I'll be stepping out for a few days. What? No, not here. Anyway, you folks have some fun while I'm gone. With luck, I should be back in good form in a little while.

UPDATE: Never mind. Travel plans fell through at the last minute.

This doesn't look good.

Romney speaks up for sons' decisions

BETTENDORF, Iowa - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."

My own unvarnished opinion is that the Governor just stepped on his training aid there.
So. Could one of you military lawyer types attempt to explain what's going on in this story?

Airman Who Alleged Rape Faces Court-Martial

I kinda think I see why this is happening, but its in the Washington Post, and I noticed it on Memeorandum tonight, and I'll bet we hear more about it, with lots of outrage from, well, the usual suspects.

What's wrong with this picture?

(Explanation here.)

Unseemly - Part II

Unseemly? - Part II:

In comments to two posts below, I raised the question of whether SGT Aguina behaved in an unseemly manner when he showed up at Yearly Kos in his class A's to make the point he had to make. Several commenters agreed that he did, some quite forcefully. I'd like some help in exploring why. My jumping-off point is Grim's response:
In answer to your question about whether it was "unseemly," I'll say no, for this reason: the panel discussion was explicitly on a military topic.

Any other part of Yearly Kos, yes, it would have been unseemly to wear the uniform to it. It's a partisan political conference, one that features repeated calls for the impeachment of the Commander in Chief; even to attend that puts a uniformed military member in an odd position. (I say that having received some guidance from a sergeant about how to present myself when asked about our CiC, Clinton: "The only thing you should ever say about him is, 'I support the Commander in Chief.'" The military oaths make that explicit, so it's simply a direct and honest answer, regardless of politics.)

However, given that this panel discussion was about military topics, I think it was proper to wear a legitimate military uniform to address it. The military normally has to keep out of politics, but it does have a legitimate role in speaking to policy matters that affect it -- for example, a question like "should Congress approve funding for the Crusader system?"

By the same token, even a partisan political panel about military affairs is legitimate for a uniformed military man to address. So long as he is obedient to the law, shows due respect for the chain of command and makes clear that he speaks for himself and not the Army, I see nothing unseemly about his wearing the uniform there.
I'll explain my problem in a roundabout way. I have noticed that some Presidential candidates like to run, not on specific policies and proposals, but as "keepers of the secret knowledge." Wes Clark was a prime example: the main focus of his campaign was the fact that he was a general, and presumably had technical knowledge and insights that most of us don't have, which (so the implication went) would make him strong on foreign policy. Ross Perot was much the same, with respect to his business experience and economic policy. I hated those campaigns. The level of grand strategy where the President must operate, and where much of the political debate takes place, goes far beyond the kind of operational judgment a successful general must make; and "I'm the man who knows because of my military experience" simply isn't satisfying. If it's presented the wrong way, it becomes an intimidation tactic - "Don't argue with me because you never did my job" - and an ineffective one at that.

Now, if you show up at a meeting like that to make a point like that with your uniform on, to me you're saying, "You need to listen to me, because I know what I'm talking about, because of who and what I am." That might, as Grim says, be all right in the case of (let's say) an artilleryman commenting on the effectiveness of a new gun - his technical knowledge and his experience really matter in determining what weight to give his opinion. But SGT Aguina wasn't arguing from technical knowledge or experience; he was arguing from publicly available information (and, indeed, inviting the attendees to access it) about Iraqi casualties. His choice of uniform looked like an intimidation tactic aimed at most of the people at the conference. And that is why it seems unseemly to me, or at least why I think it does - because that's not what the uniform is for.

What do you think?
It's Sunday, I'm bored, and you never know what you'll find on the interntet.

Bikini Girls with Machine Guns

(hat tip: American Digest)

Same facts - separate question

Same Facts, Separate Issue:

I asked this in comments below but decided it made more sense as a separate thread. With respect to the Yearly Kos Exchange, as a matter of manners and morals, and leaving aside all UCMJ questions, was the sergeant's wearing of his uniform while making that statement in that forum unseemly?