30 October 2007

Just some filler...

I've been traveling a LOT this past few weeks. Apologies to the request from Maggie for not responding to her request for help. Jogging around the globe is interesting, but the more I do it, the more I realize just how similar we all are.

If you read notes from bloggers in Baltimore, Britain, Brazil, Bahrain or Bangledesh - there are general similarities (I don't meant the political extremist cases). Folks want to improve their lot in lofe, have more time for family and hobbyist pursuits and are generally inquisitive. I've been following some interesting debates over at Badscience.net. Ben Goldacre is a UK professor with a good hand on the pulse of the fringe and ill-informed.

For now ciao.

19 October 2007

More love from Iran...

Great, our friend Ahmagonnajihad is shuttling high end AA missiles into Iraq.  These are not organic weapons.  They are far more sophisticated than the homemade surface-to-surface rockets of Hamas in Lebanon.  They usually come from a nation-sponsor (Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, etc.).  We supplied a number of these weapons to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to be employed against the Soviets.  However, several groups have perfected alternate tactics.  The Tamil Tigers, the most sophisticated and dangerous terrorist group in the world, has perfected pummeling LZ (landing zones) with mortars as aircraft are landing or taking off.  
Why, one may ask, would you want to shoot down helicopters?  Simple, you are an opposition force with no interest in the success of the nation in which you are deployed.  Operating these systems is not simple, they require specific training and support.  Modern anti-air weapons have sensitive electronics which must be maintained and calibrated.  Our Al-Q enemies are undoubtedly being supported by Iranian Revolutionary Guards with secondary support from China.  

Air Cav Crews See Higher-Tech Attacks, Weapons from Iran
Fri, 19 Oct 2007 13:18:00 -0500

American Forces Press Service

Air Cav Crews See Higher-Tech Attacks, Weapons from Iran

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2007 - Air cavalry helicopter pilots have had to change their tactics to adapt to newer and higher-tech surface-to-air missile systems that officials believe are coming in from Iran, a senior official in Iraq said today.

Crews from 1st Air Cavalry Brigade out of Camp Taji, Iraq, have flown support for operations in and around Baghdad for more than a year. Since their arrival, there has been an increase in the sophistication of attacks and types of weapons, Army Col. Daniel J. Shanahan said in a conference call with military analysts.

"In the last several months, we have had an increased threat from systems that we had not seen in the first part of the year," Shanahan said. Some of them originated in "places like Iran," he said, causing considerable change in tactics, techniques and procedures.

"It's a real concern, and it's something that we're dealing with," he said. "Right now we've got the best systems in the world, and we've got technology behind us."

Shanahan said additional sensors and diffusers, which decrease an aircraft's infrared signature, have been added, and crews' flying tactics have changed.

Shanahan's crews have logged 80,000 hours of flight time in the past 13 months, he said. The helicopters spend about 10 hours in the air for every one on the ground, Shanahan estimated. But even though the enemy's weapons systems are more advanced than before, overall attacks on aircraft are down in the area, he said.

Crews are fired upon about 200 times monthly, he said. Attacks are from weapons types ranging from small arms to rockets known in military parlance as "man-portable air-defense systems," or MANPADs, which are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles that typically use infrared guidance.

MANPADs make up only about 5 percent of the attacks, "but if you ask the pilots, they would say that MANPADS is the biggest threat," Shanahan said.

It takes about 3,000 troops to fly, fuel, arm and maintain the H-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters operating around the clock at the base. The aircraft are used for attack reconnaissance, air assault, air transport and medical evacuation missions.

In addition, crews partner with Iraqi air force units for training and some missions. The Iraqi air force has progressed sufficiently that it routinely provides reconnaissance missions, patrolling pipelines, power lines and other infrastructure. It also provides in-country transportation for Iraqi government officials.

Iraqi air force pilots fly three types of helicopters: Mi-17s and Bell JetRangers in training programs and UH-1 Hueys mounted with defensive systems, which are workhorses for reconnaissance and transport, Shanahan said. This frees his crews from these types of missions and is a critical step toward the Iraqi government assuming its own security mission, he said.

Related Articles:
1st Air Cav Shifts Tactics, Enables Iraqis to Complete Mission

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your User Profile Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please e-mail support@govdelivery.com. Have another inquiry? Visit the online FAQ for up-to-date information.

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at http://www.defenselink.mil/.

GovDelivery, Inc. sending on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense · 380 Jackson Street, Suite 550 · St. Paul, MN 55101 · 1-800-439-1420

Pelosi is a moron...

I usually avoid ad hominem attacks in blogs, especially headlines. However, recent action by the speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) - sounds like more - is foolish on its face and malicious in its intent.

Turkey is a complex country literally straddling the old and new world. It sits in a geographically strategic position and exhibits what an Islamic state with a secular government could become. It has been a valuable ally for many years. And aside from a few ethniphobic incidents (Greeks, Kurds, Armenians) generally presents a hopeful path for other countries.

Turkey is not an Arabic state. It arose from the ashes of World War I as the former seat of the Ottoman empire. It enjoyed existence as a state for many years and was not created out of whole cloth as many of the other Middle Eastern states were. No nation like Iran existed prior to 1906.

Pelosi decided that cirticizing Turkey for its legacy participation in atrocities against Armenians would be a good thing. This is surprising, as the United States Congress is still unwilling to act decisively in Darfur, Myanmar or other regions where present day genocides are occurring. Her, and congress', meddling in foreign affairs underscores the foolishness of having a legislative body directing foreign policy.

The Turkish government, naturally, is a little upset. This would be similar to a foreign nation condemning the United States for its part in the slave trade. A reality, but in historical context - foreign condemnation is useless. This little stunt by a do nothing, know nothing congress may serve to further imperil our operations in Iraq and by extension my brothers and sisters in arms.
No wonder congress' rating is approaching single digits.

16 October 2007

New Maritime Strategy...

As if you needed to know instantly! Actually, this should be pretty interesting. With Navy folks doing Army jobs, and Marines doing everyone's jobs and Coasties picking up everything else - it's a real mess out there. Truth be told, the blue water threat has receded a bit. The overemphasis on littorals has (I hope) burned itself out. The major concern is the future of US shipbuilding, in my opinion. We have lost too much talent and capability in our industrial sector. The Navy and Coast Guard need to coordinate efforts to adequately bridge the gap between law enforcement / military operations and MOOTW (Military Operations Other Than War). This includes things like the humanitarian assistance to South and Latin America. The Navy (and Military) is often doing things that the Department of State should be taking lead. If you want a real insight into the challenges facing the 21st century military, read Gen Sanchez's comments - the unedited version. I think he soundly indicts all the players in the current geopolitical sphere with regard to our present employment of forces. For a slightly more esoteric read, check out the present Foreign Relations magazine for a great article on strategy.

No. 112-07 October 16, 2007

New Maritime Strategy to be Presented

Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, will present the new maritime strategy known as "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st CenturySeapower" at the International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

The presentation will be carried live on the Pentagon Channel and streamed live on http://www.navy.mil beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT. The strategy will be available for download on http://www.navy.mil/ at 9 a.m...

Media wishing to cover this event in person may contact the Naval War College public affairs office at (401) 841-2220 to arrange for access.

The following audio/video feed information is provided:

KU Digital

Spacecraft: AMC5 Location: 79 Degrees WL

Transponder: K08H CHB (9Mhz)

Vert / up: 14221.50

Horz / Down: 11921.50

Symbol Rate: 2893.6

FEC: 3/4

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

On the Web: http://www.defenselink.mil/Advisories/

Media Contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public Contact: http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your User Profile Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please e-mail support@govdelivery.com.

GovDelivery, Inc. sending on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense · 380 Jackson Street, Suite 550 · St. Paul, MN 55101 · 1-800-439-1420

12 October 2007

It's not the Physics Prize...

Congratulations Al Gore! You may (did) have already won the Nobel Peace Prize! Your lovely little film, despite its atrocious inaccuracies, has elevated the discussion of a weighty scientific topic to religious fervor! This prize, I regret to inform you, will be shared by a legion of scientists who know where their bread is buttered. The members of the IPCC have graciously allowed the policy makers in the UN to sanitize their analysis and recommendations to fit within the present environmental world view.

Gore's film has been censured by the British high court as being unsuitable for educational purposes without substantial caveats and clarifications. The facts surrounding climate on the earth are complex and variable. Simplistic assumptions by anyone place the individual in the likely spot of being incorrect. I certainly believe there is a cyclic nature to climate on this planet. I am NOT convinced that the reasons for the present change (if any) are due to human generated circumstances.

Let's be clear, reducing the input of all emissions into the atmosphere is a good thing. Just as the Malthusians were wrong about apocalyptic consequences from population growth, the prospect for error among the anthropogenic sect exists. Science needs debate. It needs debate in which theories are challenged and validated in the most scrupulous manner. I believe that this is occurring in the scientific community, however, as our media attempts to report on this issue - they get it horribly wrong.

There are web sites in which anyone who challenges the origins of current climate conditions is labeled a "denier". This is an extremely inflammatory term in which individuals are lumped with the likes of Holocaust deniers. A denier is someone who, against overwhelming evidence and facts, refuses to accept some issue. There are deniers in South Africa who refuse to acknowledge the mechanisms by which HIV infections occur or convert into AIDS. There are deniers within Islam who refuse to acknowledge the rights of women as equal members of the human race. Individuals who question the theories and hypothesis of climate science are not deniers. They may be skeptics, of which I am one, but hardly deniers.

As Mr. Gore assumes the position as high priest of the current cult of climatology, be assured that the one sided emphasis in this debate will accelerate.

01 October 2007

And if they were yours...

The Economist , one of my favorite magazines, missed the boat recently. In an opinion piece in their periodical they decried the use of coercive means as an interrogation tool. This in itself is not objectionable, I personally wrestle with that piece of ethics. However, they went one step further.

The most common rhetorical argument in this debate is the one in which a terrorist has planted a device which will kill many innocents. The question is then what do you do? What means do you employ to extract the relevant information and then stop the event?

The Economist takes this argument to a ridiculous extension. Their position is as follows;

”Human rights are part of what it means to be civilised. Locking up suspected terrorists—and why not potential murderers, rapists and paedophiles, too?—before they commit crimes would probably make society safer. Dozens of plots may have been foiled and thousands of lives saved as a result of some of the unsavoury practices now being employed in the name of fighting terrorism. Dropping such practices in order to preserve freedom may cost many lives. So be it.”

If the restraint on law enforcement and government causes lives to be lost, so be it. What if it’s your life? Or the life of your family? This argument reflects a na├»ve grasp of the world as it is. Terrorists do not choose to engage society by its established rules. They see their role as expanding their view, influencing society unlawfully and with great violence.

Civil society is not even in the same stadium. A quick Google of “civil liberties” will reveal more than three million hits. Many are the big operators (ACLU, etc.) some seem big, but are really fronts for niche issues (in Mendocino county the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project works diligently to preserve the consumption of medical marijuana.) I am sure they would quickly stand up to defend the rights of dirty bomb carrying Islamofascist operative number seven, once their precious crop was in danger.

In the same article in which the Economist would allocate civilians to summary execution in order to preserve “civil liberties” they cite a litany, okay so it’s only a paragraph, of lost rights;

“The past six years have seen a steady erosion of civil liberties even in countries that regard themselves as liberty's champions. Arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention without trial, "rendition," suspension of habeas corpus, even torture -- who would have thought such things possible?”

And yet – where are these issues? Where is the long list of legal warriors funded by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU? In short – they do not exist. Or if they exist, they operate under the aegis of law. Once the cases of individuals in Guantanamo, for example, were reviewed, the courts concurred that detention was justified and legal.

If it were not for a vigilant video clerk in New Jersey, many soldiers and civilians at Fort Dix would be dead from terrorist bullets. Hardly a violation of rights.

What would you do?