Category Archives: Politics


By lex, on February 15th, 2012

The Navy’s EOD school gains some:

The phrase “Initial Success or Total Failure” has long served as the unofficial motto of explosive ordnance disposal technicians in the U.S. military.

Until recently, the slogan hung on a wall at the Naval EOD school at Eglin. It was removed after senior EOD leaders decided the words were insensitive.

“It holds some potential insensitivity and implies that our fallen and wounded EOD warriors have somehow failed,” said Joy Samsel, deputy public affairs officer at Naval Education and Training Command in Pensacola. “We don’t want to do that to families.”

Samsel said the EOD school has never had an official motto and has no plans to adopt one.

Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, took issue with the slogan and said that “to imply that failure is an option is unacceptable.”

Explosive ordnance disposal is an exceptionally stressful and rigorous profession, and those that have chosen that path are truly our nation’s unsung heroes over the last decade. But the truth of their profession is this: If you succeed at your task, a bomb is disabled. If you fail, you pay for it with your life. It’s binary. That doesn’t imply any level of personal failure – some of these devices are truly infernal – but it is a fact that if bomb goes off in an uncontrolled fashion the mission was not successfully accomplished. Ergo, “total failure”.

Warriors do not thrive when coddled, and flag officers used to have more substantive issues to concern themselves with.

Honestly, sometimes I despair of us.

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“User Fees”

By lex, on January 16th, 2012

A tax, by any other name: *

After almost 9,000 people urged the president to take damaging aviation user fees off the table, the administration on Jan. 13 offered its response: No way.

In a response to a petition ** on the White House’s “We the People” website, Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for General Government Programs Dana Hyde reaffirmed the Obama administration’s commitment to a proposed $100-per-flight fee for use of air traffic services, claiming that the fee would both “ensure that everyone is paying their fair share” and help reduce the deficit.

“We are disappointed but not surprised that the administration continues to seek a $100 user fee on general aviation flights,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Congress has repeatedly said that a GA user fee is an unacceptable method of funding the air traffic system. Pay at the pump has worked since the dawn of powered flight and it still works. The last thing we need right now is to create an expensive new bureaucracy to fix what isn’t broken.”

Mr. Fuller should know that there is no intent here to “fix” anything. The the national airspace infrastructure is in place, and  – unlike roads and highways – air routes are famously indifferent to government-funded “repairs”.  Aviators already pay at the gas pump for their privilege to fly, with those who use more paying more.

No, it takes money to own and operate an airplane, and money implies success. As a point of moral order, success should be penalized, in order to subsidize deficiency.

Having no expectation of success themselves, some people more readily vote for a share of someone else’s money.

Because of the “fair share”, and that.

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** Original link gone; changed – Ed. 

*** Original link gone; no replacement – Ed. 

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By lex, on January 16th, 2012

When our forces first went into Afghanistan, it was all about the kinetics.  A couple of years ago, the mission moved to “hearts and minds”, firepower being eschewed in favor of making nice. Then came the “Afghan surge”, which never included as many forces as the forward commanders requested, but definitely resulted in increased presence and concomitant kinetics in places the NATO coalition had never been, or where they had been too thin on the ground to effect either a tactical or strategic difference.

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The Latest Outrage

By lex, on January 12th, 2012

Third Battalion, Second Marines is in the headlines, and not in a good way:

The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating a video that surfaced online today in which several Marines appear to urinate on the corpses of suspected Taliban fighters.

The video, which is less than a minute long, appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies, at least one of the men chuckles as they do so.

“Have a great day, buddy,” one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.

The Marine Corps responded quickly after reports of the video surfaced, calling for a full investigation.

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Worst Kept Secret

By lex, on December 8th, 2011

Some among the liberal left in this country don’t like guns. Don’t want to have them in the house. For the children. Don’t think you should have them either.

Look at all the crime, they argue. As though that were a reason to be unarmed.

Plus, it allows the Europeans to condescend about America’s “cowboy culture.” When most of all, anti-gun liberals want Europe’s approval.

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Public Servants

By lex, on December 3rd, 2011

It’s a little telling, isn’t it? The reaction of former US Attorney Dennis Burke to the constitutional exercise of congressional oversight over the gun walker fiasco (emphasis added):


Initial drafts of the letter reflected the hard tone of Burke’s unequivocal assertions that the allegations Grassley was hearing from ATF agents were wrong. Later drafts were more measured, prompting Burke to complain in one email: “Every version gets weaker. We will be apologizing” to Grassley “by tomorrow afternoon.” Regarding the allegation that ATF sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser, the Justice Department denial was scaled back slightly from “categorically false” to “false.” ”Why poke the tiger,” Lisa Monaco, the top aide to the deputy attorney general, explained in an email to Ron Weich, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs whose signature was on the letter.

In another email, Burke wrote, “By the way, what is so offensive about this whole project” of response “is that Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling” Southwest Border “gun trafficking operations” and “not uttering one word of rightful praise and thanks to ATF — but, instead, lobbing this reckless despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a fellow federal law enforcement officer.”

An accusation that, as it turned out – and contra Mr. Burke’s strenuous denials – was true.

On Friday night, Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said that “Burke personally apologized to Sen. Grassley’s staff for the tone and the content of the emails” after learning from the Justice Department that the emails would be released.

Apologize now, or apologize later I suppose.

Perhaps its different in other parts of the federal bureaucracy, but in the Navy, at least, senior executives take congressional inquiries quite seriously. And you’d never make it to flag rank by committing your actual thoughts about congressmen or senators to an email.

Of course, flag officers are typically selected competitively based on such characteristics as intelligence, integrity and professional performance. US attorneys, being political appointees, may have other selection criteria.

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Running Out of Bugs

By lex, on November 23rd, 2011

The WaPo reports that the war on al Qaeda is essentially down to two targets:

The leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network, once expansive enough to supervise the plot for Sept. 11, 2001, have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.

Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining “high-value” targets of the CIA’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, although lower-level fighters and other insurgent groups remain a focus of Predator surveillance and strikes.

Al-Qaeda’s contraction comes amid indications that the group has considered relocating in recent years but that it ruled out other destinations as either unreachable or offering no greater security than their missile-pocked territory in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

Should make it easier to concentrate resources and finish the job.

When you’ve got your boot in your enemy’s neck, the important thing is to keep pushing.


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