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What do the Battle of Salamis, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, some U-boat sinkings, a dry dock in France and the Battle of Okinawa have in common?
Some old ideas that never quite fade away.
As set out here.
Research Triangle Institute is an independent, non-profit research organization based on a 180-acre campus in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. RTI is the fourth-largest non-profit contract research organization in the United States. From 1990 to fiscal year 2002, the company received slightly more than $1.2 billion in U.S. government contracts
Board of Governors member Gordon R. Sullivan served as the chief of staff to the U.S. Army from 1991 to 1995
Global Warming is going to be a another big government trough to feed from. General Sullivan is just making sure his benefactors get more than their fair share of the pork. Let's not assign to him anything as nobel as "being part of a political cause".
And whats this invovling General Zinni
lVia Consortium News
A Gore-Zinni administration could inaugurate a new era of American politics based on patriotic reform and national unity.
Retired Generals are going to do something with their skills. The press needs to do a lot better job of relating the retired Generals current activities to their current statements. Conflicts of interest need to be "FRONT AND CENTER"
First it started with various retired generals uttering public denunciations against the Iraq war. Of course, the MSM loved it and promoted these men to no end. This raised the spectre that some of these retired brass really liked being taken seriously again. So it was almost inevitable that this would prompt some of these same people to use whatever "authority" they had engendered to speak on decidedly non-military issues. Accordingly, I give you:
Former US military leaders have called on the Bush administration to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
In a report, they say global warming poses a serious threat to national security, as the US could be drawn into wars over water and other conflicts.
They appear to criticise President George W Bush's refusal to join an international treaty to cut emissions.
Among the 11 authors are ex-Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan and Mr Bush's ex-Mid-East peace envoy Anthony Zinni.
Can anything good come from this? Does this do anything but further REDUCE the perception that the military is above and beyond the petty policy squabbles that so frequently infect domestic politics? If the military become increasingly seen to be "taking sides" in decidedly non-military/non-defense issues, doesn't that turn us into nothing more than another special interest group that has opinions on EVERYTHING--and hence--can be ignored on most of them?
Kind of like a uniformed People for the American Way.
Yes, I realize that the report attempts to shoehorn the climate change argument into a "national security" argument, but that just underscores the damage to the military's credibility as a "neutral" actor when groups like Zinni, et al. try to define everything within the context of national security.
Don Ho, an entertainer who defined popular perceptions of Hawaiian music in the 1960s and held fast to that image as a peerless Waikiki nightclub attraction, died yesterday in Honolulu. He was 76.
The cause was heart failure, his daughter Dayna Ho said.
Mr. Ho was a durable spokesman for the image of Hawaii as a tourist playground. His rise as a popular singer dovetailed with a visitor boom that followed statehood in 1959 and the advent of affordable air travel. For 40 years, his name was synonymous with Pacific Island leisure, as was “Tiny Bubbles,” his signature hit, which helped turn him into a national figure.
Okay, Chap got an interesting discussion started here. My response started as a comment, but the original is sliding down the front page and I think this might be worth continuing as it addresses broader issues than the single post. We're on the tip of an iceberg here, I suspect Chap is aware of that, too - his subtle link is a well disguised grenade, and I don't think it's a dud.
On political activity in the military: We have obvious rules that limit us - can't participate in events or solicit funds in uniform, can't use government resources, can't call for violent overthrow, can't disparage certain elected officials, etc. But obviously, as with any rules, there are black, white, and grey areas. I'm about to wade into those, making some generalizations based on my experience.
First, a confession/disclaimer: I avoid political issues at work. I never engage my junior troops on those topics. I never initiate a political discussion with anyone, regardless of rank, and usually limit myself to direct response to questions - depending on circumstances (at lunch: maybe; when on most duty tasks: not likely). I really have no passion for any Party - I'm an issues guy, so I keep my focus on issues. If I'm convinced the person(s) I'm talking with are likewise not Party pundits I will usually be more responsive in discussion in hopes of gaining some insight to some specific issue I might not have considered before.
But one reason I remain pseudonymous here is that I don't want to invite inevitable on-duty discussions of anything I write here in my off duty time. I've lived by the rules I've described above for years before I began blogging.
But enough about me. On to some general observations that may prove useful to aspiring young milbloggers - and others. These aren't written rules, and there are no specific punishments for violating them. They are one guy's observations - use at your own discretion.
Politics becomes a problem when (regardless of your politics) it appears that your politics are prioritized ahead of your military commitment. This isn't limited to politics; if you want to devote more time to non-military pursuits than to those directly related to your specialty within the profession-of-arms you will be seen as something less than the 110-percenter your bosses are looking to propel up the ladder.
If you want to be known of as "that shite-hot young soldier" you probably shouldn't be busting your ass to be a "shite-hot young Republican/Democrat" - or even "the car guy" or anything else - until you're firmly established as the soldier. (And even then you'd best keep your focus, and remember the "what have you done for me lately" rule - especially shortly after an assignment/supervisor change.)
If, on the other hand, you want to loudly proclaim you're using the military as a stepping stone to whatever you really want to do, that's fine - people will actually respect you for that, as long as you get your job done to the best of your ability. But don't be surprised when those who've worked quite hard at a military career tend to devote their efforts to promoting others of like mind.
But if you want to try fooling said career guys into believing you're a dedicated GI Joe, good luck. (That works sometimes).
Does this mean you must avoid all things non-military? Of course not. The key is balance in all things - we ain't on duty all the time, and most folks could give a damn what you do off-duty - assuming it's lawful and doesn't discredit the service. This isn't always a simple proposition - see the non-political case of the USAF Sgt Playboy model for example.
Specific situations will be further complicated (or simplified) by your direct supervisor, his/her bosses, and the visibility of what exactly you're doing (which determines how far up the chain your actions get attention).
And, I submit that in general what I'm talking about here isn't limited to the military. It's probably true of any profession (note: "profession", not "job"), absolutely not unique to GI Joe.
At the risk of derailing the discussion, I'll cite the one exception that proves my rule: Golf. A good handicap never hurt anybody.All done!
An interesting essay on Al Qaeda's Maritime Threat can be found here.
And some additional stuff here.
Update: Fixed first link.
The Doc says, "I've got good news and bad. Which do you want first?"
"Define bad", says the patient, who turned out to be a newspaper reporter, so none of the remainder of the conversation mattered.
Press conference with Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander, Multi-National Corps - Iraq, April 13, 2007
Last week in Ramadi, there were nine attacks total. During the same week a year ago, there were over 84 attacks.
I think it is safe to say that a Profound shift in the nature of the insurgency in AlAnbar has occurred.
The newly ascended Democrat majority in Congress have obviously decided to make their fabled “cooked intelligence” trope the centerpiece of their legislative legacy. Senator Carl Levin plays Brother Grimm in their myth-making in the Senate, and shows no sign of having any interest in truth (or full disclosure).
Thomas Joscelyn, writing at Weekly Standard, summarizes the facts, long-in-evidence, that refutes Levin’s untruthful crusade against “pre-war intelligence.”
This will of course make no difference to the willfully or constitutionally ignorant. Levin, oddly, can’t really be numbered among these, since he knew the factual basis for Intelligence behind our decision to invade Iraq, back when we did so, and has only changed his tune for political opportunity since.
Joscelyn finds startling the Post lead-in on the story:
"Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides 'all confirmed' that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq."Joscelyn rightly dismisses the notion that we should put any stock in denials by Hussein and his top aides that they had any truck with or cooperated in any way with Al Qaeda. Hussein also denied gassing Kurds and Iranians, draining the marshes, conducted ethnic cleansing throughout Iraq, or having any designs on acquiring or developing nuclear weapons. He also insisted Kuwait was rightfully part of Iraq. Surely Levin wouldn’t rather believe Saddam and his goons, than those legitimate voices of the Intelligence Community who believed (and still do) that links were significant?
If critics want to take that route, there’s no point in further discussions, at least if you want to keep them rational or logical.
But what of the documents that somehow “confirmed that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq"?
Here’s a summary of what just a few captured documents actually show, chronicled by Joscelyn:
1. Saddam's Terror Training Camps & Long-Standing Relationship With Ayman al-Zawahiri. As first reported in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, there is extensive evidence that Saddam used Iraqi soil to train terrorists from throughout the Middle East. Joe Klein, a columnist for Time magazine and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, has confirmed the existence of Saddam's terrorist training camps. He also found that Iraqi intelligence documents demonstrated a long-standing relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda bigwig Ayman al-Zawahiri.Joscleyn points out Levin’s dishonesty, about opinions within the Intelligence Community, and even of the Senator himself:
2. A 1992 IIS Document lists Osama bin Laden as an "asset." An Iraqi Intelligence memorandum dated March 28, 1992 and stamped "Top Secret" lists a number of assets. Osama bin Laden is listed on page 14 as having a "good relationship" with the Iraqi Intelligence Service's section in Syria.
3. A 1997 IIS document lists a number of meetings between Iraq, bin Laden and other al Qaeda associates. The memo recounts discussions of cooperating in attacks against American stationed in Saudi Arabia. The document summarizes a number of contacts between Iraqi Intelligence and Saudi oppositionist groups, including al Qaeda, during the mid 1990's. The document says that in early 1995 bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in two ways. First, bin Laden wanted Iraqi television to carry al Qaeda's anti-Saudi propaganda. Saddam agreed. Second, bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in performing "joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz." That is, bin Laden wanted Iraq's assistance in attacking U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia.
4. A 1998 IIS document reveals that a representative of bin Laden visited Baghdad in March 1998 to meet with Saddam's regime. According to the memo, the IIS arranged a visit for bin Laden's "trusted confidant," who stayed in a regime-controlled hotel for more than two weeks. Interestingly, according to other evidence discovered by the U.S. intelligence community, Ayman al-Zawahiri was also in Baghdad the month before. He collected a check for $300,000 from the Iraqi regime. The 9-11 Commission confirmed that there were a series of meetings (perhaps set up by Zawahiri, who had "ties of his own" to the Iraq regime) in the following months as well.
5. Numerous IIS documents demonstrate that Saddam had made plans for a terrorist-style insurgency and coordinated the influx of foreign terrorists into Iraq. In My Year in Iraq, Ambassador Paul Bremer says a secret IIS document he had seen "showed that Saddam had made plans for an insurgency." Moreover, "the insurgency had forces to draw on from among several thousand hardened Baathists in two northern Republican Guard divisions that had joined forces with foreign jihadis."
The bottom line is that members of the CIA, including the Agency's director, certainly believed in 2002 that there was a relationship between the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda. And no matter what he says now, Senator Levin knows that. In a June 16, 2003 appearance on NewsHour, Senator Levin explained:Levin’s motive in “spinning intel” are clear. Less obvious are the reasons behind The Washington Post’s unwillingness to make clear the actual state of intelligence in 2002 and 2003, the quite substantial evidence for some kind of relationship between Al Qaeda and agents of Saddam Hussein, if not Hussein himself.
"We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al-Qaida and Iraq, and there were real questions raised. And there are real questions raised about whether or not that link was such that the description by the intelligence community was accurate or whether or not they [note: "they" here refers to the intelligence community, not the Bush administration] stretched it."
(For idle speculations on Post motivations, and more commentary from John Hinderaker, stop back over at Dadmanly.)All done!
Several of my colleagues have the great good fortune (in my opinion) of monitoring open source intelligence sources as part of their paid, full-time job. One passes along a heart-rending story that somehow never appeared in major mainstream media (MSM), although elements of the basic story have been reported elsewhere.
The story passed on to me was reported by Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). According to their website, “IRIN is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but its services are editorially independent. Its reports do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations and its agencies, not its member states.” I admit to being astounded that a UN-associated entity is publicizing this story. I would be even more astonished if human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International ever paid any attention to crimes of this kind.
So what does IRIN convey in its report that could break your heart? That al Qaeda intentionally targets handicapped children and their families to use as fodder for their terrorism. Nothing the MILBLOGGERS haven’t heard before, but about as far away from the image conveyed by the MSM for how cruel and inhuman are the enemies of a free Iraq.
Suffice it to say that AQ resembles nothing more completely than the monsters in Nazi Germany who dreamed up the Final Solution as a means of ridding their Ideal society of undesirables and the “impure.” (There’s a very good reason many of us call them Islamofascists, after all.)
This should capture the monstrous nature of our enemies in a few short paragraphs:
BAGHDAD, 10 April 2007 (IRIN) - The dreams 13-year-old Barak Muhammad (not his real name) had of leading a normal teenage life were dashed when his father sold him to al-Qaeda militants. Being mentally handicapped, he said he was considered a burden by his family and was told he would be better off sacrificing his life for his country.The Taliban, Al Qaeda, Saddam, Stalin, Mao, Hitler. All of a piece. Those considered inferior, or a threat to the ideal, or resistant to the enforced betterment of society, must be eliminated. If you can gain some benefit from their elimination – think medical experimentation, forced organ donations, soap- or lampshade-making, or human bombs – then that’s just a terror two-fer.
“I don’t have a mother and never went to school. I was dreaming of a day that I would go to school like my other brothers, but I was considered different. My father was always telling me that I was a mistake in his life, a boy that was just bringing expenses and problems,” Barak said.
Barak's father sold him to al-Qaeda in Iraq for US $10,000 to support his remaining five children. Now, Barak is in training to fight US and Iraqi troops.
“Today, I help some men who say they are from al-Qaeda group. They fight people who are occupying Iraq and they said that if I do my work well, God will protect me and make me be a healthy boy,” Barak said, adding that fighters promised him that he would soon join his mother in heaven.
Carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle, Barak said he accompanies insurgents during night time raids and when needed acts as a decoy to divert the attention of US or Iraqi forces in the run-up to an attack.
Abu Ahmed, who claims to be a spokesman for al-Qaeda in Iraq and Barak's trainer, said they were giving him a better life.
“We're doing a favour to Barak. We're giving him the chance to be useful and not suffer daily beatings from his father. Here, with us, he gets Islamic lessons and is soon going to be a good fighter and maybe one day even become a suicide bomber in the name of God,” Abu Ahmed said.
You really have to read the whole thing.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)All done!
Biden, readers may recall, recently fell upon what he views as the inevitable partitioning of Iraq into its respective sectarian parts, ethnic and religious, as the answer to all questions about Iraq. Biden was long been one of those lesser lights who has had to seek attention in the shadow of his more prominent peers.
Biden, ever lugubrious in speechmaking, nevertheless has been much less adept at politicking, at least as measured by media attention. I am sure he thinks he’s stumbled upon the winning differentiator among his Democratic Presidential rivals, by seizing as strategy, the net result he thinks will happen anyway. This will make him look wise and prescient in one pseudo-policy, or so he must think.
The problem is, Biden gets it wrong, according to Kagan. As demonstrated visually by the inapt metaphor of the “water balloon” of our current surge efforts in Iraq, Biden wears only a lip gloss deep comprehension of the situation in Iraq.
(Excerpts from Kagan's fine rebuttal, and more commentary, over at Dadmanly)
This dude really needs to be reading guys like us more often. Maybe then he'd stop bugging guys in chat rooms.