Category Archives: Politics

New Guidance for Strikers

By lex, on June 23rd, 2009

General McChrystal is concerned about the strategic effects of tactical actions:

The new American commander in Afghanistan said he would sharply restrict the use of airstrikes here, in an effort to reduce the civilian deaths that he said were undermining the American-led mission…

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Friday Musings 04-17-09

 

By lex, on April 17th, 2009

This is going to be short, he said. And she nodded, knowingly.

“Worked” from home today. Had lunch at the UTC. “Miami Grille,” it was, and a lovely Churrasco Chopp. Latin music, and that. Grilled, marinated steak, saffron rice, black beans, romaine lettuce, tomatoes topped with chimichurri sauce. Fried plantains for garnish. I forwent the green onions. I’d do it again tomorrow.

Macy’s was having a lovely sale on men’s stuff. Things up to 65% off!

Horrible things. Things that make you ask yourself, what in God’s name was the designer thinking? Splashy logos screaming of wretched excess. Hideous colors. Dangling gewgaws.

I bought some anyway, and don’t feel the least bit ghey blogging about it.

It’s for the gardening, like.

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A Professional Force

By lex, on April 15th, 2008

When I was a student going through TOPGUN back in 1992, a Marine Corps aviator who had flown as an exchange pilot with the USAF during the ’91 scrape was invited to speak at our “MiG Killer Debrief.” His name was Capt Sly MaGill if I remember correctly, and he’d been leading a four-ship of Eagles on an offensive counter-air mission south of Baghdad early in the air war – this is before Saddam’s air force gave up trying to defend his airspace and started bugging to Iran in full grunt right after take-off.

On 17 January 1991, a two-ship of Iraqi MiG-29′s lifted out of Muthena AB near Baghdad, and the opposing forces clashed just over Lake Razzaza near Karbala. MaGill got a good look at his target just before the AIM-7 Sparrow missile found its home, and remembered thinking to himself what a beautiful piece of machinery it was. The pilot’s skill was not commensurate, however, and in our debrief he used the compelling, if crude simile of a “pig wearing a Rolex.” It’s a nice watch, and everything, but he doesn’t seem to get much use out of it.

Which was the admittedly uncharitable image that came to my mind when I read this article:

(New) recruits to the Afghan National Army (ANA) are being asked to swap their beloved Kalashnikov AK47, probably the most famous weapon in the world, for the American M16.

To judge from the bewildered and disapproving faces of the Afghan soldiers yesterday at Camp Tombstone, the training facility in the middle of Helmand province where the Americans and British train the ANA, the decision to scrap the AK47s for the M16 was not going down too well.

There’s no doubt that the Kalashnikov is a near-perfect weapon for insurgents. It requires very little training to use, parts are ubiquitous and it can take a great deal of field abuse while remaining reliable. But, at the risk of metaphor overload, it is to the M16 as a truncheon is to a scalpel. Both can be effective, but only one is used by a professional.

Traditionally, the Afghan will fire his Kalashnikov from the hip as he advances, spraying the enemy in all directions on automatic mode until every bullet has been expended.

But that is not the way of the British or American soldier who uses his ammunition stocks with greater husbandry and fires to kill, rather than to deluge the enemy with a wall of bullets.

I’m all for helping the Afghan Army secure their country from the Taliban goons and Qaedist butchers, but if it’s to be one band of happy-go-luckies spraying and praying versus the other until the rounds run out, we’ll never be out of that hole.

Precise fires.

 

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Grace

By lex, on September 29th, 2007

A bit more than 50 years ago the governor of Arkansas called out his national guard to prevent nine black students from attending Central High in Little Rock. Shortly thereafter, President Dwight Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to ensure that they could attend.

In between the world bore witness to the ugliest of emotions: Raw, insensate hatred.

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Exceptionalism

By lex, on April 22nd, 2007

There are probably few things quite so off-putting to the world outside our borders than that innate sense of “American Exceptionalism” with which we face the outside world. It is a notion which is both ancient (by our standards, anyway) and culturally embedded. As others have remarked, it is not enough for us to think of ourselves as a “great country,” we must also be “the best.” Nor is it sufficient that our form of democracy is good, it must also be the most authentic – or, considering how much we moan over our own political class – it must at least be immune to outside criticism.

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War weary

By lex, on December 13th, 2006

Pulled out of comments from an earlier post, and expanded –

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about how people are tired of the war, tired of looking at the scenes of destruction on TV, tired of the flag-draped caskets and what they represent in human costs, tired of the expense and frankly, tired of talking about it. We want to move on, we want it over, we want to change the channel, talk about something else. Get back to full-time Britney and her sartorial choices, the next news blitz about the next telegenic blonde co-ed that goes missing, single-payer health care and Our Crumbling Infrastructure.

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Nuts

By lex, on November 29th, 2006

It’s been just that kind of a day, and it’s very regretful I am that I have not have been able to dose you with your daily until now, and all that follows being small beer indeed on account of the kind of a day that it’s been.

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