Target Centermass

6/14/2006

As Promised, Wedding Photos

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:49 pm
First Dance

The first dance for Mr. and Mrs. Gunner
May 6, 2006

More photos in the extended entry for those that are interested.

(more…)

12/21/2005

Having Your Ass in a Sling

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:01 am

… is generally considered to be a bad thing. Still, sometimes there’s a way to make the best of a bad situation. In the particular case I’m about to discuss, making the best would be a matter of improving the sling.

I present to you the Cooper Sling, a privately-supplied improvement for gunners on humvees and a collection of other military vehicles and a great improvement on the standard-issue, seat-belt-narrow nylon strap.

How did such an innovation come about? Mix one part each soldier-with-complaint and friend-who-can-help.

It started out as a simple gift made of leather for an Army friend with orders to Operation Iraqi Freedom. But in a flash, Kyle Greenwood’s Cooper Sling Gunner Seat has become a hot item with hundreds of Humvee crews in Iraq, Afganistan and stateside.

“The idea behind the new Cooper Sling Gunner Seat is simple,” says Greenwood, 34, owner of Black Mountain Industries in Bryan, Texas. “It helps make gunners in Humvees and other tactical vehicles more effective soldiers and improves their chances of coming home alive.”

Greenwood designed the Cooper Sling for a close friend, SGT William Hartmann. His invention replaces current standard issue nylon strap seats intended to help turret gunners maintain a combat-ready posture.

“However, those straps are as uncomfortable as they are unsafe,” says Greenwood. “Gunners say they cause severe pain in their lower backs and buttocks on long patrols and make their legs go to sleep. They also do nothing to prevent the two leading causes of injury and death to Humvee gunners in Iraq—ejection from the vehicle due to the violent impact of mines and roadside explosives, and rollovers.”

Greenwood and Hartmann became close friends while selling office equipment in Bryan, Texas, several years ago.

“In late 2004, William was serving as a Humvee gunner and knew his unit would be sent to Iraq before long,” says Greenwood. “He called to ask if I knew anyone who could make something out of leather, since I have horses. That’s when he told me about the problem Humvee gunners have trying to sit on the standard issue straps—if I could make something to improve on them. He also said, ‘While you’re at it, find some way to tie me into this thing so I don’t get thrown out or crushed in a rollover.’

“I thought, ‘Sure, glad to do it,’” recalls Greenwood. “William’s a good friend and I have been looking for a way to help him while he’s in Iraq defending our country.”

Greenwood’s first problem was attaching an improved gunner seat in the Humvee turret. Once he solved that, he set out to meet four basic requirements for the gunner seat: durability, comfort, easy to move and safer than the standard issue straps.

“That’s how I came up with the original design of the Cooper Sling, with its 7×24-inch web seat made of saddle leather,” says Greenwood. “From there, I started thinking about a safety restraint to keep these guys from getting ejected or crushed.”

[…]

In November, Greenwood took the gunner seat he’d designed for Hartmann to Fort Hood, Texas, to see how well it fit a Humvee gun turret.

“As I was demonstrating it to William a lot of G.I.s saw us and started asking questions,” recalls Greenwood. “Before I knew it, there was a crowd around the Humvee wanting to know where they could get a Cooper Sling. At that point I realized there was a need for this product that extended way beyond my friend.”

In the interest of full disclosure, that SGT Hartmann from the article is none other than my dear friend and former tank crewmate Billy-boy, whose Iraq deployment I’ve blogged about here, here and here.

On an M1 at Hood in May 93

I’m not getting a single shiny cent for conveying the news of the Cooper Sling. Bill, a.k.a. SGT William Hartmann, may or may not be in for a cut, but I do know that my dear friend (above on the far right from a 1993 Ft. Hood photo) is now home safe from Iraq and can stand up front with me (above on the far left, much younger then) at my wedding in May. If he believes in the value of the product, I will.

Besides, how could I resist an entrepreneurial endeavor meant to help American military personnel and whose site includes an Adopt-a-Gunner program?

12/20/2005

Go Ahead, Make (Fun of) My Day

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:33 pm

Tuesday, the twentieth of December, 2005 A.D. (or C.E. if you would prefer), has been absolutely craptastic.

Let’s just start with waking up, which is how I tend to start my days. Normally, though, I don’t wake up with a fever and what can only be described as an immovable wall of mucous in my sinuses. I notify work that I’ll be in late, if at all. Hours later, with fever now abating, I decide to head on in to the office. Well, that was the decision, anyway.

Flat freakin’ tire.

I could’ve just called it a day and given up, but that only would have been delaying dealing with the tire, and there’s no guarantee I’d be feeling better tomorrow. Maybe it was the slight fever, as I’m just as bad at procrastinating as the next man.

Did I mention it was 39 degrees out and raining? And let’s not forget the insidious biomass claiming squatters rights in my sinus cavity. Sure, I have covered parking, but there was no way I could maneuver the car completely under the shelter. I worked on the jack and tire in dry conditions but managed to get pretty darned damp while dealing with anything in the trunk (i.e. getting out the spare and jack, putting in the tire that had betrayed me).

Okay, the spare was now in place, and I inspected the flat. A screw. Well, screw you, too, screw! It was a pretty new tire and still under warranty, so I hopped in and drove to the nearest franchise of the tire store where I’d purchased it. No problem, they said. No charge, they said. Just leave the tire overnight, they said. What?!! There’s a few things I expect to find at place of business specializing in the area of automobile tires, things such as tires, wheels and patches. Patches? They apparently don’t need no stinkin’ patches. In an astounding failure of inventory control, this wondrous facility was completely out of patches. Quick thinkers that they were, they had ordered some from another outlet when they realized they had absolutely zero in stock. Delivery was expected in under two hours; as it was now around two in the afternoon, I told them to fix it as soon as possible and then went to get some lunch, pick up some means of self-medicating and run a quick Christmas-related errand in the neighborhood.

Eventually I checked back and was told my tire was ready. Luckily they were a little more efficient in actually putting it on the car and I was able to stroll into the office as the daily exodus home was beginning for most. Did I say stroll? Struggle would be more accurate as, by this time, I had realized that I had apparently strained something in my back while dealing with the flat. Stupid tiny-ass, manufacturer-supplied tire iron.

So now I sit, slightly feverish with an aching back and what may be a new form of life dwelling in my sinuses.

How was your day?

12/6/2005

Iraq: Unwinnable Nam … or Maybe Not

Howard Dean, failed presidential candidate and the chair of the DNC, has declared that the Americans have been defeated in Iraq.

Saying the “idea that we’re going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong,” Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

[…]

“I’ve seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, ‘just another year, just stay the course, we’ll have a victory.’ Well, we didn’t have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening.”

Dean says the Democrat position on the war is ‘coalescing,’ and is likely to include several proposals.

“I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years,” Dean said. “Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don’t belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don’t have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We’ve got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Well, I’d like to respond to four aspects of this. First, as John Hinderaker at Power Line points out, defeatism was once frowned upon in American society, not trumpeted by the head of a major party. Second, I would really like an explanation of how a withdrawn force in a neighboring country is expected to combat the terrorist bastard Zarqawi while he wreaks mayhem in our wake in Iraq. This is nothing but a complete lack of a developed line of thought, thrown out for political expediency that deserves to backfire more that a gutteral Iowa scream. Third, as a former Guardsman and close buddy of a Guardsman currently returning from Iraq, I am disgusted by Dean’s patronizing characterization of the reserve components. I’d like to hear Dean try to sell that tripe to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Breor of the Texas Army National Guard’s 56th Brigade, returning from Iraq with tales of both the unit’s fine performance and progress on the ground. The Guard and Reserve don’t belong in a conflict like Iraq?!! I’ve got a little newsflash for the DNC chair: the Guard and Reserve go through the same training as members of the active service and are held to the same standards; the key difference in proficiency stems from training time after new troops return from their initial training and the accompanying unit cohesiveness. This is overcome to a large degree already, as the reserve units spend a substantial period uptraining before rotating to the sandbox. There is one substantial difference in National Guard training, and that is the one day a year spent on spent on riot control procedures, as the true base of former Governor Dean cannot be trusted to behave civilly in the political sphere. Oh yeah, before I forget, let’s not miss a chance to praise the brave troopers of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 617th MP Company, who kicked ass while in Iraq.

My fourth point with Dean’s bold stance of being decidedly meek is that, while in line with the established mythologies of both Viet Nam and Iraq, it stands in stark contrast to the true lessons of history and the reality of the nature of the current Iraqi situation. Frederick W. Kagan addresses this painstakingly in his “Iraq Is Not Vietnam” piece (hat tip to Jeff Goldstein).

When american ground forces paused briefly during the march to Baghdad in 2003, critics of the war were quick to warn of a quagmire; an oblique reference to the Vietnam War. Virtually as soon as it became clear that the conflict in Iraq had become an insurgency, analogies to Vietnam began to proliferate. This development is not surprising. Critics have equated every significant American military undertaking since 1975 to Vietnam, and the fear of being trapped in a Vietnam-like war has led to the frequent demand that U.S. leaders develop not plans to win wars, but exit strategies, plans to get out of messes.

There is no question that the Vietnam War scarred the American psyche deeply, nor that it continues to influence American foreign policy and military strategy profoundly. CENTCOM’s strategy for the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq is an attempt to avoid making Vietnam-like mistakes. Proponents of other strategies, like combined action platoons or oil spot approaches, most frequently derive those programs from what they believe are the right lessons of Vietnam. It is becoming increasingly an article of faith that the insurgency in Vietnam is similar enough to the insurgency in Iraq that we can draw useful lessons from the one to apply to the other. This is not the case. The only thing the insurgencies in Iraq and Vietnam have in common is that in both cases American forces have fought revolutionaries. To make comparisons or draw lessons beyond that basic point misunderstands not only the particular historical cases, but also the value of studying history to draw lessons for the present.

Kagan goes on to look at the historical roots, composition, support and capabilities of the insurgencies we face in both Viet Nam and Iraq. The stark differences give lie to the supposedly authoritative but defeatist talk of Howard Dean. Kagan’s effort is somewhat lengthy, but pretty much worth every word. As an aside, my thoughts on exit strategies can be found here. I challenge anyone to provide a successfully executed war where an exit strategy was the guiding force and was followed to fruition.

Howard Dean has accepted defeat. The American military has achieved success after success. The Bush administration has remained steadfast in its policy that Iraq is a key piece in the war against radical Islamic terror and that we are succeeding and progressing on the ground, though they’ve done a poor job of propagating the news.

The American people will have to decide whether to move forward or find defeat after unprecedented success, a defeat that will reinforce unto our enemies the lessons they learned from Saigon ’75, Beirut ’84 and Somalia ’93 — bloody the Americans and they will cowardly run away, tail between the legs. And our children will have to live or die with that decision.

Yes, it is in the hands of the American people. However, it is only fair that they are given the full story to make that decision. Today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked the all-too-negative media to present the full story that the American people haven’t been given, opened schools and not just exploding cars.

As the United States wages its first war with widespread 24/7 news coverage, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged the media to ensure it’s telling the whole story about Iraq, not just focusing on events that make dramatic headlines.

Rumsfeld, speaking at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s campus here Dec. 5, said troops frequently ask him why the American people aren’t getting a more accurate picture of what’s happening in Iraq. They question why violence seems to get the heaviest coverage, while “good news” stories about successes tend to go unreported.

The secretary noted the media’s indispensable role in keeping people informed and holding the government to account. Many in the media have done “excellent reporting” in Iraq, and some have been killed in the process, he said.

“But it’s important also for the media to hold itself to account,” Rumsfeld told the group.

“We’ve arrived at a strange time in this country, where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press and reported and spread around the world,” the secretary said. Often this reporting occurs with little or no context or scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability, even after the fact, he said. Speed appears to be more important than accuracy or context to some reporters, he said, and their reports can spread around the globe, regardless of their validity.

[…]

In May, rioting and several deaths resulted from what Rumsfeld called “a false and damaging” news story about a Koran being flushed down a toilet at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In yet another instance, a recent New York Times editorial implied that the U.S. armed forces were using tactics Rumsfeld called “reminiscent of Saddam Hussein.”

Similarly, news reports that focus simply on terror attacks and bombings don’t paint an accurate picture or tell the whole story of what’s happening in Iraq, the secretary said.

“You couldn’t tell the full story of Iwo Jima simply by listing the nearly 26,000 Americans that were casualties over about 40 days … or explain the importance of (Gen. Ulysses S.) Grant’s push to Virginia just by noting the savagery of the battles, and they were savage,” Rumsfeld said.

Similarly, the secretary said, telling the story of what’s happening in Iraq by focusing only on how many Americans have died leaves much of the story untold. Just as important, he said, is the story of what those troops died for and what they lived for.

It is the resposibility of the American populace to decide between possible success and Dean’s failure. Rumsfeld is correct — it is only fair, both for my future children and the honor of our military’s courageous efforts and sacrifices, that the supposed American media paint a fair, full and accurate picture to provide Americans the information needed for their monumental decision.

10/4/2005

U.S. Uses ‘Iron Fist’ in Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:24 am

The U.S. is conducting an offensive against the terrorists in Iraq. I find Canada’s Globe and Mail coverage of the effort to be amazingly negative in story and poor in detail, even for our supposed allies to the north.

A U.S. offensive aimed at al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents in western Iraq entered its third day Monday, with air strikes in a town on the banks of the Euphrates River, witnesses said. At least 36 militants have died since the fighting began, officials said.

No serious U.S. casualties have been reported in the “Iron Fist” offensive by 1,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors near the Syrian border.

Well, so far, so bland. That must stop. So, too, must actual reporting of the offensive, as the story turns now towards negative news elsewhere in Iraq. Hey, the alleged point of the story got over sixty words — time to shift to unrelated gloom-and-doom.

In Baghdad, Iraq’s oil minister narrowly survived an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb blasted his seven-car convoy, killing three of his escorts, officials said.

Elsewhere, roadside bombs and fighting between insurgents and Iraqi forces on Monday wounded at least seven Iraqis in Ramadi, a militant stronghold west of the capital, police and hospital officials said.

Insurgents wearing black hoods were seen carrying machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the city’s streets, and Iraqi civilians gathered around two burning Iraqi army pickup trucks. Some of the civilians celebrated the destruction by carrying Iraqi military helmets and a uniform that appeared to have been pulled from the burning Iraqi vehicles.

In the northern city of Mosul, a drive-by shooting killed Nafi’a Aziz, a female member of Ninevah’s provincial council, and her son, said police spokesman Brig. Saeed Ahmed. Mr. Aziz was in charge of the council’s human rights committee and a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

The offensive and street fighting come less than two weeks before the national referendum on a new Iraqi constitution. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other groups in the Sunni-led insurgency have killed at least 207 people over the past eight days in a bid to wreck the vote.

On Sunday, Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed to have taken two U.S. Marines captive during the fighting and threatened to kill them within 24 hours unless all female Sunni detainees are released from U.S. and Iraqi prisons in the country. The U.S. military said the claim appeared false but that it was conducting checks “to verify that all Marines are accounted for.”

Well, that should be enough to quash any optimism about the offensive. Let’s actually return to that offensive, shall we?

The offensive in western Iraq by 1,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors began early Saturday in the village of Sadah and has since spread to Karabilah and Rumana, two nearby towns on the banks of the Euphrates River. On Monday, witnesses told The Associated Press that helicopter attacks on Rumana were sending up clouds of black smoke.

No casualties were immediately reported in Monday’s fighting by the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for their own safety, or by the U.S. military command center in Baghdad.

The military says al-Qaeda in Iraq, the country’s most feared insurgent group, has turned the area near Iraq’s border into a “sanctuary” and a way-station for foreign fighters entering from Syria.

In Karabilah, Marines clashed with insurgents who opened fire from a building on Sunday in a firefight that killed eight militants, the military said.

Most of the militants appeared to have slipped out of Sadah before the force moved in, and hundreds of the village’s residents fled into Syria ahead of the assault.

There was “virtually no opposition” in Sadah, the Marine commander in western Anbar province, Col. Stephen W. Davis said.

At least 28 militants were killed in fighting Sunday, Davis said, bringing the two-day toll among insurgents to 36. There have been no serious U.S. casualties in the operation, he said.

Okay, the American offensive appears to be going well, time to cast a pall on that.

On Monday, a CNN journalist embedded with Marines in eastern Karabilah filed video showing the attack. About 20 Iraqi civilians fled the fighting, and the wounded included an Iraqi mother, father and their child, who were bleeding after being hit by flying pieces of concrete.

Oh holy crap! Civilians in a combat zone were injured by flying bits of building! Oh the humanity! Damn, but large portions of Canada really need wake up, crawl out from under the blanket of protection their southerly neighbors have afforded them for apparently far too long, and actually come face-to-face with a real threat. I doubt their grandfathers on D-Day fretted overly much about bystanders being stung by inadvertant debris.

The rest of the story ignores the offensive and returns to the negative stories covered earlier. It’s almost like the author wants the reader to know a successful operation is underway, but doesn’t want that news to bring any good vibes. On the other hand, for balance’s sake, the article does wrap up with a slightly positive tidbit, again unrelated to the offensive.

Elsewhere, Shiite militiamen released the recently kidnapped brother of Iraq’s interior minister, the freed man, Abdul-Jabbar Jabr said.

Well, there, that’s fair coverage of a friend’s successful venture, wouldn’t you say?

Meanwhile, Chad over at In the Bullpen has a rather speculative story that al Queda in Iraq may be considering bailing on, well, Iraq as a base of operations. Continued offensives like those barely covered above would certainly play a role in such a maneuver. Chad goes on to ponder about possible new sites for the terrorist base of operations.

Where would they move? The Sinai is the first place I’d look for any reemergence, but there’s also Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa to consider.

As I’ve noted before, the U.S. military is already planning for such a relocation.

9/25/2005

D.C. Protests: Associated Press Picks Side

In straight news reporting, the lede is everything. The opening paragraph should carry the gist of the entire article and answer all of the fundamental questions of who, what, when, where and how. Why is questionable, as it can paint a bias on the story or be immediately undetermined.

This weekend, the American capital of Washington, D.C. saw back-to-back gatherings of anti-war and pro-troop rallies. The Associated Press’ lede paragraph for today’s rally in support of the U.S. efforts in Iraq is as follows:

Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after a massive protest against the war in Iraq.

My attention is immediately drawn towards the mention of anger. Actually, my first reaction is that I dare you to diagram that rather poorly written sentence. Past that, I’m taken by the mention of anger in the lede. Why? Well, let’s look at the lede from the AP’s coverage of Saturday’s rally.

Opponents of the war in Iraq rallied by the thousands Saturday to demand the return of U.S. troops, staging a day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead in marches through Washington and other American and European cities.

What? Song and remembrance? No anger?

Well, judging by photoblogging by Michelle Malkin and Davids Medienkritik, I would beg to differ. There seems to have been a great deal of unreported anger at Saturday’s shin dig. Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit followed Saturday’s speeches and seems to have identified a great deal of anger, as well as a great deal of failed leftist talking points.

So why no mention of anger Saturday while it made the lede Sunday? Well, I’ll leave it to one of the best bloggers out there, Jeff Goldstein, to absolutely rip the puff piece that was Saturday’s “news” story by the A.P. Suffice it to say that the A.P. has happily allowed the slant of their writers to overwhelm their supposed straight news reporting.

As the Indepundit allows a Marine in Iraq to point out, this weekend was critical for the home front of the war against the radical Islamist movement and our efforts in Iraq.

Thanks for doing this. The battlefield this weekend will be on the homefront. The only thing that truly concerns me is that the seditionist groups will succeed in causing the American people to lose their will and the enemy will win politically the victory we have denied them militarily.

Let there be no mistake: we are winning here. Morale is outstanding and we are successfully taking the fight to the enemy. You will see a successful referendum in less than 3 weeks and a successfull election in less than 3 months. I see the positive resuts of our actions everyday. The MSM ignores or denigrates almost every piece of positive news, exaggerates every negative and makes the enemy and his actions out to be more than they are.

They absolutely cannot defeat us militarily and have no strategic vision except the destruction of all who oppose them. A strategy based on such a negative is doomed to fail, unless we cut and run. That is the enemy’s only chance to win. The biggest threat we face is a determined enemy who will not quit because, like the Vietnamese they see the possibility of victory because of a perceived willingness to quit at home.

Folks, in the war the Marine describes, the A.P. has long since chosen sides. This weekend, they made it very freakin’ obvious.

8/30/2005

On the Scene in Crawford

Filed under: — Gunner @ 1:22 am

On the return from my weekend escape in San Antonio, I was able to briefly swing out of the way and stop by Crawford, Texas, and the site of Cindy Sheehan’s “Camp Casey.” You just may have heard of them — seems they’ve been in the news a little of late. As I promised last night, here is my photoblogging of my little adventure.

I want to note that yesterday was a relatively quiet day, especially compared to the hubbub just the day before when Rev. Al Sharpton and president-of-television-land Martin Sheen stopped by to lend their support to Cindy, she of bottomless and rather public grief for a brave son. Also in the mix Saturday were more than three thousand who rolled into town to express their opposition to Cindy’s defeatist stance. Believe you me, Sunday was much more serene, with Sharpton having long since sped away from this quaint piece of small-town Texas.

Our visit started in downtown Crawford. Prominent on the scene was the store front of the Yellow Rose (as with all photos to follow, click to enlarge).

Just a week before, the store had been evacuated because of a bomb threat.

On the street-facing south side of the Yellow Rose, a sign had been hung for Proclaim Liberty.us.

Did you note the subtle vandalism? Here’s a closer look.

Ah, yes, a nice little Hitler moustache has been cut out of the picture. How very clever. And just what is the Proclaim Liberty site? Just the website of the travelling Liberty Bell tribute on display in front of the Yellow Rose. How very Naziesque.

All around downtown Crawford, there were displays of support for President Bush, the troops and the war efforts.

Support from bikers.

Support from a trucker.

Even support from twins.

There was a small contingent of opposition to the president on one corner.

They apparently had some unwelcome Protest Warrior accompaniment.

On the north side of the Yellow Rose, in a small vacant lot, a handful of displays and tents can be found. As I wandered into the area, a man approached me and quietly sought to engage me in conversation. He humbly introduced himself and I was taken aback. The site, now dubbed Fort Qualls, is the result of the efforts of the man who stood before me, Gary Qualls, a Gold Star parent like Cindy Sheehan. The Gold Star is where the similarities end, however. Ft. Qualls came about after Mr. Qualls grew tired of quietly trying to prevent the Sheehan crowd’s efforts to exploit his son’s death. After repeatedly removing crosses with his son’s name from the “Camp Casey” displays, Mr. Qualls decided to express his opinion a little more openly.

Mr. Quall’s objective is two-fold: to honor his son’s wishes by supporting the efforts for which his Marine son voluntarily fought and unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to pay an honorable and lasting tribute to his son through a memorial fund.

The sad, yet heart-warming, story behind the shirt pictured above is here.

In front of Ft. Qualls stands an updated dry-erase board that shows that other families are also tired of the usage of the memories of their fallen loved ones by the Sheehan cross-planting camp.

After leaving the Ft. Qualls site, my companions and I piled into the car and headed out of town towards the sites of the anti-war gatherings. Along the way, it was clear that the president and the military had the support of most of the neighboring residents.

Before I continue with the photoblogging, I’d like to suggest that you read this description of life at the site of Camp Casey, courtesy the Indepundit. The author spent two days on site, as opposed to my Cindy-less one hour. After you’ve read that, I hope my few photos can flesh out the feel of the tale.

Eventually, we passed the infamous original site of Camp Casey and its roadside crosses, a display that may very well be actually illegal in Texas.

The protestors at the original infestation made their views obvious — they were fighting against the fight against radical Islamist terror.

Across the road, those in support of the military efforts in Iraq expressed their opinions.



Now, on to the main site of the Sheehan insurrection. First, the field of crosses.

I can only assume that, in their efforts to honor the fallen, the protestors actually cared enough to verify that every single fallen soldier was actually a Christian. I certainly saw no sign of any of our honored dead having any other faith or lack of faith. Of course the anti-war group bothered to check that, right? After all, they’re supposedly only trying to pay honor and all that jazz.

I found the press sign-in sheet interesting. Apparently High Times digs the happening scene, though drug usage is posted as forbidden.

Funny, no press sign-in sheet at Ft. Qualls. Ah, but now we see the evidence of the difference between a man’s heart-felt outpouring and a political public relations campaign. That, and unlike Camp Casey 2, Ft. Qualls didn’t have a highspeed internet access.

There was no sign of Cindy during our brief visit. The residents of Camp Casey 2 were polite, almost in a Stepford Wives kind of way. They seem to have a recipe for protest and are following it, however chafing it must have been for the person who was chastised for throwing water at a passing car.

As we left, I admired the love of the left for bumper stickers.

I mean, we’re talking about a love of stickers, even if those stickers reinforce the love of the left for defeat, be it Texas, South Dakota or Iraq.

Oh yeah, as I left, a sculpture arrived. Cindy Sheehan is such an ispiration. I wonder what happened to that chunk of sandstone.

I want to close this by re-posting a tribute to the memory of Casey Sheehan, courtesy of Blackfive. This is a far better tribute than any I saw at his mom’s current digs.

8/6/2005

Women Say the Darnedest Things

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:38 pm

For example, the girlfriend fiancee said yes.

Target. Cease fire.

7/8/2005

What Now, Cousins Across the Pond?

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:59 am

Hail, Britannia, what now on the next day?

Now that the war against radical Islamist terror has visited your homeland, your civilians and not just your fine soldiers, will you buckle, folding like Spain after the bombings in Madrid? Will you rally as you historically have to the need of the day?

I’ll seek to inspire you from your own fine history.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V

Please realize we stand with you in these dark days.

(c) FreeFoto.com

We stand with you not only because of our heritage but also because of the admirable character, the fighting spirit of your people. This is nothing new and nothing undeserved.

The British people know that, given strong leadership, time and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to mankind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.

I’ve often wondered about the shyness of some of us in the West about standing for these ideals that have done so much to ease the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world. This reluctance to use those vast resources at our command reminds me of the elderly lady whose home was bombed in the Blitz. As the rescuers moved about, they found a bottle of brandy she’d stored behind the staircase, which was all that was left standing. And since she was barely conscious, one of the workers pulled the cork to give her a taste of it. She came around immediately and said, “Here now – there now, put it back. That’s for emergencies.”

—Ronald Reagan, June 8, 1982

What now, Britannia? Here’s hoping enough of the bulldogged stubbornness and courage of Sir Winston still courses through your veins to continue the fight for our civilization. I have confidence in your spirit, in your determination, in your remembrance of your storied past and hope for your glorious future, and for the continued friendship of our great nations.

Nothing unites the English like war. Nothing divides them like Picasso.

—Hugh Mills

Unite, Britannia. This ain’t no Picasso at stake. It’s our future. It’s time for another damned fine hour.

7/7/2005

Boxer Criticizes Iraq War in SF Speech

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:29 am

Ah, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Lalaland), once again stands forth in her self-annointed role as useful idiot. My apologies if this is long, but Barbie makes it easy at every turn.

Sen. Barbara Boxer offered a major foreign policy speech on the war in Iraq before hundreds of her constituents in San Francisco today.

The situation in Iraq is spiraling out of control, she said, and the pool of people willing to fight in the insurgency against American troop presence there seems bottomless.

She described herself as “distressed, angry and frustrated” over the continuing unrest in Iraq and the mounting death toll with no apparent end in sight.

“Iraq was a war of choice, not a war of necessity,” she said.

“We have no idea, none, how long the administration plans to be in Iraq,” she said.

We do actually have a vague idea — we will leave when we have succeeded. That is a solid plan. As to a specific exit date, I would think that the only people more disappointed than Boxer that one hasn’t been set are the terrorists opposing us. Umm … senator, in all your studies of history, can you name a single successful war in which a withdrawal date was set before actual victory had been achieved? Or do you consider an unstable but progressing Iraq a victory to walk away from, rather than just a step to a possible success?

“When we see this next generation coming along … we owe them everything that we have in us to leave them a better world,” Boxer said.

She cited the latest American soldier death count of 1,749, 13,336 wounded and at least 8,000 dead Iraqis as proof positive that a clear mission and foreign policy shift are in order.

“Our troops deserve more than they are getting, they deserve more than the status quo,” she said.

This is, unsurprisingly, a rather weak statement. The argument is fairly bankrupt when the only evidence against the current strategy consists of an emotional plea and casualty figures, casualty figures that are dwarfed by practically all those in the history of warfare.

President George Bush’s administration “took its eye off the ball” when it shifted its focus from finding Osama bin Laden to waging a pre-emptive war against Iraq, she said.

Pray tell, just how has the troop level in Afghanistan changed after that “eye off the ball” thing happened? Seriously, I guess I lied when I said the 2004 election was finally over — Boxer is still reading verbatim from John Kerry campaign speeches.

As Bush’s reasons for the war have changed, the mission has become ever more ambiguous, she said.

Reasons haven’t changed. Mission hasn’t changed. Boxer’s sniping attacks haven’t changed. Well, I guess we can celebrate consistency.

“That mission is a guarantee of a never-ending cycle of violence,” she said, as America’s military presence there seems to be a magnet for recruits for the insurgency.

Just as in 1993 and 2001, the World Trade Center towers were a magnet for terror. Still, senator, I’d rather we at least try shooting the Islamist bastards to pieces over there than picking up the pieces over here.

The insurgency now numbers anywhere from 12,000 to 50,000 fighters, she said.

“The insurgents are winning the propaganda wars now,” she said.

If the terrorists are winning the propaganda wars now, it’s no great surprise — they’ve got Sens. Boxer, Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin manning the front lines with poisonous swill being lapped up by al-Jazeera.

“Terrorism is a result of this war,” Boxer said, amid applause at the Commonwealth Club of California-sponsored speech at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel.

Aye, lassie, and terrorism is also the cause of this war. Don’t ye forget. Ever.

The mission, she said, should be security for Iraqis by Iraqis.

“It takes a long time to get a perfect democracy — ours certainly did,” Boxer said, citing the Supreme Court’s involvement in the 2000 presidential election as evidence that even America’s democracy has yet to reach perfection.

“Give us a mission that can succeed,” she said. “Give us a mission that makes sense.”

As those are the goals of the current strategy you despise, give us a feasible alternative. Or shut up with the al-Jazeera-headline-making, terrorist-encouraging, GI-endangering political hack job.

Boxer described her speech as the culmination of her thoughts and comments she’s made on the war in Iraq, since the war began in March 2003.

I agree with Boxer here, as the speech is a culmination of her thoughts and comments — no ideas, no alternatives, plenty of attacks on our efforts, plenty of quotes for our enemies to use. Yup, that’s Boxer in a nutshell.

Like I said, so easy at every turn. Damn it feels good to be a blogger.

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