Nov 30, 2006

Get comfortable 

He last posted about three weeks ago, but I'm betting most of you haven't read Bill Whittle since then. Go do that.

And like he always says, settle in... you're gonna be there awhile.

And I walk upright now, too! 

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Summation of the Rangel/Kerry mindset. And also an inter-service dig at Blackfive...

"If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq."
Soooo, here's some questions for Charlie Rangel:
- You were in the Army - what's your excuse? Couldn't get a decent career back then? And is there any chance that the composition of the US military has changed since you were in HALF A CENTURY AGO?
- Did you run this line of thinking past the man who just tipped the Senate your way, Jim Webb? After campaigning in the boots of his Marine son, he might take issue with your questioning his kid's job choice (regardless of Webb's whole campaign platform being built on getting out of Iraq).
- Did you run this line past ANY of your fellow Congress members with kids in the military? (There doesn't appear to be a current count, but in 2003 there were seven.)
- Wouldn't the draft you keep pushing effectively remove this "option" between a "decent career" and the army? If somebody gets drafted, the only option they have left is to become a soldier or to become a Canadian (nothing against actual Canadians...)
- When you were in Korea, would you say your presence there created more Commies?

And this leads nicely into another question I've asked before; namely, at what point did joining the military change from meaning that you were "an upstanding citizen who cares about the future of your nation and wants to protect it from danger," to you being "some inbred hick with the brains God (or the deity of your choice, to include Darwin) gave a dust-bunny, who doesn't have so much as two Saddam-face dinar to rub together"? How come being in the military was a good thing for Charlie Rangel, John Kerry, Jim Webb, Max Cleland, Wesley Clark, and Jack Murtha, but it's obviously such a bad thing for myself and everyone who's in now?

If it's such a horrid existence how come there's virtually no one in the military right now who doesn't still want to be? That's right. Enlistments are four years long (typically). If you joined prior to 9/11 and you wanted out, by now you'd be out. And if anybody pulls out the word "stoploss," you can stuff it - stoploss is not currently in effect. ("Stuff it" also goes for bringing up IRR recalls. Those numbers are tiny. Sucks for those guys, but doesn't disprove my point.) If you joined after 9/11 but before Iraq and want out, you're getting out soon - nobody's gonna stop you. If you joined AFTER Iraq... hell, you WANT to be in the military. Ain't no way you can convince me that anybody who's THAT WORRIED about IEDs figures they'll chance it so they can get their hands on some college money or avoid having to work at Micky D's. There is no amout of money that convinces people to go risk getting blown up. It takes more than that - something that a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient like Rangel should know, but seems to have brain-dumped. But apparently all us mouth-breathing, broke-ass, cave-dwellers are simply being duped into Rumsfeld's Bush's war... for the last three years. Well... we would be slow on the pickup, wouldn't we?

My point is, Rep. Rangel is - once again - demonstrably wrong, not to mention insulting. And that's all well and good. I actually prefer someone to say what they mean and be an asshat, than for them to say they have my back one minute and drive a knife into it the next. That's
why I prefer jihadis to liberal politicians at times like this. At least when the jihadis say they want to kill me, I believe them.

Nov 20, 2006

And right now John Kerry's thinking... 

... "Why didn't I try THAT?"
Unelected Leftist Obrador Swears Self In as Mexican President

MEXICO CITY — Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador swore himself in as Mexico's "legitimate" president Monday, launching a parallel government he hopes will prevent President-elect Felipe Calderon from governing.

The ceremony is the latest chapter in Lopez Obrador's unsuccessful battle for the presidency. He claims fraud and dirty campaign tactics were responsible for Calderon's narrow victory in the July 2 vote...
Hell, I'll bet Algore is thinking it too. Click that link. You GOTTA see the picture that goes with this story.

Funny cuz it's true... 

Good on Seth Meyers for tossing this one out from behind the Weekend Update desk and just letting it sit while the New York audience nervously wonders at first if it's okay to laugh.

It's not enough to make me start watching SNL again, but here it is.

The ultimate wake 

I used to know a Harrier driver (out now) who had cash set aside in his will for his wife to throw his buddies a kegger on Lake Havasu if he ever augered in. Fortunately, she never had to cash that check.

This is everywhere now, so I'll throw my name on the list of people who mentioned it.
"Don't ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the U.S. goals in that war," Jeffrey Toczylowski wrote. "As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn't do more."
And then, after he was gone, he paid the tab for a $100K party in Vegas for his boys.

Here's to a great American.

Nov 19, 2006

Must see TV 

Here's another reason to love the Brits. No way you'd see this in "Car and Driver" or on the Speed Channel here in the states.

The best comparison of two vehicles, EVER.

Nov 18, 2006

Chain mail 

Yes, it's over the top. Yes, it's obviously sent out by the VRWC. Yes, it's crap. But damned if it ain't funny.
Agenda for the Democratic National Convention for 2008:

7:00 P.M. Opening flag burning.

7:15 P.M. Pledge of allegiance to U.N.

7:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

7:30 till 8:00 P.M. Nonreligious prayer and worship Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.

8:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

8:05 P.M. Ceremonial tree hugging.

8:15- 8:30 P.M. Gay Wedding-- Barney Frank Presiding.

8:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

8:35 P.M. Free Saddam Rally. Cindy Sheehan-- Susan Sarandon.

9:00 P.M. Keynote speech. The proper etiquette for surrender-- French President Jacques Chirac

9:15 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.

9:20 P.M. Collection to benefit Osama Bin Laden kidney transplant fund

9:30 P.M. Unveiling of plan to free freedom fighters from Guantanamo Bay . Sean Penn

9:40 P.M. Why I hate the Military, A short talk by William Jefferson Clinton

9:45 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

9:50 P.M. Dan Rather presented Truth in Broadcasting award, presented by Michael Moore

9:55 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

10:00 P.M. How George bush and Donald Rumsfeld brought down the World Trade Center Towers -- Howard Dean

10:30 P.M. Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

11:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

11:05 P.M. Al Gore reinvents Internet

11:15 P.M. Our Troops are War criminals-- John Kerry

11:30 P.M. Coronation Of Mrs. Rodham Clinton

12:00 A.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

12:05 A.M. Bill asks Ted to drive Hillary home
Am I goin' to hell? Possibly.

See ya all there.

Nov 15, 2006


This just in from the "well, no sh*t" file:
"Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want."
For all the hand-wringing, "why do they hate us?"-types out there, I dedicate this post to you. And I'd believe this guy... he used to be a terrorist. Short read.

Nov 11, 2006

Veterans Day 

Go find your local VFW and buy someone a beer. Those folks have earned it. We can only hope that we have the strength to preserve that which they have passed down to us.

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Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.

Remembrance Day 

The Canucks? Hey, let's give 'em one too, eh? Oohrah.

h/t to Alpha Mike Foxtrot at her keyboard north of the border

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This post will remain at the top until Veterans Day. Scroll down for new stuff.

Donate to a progam that helps wounded members of the military use voice-activated software to write emails home... and let's kick the Army's butt at the same time! In a friendly way, of course...

Click over to Blackfive to see what this is all about, kick in a donation, and then join a team the Marine Team if you have a blog. The money all goes to same place, but for the love of all things holy, we can't get upstaged by the Army!

UPDATE (1600, 10 Nov): The Navy crossed the finish line first after being linked at the almighty Powerline blog and scoring some HUGE donations. Let's finish strong Marines. We're 3 grand from finishing and 7 grand ahead of Army, so this can still at least be a Deparment of the Navy show! You've got till the end of today to throw in.

UPDATE (1120, 11 Nov): Well, after getting across the line first, Navy turned around and helped us run it in... and now we're actually ahead of them! Officially, this thing is over. But I say, as long as that webpage is up and running (which it still is as of right now) keep going. And let's drag in those Army and Air Force guys. Especially Air Force... whatsamatter fellas? Too busy out on the base golf course? I kid, I kid...

Nov 10, 2006

Always Faithful 

QUANTICO, Va. -- Cpl. Jason Dunham, a charismatic kid from small-town America, received the Medal of Honor for sacrificing himself to protect his fellow Marines from an Iraqi hand grenade.

President Bush announced the award -- the country's highest honor for military valor -- at the opening of the Marine Corps museum here. It would have been Cpl. Dunham's 25th birthday.

"As far back as boot camp, his superiors spotted the quality that would mark this young American as an outstanding Marine: His willingness to put the needs of others before his own," Mr. Bush said. "As long as we have Marines like Cpl. Dunham, America will never fear for its liberty."
More info here.

Marine Corps Order No. 47 (Series 1921) 

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On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Commandant, United States Marine Corps
1 November 1921


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My dad's flag over Al Asad, Iraq, one year ago today.

Nov 8, 2006

A song for today 

To cleanse the palette from my last post and refocus you on things that matter,

"8th of November" by Big & Rich

A cleaner looking version in Streaming RealPlayer located here.
Also located in "Videos" at the Big & Rich website.
More at BlackFive.

SecDef hangs up his spurs 

WOW. Anybody see that one coming? I sure as hell didn't. As I told Smokin over the email, if the SecDef was gonna hang 'em up anyway he should have done it last week. That could have maybe even bumped a few votes back into the "R" column. Now it just looks like Rumsfeld ran for the hills before Pelosi could dispatch the flying monkeys to take him away. In other words, it looks worse than it probably really is.

Uncle Jimbo presented one take on a Rumsfeld retirement a while ago that I found interesting, and not necessarily a bad idea. Now he's got a whole different take on things that I don't really agree with… but at the same time I can see where he's comin' from.

And here's more election fallout for your consideration: John Bolton is most likely going to be screwed out of being the US Ambassador to the UN. He's the only American in government in recent history that I can think of who's had the stones to tell the UN they're full of crap. We should have told that whole operation to pound sand years ago. Maybe it'll get better with the new guy from South Korea running the show over there, but I doubt it. Here's a case of the chills at no extra charge: he's not going to be the Secretary General any time soon, but how's about US Ambassador to the United Nations William Jefferson Clinton?

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Nov 7, 2006


Block out the elections and take a minute to laugh...

Former Marine Sniper Slapped With 3,000-Yard Restraining Order
MACON, GA—Citing Emily Holman's right to feel safe traversing vast open spaces, especially when within visual range of clock towers, parking structures, and tall buildings, a judge awarded the 28-year-old a 3,000-yard restraining order yesterday against her former boyfriend, retired Marine sniper Gordon Lee Blackwood. "When we broke up he started calling me 10 times a day from his job," said Holman, who realized Blackwood's office building, which had an open, flat roof, was only 1,800 yards away. "He had me flinching every time I saw sunlight glinting off any surface within two and a half miles." Blackwood would not comment on the judge's decision, saying only that he still loved Holman and was trying to understand the distance and crosswinds that separated them.
The staff [of the Onion] decided on a Marine because “if it were an Army sniper, it would have been a 2,000-yard restraining order.”

Nov 5, 2006


Nov 3, 2006

Know thy enemy: Part 37,924 

Unless you want to see the real face of your enemy, know that your childrens' children will probably still be fighting this war, and be totally bummed out for the rest of your day, do not watch the linked video.

Otherwise, proceed.

Chuck Norris is never late... 

Norris explained he planned to visit Iraq three years ago, but because of an impending major operation he was unable to make the trip. He said he believes the operation was tied to the capture of Saddam Hussein, which was announced two days after the trip cancellation.
Chuck Norris then asked to be dropped into the middle of Sadr City so he could "take care of some shi'ite."
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For anyone other than a Marine, death would be only milliseconds away...

Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

Nov 2, 2006

Shocked? Not really. 

"Of course Americans should vote Democrat." - Jihad Jaara, Palestinian terrorist and leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity

The man is so evil, plants, animals, and small children burst into flames when he walks by. I'm talking about Karl Rove, of course, who obviously set this up.

But Jaara's an okay guy, I guess... and CIA trained... during the Clinton years... so he knows whereof he speaks.

Nov 1, 2006

Happy snaps 

Pics of the new National Museum of the Marine Corps up at Flight Pundit. Way cool.

Jack Cafferty is an idiot 

Every time that crotchety old ass shows his crotchety old mug on TV I reach for the mute button. But if I don't make it, the stuff I hear him say causes my Agent Orange to act up, and then I get the urge to kill. Chucklehead stood up on CNN's "Situation Room" program today and said that the Pentagon has started up a new "media spin unit on your - the American taxpayer's - dime." He then went on to say that this was expressly to combat the Mainstream Media's presentation of Iraq. Well, ass, I'd like to clarify a few things:

First, everything the government does is on the taxpayers' dime. That's how it works, retard. We pay taxes, the government spends them on stuff. What? You worried you won't be able to pay off that new Jag now that you're funding this monstrosity of the military-industrial complex? I'm surprised you didn't find a way to work the word "Halliburton" into your talking points too, you asshat.

Second, you've either inflated your status in your own mind to the point where you think you "rate" government oppression, or you actually DO run with jihadi propaganda stories whenever you can. I'm betting on the latter, so thanks for owning up to fact that you are the enemy. I'm glad to see that you now admit that your agenda and America's are 180 out.

Third, it's about damn time we set up something like this that actually works. Like Rusty said, we're always gearing up for the last war. We need to get ourselves ahead of the bad guys on this new front. The enemy has cornered the market on propaganda and is running though the multi-media OODA loop faster than we are. It's time to fight fire with fire. I've said it before and I'll say it again.

CNN offers you the chance to respond to Cafferty' question of the hour. I sent in a response too late to make it on the air. I'm sure it wouldn't have anyway, as the ones that did were nothing but parroted Cafferty-style "righteous indignation" and "how dare they!" attitude. Regardless, I fired this downrange, keeping in mind that I wanted it to be airworthy in the event that somebody from the VRWC is working undercover over there. Otherwise, it would have looked like what you just read. The question was: "How would you advise the Pentagon's new "rapid response" PR team?"
I'd advise the unit to counter the spin being put out by jihadist propaganda websites and al-Qadea's own media entities. Oh wait - that's this unit's job to begin with. As a military and a nation, we suck at Information Operations (aka, propaganda and counter-propaganda). To claim that the American taxpayer is getting screwed here is a flat out falsehood. He's getting his money's worth... finally. The fact that you think this unit was stood up with the stated purpose of countering the likes of YOU, only confirms for me that YOU are content with broadcasting a message that needs to be countered - the enemy's. Maybe if you spat out the lefty kool-aid you'd see that, but that's way too much to ask, isn't it?
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I'd like to know what the guy looks like without a load in his shorts, but he always looks like this.

If I couldn't be American... 

...I'd be Australian. Think of this as the down under version of Chely Wright's "Bumper of My S.U.V."

Poster Girl

Movie review 

To say that the battle on Iwo Jima was bloody would be an understatement. To say that it was totally necessary to the island hopping campaign is a matter that can even be put up for debate. But what can never be disparaged or denied is the courage and fortitude of the men who landed on that island in February of 1945.

In Flags of Our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood depicts the courage and selflessness of the men who died, and the nightmares and heartaches of the ones who lived. Based on James Bradley’s book, this film is an excellent brief history lesson for those unfamiliar with the story and adds some personality to people who are often reduced only to names in history texts.

This is the tale of the men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi and became icons – the living, walking, talking embodiments of the most celebrated image of it’s day and the most reproduced photograph in history. It’s the most famous story to come out of the battle. And at the time it was pretty much the ONLY story come out of the battle. Marines were dieing on Iwo Jima in the thousands. The battle raged on for weeks after the flag raising. The flag raising that the world saw - recorded in a random 1/400th of a second - wasn’t even the one that meant anything to the Marines who were there. No one on the island cared when that flag, the second flag of the day, was put up… least of all, the men who raised it.

As a matter of fact, it was probably a pain in their ass. It was redundant and entirely unnecessary in any military sense. The first flag got the reaction from the troops and provided the morale boost. The first flag raising was the one that was supposed to be the memorable event. Officially, the second flag went up because it was larger and easier to see across the miles of island and ocean that the Americans were now fighting to occupy. The reason it went up at all was more likely because Colonel Chandler Johnson, the commanding officer of the unit that raised the first flag, was gonna be damned if he’d let some son-of-a-bitch politician (read: James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy) keep that first flag as a souvenir. There had to be a flag up there, but it damn sure didn’t have to be THAT flag. THAT flag belonged to the men of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, and by extension the whole 5th Marine Division… not some D.C. puke. And so, up went flag number two, thereby directly changing the path of quite a few men’s lives, and supplying the American war effort a needed boost.

I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of the battle here. I’ll address those in another post. If you don’t know the story and haven’t read the book, there are plenty of sources of info out there. What I will address is what the film covers.

As to the tale of the men who put up the flag in Joe Rosenthal’s legendary picture, it’s an excellent examination of accidental heroes. Men that would have been comfortable being hailed for saving their buddies, instead are made insufferably uncomfortable for what they view as doing nothing: putting up a pole with a piece of cloth tied to it. For them, it had no meaning. It wasn’t even the “real” flag.

And because this is the film’s focus, and I knew that going in, it tempered my disappointment that that was all I got to see. This is very “narrow-field-of-view” history. There is no discussion whatsoever of the incredible fighting that occurred as the Marines moved north to take the rest of the island. In fact, there is only one prominent mention of the fact that the battle continued on for another month. But the film’s greatest weakness is also it’s greatest strength. That ‘prominent mention’ of the battle’s duration is made by “Doc”Bradley (played by Mr. Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillipe, who I typically have little use for but did great here). His character makes a point that I was thinking all along: it would be nice if those other guys got some recognition too. But the movie doesn’t really allow them any.

Sure, it goes through the motions. It shows how a good portion of the Marines that raised both flags were killed during the battle. But it’s almost like a checklist. In short bursts, we see each one die. A whole group gets ticked off, one after the other, in no more than a minute. The movie jumps around so much, you almost walk out with low-grade PTSD. And then we’re thrust right back into the lives of the three men who struggle with anyone calling them heroes. In it’s own way, the film itself both perpetuates the legend AND combats the myth that these were the true “heroes of Iwo Jima.” Yes, they were heroic, but the point comes through that putting up that flag had little to do with it.

The film also only presents you with what was known to the men at the time for the most part. When they’re briefed, they’re told 12,000 Japanese hold the island. It was more like twice that. The estimates of enemy strength were off by orders of magnitude in some cases (a month before the battle, intel estimates had the number of enemy artillery pieces set at around 40… there were actually more than 360). The fight that occurred there was hellacious in every sense of the word, and was only won because it was being fought by some of the most experienced and battle tested Marines of the whole war. Again, because of the focus on the flag-raising, this is largely lost and left unaddressed. Hopefully, Eastwood’s companion film will address the entire battle more thoroughly. But that’s a dicey proposition - the more I hear about that film, it sounds like it was cranked out as somewhat of an afterthought, and my confidence in a more full historical examination is somewhat dim.

Regardless of what the future film may hold, this film is very good, bordering on excellent. The current gold standard for reality in battle scenes is still “Saving Private Ryan,” and it’s equal for historical accuracy is “Band of Brothers.” The effects here are quite good, but lacking something that “Private Ryan” had, something I just can’t put my finger on. As with most films these days, it probably had to do with too much CGI for my taste, but in this case that can’t really be helped. When you can’t actually film giant battle scenes on Iwo Jima, you have to build Suribachi somehow, and unless you’ve got an 800 ship, WWII era, American naval armada available… well… you see what I’m getting at. As for historical points, I’m a bit of a history wonk and a stickler for accuracy. No aspects of clothing, speech, or fact seemed out of place. It just seemed lacking in fuller detail in some spots… it needed background, if you will. Of course, to compare a two hour movie to the 14 hour “Band of Brothers” on this count isn’t really fair either.

This movie did however, fall victim to something that plagued another movie so much it actually had to break with historical accuracy on purpose, that being: keeping characters straight. In “Black Hawk Down,” the producers put soldiers’ names on their helmets to avoid confusion for the audience, which was an intentional break with reality. As a person who enjoys his films historically correct, I was happy to see “Flags” didn’t do that. However, for those in the audience who were not as familiar with the names and roles played by the Marines in the battle (such as my Wif) it proved quite confusing. Short of the three main characters, it was very hard for her to keep straight who everybody was, and then when the survivors were talking about their fallen friends it became even more difficult because name-to-face recognition was not there. But, I think this is something that should only affect an initial screening and should clear up upon repeat viewings (of which there should be many).

All in all, this was a strong film with great performances. The directing was there, the effects were impressive, and the story is far better and more emotional than any type of fiction. Look for this one to be a strong contender at Oscar time. Now get thee to a theater… but maybe do yourself a favor and read a short history of the battle before you go. It’ll pay dividends in your appreciation of the story you’re seeing.

"Flags of Our Fathers" is rated R, and has some graphic scenes on par with the kinds shown in the other films I mentioned (though there actually are fewer of them, it seemed to me). This is a film worth taking out the small loan you need to fund a trip to the theater these days. Go. Well, read my Bro's review, too. Then go.

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