Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Don't Miss This

Sorry I've been out of the loop- the job search is very demanding. I finally had a chance to check my email, and I found this great update from Diamond Jack. Looks like I missed it, but I'm sure it'll air again soon. If anyone had a chance to see it, please let me know your thoughts...

The film A COMPANY OF SOLDIERS will be broadcast next Tuesday night (February 22) on PBS at 9 pm (check local listings). It is the soldiers' story of fighting in Iraq - a month in the life of the 1st Battalion of the 8th Cavalry stationed in South Baghdad. It was shot last November during one of the most dangerous times for that unit.

A COMPANY OF SOLDIERS was made by October Films under the umbrella of the PBS Frontline Series and we'd like to ask you to email this to everyone you know with a request for them to send it on to everyone they know. We are hoping to get as many US Military families to tune in. One word of warning is that the film graphically shows the risks and consequences of what it is to fight in Iraq - so if you haven't told your loved ones, they might be in for a shock.

One senior confidential source at the Pentagon who has seen the film told us: "It is compelling stuff. It proves once again that it is our Soldiers who are our best spokespeople. It is not only courageous filmmaking (both figuratively and literally), but it's also an example of very insightful filmmaking. The film captures our Soldiers' humanity, putting a human face on a very complex set of issues - that is priceless stuff."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Thinking Outside the Box

Some of you might remember when I mentioned my West Point classmate (we'll call him "Mike") who found my site via the Wizbang Awards (he recognized the "2Slick" moniker- which originated when we were in flight school together). He's a Kiowa Warrior (OH-58D) pilot, and he served a year in Fallujah during the time I was in Mosul. He and I have had some excellent debates and discussions over the past few months, and he recently sent me the following gem- read it, and you'll understand why I've been trying to talk him into starting his own blog:

A suggestion for the first major decision of the new government: a new name for the country.

'Iraq' has a history basically from WWI, and the British mandate following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire - the last vestige of the Muslim Caliphate. The problem is (besides a name imposed by the British Empire) that the name does nothing to unify or appeal to the people who live their now. There is no overwhelming sense of Iraqi nationalism- no ethnic, religious, political or cultural unifying theme in Iraq.

I would suggest that the new government look to the rich history of the region - the birthplace of civilization, and appeal to the historical significance of the area within Iraq's borders. By going back before the birth of Islam, you bypass the Shia-Sunni strife, and going back far enough you can claim the first modern culture in the world. Call the new Nation Sumer or Babylon appeals to the pride, nationalism, and helps redefine an identity. That identity will be key in defeating the Sunni-Shia-Kurd-insurgent factions as they struggle to find a place in the new country. Calling it Babylon appeals to the people and helps them define themselves in a new way, outside of the horrible history of the last century - much in the same way Egypt or Syria claim a historic heritage to the ancient civilizations, the newly elected government should choose a new name that unifies the country, appeals to their rich history, and by passes the existing divisions with a goal of building a newer, stronger nation.

Anyway, just a thought. If I lived there, I'd want people to identify themselves as a Babylonian (or Sumerian, whatever - Babylon may have poor connotations to the Christian world) than a Sunni, or Shia, or Kurd - it's a way to build some unity, and capitalize on the promise of the elections.

Smart stuff, huh? I agree with him 100%. I'd be interested to see how the guys at Iraq the Model feel about such an idea. If anyone out there is tight with those guys (or any other Iraqi bloggers out there), please try to ping them for their thoughts...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Iraqi Official Vows To Fight 'The Ghosts Of Death'

I stopped by Iraq the Model today. I'm glad I did. Omar quotes Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi, who survived a recent attempt on his life. Sadly, his bodyguard and two young sons did not survive. Here's part of what al-Alusi said following the attack.

My children, three people [in all] -- one of my bodyguards and two of my children -- died as heroes, no differently from other people who find their heroic deaths. But we will not, [I swear] by God, hand Iraq over to murderers and terrorists. We will pave the road for peace. If [the attackers] thought that by attempting to kill Mithal al-Alusi, the advocates of peace in Iraq will be stopped, then they have made a grave mistake. We will be calling for peace. We will be calling for peace with all neighboring countries [of Iraq]. We will be calling for peace with all countries of the region. And we will be calling for fighting terrorism by any means [and] against all forms [of terror].

Let's see if the MSM picks up on this. They certainly give the terrorists enough coverage...

Here Comes the Heart Failure, Mr. Moore

If Michael Moore's next Triple Quarter-Pounder with Cheese doesn't give him a heart attack, then I'm afraid this might.

North Korea Has Nukes

Of course they do. By announcing it (again), they're doing the geopolitical equivalent of pulling out a pistol and saying "I have a gun- give me your wallet." I suspect the U.S. will continue to come back with "Nice try, looney guy. Our guns are still much bigger. Put that thing down before you hurt yourself."

And Finally...

No Senate race for Weird Al. I wish I could say that I talked him out of it when he came to visit us in Kuwait. But I'd be lying.

This is an amusing story about a conservative press guy:

By examining Internet records, online sleuths at DailyKos.com figured out that his real name was Jim Guckert and he owned various Web sites, including HotMilitaryStud.com, MilitaryEscorts.com and MilitaryEscortsM4M.com.

Wow. Just wow.


A reader has just alerted me that my picture is posted on HotMilitaryStud.com. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this. Look, people- I was young and needed the money...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ward Churchill- I Thought I was Native American, but...

This guy is a joke. He desperately wants to be famous. Congrats, man- you succeeded. He also wants Osama bin Laden to rule the United States of America. Sorry, bud- not gonna happen. He's so full of insight, I decided I should help him to get his word out:

"I don't answer to Bill Owens. I do not answer to the Board of Regents in the way they think I do. The regents should do their job and let me do mine," Churchill said to thunderous clapping.

What exactly is your job then, Mr. Churchitler? Is it your job to preach the virtues of murder and terrorism to our nation's youth? You do seem to have a knack for that sort of thing...

In an essay, Churchill wrote that workers in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who ensured the smooth running of the Nazi system. Churchill also spoke of the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that struck America.
A longtime American Indian Movement activist, he said he is also culpable because his efforts to change the system haven't succeeded. "I could do more. I'm complicit. I'm not innocent," he said.

You certainly could do more, Wardo. You must feel so ashamed that you're still lagging so far behind Timothy McVeigh in your sick and twisted race towards hell. I can only surmise that you're afraid to conduct your own suicide attack against America, so you're doing your very best to inspire young and impressionable college kids to do your dirty work for you. That makes sense.

I like this part:

The Boulder Faculty Assembly, which represents professors at the Boulder campus, has said Churchill's comments were "controversial, offensive and odious" but supports his right to say them based on the principle of academic freedom.

Right. It's perfectly OK to praise and advocate the ritualistic slaughter of New York City "technocrats"- that's covered by academic freedom. Good. Now how about this- Ward Churchill calls for the immediate murder and dismemberment of each and every member of the Boulder Faculty Assembly- would he then still be protected by the principle of "academic freedom?" Just something to think about.

The crowd Tuesday night was loud and orderly as Churchill spoke: "I do not work for the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. I do not work for Bill Owens. I work for you," he said.

Not sure who "you" is. A bunch of screaming terrorists/terrorist-sympathizers? I'm not sure if bin Laden is paying this guy for his work, but he certainly should be.

"I've read some of Ward's work," said 26-year-old Vinita Laroia, an environmental studies major. "I think what he has to say is true and interesting. I wanted to hear his actual voice say what he's thinking."

"True" and "interesting!" Congratulations, Vinita! You're now ready to begin your training at the Al-Jihadi Terrorist Camp for the Pretentious and Idiotic in beautiful Tehran, Iran! Have a nice trip, and watch out for the Daisy Cutters!

I Didn't Realize Soccer Was So Dangerous

I heard something about this on the radio this morning, and it struck a chord. Apparently, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany made the following remark over the weekend at a Socialist Party event, referring to the Hungarian Soccer Team's 0-0 tie against the Saudi Arabian Team in Turkey last week:

"I think that there were very many terrorists also among the Saudi soccer players, and our sons fought with death-defying bravery against these terrorists, so a draw away from home is a fantastic result,'' Gyurcsany was quoted as saying by state news agency MTI.

Wow! Them's fightin' words! Of course, he was only joking:

On Tuesday, he said his comments were said in the context of a TV show parody and anyone who took them seriously was driven by "political intolerance...or even ill-will.''

"I apologize to anyone who with or without reason was offended by that sentence,'' he said.

Who is he apologizing to? Terrorists or soccer players?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Lucky Totten

If you're a Chris Hitchens fan (as I am), you must check out this report from Michael Totten. The post is thought-provoking, informative, and extremely entertaining. I especially liked the part where MJT taught Hitchens about the importance of the blogosphere:

I asked him if he reads blogs.

“No,” he said. “Not really. I could spend all day reading blogs and not get anything done.”

“You can’t afford not to read blogs,” I said. “Because of who you are and what you do for a living, you’ll be hopelessly behind if you don’t.”

“Yes,” he said. “I know, I know,” but I wasn’t sure he really meant it.

Later he told me he recently saw “that little weasel” Juan Cole speak in public.

“You know about that flap he had with Omar and Mohammed from Friends of Democracy?” (I am referring here to Omar and Mohammed of Iraq the Model. They also founded Friends of Democracy.)

I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t.

“He floated some conspiracy theory about how Omar and Mohammed, whom you spoke to over the phone on C-SPAN today, are possibly CIA plants.”

He stared at me gape-mouthed.

“He completely disgraced himself,” I said. “Most of the blogosphere piled on. You should have seen it.”

“You mean I stood right there in front of both him and his fans without that ammunition?”

He looked despondent. I felt triumphant.

“Like I said, Christopher,” I told him. “You can’t afford to be unplugged from the blogosphere."

“Angel,” he said. “Can I call you angel?”

“Of course,” I said. (Did he actually say that? – ed. I think so, but keep in mind I was drunk.)

“I want to exploit your knowledge of blogs,” he said.

“Email me,” I said. “You know where to find me.”

(He did email me. I showed him all of my favorites. And I showed him Juan Cole’s lunatic post.)

Read the whole thing.

Thanks to Kate for the head's up...

From Iraq to the US and Back Again

What an excellent story from the Sminkster. Here's a teaser:

Born in Iraq, raised in America

Stryker Brigade Soldier’s passion to help comes from his past

QAYARRAH, Iraq – Pfc. Husam Razaq Almusowi was born in Iraq, but raised in Dearborn, Mich. When asked: Where are you from, he replies “that’s a difficult question.” According to his fellow Soldiers in the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, Almusowi’s journey to become an American Soldier is an unforgettable tale of courage and sacrifice.

A young boy

Born in the southern Iraq city of Samawi, Almusowi lived the life of a prince. His room was covered in marble and his peers treated him like a god. In the Arabic culture, the name Almusowi is of great prominence. All Almusowis are thought to be descendents of the Islam Prophet Mohammed.

Okay, now you're hooked. Go read the whole thing (the story is at the bottom of the post). You'll be glad you did...

And Finally...

-THE Cinnabon Recipe! (thanks Jeff)

-Hog on Ice is funnier than funny. Here's my all-time favorite post- it's a sort of "best of" compilation from his "all-hate Fridays" from 2004.

-Follow my nose! Or...um...don't. (Jeff again)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Eason Jordan- The Pride of CNN

I hope you're all up to speed on the Eason Jordan scandal. If not, please check here and here. This is one of those stories that isn't really surprising on the surface- but the sheer stupidity of the whole thing starts to grow on you after a while. I'm curious to see how this one turns out.

I'd like to go on the record and say that no one in my chain of command ever told me to target journalists- on or off the battlefield. I've never known a soldier who expressed any serious intent to kill a journalist.

Superbowl Ads

The game was okay- I'm sick of seeing the Pats win all the time. Next year, my Dolphins will clean house. Loved the funny commercials. The Anheuser Busch "Thank You" ad was nice. It's pretty overwhelming to experience it in real life (which I have- twice). I give a huge thumbs up to the American people for the way they've treated me and my comerades thus far. I was in my uniform at a Starbucks the other day, and some stranger insisted on buying me a cup of coffee. That's pretty nice, especially considering that it almost takes a 2nd mortgage to be able to afford a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Thank you, Mr. Stranger- it was great coffee.

Cool Round Up

This is nice...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rumsfeld Speaks Out

I just watched Rumsfeld on the Russert show, and I now feel compelled to write about it. First off, I thought Rumsfeld was brilliant. I especially like the way he defended himself with respect to the SPC Wilson question. He did exactly what we milbloggers have been doing since the whole episode happened- he whipped out a copy of the transcript and showed how the MSM lied and lied and lied about how the exchange went down. I think he made Russert feel ashamed of himself for using the same old trick (showing the dialogue selectively out of context) right then and there on his show.

Now Ted Kennedy is on- please oh please, let him say "Barack Obama Osama Yo' Momma" again. I haven't had a laugh like that in quite a while. Thanks to Cranky Greg for capturing that brilliant soundbyte.

Back to Rumsfeld. I did disagree with one thing he said. Maybe not what he said but the way in which he said it. When asked about why he had twice offered to resign, he talked about how upset he was with the whole Abu Ghraib episode. Of course he was disappointed- we all were. But he went on to say, "that's not how we act in America." Wrong. We need to get away from the notion that Abu Ghraib was some crazy anomaly that could only have been brought about by corrupt policy and tainted memos. Abu Ghraib was no such thing. Go to any strip club, frat party, nightclub, etc.- and you'll probably see some things that will remind you of Abu Ghraib. Any time I watch TV after midnight, I see commercials for videos that look like Abu Ghraib on speed. The fact is we do act like that in America. We may not be proud of that fact (no country or society is perfect), but we do behave in such a way. We need to acknowledge this, because it's the only way to truly understand why such things happen. Leaders need to be aware of this so that they know what the potential shortfalls are- so that they can take action to prevent such things.

To simply assume that "Americans don't behave in such a way" is a surefire way to suffer a dramatic leadership failure on or off the battlefield- just ask anyone who served in the Abu Ghraib chain of command. I've said it once and I'll say it again: boot camp is effective, not magical. The only way to effectively lead soldiers is to know and understand the society from which they came. If I were to have a face to face conversation with the SECDEF, this is the sort of thing I'd like to discuss with him. Overall, he was fantastic on the show this morning. Tim kept trying to catch him in lies and contradictions (Tim's a tough interviewer and he's good at what he does- I don't fault him for it), and each and every time Rumsfeld came back at him with perfectly logical and reasonable explanations. Nice work.

Ted Kennedy just keeps digging and digging. He wants a timeline for troop withdrawal (absurd) and keeps insisting that we're not doing enough to train the Iraqi troops. Sure thing, Ted. Drink a few more, and then see if you have the courage to speak such nonsense to LTG Petraeus' face. Didn't think so. How can someone who's been so wrong about so many things for such a long time stay in office for an eternity? If the Red Sox can finally win a World Series, is it so unimaginable that the Massachusetts voters might one day find a way to dump the drunken Senator? What's the hold up, anyway? Are they afraid of him? He can't drown each and every one of them, can he? C'mon folks! Stand up and take charge over there...


Argghhh! has a more in-depth review...

Friday, February 04, 2005

The General Speaks

"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

-Lt. Gen. James Mattis

Okay, so the guy likes his job. Big deal. I'm glad he likes it and I'm glad he's good at it. If it weren't for people like him, we'd be speaking German or Arabic (or some bizarre combination of both) right now. Our friends at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had some choice words for him:

"We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said the council's executive director, Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life."

Okay, how about this- spend more time condemning people who enjoy blowing up innocent children, and less time condemning people who hurt your feelings with words- and maybe you'll actually do some good for your religion. I won't hold my breath. Observe (my emphasis added):

CAIR condemnation of suicide bombing

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/28/2002) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today condemned a bomb attack on a Passover celebration in the Middle East that left 20 people dead and more than 100 wounded.

In a statement, CAIR said:

"We condemn this attack and all other attacks on innocent civilians. Illegitimate and counterproductive tactics must not be used in the legitimate struggle to end Israel's brutal occupation. This attack is of particular concern coming as it did during a religious observance in which the focus is remembrance of God."

Note: CAIR has condemned numerous such bombings.

Yes, and I'm sure they used each one of those "condemnations" to:

a) completely avoid any mention of the fact that Muslims were behind such bombings.


b) take a cheap shot at Israel.

What a joke...

She's Back With a Vengeance

Reaganesque is back- and she's just as fired up as she was before the election. Go see what happens when a politically inclined 18-year-old puts the smackdown on the liberals. Some might argue that she's the next Ann Coulter- I think she'll leave Ann in the dust. She's that good...

VDH Friday

This is one of his best ever. He's got it all straightened out...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Big Step

I was in a room full of 58 other soldiers when we heard the news. We had been so up to our necks in the "job-finding" seminar, we didn't even have time to think about the historic events that were taking place on the other side of the world. One of our instructors came in the room and said, "there's a new democracy in the world today- and many of you were directly involved in making it happen. Congratulations." Applause rang out, and for a brief moment I felt an amazing sense of relief. Not surprise or wonder. Just relief. Then I reminded myself that much work was left to be done, and my thoughts turned to those who had sacrificed so much and those who were destined to go and help complete the mission. Let's not forget...

SFC Paul Smith- Medal of Honor

I was listening to my favorite radio show on the way home from work- the Kimmer announced that SFC Paul Smith has been awarded the Medal of Honor. Paul's sister called in and thanked Kimmer for his support- not just for getting Paul's story out there, but for all that he does. Kimmer choked up a bit (he does that), and I'd just like to echo her sentiments. Thanks to Kimmer and all the other great radio and TV personalities who support the cause and spread stories of heroism and valor that the MSM just doesn't want to be associated with. Go read Paul's story. He brought new meaning to the word "hero."

I'll try to pick up the pace with the postings. Employmenting is hard...