scratch the surface. One would almost think that newspapers weren't primarily interested in selling their product, but in trying to influence politics.

That might help to explain certain recent sales figures.

Marine Corps Moms

An Advanced Scam:

Marine Corps Moms has word of a fairly elaborate con aimed at the families of deployed Marines. I'll be surprised if it doesn't occur with other services, too. Keep your eyes out for this:

Two men posing as a Marine and a Sailor tried to gain personal checking account information from the spouse of an activated Marine Reservist. The attempted scam occurred as follows:

The spouse was called by a man claiming that he was a Marine Master Sergeant. He informed her that her husband was missing in action and that someone would visit her home to provide further information. Two men, one dressed in Marine dress blues and the other in a Navy uniform, visited the spouse at her home. Neither of the men would properly identify themselves. They informed her that her husband was missing in action and that they would need her checking account number in case he was determined to have been killed in action. The alleged perpetrators had somehow obtained personal information on the Marine to include his name, rank, address, telephone number and social security number.
Now, I know most military spouses are pretty tough in their own right. Anybody shows up at your house claiming that part of your family is missing in action, and wanting a checking account number -- I suggest that, if possible, you hold them until the police arrive. This kind of thing is intolerable.

The Indepundit

A Soldier In Need:

Smash links to the blog of American Soldier, who is coming up on some rough reconstructive surgery. He's feeling the distance from his loved ones, and could use some encouragement.

If you don't know what to say, check Smash's own comments. That's how you talk to a fighting man.


Joint Marines:

BlackFive has some thoughts on the selection of Marine General Peter Pace as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As B-5 points out, this is the first time that a Marine has held the post in the nation's history.

What's interesting is that there is also a Marine, General James E. Cartwright, as commander of the United States Strategic Command (CDRUSSTRATCOM).

STRATCOM is an oddity in the military structure. The military divides the world into "combatant commands," which is to say, regions of influence: the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) roughly includes Latin America; the Northern Command (NORTHCOM) the North American region; The European Command (EUCOM) takes in much of Europe and Africa; the Central Command (CENTCOM) holds most of the trouble spots we think of as "the Middle East," including Iraq and Afghanistan; and the rest of the world falls in the Pacific Command (PACOM). These commands have areas of responsibility, and forces are placed under their command structures in order to pursue the missions that the government chooses for them.

There are two other commands, which do not have territory to control. STRATCOM is one of these. The other is the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), whose function is largely self-explanatory.

STRATCOM is normally thought of as the "nuclear" command, and it does handle that function. That was where the term "strategic" came from -- nuclear weapons are the only weapons which cannot be used tactically. Their power is such that not only their use, but their development and even how and where they are deployed must be considered at the highest level of military thinking.

In addition to that function, however, STRATCOM has been tasked with several similar functions -- military functions that have to be thought about at the highest level, so that they can be implemented with an eye toward the grand, worldwide strategy of the United States. One of these areas is "Strategic Communications," which we've talked about a bit here from time to time. Another is electronic warfare: protecting America's ability to communicate worldwide, to defend our electronic structures against worldwide threats, and to deploy against the electronic structures of enemy nations or groups.

It seems to me that the Marines' culture is particularly suited to the challenges of the moment -- the business of adapting the military's role to Fourth Generation challenges, with their blurring of lines. US Marines invented "small wars" thinking, after all, which is the template for a lot of the current thinking on how to fight Fourth Generation wars. The Marine culture is also highly adaptive, which may be of use in shifting the focus of so large an organization as the US military.

By placing the Pentagon and the Strategic Command under the guidance of Marines, the military has chosen to test that proposition. We will see how it fares under the friction of war. I think we can all wish it well.


Interesting Readings Today:

This week's Secrecy News has an especially varied group of readings. I'll bet that at least one of which is apt to be of interest to you -- at least those of you who comment often enough for me to know your interests.

For example, some of you will be interested in this piece by the Congressional Research Service, examining when "rendition" is legal. Of interest to Congress: when the awareness of the USG that an allied nation tortures should impact rendition decisions, and how.

Others of you -- especially those for whom the words posse comitatus are meaningful -- will be interested in the new Army Field Manual on Civil Disturbances. It includes information on how the Army might be used "in providing assistance to civil authorities requesting it for civil disturbance operations."

Also, China E-Lobby has a link rich collection of expert speculation on the future of Communist China. The experts don't agree:

On the future of Communist China: F. Andrew Messing, Jr. and Daniel A. Perez, of the National Defense Council Foundation, sound the alarm about Communist China’s ambitions for global dominance in the Washington Times. Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, has a more mediocre column on the cadres’ ambitions – mediocre largely because of his unwillingness to recognize the military aspect of the Communist threat. Meanwhile, Yu Linyi, Epoch Times, believes the Communists have a much shorter lease on life, due to the effect of the Nine Commentaries. National Taiwan University Politics Professor Ming Juzheng likens the CCP to the Nazi Party, and like the Nazis, he sees the Communists’ reign of terror ending as well (Sound of Hope Radio via Epoch Times).
To this I'll add Hugh White of the Australian Institute for Strategic Studies, who views Australia's role as becoming less that of US ally, and more that of mediator between the US and China. My own sense, which I will explore at length another time, is that the CCP is in some real trouble -- though its collapse is far from guaranteed.

That's surely enough matter of interest to hold you all for the rest of the day. Take care.

Marine Corps Moms


Marine Corps Moms managed to get the photos we've all been wanting to see.

Embraceable? Eew. (washingtonpost.com)

Miss Manners:

I occasionally point people to Miss Manners' column, which I think is not nearly as widely read as it ought to be. She has a gentle, practical kind of advice from which we can all benefit.

However, this week's column is highly unusual. I've been reading her for years, and I don't recall that I have ever before seen her single out someone by name for scorn. Not ever, until now.

And who did she pick, among all the etiquette wrongdoers in America?

Jimmy Carter.

Musings of The GeekWithA.45

For Airboss:

I never met him, but I have heard kind words of him from quite a few of you out there. The GeekWithA.45 informs us of the passing of Airboss, a reader and commenter on many firearms-related blogs and websites, as well as a fine gentleman by all accounts.

My sympathies to his family, and those of you who knew him.

OhmyNews International

So Buy Him A Drink:

What would you do if you met a youngster walking around displaying a fascist flag on his back? Well, what if you were in China?

This guy bought the kid a coke, and sat down for a chat. It makes for an interesting read, both the article and the comments.