30 November 2009
Olympic Arms makes a line of AR's chambered in 223, 243, and 25 WSSM, and when I get back to Ft. Lewis they are just a hop skip and a jump down the road.
With the ability to duplicate the 260 Rem ballistics from a standard AR15 reciever it seems like a real winner for someone who already has an AR15 and doesn't want to spend all the money on an AR10.
Now this is all "reinventing the wheel" from a ballistic standpoint since the 6.5x55 Swede was doing all of this decades before the AR was a shine in Eugene Stoner's eye. But it seems like an interesting project.
29 November 2009
Just goes to show that there are no new stories, only new ways of telling old stories.
28 November 2009
Obama administration climate czar Carol Browner on Wednesday rejected claims that e-mails stolen from a British university show that climate scientists trumped up global-warming numbers, saying she considers the science settled.
"I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real," said Ms. Browner, whom President Obama has tapped as his chief of policy on global warming.
Argument from authority is the weakest argument of all. -St. Thomas Aquinas
The dogma of AWG is simple dogma. Getting a bunch of people together and having them agree on something is democracy, or leadership, or public affairs, but it is NOT science.
Science is the search for truth. When someone tells you that the "science is settled" then they need to be VERY specific as to why they believe that.
They need a "causality argument", to demonstrate that A causes B in a repeatable manner.
There is a handy list of fallacious arguments here and if you peruse the list you will find that most of them have been used by the AWG crowd.
Remember, no one has yet to show that CO2 has a causal relationship with temperature. Until they do have a repeatable causal relationship there is no "settled" science.
Hat tip to Firehand.
Right now I really want to work the bolt on a full size rifle, lay in behind the sights and feel the recoil surprise me as I slowly squeeze the trigger. Sure we have all sorts of tacticool gear and machine guns in the Army, but it just isn't the same as shooting your own rifle.
When I get home I want to shoot my Mosin Nagant and Israeli Mauser. I want to shoot a rifle that has a real wood stock.
Of all the cravings for things back home, the craving to shoot my own rifles is the worst.
27 November 2009
It worries me that the tone set by CNN and MSNBC is that this is a RECOVERY, that the STIMULUS is working. I can't remember the last time I saw such optimism from newscasters. Then again, we haven't had a Democrat in the White House in 8 years...
The truth of the matter will be told in Jan-Mar of next year when the seasonal downswing hits after all the holiday spending. Either the downswing will erase all of the "recovery" we are experiencing now, or it won't.
26 November 2009
Heh, the turkey was good.
Also did the 5k run today. Got the tshirt. 23:33 means I was cruising along at 7 min/mile nice and steady.
25 November 2009
Once upon a time, over a decade ago, I was in a college choir. My best bud Tr was in the choir as well. Somehow we all ended up friends with two girls, Nr and Lc. Lc is the eldest of six girls, and was good friends with Tl. My bud Tr got engaged to a girl Ma, and I got engaged to Lc. Neither relationship lasted. At the same time my buddy Md was dating another girl from choir. She broke heart, he did the ROTC thing and is now a full Lieutenant in the Navy (and a good bud of mine).
Fast forward ten years. I'm married to Ma (buds former fiancee), Tr is marrid to Tl. Lc is going to have a coffee date with Md (which was set up by Nr), and I end up explaining a bunch of ancient history to him over facebook chat when both of us should be working for Uncle Sam.
If you didn't follow that, it's ok. I lived through it and I'm not sure what happened.
24 November 2009
23 November 2009
He was referring to the conundrum between diets rich in unsaturated fats such as the Inuits of Canada have a high death rate from brain anuerism but very low rates of heart attack, while the French have a diet rich in saturated fat (dairy) rarely die from blood vessels failing in the brain, but have very high rates of heart failure.
In otherwords, the available data is "very interesting" but not "very enlightening".
Both the "global warming" and "global cooling" sides of the house use data from NOAA to back their claims. 130 years of historical records should prove something right?
Wrong. Predicting what the weather, or the climate will be like is predicting the stock market. Do you know what the stock market will be doing next year? Obviously not. We can make predictions based on our understanding of the data given to us by historical records (something I think is valuable in planning for the future, but not valuable for making you filthy rich).
Is disaster looming? Probably not. Should we be worried about air pollution? You betchca, but Carbon Dioxide is the least of our worries. Sulfides, methane, soot, chlorine, there are so many other concerns ahead of CO2 that it is a non-issue.
20 November 2009
We just passed 100 days in Iraq for my unit (more for those of us who came ADVON) and I look at all the things we have accomplished because of well defined goals and a team willing to work towards them.
Then they said "Give him at least six months".
Obama's six months came while I was stationed out of FOB Normandy near Muqdadiyah. We recieved two rounds of small arms fire. For an area that was filled with insurgents the year before that was amazingly quiet.
Nobody is telling me "Give him at least a year". Even his fans have seemed to accept that nothing spectacular is on the horizon. As GWBush new, when you lose your base you've lost pretty much everything.
I think it is too late for President Obama to change the tone of his administration. I think that while he was aiming for "Wise and contemplative" it turned into "Dithering and undecisive". I know that it is true that NOT making a decision and waiting for more information is the proper course of action. But when you are the President of the United States and servicemembers are dieing in Afghanistan, you can't keep pushing off a decision.
I also know that if you really have a goal, you need to WORK towards completing it or it will never get done. By not deciding on A'stan the President shows that he ISN'T working towards a goal, and that is scary. The President can turn this all around if he digs deep and shows true leadership, heck, all he has to do is tell the military what his goal is and we will work towards it for him.
GEN McCrystal is an old SF guy, the kind who really believes in smaller numbers having a greater impact. When he asks for more troops it isn't because he hasn't weighed other options, or had his entire staff weigh other options. The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) is how we come to coherent plans from a range of options.
Right now any decision from President Obama would be seen as effective leadership. That is a benefit GWBush was never given by the media or the public. I really hope my words aren't considered "disparaging remarks against the President" because I really don't want to go to jail.
18 November 2009
I planned to do a quick half hour on the heavy bag to make up for it.
I lost track of time and was pushing 45 minutes when I realized that if I didn't stop I'd miss dinner. It was a good thing my buddy was there with a watch to tell me the time. Sometimes you get in a zone and time flies. Sometimes you get in a rut and time crawls.
Tonight was a zone. By the time I'd come down from wherever I was at I realized that it was a good thing that I stopped when I did, because my body was crashing. Dinner was two small baked potatoes with a half cup of chili and half cup of broccoli. Orange juice, banana, and grapes to round out the nutrition intake. My hand couldn't stop shaking, either from too much exercise or not enough blood sugar or some combination of both.
But the OJ is good for bringing me back up, the potatoes and beans are good for the complex carbs to keep me from crashing again. I've cut down on the amount of meat I eat from the chow hall, after those couple of days not eating meat it seems like my body just doesn't want all the fat that comes with it.
I may have a flat stomach, but it sure would be nice to get a six pack again. There seems to be a difference between being "fit" and in top shape. Tomorrow I'll be sore in more parts of my body. Painful and enjoyable at the same time, reminding me that I am in control of my body, not the other way around.
17 November 2009
Together for a year and more around this stinkin’ land:
Now you are goin’ home again, but we must see it through.
We needn’t tell we liked you well. Good-bye—good luck to you!
You ’ad no special call to come, and so you doubled out,
And learned us how to camp and cook an’ steal a horse and scout.
Whatever game we fancied most, you joyful played it too,
And rather better on the whole. Good-bye—good luck to you!
There isn’t much we ’ave n’t shared, since Kruger cut and run,
The same old work the same old skoff the same old dust and sun;
The same old chance that laid us out, or winked an’ let us through;
The same old Life, the same old Death. Good-bye—good luck to you!
Our blood ’as truly mixed with yours—all down the Red Cross train.
We’ve bit the same thermometer in Bloeming-typhoidtein.
We’ve ’ad the same old temp’rature—the same relapses too,
The same old saw-backed fever-chart. Good-bye—good luck to you!
But ’twasn’t merely this an’ that (which all the world may know),
’Twas how you talked an’ looked at things which made us like you so.
All independent, queer an’ odd, but most amazin’ new,
My word! you shook us up to rights. Good-bye—good luck to you!
Think o’ the stories round the fire, the tales along the trek
—O’ Calgary an’ Wellin’ton, an’ Sydney and Quebec;
Of mine an’ farm, an’ ranch an’ run, an’ moose an’ cariboo,
An’ parrots peckin’ lambs to death! Good-bye—good luck to you!
We’ve seen your ’ome by word o’ mouth, we’ve watched your rivers shine,
We’ve ’eard your bloomin’ forests blow of eucalip’ and pine;
Your young, gay countries north and south, we feel we own ’em too,
For they was made by rank an’ file. Good-bye—good luck to you,
We’ll never read the papers now without inquirin’ first
For word from all those friendly dorps where you was born an’ nursed.
Why, Dawson, Galle, an’ Montreal—Port Darwin—Timaru,
They’re only just across the road! Good-bye—good luck to you!
Good-bye!—So—long! Don’t lose yourselves—nor us, nor all kind friends,
But tell the girls your side the drift we’re comin’—when it ends!
Good-bye, you bloomin’ Atlases! You’ve taught us somethin’ new:
The world’s no bigger than a kraal. Good-bye—good luck to you!
While specific about British, Canadian, and Australian forces in the Boer War, the spirit of this poem rings true whenever units are thrown together for a conflict. As the drawdown in Iraq has already seen the complete withdrawl of British forces (and their redeployment to Afghanistan) I only hope that we in the US did a better job of thanking them for their service than their native land.
I was reading through a copy of "Foreign Affairs" today, a supposedly scholarly publication where contributers are Ph.D's at respected universities and think tank members. I was very disappointed at the common theme of so many articles. That the US is "slipping" and in order to change that we must embrace whatever leftist ideology of the day is, from more support for international organizations to more diplomatic focus on human rights.
But not one article even tried to justify the base belief with any sort of fact. It is like I was sitting in a church service and I realized I had NO idea what those to the left and right of me believed. That they had a faith that I couldn't understand.
The second article of faith is that the Left will "get it right" this time, no matter how many other countries have tried and failed to "get it right".
Instead of arguing numbers and economics they speak in terms of "justice" and "moral obligations". They don't talk at all about real issues or details, only paint with broad strokes. Kind of a stuffed shirt argument. If you say "well that isn't true because of X, Y, and Z" they'll say, "I'm not talking about specifics, I'm talking in general." If they have no substance to their argument, they can't lose simply by refusing to defend their statements of faith.
The Left believes that GWBush was "bad for America" because he somehow made us lose the respect of the international community. Only seeing the current performance are some libs even noticing that GWB didn't do such a bad job at all.
The Left is a religion, the Right is a bunch of sellouts and compromisers. I want a party that represents me, the Obstructionist Party. Someone who will promise to make sure as little legislation gets done as possible. Someone who obstructs the goings on of commitees and attachs unbelievable riders to bills to ensure they fail.
Give me a politician who will work to get nothing done. They would get my vote.
But I'll take Iraq winter over Iraq summer anytime. Soul sucking mud is better than life sucking heat.
14 November 2009
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find - it's your own affair, -
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!
We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long -
So why in - Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
13 November 2009
We gathered to run, but the rain came down and the lightning flashed with thunder following close by.
Run rescheduled for next week, but I will be on another FOB....
I've been under some emotional strain, giving up my platoon to a new officer, prepping to take on a new job. I guess when meat is appetizing again I will be more normal.
Yesterday I was feeling alternating pain, guilt, and numbness on the inside. I went to the gym and beat on the heavy bag for 45 minutes, then threw myself at the mat doing break falls and "body movements" from jujitsu. My knuckles are skinned raw, and I have bruises on my feet and shins. Today I woke up sore in pretty much every muscle group, and it felt right.
Tomorrow morning is a 3.2 mile jog.
12 November 2009
"The only good is knowledge, the only evil ignorance." Socrates
"I would rather be ignorant, than wise in the foreboding of evil" Aeschylus
"He who increases knowledge increases sorrow" Ecclesiastes 1:18
"Lie, lie, and lie some more." School for Scoundrels
"Honesty is the best policy." common proverb
If ignorance is truly bliss, and ignorance is the only evil. Then happiness is evil. If honesty is the best policy, and it hurts others and yourself, then it must be good because pain is not happiness.
If we lie to avoid pain, is that not then evil, because it preserves happiness?
"There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so" Shakespeare "Hamlet"
If a lie is not good or bad in and of itself, only depending on how you look at it, then a lie to cause pain is equally ambiguous as a lie to prevent pain.
If perchance that ignorance isn't evil, then happiness can be thought of to be good. And a lie to preserve happiness to be the highest form of good.
Pick your philosophical poison. All of them leave hearts and lives broken in their wake.
10 November 2009
The first 22 rifle my Father brought failed to fire. Dad walked back to the house for another. I stayed, looking down at the pitiful animal huddled in his grave. The rifle he brought this time had a scope on it, and I'd dug the pit too deep to easily push the muzzle behind the dogs ear and pull the trigger, the dog struggling away from human contact made that impossible in the first place.
I unloaded all sixteen rounds into that poor dog, none of them going where I really wanted a round to go. I remember one hole appearing the the dogs muzzle, a bright red spot on dirty white. In the end the dog was dead and I felt bad that I couldn't deliver a clean kill. Dad helped me heap the loose dirt back over the dog one shovelful at a time. We walked back to the house. I must have been around fifteen.
Every couple of years this memory will creep up on me, filling me with remorse. I can't imagine that should I take a human life I'd have any more sympathy than I do for that poor dog buried for over a decade in my parent's back pasture. Of all the things that need killing, a dog is probably the most pure, and hardest to harden your heart against. Even one wild dog who couldn't be tamed possessed more innocence and honesty than anyone I've ever met.
That is why I don't take snap shots at deer. I don't have a problem with killing animals, I know where my meat comes from. What I do have a problem with is not being humane about it. It costs me nothing to minimize cruelty, and it costs me a little bit of my soul every time I screw it up. How would I feel looking through my ACOG watching some underfed fanatic with an AK jerk on the ground as his life bleeds out into the sand? I don't know, but unlike that poor dog, I know that the guy with an AK would put lead in my guts given half a chance.
Sometimes I wished that I'd killed an animal earlier in life, too young to have experienced pain and a couple near death experiences. Other times I'm glad that I was given that chore at a time and place where it would mean something. I don't know what serial killers feel when they commit the act, is there a sense of satisfaction in seeing blood? Is there a sense of empowerment? I don't know, my brain doesn't work that way. I may be abnormal, but not that abnormal.
My job has been vilified by many as “paid murderers”. The truth is that few of us ever fire a shot in anger, and those that do come away different. The best of them come away with a sense of having accomplished a dirty job, others come away with PTSD. I have not met anyone who hasn't been changed by the act of killing. And so I wonder about how it would change me. I'd like to think I wouldn't be a PTSD case, but sometimes I think about that poor dog bleeding from sixteen bullet wounds in the dirt and wonder if that means something.
I didn't join the Army to kill people. I joined the Army to save lives. Not even just American lives. Since the turn of the last century the US military has saved lives on every continent, including Antarctica. We build roads, dig wells, teach people, deliver emergency supplies.
One dear friend of mine is a die hard liberal. She asked me how I could serve in the US Army with my personal beliefs. I asked her, “Think about it this way, right now there is someone who loves you enough to step up and die to keep you alive.” And she stopped to think about it. I told her that is why I serve. I told her about my list of people worth dieing for, how when it got cold and wet and miserable I went through the list in my head to make sure I hadn't forgotten anyone. She understood, she got why good men can pick up a rifle and go across the world to fight for the freedom of people they don't know.
Because we don't just fight. We fight for a goal. And oftentimes it's a dirty job. Like putting down a half crazy dog, it doesn't make you feel any better because of the necessity. But you grit your teeth and do the job. And maybe afterward you'll think about it from time to time.
08 November 2009
04 November 2009
The phrase "We won all the battles but lost the war" has been overused when describing Vietnam. The phrase "you can't beat an idea" has also been used to explain why we "lost the war" in Vietnam.
In the light of history, Vietnam can only be seen as the turning point of the Cold War. In the rice paddies and steaming jungles of south east Asia was the beginning of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Russia.
Vietnam was where we truly developed an unconventional warfare cadre. The 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Forces, Navy Seals, were all honed and put into the professional bag of tricks. Both the Marine Corps and US Army sniper schools owe their beginnings to Vietnam (even though the official US Army Sniper school didn't open until 1987, the Army Marksmanship Unit kept an "unofficial" sniper school going). Vietnam brought the airmobile helicopter tactic to fruition.
A fresh generation of Officers cut their teath in Vietnam, learning new skills and ways of thinking. Men like Colin Powell, Norman Schwartzkopf, Eric Shinseki, and Tommy Franks would rise to leadership, and American forces to victory time after time.
Without Vietnam as an impetus for change there would have been no need for the US Military to think beyond the doctrine of WWII. The war that ended with nuclear bombs dropping on our enemy, the ultimate "shock and awe". Without learning the lessons from Vietnam the Cold War could not have ended any other way than the nuclear holocost predicted in the 1950's.
Vietnam caused a rethinking in the application and training mindset of the military. The lessons learned in blood in Vietnam paid my tuition, passing down the knowledge and discipline that keeps my men alive.
I wish I could say "thank you" to those who have gone before me. Picking up the rifle and going to a strange place to fight for anothers freedom they ensured continued freedom between America's shores. That is what ended the Cold War, the honor and courage of those who did their duty. If America did not have sons and daughters who would stand and be counted among the willing, then we would have lost.
But history tells us that America still stands, the Communism is quickly transforming itself across the world to adopt the principles of the free market. For the next few decades we will continue to hear the death gasps as the diehard Communists fade into the dustbin of history. Cuba and North Korea will change. They simply can't choose not to.
In Vietnam a largely draftee military fought the battles that broke the back of an idea, paying in blood for the lessons that keep my Soldiers alive today. Vietnam may never be looked on as a "victory", but through the eye of a Soldier, it was the turning point of the Cold War.
I don't have a crystal ball to see what the world would be like had the US never fought in Vietnam. I do have the ability to imagine what it would be like without a Special Operations Command, without a generation of Officers who dedicated their academic studies to lessons learned in Vietnam (LTC Nagle comes to mind), where the 75th Ranger Regiment had never been activated, where Special Forces was just a silly idea some guy had that never had a chance to prove itself.
My men are staying alive today because of lessons paid for by those who served in Vietnam. That is the victory, that is the legacy passed down to my generation.
Reread "One Shot, One Kill" by Sasser. All the "tacticool" guys who are convinced that you can't "snipe" without having a custom built heavy barreled rifle should read the book. It wasn't until after Vietnam that the Marine Corps and US Army even thought about using a dedicated sniper rifle instead of slapping a scope on a civilian rifle, service rifle, or match rifle. A 2.5 power scope may not be the best thing in the world, but it did "good enough" for our boys in Korea.
Also someone should make it required reading for the ASHA, to remind them that1 civilian Winchest 70's with 8 power scopes were used by the USMC as sniper rifles. After all, who REALLY needs a rifle with a 3-9 variable scope on it? Those dangerous sniper rifles....
I'm worried about marksmanship in my unit. Going to need to plan some short range and long range training soon. It is a perishable skill so use it or lose it.
Hope to get my own internet connection again, so hopefully the posting will pick up for a while.
02 November 2009
That got me thinking to another SciFi author, James Blish, who also predicted a disease that had no cure because it attacked the hosts immune system....
Of course this isn't the first time a work of fiction has eerily predicted the future, "The Wreck of the Titan" nearly spelled out the Titanic disaster years before it happened. Although someone with the knowledge of the industry trend could say that it wasn't a hard leap of the imagination to predict.
But what about all those futures predicted by fiction that DIDN'T happen? Do we really live in a universe where parrellel worlds where a Soviet Officer blogs on the internet by the name of "ComradeMercenary"? Does a world exist where the Cuban Missile Crisis caused the Nuclear Holocost that many feared? Does a world exist where the Shaw of Iran never fell because Jimmy Carter supported him in his time of need?
It isn't a question that can be answered, but there exists too many coincidences to make me not ponder the possibilities.