30 May 2008


Apologies folks, I'll be traveling and unable to update this blog for a couple of weeks. Please enjoy this Ramones video in the meantime and check out some links on the sidebar. So long and thanks for all the fish everybody!

Final Words From the Emerald City

This deployment has certainly been more interesting than the last two (albeit a lot longer). Primarily because I had access to the internet, and I worked on a staff with many senior officers, which allowed me to fly low on the radar with my relative unimportance. Although, important people frequently counted on me for various pieces of the puzzle in their decision making, and I'll miss that aspect of my existence having a purpose. I also worked with some wonderful people both civilian and military and I wish them the best in their future endeavors. Since I don't have a girlfriend, wife/kids, or any of that other bullshit, I thought it would be interesting to spend all of my free time frantically engaging in an experiment of how America was going about its business while a war went on in Iraq. The blogosphere seemed like the logical place to accomplish this. Iraq has become the most divisive issue of the 21st century in America, and the media and politics of it all can certainly be baffling. However, dissecting all the pieces on a daily basis of our modern world can make all that information less cumbersome to comprehend, and can even be humorous at times. At times in this place, I honestly thought I was going to get killed or seriously injured. Having an interest in something larger than yourself can provide that necessary distraction to focus your mind on other matters. And, of course, just as the blogosphere is more important than just one blog, civilization and humanity as a whole is more important than just one person. The fact that I was able to live a double-life with the U.S. mission in Iraq and some hate-filled blogger helped me get through the days here.

To The Iraqis: I wish you the best for your country. I can't imagine what it's like to have a genocidal dictator like Saddam followed by 5 years of chaos and confusion in post-invasion Iraq. Please know that those in the coalition only want to help you, but some egregious decisions were made in 2003 (de-ba'athification, disbanding the Army, etc.). I hope our current mission has helped kick out the Takfiris and weakened the militia thugs. While my words may ring hallow, please know that I hope your country becomes prosperous and you have a better life.

To The Troops: You guys are by far the best our generation has to offer. We count on you to do America's most dangerous work. Please keep your experience in your heart, and consider entering a profession that will influence society after you transition from military service. I see a lot of problems with what America has become, and you may be our last hope to fix that. For the fallen and injured, we will never forget you.

To The Lefty Pundits: While I understand that you may not like BushCo and his war, please consider that your frequent highlighting of the failures in Iraq may have a devastating psychological effect on those trying to make Iraq better. I am a huge cynic, but I think the current plan is on the right track (at least for Iraq).

To The Right-winger Pundits: While Iran is certainly a troublemaker, you have to ask yourself if an all-out military conflict is really the solution to Hezbollah, EFPs, and a possible nuke. If it is, then you have to take into consideration the huge amount of life that will be lost as well as the fact that we will need a no-joke draft. Are you ready to make that sacrifice?

To The People Reading This: Thanks so much! I've loved each and one of your comments, both supportive and nasty. This has been a unique experience and I appreciate all the feedback and good times. I'll be continuing blogging once I get back to WA state assuming I don't get too damn drunk all the time. While my blog posts have been hate-filled and offensive at times, you have to understand that I'm not a professional writer or intelligent, so being obnoxious is a good way to compensate for that. Please drop me a line if you're in the Puget Sound area, as I'm not a total asshole in person.

Since Kath accused me of being a woman for some reason, I've enclosed a picture of myself plus my one-dollar briefcase my roommate purchased for me at a thrift store, which clearly symbolizes that I'm leaving town.

In the words of the Ramones, Adios Amigos!

LT Nixon Sux

The Sniper Makes an Ass out of Obama

Go check out The Sniper talking about Obama, who neglected to mention military service in his "you ought to serve your country" Wesleyan graduation speech. Do it or else TSO will beat me up and/or give me a wedgie.

Jeff Peckman: The Man, The Myth, and The Legend

An Ode to Jeff Peckman:
  • Who has a petition to recognize the importance of U.F.O.-ET Realities in the state of Colorado
  • Who encourages folks in the community to Think Intergalactically, but Act Locally at his homepage
  • Who still shows respect for his parents by living with them at age 54 according to a comment left by Psyoperator
  • Who assures us that he has video footage of an alien popping his head into a window
  • Who has doubled traffic to this blog today with incoming hits from Google searches for the legendary "Jeff Peckman"
  • Who has shown his humanitarian side by saying that even though the universe is big, we humans must learn to get along with aliens from other galaxies
God bless you, sir!

You Handsome Devil!

29 May 2008

Michelle Malkin Flips Out Over Dumb Shit

This might piss off some of my right-of-center readership, but I have to side with GI Kate, Exnicios, and Reason and say that Michelle Malkin's outrage at a keffiyeh in a Dunkin Donuts commercial is pretty damn stupid. Is there any reason to believe that Rachel Ray is a terrorist-sympathizer...no. Beside, this is what hipsters do. They wear things like keffiyehs, skinny jeans, and Ralph Nader buttons because they know it will generate outrage among culture warrior squares from the suburbs. I find it best to ignore these latte-sipping twentysomethings, and mock them for their crappy taste in music.

Well no sooner than Dunkin Donuts nixed the keffiyeh commercial has Malkin flipped out over a Lenin statue in Jersey. She also mentions the monster sized Lenin statue in Seattle's Freemont district as a sign of civilization's impending collapse. C'mon, the cold war has been over for more than 20 years. Let's just settle down now.

Freemont Lenin to Squash American Imperialists

Harvard Troublemakers Hassle Recruiters in Maine

Don't Ask Don't Tell was a policy instituted for the military during the early years of the Clinton administration, which didn't allow gays to serve openly, but prevented the chain of command from questioning someone's sexual orientation. Prior to this policy, homosexuals were not allowed into the military at all. Of course, there are no secrets in the military due to0 the close proximity of living quarters and conversation being the number one way to help pass the time. Everyone knew if someone was gay, and no one really gave a shit. The law is archaic and should probably be repealed. Admiral Mullen even suggested that Congress should consider getting rid of the policy earlier this month, but he made it clear that it was in the hands of elected lawmakers. So why are these know-it-all, self-righteous pukes at Harvard protesting military recruiting stations instead of Washington lawmakers? Politico explains:

“I wouldn’t be able to be completely honest about such an important part of who I am,” he said. “I’m prevented from serving my country in the most open and sincere way.” On May 24, Harvard students — regardless of sexual orientation or desire to serve in the military — will embark on a weeklong coalition-sponsored trip around the east coast to protest the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. At these cities’ military recruiting centers, one openly gay or lesbian student will attempt to enlist for military service. If the student is turned away, volunteers from the group will refuse to leave the recruiting center.

Do these brainiacs at Harvard really want to serve their country or change the system? Please. Harvard has no love for the military, and it booted their ROTC program off campus in 1969 like it was a deranged, smelly homeless man at a wine n' cheese party. The real answer lies in 4 of the protesters being rightfully arrested for makin' trouble. They call it a "badge of honor", which shows that they are just looking for some attention and self-martyrdom. The real losers here are these kids parents who are shelling out 47 grand a year for tuition and board for these ungrateful young punks.

Get a Job, You Fancy Lads! (photo from Harvard Crimson)

Jeff Peckman Promises Real Alien Footage

Colorado's favorite nut who lives with his parents at age 54, Jeff Peckman, is back in the news again. To enable the Denver city council to go along with his Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission, which would provide a framework of laws to deal with hazmat produced from crashed alien spaceships, he reportedly has a videotape of an authentic alien. Rocky Mountain News explains:

Peckman, 54, said the video was among the reasons he was "compelled" to launch the proposed ballot initiative, which has generated news coverage as far as South Africa. "It shows an extraterrestrial's head popping up outside of a window at night, looking in the window, that's visible through an infrared camera," he said. The alien is about 4 feet tall and can be seen blinking, Peckman said this month. In a statement, Peckman said "other related credible evidence" proving aliens exist will be shown at Friday's news conference, too.

Let's hope that this alien is from a planet that likes to party (like the aliens in Heavy Metal), and not a planet destined to enslave humanity (like the Psychlos in Battlefield Earth).

(h/t Kath)

Iraq News (29 May)

The Good
  • ABC News has cited Maliki's "Midas Touch" as Sadr City's markets are opened back up again after a huge Iraqi Army offensive.
  • Another surge brigade of U.S. forces (~4000 troops) is being redeployed with no replacement, as U.S. force structure decreases to 15 Brigade Combat Teams.
  • FIFA has lifted the ban on the Iraqi Football Association so that Iraq can play in the World Cup qualifying match.
  • U.S. forces killed 10 IED-emplacers just outside Sadr City, and Iraqi troops have made huge cache finds in Sadr City.
  • Recommended reading from AFP: Now that Al-Qaeda has fled Mosul, the citizens are allowed to drink and smoke again. I don't know how the Iraqis could have gone without smoking. Almost every Iraqi male I know smokes. One gentleman mentioned he could open up his ice factory again. Ice was banned by Al-Qaeda, because it didn't exist in the time of Prophet Mohammed.
The Bad
  • A suicide bomber has killed at least 16 in the Sinjar district of Ninawa province (West of Mosul).
  • The Iraqi Accordance Front says the Maliki government is hindering its return to the cabinet. Iraqi politics as usual, and it's going very, very slow.
The Ugly
Iraq Soccer Lives

28 May 2008

Weed Stash Goes Missing at Narita Airport

And you thought our airport security was wonked up. Security officials at Narita airport in Tokyo secretly placed a bag of weed in a Hong Kong traveler's luggage for the purposes of a training exercise for Customs. Unfortunately, the guy who had the stash disappeared. Reuters explains:

Customs regulations specify that a training suitcase be used for such exercises, but the official said he had used passengers' suitcases for similar purposes in the past, domestic media reported. "The dogs have always been able to find it before," NHK quoted him as saying. "I became overconfident that it would work." Anyone who finds the package should contact Tokyo customs as soon as possible, the spokeswoman said.

I don't think they're going to have much like finding the dope. Some Hong Kong businessman is probably stoned out of his gourd doing karaoke to "Dark Side of the Moon" as we speak.

Cheech N' Chong Working Airport Security in Tokyo

Cornball "Gas Giveaway" Campaign Stunt Results in Anger, Malaise

Sleazy politicians often try to portray "Big Oil" as a bunch of waspy old geezers in wingtips, who are living large in their golden castles, while the rest of us schmoes shell out our hard-earned cash on gas to pay for their snotty kid's trust fund. Politicians employ this "Scrooge McDuck" narrative to win populist support amongst the rubes who think the government should provide them with dollar-a-gallon gas, tighter abs, and endless hours of reality TV to consume their vapid lives. Unfortunately, reckless government spending is most likely the culprit for our high oil prices due to the Bush Administration cranking out the funny money at the Fed. PJs explains:

With all this in mind, I’d like to propose what I believe is the correct answer — the real culprit lurking in the shadows — of today’s high and rising energy prices. The Bush White House did it, in the Cabinet Room with 1) the printing press from the Treasury Department that printed far too much money to cover out-of-control government spending after 9/11 and 2) a pair of Federal Reserve scissors that started cutting interest rates from 6% down to 1% in a little less than a year back in 2002, under the tutelage of Alan Greenspan. Together these two weapons — a printing press and pair of scissors — acted like a double-barrel sawed-off shotgun in annihilating the value of our dollar in short order.

While America doesn't have some sort of right to cheap energy, the reckless spending that the federal government (both Dems and Repubs) has wrought sure isn't helping matters any. That's why I took sadistic pleasure when Dan Seals, a Democrat running for Congress, made an jackass out of himself trying to have some gas giveaway stunt to give the appearance that congressmen are modern-day Robin Hoods. Chicago Tribune explains (h/t Politico):

"We're not asking people to vote for me," said Seals, who had campaign workers passing out campaign bumper stickers to motorists as they waited for fill ups. "We're holding this open to anyone who wants to come."

Come they did, causing a lunchtime traffic nightmare that left Lincolnshire Police Chief Randy Melvin fuming. He had almost half of his 25-officer staff directing traffic, which nearly came to a standstill."We have cars trying to come in from every direction," Melvin said during the event. "We've probably had fist fights. Cars are lined up for at least 1.5 miles. I'd say there's a couple hundred easy."Melvin said that what particularly irked him was no one from the Seals campaign alerted him about the event until just before it started. By that time, traffic was a mess, and it remained snarled even after the scheduled 1 p.m. finishing time.

The only things Dan Seals was able to provide was a wretched mess of traffic during the lunch-hour rush and some very pissed-off local policemen. What a man of the people! Lucky for Dan, this type of sheer incompetence is what the standard has become for Congress, and I'm sure he'll get elected to make dunderheaded decisions about how to waste money from the largest tax base in civilization.

Dems Attempting to Revive Long Gas Lines from the "Golden Age" of the Carter Administration

Remembering LT Ammon

Former colleague and partner in crime, Olegreydog7, brings us some sad news. A Navy Individual Augmentee and submariner has died in Afghanistan on 20 May from an IED. The submarine JO community is small, and while I didn't personally know LT Ammon, Olegreydog knew him well and served with him on the USS Alabama. He had this to say:

He was a friend of mine from the Bama. Awesome guy. I'm headed to Bangor next week for his memorial. He pinned on my boomer pin, JG bars, dolphins. He would have pinned me an LT, but he was in Thailand, a trip he stole from me. He had seen quite a bit of direct combat. A number of people from his PRT had been killed. He put out the fire that burned down the DFAC and Gym. They lived in tents and plywood buildings. Sometimes they slept on the Humvees. Extended for a year, had till the end of October left. He would only do that if he was making a difference. I think he was.

Daily Kos also had a nice writeup in memoriam which can be found here. Godspeed.

LT Ammon is the second Navy IA to be killed in action. A supply officer, CDR Murphy-Sweet, was killed by an IED in eastern Baghdad last year. He was a short-timer too.

LT Ammon (R.I.P.)

Iraq News (28 May)

The Good
  • The Sarafiyah bridge in Baghdad has been reopened after a suicide truck bomber destroyed it in April 2007.
  • The Jordanian King has called for more economic and political support in dealing with Iraqis. Some Arabic nations have been hesitant to have strong diplomatic ties with the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government.
  • An oil smuggling gang in Basra has been detained.
The Bad
  • Former U.S. counter terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, has said that having U.S. forces in Iraq "helps Al-Qaeda". I would agree with him that a long-term presence is not beneficial to counter-terrorism, but U.S. forces have been instrumental in crushing extremist elements in Iraq by utilizing COIN strategy.
  • The Iraqi Accordance Front was supposed to end its boycott of nearly one year, but they have suspended negotiations. While security improvements have been tremendous in the last month, political progress has seriously lagged.
The Ugly
  • Australian OIF/OEF vets are reportedly "ashamed" that they have been kept out of combat roles in Afghanistan and Iraq. I've served with a lot of Aussies, and they're all awesome, but some people have that mentality that they need to see action (I'm not one of those, but I'm thankful there are people like that).
  • The State Department needs more of their Foreign Service Officers to volunteer for Iraq or they'll be "voluntold".
  • Sadr has called for protests on Friday because of the Strategic Framework Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq to extend the military presence beyond the U.N. mandate (which expires at the end of 2008). Last time Sadr called for protests in April, they were cancelled. Let's see how this turns out before we start freaking out.
Possible Sadr Protest on Friday (photo from Al-Jazeera English)

Is The Military Becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of Modern Society?

The recent decline of violence in Iraq must have some elements of the blogosphere looking for new and improved tactics to slam the military. In light of this earlier post on Memorial Day slander, Suspect getting called a "rotten apple" of a soldier, and the Ygleisas thread where "Spike" suggests that soldiers lack the "critical thinking" skills for college, it can only be surmised that the military is getting no respect ala Rodney Dangerfield (h/t McClatchy Watch for this hilarious meme).

Since many of us are all about the self-deprecation, and Rodney Dangerfield is the king of hilarity (R.I.P.), here are a list of one-liners to employ in regards to getting no respect:

  • I tried to file a TBI claim at the VA, they told me I was too crazy and threw me in a room with padded walls and a helmet
  • I asked the bartender how much for a gin and tonic, he said 5 bucks, I told him I just got back from Iraq, then he said it'd be 10 and spit on me
  • My girlfriend said I was lousy at sex, I said sorry and told her I had PTSD, she went and got checked for VD and then dumped me
  • I went to go collect my GI Bill at school, they told me to get in the wrong line when I showed up at their office, the next thing you know I'm landing in Helmland province with an M-4 and IBA, how the hell did I end up there
  • I went looking for a job downtown, the interviewer asked me what I did in the Navy, I said I worked in engineering, so they locked me in a dark room for 18 hours a day turning wrenches and paid me 3 bucks an hour, which is still better than being in the Navy
  • I met this beautiful woman who worked as a news anchor, she said to take her out to dinner in my uniform, I showed up to the restaurant and the next thing you know I'm on CNN in the "War Crimes Trial of the Century" with cameras in my face, I get no respect around here

Mosul Citizens To Be Bestricken with Sub-Prime Mortgages

Now that the Iraqi Army offensive in Mosul, Operation Mother of Two Springs, has seen substantial success with over a thousand detained and Al-Qaeda on the run, the citizens are facing another problem: high housing prices. Azzaman English explains:

The sudden hike in property prices in the northern city of Mosul is seen as a sign that relative peace was finally returning to the restive city...Ahmad Azzam, a real state agent, described the surge in rents as “crazy”, claiming that one political faction offered to pay $100,000 a month for a spacious house in one of Mosul’s smart districts.

While this might lead to some levels of corruption and low-level intimidation, it is certainly heartening to hear that this type of problem is making the news. A few months ago, the only thing you heard from Mosul was which suicide bomber blew himself up or who got kidnapped. For the sake of the Iraqis in Mosul, let's hope the terrorists don't come back.

Hanging Out in Mosul (From AFP)

27 May 2008

Netroots Slam the Troops on Memorial Day

While calling our military service members "war criminals" is nothing new to the left-leaning blogosphere, you'd think we'd get a day of respect on Memorial day. There couldn't be a better day for pundits and anonymous commenters to put aside their political slandering of the U.S. Armed Forces and honor the fallen. While most lefties didn't have overt disgust of the military on Memorial Day, there were a significant number that did. These low-class thugs are so blinded by their hatred of the current administration that they don't even comprehend the offensiveness towards those that give them freedom of speech (note: getting called "low class" on this blog is impressive, since my ultimate goal here is to get some rich lady to marry and then divorce me so I can cash in on palimony). My dumpster-diving through the liberalsphere unearthed more tastelessness than Sharon Stone saying a karma-quake killed a bunch of unsuspecting Chinese people. Below is a small sampling.

Abu Muqawama is a well-written blog that focuses on COIN, and Kip had a post about Americans needing to have more respect for what Memorial day is about. It didn't take long for some anonymous commando to liken modern day military members to the Nazis:

The last honorable war was World War II. Members of my family fought in that war and members of my family also died in the camps. The insurgents were the underground, the partisans and the resistance. COIN was Germany.You people are the army of mercs Westmoreland worried about. I have pity for today's recruits, but no respect for their leaders.

Notice how anonymous guy drops the hint that he has a relative who had served in the military. This gives him the moral authority and courage to make asinine comments that have no basis in reality.

Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars had a nice post of a girl in pigtails putting a flag in a fallen soldier's combat boots. Unfortunately, some of the commenters didn't see it that way:

The facts are out there, and if people volunteering for the military don’t bother to educate themselves on what THIS administration is going to do with them, what honor is there in serving? What honor is there in killing or being killed, for the enrichment of the oil industry, Halliburton, and the likes of Blackwater? Like I said: mixed feelings.


Happy Memorial Day? Are you perhaps just a little careless with these hard word thingamabobs? Or do dead U.S. soldiers make you happy? Would more dead (wounded, maimed, PTSD-shattered) soldiers for Mr. Bush’s oil war make the day more happy? Or did you just speak a little poorly?

Yikes, and even more:

Can I ask how these futures are won when Pres Fudnut has made the world a more dangerous place AND shredded our Constitution to boot? I like dictatorship! And so do you, if you know what’s good for you! (Kos Link to a rambling, nonsensical diary about the military breaking into the author's house to steal his children was provided free of charge with this comment).

There seems to be some discrepancy on how the netroots are running their propaganda campaign against us. They can't decide if we are Nazis, sheisty mercenaries, armed sentries of the Bush dictatorship, or "damaged goods" as a commenter at Firedoglake points out. My advice to them is to stick with one phrase (e.g."warmongering shock troops of BushCheneyBurton") and use it repeatedly to increase the value of its jingoism in the groupthink echo chambers of places like Daily Kos and MyDD.

Since I understand that anonymous comments are not always a good barometer of the site's opinion, let's take a look at some front page posts that were served up with uber-class on Memorial Day. A Democratic Underground post shows a gentleman sporting the latest "Fuck The War" style T-shirt, the genre which is often found worn on liberal college campuses where students are heavy on the idealism but incredibly low on life experience. This youngster has a shirt depicting a veterans grave, which implies that if you sign up for the military to get help with college...you're gonna die! The shirt advertises the GI Rights Hotline, which is a cornball left-wing front group, evidenced by the aging hippie douchebags gracing us with their profile pictures on the "About Us" tab.

Of course, the site that gets me the most angry on a daily basis, had the most tasteless front page posts. The Huffington Post informs us that people join the military out of economic necessity and not so much patriotism.

We are, in fact, eternally indebted to all the men and women who choose to voluntarily serve our country because they: (a) believe it is their patriotic duty; (b) have limited economic opportunities; (c) cannot afford to attend college (see b); or, (d) all of the above. The fact is that financial necessity compels many of our soldiers to enlist as much as patriotism.

This ensures we can breathe a sigh of relief and not care for a young soldier who succumbed to his wounds in the battleground of Sadr City. He wasn't serving his country (despite the fact that the uniform actually says "U.S. Army" on it), but rather he was just some hick from the south looking to make a quick buck. Martha Burke perpetuates the myth on HuffPo that if you're a female soldier/marine, you will be raped repeatedly in the "macho" military world:

The Marine Corps is no doubt trying to attract women because it is stretched for recruits for George and Dick's war. All I can say to those women reading the new ads is: Buyer beware. On the same day recent stories about the new "woman friendly" pitch ran in newspapers, NBC Nightly News reported that the U.S. military is now so desperate it is accepting felons, some with convictions for sexual assault.

Instead of honoring our sisters in uniform and those who have fallen, Martha Burke has relegated them to a pathetic victim class subjected to a crass advertising scheme. Perhaps Martha should've taken the time to talk with female vets, instead of holding such ridiculous assumptions.

I wager that most of the netroots are actually supportive of veterans issues, but I fear that tune will eventually change. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings offers a good model for humiliating offensive participants of the lefty blogosphere, but she is the exception and not the rule. Due to the inherent lack of criticism for bullshit on the left, the Leviathan of collective outrage will continue to grow and become more powerful. Soon, anyone who doesn't support a Stalin-like approach to health care and changing the Department of Defense to the Department of Re-education will be chastised as the incarnation of Josef Mengele (with poor spelling and tons of exclamation points included). You stay classy, guys.

The Leviathan of Military-Hatred Takes Over the Blogosphere

Tuesdaze Bloggin' Roundup of Iraq (27 May)

Robots are so sweet, and I want to be replaced by one. T minus three... Here's the goods the blogosphere has to offer on Iraq:

Iraq News (27 May)

The Good

  • Muqtada al-Sadr might be trying to brush up on his studies and boost his theological credentials according to WaPo, but the LA Times reports that the Mahdi Army is losing popular support in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City due to its racketeering and thug-like tactics.
  • The U.S. Presidential hopefuls may address the women in combat issue. Haha, silly politicians, military women are already in combat roles, get with the times!
  • Reuters reports that major heads of the state-run oil industry have been replaced, which is most likely an attempt to curb the corruption that has plagued the Iraqi oil industry.
  • Six young boys, who were being trained to be utilized as suicide bombers by a Saudi foreign fighter, have been rescued by Iraqi security forces in Mosul.
  • The Long War Journal reports that a Special Groups commander has been detained in the Shula neighborhood.
The Bad
  • The law to allow Provincial elections later this year has been met with some serious foot-dragging in Iraqi parliament. Some of the Kurdish lawmakers stormed out of Parliament yesterday when the issue of Kirkuk came up.
  • A suicide bomber killed 6 Sahwa members yesterday north of Baghdad.

The Ugly

  • Many countries (including the U.S. and Iran) are set to meet at the upcoming Stockholm conference on Thursday to discuss Iraq's security. Not sure if it's going to be productive or not, and it sounds like more of a boondoggle. Condi is already ramping up the anti-Iranian rhetoric, and this thing might degenerate into a shouting match.
  • As far as I can tell, Iraqis are nuts about soccer. The recent announcement that Iraq could be suspended from FIFA, thereby preventing Iraq from a shot at the World Cup, will result in some pissed off Iraqis. This shit needs to get resolved in a expeditious manner.
Iraqi Soccer Might Be in Trouble

26 May 2008

The Great Colorado Sex-Out of 2009

Some bozo grad student in Colorado is proposing a "sex strike" for a period of one day on January 1, 2009 to protest the Iraq war. Apparently giving up nookie for a day is supposed to show "respect" and solidarity for military people. ABC Denver explains (h/t Moonbattery):

After an hour of arguing, Page got approval from the board to begin collecting signatures for the question to appear on the ballot. He will need to collect more than 76,000 signatures. Penk said the idea is a creative way to make a statement. "This is about respect for the families of our military," he told the Web site.

People don't want to turn off American Idol for two seconds to hear about Iraq on the news, so what makes this clown think his fellow citizens are going to give up boning for an entire day. Besides, isn't Jan. 1st when most people are not looking to get laid and are, instead, regretting the obese, hairy monstrosity they woke up next to after the New Year's Eve Party?
Military people can go months and even years without getting any, so this yahoo needs to get off his high horse. As for myself, I took a vow of celibacy when I chose to study engineering in college (the billboard below was really inspirational).


Mankind is unique due to the capability of abstract thought, which has allowed us to progress from mere anomalies of the animal kingdom to our current modern civilization. As tribes of people began to congregate and unite under various banners throughout time, disputes have arisen. Various tribes were beholden to different ideologies and some were ruled by oppressors seeking to impose their harsh rule over their subjects. While leaders of these people often bickered with one another, a failure of diplomacy often led to hostile conflict. War could best be described as a crass, barbaric act, pitting man versus man in a struggle for survival. To the victor go the spoils. As people became more educated and allowed more freedom to express their opinion, many of these influential thinkers exposed the horrendous consequences of tyranny and its absolute power. The strength of a nation lied within the ideas and innovation inherent in all of its citizens, not one corrupted ideal of an all-powerful overseer.

A nation emerged, which was unique at the time, focusing on the rule of law and natural rights granted to all individuals. A courageous war against a terribly powerful foe was fought to ensure that the abstract concept of liberty could be enforced under a nation-state without the corruption imposed by a meddling outside authority. However, the implementation of equality and liberty did not come immediately to fruition, internal strife and hatred remained a norm in some aspects of society. Over time, these irreconcilable beliefs were exposed for the atrocities they were, and when things could not be resolved politically, war was imminent.

The last two centuries have been unique in that the extensive modernization and industrialization of our civilization have brought about the capability to shorten distance and communication between foreign nation-states. It has also allowed tyrants hell-bent on conquering land and resources the ability to conduct large-scale campaigns of genocide to purge society of elements they see as undesirable. This is a philosophically untenable solution as it is barbaric in its implementation, violating the very concept of natural rights to life and liberty which we collective arose from the ashes to secure. These horrific lunatics must be stopped in a modern society, as the collapse of even a small sector of our fragile civilization can have profound implications for our future existence.
Ironically, war has been a collective action necessary over time to prevent the destruction of the threads which binds our civilization together. The individual people who have so bravely sacrificed have not been a distinctive warrior class, but rather average citizens of our Republic who have performed extraordinary acts of courage. We choose to honor these men and women once a day on Memorial day, but we must carry in our hearts the high cost of their selfless sacrifice to orevent the destruction of our modern society as we progress on. Their death shall never be in vain, but rather is the highest cost to which we owe our modern existence.

Recommended Reads for Memorial Day:

Word From The Libertarian Convention in Denver (Barr it is then)

Eric Dondero first broke the story that Barr won the nomination. My mother has been busy doing credentialing and the whole delegate thing at the Libertarian Party convention in Denver, but she had to time to fill me in via email last night. From the woman who put up with so much bullshit when I was growing up:

It was a pretty exciting day. Mary Ruwart and Bob Barr were running neck and neck. It was the "ideological" libertarians (Ruwart) vs. the "practical" libertarians (Barr). I voted for Barr because he is much better known and I think can raise a lot more money for us. Ruwart has more liberal appeal; but the liberals aren't going to desert Obama--they love him. The conservatives aren't satisfied with McCain, and so that's where we'll get our votes this year. I think a lot of people in the party are upset, and I hope this doesn't cause a schism alienating many long-time libertarians. But Bob Barr has put in time for the party and deserves a chance. I know him, and think he has sincerely changed his views on many issues, such as the defense of marriage act.

Anyway, we have one more day, where we'll pick our national chair. Then I'm hanging around and hope to see a little bit of Denver.

Long time Republicans are likely to get mad that Barr will swindle some votes from Senator McCain. But c'mon, the GOP has been a complete disgrace for quite some time. Foreign policy under Bush has been poor at best, and the so-called party of smaller government has seen government spending send our national debt to the moon (nearly $10 Trillion). Also, I'm not jumping on the Obama band-wagon anytime soon (for a long list of reasons), so it's decent to have a moderate middle-of-the-road guy like Barr to vote for in November.

The more radical faction of the Libertarian Party seemed quite upset that "neo-cons" were taking over the party according to David Weigel of Reason. While I may have held this "anti-authority" attitude in my younger days, my experiences have taught me to adopt a more practical approach to politics. Also, I would be a bit of a hypocrite as a military officer to say that authority and enforcement of the Rule of Law doesn't have its place. It is good news that Bob Barr has changed his tune from bringing "teh crazy" in '96 with the cultural conservative Defense of Marriage Act to an more libertarian outlook. Seriously, what business does the federal government have in regulating who you marry? I'm still curious as to Barr's views on foreign policy, but time will tell. I'd vote for him over McCain or Obama. What are your thoughts?

Mr. Rogers Nominated To Run For Prez on LP Ticket

Iraq News (26 May)

The Good: With Al-Qaeda on the run in northern Iraq and militia fighters lying low in Basra and Baghdad, violence in Iraq for the week ending Friday was at ~300 security incidents. This is the lowest in more than 4 years. You just can't argue with statistics. Washington Post has some photos from a place you never hear about in Iraq (primarily because there is little violence), Kurdistan. However, the Prime Minister of the autonomous region has warned against U.S. forces making a hasty withdrawal. Stars and Stripes has an article on U.S. forces attempting to jump start the Iraqi economy through micro-grants. Time has a report on Prime Minister Maliki and Ambassador Crocker meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani as Najaf seeks reconstruction aid. Also, McClatchy reports that Basra is seeing a renewal of culture.

The Bad: While there have been major security improvements in Iraq, the political arena has not been as kind. Voices of Iraq reports that talks are destined to collapse between the Iraqi Accordance Front (largest Sunni Bloc in Parliament) and Prime Minister Maliki. The IAF has been boycotting the cabinet for months, and they were supposed to return their ministers to the government. That has yet to happen. Also, a U.S. soldier was killed in Salah ad-Din.

The Ugly: Trouble for Iraqi soccer (er football) as FIFA makes a decision on whether to allow Iraq to play in the world cup qualifier. Japan is looking to end the air support it provides to coalition forces in Iraq by 2009.

Kids Happy To See The Iraqi Army Provide Food Rations in Sadr City (photo from LA Times)

25 May 2008

WaPo Mad That Helo Pilots Are Killing the Enemy in Iraq

Prior to the launch of Operation Salam by the Iraqi Army into the northen two-thirds of Sadr City this month, rogue Special Groups thugs (code word for Shi'ite militants not loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr) were launching mortar and rocket attacks from Sadr City willy-nilly. Most of them were targeting the International Zone (often referred to as the Green Zone, home to the Government of Iraq and the many embassies), but they often missed and killed/wounded scores of Iraqi civilians in the process. To stop this violent activity, American helicopters and UAVs targeted these murderers while they were launching or setting up these vicious attacks. Unfortunately, the rocketeers often conduct their operations amidst hospitals, schools, and amongst civilians. While Abu Muqawama raises concern that hellfire strikes may be contradictory to COIN, these brave helo pilots have done everything they possibly can to avoid civilian casualties. Unfortunately, war is hell, and some civilians have been caught in the cross-fire. Iran has used their propaganda apparatus to exploit every one of these events which result in civilian deaths (see Press TV coverage here, here, and here), but it is necessary to kill/capture all of these Special Group rocket networks to ensure stability in Baghdad.

Obviously, it is a bit of a conundrum, but I didn't expect to see such rampant, one-sided yellow journalism from a reputable American media outlet like the Washington Post when portraying this aspect of the Iraq war. The article quotes some Sadr City residents who have some hateful things to say about America:

Relatives said she was wounded by a missile on April 20 at approximately 8 p.m. in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City. The U.S. military said it fired a Hellfire missile in Zahara's neighborhood at that time, targeting men who were seen loading rockets into a sedan. Her face drained of color and her legs scarred by shrapnel, Zahara spoke haltingly when asked what she thought of U.S. troops. "They kill people," she said. Lying in bed, she gasped for air before continuing. "They should leave Iraq now."

Sure, fair enough, journalism is all about getting both sides of the story, and I'm not going to deny that some Iraqis hate Americans. But take a look at what they have to say from the U.S. perspective:

At a sprawling air base on the outskirts of Baghdad, Edens, Katzenberger and their colleagues live in small trailers surrounded by blast walls, play volleyball on sand courts and eat at an outdoor food court. Many of the pilots are in their 20s. The pilots sometimes scrawl messages on the five-foot-long missiles strapped to their "birds." During a recent visit to the base, a reporter saw a missile addressed to "Haji," an honorific for people who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Many U.S. soldiers use it to refer dismissively to Iraqis and Arabs in general. Someone wrote "rock this thang" on another. The small, white trailers adjacent to the airfield where the pilots do paperwork have Christmas lights strung from the ceiling. Two bumper stickers on windows say: "I [heart] Sadr City."

Washington Post's journalism takes it one step further than Iranian propaganda by characterizing the helo pilots as a bunch of callous yahoos! This narrative conjures up images of that crazed Russian pilot that mercilessly shoots up the Afghan villagers in Rambo III.

Not one bit in the article about these operations targeting the militia networks who are responsible for most of the pain and suffering for Baghdad's citizens. Of course, a cynic could say I'm the guy with the "biased" perspective. Sitting in the Green Zone like an asshole, knowing that any time day or night I could be killed by that rocket with my name on it. Certainly it affects my psychological perspective on this contentious issue. I guess you could say I'm pretty supportive of these "gung-ho" pilot types. They're the difference from me coming home in a box or not, after all. I might even by them a beer if I see one of them around!

Only Rambo Can Save the Villagers From the Evil American Helicopters

Update: Outlaw 13 over Guidons, Guidons, Guidons is a helo pilot who has flown missions over Sadr City, and he offers up his perspective. He wasn't too impressed with the armchair commenters over at WaPo making "war crime" accusations, and I'm not either.

Outrage in Japan! Kitties Forced into Slave Labor

Some might find it cute and silly that a cat named Tama is a "Super-Stationmaster" employed by Wakayama Electric Railway, who has delighted Japanese train-goers since 2006. But underneath the surface of feline employment belies a seedy underbelly of Dickensian-like serfdom. From Breitbart:

"Tama is the only stationmaster as we have to reduce personnel costs. You say you could ask for the cat's help, but she is actually bringing luck to us," Wakayama Electric spokeswoman Keiko Yamaki said. The company feeds her in lieu of salary....Those who want to greet her must be careful so as not to miss her. "She works nine to five and takes Sundays off," Yamaki said.

48 hours for a work week and only getting fed instead of a true "living wage" is an egregious violation of this cat's rights. These brave worker cats need to be unionized and someone needs to alert PETA.

In all seriousness, this article begs the eternal question I've puzzled over in my time in Japan with the Navy, why the hell are the Japanese so damn weird?

Tama the Stationmaster Cat Receives No Compensation For This Humiliating Outfit (from AFP)

Medal of Honor Recipients After 9/11

SPC McGinnis (heroism in Iraq)

Instead of going on hokey shopping sprees for Memorial Day, let's take a minute to give props to our Medal of Honor Recipients since 9/11 (all awarded post-humously). An important story of yesterday's troublemaker being today's hero is SPC Ross McGinnis. From Scripps:

At age 14, in eighth grade, Ross bought marijuana from a classmate and foolishly discussed the transaction at Keystone Junior-Senior High School. Staff members searched his locker, where they found a couple of knives, his father said.

Ross had no malicious intent, but this was less than two years after the mass murders at Columbine High in Colorado. School districts across the country no longer had patience for students holding weapons.

The school board expelled Ross and the district attorney prosecuted him in juvenile court. He spent a year on probation. During that time, he had to get permission from his probation officer to go out in the evening...

… Tom and Romayne McGinnis, parents of the fallen soldier, say it is difficult to think of their skinny, rambunctious son as a national hero.

"He'd remind you more of Bart Simpson than anything else -- you know, sort of an underachiever," said Tom McGinnis, 58. "But when it really meant something, he produced."

Other Medal of Honor Recipients are shown below:

Top-Left is LT Murphy (heroism in Afghanistan), and top to bottom, left to right is CPL Dunham, MA2 Monsoor, and SFC Smith (heroism in Iraq )

Iraq News (25 May)

The Good: Ambassador Crocker, not normally prone to optimistic neo-con banter, has said that AQI is close to defeat. This is in no doubt due to the successful Mosul operations which have detained over a 1,000 in the past two weeks, and there are even reports that life is getting back to normal in the city that was held hostage by terrorist thugs. Iraqi military leaders are announcing that Al-Qaeda has been cleared from Mosul. Violence in Iraq, as marked by number of attacks, is at the lowest level since March 2004. Reconstruction in the mostly Shi'ite southern Iraq is progressing according to WaPo, but security gains in northern Iraq must be cemented with reconstruction as well.

The Bad: The detention of many Sadrists has led to some nasty rhetoric emanating from the trouble-making cleric's followers. They have denounced the Iraqi government amidst these detentions in Baghdad, and also the reported break-up of Friday prayers in Basra supposedly instigated by the Iraqi police. There have been 14 "honor-killings" in the Kurdish region in the first 10 days in May. This barbaric practice against women is a serious human rights issue.

The Ugly: The story from the San Francisco Gate about veterans going to school is good news. Sure college is swell, but the fact that many employers don't want to hire vets because they're afraid they will have to incur the health care cost of PTSD puts vets at a serious disadvantage in the civilian world. USA Today has an article about injured vets having emotional problems due to the lack of a love life. Reminds me of Born on the 4th of July, and it's sad.
Cleanup Crew in Mosul (from the AFP)

24 May 2008

Blogcest Makes For God-Awful Reading

Aw, Cute Bloggers Talk About Their Feelings....Shut the Fuck up!

Spencer Ackerman directs us to these two former Gawker bloggers that spill their melodramatic guts on the New York Times and New York Post respectively. Perhaps I'm a schtickler for crappy chick drama, because I read every word of both emotional articles front to back last night. Reading these monstrously long and boring articles is the equivalent of not scoring with some chick after watching "Sleepless in Seattle" followed by a couples reading of a Jane Austen novel, but whatever, my life sucks and I have nothing better to do for entertainment on a Friday Night in Iraq. What really got me angry was how these two people view bloggin'.

Emily Gould talks about her botched appearance on Larry King live where she made a moron out of herself and was hit up with some nasty comments:

I expected the miniature scandal to flare and fade quickly, but for a while it seemed as if it would never go away. The clip made its way to Yahoo’s front page, and a reporter called my parents for comment. After a week or so, the volume of angry e-mail and blog comments subsided, but they stayed under my skin. I decided to try to develop a steely, defiant numbness. I told myself that the strangers who’d taken the time to e-mail me their rants were wrong and crazy, that there was nothing so bad about what I’d done.

This is an example of how people my age can't handle any sort of constructive criticism. If your commenters say your post looks like shit, and that it smells like shit, then your post is probably a piece of shit! This holier than thou attitude developed by bloggers will lead to their inevitable demise, as they have no feedback mechanism with which to adjust their writing style to stay interesting. Blog snobs who have zero relationship with their readers are best suited to being a webmaster for schnooze-inducing reads like the Joey Lawrence fan site.

But, I'm willing to take it easy on Emily Gould because she is an attractive woman w/tattoos. Let's examine this other douche, Joshua Stein, in the NY Post:

There were omens, of course. One day not long after we had started dating, she let drop that she had told our boss about our relationship. Soon I found out she had told almost everyone we worked with. I was torn. I understood the warrior's code of the blogosphere: The conviction that the details of one's inner life are of interest to the larger world legitimized what both Emily and I spent our days doing. On the other hand, I was furious and more than a little scared that she would so unhesitatingly run roughshod over my desire for privacy.

I disagree with his statement about this Warrior Code business. Blogging is supposed to be about raising awareness for issues others might find important. In this blog's case that would be Iraq, veterans sisues, and the impending zombie apocalypse. Sure, you throw a few items of interest about your personal life once in awhile to give proper context and generate interest for a post. But the idea that anyone would care tremendously about your personal life besides your family and friends is a tad self-righteous (who is this guy anyways...Jesus?) .

The smartest thing I read in these extensively long ego-stroke session is the first comment on the Gould piece:

At first, I thought I was reading the sophomore page of the student newspaper at Harding High in Yokelville, Ohio. Then I realized that it was the New York Times. Just awful.

I'd like to buy that person a beer.

Alessandra Bosco Updates With Pic

Alessandra Bosco, who is working hard to improve troops' morale, has contacted me with this picture. This marks the first and probably last time (unfortunately) that an Italian model will talk to me on the innertubes.

Thanks, Alessandra!

Iraq News (24 May)

The Good: An injured female Iraq vet urges Michiganders to reflect on what Memorial Day really means. An LA Times correspondent visits Mosul and says the recent security offensive has brought about better stability, but it will need to be followed up by some serious reconstruction efforts (classic COIN doctrine). Basra's ports are much more productive now that the government is in control of them as opposed to militia thugs. Aswat al-Iraq refutes the AP article yesterday that suggested Sistani was moving towards jihad against America (h/t Gateway Pundit). According to the Sadr Trend, 300 "Sadrists" were detained in Baghdad by Iraqi Security Forces. Mr. Sadr's people aren't drawing a lot of water in this town right now, and these "Sadrists" were most likely militia. Operations are going so well in Sadr City, that the Iraqi soldiers are chillin' out by blasting Lebanese music. Of course, most Sadr City residents say that the trash needs to be collected and services need to be provided, posthaste. The Iraqi government really needs to push this aspect of the operation, or else the citizens will be sympathetic to the Mahdi Army for quite some time.

The Bad: Sunni Imams are still furious about the Qur'an as target practice incident, as reported from Friday's prayers. Damn, another attack in Fallujah...This time 6 Marines got injured and an interpreter was killed. One U.S. soldier was killed near Baghdad.

The Ugly: Joe Galloway of McClatchy says we need to help vets be able to go to college this Memorial Day, and coincidentally the War Funding/GI Bill just passed the Senate. Too bad that thing is probably DOA with a Presidential veto due to all the greedy pork and add-ons. Congress wants to shut down the military analyst program at the Pentagon due to the stink made last month by the NY Times. There's talk about splitting up the mega-KBR contract to cut in other corporations (DynCorp and Fluor) according to the NY Times. I thought this person's quote was pretty funny: "But what is KBR doing for all this money? They are slinging hash, washing laundry." I'd say KBR workers are, for the most part, just guys and gals trying to do their job, and I've been impressed with their service. But the way contracting is set up seems to favor a few richie-rich types back in Houston, and could provide justification to drag the Iraq war on endlessly. That and there is little oversight of the few bozos that commit crimes while serving in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.

Hillary Dreams Up Assassination Scenario for Obama

Hillary's schemes to weasel her way into the White House are growing more Machiavellian and crazy by the day. Just yesterday, she announced that she is still carrying on with her failed campaign because Obama might get knocked off, RFK-style! The NY Post reports (h/t Reason):

Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama. “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Hillary, I don't understand it either. Why can't America have a civilized election instead of these Banana Republic scenarios where everyone's political rivals are getting schwacked on a routine basis. While this blog frequently criticizes Obama and his kool aid-drinking followers, I certainly don't wish the poor guy dead. First, it was Huckabee (who was at least making a bad joke at an NRA speech) and now this latest bombshell from the Hillster. Apparently, Hillary will stop at nothing in her grandiose quest for power and influence, and I'm sure she's praying hard for that lone nut at the DNC to show up guns ablazin' come convention time.


The Libertarian Party, Not Just For Weirdos Anymore

I'm not sure if it was the whole rEVOLution thing, or just the fact that both the Democrats and Republicans equally suck, but the Libertarian Party appears to be getting some real attention this election cycle, especially Bob Barr. Lucky for me, I have someone near and dear to me at the Libertarian Convention in Denver, my mother (I'm actually serious about this). Best to ask her some questions to feed the blog machine and clear up some confusion. Dave Weigel at Reason has some good coverage here and here as well.


Question #1: Mom, what are the candidates stances on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do they have far-reaching plans for military intervention on Iran, or would diplomacy be a better option?

Question #2: Bob Barr got zinged by National Review today (h/t Eric Dondero) saying that a vote for Barr is essentially a vote for Obama? How does the LP respond to these nay-sayers in the conservative movement?

Question #3: Mom, David Weigel writes at Reason that there is a group called the "Libertarians For Justice" at the convention that appears to be a creepy 9/11 truther organization. The website talks a lot about Building 7 and "bringing the terrorists to justice". By the "terrorists" I assume they mean the government, which your son works for. How do you propose to distance the more moderate factions of the party from these yahoos?

Question #4: Did you ride in on the guy on the left's hog (he is a delegate, after all)?

(Stolen from Reason)

Does Dad know about this gentleman?

Question #5: Wonkette reports that Tucker Carlson has shown up to the convention. The snarky website also called him a loser. What's the story with that guy?

Question #6: Which group of delegates throw the most wild parties in the hotel?

Your Bestest Son,
LT Nixon

About Those Sistani Fatwas

A correction is in order from my post earlier today. Yesterday, the AP ran an article about Grand Ayatollah Sistani issuing religious edicts in Najaf about resisting the U.S. presence. While I respect the opinions and analysis of Juan Cole, Eric Martin, and Allahpundit, I'm more inclined to listen to people from the Middle East on religious matters of this sort. Iraqpundit and Talisman Gate offer up different analysis suggesting that Iraq's Shi'ite community will not be rising up against us American brutes in the near future. When one doesn't fully understand a culture, it's best to listen to people who hail from that culture. It's just common sense.

Veterans Grave Gets Restored in Texas

Several weeks ago, some very creepy-looking teenagers dug up a skull from an African-American veterans' grave to use as a bong. 2SBCT Mom, who has a son serving in Iraq, writes in that the local community has restored the cemetery just in time for Memorial Day (story is here). Kudos to them!