Monday, July 31, 2006

The Nation goes after the Washington Times 
Writers from The Nation have infiltrated the Washington Times newsroom, and are planning a long expose on the personal bigotry of the WashTimes editor, Fran Coombs. Look for it in September.

Yes, that's the level of journalism you can expect from the once great Nation, the former editorial home of Christopher Hitchens and William Greider.

Of course, these are people who admire Howie Zinn and Noam Chomsky, so what do you expect?

Splash, out


Investmental Illness: A Guide to Getting Well 
You can read my latest personal finance feature article on Bankrate.com.

In my email today ... 
"We just wanted to try to connect with you one last time about a position as
a Financial Advisor with First Command Financial Planning. Given your
background, we think this is an opportunity worth exploring further and
invite you to visit us at www.firstcommand.com/advisorcareers or contact us
at 1-800-472-8772.


Field Recruiting
First Command Financial Planning"

The craic is grand 

So I get all set to go visit my Mom in Salem, Oregon, and my car, which I just spent 600 bucks repairing on Saturday, breaks down on the way to the airport. The cost of moving my flight back a couple of days is more than twice what it would cost to simply reschedule the whole thing, so I eat the whole cost of the trip this time round. And it's gonna cost me over $400 additional to fix it.

On top of that, a personal finance magazine, ironically enough, bounced its check to me for my fee.

On the bright side, the McDonald's next to the car repair shop has WiFi and blasts Deep Purple and Cream tracks over the speakers. And I went to a traditional Irish session in Naples yesterday with friends and we played tunes for 2 and a half hours - - after the normal quitting time.

The craic is grand indeed.

Splash, out

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Laugh line of the week 
Senator Edward Kennedy accuses Justices Roberts and Alito of being "outside the mainstream."

Hey, everyone! Let's watch the New York Times make a parody of itself! 
Here they are endorsing (who else?) Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman:

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation’s longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced Democrats who were “more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq” than on supporting the war’s progress.

Yeah. Bush ALWAYS does that. Continually. And his adminstration as depicted ANY questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Always. Ummmm... don't make me actually support my thesis with specific examples.

Oh, and Lieberman. Denouncing Democrats who were more focused on how Bush took us into the war than on supporting the war's progress. How dare he? Everyone knows every drooling, barking moonbat is above all criticism.

The moral authority of a leftist whack-job is absolute. Don't you people know that?

Seriously, what kind of uncoupled, drug-addled thought process can come up with a formulation like this:

In 2004, Mr. Lieberman praised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for expressing regret about Abu Ghraib, then added: “I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized.” To suggest even rhetorically that the American military could be held to the same standard of behavior as terrorists is outrageous, and a good example of how avidly the senator has adopted the Bush spin and helped the administration avoid accounting for Abu Ghraib.

Huh? Don't editors have editors? Lieberman, quite rightly, brings perspective to the Abu Ghraib flap, and the Times objects? Lieberman notes that Al Qaeda never apologized for 9/11 and that equals holding the American military to the same standards as terrorists?

These people are simply stupid. The intellectual inbreeding in Manhattan has created a community of retards.

I'm sure their argument makes sense when they repeat it to other chromosomally-challenged individuals around the Times editorial offices. But once it leaves the building, their logic falls apart like a soup sandwich in a chicken wire bowl.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

Yeah, he showed spine in conforming to Kosbollah orthodoxy. Which equates a certain spinelessness in itself. Meanwhile, the Times admits Lamont can't hold a candle to Senator Lieberman on, well, you know, the issues.

Not that they're important for a Senator.

The Times is an embarrassment to itself.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Government Agency Hid U.S. Iraq Costs ... 
I might have known it was the know-it-alls over at State.

They weren't gonna be able to pull any accounting shenanegans over on former Secretary of the Army Thomas White, that's fo' sho!

Splash, out


Seen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
A sign on Federal Highway, at the Barnes & Noble between Oakland Park and Sunrise Blvds:

"Help! I have too many houses! Will sell cheap! 954-XXX-XXXX."


Is this the end of the Bear Market in Bonds? 
Bill Gross, the best bondsman in the world, is calling the market bottom.

Why then should the Fed be stopping and the bond market have bottomed in early July? The overarching reason is that 425 basis points of short-term hikes and the concomitant tightening of the yield curve in the past several years has been more than enough to slow economic growth and contain inflation. That’s a bold statement to make in the face of an apparently still strong domestic economy, a booming global environment, and accelerating core CPI numbers, but PIMCO’s cyclical analysis would suggest that it is justified. No doubt, Asian and Euroland growth is acting as a strong magnet for U.S. exports but the tightening cycle in the U.S. seems to have run its course, primarily because of its effect on housing and related repercussions on consumer spending and economic activity.

I agree. I was just thinking last night, actually, that if I were going to be really crazy, I'd buy some long-term zero-coupons and ride the rocket for a while.

Splash, out


"Hezbollah doesn't hide among civilians" 
That's what Salon is publishing, in a story by U.S. News and World Report's Mitch Prothero,
who wins an honorable mention for the World's Dumbest Reporter Award:

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have been.

Of course. That's why Hezbollah put its southern rocket command in a 12-story building in Tyre, and its headquarters in the basement of a highrise building in downtown Beirut. And pay no attention to the aerial footage that shows rocket launcher vehicles parked between houses in the middle of villages. (Check out the one at 1:10 in or so...)

other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. Lighthouses, grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees, apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah's political wing -- all have been reduced to rubble.

Wow! There go those crazy milk factories again!!! How dumb does this writer think we are?

And note this self-falsifying passage:

"You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon," a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me.

Duh. That's because they're blending in with the population, you moron!

And here he is winning the Sergeant Schultz Award!

In three trips over the last week to the south, where I came near enough to the fighting to hear Israeli artillery, and not just airstrikes, I saw exactly no fighters.

I know naaaaahthink!!!!

Meanwhile, here's the BBC:

Inside a well-furnished apartment in a village on the outskirts of Tyre, with shelves of books piled from floor to ceiling, a black turbaned cleric and three men sit sipping bitter coffee. By the door is a pile of Kalashnikovs and ammunition boxes; handguns are tucked into the men's trousers. The four are Hizbullah fighters, waiting for the Israelis.

That's right. A pile of Kalashnikovs and ammunition. Handguns. Fighters. In an apartment. In a freaking village, asshole!

These people will lie, and lie, and lie again. They have no shame.

Splash, out


Jeff Jarvis on Proportionality - and a proposal for a lasting peace 
War is Hell, and you cannot refine it.
--William Tecumseh Sherman

Here's Buzzmachine's Jeff Jarvis:

With disproportionalism becoming the meme of choice in the discussion of the Israel/Hezbollah fight, it’s worth remembering these numbers (from Wikipedia):

* U.S. civilian deaths in World War II: 11,200
* UK civilian deaths in World War II: 67,800
* German civilian deaths in World War II: 1,840,000 (not including Holocaust genocide)
* Japanese civilian deaths in World War II: 600,000

And so what would the proportionalists have had us do? What is their argument? Should we have dragged the war and the suffering on longer because we were winning too quickly by killing too many, thus allowing more Jews to die in the Holocaust and more civilians to die by starvation and disease and more soldiers to die over time?
Should have stopped fighting when we were killing too many?

No. When attacked, one should stop fighting only when the attacker is flat on the ground, clutching his guts hanging out of his stomach, half-drowning in his own vomit, sobbing and begging for it to stop, his ability to resist crushed along with his will - to the extent he's left alive at all.

This is the only foundation from which one can reasonably expect a lasting peace in Isrebastine.

Worked pretty well on the Japanese, too.

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Bin Ladin Frustrated as Dozens of Al Qaeda Sleeper Cells hit "Snooze" Button ...


Dumbest reporter on the planet award 
It's gonna be tough to top this one:

Television footage shows some bodies, such as those of 20 civilians killed when an Israeli missile hit the van in which they were fleeing the border village of Marwaheen, blackened in the way Cham describes. No one knows what killed them.

Think about it reeeeeal hard, my pretty.

Free Willy 
Oh, no!

Not Willy Pete again!!

Says the reliable idiot, Director of Human Rights Watch:

"We are investigating but we haven't confirmed anything yet. We have seen phosphorus used before and we have seen it in the artillery stocks of the Israeli army in the north," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

"Phosphorus shells do have a legitimate use in illuminating the battlefield at night. The offensive use of phosphorus would be a violation of international conventions."

No it wouldn't, you lying weasel.

(Not that I think much better of the overly credulous reporter who didn't bother running down something too good to check.)

"We are seeing abnormal burns, different from wars we've seen in the past. The corpses of these victims are shrinking to half their normal size. You think it is the corpse of a child at first but it turns out to be a grown man," said Raed Salman Zeinedine, director of Tyre Government Hospital.

Oh, please. The same thing happens when I leave the bacon on the pan too long. What an idiot. But I guess that would be a foreign simile for observant Muslims and Jews.


Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt. It is something else."

"If you burnt someone with petrol their hair would burn and their skin would burn down to the bone. The Israelis are 100 per cent using chemical weapons."

Geez. Reporters will believe anything you tell them. By those standard, I guess Janet Reno must have used chemical weapons against the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. (Note the hair in the image.)

Oh, and it certainly doesn't take a chemical burn to turn someone as black as shoes. This guy got it in a car wreck. (Warning: Graphic image. )

All we have here is further evidence of Hezbollah's skillful manipulation of a gullible and credulous media.

Splash, out


Countercolumn News Ticker 
Hymietown under seige ...
Jesse Jackson unavailable for comment ...
U.S. Jews seek safety in Connecticut country clubs ...
WASPs flee ...

Israel kills Hezbollah infiltrators, real estate speculators ...

Anna Marie Cox named Washington Editor for Time Magazine ...
Hundreds of homely Time, Inc. staffers offered severance packages ...
Unemployment rate among hot young women holding at zero percent ...
East coast media in bidding war for young, trash-mouthed skanks, "experts at talking dirty."

"Mmmmmmmmmmmff!" (smack!!!) "Mmmmmmmffffmmmmfffmmmmm!!!" - Jessica "Washingtonienne" Cutler

Impacting ...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Anna Marie Cox is now Time's Washington Editor 
This bodes well for Time magazine sales. First of all, she's as good a writer as there is in the city.

Second of all, if she can't find the anal sex angle on a given story, nobody can!

"Minutemen" shoot 5, kill 1 at Jewish Federation of Seattle 
France surrenders to Germany.

Kerry, Murtha issue statement saying "there is no terrorist threat..."

"They could have just run out of sour cream," says Michael Moore...

Developing ...


...and how it properly applies under the Jus in Bello and Jus Ad Bellum doctrines underlying the law of land warfare.

Good stuff.

(Props to www.sportsdignity.com for the photo)

A hard rain's a gonna fall 
I always believed the recruiting problems were overblown. But the equipment problems aren't. And it's going to spill over into personnel, into housing, into family care and support, into school slots, into everything.

The investments we need to make in equipment are huge in the National Guard alone. That was even true before the war.

Splash, out


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hezbollah using UN troops as human shields 
According to a UN Press release dated 26 July, Hezbollah forces were firing from the vicinity of of four UN positions at Alma Ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashat, and At Tiri. In another press release dated 20 July, the UN itself reports Hezbollah firing from "the immediate vicinity" of its compounds at Naqoura and Maroun al Ras. And that's just the ones that were firing. How many more Hezbollah assets are simply sitting nearby, waiting to attract Israeli fire?

Actions like this could explain why UN troops get killed by Israeli air strikes. Doubtless Hezbollah is hoping to cause the Israelis to spill UN blood, because Kofi Annan, et. al., are such reliable dupes.

Yes, the UN and Hezbollah routinely co-locate. But don't take my word for it. Check out this photo from August of 2002:

Kind of explains why UN troops might get hurt once in a while, doesn't it?

The photograph comes from Canadian Jewish News, which also contains this illuminating detail:

The Shiite terrorist group has erected a billboard facing Israel on which it placed enlarged photos showing mutilated Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon.

The New York Sun is also reporting that one of those UN troops killed in the Israeli air strike had emailed the following report:

A Canadian U.N. observer, one of four killed at a UNIFIL position near the southern Lebanese town of Khiyam on Tuesday, sent an e-mail to his former commander, a Canadian retired major-general, Lewis MacKenzie, in which he wrote that Hezbollah fighters were "all over" the U.N. position, Mr. MacKenzie said. Hezbollah troops, not the United Nations, were Israel's target, the deceased observer wrote.

If true, then the UN public statement that there was no known Hezbollah activity for five kilometers from the UN position, is exposed as a lie.

Indeed, given the tremendously compressed battlefield that exists on the northern Israeli frontier, I think the notion that there was no known Hezbollah activity for five klicks that day is already absurd on its face. For the attacks to be legit, there does not need to be Hezbollah activity. Only a Hezbollah presence.


"We've received e-mails from him a few days ago and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position ‘for tactical necessity — not being targeted,'" Mr. MacKenzie said he wrote.

In one such e-mail, obtained by The New York Sun, Hess-von Kruedener wrote about heavy IDF artillery and aerial bombardment "within 2 meters of our position." The Israeli shooting, he added, "has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity."

The correspondence between the trooper and former commander amounted to "veiled speech in the military," Mr. MacKenzie, who once commanded the U.N. troops in Bosnia, told the CBC. "What he was telling us was Hezbollah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them, and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the U.N. They use the U.N. as shields knowing that they cannot be punished for it."

What, exactly, is the UN trying to accomplish by leaving these troops in place, unarmed?

And how did we ever even consider placing US troops under UN command?

Hat tips to Michelle Malkin, Glen Reynolds for the links, and a sharp-eyed reader for the press releases.

Splash, out


More Military Cluelessness 
Nearly five years into a war, and the Associate Press can't tell an officer from an NCO.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader.

P.S. He's a member of the division chorus, he's involved in community theater, and his name is "Bleu." "Bleu." And they needed an email to out him?

Seriously, if it's me, personally, I don't see myself taking negative personnel action of any kind based on anonymous emails. If you're going to accuse my soldier of something that will effectively end his career, then you're going to say it to my face.

And why does this soldier have sour grapes against the Army? He knew the policy going in. And the allegations against him - at least the one that says he's gay - are truthful by his own admission. And he's whining to the press about the Army? He should be confronting the weasel who outed him to the Army.

One more thing: Why do newspaper accounts always seem to insist on using the word "decorated" when describing soldiers with whom they sympathize? What does that mean? He could have gotten a marksman badge in basic and a Defense Service Ribbon. Almost the entire Army is "decorated" with something or other.

If he's been decorated for valor (medals should have a bronze V device which is easy enough for reporters to check out in their records) or has a purple heart higher, that's one thing.

Even bronze stars are frequently awarded for reasons other than valor.

Splash, out


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The force is strong with this one.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

CNN Whores itself to Hezbollah 
I guess Time Warner got bought out by Hezbollah, Inc.

Back on July 18, Hezbollah took Robertson and his crew on a tour of a heavily damaged south Beirut neighborhood. The Hezbollah “press officer” even instructed the CNN camera: “Just look. Shoot. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?”

In his original story, Robertson had no complaints about the journalistic limitations of a story put together under such tight controls, and Robertson himself at one point seemed to agree with the Hezbollah propaganda claim that Israeli jets had targeted a civilian area: “As we run past the rubble, we see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent of military equipment.”

Challenged by Reliable Sources host (and Washington Post media writer) Howard Kurtz on Sunday, Robertson suggested Hezbollah has “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations,” that the terrorist group “had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath,” and he even contradicted Hezbollah’s self-serving spin: “There's no doubt that the [Israeli] bombs there are hitting Hezbollah facilities.”

But the closest Robertson came to making any of these points in the taped package that aired last week was admitting that “we [he and his CNN crew] didn’t go burrowing into all the houses,” after pointing out (for the second time) that “we didn’t see any military type of equipment” in the area Hezbollah chose to let them tour.

Five days later, Robertson argued that “journalistic integrity” required skepticism: “When you hear their [Hezbollah’s] claims, they have to come with more than a grain of salt, that you have to put in some journalistic integrity. That you have to point out to the audience and let them know that this was a guided tour by Hezbollah press officials along with their security, that it was a very rushed affair.”

While some viewers undoubtedly deduced out that it was “a guided tour” from the numerous sound bites from the Hezbollah press officer, it’s not as if Robertson ever complained about his limitations or explicitly warned viewers that there was no way he could confirm any of the claims.

Keep that in mind next time you see news reports of how many children got hit by Israeli bombs, how "entire families are being wiped out" (I actually heard that one on a radio newscast this morning), etc., etc., etc.

These fellative newspeople will air report after report about how the Israeli air campaign is killing women, maiming children, and scaring puppies, and get soundbyte after soundbyte from Hezbollah Borg in Beirut - and then close their report with a simple quant: "Hezbollah has fired over a thousand rockets at Israel in the last two weeks."

Well, these rockets are packed with tens of thousands of ball bearings, designed to cause maximum damage, pain, suffering, and death to Israeli children and anyone else who happens to be nearby.

These are not weapons designed to destroy buildings. These are dumb weapons with no tactical purpose on that battlefied. Their sole purpose is to terrorize.


Splash, out


JAG, JLEP, and Reservists 
A number of JAG officers have written in defending the honor of the Judge Advocate General corps, asserting that the requirement that in excluding reserve component officers from consideration from the JLEP program, which pays for officers to attend law school, is statutory, and the JAG corps is only doing what the law requires.

I disagree.

Here is the section of Title 10 cited by these military lawyers:

§ 2004. Detail of commissioned officers as students at law schools

(a) The Secretary of each military department may, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, detail commissioned officers of the armed forces as students at accredited law schools, located in the United States, for a period of training leading to the degree of bachelor of laws or juris doctor. No more than twenty-five officers from each military department may commence such training in any single fiscal year.

(b) To be eligible for detail under subsection (a), an officer must be a citizen of the United States and must-

(1) have served on active duty for a period of not less than two years nor more than six years and be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the time the training is to begin; and

(2) sign an agreement that unless sooner separated he will-

(A) complete the educational course of legal training;

(B) accept transfer or detail as a judge advocate or law specialist within the department concerned when his legal training is completed; and

(C) agree to serve on active duty following completion or other termination of training for a period of two years for each year or part thereof of his legal training under subsection (a).

(c) Officers detailed for legal training under subsection (a) shall be selected on a competitive basis by the Secretary of the military department concerned, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense. Any service obligation incurred by an officer under an agreement entered into under subsection (b) shall be in addition to any service obligation incurred by any such officer under any other provision of law or agreement.

(d) Expenses incident to the detail of officers under this section shall be paid from any funds appropriated for the military department concerned.

(e) An officer who, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, is dropped from the program of legal training authorized by subsection (a) for deficiency in conduct or studies, or for other reasons, may be required to perform active duty in an appropriate military capacity in accordance with the active duty obligation imposed by regulations issued by the Secretary of Defense, except that in no case shall any such member be required to serve on active duty for any period in excess of one year for each year or part thereof he participated in the program.

(f) No agreement detailing any officer of the armed forces to an accredited law school may be entered into during any period that the President is authorized by law to induct persons into the armed forces involuntarily. Nothing in this subsection shall affect any agreement entered into during any period when the President is not authorized by law to so induct persons into the armed forces.

I don't see anything whatsoever in this law that requires the services to exclude reserve component officers. The text of the law requires only that they be A.) commissioned officers, B.) at the rank of O-3 or below, and C.) that they have served at least two years and not more than six years on active duty.

There is nothing in the law requiring that they be CURRENTLY on active duty at the time of selection. And even if it did, it would be a matter as simple as cutting the order placing them on active duty.

Is there something in the Congressional record that tips Congress's hand as to the congressional intent? I doubt it. It would be an uphill argument in any case, given the plain meaning of the text of the law itself.

Where is the language that excludes reserve component officers from consideration?

Splash, out


A Score to settle 
Michelle Malkin eviscerates that drooling idiot Pat Buchanan.

Payback, mo' fo!

This guy wins the Faux Faulkner Contest, hands down.

How to be a liberal in 3 easy steps 
1. Attack the Boy Scouts.

2. Defend Fred Phelps.

3. When you lose elections, blame Republican dirty tricks.

4. Repeat as necessary.

A uniquely French solution 
The last European heat wave killed many times more people than Katrina.

So how are French doctors dealing with this heat wave?

By going on strike, of course!

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Haifa attracts deep value property flippers...

Survivor Champion Richard Hatch goes to prison, finals round...

Israeli Women Leave in Droves as Hezbollah opens Macy's on Cyprus...

Bush calls for Lebanon cease fire one of these days...

Hezbollah in full retreat as Israelis mosey in pursuit...

Marines evacuate America's 20,000 dumbest citizens...
Somehow, all of them are happy to come live under Bush again...

Know-it-alls! Young IDF soldiers find Six Day War vets "downright obnoxious..."

Jerusalem Post Food section: Blood of gentile children no longer just a breakfast drink...

Bush sends in troops humanitarian assistance...
Marines apparently have nothing better to do...
Bush tired of seeing squad leaders "standing around not doing shit..."
"Maybe next time you'll do some hip pocket training," Bush tells aides ...

Conversions to Judaism soar as Union of Orthodox Rabbis announces circumcision amnesty period...


Monday, July 24, 2006

What liberal media? 
So a nobel prize winner goes to a school and tells a bunch of school children "I would love to kill George Bush."

And how does the admiring media spin it?

NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.

What on earth is the matter with these people?

Splash, out


Western Civilization declines another notch 
...as we slowly deteriorate into a civilization of pussies...

...and idiots. Seriously. Are Canadians just this stupid?

Kerry on Hezbollah: "This wouldn't have happened if I was president" 
That's the latest from the senior Senator from Massachussetts.

First of all, Senator, it's "if I were president."

Second of all, yes, I'm sure that Hezbollah had only started amassing an arsenal since you lost the election. And of course, the Katyusha rockets were really for skeet shooting. That's all they were for, until George Bush magically repurposed them to rain death down on Israeli cities. It's all about him, really, no?

Third, you say, at the end of the article, "we have to destroy Hezbollah."

But you also say "this" wouldn't be happening.

Well, how, exactly, do you think Hezbollah is going to be destroyed?

Is it because you and Howard Dean are going to join hands with the Code Pinkers and sing Kum Ba Ya?

What a twit.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bill Mon talks logistics 
...and does a pretty good job.

Somehow I get the sense that he'd love to see us lose the Army in Iraq, though.

Plus, I think Bill overestimates Iranian influence in the Shia area of Iraq. Iraqi Shia fear, loathe, and despise Iran - and except for a few radical elements, are still pro U.S. Sistani knows which side his bread is buttered on. Things could get more difficult. But Iran just doesn't have the heat to cut off the MSR from Kuwait into Baghdad.

They could make life very difficult for shipping in the Straits of Hormuz. But the U.S. Navy and Air Force will make short work of that.

We'd come under some serious pressure. But we're not going to lose a 140,000 man Army, a la Stalingrad - however fervently Billmon and the left masturbate to the idea.

Splash, out


The New York Times on Bolton 
John "'Stache" Bolton has won over many of his critics at home. But the New York Times seems to have forgotten whom he's supposed to be working for:

But diplomats focus particularly on an area with less evidence of instructions from Washington and more of Mr. Bolton’s personal touch, the mission that he has described as his priority: overhauling the institution’s discredited management. Envoys say he has in fact endangered that effort by alienating traditional allies. They say he combatively asserts American leadership, contests procedures at the mannerly, rules-bound United Nations and then shrugs off the organization when it does not follow his lead.

In other news, John Bolton leaves the toilet seat up, always eats the last piece of chocolate cake, and won't share his power with the other children, "even (sniffle) when (sniffle) we ask him (snuffle) nicely!"

I like this guy more every day.

Splash, out


"One Army, My Ass!!!" 
I hadn't thought this in a while. But I always thought the requirement that applicants for the Funded Legal Education Program be active duty army officers - reserve component officers, no matter how accomplished, need not apply - was absolutely obnoxious.

The fact that it's still a requirement seems like a hangover from the dark ages of active-reserve relations, which I thought we had gone a long way to repair in early 2004.

Apparently not.

Thanks, JAG Corps, for treating reserve officers like second class citizens.

Splash, out


"One Army, My Ass!!!" 
I hadn't thought this in a while. But I always thought the requirement that applicants for the Funded Legal Education Program be active duty army officers - reserve component officers, no matter how accomplished, need not apply - was absolutely obnoxious.

The fact that it's still a requirement seems like a hangover from the dark ages of active-reserve relations, which I thought we had gone a long way to repair in early 2004.

Apparently not.

Thanks, JAG Corps, for treating reserve officers like second class citizens.

Splash, out


Vice President fits "the dictionary definition of fascism." 
So says former Connecticut Speaker Irving Stolberg.

This kind of hysterical, over-the-top rhetoric is what's wrong with the Democratic party today.

What an ass.

Only the true Messiah denies his divinity 

"Well, what sort of a choice does THAT give me? Alright, I AM the Messiah!!

Proof that you can spin anything 
...So I'm browsing in a bookstore today, and I'm struck by the image on the cover of a book called "Lead from the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women," by "Captains of Marines" Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch. Well, mostly I was wondering "What's up with the 13-year old girl in the shoulderpads on the cover?")

Mss. Morgan and Lynch left the Active Duty Marine Corps for the civilian world, and achieved success managing sales organizations.

That's great.

But a perusal of their bios reveals no combat assignments for either of them (although sometimes good warriors will understate that part of their service.) Rather, both of them cite their service as public affairs officers and media representatives for the Marine Corps. Only one of them cites any fleet experience at all on her bio.

These are two extremely accomplished women. And in my experience, most people who have held successful company-level commands or have achieved success in the NCO ranks *routinely* display the leadership qualities which made them successful in the military, and have internalized them and, provided they master the skill of tact, will almost always be a tremendous asset to any company that hires them and entrusts them with responsibility.

I would also say that if you're an officer and you leave the service before commanding at the company level, you're selling yourself short, because the crucible of company command is an order of magnitude more difficult and challenging than anything at the platoon level. And I do believe a successful company commander will bring a lot to the table for any organization.

Neither one of these accomplished managers cites either combat experience or company command. Ms. Morgan is still in the Marine Corps reserves, so maybe she has commanded a company there. Ms. Lynch went to Law school on the Marine Corps dime (must be nice!), but that would hardly qualify her as someone who led her troops to Hell and back.

(UPDATE: Or maybe the Corps didn't pay for law school. See the comments to this post.)

My sense is that if you need to hire someone like LeadStar to coach the women in your organization to lead, you're better off simply recruiting proven leaders from the military.

'Cause nobody's seminar or book is going to truly replace that experience or perspective.

Nevertheless, combat tour or no combat tour, these women are terrific in my book - because I haven't yet seen them use that obnoxious and condescending term "empowering" that somehow only seems to need to apply to women.

I am also confident that these women would have been tremendously successful inside or outside the Marine Corps. Indeed, I think the Marine Corps, apart from providing them their unique marketing angle, probably held them back from the even greater success they would probably have achieved had they not been Marines. These women are clearly winners in their own rite.

And the Marine Corps had nothing to do with it.

Splash, out


Saturday, July 22, 2006

C-130 helicopters. 
I SAAAAAAAAAIIIIID, we got C-130 freakin' HELICOPTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Too much, man.

Think we could use a few more vets in newsrooms?

I think so.


(Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader)

Friday, July 21, 2006

International Federation of Journalists 
...is an umbrella organization which represents a number of influential media unions in the United States, including Linda Foley's own Newspaper Guild, which in turn represents workers at the Washington Post, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Agence France Presse, the New York Post, and of course, the New York Times.

Screw the Five Ws!!!! 
CNN reports that we killed two senior Al Qaeda members in a raid in Iraq. And while they are certainly careful to harp on the fact that two women and a child were also killed in the raid, they don't bother to tell us who the terrorists were.

Nor does CENTCOM.

Splash, out


Should Al Manar receive the same consideration as other news organizations? 
Crossposting from Jay Rosen's Press Think -

One of the regulars there, Mark Anderson, takes me to task for criticizing the International Federation of Journalists for condemning the Israeli strike on Al Manar, the official television station of Hezbollah. Here are his comments. My response follows.

Your thoughts? Click on "Click here to enter the net" and leave your comments!

In other words, "bad" journalists deserve to die and you are saying "Hell yea!" as their bodies continue to smolder, but the "good" journalists may be allowed to live--and the distinction between a "good" journalist and a "bad" journalist is to be determined by the Israeli "Self Defense" Force? Is that really the point you are so proud to associate yourself with? If broadcasting the wrong message makes a civilian technician into a legitimate military target, effectively there are no civilians in a modern, developed society.

Think about it from the perspective of enemies of the US. By your own logic, enemies of the US or Israel may justifiably bomb every working US or Israeli journalist at every operating US or Israeli broadcast station that has gone on air pimping Cheney's or Olmert's catastrophes in Iraq and Palestine and Lebanon and you won't have jack to say about it because they were obviously propagandists for the US and Israeli causes. How could rational enemies of the US pass up targeting major propaganda nodes such as the television broadcasting networks of the United States or Israel and still look themselves in the mirror in the morning?

This leads me to a second question:
I seem to recall you were quite outraged by the reality-based suggestion that the US army has been intentionally killing journalists. Why not "Hell, yeas!" all around if you think it's such a great idea?

By the way, I've never knowingly met a member of the International Federation of Journalists so my disgust with your remarks is no reflection on them.

My comments:

Wow. I hadn't heard of them either. 500,000 journalists and nobody's a member.

I'm surprised you aren't discerning the difference between a free and independent media and a communications asset in the literal employ of an armed and hostile force? I mean, you really think The Hezbollah Television Network is the same as, say, "every working journalist" for NBC News?

Al Manar itself proclaims itself part of Hezbollah. And the U.S., via an executive order signed in September of 2001, formally categorizes al Manar as a terrorist organization. Al Manar is banned from accessing US airwaves. It's not like we're acting unilaterally - several European countries have similar sanctions against al Manar.

You know, these are the guys responsible for planting the rumor that 4,000 Jews were playing hookie from work at the WTC on Sept 11, 2001.

They serve as Hassan Nasrallah's principal means of mass communication. It's also one of Hezbollah's principal tools for fundraising. Yes, they have telethons, just like NPR. Except their fundraiser buy bombs for school busses and Pizzarias.

One of al Manar's senior officers publicly declared its purpose as "to help people on the way to what you in the West call a 'suicide mission.'

It calls for and incites the killing of US soldiers in Iraq. It has called for the murder of Israelis many times. Its children's shows pay homage to suicide bombers.

And you're going to try to draw parallels between al Manar and, say, Fox News?

Al Manar is no independent or inconvenient media outlet. Al Manar is, in effect, the Ministry of Communications for a brutal and murderous quasi regime.

And they made themselves a target when the first dime they raised went to Hezbollah.

Grab a beer out of the cooler, but check your firearms at the door.

Splash, out


UPDATE: More from Mark Dubowitz, who is no doubt a charter member of the International Zionist NeoCon Conspiracy.

And check out this blog dedicated to monitoring terrorist media, including al Manar.

Katrina response "largest and fastest" in history 
I knew it.

I got a lot of flak for arguing that, too, including from my own chain of command. Jack Kelly quoted me in a column of his, then Rush Limbaugh picked it up, then all of a sudden I was getting emails and phone calls from people I hadn't talked to since high school. And David Brock leveled his rhetorical guns at me, among some other people, claiming I must not know what I'm talking about because a Miami Herald columnist who doesn't even live in Homestead got a bottle of water the day after Andrew.

Turns out, according to a congressional report, I had it exactly right:

The Committee report also criticizes the DHS and FEMA for not including the Department of Defense in their pre-storm and immediate post-storm planning. However, the same August 28 transcript shows that DoD was included from the beginning. In reality, despite organizational shortcomings, the rescue spearheaded by the National Guard and the Coast Guard turned out to be the largest and fastest in U.S. history, mobilizing nearly 100,000 responders within three days of the hurricane’s landfall.

I haven't received an apology or retraction from Brock yet. I'm not holding my breath. See also my rebuttal of his column at the time.

Splash, out


Israel: Hedging its bets 
A close look at the operational terminology adopted by the Israeli Defense Force is a little disappointing.

Israel has launched into Lebanon with thousands of troops (A brigade? A division? I can't tell yet. A division would be a sledgehammer crushing an egg. A brigade would be a calibrated response). Hezbollah has isolated itself from the support of the wider Islamic world. Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia are now issuing fatwas saying it's un-Islamic to even pray for them.

Hezbollah is also vulnerable to isolation from the Lebanese government. The Lebanese Army, so far, sits on the sidelines (I would suppose it's very difficult for them to do so).

Hezbollah will never be more vulnerable to destruction than it is now. But the Israelis seem to pull up short of the destruction of Hezbollah as the military objective here. Instead, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz says "We damage, diminish, weaken, and erode."

Excuse me, but those are objectives more suited to Hezbollah's operations than those of a conventional army with unquestioned air supremacy and the fire support systems, modern communication capacity, and ability to helilift elements to reinforce units that make contact, isolate Hezbollah units foolish enough to get trapped, and destroy them utterly.

If Hezbollah is "eroded," they will grow back stronger than before in a matter of months. Iran will replace their equipment and weaponry losses. Israel must buy theirs, and it hurts.

If left in any condition remotely comparable to its ante bellum status, Hezbollah will only grow stronger with the passage of time. Their rockets will have longer ranges and more destructive power. They will develop a chemical strike capability, or even obtain anthrax or smallpox from Iran and be able to deliver it via 122mm rockets, which can be brought within range of Haifa and soon Tel Aviv in quantity.

Israel will not have a better opportunity to destroy Hezbollah than it has right now.

Splash, out


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!! 
More Euro Jew-baiting...this time at the highest levels of government.

Senate moves to limit financial sales to military members 
From the New York Times' Diana Henriques:

After two years of Congressional study, the Senate approved a bill yesterday that would tighten the rules governing the marketing of life insurance and high-cost mutual funds to American military personnel.

The measure differs slightly from a companion bill approved by the House last summer, 405 to 2, and those differences must be ironed out before final enactment. But sponsors of the Senate bill said yesterday that they were confident that the two versions could be reconciled, given their broad bipartisan support.

There ain't no way this one ain't passing! The only question is how much teeth and scope will it have?

Read on:

Like the House bill, the Senate version would give state regulators clear jurisdiction over insurance sales on military bases within their borders and would require the Defense Department to report people who violate military sales rules to those licensing agencies. It would also establish a central registry for tracking the agents base to base.

Both measures abolish an archaic form of mutual fund, known as contractual plans, with sales charges that consume half of an investor’s first-year contributions. Contractual plans have virtually disappeared from the civilian market, but they continued to be promoted heavily to military personnel until about 18 months ago.

The largest seller, First Command Financial Services of Fort Worth, dropped the product in December 2004. Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, First Command paid $12 million to settle lawsuits in which federal securities regulators accused it of deceptive sales practices.

So far, so good. So what's not covered?

The Senate bill does not include House provisions that would bar military lenders from using threats, appeals to a commanding officer or involuntary garnishing of a service member’s pay. But Senator Clinton said she did not think that those differences were “deal breakers.”

No, and they shouldn't be. First of all, the use of threats in collections is already prohibited by the Fair Credit Collections Act. Second, if a servicemember owes the money, he or she owes the money. I don't see why a servicemember ought to be exempt from the due process of law that applies to everyone else. If garnishment is not an option, the creditworthiness of all servicemembers will take a hit, and legitimate creditors will be less likely to be willing to lend to servicemembers, or expect higher interest rates to compensate them for the inability to pursue judgements and subsequent garnishments.

Furthermore, such a rule would allow anyone who got in over their heads to join the military in order to avoid/delay/deter creditors, in a sort of blue-collar version of offshore asset protection planning.

These are not the kinds of people the military wants.

Third, as a commanding officer, if I have a soldier who is having debt trouble, I want to know. If the debt problems are serious, I know whether the soldier is moonlighting or why, I can counsel him on the command policy regarding moonlighting before it becomes a problem, I can refer the soldier to credit counseling - even make it mandatory - and in extreme cases I can refer the soldier to one of several relief organizations that may be able to help.

If creditors can't approach me with problems, it's not that I can't help them. It's that I can't help the soldier.

As a reserve component commander, I get very few appeals from creditors. If I get any at all, it's from AAFES, and usually on very small amounts. On active duty, it's a much bigger concern.

The matter of abusive military lending is more likely to be addressed, she said, in negotiations over the House and Senate versions of Defense Department authorization bills. The Senate version, unlike the House bill, would limit the interest rate on loans to service members to 36 percent — effectively ending military access to “payday loans,” which are very short-term loans with finance charges that can run up triple-digit annual interest rates.

No, it will definitely NOT end military access to "payday loans," for the simple reason that it is very difficult to lend at interest rates above 100% APR and still manage to lose money.

Well, I suppose the retards that run these shops could manage it, but that's not really my concern. Consider:

1. The average payday loan borrower has to cough up $800 to repay a loan of $325.

2. The average payday loan is recycled, or flipped, eight times by the same lender. That's (1.36 x loan amount)^8!!!!!!

I support the policy recommendations of the Center for Responsible Lending:

1. Set a minimum repayment period of 90 days, with no prepayment penalty.

2. Eliminate the use of the personal check as collateral. (This would be bad for payday lenders, but good for pawn brokers, as it would drive business their way. Which is cool because I love pawn shops, and bought my first real fiddle at one. Plus, it's much easier for soldiers to walk away from a valuable securing a pawn shop loan than it is for them to swallow the threat of bounced check fees and possible legal problems.)

3. Eliminate the mandatory arbitration clause. The real reason these bastards insert mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts is to neutralize the threat of class action lawsuits. They know their business model wouldn't stand up in front of a jury, and so rely on mandatory arbitration to isolate their customers from the communities from whence juries are drawn.

4. I part company with the Center for Responsible Lending on this one: Let the market set interest rates. All lenders should be required to disclose their APRs as well as the nominal interest rates on the loans. All lenders should further be required to disclose the AVERAGE amount of interest collected per dollar lent at that branch over the trailing three-year period. No signed disclosure, no collectibility on the loan.

Then the soldier still has access to the trash credit markets, but is in a position to make a more informed choice.

5. Commanders on active duty should appoint financial education NCOs. These soldiers can take a certifying course via AKO, and make approved financial education materials available to soldiers. Care should be taken to ensure that these NCOs receive training via an independent source, and are therefore hopefully less vulnerable to financial misinformation.

In practice, this may be very difficult to do, because financial professionals themselves cannot reach consensus over permanent cash value insurance policies vs. buy-term-and-invest-the-difference approaches. But there's a lot we can do, nevertheless.

Splash, out


Employers saying 'no' to veterans? 

Here's what looks to be a well-reported article from the Lansing State Journal, a newspaper in Michigan:

WASHINGTON - Young veterans returning from Iraq and other tours of duty aren't always coming back to a hero's welcome from employers.

The jobless rate for veterans age 20 to 24 was 11.2 percent in the second quarter of this year.

That's an improvement over last year, when about one in six veterans in that age group was jobless. But it's still more than twice the overall unemployment rate, and it's higher than the jobless rate of 8 percent for non-veterans age 20 to 24.

The article poses some possible explanations, though none of them hold much water for me.

I suspect part of the difference is that many veterans returning from the battlefield are living off of money they saved up during deployment, and are a little more picky about what jobs they take.

Nevertheless, this part was infuriating:

Mental health experts have said at least 15 percent of servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to the rate for Vietnam War veterans, according to a Government Accountability Office report in September 2004.

The disorder scares off some potential employers.

"Of course, there is an alarm," said Ron Fairnot, a Michigan state employee who helps find jobs for veterans in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. "There are certain positions where you would not put an individual" with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Those positions, he said, include jobs working with the public or with heavy machinery that makes lots of noise.

First of all, only a miniscule minority of PTSD problems are going to be debilitating at work. And the idea that "there are certain positions where you would not put an individual with post-traumatic stress disorder" - and that these positions are marked by characteristics as vague as "working with the public" - is simply absurd.

Actually, I would LOVE for a prospective employer to try to tell me that to my face, because I can use the proceeds from the lawsuit.

For what it's worth, discrimination against reservists and Guardsmen is nothing new. I once applied for a warehouse job in Tennessee, and they asked, in front of a witness who was another veteran and good friend of mine, if I could work weekends.

I told them I was a member of the National Guard, and while most weekends were not a problem, the first weekend of the month I had national guard duty. "Is that a problem?" I said.

"Well, it's part of the shift."

"Is there any other obstacle to employing me?"

"No, everything looks ok, so far, but we check references."

"That's fine. But if my scheduled drills are going to be an issue, I'd like to establish that right now."

"Well, it's part of the shift."

My friend and I left the interviewer's office, and doubled up laughing. "I get half the lawsuit!" he said.

On another occasion - this was last year - I informed my supervisor that my unit had been alerted for another hurricane expected in a couple of days, and that I would keep her posted.

She walked into my office and said "When we hired you, it was with the understanding that you would be available to work. I need your position to be productive. You told us you were going to be leaving the Guard. We were straight with you. I expect you to be straight with me."

On another occasion, I had some administrative duties to perform and I gave her a couple of weeks notice that I would be requesting about four days off. Again, she walked into my office and said "I understand hurricanes. But this is not an emergency. You volunteered for this. You can't just take off for this kind of stuff."

"I'm sorry, but that's not what the law says. I can print it out for you if you like."

"So you can schedule military duty any time?"

"Well, the law is pretty clear, and it includes both voluntary and involuntary mobilizations, even for short periods."

"And we have no recourse?"

"Well, here, I'll show you what the law is, and you can read it." (She was a JD, anyway.)

"Well, I'll see what the people downstairs have to say."


When I was passed over for a pay raise at the end of the year, I requested a transfer to another department, and when that was denied, I turned in my notice.

Did I have an actionable claim? Arguably, though I haven't pursued it. I did notify my boss's supervisor in writing that there was a potential USERRA problem. At this point, I'd rather let it go. I'm much happier not working there, anyway, and I'd rather not burn bridges or gain a reputation for litigiousness. If there are too many USERRA lawsuits, employers will become even more reluctant to hire reservists than they already are.

But that's what military discrimination looks like in the workplace - and it has little to do with PTSD.

It might have something to do with my substantially reduced post-war tolerance for bullshit. I don't think that's a "disorder," though.

And a big, hearty, 'up yours' to every fake warrior who screwed over the rest of us by milking the system and sliming the reputation of veterans as a whole (and yes, you know who you are), as well as to every journalist who buys into the vastly oversold "PTSD" angle.

Splash, out


P.S., if you employ reserve component service members, check out Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which has lots of valuable information concerning the rights and responsibilities of employers and servicemembers alike.



From a reader... 
"Exactly--1982 didn't work well at all. Hizbullah has widespread support in the south (in some areas, it routinely wins 80% of the electoral vote). It has proven highly resistent to Israeli intelligence penetration. It has shown remarkable operational sophistication (multiple simultaneous rocket launches from dispersed locations, even under complete Israeli control of the air; Israeli special forces successfully ambushed in Lebanon within sight of the border today, coming off worse in the exchange; indeed, Israeli bombing hasn't managed to even take Hizbullah's al-Manar television station off the air for more than a few minutes). Perhaps most importantly, an invasion would rally a large part of currently anti-Hizbullah opinion in Lebanon behind the movement once again. "You see," Hizbullah would argue, "this was never about two prisoners.. this is about the aggressive, expansionist character of the Zionist state." As a side effect, it would likely bring about the collapse of the Lebanese government, and possibly the split of the Lebanese army. Oh, and did I mention that 35%+ of the army is Shiite, and would like rally to Hizbullah's side in such circumstances?

As for Hizbullah being isolated, I doubt they feel it. From their perspective, popular opinion in most of the Arab world (even the Arab Sunni world) has been supportive. That the Saudi or Egyptian regimes are critical of Hizbullah's actions will hardly come as a surprise. Iranian and Syrian backing is unwavering. The critical issue is Lebanese Shiite opinion, and here I'm hearing from Lebanese Shiite friends that the pereceived disproprtionality of Israeli's response is increasingly offsetting anger at Hizbullah and creating a rally-around-the-movement effect.

On top of all this, the sight of a US-backed Israeli counter insurgency in Lebanese Shiite villages would do wonders for the Coalitions position in southern Iraq or Baghdad.

Fortunately, while Charles Krauthammer may not have much sense of Lebanese or regional politics, the Israeli military and intelligence establishment have a rather better grasp of the dangers involved, and have effectively ruled out a "Return to 1982" strategy."

Firm Grasp of the Obvious Department 
Here's WaPo's most excellent Walter Pincus with a major breaking scoop:

The first wave of detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, created their own internal organizational structure to maintain morale, resist interrogation and recruit members, adhering to instructions in a 10-year-old al-Qaeda training manual, according to a classified report by analysts in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

Geez. Did anyone seriously think they wouldn't?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why you shouldn't get financial advice from a magazine 
Don't bother with the article.

Read the comments.

Yes, they're largely written by annuity salespeople with a vested interest in the product. They're also right.

Ms. Brenner is clueless. She doesn't grasp the concept of annuities as a risk management tool (as opposed to an investment), and doesn't grasp that 401ks and 403bs are NOT "alternatives" to annuities. You can put an annuity within one! As a matter of fact, much if not most of the assets within 403bs especially are annuities.

Naturally, she's written for the New York Times.

Oh, and a couple of books.

More people ought to be buying annuities, not fewer!

What an embarrassment!

Splash, out


The New York Times, Lebanon, and Jus in Bello 
Is the Times serious about intelligently covering war?

Apparently not.

Steven Erlanger, reporter for the New York Times, manages to write a feature news article on the debate over the proportionality of the Israeli response against Hezbollah without once making reference to the well developed intellectual tradition of Jus in Bello.

The asymmetry in the reported death tolls is marked and growing: some 230 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians, to 25 Israeli dead, 13 of them civilians. In Gaza, one Israel soldier has died from his own army’s fire, and 103 Palestinians have been killed, 70 percent of them militants.

The cold figures, combined with Israeli air attacks on civilian infrastructure like power plants, electricity transformers, airports, bridges, highways and government buildings, have led to accusations by France and the European Union, echoed by some nongovernmental organizations, that Israel is guilty of “disproportionate use of force” in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and of “collective punishment” of the civilian populations.

Let's lay to one side, for the moment, this stupid conceit that casualty figures, in war, should be disproportional. (Under maneuver warfare theory, I would argue that casualties should be disproportional or overall casualties will be needlessly high, as the side with the advantage is not effectively exploiting it to pursue a speedy end to the conflict.)

The Times is reporting in an intellectual vacuum.

Had the editors of the Times bothered to educate themselves on the fundamental issues undergirding the ethics of war - issues so fundamental that they are among the first things covered in the freshman year of any ROTC candidate - they would have learned that there is nothing in Jus in Bello that implies that the proportionality of force applied should be considered in relation to the level of force used in provocation.

Rather, the doctrine of proportionality, under Jus in Bello, applies not to the level of force used by the provocateur at all. Instead, the use of force must be proportional to the military objective. In other words, the force applied must be sufficient to attain the desired military objective. (There is no point at all in applying force insufficient to attain the desired military objective.)

If the desired military objective is to permanently eject Hezbollah from southern Lebanon, push them out of Katyusha range from Israeli population centers, and destroy the capability of Hezbollah to wage war - then the Israelis are wholly within the Jus in Bello doctrine of proportionality so far.

Yes, the Israelis targeted some civilian infrastructure, such as bridges and airfields. But this was military neccessary in order to prevent Hezbollah from moving their hostages out of Lebanon and into Syria or elsewhere. The Israeli application of force is consistent with and proportional to that required by their military aims.

Similarly, Israel is wholly within its rights, under Jus in Bello, to take out Hezbollah's leadership. Anywhere in the country. For its part, Hezbollah, as the weaker power in an assymetrical conflict, will deliberately set its headquarters on the bottom floor of civilian apartment buildings - as close as possible to the local elementary school, and ideally within a "baby milk factory" (signage in English, of course), in order to make an Israeli strike as unpalatable as possible.

This is how weaker powers effect deterrence. It's the only card they have to play.

And the only deterrence the Israelis have is the perception that they are willing to strike Hezbollah in their lairs wherever they are.

Israelis may not destroy an entire city from the air in order to get one office. That would not be proportional to the military aim.

But there is no doubt that they can destroy that office, and the part of the building the office is in, if there is no other practical way to get at them. (The alternative, of course, is to set off a truck bomb outside the windows of said office. But that would just invite further equivocating - "see, the Israelis use the exact same terror methods."

Further, truck bomb ordnance is generally not directional. Ordnance directed from the air is, and (to some extent) can be calibrated to achieve the desired effect and not more.

But the New York Times editors, while content to raise the issue (to Israel's detriment), are not intellectually equipped to understand it or provide the reader with any kind of context.

If they can't wrap their brains around these fundamental concepts, how well do you think they can cover the war in Iraq?

Splash, out


Krauthammer's Exit Strategery for Lebanon 
Krauthammer, I believe, has it about right.

Hezbollah has jumped the shark on this one. It has isolated itself from the support even of the Arab nations. No one in the world will intervene on its behalf now. This is a win-win situation for everyone except Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran*:

Just as in Kuwait in 1991, what must follow the air campaign is a land invasion to clear the ground and expel the occupier. Israel must retake south Lebanon and expel Hezbollah. It would then declare the obvious: that it has no claim to Lebanese territory and is prepared to withdraw and hand south Lebanon over to the Lebanese army (augmented perhaps by an international force), thus finally bringing about what the world has demanded -- implementation of Resolution 1559 and restoration of south Lebanon to Lebanese sovereignty.

*And, of course, innocent women and children caught up in the middle. But all necessary violence must be applied to destroy Hezbollah. If they are not destroyed now, in detail, while they are isolated, it will be much more difficult to do so later, when any comparable pummeling carries with it the risk of a much wider and more destructive war.

Destroy them. Now.

Splash, out


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

All drilling reservists will be eligible for TRICARE 
Just got word of a big step forward for our nation's reserve component warriors:

Every member of the selected reserve will now have the option to purchase their health coverage from TRICARE. Health coverage for selected reserve members who want TRS and complete all the required steps begins Oct. 1, 2006. The new TRS program eligibility determination period runs from July 1 through Sept. 25. Selected reserve members must work with their service personnel offices to determine which one of three TRS tiers they qualify for.

Servicemembers can review TRS program eligibility requirements at www.defenselink.mil/ra/.

For additional information about the TRS benefit for members of the selected reserve visit


Saturday, July 15, 2006

National Security Breached Again 
Left-leaning blog No Quarter has some observations about a breach he feels was far more damaging than the SWIFT revelations:

Let's start with the revelation that the CIA and the FBI have been given access to Western Union data and have used this information to track and disrupt several terrorist networks. Take a look at page 231-233, where Suskind details how the Western Union data was passed to the Israelies and used to track operatives of Palestinain Islamic Jihad (PIJ). According to Suskind, a Western Union official gave the FBI info about a PIJ transaction in April 2003:

The Terrorism Section of the Department of Justice, on twenty-four-hour call, kicked into gear. In an arrangement with the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern district of Virginia, based in Alexandria, they issued an instantaneous subpoena. It allowed Western Union--a U.S.-based company--to notify FBIK and CIA about which location the oney was being wired to, and who was picking it up. All of it occurred in minutes. Israeli intelligence ooficers were hailed. They raced, silently, to the right Western Union office in Hebron, and then followed the PIJ courier to his safe house in the West Bank. From there, electronic surveillance equipment swiftly tracked communications to other cells in the Palestinian territories.

For the love of God, why expose a capability that was top secret and not publicly known? Unlike the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal stories on the SWIFT transactions--which was publicly known and did not capture terrorist activities--this is a bombshell. It was done within the law and it played a critical role in finding terrorists and preventing subsequent attacks. Why reveal it? No good reason except to feed the egos of those involved. Based on Suskind's book it appears that Dennis Lormel was one of the principle sources for this story. I don't know Dennis and have no vendetta against him, but there is absolutely no reason to justify his decision to release this story to the press. And Dennis had the gall to criticize the New York Times?

Of course, Johnson is falling into a trap, here. We know that SWIFT DID capture terrorist activities, both from the capture of Hambali in 2003, and from Treasury Secretary John Snow's furious open letter to NY Times editor Bill Keller:

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Emphasis added.

So Johnson's assertion that the SWIFT program did not capture terrorist activity is false (unless you're one of those moonbats who think that Snow must be making the whole thing up).

Splash, out


Friday, July 14, 2006

Time Magazine, disemboweled 
By Peter Wehner, director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives

A coalition of more than two dozen countries by definition cannot constitute "unilateral" action. Which raises the question: why does Time continue to insist that it does? ...

For Time's thesis to have merit, the magazine would have rewrite most of the history of the past five years. It would have to erase virtually all of the day-to-day activity on the war on terror, which as a practical matter consists of unprecedented levels of cooperation and integrated planning across scores of countries, both long-time allies and new partners. Time would have to ignore virtually all of the day-to-day activity on curbing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, our work with Russia, and so forth). Time would also have to ignore our trade policy, our development policy, and more.

All of this calls to mind the scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian in which the Judean "guerrillas" debate whether the Roman Empire has brought any good to the Holy Land. The John Cleese character asks rhetorically what good the Romans have done. After his men point out one benefit after another, the Cleese character is obliged to say: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

Apart from the vast number of multilateral foreign policy initiatives from 2001 to the present, when has the Bush Administration ever worked in partnership with other countries?

Via Powerline

USMC Maj. Gen. Mike Lehnert on the military-civilian cultural divide 

When we sent my son to Stanford four years ago, we filled out a form asking for demographic information. One of the questions for the parents said, what is your profession? After it was a list of about thirty professions including doctor, lawyer, congressman, educator, architect. Military was not listed so I filled in “other.”

My son was the only graduate who had a parent serving in the armed forces. As I was introduced to his friends’ parents, it was interesting to watch their reaction. Few had ever spoken to a member of the military. One asked me how my son was able to gain admittance with the disadvantage of having to attend “those DoD schools.” Many voiced support for our military and told me that they’d have served but clearly military service was not for their kind of people.

This year of the so-called elite schools, Princeton led them with nine graduates electing military service. Compare that with 1956 when over 400 of the Princeton graduating class entered the military. Most of the other Ivy League schools had no one entering the military this year. I wonder how many of you know the young people who are serving today. I wont embarrass anyone by asking for a show of hands to ask how many really know a young enlisted Marine who has been to war. I’m going to try to give you a better feel about those who serve our nation.

Our Marines tend to come from working class families. For the most part, they came from homes where high school graduation was important but college was out of their reach. The homes they come from emphasize service. Patriotism isn’t a word that makes them uncomfortable. The global war on terrorism has been ongoing for nearly five years with Marines deployed in harms way for most of that time. It is a strange war because the sacrifices being levied upon our citizens are not evenly distributed throughout society. In fact, most Americans are only vaguely aware of what is going on.

Consider the population our high-gloss media come from. That answers the question why Americans are only vaguely aware of what is going on.

More from the General on Payday lenders here, where I've consolidated some of the personal-finance-related content from CounterColumn and IraqNow over the last couple of years.


The operational situation in Israel, Lebanon, and Gaza 
Don't miss this illuminating interview with Israeli Major General Doron Almog.

On monday, he was advocating a very measured, restrained response, designed not to weaken the credibility of moderates in Lebanon or their ability to govern.

That was then.

Here he is on Wednesday:

Hizbullah is seeking to seize upon the momentum gained by Hamas. It has opened a second front, and exploited an Israeli vulnerability. Negotiating with Hizbullah over the kidnapped soldiers, in the way we had begun to do with Hamas, would be a mistake. First and foremost, we have to strike a heavy blow, a very heavy blow, to Hizbullah - from the very top of its leadership, all the way down to the field, to the infrastructure, the force they've built up. There is no escaping our need to do this.

The other side needs to understand that we will not accept years of attrition, where they determine the nature of the war. If, in a week or two from now, Hizbullah is left with only 10 percent of its forces, it will understand that. It needs to be thrown completely off balance.

Definitely read the whole thing.

Psssst...hey, New York Times ... 

Contrary to what your caption says, these aren't tanks!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bias? What bias? 
New York Times headline: Once again, Gazans are Displaced by Israeli Occupiers

You know you've got a problem when your headlines are becoming laugh lines.

UPDATE: Don't miss this Compare and contrast from Ace of Spades HQ.

It's as if the New York Times is outsourcing its reporting to Hamas.

Hold Your Horses! 
After exhaustive checks into Italian soccer player Marco Materazzi's lineage revealed no trace of Jewish ancestry, European football officials announced that they may strip Zinedine Zidane of his Golden Ball award after all.

When Freelance Writing Sucks 
When we have to deal with deadbeat publishers like this.

...And this is funny, too. The best part is when the attorney the deadbeat publisher threatens WritersWeekly with turns out to be fake.

Though it was pretty easy to tell this guy was no attorney.

"Libelous slander," indeed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Readiness Follies, Redux 
A Republican lawmaker is concerned that Army units are deploying for combat zones at less than peak readiness.

A memorandum circulated last week on Capitol Hill by a House Armed Services subcommittee chairman is raising concerns that Army units training at home are so short on equipment and personnel that they are unready if needed urgently for Iraq, Afghanistan or potentially any other crisis that may emerge domestically or abroad.

The June 26 document, issued by readiness panel head Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO), suggests the Army has already deployed units to Iraq and Afghanistan officially rated at the lowest levels of readiness.

But an Army spokesman said this week that although some units arrive in theater at less than top preparedness, they receive additional equipment and training before undertaking missions. In the Persian Gulf, for example, Army units typically fall in on equipment in Kuwait and undergo weeks of additional training there before moving into Iraq.

"There's not one unit that goes across the berm [into Iraq or Afghanistan] that is not C-1 ready," Lt. Col. Carl Ey, an Army spokesman, told Inside the Pentagon on July 5.

I think the article does a pretty good job of balancing the issues. The fact is, they are both right. Yes, years of war does put a strain on men and materiel. And we are still not quite over the hangover caused by the inadequate mobilization of IRR soldiers in 2003.

That's right, sports fans, we should have mobilized MORE IRR troops in 2003, rather than raid nondeploying units to fill vacancies.

A couple of observations:

LTC Ey is correct - it is routine for deploying units to fall in on equipment and additional training resources in theater. This is particularly true for vehicles, since there's no sense shipping them back and forth between the United States, unless they are National Guard vehicles needed for state missions back home. (For this reason, my own unit, the 1-124th Infantry, Florida Army National Guard, brought back all organic vehicles, minus a couple that were destroyed in combat.)

In addition, units can frequently pick up other more specialized equipment an weapons in theater as well. Ditto for spare parts. Why spread valuable parts all over the US, and waste money shipping them back and forth where they're needed, when you know your top priority units are coming to you in Kuwait, and you can stock your spare parts there.

So it's very easy for a unit to go from a Cat 2 or 3 to a Cat 1 on equipment or maintenance between deploying from the US and actually commencing combat operations in theater. And battalion and brigade S-4s can call ahead and find out exactly what is going to be available in theater.

So there's not a lot of risk there.

It's also true, however, that soldiers need to be able to train with equipment, and equipment that is fully functional at that.

So when a unit has maintenance problems at home due to lack of spare parts, for example, it is disruptive to training Stateside. Same thing for equipment. It is routine in my neck of the Army for units to loan out equipment to deploying units to bring them up to Category 1 standards and make up for their non-mission-capable equipment.

That is as it should be. Nondeploying units should be very generous with their equipment. God knows I wanted it when I was overseas. Freely we were given; freely we should give.

But that does have an effect on training our teams stateside which is difficult to quantify.

Splash, out


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More on Zidane and the World Cup 
I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!

From the comments: Europe and anti-Semitism 
Oh yeah? Just because one European is an asshole every European is one?

Thanks a lot!!!!!!

You know, I am European and I am a Soldiers Angel who officially adopted four American Soldiers and one British Soldier and who is a DJ of HOOAH!!!! Radio and you dare to put out the "Jewish" thingy? Why don't you call Europeans Nazi? It makes it a lot easier!

I support the Americans because I believe in what they do and do not bash them just because there are Soldiers that murdered, tortured, slaughtered, raped and massacred people in Iraq.

Because it ain't right! Just because one is a freakin asshole, not everybody is one!

Oh, and I won't think of Americans bad, just because you called us Europeans names, it doesn't mean that every single American is like you!


Have a nice day
Tanker Angel Nelly


Thank you very much for supporting American soldiers.

Yes, it is looking like the story holds water, and American Troops are guilty of raping and murdering a young Iraqi girl, and that breaks my heart and is a black mark on all of us.

I don't recall Stephen D. Green getting voted "Soldier of the Year," though.

Nevertheless, I should point out that, as another commenter notes, most of the ballots were cast prior to the end of the tournament (yeah, that makes a lot of sense).

Ask for European antisemitism, why don't we just ask the Jewish community in France what there experience is?

Of course, why should we be surprised? French viciousness toward Jews isn't exactly new:

There is no doubt that Vichy was not only willing but eager to help the Nazis by agreeing to their demands - which kept increasing from the spring of 1942 onward - for the deportation of France's foreign Jews. The agreement between Rene Bousquet, the Secretary General of the French police, and Nazi S.S. Gen. Carl Oberg provided that the French police would assist in ''the repression of all the enemies of the Reich.'' As is well known (and was dramatized some years ago in a somber and moving film, ''Black Thursday''), it was the French police who, at the Germans' request, rounded up 13,000 foreign Jews in Paris on July 16 and 17, 1942, and seized many thousands more in unoccupied France in late August of that year. Pierre Laval had defiantly told a group of American Quakers a few weeks earlier that ''the French government was glad that a change in German attitude toward foreign Jews gave France an opportunity to get rid of them.''

And then there's this news report from just last week:

Neo-Nazis hijack gala to burn Anne Frank diary

Sure, these skinheads are extreme, even for Germans (though I also know a woman my age who grew up in Germany and showed me the cigarrette burn scars on her own arms that were caused by schoolyard bullies who thought she was Jewish.)

But let's disregard the actions of a few vile lunatics for now - and instead look at the considered actions of France and other European govrenments. The elected representatives of the people of Europe continue to be all too willing to buy into the worst characterizations of Israelis, while excusing away - and even enabling - the murderous activities of Hezbollah:

In the past two weeks, the officials said, France has rebuffed appeals by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which would prevent it from raising money in Europe through charity groups. The United States has long called Hezbollah a terrorist organization, but the French, American and European officials said, have opposed doing so, and argue that making such a designation now would be unwise, given the new turbulence in Lebanon.

To be fair, the governments of Italy, Poland, and The Netherlands supported listing Hezbollah - an organization responsible for murdering hundreds of Jews - as a terrorist organization. That's three - out of more than twenty.

(Not incidentally, these three governments also contributed troops to the Iraq war effort - for which I'm very grateful.)

If I am going to cut Europe any slack over their history of anti-semitism, they've got to show me some evidence that except for a few crackpots on the fringes, that it's over with.

Splash, out


Monday, July 10, 2006

Europeans will excuse anything 
So French World Cup Team Captain Zinedine Zidane walks up to an Italian player and, in front of over 100,000 spectators, launches an unprovoked and vicious physical attack on him...

And wins the "best player" award from journalists covering the event.

Sorry, but this isn't the first assault that Zidane has committed on the field.

He's not the best soccer player in the tournament. He's an embarrassment to the game.

Sounds like Euro-fecklessness to me. They must have suspected the Italian player was Jewish, or something.

Congratulations to the terrific and gutsy Italian team.

Splash, out


The AP's outrageous omission 
This news does my heart good.

But what's the deal with gracing this vile, murdering swine with the the term "rebel?"

Robert E. Lee was a rebel. Luke Skywalker was a rebel. Basayev was a terrorist.

How can the writer, Judith Ingram, write the whole piece and hardly mention Beslan, except to say:

The attack on the Beslan school shocked Russia and divided the rebel movement, since civilians, including women and children, were taken hostage

"Taken hostage?" "Taken hostage?"

You ignorant boob. How long have you been slavishly rewriting press releases for your news stories.

It's not that those civilians were taken hostage. It's that hundreds of school children were shot in the back and killed.

The fact that the AP could publish this article and not mention a single murder - not call this rat accountable for a damn thing - is ridiculous.

Are they serious about covering terrorism or not?

Splash, out


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!