December 07, 2005

"A Prayer for Owen Meany"

So, I'm reading Owen Meany, by John Irving, and am around page 177. It started off okay, lots of backstory, but I'm in a section where he's talking about all of these different Christmas plays and the hijinks involved in pulling them off in a small town, and I swear that for me at least, it's like watching paint dry. Maybe that's because I don't go to plays or to the Church much. I'm about to give up unless something changes quick, otherwise this heavy-assed tome of a Titanic is going down.

What are you reading?

Posted by fdschoeneman at 08:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 04, 2005

Sunday Komix

Space Mouse.jpg

Fluffed by El Jefe.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Winter Clothes for Afghan Kids

Have some clothes your kids have grown out of? Blackfive is linking to some SF guys in The Stan who can use your help. Whether you think this war is a piece of shit or not, you can still help our soldiers to win hearts and minds.

More here.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hornblower Humor

Just before Battle - a conversation is overheard on the Deck of HMS Victory;

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."
Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?"
Hardy: "Sorry sir?"
Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability." "What gobbledygook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."
Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."
Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ...........full speed ahead."
Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."
Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."
Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."
Nelson: "What?"
Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir, no harness. And they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."
Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle, Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."
Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."
Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."
Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is underrepresented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."
Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."
Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny !"
Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"
Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."
Nelson: "We're not?"
Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."
Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."
Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."
Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules It could save your life"

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"
Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"
Hardy: "That is now legal, sir."

Nelson: "In that case ...kiss me, Hardy."

Posted by fdschoeneman at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 03, 2005

The Ramifications of Torture

So as long as we're tearing our hair out about whether or not to use torture, we may as well go the whole way, leave no stone unturned, and really take a deep look at the issue. Not just the long term effects where we lose our reputation in the world as a defender of human rights -- because, as you know, terrorists really give a shit about that, and view it as a sign of strength -- but at the short term effects. The positive side of the equation. Like what if this. result came from a Q&A; session handled with the subject in a stress position? Or perhaps with water dripping off the subject's head?

A senior al-Qaeda commander has been killed in a blast in Pakistan's tribal belt on the Afghan border, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday.

Egyptian-born Abu Hamza Rabia, believed to be in charge of the group's militants in North Wazirstan in northwestern Pakistan, was among five people killed.

The English language daily paper Dawn said Rabia died in a blast caused by explosives stored in a house used for bomb-making.

A senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press a missile attack triggered the explosion in a stockpile of bomb-making materials, grenades and other munitions.

Rabia was an al-Qaeda commander ranked the third most senior leader in Osama bin Laden's network, rising in the ranks to become the group's operation commander after the arrest of Abu Farraj al-Libbi in May in Pakistan.

I'm just saying, you know: Look on the bright side. Sometimes the glass is half full. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Hooah?

Posted by fdschoeneman at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Swing Voters: The case for Hillary Clinton

I'd vote for Condi or Giuliani if the Republicans ran one of them, but I'm guessing that neither of them will make it past the primaries. I'm not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton's policies or of her personality. Quite frankly, I find her a bit condescending. Having said that, if she runs in '08, and if I actually muster the willpower to go to the polls, I'm going to vote for her -- if only because I think that she's behaved with far more class over Iraq and the War on Terror than her Democratic brethren.

If you vote for Hillary, at least you'll know what you're getting. Not like her competition. I respect that.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tammes Responds to Murtha's "Broken Army" Comments

Glenn Reynolds links to a well-written rebuttal by Major John Tammes to Representative Murtha's Broken Army comments. Worth your time, especially for anyone still living in the 70's.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 30, 2005

Tell it to the Marines

Marines apparently are more than just outstanding trigger pullers. Discipline is the name of their game, and this is a perfect example of trigger discipline.

"We all want the withdrawal," Nasir Abdul Karim, leader of Anbar province's Albu Rahad tribe, told scores of the armed Marines and Sunni sheiks, clerical leaders and other elders at the gathering Monday in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad. "We all believe it is an illegitimate occupation, and it is a legitimate resistance."
"We're committed to withdrawing," responded Brig. Gen. James L. Williams of the 2nd Marine Division, "as soon as we have strong units" in the Iraqi army to replace U.S.-led forces. "I understand the resistance," Williams added, commenting later that he was referring to the peaceful opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq. "But you must understand we're military people. People who are shot at will shoot back."

Now, I was never an officer and except for limited occasions I am not a gentleman either. Cameras or no, I think ol' Nasir Abdul would've been tasting my rough-out boot leather. That's just me though. However, I think that you can translate the General's response to read, "Resist all you want motherfucker, but shoot at my people, and we will resist right the fuck back!"

I'm not sure the meeting served a great purpose, other than to reconfirm that the Sunni leadership is still kinda upset about their boy getting pulled out of a hole and charged with War-crimes. That and it was good recon for future targets of opportunity.
Posted by JaBLes D at 01:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

November 28, 2005

Sy Hersh is an Idiot

Sy Hersh quotes an anonymous military planner in his recent New Yorker piece:

The second senior military planner told me that there are essentially two types of targeting now being used in Iraq: a deliberate site-selection process that works out of air-operations centers in the region, and “adaptive targeting”—supportive bombing by prepositioned or loitering warplanes that are suddenly alerted to firefights or targets of opportunity by military units on the ground. “The bulk of what we do today is adaptive,” the officer said, “and it’s divorced from any operational air planning. Airpower can be used as a tool of internal political coercion, and my attitude is that I can’t imagine that we will give that power to the Iraqis.”

This military planner added that even today, with Americans doing the targeting, “there is no sense of an air campaign, or a strategic vision. We are just whacking targets—it’s a reversion to the Stone Age. There’s no operational art. That’s what happens when you give targeting to the Army—they hit what the local commander wants to hit.”

Man, will you please shut up? This isn't a bunch of "insurgents" running around the desert in souped up T-72's, perfect targets for the Deep Attack. There is no Fulda gap. And respectfully, we already tried letting the Air Force do it's thing without the help of Army infantrymen on the ground as spotters. The place we tried it was in Vietnam. And what the hell is so wrong with hitting what the local commander wants to hit?

More douchebaggery:

One senior Pentagon consultant I spoke to said he was optimistic that “American air will immediately make the Iraqi Army that much better.” But he acknowledged that he, too, had concerns about Iraqi targeting. “We have the most expensive eyes in the sky right now,” the consultant said. “But a lot of Iraqis want to settle old scores. Who is going to have authority to call in air strikes? There’s got to be a behavior-based rule.”

General John Jumper, who retired last month after serving four years as the Air Force chief of staff, was “in favor of certification of those Iraqis who will be allowed to call in strikes,” the Pentagon consultant told me. “I don’t know if it will be approved. The regular Army generals were resisting it to the last breath, despite the fact that they would benefit the most from it.”

Well, if we consider that it is the Army that is on the ground, talking to the Iraqis, handling their training, then maybe they have a good reason for that? Perhaps those Army Generals should be the ones to decide whether or not they do, in fact, "benefit the most from ." It's time for these Air Force people quoted to back off on interservice rivalry, and to stop allowing Sy Hersh to use their words as a way of driving a wedge between the military and our Commander-in-Chief. Because that's what Sy Hersh is all about.

I understand that the Air Force wants to have a larger slice of the defense spending pie, that all organizations seek power for themselves, and that in order to do that they need to control the people on the ground calling in air strikes. That is why they created Combat Control Technicians instead of working with the Army to make sure artillery observers can also handle air. That's why they forced Special Forces A-Teams to bring CCT guys with them into Afghanistan. And it's bullshit.

Time to bury interservice rivalry.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 07:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Thanksgiving

I missed this when Mr. Fast Bunny posted it over Thanksgiving.

If you have a hard time understanding the greatness of America, feel free to hop in your car, drive to the grocery store, and wander around. Then contemplate the fact that most of the rest of the world can't even begin to fathom any part of that exercise. No one shot at you, nothing blew up, if you are female you are allowed to drive your car and didn't have to cover your face, no one watched to see what you purchased, there is no limit on what you can or cannot buy, and in the middle of your grocery store you can buy literature that presents all sorts of conflicting political positions and news items. Plus you can pick up a six pack.
Posted by fdschoeneman at 07:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Site Name

I've been talking about moving this blog over to a scoop based system, such as the one over at Athletics Nation, for some time now, and am at the point where I want to reserve a url that this site (www.fredschoeneman.com) would then forward to. If you have any suggestions please put them in the comments. For now, I'm leaning toward one of the following:

1) cockblockermagazine.com
2) da4187.com
3) asslesschaps.net
4) cheeseeater.org

My girlfriend hates the first one, and the third one sounds a little gay, so maybe da4187? (DA Form 4187)

If you have a suggestion for a site url, please make sure it's open first, by checking the url out on register.com. I promise to put up every valid suggestion for a vote. But then, my vote will count more than yours, so whatever. Thanks for your help.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 05:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

November 27, 2005

All Filler

So...Fred liked my comments on this blog well enough he gave me a shot at filling his blog with nonsense and military minutia. I'm no match for Fred's writing ability, so forgive my sophomoric style.

Now, why should you listen to me espouse on all things military? Well, you shouldn't. I'm only qualified to speak on my time in your United States Army. For 5 years of my life I was an infantryman. I served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). I spent just over a year in Iraq. We went all over that Country and I can't say I ever want to see it again. Some days I feel proud about what we did, and some days I just sit and stew about it. What could I have done differently? What could the Army have done differently? It's all a big mind fuck so I try and not play that game. Overall though, I am proud to have served. Proud to have been there when my Country called.

I got out of the Army nearly two years ago. I just couldn't see putting my family through another deployment. Now, my "other" family is back in Iraq fighting the War I left behind. Trouble is, I never really left the War that far behind me. So, everyday I scour the news, hoping I don't see a familiar name. Then, I read the milblogs...

Which brings us here. Hopefully, I do this blog justice and make you laugh as much as I inform you. Fred...thanks for the shot.

Posted by JaBLes D at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

On Message

Glenn Reynolds has drawn attention to a Washington Post article that quotes a poll of Americans, in which 70% of them think criticism of the war hurts the troops. I disagree with those 70% though, actually, in that I don't think that responsible criticism hurts the troops or their mission. Then again I also don't think that the Bush Lied, people died mantra is really responsible criticism. It is politics shrinkwrapped to fit on a bumper sticker.

Anyways.

Reynolds makes another point, one that's sort of important: This is the reverse of Vietnam. It is not the military lying to us, but the press. During Vietnam the press talked to the grunts and found out how things were going on the ground and that didn't mesh with what the Pentagon was saying; and now the press ignores the grunts because that doesn't mesh with their anti-war, America-bad worldview. They want to be the Woodwards and Bernsteins of their generation, but can barely compete with Ted Rall.

I've never felt that Bush was a great man, only that he was a good enough one for the job, and better than his alternatives. Looking at his successes in the past, though, I think they all stem from one thing, and that's not his brilliant political strategy or tactics, but his ability to stay on message. A mediocre strategy executed properly beats a genius strategy poorly executed most of the time. It was Bush's ability to stay on message that allowed him to beat Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. Voters knew what they were going to get. I'm pro-choice myself, and I remember a perfect example of him in action, I think it was in the second or third debate between Gore and Bush. Gore talked and lactated on and on, using his full three minutes to explain his stance on abortion, trying to craft something so vanilla as not to be offensive to either camp, all very cerebral, like Clinton but not nearly as smooth. And then it was Bush's turn.

He said: "I'm pro-life."

Simple. Effective. Bush was comfortable with the silence. I knew what I was getting, and that's when I decided how I was going to vote. While Gore was probably closer to my own stance on abortion, I wouldn't have bought a ham sandwich from him; I could never be sure what was in the ham sandwich, you know?

So it troubles me to know that Bush was, at least in the past, good at staying on message. But why is it only when he's trying to get elected? Why can't he stay on message with Iraq? I suppose history will come down with its own verdict of what's going on in Iraq 20, 30, or 50 years from now, but why must Bush be so passive? Because we're winning. We've achieved our goals, and are well on the way to establishing a democracy in Iraq. Why shouldn't our soldiers and marines have the credit for that in the short term as well? Jeff Goldstein has some ideas along these lines, and what that message ought to be:

The Democrats are angling to take credit for inevitable and planned post-election troop drawbacks. The President needs to continue to make it clear that any removal of troops from Iraq will be a sign of strength and success rather than panic and failure—the latter the message the Dems have been pushing us to embrace.

I think Bush will figure it out. I hope so. We'll see. In the meantime, let me throw a bumper-sticker shout out to the Kos Kids:

No, I will not visualize your whirled fucking peas, dipshit. My other car is a Cadillac Escalade, and it gets 8 miles to the gallon too.
Posted by fdschoeneman at 04:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Money Quote

Today's Money Quote, from Uncle Jimbo, posting over at Blackfive:

If I am lying by the road bleeding, I don't care if the medic coming to save me is gay. I just hope he is one of those buff gay guys who are always in the gym so he can throw me over his shoulder and get me out of there.

Right on. And to those of you toothless dipshits who think the gay dudes will mess up unit cohesion and shouldn't have to serve like everyone else, I want to point something out. The absolute last thing you should want is for the gay dudes to decide it's not worth the effort to be gay anymore. You don't want them to give up their gayness. You don't want them to bite the bullet and start going after your wives. Because listen, brother, you ain't going to be able to compete. Trust me. I walk around San Francisco each day, on my way to work or to the corner store and I see them, leaving their gyms. They have nice haircuts and they dress well and they have nice jobs and apartments and just trust me, and you do not want to compete with that. Be happy they're gay. If they want to serve you and your country by joining the military, let them.

Unless you want to bring your game up a level or two.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 26, 2005

Guest Blogger

I'm working on the final draft of "Army Porn," to be sent out within the next couple of weeks to an editor who may or may not buy it, and I've been trying to get this piece of shit published forever but haven't had any luck, so this is going to be the last time I try, no more, not for this one anyways. I may write another book, but this one's going on the shelf if it doesn't get traction. Anyways, so I'm not going to be able to post very much on this blog, which isn't such a big deal, because things are going to turn out fine without me and the people supporting this war we have in Iraq, and especially the soldiers who've volunteered to fight it, are on the right side of history.

In the meantime, though, I've asked a friend of mine to post here and help pick up the slack. His screen name is JaBles D, and he'll be introducing himself soon. Enjoy.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 05:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Murtha's Argument

I disagree with Congressman Murtha, but he has a right to make his arguments, and to have them listened to respectfully. And I think that those who dismiss his statement out of hand, or who imply that he's a coward for his stance, are out of line -- especially when those people haven't served their country, let alone served their country in the Marine Corps for 37 years.

There are jerks on both side of the Iraq war argument; the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. A Republican politician might not throw a soldier under the bus with the same glee of a Ron Dellums or a Nancy Pelosi, but he will still throw the soldier under a bus. Know who your friends are before you pick a side.

Here's what Murtha actually said.

Posted by fdschoeneman at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)