Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The script........

A line that Lex wrote the other day got me to thinking. Thinking again about the fiasco in Iraq and how it is tying my beloved country down for what will be a good number of years.

Lex was writing to criticize Hillary Clinton for daring to complain about the legacy that he will bequeath to his sucessor. Something that she believes will be her. (I don't-I firmly believe it she can't win-too many people really hate her).

Here is what Lex wrote:

Hat’s off: It was a difficult challenge to convince majorities of American voters who once solidly supported the effort that the whole enterprise was a cocked hat belonging solely and entirely to George W. Bush and that it, like him, ought to be abandoned. After all, he’d led a unified national and coalition campaign which swiftly defeated the largest army in the Arab world, deposed a ruthless and dangerous tyranny, liberated 25 million minds, sponsored three national elections in a part of the world where such things had been thought impossible and enearthed the first tender seedlings of democratic institutions in a part of the world that more than anything else desperately requires enlightened government. No mean feat, either way.


The thing that troubles me is that results matter-not just intent-and based on that GWB has failed miserably in his role as the "decider". Also, and while I hate to agree with Hillary, it is quite clear whoever succeeds Bush will have this mess on their hands-to the continuing detriment of the United States.

Why does that bother me? Because if you look at Lex's assertions more closely we accomplished none of the things he lists. However the President-the one who 58% of Americans wish would just go away-basically sticks to this line of thought and ignores the factual evidence to the contrary. In fact, he asserts that pointing out the failed results is somehow a disloyal act:

Her comment quickly reverberated at the White House, where a spokesman issued a statement denouncing Clinton for a “partisan attack that sends the wrong message to our troops, our enemies and the Iraqi people.


I'm confused. If democracy is so damned important to have in Iraq, then should they not see the world's longest running democracy having meaningful debate about issues of life or death importance to the nation? However if you believe that democracy will take years to get right in Iraq than stability should be the better priority. Even the founding fathers of the United States understood that not every civilization is not ready for democracy right away. That was why the built protections into the Constitution to save the public from theselves (such as no direct election of Senators-something that took 120 years to change).

"Led a unified national and coalition campaign which swiftly defeated the largest army in the Arab world"-Hardly. Most of the major European powers opted out-with good reason, they had already been burned with things like this. The partcipants in the "Coalition of the coerced" were in it because they basically faced a choice of missing out if this thing worked, since most of them needed or wanted something from the United States (Entry into NATO, aid, trade-you name it). Unlike his father, it was striking that none of the major Arab nations contributed troops and the nation that should have helped-Turkey-was neither required or desired. Who out of the G-7, besides the US and Britain actually stepped up to the plate really? And how may of them are still there? (I'll bet you a beer Britian will be gone as soon as Tony Blair goes.)

"Deposed a ruthless and dangerous tyranny, liberated 25 million minds,"-true, insofar as it goes. However as it turned out those 25 million minds simply traded one tyranny for another. The lack of security in the country is the key thing that prevents development of Iraq. Also they are still saddle with the yoke that is Islam around their necks.

"Sponsored three national elections in a part of the world where such things had been thought impossible and enearthed the first tender seedlings of democratic institutions in a part of the world that more than anything else desperately requires enlightened government." -Those elections proved exactly what? That given the chance, Arabs can be just as stupid and elect bad people as anyone else. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of Iraqis would glady have traded their purple fingers for reliable electricity, the ability to go out with out fear of a violent end, and some sort of economic security.

Much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with Lee Kwan Yeu when he recently wrote that the Americans got the order wrong in setting up Iraq. He points out that rather than create a beacon of light, the Americans may very well have let the genie out of the bottle:

With Sunni control of Iraq removed, Shiite Iran is no longer checked from extending its influence westward. And by allowing the emergence of the first Shiite-dominated Arab state, the United States has stirred the political aspirations of the 150 million or so Shiites living in Sunni countries elsewhere in the region.
The United States has long relied on its traditional Sunni Arab allies, such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia,to keep the Arab-Israeli conflict in check. Now the power of the Sunni bloc may no longer be able to counter an Iran that supports militias such as Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel. The new Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, found it necessary to publicly support the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon during the fighting this past summer.



Yeu goes on to write (sadly the rest of the article is behind a pay portal) that the first priorty in Iraq should not have neen democracy-supresssion thereof is something he knows a thing or two about-but economics and infrastructure. He's probably right about that, but that too would have required a long term occupation. Something I dare say no American, Bush included, really thought that they would have to do.

Hwoever Yeu points out that it takes time to condition the populace to democracy-again, something he knows about since he's never allowed Singapore to have one-and that if you can divert the attention of folks to material pleasures they might forget about killing each other. He's probably right about that-its the formula the UAE and other gulf states have used very effectively for the past 20 years.

The problem with the Singaporean approach though, is that the Iraqis are burdened by religion. Singapore's Chinese majority is not. Islam is the rock that gets in the way every time.

However Lex's prose is the basic script that the Kagans, Cheney's and Rices of the world want us to stick with-no matter how much it costs in American blood and treasure. 65% of America no longer believes it however. And a lot of polticians, on both sides of the aisle, are waking up to that fact. Something has to change.

I think that in the end Iraq will emerge in better shape-after a lot of bloodshed.
Blood shed they are going to have whether the US is there or not. And it will have a strongman back at the helm eventually. It may or may not be a friend of the United States-that I tend to doubt. The Arab countries have a bad track record of biting the hand that feeds them. The real question is can the United States emerge better for the experience? I'm not sure it can. And as I have said over and over again-this should be about American interests first and foremost. They are the only ones I care about.

Which is why this script desperately needs a rewrite.

Hyperbole.......

Doing things to too much of an extreme. It what one could say about the USAF firewall policy.

Whatever happened to the idea of encouraging recreational usage of the internet-so long as it does not interfer with buisness. As I have rapidly discovered in the past couple of days about the only sites I can get to are Sesame Street and the 700 Club.

What is up with that?Pretty soon they are probably going to ban Sesame Street I think.

So its taken me about two days to figure out short cuts and workarounds to big brother. It involves careful planning and using 3 different computers at 3 different locations. And freezing my ass off walking between them. What is really amazing to me is not being able to reach my work e-mail from my laptop because the hit is coming from a Korean IP.

Probably the Air Force, like China wants to purify the internet. And ensure conformity of thought. God forbid you would think for yourself.

Maybe that is the price we pay for our technological advances. I'd like to think not, but sometimes I wonder.

At least in the old days one could read subversive books. You know-like 1984.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Seoul man

Ah, the time has come the Walrus said, to pay the piper. Limited posting for a day or so unitl I can work my way through the inevitable IT issues that come up dealing with the US Army and US Air Force. A firewall here, a blocked IP there (this blog included) and voila you can't get into your own work e-mail.

There are always work arounds, but it takes time to get them figured out.

In the meantime there are some great things read out on some of the other streets in Bloggerville.

E @ L has found that I need to update my links again.

Its cold here and I have plenty of work to do so I'm not getting out and about till later in the week. Picked up a copy of Foreign Policy Magazine to read since I can't surf porn the internet. They have some great articles including their cover piece:



They also agree with me about India.

SJS has a post that will keep you awake at night...worrying about China.

Michelle Malkin needs a makeover......and some new boots.

Speaking of Iraq, I'll bet Condi Rice hates it when Iraqi lawmakers agree with Democrats.

Spike has come to a logical conclusion based on the latest news.:

I know what's gonna happen next. There's going to be a massive outbreak of attacks on cigarette smokers and the attackers will use this as their defense, saying "I wasn't trying to hurt the guy, I was trying to help him" and lawyers will wave this article around and the attackers will not just get acquitted, they will get medals.


It won't just be smokers pal-us beer drinkers are in for it too.

Speaking of zealotry, the new model of dictator, Hu Jin Tao wants to purify the internet.

Oh I forgot, he's the dictator the US trades with. So he can't be that bad right?
This guy is the new model of tyranny folks. This type of thing is just the opening act.

And it looks like Carl Rove will get an invitation.
"Its called a subpoena!"-Senator Finistire.

Got to run......the libary thought police are coming to hunt me down.

Ja ne!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A post about nothing.......

But without Seinfeld's ratings.

Yesterday was a very interesting day. No real reason for that, I meandered around Hong Kong, and amazingly enough left Wanchai relatively early. However it was just one of those days, a good day, with some unusual twists and turns.

Woke up at a reasonable hour-which is amazing in itself, given how late I stayed in Lan Kwai Fong on Friday night- and slid on out for some breakfast. Normally the hotel offers miso soup, which, among its other abilities is reknowned for its ability to cure a hangover. Today is was just congee and more congee. A food I have never really acquired a taste for. However I knew I needed nutrients and fluids so waded through breakfast, all the while reading the trials and tribulations of Hong Kong in the South China Morning Post.

Breakfast complete, back to the room to map out the day. Check e-mail, read some blogs, listen to the BBC on the "telly". Watch the maid flinch in horror when she opens the door to clean the room and sees that I have used all the towels and left water from the shower on the bathroom floor. (Next time I have to remember to put the curtain inside the bathtub......). Could you come back in 20 minutes please? I promise to be gone by then.

Out the door and out on to Nathan Road. The big question of course, which way? Jump on the MTR and head north to Mongkok and points beyond or back over to HK island. I opt for option 2.

The weather is nice, but there is a little coolness in the air. I emphasize the word little. You would never know that from the look of the Hong Kong citizenry though. They are all dressed in coats looking like the snow was going to start any minute. I've never seen so many girls in fur lined boots even in Tokyo or Hokkaido. What's up with that?

Meander down towards the Penisula Hotel, taking a quick stroll through their lobby. Someday when I can afford to blow 350 dollars a night on a hotel room I will stay there.

Through the underpass and come up the stairs to witness a scene I wish I had brought my camera for. Walking in front of the entrance to the stairs are two women with strollers, jabbering in Cantonese. In tow are two boys who could not have been more that five years old or so. Boy #1 turns around and smacks boy #2 for no reason. Mom #1 yells at boy #1 who simply shrugs it off. His attention was fixed on his victim, boy #2. He acknowledges Mom's remonstrance, then puts his hands on his hips and gives boy #2 a "There! I showed you!" type of look. The look on his face was priceless. An animated conversation between the Moms and the boys ensues in Cantonese and off they head for the Harbor. Me too.

Its a beautiful day, but with Hong Kong's characteristic haze on Victoria peak. The Harbor is especially "fragrant" this morning. Coming up to the walk of the stars I spot an Aerospatiale helicopter making some knots, paralleling the coast of Hong Kong Island. Somebody has some money! It gets lower and lower and it sets down just to the left of the Hong Kong convention center. I'm intrigued, because just in front of the where it sets down is the USS Rentz, tied to a mooring buoy. I'm surprised because, not having ever cruised in Westpac, I thought small boys went pierside. Must have sucked for the guys in the duty section and on restriction. The ship was just a stone's throw from the joys of Wanchai. At night with some imagination they could probably see the lights of Jaffe street.

While I thank God in heaven for never having been a ship driver, I always thought it must be really cool to be a surface ship Commanding Officer in a port visit like this. No admiral looking over your shoulder, no CAG and his entire staff, just you and your responsibility for what your crew does. Plus I am told there is no way a carrier could ever be anchored that close to shore in Hong Kong.

Time to move on. Down the harbor towards the Star Ferry. People still dressed like they are in Alaska in February. Pause from time to time to admire the view. Decide that I have killed enough time and head for the entrance to the Star Ferry. I wanted to see what all the fuss had been about.

Now here is where the weird stuff begins. Climbing the stars to the upper deck entrance of the ferry to Central, a Pakistani man or Indian man stops me and says that I have a lucky face. He says he noticed that I was there physically but my mind was somewhere else. (Which was true-I was thinking and talking to my self under my breath). He tells me that while I have been moderately successful in business I am seeking, I've not been really advancing in my life. WTF?

I thank him and try to move on, but the fellow just does not want to give it up. He tells me that 2007 will be a lucky year for me and that an golden opportunity will present itself to me in a couple of months. (For SJS, mind you this was after I read your e-mail....).He continues on pointing out his ability to read the future. He asks me to take my sunglasses off. He says my worry lines around my eyes show that I think too much. I'm trying to figure out : 1) if this one of the "destiny moments" that one sees in the movies or 2) the little bastard is waiting for the right moment to hit me up for money. Sadly, I decide its option 2. I thank him profusely, but tell him I really need to run. At first he seems determined to continue talking about me and my life but I think he finally grasped that I am buying the fact that he does not know me from Adam and I have a right to be suspicious. Nonetheless, the incident bothers me for a good while after. Did I just blow a good thing?

On to the Ferry admiring a really beautiful Chinese girl. Her eyes were to die for. (Her breasts were not too bad either. ;-) ). Across the harbor to the new Central Ferry terminal, which for what my opinion is worth is not as well located as the old one was. It also tries to look historic, but does not really pull it off well. If you come to Hong Kong in the future, be aware that you will not be were you used to be, especially in finding the right bus que.

Walk around Central, through the park and up to the HSBC building. One thing I have noticed in the past couple of days is the increased number of police I have seen around. In the park by the Legco building I finally figure out why. It must be open season on visa overstayers, because any woman who looks even remotely Filipino or Indonesian is being shaken down for their indentity card. One poor woman is sitting with a sad face while the policeman is talking hurriedly in Cantonese on his radio. He is holding what looks like an indentity card. ( The girls in Neptunes last night told me that the police had raided the place doing the same thing then.)

I decide its really time to check out SoHo, something suprisingly in all my HK visits I've never really done. So I walk on over to that marvel of suburban transportation, the mid-levels escalator. ( Or Travelator as it is known). Up, up, up the hill I go till I get to the holy of holies-THE KRISPY KREME store! Which just happens to be located next to a bar. Had a donut then moved to the bar for lunch. For what it is worth, they make great burgers at McSorleys'. Properly beered and fed I worked my way up the hill again.

One of the things I never knew was that there is a mosque in the mid-levels. That was a surprise. Saw several terrorists Muslims coming out. Spotted a book store-like an idiot I went in. 356 Hong Kong Dollars poorer I come out with a book about the 1956 Suez war and a John Grisham novel.

Stumble, and I do mean stumble, across the Sun Yat Sen museum. Its not a great museum really, however I have been to the one in Singapore so I thought it was appropriate to check the square here. The building it is in is beautiful-it should be- as it used to be a Mormon temple. Somehow the Mormons were "persuaded" to give it up in 2004.

Being a history buff of sorts I've always wanted see how the stinking commies PRC dealt with Sun Yat Sen given that he has a direct link to the history that became Taiwan and both nations revere the man. The exhibits were mostly factual, but the verbiage used was interesting. He is always portrayed as a revolutionary. That's suprising given the fact that he was also a real doctor and never held government office for that long. He did, however, set into motion the chain of events that brought down the Qing dynasty.

By now it was 3 o'clock. I decided that I thought I should see Kolwoon Bay-I've never ridden the MTR to that part of the New Territories. That decision proved itself to be a big mistake. The MTR lets you off in a shopping mall-complete with Ikea-but not near a bay at all. AND, as an extra added bonus, I got the distinct impression that I was in a gweilo not wanted zone as I walked around looking for a way out from the apartment buildings.

Which was troublesome, given the fact that I knew hordes of Indonesian maids and others would be converging on Laguna while I walked amidst the Scandavian furniture items.

So with the sun just beginning to set I beat a hasty retreat, via 3 trains, back to Wanchai.

As for the rest of the day........well you know the story. I did, however, come back reasonably early enough to awake today with out too much trouble. That is progress. Klong had their "closing party" last night. Cute girls in Blue Girl dresses pushed too many Blue Girl beers on me.

A good day- probably boring to read about. But it was mine, and for some silly reason I'm going to treasure it as I head for Seoul in a few hours. Silly me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A necessary recruiting video....

That needs to be shown to every one in the US military.


Lots to say...

But no time to say it.

Tomorrow I will write about the amazing day I had. But for now I need to look for these:


It was Australia Day yesterday!

And head to Wanchai to meet these:


They seem to be here in great numbers!

Friday, January 26, 2007

A long way to go

To have a cup of coffee and read the Hong Kong Standard while thinking about my life that is. Surely there must be cheaper and less time consuming ways to think about making changes.

There are. They just are not as fun.

I'm not sure why it is, but coming here relaxes me in strange sort of way. (Of course, my sojourns into Wanchai do just the opposite!)

I was up at 7 this morning. For once I did the prudent thing and did not take a late night taxi over to Wanchai when the band at the hotel bar finished its set. (One of the Filipina singers had a diamond nose stud-what's up with that?) As a result getting up this am was quite easy. Had breakfast, checked e-mail, made some phone calls, then laid back and watched the news.

Which was nothing but more of the same. Lebanon is falling apart, Iraq is still a mess, and Barack Obama is black, still a smooth talker, and Hillary hates him. Situation normal-must be time to set out for the day.

No matter how many times I come here, I always start out my visits the same way. MTR to admiralty, walk around the park, Tram up the peak. Coffee in Pacific coffee sitting outside in the sunshine.

On the way seeing interesting things. A maid, helping a gweilo boy get a drink of water at the fountain. The bride being "suited up" by her friends for wedding pictures. The mega Mercedes limo in front of the bridal registry. Looking back down to the harbor and seeing the haze. Some older gentleman sitting and staring into space.

It always seems like this city was made just for me. The trick, of course, is to find a means of gainful employment in it. (Any suggestions-please send them along.) In the interim I have to be content with these short visits where I almost always do the same old thing.

Like stay too long on the netvigator Internet terminal, thereby pissing off some burly Australian looking over my shoulder as I type this, pointing to the timer I never bother to use.

Just like the world and the news. Maybe me-and it- need to make a dramatic change.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Out and about.......

Starting a road trip today. Couple a days of fun in my second favorite city (HK) then on to Korea followed by Hawaii. Try packing for those climate changes with just one suitcase! Korea weather is 0.2 degrees Celcius when last I checked. Honolulu is in the 70's...........

Yep, needed a second suitcase...thank God for wheels and taxis! Now if I can just find my card for the MTR.................wonder how much money I have on it from my last foray down to the Fragrant Harbor?

At least in my previous workplace trips were usually only about 10 days. This one is for almost a month. With bad working hours again when I get to Hawaii. Thus, I have earned a couple of days on the front side for fun and a trip up and down Jaffe Road.

Sitting here in a very crowded lounge. Sitting across from what appears to be ageing hippies on a trip around the world. From careful eavesdopping I have deduced they are first going to Thailand then to Africa.........what is up with that? From the look of the guy with the beard, he is unequipped to really appreciate Thailand.....at least not in the way I would appreciate it.

I need to go back to studying my Japanese. I used to go to class a couple times a week, now my work schedule, finances and travel will not permit it. However I was intrigued when I read a sign at Immigration that was definately new. It was in Japanese only and talked about the ban on travel from Japan to North Korea. I guess they don't print an English versuion since they assume that no westerner would be stupid enough permitted to travel there. It used to be legal for Japanese to go however.

So, when I finish this beer-its off to board the plane! See you folks on the other side!

The difference

Between just starting a job and being in a thankless one for two years:



Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The stab in the back........

I did watch the state of the union speech today. Since it was on at 11 am Japan time, I could not have the luxury that many DC residents had of being drunk during it. I probably would not have used so many swear words and talked to the TV so much. Of course, I had to say it under my breath since a lot of people in the room actually liked what he said.

So, it was a typical Bush speech. If you like him, you love it. If you don't like him, you hate it. If you believe Iraq is a part of the war on terror, you support his words. If you think, as I do, that Iraq is about Iraq and really has nothing to do with defending Americans-in fact it actually runs counter to many of the foreign policy objectives the United States should be pursuing. Evidently the Iraqis did not like it either, since in their midst a bunch of car bombs went off right after the end of the speech.

Plus, Bush's words make little impact when considered against the backdrop of other things said and other news. I find it astounding that the Prime Minister of Iraq at the end of November, asked Bush to exactly the opposite of what the United States is pledged to do now.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had a surprise for President Bush when they sat down with their aides in the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan. Firing up a PowerPoint presentation, Maliki and his national security adviser proposed that U.S. troops withdraw to the outskirts of Baghdad and let Iraqis take over security in the strife-torn capital. Maliki said he did not want any more U.S. troops at all, just more
authority.
The president listened intently to the unexpected proposal at
their Nov. 30 meeting, according to accounts from several administration
officials. Bush seemed impressed that Maliki had taken the initiative, but it did not take him long to reject the idea. By the time Bush returned to
Washington, the plan had already been picked through by his military commanders. At a meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room, the president flatly told his advisers that the Maliki plan was not going to work. He had concluded that the Iraqis were not up to the task and that Baghdad would collapse into chaos, making a bad situation worse. And so the Americans would have to help them. From that early December meeting on, Bush was headed down a path that would result in his defying critics and the seeming message of the November elections by ordering 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq. A reconstruction of the administration's Iraq policy review, based on more than a dozen interviews with senior advisers, Bush associates, lawmakers and national security officials, reveals a president taking the lead in driving the process toward one more effort at victory -- despite doubts along the way from his own military commanders, lawmakers and the public at large.


Bush's assesment may or may not be right, but what this revelation does tell is that Iraq's government is not the soverign entity that the Bush administration is saying it is. If it were a sovereign government, the only acceptable respones would have been "Fine, knock yourself out. We will be more than happy for you do it your self. Its about goddamned time!"

Probably the reason the plan was rejected is that people are not sure about Malaki and doing it his way would have allowed him a vehicle to use the Iraqi military to continue to settle Shiite scores-something I believe Malaki is still saying- when you read between the lines of his public statements.

If you read a lot of the writings on both sides of the aisle there is not much confidence in the Iraqi prime minister. With good reason, because by my count he has failed the US on at least 6 seperate occasions. And getting his cooperation now is critical. Based on his track record even people who support the war are cautious in their assesements of what he can deliver.

My real fear is that both sides have really, deep down, written off the Iraqis because they are cannot and will not put their stupid adherence to Islam behind them and move on to progress. So conservative pundits- the Town Hall Harlot chief among them are laying the ground work of assigning blame. They will claim and are begining to say that Germany US could have won the war, but liberal left wingers stabbed the effort in the back. This tactic will avoid blaming the Arabs-all of them-who have allowed this mess to arise and instead focus on the political advantage it can bring them in the post Bush, post Democratic Congress. That's a short sighted approach because even without Iraq there are still challenges out there to be dealt with. The next few months will tell if I am right or not.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Comms restored....

I can surf porn blog again! I mean really blog not just quick posts from the library.............

Turns out the ISP had done maintenance that had reduced the signal strenght to where we live. So much so that the modem could not pick up a signal. The repairman did something that restored that. So I was right, the problem was in the connection.

So now its back to regular surfing and provocation. Hooray!

Except, I've got to go out now.....so this will have to do.

I did want to pass along something however. It will have little meaning to those who have never served in the Navy or for that matter, any other military service. However it seems to me the right words I wish I could have written in response to a recent post by the Phibian. It describes better than I can the dilemna faced by the current generation of 20 somethings who are serving. Old farts who are just advocating that all should volunteer for any bad deal that comes along, would do well to remember this man's comment about not using people up like they are disposable batteries. I wish the current occupant of the White House would remember it.

Any way, here is the article for your reading. I reprinted it so that you won't have to go behind the Proceedings firewall. This explains better than I can why I am in favor of national service:

I am admittedly a fossil from another age. As a retired Sailor, I am forced to recognize that I may well be past not only my usefulness, but my relevance as well. I must continually remind myself that clinging to old ideas may be comfortable but not always practical. Yet I am haunted by something from the past and cannot help but wonder if it may be time for the resurrection of an old idea, one that may have been abandoned as an act of temporal expedience rather than sound and lasting judgment.

As world events transpire these days, I watch from the comfort of an armchair rather than the bridge of a ship, and I know that, short of another terrorist attack such as 9/11, these happenings will have little or no direct effect on me. I no longer have to leave my family for long deployments or go to the jungles of Southeast Asia to face unknown dangers. Being human, I am tempted to sit back and say, "I did my time; now it's someone else's turn."

But I remember all too well what it is like to answer the call to duty. I remember the pain in my heart every time I had to part with my children knowing that I was going to miss irretrievable moments in their growing lives. I recall all too vividly the uncertainty and the foreboding that precedes a venture into treacherous waters.

I also remember that I was proud to be doing it. I felt privileged to be given the honor as well as the responsibility of defending my nation-the greatest nation in the history of the world.

And one more thing I remember is that I never felt that my nation was asking too much of me.

Asking Too Much of Too Few?

But today, I cannot help but wonder if we are not asking too much of those who have assumed the watch in my stead. I see young Marines going off to Iraq for their third tours and wonder how that compares to my one year in Vietnam. I say farewell to my Naval War College students who must forego their education to become "individual augmentees" and wonder who will one day assume the leadership roles for which they were preparing. I see families left behind to endure even more separation and wonder how much we can reasonably expect from these young people, how long can we count on them to continue to serve, continue to sacrifice.

I am in absolute awe of these patriots who answer the call to duty again and again. I understand why they do it, but I do not honestly know how they do it.

The problem is not that we are asking for sacrifice. There is nothing new in that. It is that we are asking for so much sacrifice from a select few—the few who have volunteered—when we ask so little of our other citizens.

I know that I might as well be asking for NFL players to be humble or for corporate CEOs to work for reasonable salaries, but I cannot help but wonder if we should not at least be talking about alternatives, including universal public service. This idea from the past—for all of its problems and its ramifications—may be the only answer to vexing questions no one seems to be able to answer.

The problems are that conscription is not a vote getter; it does not put money in anyone's pocket; it raises complicated gender questions; it asks the average American to step outside their comfort zone and do more than they have become complacently used to doing.

Perhaps this idea is, like me, a relic of the past, a concept that belongs in the dustbin of history. I cannot deny that having served in a military supported by a draft—where so many of my comrades wanted so much to be elsewhere—and having served my final years in an all-volunteer force, I much preferred the latter. There may be reasons why universal service is a bad idea, why it can no longer work. I have little doubt that a 21st-century conscription should be significantly different from the one we left behind in the 1970s.

But there is a calculus here that can no longer be denied: we seem to have found most of the viable volunteers we are going to find. Pay raises and even patriotism have been tapped out. There are ominous rumblings about lowered recruiting standards and increased maximum ages. There are warnings inherent in reports that recruiters feel compelled to resort to desperate measures and are bringing in people who otherwise would not be chosen.

I am particularly troubled to hear tales of young people considering leaving the service or asking for back-to-back sea tours because they know that, even though they will deploy again, it will be scheduled with more certainty and of a lesser duration than if they go ashore and leave themselves open for individual augmentation, where they are likely to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan on very short notice to do things for which they are barely trained. Make no mistake, these young people are not avoiding these assignments out of fear—they are as ready as any generation to face danger—but it is the quality of life issues threatening their families' well being that makes them seek alternatives. Remember, these are not shirkers; these are the people who have volunteered, while their fellow countrymen have shopped at the mall; they have served, often under arduous circumstances, away from their loved ones, while the rest of us go about our normal lives; and they will gladly serve again if we do not use them up like disposable batteries.

The Hour of Maximum Danger

Too many of our citizens fail to recognize what I perceive as an hour of maximum danger. Too few of our citizens are as committed to the cause of continued freedom as our enemies are committed to ending it. So we are forced to turn to those finite numbers of volunteers and ask them to shoulder more and more of the burden, knowing that reinforcements are not forthcoming. We ask them—those who have stepped forward—to preserve a world for the rest who hold back.

I, for one, am embarrassed. I am ashamed to look this minority in the eye and ask them to do more while the rest of the nation sits by idly.

And much more is at stake than the decimation of our armed forces. I am appalled that the only answers to vital questions seem to be "more of the same" or "cut and run." I am also ashamed to watch the evening news and see yet another tyrant thumbing his nose at the world's only "superpower," knowing that we are virtually powerless to respond because all of our volunteers are too busy. By these actions, we have severely limited our options and have given up the most powerful anti-war weapon of all—deterrence. We have emboldened our adversaries to do what they please with little fear of consequence, and in so doing we may well have permanantly crippled our ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones.

Forgive these rants of an old fossil if that is all they are. But just in case dementia has not replaced reason—on the off-chance that I am right that we are on a course to disaster, to waking up one day and finding that all those wonderful volunteers have been used up, to realizing that we are incapable of deterring and powerless to respond—let us look for alternatives. Let us put politics and selfishness aside and at least openly discuss the idea of asking our citizens to do more, to ask Americans to once again ask themselves, "What can I do for my country?"

Lieutenant Commander Cutler, senior book acquisitions editor for the Naval Institute Press, enlisted in the Navy at 17 and was a gunner's mate second class prior to being commissioned in 1969. A Vietnam veteran, he is the author of several books, including A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy and Brown Water, Black Berets, published by the Press.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What it is like......

To work with the government travel office.

Scott Adams must have worked in government at one point. He shows great understanding of every government travelers frustration in working with the agents at the ticket office or working with DTS.....(Defense Travel System-also known as a corporate welfare.)


Click to enlarge the cartoon!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Out of comms and out of sync..........

The modem still just sits there and blinks. I've tried new cables, reloads of software, nothing works. Reminds me of launching with yesterdays codes and then trying to get the link to work.
(A bit of an inside joke........as SJS can tell you E-2 NFO's never check out the wrong codes and then go flying with them........... :-) ).

Lots of news to observe and no real time here to comment on them. Suffice it to say there is great coverage of the recent Chinese anti-satellite demonstration. Lest any on doubt where I stand on the issue, China is a once and future enemy of the United States. The launch is simply them demonstrating their desire to be a world power. Good thing the US Navy is getting smaller isn't it?

I also wonder how much of that technology was stolen and or sold to them by companies lusting after the billion person market?

Picked a fight with the S.O. last night. No real reason just my own grumpiness and frustration with her for being right. She did nothing to deserve it-I'm just at a down spot in my life right now. I think she knows that deep down-at least I hope she does. The problem is not her-its me. And its not going to fix itself soon.

So I should apologize....but not for a while anyway. Might as well milk some mileage out of it while I can.

Maybe it can lead to make-up sex? Madmae Chiang has some thoughts on that score. I especially like Indiana's version of the perfect woman!

Now however, I have to getr running and go back to the not so perfect one..................Hopefully my internet can get fixed tomorrow!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Electronic attack!

On my internet service provider that is.

Seems the Chinese may have destroyed more than a satellite-I cannot get my cable modem to work at all. All troubleshooting has been exhausted so I now I have to wait till next week to get a repairman out to see why I am not getting Internet. (Its either in the cable or the modem I think.) Since I usually post from home (Can't surf for beer and babes at work )-posts will be sporadic till I can get it fixed. Plus I go on the road for a while at the end of next week.

So stick around-you can talk among yourselves about me!

More to follow later.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wonder why this gets no attention?

James Webb, has been reviled for not being nice to the President. Turns out according to Wonkette, that Senator Webb is no the only person who has gotten into a dust up with the man:


Bush is still having the worst luck at seemingly friendly functions with Democratic lawmakers. It all started with Jim Webb, then there was Steve Kagen, and now the nerd in charge of congressional treehugging. This time, though, Bush was the one seemingly on the brink of starting a brawl. And all this during the signing ceremony for a bill about fish conservation.

So when House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) went to shake Bush’s hand, he thought he’d try to lighten the mood up a bit. “I’d rather be talking about fish surges instead of troop surges,” Rahall joked to Bush, according to Rahall’s office.

Bush looked Rahall in the eye and said, dead serious: “I’d rather be talking about victory.”


From Wonkette:" We don’t know if Rahall managed to keep a straight face, but no reports indicate that he said “what the fuck is wrong with you,” which would’ve been our response, so we commend him for his restraint. "

What to me is interesting, is that one of Webb's first's acts in office was to propose legislation of real benefit to the Soldiers serving in this war. Webb who has been pilloried for calling Bush out for his hypocrisy about caring for the Soldiers he has sent to war, has at least done something in Congress that George W. Bush could not do during 6 years in office, propose real change and improvement in veterans benefits-recognizing that this is a long term investment in America.

Since I was one of those folks caught in the "gap" , the infamous VEAP program which did not give me s**t in the way of educational benefits...having been accessed after expiration of the GI Bill, and not eligible to particpate in the Montgermery GI Bill due to my time in service when it was passed- I am very excited about this piece of legislation. I especially can't wait to hear the good Dr. Chu come out in opposition to it, since for the last few years he has been the administration attack dog on improving benefits. I suspect he will have more than a few things to say in opposition, if his testimony on concurrent receipt and other improvements is any guide.

At least Webb is being true to his word. If that means he snubs the President......well that's ok with me. Good for him!

Caption this!

The following photograph of Prime Minister Abe and his wife was taken in the Philippines during their recent state visit. Suffice it say , Mrs Abe does not look happy. Anyone want to know why?





H/T to Japundit! Leave your captions in the comments.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Not the brightest bulb in the lamp.....


Hi. This is Michelle Manhart. She will be unemployed soon.

She is the USAF Staff Sergeant who posed in Playboy-then went on TV and said she did not think anything would happen for it. You can check out her resume here and here and here. ( for research purposes only, you understand).

References can be found with these guys. Please hire this woman!

How in the heck does one get six rows of ribbons in only 8 years? Enquiring minds want to know!

My friends at Chairforce.com provided the following summary:

An Air Force spokesman said, "This staff sergeant's
alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our Airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do."

Ouch, that's a little harsh, don't you think? No integrity? No excellence? True, Manhart may have put her own desires before those of the Air Force, but how does posing for Playboy lack integrity and excellence? She wasn't caught selling "her goods" on a San Antonio street corner. She posed for the world's No. 1 men's entertainment magazine. We'd say that's excellence. Now, had she posed for D-Cup or Hustler, we might see the Air Force's side of the story, but this is Playboy; arguably the world's most respected and professional men's entertainment magazine.


Latest news can be found here and here.

I'm not so sure they thought this through......

"Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced today the selection of USS Gerald R. Ford as the name of the first aircraft carrier in what will be the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers."


Ford class of carriers? Oh boy.....

I can hear the jokes now:

Buy a Ford and you buy the best. Drive the first mile and walk the rest.

Tom: My parents just bought me a Ford Mustang.
Jim: So what did you do to them to tick them off?

Do you know that Ford has admitted they are expensive and unreliable? That new commercial they are running says so! When that country singer says "If I had me some money" he admits he can't afford one, and when he adds that he'd "buy a Ford truck or two" it because he needs a spare.

A Texan was talking big in a bar one night about how much money he had,how many women he had been with and how much land he owned. A young man, growing tired of all the big talk finally asked the Texan, "Just how much land do you actually own"? The Texan tipped back his cowboy hat and said to the young man " Well sonny let me put it to ya like this, I can get in my pickup at sunrise, drive all day long,skip lunch and still not get to the other side of my property by sundown". The young man shot back quickly, " Oh yeah, I know what you mean, I used to own a Ford truck too"!


WHAT DID THE CHEVY SAY TO THE FORD?
Would you like a tow home?


FORD ACRONYMS:
Fix Or Repair Daily
Found On Road Dead
Backwards... Driver Returns On Foot
Backwards... Dorks Ride On Fords
Factory Ordered Road Disaster
Factory Ordered Rebuilt Dodge(Datsun)
Flip Over Read Directions
Four Old Rusted Doors
Fixed On Race Day
Ford Owner Really Dumb
For Only Retarded Drivers
Ford Owners Recommend Dodge
Flipped Over Russian Dunebuggy
Found On Russian Dump
For Off Road Death
it Freaking Only Runs Downhill
Fat Old Rusted Dog
Freaking Old Rusted Dodge(Datsun)
Frigin Oakies Really Dig it
Funky Old Road Dog
Found On Roadside's Destroyed
Backwards...Don't Ride Over Fifty
Fixed-up Old Repossesed Dodge
Found Old Rebuilt Dodge
Forget Out Running Dale
Found On Railroad Deserted
Found On Railroad Dead
Fools Only Read Directions
First On Repair Dolly
Favorite Of Redneck Drivers
Backwards- Dumb Retards Own Fords
Funny Old Rebuilt Dodge
Fast Only Rolling Downhill
Found On Russian Dump
Forfiet On Race Day
Found On River Dead
Failure Of Research & Development



The Navy thought the acronym BOHICA was bad-wait till Sailors get a hold of this. There's some real money to be made in T-shirts and bumper stickers!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The catfight

I've been reluctant to post about the recent remarks of Barbara Boxer because of a) the trashing I have taken in other forums and b) questions in my own mind as to why the debate ever got this silly.

Not familiar with the issue? Well hopefully readers from overeas have better things to think about and US readers have probably formed an opinion. For those of you still here , this is what happened:

Boxer, during her questioning of Rice, said she wanted to focus attention on the human consequences of the decision.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young," to serve, Boxer told Rice. "You're not going to pay a price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.''

Boxer was denounced Friday on the New York Post editorial page, which called the comments "a low blow." The exchange generated a firestorm among conservative bloggers and cable news commentators.

"I think it was more than cheap -- it was degrading," Fox News commentator Karen Hanretty said in an interview. "There's nothing more vicious than feminine politics, and Boxer proved herself a shrill harpy.''

White House spokesman Tony Snow -- a former Fox commentator -- called the comments "outrageous" and opined that Boxer had made "a great leap backward for feminism.''

Fox News ran headlines all day Friday on the topic, such as, "Will Boxer Apologize?'' and "Boxer Slimes Rice,'' and some conservative critics charged that Boxer inappropriately raised questions about Rice's personal life.


Now what the current news seems to be ignoring is that there is no love lost between these two women. Hearken back to 2005:

Condoleezza Rice defended the war in Iraq during her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, sparring with one Democrat who suggested her loyalty to President Bush and support for the conflict "overwhelmed your respect for the truth."

Rice bristled at the comment by Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. "I have to say that I have never, ever, lost respect for the truth in the service of anything," she said. Rice, who has been Bush's national security adviser for the past four years, faced more than nine hours of questioning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on her nomination to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state.

Boxer was particularly aggressive, pointing out what she said were inconsistencies in Rice's statements about the imminent threat of nuclear weapons in Iraq.

"This is a pattern here of what I see from you," Boxer said. "It's very troubling. ... It's hard for me to let go of this war because people are still dying."

She said Rice has not acknowledged those deaths, has not laid out an exit strategy for Iraq and has been unwilling to admit mistakes -- including going to war over weapons of mass destruction found later not to exist. (WMD report)

"If you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you will rethink it," Boxer said.

"Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like," Rice replied. "But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity."


MEOW!

First it proves what I have always known about women. Once they have a grudge they never , ever, give it up. Even against fellow women. In fact, women in my observation, seem to be hardest on other women they do not agree with.

Second, this particular line of attack is quite unecessary. It simply proves to me that Barbara Boxer is a c**t and a lousy Senator. Had she had any smarts at all and even a smidgen of understanding on what really appeals to people she could have attacked Rice on more factual groounds. Hating Bush still does not provide acceptable grounds for attacking him through his sycophants servants. You would think after so many years in the Senate-which also proves how really stupid the people of California are-would have taught the good Ms Boxer that. Guess not.

She could have stuck to the facts:

1- Condi Rice is not a particularly good Secretary of State. Her marital status has nothing to do with that whatsover. She simply has not been as diplomatic as she could be, as independent as she should be, and in the end misunderstands the people that work for her. As recently as 6 months ago critics noticed:

A senior Republican expressed unhappiness at the way that she was snubbed recently by Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese Prime Minister. “Henry Kissinger would never have been turned away from any capital,” he told The Times.

Richard Armitage, who was deputy to her predecessor, Colin Powell, has publicly attacked her for ignoring opportunities to negotiate with Syria. “We get a little lazy, I think, when we spend all our time as diplomats talking to our friends and not to our enemies,” he said.


Richard Armitage, by the way is the guy who should have been the Secretary of State, but at least he had the balls to to say no after the way Colin Powell was treated by the "bonehead educator in chief".

Thomas P.M. Barnett sums up Rice's position quite well:

No big surprise there. Real clearing is Cheney's, with Rummy as surrogate.

Missing in the analysis so far: with caretaker in Pentagon, Baker now takes over de facto control of the war, as almost his own national security adviser, SECDEF AND SECSTATE.

No big whup for Gates. He knew that coming in. Quiet Hadley will do as told, as will Rice, but in reality, Rice's been replaced without leaving office. Imagine being SECSTATE and kicked off the one foreign policy issue that defines the administration.

Yes, yes, expect many protestations to the contrary and watch Baker go out of his way, using the study group as cover, not to upstage her.

But make no mistake, we now have caretakers (and not the real players) in both the Building and Foggy Bottom.


2- The Democrats of today are analogous to the golfer who hits a good drive then pisses it away inside the 150 yard marker. You drive for show, but you play the short game for dough and the Dems will be lucky to make the cut.

Consider: Instead of passing resolutions or whining again and again about the "surge" something that they cannot stop before fall of 2007, they could be VERY effectively attacking the President on his flanks. If the Democrats had half an inkling about how to get real things accomplished they would be sitting and waiting for him to submit his military budget. And then working for some real goals:

a) A pay raise of any significance. Bush will not propose one. The Dems could make real money by demanding a pay raise of at LEAST 5%.

b) Proposals of real significance to give a lot more extra pay to those serving in combat zones. The Democrats have proposals on the table to fix this. George W. Bush doesn't. Instead he has let "Dr Scrooge" chip away at benefits that have been earned.

c) An improved GI Bill. Sen James Webb has proposed in legislation a REAL GI bill for servicement who have to serve during this period of war. I am suprised there has not been more attention paid to it.

d) Proposals to remove stupid laws like prohibitions against concurrent receipt and reforming the USFSPA.

My point is, since the Bush budget will have none of these things, the Democrats can use that callous disregard of serving miltary members sacrifice to their advantage. Because with the "surge" Bush is asking troops to sacrifice. However his administration is loath to pay for that sacrifice. That too, is typical of his record, talk a good game- but screw the troops at the drive through when he submits his budget.

It would be something with meat that the Democrats could sink their teeth into and it would highlight Bush's hypocrisy. Certainly it would do so better than symbolic resolutions passed in Congress that have no weight. Done visibly and with great fanfare it would create loads of good sound bites and expose the President as a man who talks a good game but does not deliver when it counts. It would also buy time for the Democrats as the Iraqi government doesn't deliver(s) on its promises, and that too could be capitalized on. Certainly that would be better than worrying about cutting off funding for the war, which is political suicide.

That's the great thing about Democrats however, give them a chance, they will screw something away. Which explains why Boxer is a Senator in the first place.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Too good to pass up.....

Considering the holiday, it seems more than appropriate to suggest that both Condi Rice and Barbara Boxer could have learned a thing or two from this man. This video is an interesting contrast of the slime that passes for political discussion now and the words of great oratory in the past.

Bill Reilly vs Dr King-no contest at all. Dr King wins all rounds! H/T to C&L and American Maxim.


A couple of good reads.......

First, for the men out there, one should know the facts about your best friend.

After that bit of enlightment, I think you should read Juan Cole's analysis of why the Sunnis will still play the role of angry mother in law. Its enlightening in what is says about the US's ability to counter their discontent.

Finally for Bad Bob, the link you need to follow is here. It will save you time searching my archives.

Gotta run for now!

Happy Holiday!

Yes it's Martin Luther King day, but more importantly its my mother's birthday! In the grand scheme of things that is more important to yours truly.

Happy Birthday MOM!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Scooby dooby doo.........

Iwao Takamoto passed away this past week. He was the creator of Scooby Doo and worked in the Hanna Barbera Cartoon empire for many years. Gwen Muranaka published this tribute in todays' Japan Times:

Click on the cartoon to read it better!

I never realized ol Scoob was another product of Japanses animation........and imagination. I'm also a Secret Squirrel fan. Thank goodness for Cartoon Network!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fun things to do......

While being hungover and waiting for the Tsunami to hit.

Yea you heard me right. For the second time in a couple of months the Tsunami alert went off. Big earthquake north of Hokkaido. Tsunami warning all up and down the west coast of Japan.

So what seemed the right thing to do? Google "ping pong ball queefing bitch Malkin" and see where it took me.

It took me to many strange places.



Which then led me to the Michelle Malkin is an Idiot web site. ( I realize using the word idiot and Malkin in the same sentence is redundant but.....)

Where I learned how to play Monopoly:



The internet is such a useful porn surfing learning tool.

Urban Legends............

There is a myth that goes around here in Japan that drinking sake does not leave you with a hangover. I'm here today to tell you that is not the truth. Drink enough of those little cups and you do get your ass kicked.

Note to self: 15 cups of different kinds of Sake drunk in the space of 2 hours is probably not a good idea. Especially when you are finishing with a rough type of Sake that has the alcohol content of 120 proof whiskey............

So what did I do?

Came home and had one of these:



And then fell asleep without getting one of these:



Which is dissapointing to say the least!

Back to bed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The train wreck..........

The one that is coming to an armed service near and dear to you.

I have tried and tried to come up with some coherent line of thought about the Presidents speech-I can't. To tell the truth, I don't think he can either. All he knows that in his mind, staying equates to winning, leaving equates to losing. Does not matter if the people we are staying for, are worth staying for ( spoiler alert: they are not), however he will be able to go into the history books as the guy who did not lose Iraq on his watch.




Hugh Hewitt likes it which is enough reason for me to be scared. All of the other usual suspects either like it or hate the President's new plan. There are plenty of places one can read reasoned analysis, here, here and here.

My primary concern in my little world is the mechanics of the plan's execution-and the cost that will be paid-in lives, in resources, in lost opportunity elsewhere, and in terms of the long term affect on an institution that I have spent a long time serving.

By settling on 21,000, Bush is looking to the art of the possible. Without a reduction of commitment elsewhere, and /or a full time, long term, mobilization of the reserves and Guard- keeping about 160,000 troops in Iraq is about the most the armed forces can do over the long haul. Now assuming the Army gets 65,000 more Soldiers and the Marine Corps gets another 27,000 over the coming few years the demands may get more palatable. Personally, I don't think the Army will grow to where it needs to be, neither will the Marine Corps. That's just the bait to go along with this particular bait and switch argument. Bush has to come up with the money to pay for those troops and over the last 6 years their track record on doing that is less than spectacular. My buddy Dr Chu will come up with argument after argument that we cannot afford them. Even if they do increase end strength, the other services will get schwacked to pay for it-which is not what's needed. Especially since he is not going to be doing anything to increase federal revenue coming in the door. Bush likes tax cuts more than he likes Iraq-and for some strange reason he really likes Iraq. I know I don't. I hate the Iraqi people-sight unseen. They have, however, proven that no matter how low one sets expectations for Arabs-they cannot meet them.

Today the Pentagon announced the "who do you screw" list to pull off the "surge". Here it is:

The 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and currently assigned as the call forward force in Kuwait, will move into Iraq and assume a security mission there.

The 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, will be extended in its current mission for up to 125 days and will redeploy not later than August 2007.

The 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Ft. Riley, Kan., will deploy in February 2007 as previously announced.

Three other Army combat brigades will deploy as follows:

- The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Benning, Ga., will deploy in March 2007.

- The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Lewis, Wash., will deploy in April 2007.

- The 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Stewart, Ga., will deploy in May 2007.

The Marine Corps will extend two reinforced infantry battalions for approximately 60 days. Additionally, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) will remain in Iraq for approximately 45 additional days.

Other combat-support and combat-service-support units may also be deployed as necessary once new requirements are assessed.
(We'll come back to this point-Skippy-san).

Finally, the USS Stennis Carrier Strike Group and the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Regiment will deploy to the region to bolster security.

The key point about this whole thing is what has NOT been announced. First, lets look at that "combat support" paragraph above. One can expect a whole host of Requests for Forces as the ramifications of getting the units there are announced. That will be personnel deployed to Iraq over and above the 21,000. I'm also assuming the Stennis battle group is over and above the 21,000-however their deployment was already announced. There will be a ripple effect as commitments they were supposed to meet elsewhere have to be met.

There is also a "downstream affect" as the units listed above have to be replaced and other units have to be worked into a bigger and better rotation scheme.

So when its all said and done it will be closer to 100,000 US troops who will have their lives disrupted to because the Iraqis still cannot get their collective stuff together as a nation and as a people. Thanks guys-thanks a lot!

I wish I could get excited about this as a plan for victory. However, I cannot. Here is why:

1) It' s too dependent on the Iraqis. I personally believe that most of Malaki's rhetoric against the Shia militia is intended for US consumption, not Al Sadr consumption. If anything, I agree with those who believe that Malaki owes too much to the various Shias and so the only thing he is really asking them to do is lay low. If the Americans push attacks on the Shias as they must, the Iraqis will find a way to fuck it up slow it down.




2) It does not really change the dynamic of conflict. Maybe it will make some difference in the Baghdad security situation, but the insurgents have shown an interesting abilty to flex to other locations. Plus as I noted above, they can blend into the population and recconoiter how this plays out.

3)The jury is out on whether the empahsis on reconstruction will make any difference. Its been 4 years and we still have not built what we promised. It does provide a good future for all the investors in Halliburton stock though. Probably time to buy some.

4) Finally, I agree with Olberman, when it comes to Iraq, Bush has no credibilty anymore. He's said so much, so many times, and so much of it is contradictory that he really has nothing left that can be believed. Now that may make me a wingnut, but I've been thrown out of better bars than that one, so I can live with it. Still makes it true, Bush's remarks have to be examined against the context of the past things he has said.



However Bush does not really have to worry about that any more. By this course of action he has agreed to keep going in Iraq until the end of Presidency. His successor will inherit the war, and have to figure out a way out. That's what Bush really accomplished last night. After all, an action passed is still an action taken-right?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Its all about marketing....

Can't pass this one up:


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Things that make my head hurt.......

It was a news filled day yesterday while I sat and slept the night away.......
Lest there be any doubt about it, I am sick. Ergo this will be short. I will watch the Presidents speech tomorrow and with sufficient energy I'll have some comment on it.

Lets start with the big news in Japan, namely that a US submarine collided with a Japanese super tanker in the Persian Gulf. (Actually it was outside of the straits of Hormuz so that may be technically incorrect..). I learned once again that Kanji is a great medium to convey ideas visually...provided one knows the short cuts they use.

For example, the Asahi Shinbun, a left of center paper the S.O. likes (and is delivered to us each AM) had this headline: 日本船と米原潜、接触.It translates to Japan ship and America submarine contact. However it really means that that an American submarine and and Japanese tanker collided. What I discovered yet again, was the annoying Japanese habit of dropping kanji from the sentence to make the headline fit the paper. Native Japanese understand it from the context. Idiots like me wonder where the other part of the word went. For example: the proper word for submarine in Japanese is sensuikan (潜水艦), however in the paper's headline they only printed the first kanji. Same with atomic powered submarine(genshisensuikan): 原子潜水艦, which becomes gensenn (原潜) in the paper. Makes sense to Japanese, drives me nuts and makes me have to BEG the S.O. to help me with the morning paper. (Incidentally, in the article they did spell the words out in Kanji...). Why? I have no idea, probably to give the S.O. yet one more thing to lord over me. And to remind me again of my own failures.

On the same front page was also the news that the Defense Agency was now a ministry. That's a big deal here in Japan because it puts the Defense Establishment on the same footing as the opther ministries and implies other things to come vis a vis the role of the Self Defense forces and Japanese policy here in Asia. The next step to be seen is whether Prime Minister Abe will move to repeal Article 9 of the Japanese constitiution.

One final bit of news is that Momofuku Ando, the man who invented instant ramen and founded Nissin Foods, died last Friday in Osaka Prefecture of heart failure at 96 years of age. Anyone who has ever relied on this outstanding invention to restore nutrients to one's body during a hangover (as I have on several occasions...), realizes what a great man he truly was. He believed that “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.”

Also, Monday was Coming of Age day in Japan. 20 year olds donned suits and Kimono's and went to Shrines and City Halls to hear abou their acension to the status of adulthood.

Maybe the US Congress needs a "Coming of Age Day". From what I have seen on TV, there are a lot of Congressmen (and others) who are not being very adult right about now.

Got to get back to bed..........

Japundit found a some great links to some live Japan Web cams. Check them out! Here is one of Mt Fuji.

I hate not feeling well. And to add insult to injury, I have this to worry about!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Predictable pattern

This is becoming an all too predictable pattern. Come home from work, go work out. Come home from the gym, eat dinner. 8pm fall asleep on the couch. Wake up go to bed at 9pm.

Its got to change to something better...........

News to follow tomorrow.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, what do you know?

A Frenchman thinks that the Phibian and I are worth the reading..............Good company for me to be sure.

Click here to see for yourself!

Good babes, too, on his site! What can I say, Vive le France!!

Life's a beach.........

He's a real bunker man.
Living in his bunker land.
Making shots out of the sand,
Impressing nobody.........


If there was a bunker I was not in yesterday, I will be hard pressed to find it. Bad bounces you say? I got them. Shanked shots? Been there done that. The new driver worked fine, it was the second and subsequent shots that caused me trouble..........

Now in my defense the wind was blowing hard and it was cold.........yea, yea, that's it.

Meant to blog this yesterday, but I O.D. on Sushi last night having told the S.O. I was not cooking and we would just go out to eat. "Man those sushi will wipe you out!". Folded like a cheap suit at 7pm.

So that means it must be time for a blog and news round up.

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Please don't tell the S.O. that her great-great-great-great-great ancestors may have been...........(Oh the humanity! Shocking!)...... Korean. At least till I find time to lock up all the knives and other sharp objects.
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Hemlock published last week what is, to me, the definitive word on Saddam's demise. Being a Brit, his take on Gerald Ford is a tad bit screwed, but then again he lives in Hong Kong-where it is expected that the Chief Executive is incompetent.


Saddam Hussein has been hanged. Amnesty International, who are apparently unaware of his background, is upset. What do they propose doing with such a person? Strap an electronic tag round his ankle, give him a community service order and send him to counselling? I suppose I am agnostic about capital punishment. If it had a deterrent effect, I could see a point to it, but I have never seen any evidence that it has. Its main purpose seems to be to give tyrannical governments in barbaric and primitive places like Mainland China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore a tool with which to cow their citizens into unquestioning obedience and submission. Its secondary purpose is to give state governors in the US a last-ditch weapon during elections – “I will sign more death warrants than my opponent.” And it disposes of people like Saddam.

My mind experiences a flashback from 10 years ago. The man waiting to be the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Tung Chee-hwa, was asked by a foreign reporter whether he would restore the death penalty in the Big Lychee after the handover. The genial crop-haired one replied that he would not. After a pause, he elaborated. “I was advised by someone whose opinion I greatly trust,” he explained (or words to that effect). While few seriously expected or wanted the hangman to return, they would have appreciated a less insipid line of reasoning. It was one of those early-warning signs that a Great Cluelessness was about to descend on our city.


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Legions of British Naval Officers have started a letter writing campaign to the government of Argentina, asking them-no, begging them-to re-invade the Falklands. That is what saved the Royal Navy the last time they went through this type of budgetary stupidity.

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Never count a neocon out. Like death and taxes they just keep coming up with more bad ideas........while making six figures at your expense.

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EXPAT at LARGE recounts his recent adventures in Bali. He also finally tracked down Frisco dude-stay away from anyone with a motorcycle helmet.
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After a brief flash upon the blogosphere, Hong Kong's Miserable Gweilo Bastard is gone.
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Speaking of the blogosphere, it is with a great amount of personal satisfaction that yours truly notes that the Town Hall Harlot , who complains and complains about AP and other news media outlets distorting the news, is actually caught red handed doing the exact same thing herself. She was caught not just once, BUT TWICE, fabricating a story -only to have to retract it later. That's the same thing she attacked AP for. Plus, as a weekend bonus she gets to know that she has screwed up someone else's life in the process. She must be so proud of herself and her commitment to "journalistic integrity".

First, she deserves scorn for her twisting of the "Lonely Kerry" story where she got the facts wrong about his sitting at a table with no other uniformed personnel around. What makes it worse to me, is that she then goes on apologize with out apologizing, railing on and on about the military does not like Kerry. Duh-do you think? Of course they do not like him, but you can be damn sure that any appearance in front of anyone will be scripted and staged and his appearance in Iraq was just as much as an inconvience to the troops as hers will be.


Her second gaffe was considerably worse. After weeks of accusing AP of making up a source, she was proven wrong when the man in question was arrested. Now mind you, Malkin had spent much of the past year lamblasting AP and other media outlets for "photoshopping pictures" and distorting the news about the war. However when the shoe is on the other foot-namely trashing a story that turns out to be true-she simply diverts your attention to other matters.

Why is this important? Its only important because of the readership that her blog commands. Too many simpletonspeople take what she says at face value. Plus she portrays herself as a journalist too. Except, professional courtesy to her is the same as that which sharks extend to lawyers. None.

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Got tickets to a playoff game? Here is one way to sell your tickets! All I can say is she better be good looking to be worth playoff tickets.
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Over at Blackwater Security, the employees are a litte disgruntled about this.
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Finally, once again, George Will refuses to get on the bus. Kind of a Cronkite moment if you ask me.

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Boy! Trashing Malkin sure felt good. Too bad it accomplishes nothing in the grand scheme of things. Not a thing. Tomorrow she will still be popular and she will still be wrong- and over a million readers will read it.

BR: [BR is reading Heather's damning article] "Bitch".
Nick Naylor: "Whore".

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The devil is in the details..............

I've been watching with great interest the debate about the upcoming message the President is going to give about Iraq and what the latest round of senior leadership changes mean. I've come to the conclusion that no one has really taken the time to look beneath the PR blanket.

First, it seems pretty obvious the President is going to give the appearance of ordering more troops to Iraq. I've heard numbers batted about from 9,000 to 40,000. The question no one is asking is what kind of troops will they be? More infantry? Special Forces? Several more squadrons of B-52's so that they can level Iraqi cities (something I think is needed at this point....)? Without specifics, the numbers don't tell you anything.

My own opinion, is that like so much of everything else Bush says about defense issues, he will be saying one thing and doing something entirely different. Lets say he says he will send 20,000 additional troops. A lot of those will not be "additional", what will really happen is two things: a)troops that have earned the right to go home will be screwed and forced to stay and b) troops who already have been will be forced to go back early to the hell hole that is Iraq. Either way, as is so often the case with Bush, the troops will pay the price in order to give him a "bully pulpit". In that regard, as I have long believed, Bush and Clinton are exactly alike.

So too is it with the military leadership changes. Fox Fallon to CENTCOM? I find that one totally suprising. Especially when you consider that he was staring mandatory retirement in the face this year as he will turn 62. It's interesting they will find a way around that little technicality, while all the while pushing younger officers out the door in the name of "recapitalization". There can only be two reasons for his selection, 1) he is perceived as "not tainted" by the war having been in PACOM for the last few years and so the President can claim he is getting a fresh start and 2) he is perceived as someone who will play ball and do things the President's way. Also as others have pointed out, he has the requisite experience to support any future attack on Iran.

General Petraeus appointment does not surprise me. He has been considered a forward thinker and is something of a hero within the Army as far as I understand it. What does surprise me is using the old tactic of "kicking someone upstairs" to find a home for General Casey. I do not know enough about Army politics to know whether he would have been a front runner for the Chief of Staff job. What his appointment seems to point out, is how the Chief of Staff of the Army as well as the military heads of the other services get marginalized in our crazy system of COCOMS reporting directly to the SECDEF. Its been 60 years, we can stop being afraid of the German General Staff any time now, eh what? Makes me wonder too, if Casey was opposed to the deployment of additional troops why is he being rewarded?

Regarding the civilian appointments he announced I am also somewhat mystified. Why would John Negroponte be anxious to go from a top level position to a lesser one-one where he will be Condi's "whipping boy" ? And why is it that for the second time in a row the President reaches to someone from the military for a civilian leadership position. At least VADM McConnell is retired which is more than can be said for the current director of the CIA. ( I still feel that Gen Hayden should have been forced to retire as a condition of accepting the position......). Is it because the civil sector no longer produces worthy servants? Or is it that GWB likes people he can squeeze, indirectly or directly.

Then there will come the period of waiting for the "other shoe to drop". Will the President keep PACOM as a naval officer? Will he pick someone who is solicitous of China (as Fallon was sometimes perceived to be) or someone who sees them as the threat they are? Who will replace whoever replaces him?

Finally, of course, there is the bigger question of what all this will mean for Iraq. I submit nothing until the Iraqi government is ready to make some fundamental decisions and the US pushes them to stand up for themselves:

-Putting a noose around the neck of Moqtada Al Sadr and sending him to play cards with Saddam.

- Arresting and attacking anyone with a firearm who is not in the military.

- Eliminating the influence of the militia from the police and Interior ministry-who BTW were the guys who let Saddam's execution become the public relations disaster it has become.

- Close the borders with Iran and Syria

Not going to happen IMHO. However the President will be able to say he has made a fresh start, while at the same time distancing himself from the very people he chose to make his failed Iraq war work in the first place. Tell me again that Bush is a loyal guy to those who work for him. For probably the umpteenth time, we see that he is loyal to only one thing-his own ideological bent.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dear Nancy,

May I call you Nancy? Or now that you are the most powerful woman in America, do I have to call you Madam Speaker? ( Oh, and by the way, I sleep less soundly these days knowing that you are now 3rd in line in the succession to the Presidency of the United States-and Dash 2 has a heart condition. Remember, just because I don't like GWB does not mean I am blind to your faults......). Whichever it is, I have proposition for you.

You are proposing an ambitious "100 hour agenda". If I may, I would like to propose a no brainer of a law you should pass during that time frame:

Repeal the USFSPA.

I realize that in your moment of glory you, rather unwisely, chose to parrot feminist mythology by talking about the supposed "marble ceiling", but here you have a chance to set the record straight. You can repeal this horrid abberation to the intent of the US Constitution and in doing so help to promote the rest of your legislative agenda.

Consider:

- Repeal of the USFSPA will empower women. It will force hordes of freeloading women (and some men) to get off the government welfare rolls and actually set about the business of providing for themselves.

-You'll strikle a blow for physical fitness too, by getting these women off of their fat asses.

- It will go hand in hand with your ideas about raising the minimum wage-at least for my ex-by improving the earning power of the only job she seems capable of doing.

- You will help reduce the national debt, by increasing retirees tax burdens, but at least they will finally be getting what they earned.

- You will be helping our currently serving men and women, by giving them back the freedom to make smart choices about marriage-instead of being trapped by a financial straight jacket.

- You will be able to get something done that Donald Rumsfeld could not. That alone should be incentive to pass the bill.

This is a chance for you to prove that you are not just another wacko liberal from the land of fags fruits and nuts. Are you up to the challenge?

Got a rant in early this year!

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