Friday, May 30, 2008

Pelosi attributes the success of the surge to ... 
"...The goodwill of the Iranians!"

I shit thee not!

Via Ace of Spades HQ

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...To lift and drop a question on your plate 
If Obama is so smart, and those people in the middle states, who are so bitter and clinging and stuff…how come they keep calling him on his history/geography gaffes?

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So the Dems are in a tizzy because McCain used a pic of Petraeus in his ad: 
Gateway Pundit, in turn, takes a look at historic liberal and Democratic uses of pics of Petraeus and other images of soldiers.

At least when Republicans do it, we get images of soldiers from the right freaking country!

P.S., if you didn't catch it, the soldier in the pic is Canadian, not American.

Splash, out


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Attempted Citizen's Arrest of John Bolton 
So some dimwit attempted to commit battery on the person of former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton today.

It turns out that that dimwit is a columnist at the Guardian.

It further turns out that he's been a CounterColumn object of derision before, in 2005, when he tried to argue that the use of White Phosphorus munitions in Fallujah constituted chemical warfare.

Here's what I wrote about him then:

To try to draw a moral equivalence between Saddam and Chemical Ali on the one hand, and an allied forward observer under fire on the other, is simply outrageous. Especially when Monbiot's arguments collapse so quickly in light of the facts.

Monbiot does not know warfare, he does not know fire support, he does not know doctrine. He is wholly ignorant of the subject matter about which he speaks. It's not as if the opinion of informed observers is even divided. EVERY participant I've seen in this debate who has more than a rudimentary knowledge of fire support doctrine has weighed in against the idea of WP being a chemical weapon. Without exception.

Unlike most debates, this is a debate with all the informed on one side, and all the clueless jack brains on the other. Inexplicably, Monbiot and the Guardian choose to ally themselves with the clueless jackbrains.

He only makes a fool of himself.

I'll give him credit for consistency: He was an idiot then and he's an idiot now.

I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to see the 'Stache level his ass out.

Splash, out


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David Carr Responds! 
David Carr has responded to my call on Monday for a correction or clarification for his Memorial Day piece, The Wars We Choose To Ignore, in the New York Times:

His unedited response:


all do respect, I see nothing to correct. last year was the bloodiest of the war. last month was the bloodiest so far this year. it is still a dangerous place to be a soldier.

My response:


That's ridiculous, and you know it. Your assertion was that the surge should not be misconstrued as making Iraq a safer place for American soldiers. That is clearly false, looking at the data.

Last month may have been the bloodiest of the year so far, but even the casualty figures last month are sharply reduced from year-end 2007, and May may turn out to be the second quietest month of the war.

That being true when you wrote the article, it certainly does not support your point. It directly undercuts it. Taken together with the rest of the data last year, it falsifies your argument.

You know perfectly well it is possible to use perfectly accurate data to construct a wholly misleading argument. I could look at Sandy Koufax's career from 1955 to 1961 and conclude that Koufax was a mediocre fastballer with serious control problems. When someone points out that during the years 1962-1966 he became the most dominant pitcher in the major leagues, establishing record after record and building a hall of fame career, if I then came back and said "there's nothing to correct.. after all, Koufax 5 games in 1963," (his win/loss record was 25-5) you could rightly characterize me as an obtuse twit.

Except you've constructed precisely the same argument.

This is what passes for intellectual honesty and critical reasoning at the Times?


early in the piece, first quote is about reduction in violence and success of the surge. lower in the piece I used casualty numbers to suggest that it is still a dangerous place to be an American soldier. believe it or not, both things can be true at the same time.

Ok, so let's take a look at the assertion itself: "The tactical success of the surge should not be misconstrued as making Iraq a safer place for US soldiers."

Here is the full passage, including the part to which Carr wants to divert attention:

“Ironically, the success of the surge and a reduction in violence has led to a reduction in coverage,” said Mark Jurkowitz of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. “There is evidence that people have made up their minds about this war, and other stories — like the economy and the election — have come along and sucked up all the oxygen.”

But the tactical success of the surge should not be misconstrued as making Iraq a safer place for American soldiers. Last year was the bloodiest in the five-year history of the conflict, with more than 900 dead, and last month, 52 perished, making it the bloodiest month of the year so far. So far in May, 18 have died.

Carr is flat wrong. It is NOT possible to reach any other conclusion than that Iraq has, indeed, become safer for US troops since the surge. Carr does NOTHING to address the facts, he does NOTHING to address the data or timeline. He makes a foolish assertion that is falsified by the available facts, and sticks with it despite being confronted with evidence. He compounds his stupidity by inventing a straw man: Nobody claimed that Iraq isn't a dangerous place to be a soldier; I am arguing that by any measure, Iraq is a less dangerous place to be a soldier than it was before.

At this point, I'm not sure how much to chalk up to intellectual dishonesty and how much to stupidity. But if a reporter at the NY Times can write things like "all do respect," I'm inclined to be charitable.

Splash, out


UPDATE: Welcome Gateway Pundit readers! And if you didn't come from Gateway Pundit, Gateway and his readers have more on the subject.

UPDATE UPDATE: Welcome also to readers of , The Virginian, who's been all over the Times himself!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Democrats Target "Fallen Heroes" In Memorial Day Voter Registration Drive ...

McCain Unveils New "Yesh We Can" Slogan ...

Buchenwald Survivors Weary of Auschwitz Survivors' "Good-Natured Ribbing."
Inter-camp Rivalry Gets Personal At Palm Beach Shuffleboard Court ...

Man Attempting To Skydive 25 Miles Dies of Exposure ...

Chinese Quake Survivors Criticize FEMA, Bush Administration ...

Market Message to News Media: Do Not Want ...

Search for Life On Mars Turns Up Giant Red-Shirted, Ravenous Alien Who Named "Mikey"
Widely Thought to Hate Everything ...

Unfolding ...


A Bold-Faced Lie from Obama 
Obama claimed his uncle was with the American brigade that liberated Auschwitz.


Auschwitz was in Poland. It was liberated by Russian troops, not by Americans.

Splash, out


UPDATE: Obama's campaign is now saying it wasn't his uncle, but his great uncle. And it wasn't Auschwitz, but Buchenwald.

Buchenwald was a Hell on earth. But how ill-informed do you have to be to confuse Buchenwald with the Big A?

Apparently this seminal event in Obama's family history was just never interesting enough to Obama to learn about in any detail.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Fiddle Blogging -Heavy Shtetl 
Yitzak Perlman, sitting in with several different klezmer bands.

I fell in love with the music as a child - first hearing it around the Fairfax district of Hollywood, Los Angeles as a very young child (it was a Jewish area before it became countercultural, and for a while, it was an entertaining dichotomy of punk rockers in full Mohawk regalia and Orthodox Jews sharing the same sidewalk!) and later upon finding a recording from the Klezmer Conservatory Band in my stepdad's record collection.

Looking at it altogether, I think Perlman's a little over the top with the Yngwie Malmsteen stuff here, but if you're in the middle of it, you can't help but be carried away with its infectious energy.

This is a musical heritage that had the whole shtetl hopping, once upon a time.



P.S., Does he look like Dick Cheney to anyone else?

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Down the memory hole 
A look at the dishonest way the New York Times treats conservative and liberal books on the Iraq war.

James Risen, a well-known reporter for the New York Times, tried to get the new Feith book a decent writeup in the Times, but had the effort squashed by the higher-ups. According to Risen, the powers that be told him that they didn't see fit to review the Feith book because it had already been written up in the Washington Post.

So why did Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks' book Fiasco get not one, but two write ups in the New York Times?

I don't have time these days to do it, but I suspect a look at the Book Review sections against the Times and the Post would reveal a rather damning list of books that had received write-ups in both papers.

Splash, out


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Obama: I See Dead People 
Just thought you'd want to know what pearls of wisdom the anointed one, Senator Obama, had to dispense this Memorial Day:

On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.

The man makes Dan f---ing Quayle look like Cyrano de F---ing Bergerac.

Splash, out


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Memorial Day 
I have posted this poem before, and while I hate to repeat myself, I cannot think of a better poem for the occasion.

To you, who lie within this coral sand,
We, who remain, pay tribute of a pledge
That dying, thou shalt surely not
Have died in vain.

That when again bright morning dyes the sky
And waving fronds above shall touch the rain,
We give you this—that in those times
We will remember.

We lived and fought together, thou and we,
And sought to keep the flickering torch aglow
That all our loved ones might forever know
The blessed warmth exceeding flame,
The everlasting scourge of bondsman's chains,
Liberty and light.

When we with loving hands laid back the earth
That was for moments short to couch thy form
We did not bid a last and sad farewell,
But only 'Rest ye well.'

Then with this humble, heartfelt epitaph
That pays thy many virtues sad acclaim
We marked this spot, and, murm'ring requiem,
Moved on to Westward."

I pause this day each year to reflect on some missing friends - and I'm sure everyone in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps has them by now, and raise a glass and think of them - and do my best to honor their memory.

I would write that we should thank God each day that such men lived; there have, of course, been a number of women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. As of this morning, there have been 93 of them.

I am so grateful and honored to have the privilege of having served beside all of them, of all ranks, male and female, and to have saluted the same flag.

'Til the next formation.

Splash, out


An open letter to David Carr of the New York Times 
Dear Mr. Carr,

It's too bad you took what should have been a moving profile of Jessica Ann Ellis and turned it into a journo's whine-fest.

Coverage is down on Iraq because American troops are bleeding less, and for no other reason. If Americans were bleeding more, it would be right back on the front pages. And every reporter knows this.

Katie Couric didn't get crap ratings because she went to Iraq. Couric got crap ratings because it was HER going to Iraq. Nobody cares what that twit thinks about Iraq. She never should have been promoted past any one of fifty real journalists at CBS to the anchor's chair, and the ratings bear that out.

Further, you wrote of American indifference to a "war that refuses to end.' Curious construction, that. But you need to get out more: The American public isn't indifferent to the war. We're indifferent to your crap coverage of the war. And that's a huge difference. Your very own newspaper once described a soldier's decoration as a "Purple Star," and ascribed the Medal of Honor to an award presented to songwriters.

And your own reporter, Alissa Rubin, who hilariously wrote earlier this month that "It's not clear who won" in Sadr City, has got to take the cake for being the dumbest journo in the country. (She's an ok reporter, if she sticks to reporting. But when she tries to do analysis, or editorialize, she's way, WAAAAAAY out of her depth.) (I'm assuming it's the same Rubin, here, but if someone knows I'm wrong, let me know. The Times hasn't responded).

As for your own "analysis" of US casualties, just what in God's name are you smoking?

Here's what you wrote:

"But the tactical success of the surge should not be misconstrued as making Iraq a safer place for American soldiers. Last year was the bloodiest in the five-year history of the conflict, with more than 900 dead, and last month, 52 perished, making it the bloodiest month of the year so far. So far in May, 18 have died."

But a casual glance at this graph of US deaths in Iraq, by month, establishes that you've been practicing the fine art of lying with statistics.

There is no doubt, based on these numbers, that the tactical success of the surge HAS made the country safer for US troops. Deaths have been cut to roughly half of the rate of last year, and the rapid falloff in casualty rates since about November of 2007 is obvious. Jeez...last year was, you guessed it...LAST YEAR, and half of that year had elapsed before the surge elements were fully operational in the summer of 2007. Furthermore, you mention the 18 deaths so far in May, as if that supported your conclusion. But May is on track to becoming one of the safest months for US troops since our arrival in 2003. Why did you include it?

Sometimes you have to write an article with the data you have, not the data you wish to have.

I believe a correction is in order.

Unfortunately, I have less faith in the NY Times to publish that correction than for any other newspaper.

I'm sorry Corporal Ellis' memory had to be sullied by association with your piece.

She deserves better.

Jason Van Steenwyk
OIF I Veteran
Ramadi, 03-04
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

UPDATE: Carr Responds!

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The Fall of Lebanon 
Barry Rubin:

May 21, 2008, is a date--like December 7 (1941) and September 11 (2001)--that should now live in infamy. Yet who will notice, mourn, or act the wiser for it?

On that day, the Beirut spring was buried under the reign of Hizballah.

We have all but taken Islamofacsism's sword from their hands in Iraq...but they have successfully slipped a shiv into our ribs in Lebanon this week.

The failure of the West to sustain the fledgling democratic movement in Lebanon that began to give its people a glimmer of light and hope in 2004 is one of the great policy failures of the decade. It may be that such support was impossible after the Hezbollah war of 2006...that as a result of Hezbollah's mastery of the art of what I call "hypermodern war," their trading of battlespace for symbolic strikes against Israel and their successful exploitation against a corrupt and incompetent press corps as well as a successful full-spectrum insurgency movement, complete with an extensive and effective Civil Affairs operation within Lebanon, it was simply inevitable.

But it will prove to be a severe blow to any chance of a lasting peace in the middle east, and there will be copious amounts of blood shed over it.

Iran and Syria are to blame. But they will not be the ones shedding blood.

It will be Lebanese and Israelis doing the dying.

Sure, some of the Lebanese just need killing. But think of it: As long as Syria and Iran have a stranglehold on Lebanese sovreignty, they will be able to send their agents to terrorize Israelis and Lebanese Christian, Druze, and moderate Muslims with impunity. So long as Lebanon exists to do their dirty work, Syria and Iran will get away with murder after murder.

Lebanon can and should be a democracy. Its descent into the murderous hands of Hezbollah is a grievous blow, and one which will bleed for years.

Powerline notes the Rubin piece under the headline, "The Gathering Storm," evoking Churchill's book and memories of WWII. But what it brings to mind to me are the words of William Butler Yeats: "What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

Splash, out


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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chinese are left asking why schools collapsed in quake 
So reads the headline from the New York Times.

I got three words that explain why: "Made In China."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Congratulations to Jon Lester 
The 24 year-old left handed Red Sox pitcher pitched his first major league complete game ... a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.

I don't think anyone who has never pitched understands what a contest of will and endurance it is just to pitch a complete game.

When someone throws a no-hitter, it means not only did they go the distance, but that they kept enough pepper on the ball the whole time to shut down major league hitters.


What can you say to someone who throws a no-hitter? Ah, yes...

Mazel toss!!!!!

Splash, out


Minnesota News crew assaulted by faculty of Muslim charter school 
Caught on camera.

Libtards will no doubt use the incident to simultaneously argue for Muslim schools and against charter schools in general.

The police should have arrested the faculty on the spot and charged them with battery.

If I were on the news crew I would have leveled the two-bit goon who grabbed the camera.

No, for the record I don't have a particular problem with Muslim charter schools, on principle. I don't trust Muslims to run them, though. But Islam has little to do with it. I don't trust most evangelicals to do a decent job running evangelical charter schools, either.

Splash, out


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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Seattle Times: "What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable." 
I shit you not.

By way of defending Obama. Of course.

They will excuse ANYTHING if it will accrue to the benefit of a libtard.


Splash, out



Great moments in sports... 
I especially want to thank my coach, Nick Nolte.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Did Michelle Obama "rail against whitey" from the pulpit?" 

I'll believe it when I see it. I've got to give her the benefit of the doubt until then.

I just wish I were a fly on the wall at the Hillary campaign headquarters - they have GOT to assume that the tape is out there, and have got to be pulling every stop, calling every chit, twisting every arm, and stepping on every neck in order to get their hands on it.

Unless... it's a flat-out lie from the Hillary campaign. And given that the Clintonistas and the other pathological liars on their own staff (read: the Clinton cabinet) were perfectly willing to throw Monica Lewinsky under the bus as a delusional stalker in order to suit their own purposes, I have to take that possibility into account as well.

What's that? I can't hold the Clinton staff responsible when Clinton himself was lying to them? Well, maybe. But then again, when the truth came out, how many of them turned in their resignations? Shalala? Reno? Anyone? Bueller?

Splash, out


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Riddle me this, Democrats... 
How did Obama - and everyone else who objected to the President's Israel speech denouncing appeasement - know the appeaser was him?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Apparently ... 
...we're NOT at war with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Gary Hart: "If John McCain seriously believes we are at war with al Qaeda in Iraq, that alone is such a serious error in judgment as to rank him with George W. Bush at his worst and therefore disqualify him from any chance to govern this country."

I suspect Mr. Hart's viewpoint is news to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Apparently, David Bellavia imagined the whole thing.

Oh. Hart compares neoconservatives to Nazis for good measure.

Splash, out


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Monday, May 12, 2008

Inside the Clinton Bunker 

YOU... are there.

(I just about spewed my iced coffee!)

From a reader. Props to Celestial Junk. Nice find! (Background...the video is from the movie "Das Untergang" (The Downfall)


Catch the fever!

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Ft. Bragg Barracks scandal 
I missed this when it first came out, but Joe Galloway, veteran military correspondent, is hopping mad.

The latest outrage is a father's video of a U.S. Army barracks at Fort Bragg, N.C., the home of the 82nd Airborne Division.
It shows the quarters where his soldier son and other soldier sons were sent to live upon their return from combat. Mold and mildew and peeling paint are bad enough, but what about a big barracks bathroom ankle-deep in raw sewage?
Scandals like this latest one and an earlier eruption of public outrage over the miserably maintained quarters where wounded soldiers were warehoused at Walter Reed Army Hospital are an indictment of the core competency of our Army.
If the Army cannot afford to maintain minimally decent standards of housing and feeding our soldiers - and treat them with the best medical care and all the loving attention they deserve when they're wounded in combat - then, by God, the Army doesn't deserve to have ANY soldiers at all.

Indeed. Although I'm sure, with Big Army's usual "go to hell" attitude towards Guardsmen and reservists, that same barracks has been cleared of Active Duty troops and converted to a reserve or Guard barracks facility.

On the other hand, the Army's been warning about this since the base closure commission was formed in 1989...nearly 20 years ago! The military has a limited budget for physical plants, and has been wanting to consolidate operations and consolidate physical plants the whole time. But no one in Congress wants the base in his or her district to close. So we have a gazillion bases, many of which are just job protection programs for congressional districts.

That's a cancer that eats away at soldiers' quality of life, and here is where we pay the price.

Sure, maybe the base commander should have caught it, via his NCO support channel. That doesn't mean he had the resources to fix it.

The base commander screwed up. But he's one of the last links on a very long chain of abuses that starts in Washington, D.C.


Best Ranger Competition 2008 
Catch the slideshow here.

Congratulations to all participants. Magnificent soldiers.

Splash, out



So let me get this straight ... 
According to a story in the NY Times today,

1. Iran pulls the rug out from under the Sadrists by throwing its support behind the Iraqi government and Maliki.

2. The government gains control of Sadr City

3. All of Sadr's fighters are still subject to arrest

4. The Sadr militia has lost the popular support of Sadr City residents.

5. The political establishment has turned against the Sadrists.

6. The government maintained a stranglehold on resupply for the Sadrists.

7. The Sadrists are outgunned and outclassed, militarily.

8. The militia has ordered their gunmen to "disappear from the streets"

9. Under the terms of the deal, the government is allowed to search Sadr City for weapons

10. The Iraqi Army gains invaluable operational experience, taking the lead in the operation against the Sadrists in Sadr City

...And yet according to reporter Alissa Rubin, "it's not clear who won."

Seriously, Alissa. Does that look like a draw to you? Or did you just wake up and heat up a can of dumbass for breakfast?

Alissa Rubin is no stranger to Countercolumn. Formerly the Vienna correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, it was her who famously blew the Ambassador Bremer farewell speech, slandering Bremer in the process. (See also here for her response to my post, and my counter to it.)

Maybe you could at ease with the editorializing? I mean, every quote in the story you got undercuts your "analysis." The parliament member you talked to - who I would wager knows Iraqi politics somewhat better than you, TOLD you that Sadr was politically isolated.

Congrats on your hiring at the New York Times. Well, congrats to the Los Angeles Times, I guess.

Splash, out


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Idiot Moron Libtards at Crooks and Liars will believe anything 
And apparently, so does the editorial staff of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

By: Nicole Belle on Saturday, May 10th, 2008 at 5:30 PM - PDT
C&Ler “Z” sent this link to a letter to the editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Many soldiers missing out on Bush’s stimulus checks

In August 2006 the 10th Mountain Division, 2nd BCT, 1-89 Cavalry was sent to Iraq for 12 months. In April 2007, the troops were told the Army was adding three additional months to their time in country.

In November 2007 the troopers of 1-89 arrived back in New York from their tour. They are now being told by the IRS, via the IRS Web site, that they haven’t earned enough money to qualify for the economic stimulus check.

Only problem with that one: It's a lie, Nicole.

From the IRS's Web page:

For federal tax purposes, the U.S. Armed Forces includes officers and enlisted personnel in all regular and reserve units controlled by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Coast Guard and National Guard are also included, but not the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross.

Normally, combat pay is not counted as income and is not taxable. For the purposes of receiving an economic stimulus payment, however, military personnel serving in combat zones have the option of including their nontaxable combat pay on their 2007 or 2008 income tax returns if it helps their eligibility for the 2008 economic stimulus payments.

To receive the stimulus payment this year, combat zone personnel or their spouses must file a 2007 income tax return by Oct. 15. Otherwise, they can claim the economic stimulus payment on next year’s income tax return.

Military personnel who normally would not file an income tax return because their 2007 income is not taxable can file a simple Form 1040A with the IRS if they want to receive the economic stimulus payment. They should report their nontaxable combat pay on Line 40b of the Form 1040A to show at least $3,000 in qualifying income. The Department of Defense lists the amount of excluded combat pay, along with the designation, “Code Q,” in Box 12 of Forms W-2.

Liberal and stupid is no way to go through life, Nicole. Here's a hint: Don't believe letters to the editor. Especially about taxes.

Splash, out


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You gotta be kidding me! 
The Navy is wasting bandwidth on investigating a consensual affair from 18 years ago?

If that's the threshold for removal from service, we won't have a Navy much longer.

Look, I grok that our flag officers need to have personal integrity. And I grok that an affair is blackmailable, and so the guy made himself vulnerable to a foreign recruiter. The Russkies are famous for using beautiful women to get to US servicemen.

But 18 years ago? And it's remained in investigation that long?

And CNN: Look at the bandwidth you gave to the story. You even published the report. Slow news day or something?

Either there's way more than meets the eye, or we need to transfer some Navy staff officers to flesh out some Army units. The Navy obviously doesn't have enough productive to do.

Splash, out


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Back from Annual Training 2008!

Highlight #1

MAJ M: CPT Van Steenwyk, I want you to take this sunscreen and apply it liberally.

ME: Ma'am, I'm sorry. I don't do anything liberally."

Highlight #2

CPT L: ...And on Thursday, there will be a hot lunch.

ME: This term "hot lunch" you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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