Wednesday, December 15, 2004

McCain Should Look at his Own Role

John McCain is positioning himself as the front runner in 2008 presidential derby by attacking steroids in baseball and defenses secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Given his criticisms of Rumsfeld, it’s clear Senator Sun Tzu, oops, McCain knows more about baseball than transforming the military.

First, when he says Rumsfeld should have increased the size of our armed forces, McCain must be under the misperception that the secretary of defense raises armies. Article 1 section 8 of our Constitution charges congress, not the secretary of defense or even the president, with raising armies and maintaining the navy. So when Senator Clausewitz… uh…McCain complains about the size of our armed forces he’s really noting his and congresses own incompetence and failure to act. That’s right, the same sanctimonious boobs that gutted our intelligence agencies then responded with outrage when they performed like gutted intelligence agencies, is complaining about the size of our armed forces when it was they who trimmed it for the “peace dividend” in the first place. Yes, very odd indeed.

Next, Senator Patton…uh…er…McCain, doing his best John Kerry, “I’d be smarter than the president.” imitation when he claims he’d simply add more soldiers to the Special Forces, intelligence and linguistics branches. This is like saying the NFL is going to add more Peyton Mannings or Jim Browns to the league. These forces are highly motivated, specialized, trained and equipped. It is not a matter of going out the formation, asking, “Who wants to be Special Forces?” and giving them a different color beret. It takes years to make one of these guys. Also, even if you went to the active forces and took all of the best NCOs available and turned them into Special Forces soldiers, what do you think might happen to the regular forces absent their leadership? Military professionals know that even the most mundane occupational specialties need quality leadership. It is what is referred to as a quality spread, where even some of the best and brightest are assigned a tour or two in mundane but important tasks such as the mail room or chow hall.

Last, Senator Lincoln…uh…McCain thinks the National Guard and Reserve forces are being over worked. There is one guy that agrees with McCain and has been trying to do something about it, Donald Rumsfed. Since 9-11 Rumsfeld has said over and over that force mix of guard, reserve and active duty is set up for the cold war. A lot of the unique forces required to fight the war on terror, civil affairs, MP, engineers etc. are found predominately in guard and reserve forces. But you cannot simply say to a guard unit, OK you guys who are trained as MPs are now artillerymen. Forces have to be recruited, trained, retrained and reequipped over several years to transform a single unit. Doing it on the scale that is now underway, is a monumental task.

It’s clear to me that given the Babe’s…uh…McCain’s bombastic rhetoric over the last several months, he is better suited to be the next Commissioner of Baseball than the next Commander in Chief. He should take Bud Selig’s job. It’s a win-win situation. He can get the dope out of baseball and America gets one dope out of congress. OK, that’s a bit too cute. I do have great respect for McCain. I think he is wrong for attacking Rumsfeld for the job he’s doing in Iraq with the military McCain and his buddies set up twelve years ago.

Monday, December 13, 2004

What Holiday is it?

I went to a “holiday party”. I have been wished a “happy holiday” over and over. The Scout leader asked us to bring a dozen “holiday cookies” to the Scout meeting. Holiday this and holiday that, I feel like yelling at the top of my lungs, “What holiday is it?”

It is, of course, the Christmas holiday. It’s the Christmas holiday not only because the Pope and religious prelates word wide said so, but also because the U.S. Congress and President Grant said so. It is a federally recognized holiday called Christmas. In that respect it’s no different from the 4th of July, Memorial Day etc.

Today 87% of Americans believe in Christmas. Of the remaining 13%, the vast majority if wished a Merry Christmas will likely say, “Thank you” and go on with their lives. That leaves a tiny minority, probably in the low single digits, that is trying to bring an end to Christmas as we know it in the U.S.

How can a tiny minority dictate to the overwhelming majority how we celebrate Christmas? First and foremost, social positions are like combat positions in that more are simply abandoned to the enemy than overrun. Because the ACLU, and a tiny percentage of hyper-sensitive whackos threaten every tradition of Christmas, you are more likely to be sued for wishing a co-worker or classmate a Merry Christmas than running a Ponzi scheme at the old folks home. So to avoid the hassle, many just give in, like getting whining children what they want just to shut them up.

But most parents know that the more you give in to the whining, the more the child will whine. Sooner or later the cry babies have to be told that enough is enough. So, Merry, Merry Christmas everybody! To the vast majority, take the greeting as it is intended, a message of hope, peace and joy, for a savior has been born. To the lunatic fringe, think of it as nothing more than glad tidings for the federal holiday that is, after all, Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

No Time for Sergeants

There are soon to be upwards of 150,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Most of them are patriots. They are serving in the armed forces to serve a cause larger themselves. They are serving to protect America from Islamo-terror-fascist who, given the opportunity, would destroy America overnight. Outside their family and close friends, they will be unremarkable, run of the mill Joes and Janes. Individually they would have little chance of affecting events on their local street corner. Collectively they are changing the world.

Unfortunately, you’ll see more Bush/Cheney bumper stickers in the faculty parking lot at Ivy League schools than mainstream media stories about the average Joes and Janes bearing the load of Iraq’s freedom. When you do see the occasional story, Joe and Jane will be painted as hapless pawns forced into the military by the Bush tax cuts. The American media hoping for an American defeat in Iraq, will give us a steady diet of a few disgruntled whiners and malcontents who wouldn’t be happy at Disneyland. Jeremy Hinzman the deserter from the 82nd Airborne who ran to Canada is the new cause-celeb for the mainstream media because he has alleged war crimes against men and women who are far braver than he. Spc. Thomas Wilson got his 15 minutes of fame by asking a reporter’s question to Secretary Rumsfeld.Our mainstream media heroes will seek out and glorify the Hinzmans and Wilsons and a score or so of others like them while ignoring the 10s of thousands serving proudly and honorably. No doubt Hinzman, who was fine with the Army until actually called upon to earn his pay after 9-11, will convene a Winter Soldier Project in his bid to become the Democrat front-runner in ’08.

Hinzman reminds me of briefing I attended during the first Gulf War. Someone asked the speaker, a very senior officer, about a doctor who refused to ship out with his unit. In answering the question, the speaker waxed eloquently for several minutes and threw around flowery words and concepts like conscience, religion, individual choice, duty, the law, understanding etc. When he was finished, there was a pause and silence long enough to hear a sergeant in the back say what I think everyone was thinking, “Yeah, well all that may be true, but I think he’s just a chicken s@*t coward.” Sometimes the obvious short answer is the best one. But no one wrote a front page article on the sergeant.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Limbaugh to Simulcast Network News

In the, “What planet are you living on?” category Bill Moyers whines, “I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee…" Stop the presses!! FLASH, FLASH, FLASH, since last night’s sign off on the six o’clock news read by liberal icons Pete, Brian and Dan, the right-wing has taken over the media. Networks confirm that Rush Limbaugh will simulcast on all three networks tonight at six. Riiiight.

Christmas Fun With Liberals

Hey, it’s Christmas let’s have some fun.

Send a very religious Christmas card to your local ACLU office and tell them that the “normal” contribution is being withheld and sent to the Boy Scouts instead.

Every time you hear someone mention the “holiday party” ask them, “What holiday is it?”

Aggravate your liberal anti-gun, PETA nut friends. Mail them one of those outdoorsy Christmas cards from Cabela’s with rifles and dead game on it.

Give your liberal friend a subscription to the Limbaugh Letter, American Sportsman or Weekly Standard. The truth will set them free.

When some agnostic whacko starts talking about the holiday this and the holiday that, remind them that the word holiday is derived from “holy day” and watch them struggle referring to everything as the winter solstice this and the winter solstice that.

Brag to a liberal friend about your SUV’s gas mileage.

At work, reset the liberal’s computer home page and password protect it to http://www.crushkerry.com/index.php.

Tell a liberal you can’t make his “holiday party” because there’s a Christmas party the same night.

If a liberal asks you out to the “holiday party” say, “Saturday? Oh, I’m sorry there’s a best of Rush on the radio Saturday.”

If you’re the boss, pass out “Christmas bonuses” omitting the weasel who insists on telling everyone in the free world that he doesn’t believe in Christmas and wait for him to bitch or convert.

At the close of business on the 24th assign the same guy some menial tedious task to complete which is due back to you at 0800 on the 26th.

The day after Christmas, when your liberal friend asks, “So what did you get for the winter solstice celebration?” You can say, “Oh, Christmas? I got a brand new 223 hunting rifle, a gun rack for my giant Ford Excursion, a box Dominican cigars, a chain saw to get rid of that damned tree out back and a stuffed Spotted Owl from the old forest in Oregon before it was razed for the new condo complex. What’d you get?”

Rumsfeld was Right

The media and ever present Democrat opportunist like Senator Chris Dodd are taking great delight, as always, in the tough questions Secretary Rumsfeld fielded yesterday in Kuwait. One soldier, who was prompted by a media embed it turns out, complained they had to dig through the trash to find armor and ballistic glass to upgrade their vehicles. The secretary’s response was, “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time...”

That was a good response. A better one might have been, “That’s fantastic! You are following in the footsteps of your forefathers who were known for their ‘Yankee ingenuity’ and ‘can-do’ attitude. In July, 1944 when the 2nd Armor Division was bogged down in the hedgerows of France, it was an ordinary soldier like you named Culin that came up with the bright idea of welding a cutter to front of tanks to cut through the hedgerow. It worked! I commend your ingenuity! Carry on. Next question.”

Essentially, Rumsfeld had it right. You go to war with the army you bought and planned around a decade earlier. How else can you do business? You can not wait to see what develops before equipping the force. Once engaged and new requirements are identified, the DoD procurement branch and American industry take over. In 1950, S. L. A. Marshall wrote a book on this subject entitled “The Soldier’s Load and the mobility of a Nation”. Senator Dodd and his media lackeys ought to get a copy.

It’s odd that the press and other opportunists are attacking Rumsfeld. He more than anyone has been trying to drag a 1990s and in some cases 1980s military into the 21st century since he started his second tour as Secretary of Defense. He has been met with less than open arms from the military Bigs who are always fighting the last war and, of course, the press who loath anything connected to George Bush.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Adding a New Bureaucracy

I’m feeling safer already. Thank goodness that after 30 years of liberals like Frank Church and Bob Torricelli destroying our intelligence agencies congress has acted to restore them. Well, that’s their intention. The proof will take years to show itself.

I’m a bit skeptical for a number of reasons. First I’m skeptical that anything that comes from congress can be “the solution” to anything. Next, the speed with which this legislation came into being makes me wonder. Also, who on the 9-11 commission is the subject matter expert on intelligence gathering? Wouldn’t it have been better to convene a panel of people who make and have made a living gathering, analyzing, disseminating and acting on intelligence to make recommendations for intelligence reform rather than a bunch of washed up politicians? Last, the over riding goal of any D.C. bureaucracy is to sustain and grow the bureaucracy. I don’t see this new bureaucracy being much different.

It doesn’t take a business management guru like Steven Covey to figure out that 15 scattered agencies with separate missions, priorities, and budgets isn’t a great model. But is adding a 16th agency to overlook the other 15 the best fix? Given what we know about government agencies, is adding another one likely to resolve or exasperate the problem? This sounds more like a further growing of the intelligence bureaucracy which will likely lead to a slower more sluggish application of intelligence.

Whatever the flaws with the bill as it now stands, we should thank Duncan Hunter for changing it to better protect our frontline troops. Speed in the intelligence business is crucial. It is most crucial at the tactical level where forces need to get inside the decision cycle of the enemy or what former Air Force Colonel John Boyd called the OODA loop. According to Boyd, decision making occurs in a cycle of Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. Among adversaries, the organization which can consistently complete the cycle quickest can get inside the opponent's decision cycle and gain an advantage. That is a difficult task to accomplish under the best circumstances. Imagine the degree of difficulty when the enemy is a three man terrorist cell, which can act almost on a whim with little planning or coordination.

Hunter’s actions assured the frontline troops immediate access to intelligence without added layers of intervening D.C. bureaucracy. For his efforts, Democrats labeled him an obstructionist. We need more politicians like him in Washington who will not allow principle to be trumped by the emotions four women from New Jersey.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Democracy is Hard Work

If you favor a neat and orderly progression of events in government, you probably favor some dictatorial form of government. Kings, emperors, dictators, caliphs, emirs, and other supreme rulers, usually backed by the overwhelming force that only a nation state can bring to bear, need not concern themselves with the differing wills and needs of a diverse people. They simply get up in the morning and tell their ministers, who are in power because of their loyalty or family relationship to the potentate, to enact a certain policy. Those who resist are simply crushed with military force.

Democracy is not so neat. America is the world’s oldest democracy and had some serious problems in its first 100 years. When the opening gavel fell at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in the spring of 1787 to hammer out a new constitution, only seven states were represented. Eventually, all of the states except Rhode Island attended, but even then the delegates came and went like Christmas shoppers looking for stocking stuffers at a Spencer’s Gift Store.

There were three serious rebellions in the United States between the signing of the peace accords that ended the Revolutionary War in 1783 and 1794. In 1800 the presidential election was a dead heat in the Electoral Collage between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr and was thrown into the House of Representatives for resolution. Jefferson became President and Burr Vice President. Those who think the current vice president was a bit harsh in cussing out a prominent Democrat using the f word, are reminded that in 1804 Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel to settle a political dispute. That’s harsh.

In 1846 President James Polk started a peremptory, unilateral war of aggression against Mexico. Through the first 100 years there were raging Indian wars and an untold number of political and civil battles concerning states rights centered primarily on the slavery question. The question was finally settled through the bloodiest war America has ever fought. All this happened in the first 100 years. How did we ever survive?

By contrast, Iraq is scheduled to become the world’s newest democracy at the end of January, 2005. Our glorious media would have us believe that the entire country is in chaos and that there is no chance of stability in Iraq. This same media no doubt would have given an infant America slim chance of emerging as a stable nation in 1787 let alone becoming world’s lone hyper-power 225 years later.

Iraq faces tough problems, perhaps more difficult problems than those faced by our own founding fathers. They reside in a neighborhood were no government wants their experiment in democracy to succeed. They have a stubborn, foreign led and financed terrorist insurgency. They have a dilapidated infrastructure and no experience with freedom. For sure, the deck is stacked against the Iraqi people.

But what is the alternative? Our media would have us throw up our hands and quit. America’s road to a stable democracy has been anything but a smooth road. Iraq’s road is likely to be rockier yet. But we won’t get where we want to go by sitting in the driveway complaining about all the potholes that we are likely encounter along the way.

Monday, December 06, 2004

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT

Have you ever encountered someone who waxed philosophical about supporting the troops but not the war? My only comment to these people has been, “That’s sort of like supporting the police unless they are issuing a ticket or using their clubs to break up a riot.” Well now I have a better comment for these people, “What have you done for the troops? Have sent a note or care package? No? Well if you support them, shouldn’t you be doing something tangible for them? Here take this card. It tells you how to get in touch with the Wounded Warrior Project. How much can I put you down for?” Their response will give you a pretty good idea if they really support the troops.

The Wounded Warrior Project’s Mission Statement:

The Wounded Warrior Project was founded on the principle that veterans are our nation's greatest citizens. The Project seeks to assist those men and women of our armed forces who have been severely injured during the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hot spots around the world. Many of the injuries are traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries that will retire these brave warriors from military service. These wounded soldiers will return to civilian life minus one or more limbs, or with serious wounds or disfiguring scars, and will face greater challenges today obtaining assistance and finding opportunities that would enable them to provide for themselves and their families.The Wounded Warrior Project was founded to give a voice to this new generation of veterans facing unique issues and problems. The Project fills the vital need for a coordinated, united effort to enable wounded veterans to aid and assist each other and to readjust to civilian life.

Friday, December 03, 2004

THE GAME OF LIFE

Sports are filled with out-on-bail, over-paid, over-drugged, over-sexed, over-hyped and over the top personalities - filled almost to the point that you can’t watch anymore. Big bad Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers foregoes a fight with Ben Wallace who pushed him around like an 8th grade bully pushes around 2nd graders on the playground to jump into the stands, rush by a big guy who threw a beer on him to punch some skinny white kid who did nothing. Indianapolis Colts players have taken to wearing Artest jerseys as a sign of support. Good move guys. What’s next, “Free Saddam” T-shirts? I hope New England kicks their butts…again!

Jason Giambi admitted to using steroids. Shocking! Who knew? Barry Bonds is the only person in the world saying that Barry Bonds doesn’t use steroids. Maurice Clarett the under sized over-achieving running back at Ohio State couldn’t finish his freshman season in the Big 10 without serious injury but thought so much of himself he wanted to turn pro. Since the pro gig didn’t pan out and not smart enough to write his own tell-all book, Clarett has taken to telling ESPN about all sorts of shenanigans going on at the OSU athletic department - gifts, car, clothes, jobs etc. Hey Maurice why didn’t you just say, “NO THANK YOU!” Notre Dame fires a good man, Ty Willingham, in the uncertain hope of winning a few more games. There is a perfect time to fire college coaches not involved in criminal or immoral activities, at the end of their contracts.

Just when you think sports couldn’t get any worse than a Saturday night Zamphier “The Master of the Pan Flute” concert with a blind date who “makes her own clothes” something great comes along to restore your faith. That something this weekend is the Army-Navy football game. These are true college student-athletes who play the game for the honor of their school and their military branch of the service. No taunting. No chest pounding. No individual self-indulgent dances for the camera. No disrespect toward the opponents or their fans. Hard play, sportsmanship, and hand shakes all around after the game is what will be on tap Saturday.

Whatever happens on Saturday, the players know that they will eventually end up playing for the same team. What’s at stake in the game will pale by comparison to the stakes that await them. Two years ago JP Blecksmith was engaged in the great American struggle know as the Army-Navy football game. Last month he was killed in a truly great world struggle in Fallujah. If that doesn’t put sports and the “big game” into perspective, nothing will. Go Navy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

ANNAN SHOULD TURN HIMSELF IN TO THE HAGUE

John Kerry should use some of the left over money from his failed presidential campaign to issue a public apology for his absurd Iraq war position. Oh yeah, that will take some splanin as to which of his dozen of so Iraq war positions is in need of a public apology. That would be the one where he claimed that the president “rushed to war” without UN approval. It is clear now that Stalin and Hitler would be having a snowball fight in their eternal accommodations before the UN was ever going to seriously consider doing anything to send Saddam Hussein to join them.

Senator Norm Coleman has noted everything anyone needs to know about how corrupt the UN and its Nobel Prize winning Secretary-General has been with regard to Saddam Hussein. Kofi Annan, the French, German and Russian governments have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis on their hands. Every coalition casualty is also on their collective hands. Had there been one shred of integrity in the UN sanctions program against Saddam and had money from those very programs not been used to bribe UN, French, German and Russian officials, Saddam could have been check-mated without war.

Annan’s Nobel Prize citation reads in part, “While clearly underlining the U.N.'s traditional responsibility for peace and security, he has also emphasized its obligations with regard to human rights. He has risen to such new challenges as HIV/AIDS and international terrorism, and brought about more efficient utilization of the U.N.'s modest resources. In an organization that can hardly become more than its members permit, he has made clear that sovereignty can not be a shield behind which member states conceal their violations.” We now know that there are no “human rights” violations that can not be overlooked if the price is right. We also know that while “sovereignty can not be a shield behind which member states conceal their violations” money can be.

So Fran├žois Kerry needs to take to the airways and admit, “I was an idiot to have thought that an organization as corrupt as the UN could be made to do the right thing. Kofi Annan, the French, German, and Russian governments as much as murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and are responsible for every coalition casualty. If they had any honor, they’d turn themselves over to the Hague for trial and a public hanging. Thank God that George Bush was and is President.”