Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I did not write this master work. It is from Jason who is in Iraq. I think you can figure out what he is up to. I used to be grunt and it was great time in my life, but hard to explain to civilians. Here is a great attempt to do so:

The Tao of Soldiering

Learn to Suffer

You are not Special

Know your Place

Release your Attachments

Today is the birthday of The Monastic Order of Infantrymen. For those unfamiliar with MOI, let me explain.

Soldiering is difficult. But for soldiers with the proper attitude, there can be great fulfillment from this work. To find peace and contentedness from a job that may seem intuitively chaotic, you simply have to find the tao of soldiering and embrace it.

For soldiers who are nauseated by terms like 'embrace', 'peace', and 'contentedness', and don't know how to pronounce 'tao' (it's like 'dow', as in Dow Jones, and can be translated loosely to mean 'the way') let me put this in terms a grunt can understand. Being a soldier is to live in a world of shit. You're constantly surrounded by assholes, you have to endure an unending amount of bullshit from your leadership, military regulations and paperwork, stupid training missions, and in the end of it all you'll most likely get shit on by your own government sooner or later when they fuck up your pay and benefits. And to top it all off, you might actually have to go into combat at some point which also means you'll spend a lot of time in another world of shit (i.e. Iraq) and possibly get your balls blown off by some insurgent asshole who is too afraid to fight you face to face so he explodes jury-rigged artillery rounds next to your Humvee while he's outside the maximum effective range of most your weapons systems. Soldiering just plain sucks. From the pogues who cook my food and do my laundry to the Apache pilots and the Green Berets who do all the Hollywood stuff, our lives are in a constant state of suck. But there are soldiers who have found a way to not only endure it all, but to enjoy it. Contentment, happiness, fulfillment, rewardingness, peace, meaning, purpose, zen, the way, the middle path, nirvana, the big nothing, whatever you want to call it, it's there if you are unafraid to see it.

Learn to Suffer

Most everything a soldier does entails discomfort. As a soldier, you will discovery an encyclopedic number of ways to suffer. The suffering is physical, psychological, and emotional. It can also be financial, legal, marital, and any other word you can give the '-al' suffix to. There is nowhere you can go to avoid suffering. There is no reprieve, no solace. It is unavoidable and inevitable. You can either cry about it, or you can just learn how to suck it up.

One of the first things an effective soldier learns during Basic Training is that physical endurance has nothing to do with physical ability. Your body gives you the illusion that you are only able to do what is within your physical limitations. Say for example your muscles are only strong enough to do fifty pushups. This limitation is very convincing. You believe that you can't do more than what your muscles and bones are physically capable of doing. In reality the only limitation is the will of the soldier. You probably think that if you lift weights and get stronger muscles, you will be able to do seventy pushups. This is true, but you aren't able to do more pushups because your muscles are stronger, you are able to do more pushups because your stronger muscles are a convincing illusion to allow yourself the will to do more. The truth is, with will alone you can do seventy pushups, or ten thousand for that matter. Accomplishing more than you physically should be able to is referred to as "using the force." If the Jedi metaphor for describing "will" doesn't work for you, then use the Christian one. In the New Testament (Matthew 17:20), Jesus said that with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. So whether you're raising an X-Wing fighter out of a swamp or parting the Red Sea, the concept is the same: you simply need the will.

It is not necessary for the novitiate to buy into any of this. But when he's into the twelfth mile of a forced road march carrying nearly his own body weight in gear, he learns that there is a landscape of pain he never knew existed. Once you've learned that there is no real limit to what you can endure, you're on your way to understanding that you can do just about anything so long as you allow yourself to have the will to do it. And the easiest way to learn this concept is to suffer and realize you can endure it, then as you reach a new level of painful experiences, you are able to begin working on the next level. Eventually you learn that there is virtually no end to the kinds of pain mortality can make available to you, and you continue to learn that there is no discomfort you can not overcome. The process of learning to suffer is always ongoing. No matter how much you've suffered, there is always more to suffer.

You are not Special

As Americans and westerners, we value individuality more than just about anything. Individuality is at the core of our concepts about freedom. The protection of the individual is vital to a free society. But while the civilian is the "individual", the soldier is the "protection".

As a society, we've gotten really good at fostering individual development. As a soldier, trying to incorporate the idea that individuality must be discarded is usually a very hard thing to accept at first. Because of basic psychological self-preservation instincts and a million beliefs that have been socialized into us from the moment of our birth, we protect our "ego" more than anything. You are who you think you are. You spend your life developing an image in your head of who you are. You have a name, you live in a certain place, you have a certain profession, you have tastes, opinions, preferences, druthers. In terms of a capitalistic society, we are nothing more than consumers. So we define our individuality by what we consume. (Sometimes the consumer becomes disillusioned by this, so he simply adjusts his tastes to something that more easily will identify him as an individual. "I'm not into Metallica anymore, they're too mainstream. I'm into The Mars Volta now.") There are eight million individuals in New York City. I was one of them. Like in college where the second question asked after "what's your name" is "so what's your major", in New York City the only two things anyone wants to know when they first meet you are "so what do you do" and "where do you live". I was a paratrooper and a programmer who lived in Nolita. I doubt there has ever been anyone who could say that. So I'm an individual, right?

In ten thousand years, no one is going to know who you were. Right now, while you are living, you don't even really matter. You live in Ohio, you work at a hardware store, you drive a Saturn, you have two kids, you send your mom a Mother's Day card every year, you have a beautiful lawn. You're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you have a loft in Chelsea and a summer home on Fire Island, you come from old money, you visit your mom every Christmas who lives in the home where you grew up an only child in New England, you were on the cover of Forbes and Out in the same month. Does any of this really matter? Someday you're going to die and they'll throw dirt on your grave just like everyone else's. Someday the sun will expand and consume every living thing on earth. Someday the universe will collapse in on itself then explode into a brand new universe. Even these events don't really matter, they're just things that happen. So whether you prefer creamy or chunky is of such absurdly little consequence, the near meaninglessness of it is mind-boggling. Accept that you are of no consequence, that you are essentially nothing. In a universe of infinite universes that will ultimately return to the singularity from whence they all came, you are as inconsequential as my peanut butter preference.

Know your Place

As a corollary to knowing that you are not special, you must also know your place. Unlike the private kindergarten you attended in Woodstock where everyone was special and an equal, even Timmy in his wheelchair and Tyrone the black kid, in the military there is a hierarchy because it is the easiest way to get things done. I spent an enormous amount of my military career as a private. I took out the trash and mopped the floor. Now that I'm a sergeant, I want you to shut the fuck up and continue sweeping, is that clear? Everyone has a job and a role, and by staying in your lane, work can be accomplished more efficiently. Imagine if your car's fuel injection system decided it wanted to start managing the anti-lock braking functions? The compartmentalization of tasks exists so you can be free to concentrate on your own set of tasks. When I raid a building, I know how I'm going to breech the door, I know how to clear the rooms, I know how to handle detainees. While I'm doing this there are Apaches circling overhead. I don't know how to do their job, and that's okay. I need air support and they provide it. The intelligence guys interrogate the detainees and come up with more targets for my platoon to raid. Remember, you are Soldier Nobody, not General Patton. Concentrate on your job and you will be able to perform it well. As an Infantryman, your job is to shoot people. Don't worry about Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, or Michael Moore. If your target is moving, remember to lead your point of aim a bit.

Release your Attachments

Suffering is caused by attachments. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will learn how to overcome suffering. As Americans and westerners, we love our stuff. How much did you love Christmas as a kid? I remember thinking that the entire purpose of life was Christmas. That's when I got a whole new batch of toys, because as a kid, all the mattered to me was toys. To this day, I am still in awe at the fact that the feeling Christmas gave me is one without parallel. There have only been a handful of experiences in my life that are on par with how I felt about Christmas as a child. But toys break, they get lost, and eventually you lose interest in them. As an adult, what is more of a pain in the ass then your car? Or upkeep of your house? You can get a lot of satisfaction from stuff, I won't deny how much I love going to Barnes & Noble or to the music store. But you don't get real happiness from material possessions. And attachments go well beyond the things you can own. Relationships you have with people can be attachments. In fact, I dare say that there are more relationships in the world based on insecurity and attachment than love. And the ultimate attachment is your own ego. Your sense of 'self' is something you cling to, because as we already discussed, it's who you think you are. The linchpin to the the tao of soldiering is freeing yourself from your attachments. The less you own, the better. The more stuff you own is more stuff to worry about while you're deployed. The girl you were dating isn't going to wait for you for eighteen months, so just get over her and move on. Even if you are in a healthy and strong relationship with your wife, your marriage will not be the same when you get back. Like the relationship you have with any of your loved ones, it won't necessarily go bad, but it will certainly be different when you get back. There are several guys in my platoon who missed births of their children. This affects them and I'm sure it affects their wives. And in turn it will affect their marriage. Crappy marriages don't handle this sort of this well and they will end. Good marriages will weather it, but will evolve into something different. Either way, guys who are attached to the way things were, will be miserable. And whatever you thought about yourself, ideas you cling to that you consider part of your identity, may very well change after you've been around some good 'ole fashion death and destruction. Attachments are bad. The less you have the better. Real freedom is having no attachments. Only then are you able to have happiness. When you feel happiness for it's own sake, and not because of some external mechanism, you have found the tao.

The Monastic Order of Infantrymen

Infantrymen who have found the tao of soldiering sometimes find themselves living a near-monastic lifestyle because of it. If you have no major attachments, specifically no wife, no girlfriend, and no kids, and have an MOS that is 11-series, 18-series (Army), 03-series (Marines), or you are a Navy SEAL, you are able to join the Order. To join, a novitiate must perform an act of initiation involving humiliation, discomfort, and nudity as perscribed by a member of MOI. For example, making a snow angel in public while naked. Exceptional novitiates can be grandfathered in without initiation if three members of MOI approve. The proper greeting between members is a handshake with the right hand while grabbing ones own crotch with the left. Members will refer to each other as "brother", and the proper way to say good-bye is, "See you in Valhalla, brother." Should a member come to find he has a wife, girlfriend, or child, he is honorably released from the Order.

I like being a soldier and I love being an infantryman. There are a lot things that truly suck about being in Iraq, but none of it's really all that bad. This is the most interesting and exciting thing I've ever done. War is a horrible thing and I hope that as human culture we can find a way to completely put an end to it, but I have to admit I like combat. I'm not sure how this is possible, but it's how I feel. When guys discuss when we will be sent home, I get sorta depressed. I don't want it to end yet. How often do you get to shoot at terrorists? (Don't try to tell me they're not all terrorists. The guy who fills the water tanks for our showers had his head cut off last week and his entire family killed. That qualifies as terrorist in my book.) I love this job. Anyone who says you won't find happiness during combat, doesn't know how to find happiness. Combat has nothing to do with it.

Keep your head low, bayonet sharp and powder dry, Jason!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This is for me-the last post to this blog.

Life after Wal-Mart and other box stores.

Has the Air Force watched too many Star Trek movies?

The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science. I have seen this in action when “cold fusion” was the rage. There are lots of suckers out there.

One more British scientific development in the home. Maybe I might buy this one, the girls would love it.

More on Moore.

Al Qaeda Without Al Qaeda puts the truth out in a short and easy to read format.

There is hope for the future even in Connecticut. I hope fine young man will be not victim crushing of free speech or intimidation.

I might get one of these when I get back to the states. I can be jet-man! Check out the video.

Here is proof that socialized medicine of the UK is better than the free market method of the US.

They did it in Beslan, Russia, now they are going to try it in the America? I pray that this does not happen, but if I was going to bet any money, policy is being developed at the highest levels and role playing is happening all ready. Normally in a hostage situation, it is pretty well just like on TV, but a lot slower paced. Set up a security perimeter, start talking and negotiations and try to wear the perpetrators out for a peaceful ending. If a Beslan happens in the US, can the federal government delegate power and responsibility to a local police or sheriff departments to go in a clear out a building? Does the local law enforcement department have a capability to do so? The military can not do anything since this is a domestic situation and it would take hours or even days to get a unit the scene if (history of Posse Comitatus) a work around for Posse Comitatus is developed specifically for the situation. Most law enforcement teams are trained to protect civilians and enforce laws, not to take down suicide terrorists. I would not be surprised if the FBI has formed regional Special Response Teams to replace their Hostage Rescue Teams. Will our local police have to learn how to conduct close quarter battle drills and turn into a non military tactical teams?
More here and here.

If I meet these guys, I know what I will do to them.

Here are some tunes playing on my CD player:

I hear the roar of a big machine
two worlds and in between
hot metal and methedrine
I hear empire down
I hear empire down

I hear the roar of a big machine
two worlds and in between
love lost, fire at will
dum-dum bullets and shoot to kill, I hear
dive, bombers and
empire down
empire down
Lucretia My Reflection-The Sisters of Mercy

By the last breath of the fourth winds blow
Better raise your ears
The sound of hooves knocks at your door
Lock up your wife and children now
It's time to wield the blade
For now you have got some company
The Four Horsemen-Metalica, Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I am doing a bit a bigger than usual post since I have a few more days here in England and those days will be busy packing, taking care of my family preparing to move back to America and shipping down range to the box as we say in Army lingo. There may be one or two more posts, but it will be post script in manner.

I received an email from Robert at the Expat Yank and he suggested that I leave this blog up and not delete it. I will take him up on this suggestion. Thanks Robert and keep up the good work!

I like to thank anybody who has dropped in and read this blog. Have fun, give a kiss to those who you love, and come on Forest and Red Sox!

Here are some images of the local area and Germany.
Elvaston Park is right down the road from my house and we had a great time walking around.

Theater Royal in Nottingham.

My oldest daughter loves riding the tram. It is brand new in Nottingham, well run and it is fun even for an adult.

Another image of the tram. Each tram in Nottingham is named after a famous resident of Nottingham.

German wine country along the A6 Heildelburg to Kaiserlautern.

More airport reviews:
Unlike Gatwick, Heathrow is big, with tube or subway stop to central London. It is kind of hard to get to since it is on the M-25. If you have to get on the M-25, give your self an extra 30 minutes for the bad traffic. A bit easier to get to if you are coming from the north via the M40.

Los Angles International (LAX)-It is BIG and security is comparable to Munich. Actually it is pretty easy to get to. Parking and the rental car return has easy access.

Dublin, Ireland-rental car returns are a bit dodgy compared to other airports. No subway access, but there is bus line to it from the city center. The government just extended the M-50 ring road to the airport, so it is pretty easy to get to from the country by car. Access from the inner city can be time consuming.

Logan Airport, Boston, MA, USA. Construction is almost over except for terminal A. Easier to access with the Ted Williams Tunnel to the Mass Pike (I-95-points west and 93 north) The new international terminal is nice and roomy except when there are lots of travelers in transit, lines to go through security can be long.

Munich, Germany- Nice, big, clean, with a train station just a quick walk away, and it feels like a big American mall with all the shops. There is easy access from the Autobahn.

Frankfurt, Germany, like Munich, it has train and bus stations part of it. It has easy access next to the A-5 and A-6 Autobahns. Nice food court in terminal two. The car rental offices are part of the airport so there is not shuttle buss to use. Just take the elevator to the basement and pick up your car. A lot nicer set up then Boston, Dublin or LA.

What is honor?

Is Bruce real or not? via Benjamin Kerstein

This is one of the better speeches on what we face as a western society. It is by Haim Harari titled: War on Terror.

Leaves are falling all around,
It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you I'm much obliged,
For such a pleasant stay.

But now it's time for me to go,
The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain,
And with it pain,
And it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired,
But I know I've got one thing I got to do,

Ramble on,
And now's the time the time is now.

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Song Title: Rock And Roll

Saturday, October 16, 2004

New toys for the troops.

Guess who says it is all right to kill Americans?

This is typical middle English neighborhood where I live.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Another image of Nottingham at night.

News from the Air Force that you will never see in the traditional media.

Workforce trends that will impact America.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

How low can this mess go?

Terrorists and drugs. I thought Allah disapproved.

My co-worker was in York on a short holiday and told me about travels. Most of the hotel and resort workers were Polish students and they love working in England. The English and Americans are polite and tipped well by the Polish standards, but the Germans are a pain as tourist. They wanted breakfast at 7:30 when it is served at 8:00-10:00 and wanted to order in German, not English. One of the English guest wanted to tell the Germans that they screwed the Polish over once during World War Two, why do it again? At night while a guitarist was singing, older German tours got drunk and made a scene, so the guitarist turn up his amplifier up to drown out the drunk Germans. I find this funny coming from the English who have reputation for hell raisers on the continent.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I am trying to do a few more family outings before we return to America and then deploy. We were in Nottingham city a few days ago and we saw this three wheel car in the car park. It is a Reliant Rialto. Wifey thinks it is a funny little car but I wonder about the safety of it and can you take it on the motorway?

The CIA report on Iraq’s weapons program is out for public consumption. It is interesting and will not disappoint anybody. Also it will be twisted around by all parties to support their own views. Don’t read the media’s summary; do it yourself.

Gatwick Airport. If you destination is north of London, avoid going to Gatwick. It is south of London, so if you are traveling to the north or have make a connection at Heathrow; going to Gatwick is not a smart move. It has lots of parking, but it has realistically only one access road off the motorway. The international terminal has lots of duty free shopping. It has an underground connection and bus. It can be a bit congested during peak times and to get it from the north you will have to use the London Orbital (M-25 ring road)or the biggest parking lot in Great Britain.

Guess who wants Kerry to be elected?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Another image of the Goose Fair.

Gulliver’s travails: The U.S. in the post-Cold-War world by John O’Sullivan in the New Criterion is spot on.

Do you want to know where American troops are deployed in the Central Region? Here is the list with descriptions and photos.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Today we went to the Goose Fair here in Nottingham. (A 360 degree look at the fair) It is one of the oldest fairs around England. It was ok to me; just think of a state or big county fair in America without the agricultural, automotive, or musical attractions. It just had lots of carnival rides, food and gift concessions. It was fun, but once was enough for me.

I did not buy food from this stand.

More funny business in the press.

This is one reason, when I return to the states, I like to get rid cable TV, get an alternate high speed internet access and go outside hiking or bicycling.

There are a lot of crappy things going on in the world, but you can make a difference.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I wonder why the churches and other organizations are not trying to help the Iraqis this way?

Will all the Good doers and loony left protest this:
Iran: 16-year-old girl hanged in street for "acts incompatible with chastity"
Amnesty International today (24 August 2004) expressed its outrage at the reported execution of a girl believed to be 16 years old for “acts incompatible with chastity”. Ateqeh Rajabi was reportedly publicly hanged on a street in the city centre of Neka, northern Iran, on 15 August 2004.

Or is just hate Bush time still?

Italy versus the rest of Europe! Have good laugh!
I like the Italian ways of doing things, it is a bit more exciting and fun.

I all ready voted. I hope this ends real soon. Any they want a civil America?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Here is a brief that is going around the military that shows the new mind set that will drive policy and actions around the world. The web blog that goes with this brief has hours of great analysis for reading.

CB got a letter that states the obvious and how we shall deal with it.

Look who is giving support to the candidates. It is pretty well split down the middle. Nobody can cry poverty. Here is their profiles and who they support. Here is the list of individual contributors.

Iraq is not Vietnam.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Birmingham Airport is bigger than Nottingham East Midlands Airport and has more flights with regular airlines than charter or tourist flights. BA goes to the US and with Lufthansa covers more of Europe. It has the low cost airlines of Ryannair and BMI. It does have train service just like Munich or Frankfurt and it also have bus service. Birmingham is easy to get around with two medium sized terminals. Also it is easy to get to right off the M-6 motorway, via the M-42. I like Birmingham Airport for its ease of access and the destinations is available from it.

God Bless him. I love Rodney, his movies and act. I think everybody can relate to some of his jokes. Rodney, you get my respect.

This can not be true! It is just rumors.

The military is working in ways and judging success that is new and different than the public understand. Here is an example.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Here is more good news from Afghanistan. It was even written by the BBC!

This will weaken the UN.

Most of the cyber cafes I know have gone out of business. It is the same here in England.

Some time around the first of November I will be shutting this blog down, due to being mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan. I had good time living in England. It has been interesting and I have learned a lot the culture, history and people of England and the Midlands. Maybe in a few years, I will be back doing the same job, God willing.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

One of the advantages of my civilian job is that I drive around a bit. Last week I drove from Nottingham to Manchester and on the return I drove from Manchester on the A616 across the Peak District to Sheffield. On the trip home I stopped in Hollingworth, Cheshire.

While waiting for a farm tractor to turn, I was stuck in traffic going up a hill. Sitting in my car I saw a green box on a poll that I though it was a traffic camera. Then I saw if flash come out of it like strobe light. I was trying to figure out what was it doing when I saw a car speed down hill past it and it dawned on me that it was a radar gun-traffic camera combination that was ticketing speeders. Then I crested the hill and a big sign with speeding camera symbol and 30 mph limit facing me. I started to grind the breaks to avoid a ticket. What was sneaky was that most speeding cameras in England in boxes and are painted yellow to give warning to drivers. These cameras were painted green to blend in. Oh well that is big brother for you.

Right after that I stopped at the Gun Inn for lunch. It is a nice traditional pub that looked to me that I was stepping back in time or into somebody’s house. There were a few Old Age Pensioners debating the merits of new vs. classic cars. The couple next to me was eating lunch and told me that they had a pint at the Gunn Inn during WW2 and their Parents and Grandparents used to frequent the establishment too. It was interesting to listen to them describe the history to the village and their families. That is one of the small and nice memories that I will take from England.

There is an image of the area off the A628.

Friday, October 01, 2004

While I was in Germany last week, I was running around getting ready to go down range. One of the places I went to was CIF or Central Issue Facility. At CIF I was issued 1800 dollars of basic issue items or equipment that every soldier will need. It is like going to REI, EMS or your local army surplus store but everything is in camouflage, olive drab green or tan. It took me an hour to get everything sized correctly and in the grand tradition of the army I signed a computer print out receipt that list every item and basically said I am responsible and liable for the items. If I loose or break any items I will pay for it. This is what 1800 dollars of army equipmet (sleeping bag, Gortex rain suits, extra cold weather boots, sleeping mat, gloves.....) looks like:

You know when you are in the Army when you are issued a bullet proof vest in camouflage. (This is how it works.)

This will be home sweet home for the next month or two while I am preparing to go down range. I will have another locker for personal items. Don’t worry I put all my equipment in the orderly fashion, when I get a few more items for South West Asia.

Maybe one of these boys may join MLB. If they do thank the Army.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Want to know who have the best universities in the world? Go ask the Chinese! It looks like the America has a bunch of dolts lying around. Here is the European list.

While I was in Germany staying at the gasthaus, the only two English language news channels were CNN and BBC world. One interesting thing was that the BBC had advertising on it or those detested commercials. One was from Accenture business consultants staring Tiger Woods. The future of the BBC will be commercial with adverts!

Now I am somebody! David over at Davids Medienkritik linked to me for an article that I saw on the Stars and Stripes. Danke sehr!

Here are two faces of the future of America and the free world. Here and here. Who do you think will be more beneficial to the world?

When this came out lots of troops were rolling their eyes. All the soldiers felt this was a noble cause and with good intentions (Sept 29), but in reality it would be used selectively. Others felt since we are at war does not the Criminal Investigation Division have more important thing to look at? Not many troops are going to put Amsterdam as a destination on their leave slips any more.

Now the Germans really love us now.

When I was in uniform last week I would watch CNN or BBC world news, then check out the G-2 (intel) reports and it looks like there was two different Iraqs. One was where the hell was returning and the other where life is trying to getting back to normal. Now the word is getting out.
Update: Wretchard has more information. More from Chrenkoff.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Guess what I did last night? I voted in the general election and today I will put it in the mail. The town clerk from my home town was easy to deal with. When I called her, she said I could fill out a form that I could down load over the internet or type out and sign a letter, and send it to her and she would in return send me a ballot. Easy as cake. My wife be came an American after I told her she could not whine about the state of local and national affairs unless she became an American and voted. It was pretty easy for her to become an American; just two interviews and a bit of paperwork that was nothing compared to buying a house. So don’t whine, just vote.

Monday, September 27, 2004

'Beat me once a week' says Iranian woman, and the Judge tells her husband he can not beat her at all. It sucks to be a nice husband in Iran.

An infantryman’s high speed, low drag, and high tech tool.
I want to make sure it has one of these. The civilian model.

The last pargraph of Iraq, “Al Qaeda and Fourth Generation Warfare” sums it up:
Islamic Terrorist warriors continue to move around the region, in Europe and here in the US. We are far from being out of the woods and shall have to craft a message of opportunity and freedom that is stronger than their Occidentalist message of fear and loathing. But our philosophers have shown us how to craft that message, even as our strategists have shown us how to fight them and our intelligence experts craft better cooperation among international agencies. We can win this war in time.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Do we need to assimilate immigrants, legal and illegal? I do, my father who was legal immigrant was pretty well assimilated, and it struck home with him when we visited his family back in the islands. All he wanted to get back to the US quickly.

A “new” look at the Beslan attack, but created by Clinton?

Pseudo-protesters need to get real.

The future of France is not rosy by this post. This is not good for the western world.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Thank god that the ‘60s are finally coming to an end

Over at the Braden files there is analysis from Stafford titled “The U.S. Election and the International System.” My experience living in England pretty well validates the thesis of this post.

Can masks makers forcast the future and election? Their past record is more accurate than the professional pollisters.

This bumper sticker asks a question that every American has to answer before they vote.

Planning for future operations for the US Army will be different than in the past while lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan are being digested. The Army is just not physically just pulling out of Europe, but also a new mind set is being cast. The battle for the Fuda Gap is history. Many soldiers are learning how to become fluent in Arabic and other languages of the region. The culture and traditions are becoming common knowledge throughout the force. You could say we are becoming “Arabsized” while waiting for next action. Tactics, techniques and procedures are being adjusted for operations for the region. This is the real transformation of the Army.

Friday, September 24, 2004

First it was the Germans with their toilets now the Dutch are going to out do them.

The real news from Europe.

A country study of Afghanistan. It has lots of detail and great for reading at airports. More here.

Here is a different view of protesters from Britain.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Over at Stratgey Page they are saying: Al Qaeda Has Lost Its War in Iraq

September 23, 2004: While al Qaeda manages to set off one or more suicide bombs a day in Iraq, it finds itself losing the war it is waging. The bombs are killing mainly Iraqis, and the Iraqis have noticed this. Al Qaeda expects the Iraqi Islamic radicals to benefit from the bombing campaign. But the only Iraqi Islamic radicals that support al Qaeda are the Sunni Arab ones, and these are a minority of the Sunni Arab (20 percent of the population) minority. Moreover, most of the muscle, and money, for anti-government violence comes from Sunni Arab supporters of the Baath Party. Saddam Hussein led the Baath Party for over three decades. While Saddam is locked up, as are most of the senior Baath Party leaders, the thousands of thugs and enforcers that maintained Baath's control over Iraq are still out there. Many of these guys are still doing what they have always done; terrorizing Iraqis into supporting Baath, or at least not opposing it. Baath has cleverly shaped it's message to sound like a patriotic call to "expel foreign invaders." But most Iraqis are not fooled. Opinion polls consistently show that over 80 percent of the population wants nothing to do with Baath. Yet the only alternative to a democratic government is Baath, or a religious dictatorship. Al Qaeda makes itself unpopular by killing hundreds of Iraqis with suicide bombs. Baath makes itself hated with its continued terror campaign, kidnapping and assassinations. The terror tactics of al Qaeda and Baath have succeeded in some other Arab countries, much to the dismay of the locals. Syria is the only other country run by the Baath Party, and it is another Republic of Fear. Iran is dominated by Islamic conservatives, who rule by intimidation and terror. Afghanistan, when ruled by the Islamic conservative Taliban, also suffered under unpopular applications of intimidation and terror.

Read the rest.

Maybe I will be able to use the super stink bomb in A-stan.

China versus the rest of the world for jobs? Maybe this will piss off China’s neighbors more than America.

The Fantasy World of the Modern Day Protester.

The future of the EU. I think it is a bit to rosey, but what do I know.

Hey, there are some good things going on in Afghanistan.

I might even go snowboarding there!

Also I think I will try to do something like this to help out. If you are a friend or reader send me your email address and I will reply with details once I get settled.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I am going to my new unit in Kaiserslautern in a few minutes. Time to drive the autobahn.

Red Sox vs the Yankees and politics.

Fox and the 1st Amendment.

Guess who are our new friends?

Sport and reality sometimes collide.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

This guy has figured out a way to win the war. One heart and mind at a time. I served with his unit and I am glad that they are doing all right.

Guess who said this:
No, it is not. If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate -- he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.

Put Away Your Hankies...a message from Michael Moore 9/20/04

It has been an interesting past two days. I flew to Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday and drove down to Heidelberg where my unit is at. There was a conference going on and it was interesting and everybody was in a good mood. A few there were cracking jokes, but then there was phone call from a unit down range in the box. A somber air came over the room. A few points from experience were relayed to units that are preparing to go down range. Get M-4 carbines for all troops. M-16s are hard to shoot when in a vehicle. Get all secure radios that you can lay your hands on. OPFOR don’t like slugging it out with infantry or armor units, so they go after service support (transportation, ordinance, ect..) troops-they are bearing the brunt of the conflict. One thing is that that struck me was that he was upbeat and he said whatever we heard on TV, we are putting a case of hurt on the enemy.

Then I received SIX immunization shots for all kinds of nasty bugs. Now I will start the anthrax series soon. That put a little damper my weight lifting routine. I also made a power of attorney letter for my wife and reviewed my will with the JAG.

Today I received dental examination and cleaning of my teeth and picked up an Army, Field Artillery, support your troops stickers for a friend back in the states. While waiting for my teeth to be cleaned a family was in line with their eight month old daughter. Looking at that cute baby made me miss my daughters. When the lady who was running the reception room at the dental clinic saw on my paperwork that I will be mobilized, she put me at head of the line. That was nice and people in the room wished me good luck when I headed to the dentist.

Tomorrow is personnel paperwork review. I will make sure my pay is squared away; life insurance will be bumped up, and ensure that clearances are up to date.

I was watching German TV last night and it is funny to watch and listen Whoppie Goldberg speak German. It is just not right. Also I saw some rapper on TV. He had bling, bling all over him, the baggy pants and baseball cap on sideways, but when I was listeneing to him, I thought he had rocks in mouth. Then I realized he was rapping in German. His lyrics were pretty racy and little German girls were squealing in joy.

While driving back to barracks I saw some kid ride one of these. They look pretty cool to me.

My German is not that good and I was trying to follow the news on Deustche Welle, but this does not bode well for politics in Germany.

Are we going to start fighting like ants and bees? More here.

I scored in the 70s so I am par with the world’s best.

My new toy,but this would be better or fired the same round.

One piece crap from Germany that I can do with out.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Is there a new star system in Hollywood?

These Japanese people are too cool for me.

A good list of Sci-Fi films.

Is this a way to help to the Palestinians?

A list of bogus election issues.

Political and policy trends and polling in the UK. Do the elections refect the polls? We will find out if an election is called.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

From the New York Times:

They have taken their eye off the real ball," Mr. Kerry said, his voice almost shaking in anger. "They took it off in Afghanistan and shifted it to Iraq. They took it off in North Korea and shifted it to Iraq. They took it off in Russia, and the nuclear materials there, and shifted it to Iraq."

All I can say if the US dropped the ball, why am I going over to Afghanistan? I will remember these famous words in November.

Guess who are new friends?

Sport and reality sometimes collide.

China versus the rest of the world for jobs? Maybe this will piss off China’s neighbors more than America.

The Fantasy World of the Modern Day Protester.

The future of the EU. I think it is a bit to rosey, but what do I know.

My oldest daughter, who is three, knows something is going on. I told her that she is going back to the States in a few weeks. She tells everybody that she is “going to’merica tomorrow.” Before she would go to bed last night I had to chase the monkeys out of her room and at 2:00 am she wanted me to sleep in her bed, because she was afraid. I just want her to understand I am not leaving her because she was “bad” and I tell her everyday that I love her.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Do you want to know where the troops are at? Look here. One small detail, caught my eye, one of the tables has the military is planning nine brigades in Iraq in 2007. We will be there no matter who is the president. Sounds like some of the scuttlebutt is making it to the press. Here is a pretty good overview of the military in plain English with a general analysis of doctrine.

Here is a short brief on Islam for those who read junk filled newspapers, like the Mirror. It is a bit different from what Osama preaches.

Some information on military rotations to Afghanistan with a detailed listing of troops and units. This list will be outdated, but gives you an understanding what is going on, the scale of operations and what types of military forces will be there in the future. Task Force Angle and their civilian counterparts never make the news.

That is where the some of the action is at. Nothing classified, just a pretty detail listing of UN (International Security Assistance Force - ISAF 4) troops in Afghanistan. They will be replaced by the EU Euro Corps soon. More here.

Wifey and I have developed a plan to get her back to the states by mid November.
She is very organized and could be a great staff or battle officer. She is really the officer in charge of the house. I think her radio call sign should be household six.

Before I got the call to deploy I would read a few articles at lunch and if they were good, I would copy the URL to a file to store and post them to this blog. Now I will be busy clearing my desk at work, getting the wife and kids to America and preparing to deploy. I will not have time to do more reading, so I will be cleaning my to blog page off with in the next few days. After that I will be posting about the days events.

If you want to me to send you an email after I deploy let me know. It has been heartening to receive emails showing there support for Wifey, the girls and me. Many English friends are lending a hand. You would never know they would be supportive from reading the press here. The Vicar of my church told me his Grandfather served in Afghanistan with the British Army and gave him a .455 that he used. He said it was effective in keeping the enemy in the ground and I might need something similar.

I figure I will be in back home in bbq’ing a T-bone and filet mignon, drinking a beer with my wife and watching the kids play in the backyard in a few months. The road home will take me through training grounds in Germany, maybe Italy, points between Afghanistan and back to New Hampshire. Life is strange, interesting and never boring.

Here are a few small and interesting posts:

Tricks of the trade for everyday life. I like the pulling price tags off tip.

A comparison of life in New Jersey, Japan and China. Pretty good!

Do we sign a truce with Islamic Terrorist?

Last post for today.

A big congratulation to Marty and Rebecca for the birth of their new daughter! I bet she will save rock and roll!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I think the cat is out of the bag. Maybe I might be able to go snowboarding there. Look at the side bar at the bottom for my unit. Now it will be the task to take care of my family and get them stateside to start life all over again. Just think I thought I would not have any material to blog about. More information here.

Friday, September 10, 2004

WTF. I just got a phone call that said I was mobilized and going down range. No details yet. By the middle of next week I should have a good idea of what is going on. I am trying to figure out where my wife and kids will go. Since my job here in England will be over, I will have to ship all my house hold processions back to America. The real big question is do I tell my renters, sorry, you’re out or let my wife live with some friends or family. It sucks for them the most.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

This is a big game in Europe, but most of troops who were watching it on German TV during the Olympics called it a game for “wimps” or worse.

Do you want to know why some of the military dislikes the press?
This happened outside of Goose Green during the Falkland War:
Starting early May 27 and through May 28 2 Para approached and attacked Darwin and Goose Green which was held by the Argentine 12th Inf Regt. After a tough struggle which lasted all night and into the next day; seventeen British and 200 Argentine soldiers were killed and 1400 Argentinian troops were taken prisoner. Due to a gaffe by the BBC the invasion of Goose Green was announced on the BBC World Service before it actually happened. It was during this attack that Lt Col H Jones, the CO of 2 Para was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. See also Battle of Goose Green.
More reaction to the BBC actions are here.

Football Madness starts again. A statistical analysis of the upcoming football season and the Pats are rated number one! Do I hear the word dynasty? Here is a good and simplified explanation of the west coast offense. More here.

This makes me kind of old, but at least they are smiling.

The worst dictators in the world. I bet we might be having some words with them soon.

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