Target Centermass

10/31/2005

Cool MilBlog Site

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:09 pm

And getting cooler every day.

Two weeks ago, the Gunn Nutt introduced me to a new site, MilBlogging.com. From their About page is the following:

Milblogging.com’s mission is to help visitors to quickly and easily find milblogs from all over the world.

Milblogging.com is the ultimate starting point for online milblogging. The world’s largest index of military blogs – searchable by a variety of attributes – providing an unprecedented depth of information necessary to find your favorite milblog. Any visitor can find the right milblog that interests them generally in fewer than five clicks. Registered users can submit military blogs. Registration is free!

I was intrigued enough to see if some of the MilBlogs I frequent were there. Oh sure, the biggies were already listed, but a good number of the ones I read regularly were still missing, including … ahem … Target Centermass. I meant to register and start submitting. No, really, I meant to. Obviously, it was something that could wait a day. Or two. Or …

Well, today I was scanning back over the weekend at the martini dude, and he pointed me back to MilBlogging.com. I checked it out again and it is most assuredly growing fast. Oh yeah, TCm was added on Oct. 26. Thanks to whoever was so kind as to swing that.

Okay, MilBlogging.com just made the sidebar. Now, they really need to come up with some buttons.

Happy Halloween, Y’all

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:02 pm

Required viewing — check.

Required food — check.

The trick-or-treaters have passed the century mark and there’s still candy aplenty.

Here’s hoping y’all are having a fun one, too.

U.S., Japan Upgrade Defense Alliance

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:16 am

The United States has taken a step forward in integrating its Asia-Pacific defenses with key ally Japan.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has declared the US-Japan security pact a “global alliance” following agreement on an unprecedented level of operational co-operation between American and Japanese forces.

While the headline item for Japan from the weekend agreement is the removal of 7000 US marines from Okinawa, its fundamental thrust is a rapid integration of the military commands and their operational capabilities.

The document also foreshadows a strengthening of tentative security links between Japan and Australia, the key southern partner in the Americans’ Asia-Pacific alliance network.

It calls for US and Japanese forces to regularly exercise with third countries and to strengthen co-operation with them “to improve the international security environment”.

Required exercises with third parties could lead to interesting politics. Obvious number-threes like regional allies Australia and South Korea would certainly be understandable, as would be a naval inclusion of the Brits. Some other matchups may raise more eyebrows and political storms, both regionally, globally and internally to Japan.

“This relationship which was once only about the defence of Japan and stability of the region has come to a global alliance,” Dr Rice said in Washington yesterday after she and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed an interim “force posture realignment” agreement with their Japanese counterparts.

“This relationship which was once only about the defence of Japan and stability of the region has come to a global alliance,” Dr Rice said in Washington yesterday after she and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed an interim “force posture realignment” agreement with their Japanese counterparts.

“We’re now talking about joint activities in various areas between Japan and the US in order to improve the peace security around the world,” said Japan Defence Agency director-general Yoshinori Ono.

Mr Ono said the alliance “opened a new era” but was careful to insist Japan’s expanded role would not contravene the country’s pacifist constitution.

All well and good, until possible global realities add pressure to include nations in future exercises that may have serious ramifications on the Japanese homefront and abroad. Exercises with the U.S., Japan and India would be intriguing for the possible future of the war against radical Islam, but also may really be addressing an issue in direct conflict with Japanese legal constraints. Likewise, the hot potato of exercises with Taiwan would definitely give light to a political powderkeg. Despite that, this Taiwan matchup is a rather likely scenario that must be prepared for and gamed in detail.

However, matters covered by the new US-Japan agreement, including joint missile defence arrangements, push constitutional boundaries, particularly the official interpretation that the war-renouncing Article 9 forbids Japan from engaging in “collective self-defence” with its allies.

While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party proposes amending Article 9 in its new constitutional draft, the suddenly urgent pace of US-Japan alliance “transformation” is racing ahead of the constitutional debate.

It is late 2005. Japan’s constitutional constraints are the results of the nation’s aggressiveness over sixty years past. It is time for a revision — it is time for a great nation and regional and global power to unshackle itself, say it can act responsibly on the global stage, and become the contributor that it should be.

How confident is the U.S. in Japan’s future? Well, it seems they are willing to become even more technologically intertwined with the nation for a shared cause.

The Americans will deploy the powerful X-Band anti-missile radar system and share its information with Japan, which will further bind together Japan’s planned ballistic missile defence system and the US Pacific BMD network.

Common causes. Common potential enemies. This is a good step forward, with a lot of potential for thorns and blessings.

10/30/2005

Police Arrest 20 in Search for New Delhi Bombers

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:04 pm

More bombs and bloodshed and, as was the initial suspicions of everybody outside the Middle East, radical Islamists appear to be to blame for the murder of over sixty in India this weekend.

Indian police raided dozens of hotels and detained 20 suspects last night in the hunt for those responsible for a series of blasts in New Delhi that killed 61 people and left more than 200 injured.

Explosions tore through a bus and two crowded markets on Saturday night just as Indian and Pakistani diplomats from the nuclear-armed rivals were finalising a deal to open up their contested frontier in Kashmir for earthquake relief efforts.

An obscure Kashmiri militant organisation, Islami Inqilabi Mahaz (Islamic Revolutionary Group), telephoned local newspapers to claim responsibility for Saturday night’s blasts and said “attacks will continue until India pulls out all its troops from the state of Kashmir”.

The caller, who identified himself as Ahmed Yaar Ghaznavi, said the attack “was meant as a rebuff to the claims of Indian security groups” that militant fighters had been wiped out by military crackdowns and the South Asian earthquake on October 8.

The claim of the group has yet to be verified, Karnail Singh, joint commissioner of Delhi police, told a press conference.

“We know that it was created in 1996 and it has not been very active, but it has links with Lashkar-e-Taiba,” he said, referring to the most feared militant group in Kashmir.

Analysts had said the timing and sophisticated nature of the blasts appeared to be the work of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (Force of the Pure). Many experts said that if Islamic extremists were behind the bombings, their motivation would be to destabilise the 20-month-old peace process between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. “Things are not going their way so the easiest act is to try to destroy the progress that has been made,” said Uday Bhaskar of Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis.

However, Pakistan’s information minister, Sheikh Rashid, told Indian television channels that no one could “drive a wedge between the two countries because both are committed to peace”. The opening of the de facto border, known as the Line of Control, for relief operations was a big step forward, he said. Islamic militants in Kashmir have for 16 years been seeking independence from India.

But despite the blasts, the two sides agreed to open the border in five places next week. Aid supplies will be allowed to cross at those points and Kashmiri civilians on foot, with priority given to those with families divided by the border.

India. Russia. London. New York. Bali. The list already goes on and on, and it will only continue to grow. Is there really any question remaining for those of rational mind that expansionist radical Islam is a global threat? I should certainly hope not.

Quote of the Week, 30 OCT 05

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:29 pm

For most men, the matter of learning is one of professional preference. But for Army officers, the obligation to learn, to grow in their profession, is clearly a public duty.

—General Omar Bradley

Aggie Football: Low and Looking Lower

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:23 pm

Well, yesterday’s loss was easily the worst I’ve seen the Aggies play at home in my twenty years of following the team. With hopes high heading into the season after last year’s improvement, it is sad to see a defensive secondary showing such horrid coverage abilities. That’s not to say that the offense has been anything to write home about, but that is somewhat understandable because of injuries.

With a November slate of road games at pass-happy Texas Tech and rebounding Oklahoma and a home showdown with rival second-ranked Texas, things are not looking pretty for the Ags. As bad as the defense has been, I would expect sites like this and this to only gather more steam.

10/28/2005

Libby Indicted

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:07 pm

Scooter Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney — check that, now former chief of staff — will face charges resulting from the investigation into the possible outing of CIA employee Valerie Plame. Note, the charges result from the investigation, not the outing.

The CIA leak investigation is “not over,” special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday after announcing charges against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

Fitzgerald said he will be keeping the investigation “open to consider other matters.” But, he said, “the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.”

Libby resigned Friday after a federal grand jury indicted him on five charges related to the leak probe: one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements.

For my favorite blogging on the matter, I’d like to direct you, dear reader, to Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom and his oft-updated effort on the matter.

10/27/2005

A Focused Look at Utah Guard Re-enlistment

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:49 pm

While this is an interesting examination at life today’s National Guard and retention issues, I encourage the reader to continue to the very end. There is an absolute gem of a quote there by 1LT Bishop, a firefighter in the real world. Here’s a hint: I generally approve of reasonings that take into account “candy-asses” and the world in which we live. Hooah, sir!

House Easily Votes to Allow Base Closings

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:55 pm

I personally find today’s base closure vote to be very good news.

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to allow the first round of U.S. military base closures and consolidations in a decade, clearing the way for facilities across the country to start shutting their doors as early as next month.

In a 324-85 vote, the House refused to veto the final report of the 2005 base-closing commission, meaning the report seems all but certain to become law in mid-November. Targeted facilities then would have six years to close their doors and shift forces as required under the report.

Both the House and Senate must pass resolutions rejecting the report to stop the Pentagon’s sweeping restructuring of its far-flung domestic base network. But, as expected, the House effort by Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., failed. And there’s no similar attempt under way in the Senate.

Opposition to closing bases dropped steadily in both chambers as the nine-member commission changed parts of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s original recommendations and issues like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita commanded Congress’ attention.

The panel sent President Bush its final report in September. He signed off on it and sent it to Congress on Sept. 15. That began a 45-legislative day period for Congress to reject the report.

I entirely understand the need for legal constraints upon the nation’s military, and that it is best for the republic that our armed forces be answerable to and be held accountable by our civilian political leadership. However, I find it disgusting that this so often leads to local or petty politics coming into play in the administration of our military, all too commonly in a manner that is contrary to what is actually best for the military and our nation’s defenses. This story contains a fine example.

Congressional critics and many local officials fear the impact of base closures on their area economies – and on their political futures. They argue that the United States should not restructure military bases while the U.S. military is engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan.

LaHood, whose district includes a base in Springfield, Ill., that is to lose 15 National Guard fighter jets, urged his colleagues to vote to reject the report “in support of those that are citizen soldiers who come from those communities.”

Closing bases during wartime, he said, “is the wrong message to send.”

This round of base closures, better described as a DoD restructuring, does not call for a reduction in strength or capability. Instead, it is intended to move us further from a Cold War footing and to reduce unneeded expenditures. Troop levels and lethality are not being cut whatso-freakin’-ever. Does the congressman actually believe that our radical Islamist enemies will take one ounce of encouragement from the removal of 15 jets from Springfield, Land o’ Lincoln version?!!

Luckily, this kind of tripe was not allowed to stand.

But Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who supports closing bases, said: “these issues have been thoroughly discussed and debated.”

The Pentagon, the White House and GOP congressional leaders – and even many Democrats – contend that eliminating extra space will free up money that could be used instead to improve the United States’ fighting capabilities, and help reposition U.S. forces to face current and future threats.

In a statement, the Bush administration said that halting the round of base closings now “would harm U.S. national security interests by preventing improvements designed to address the new demands of war against extremists and other 21st century needs.”

Overall, the report calls for closing 22 major military bases and reconfiguring an additional 33. Hundreds of smaller facilities from coast to coast also will close, shrink or grow, under a plan that the commission says will mean annual savings of $4.2 billion.

Since the post-Cold War “peace dividend,” an idea perhaps too eagerly latched onto and prematurely dismissive of other growing global threats, became a rallying cry in the early ’90s, politics have weighed far too heavily in the base-closure process. The Pentagon did not get its way entirely this round, but it looks like this may be the closest we’ve come to actual defense benefit carrying the day.

Out, Out, Brief Series!

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:32 am

The ChiSox swept my ‘Stros, taking the finale in Houston 1-0.

As cruel as history can be, the 2005 World Series will be remembered as a four-game conquering by the Sox when instead it could be viewed as a razor’s edge, game-by-game struggle in which only six runs settled four games.

I’d hoped for more, but I stand by my statement that I’m quite satisfied with the NL pennant.

Huzzah! for Craig Biggio!

Huzzah! for Jeff Bagwell!

Huzzah! for Brad Lidge!

Huzzah! for Lance Berkman!

Huzzah! for Roger Clemens!

Huzzah! for Andy Pettitte!

Huzzah! for Roy Oswalt!

Huzzah! for Brandon Backe!

Huzzah! for Phil Garner!

Huzzah! for all the Astros, past and present!

Huzzah! for dear ol’ H-Town!!!

Now, I’ve still got to score me one of those pennants.

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