Knowing In Part
of differing political viewpoints
that revolve around the
geographic and political
center of America.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Andy Rooney and I agree
Please read my post below titled "Changing of the Guard".
Last night, I saw Andy Rooney's piece at the end of 60 Minutes. I actually was watching the piece on Jon Stewart, so I just caught Andy Rooney by accident. He and I agree. The Department of Defense should spend more money on human training and much less on weapons systems and expenses related to maintaining a Cold War structure.
It reminded me on an e-mail I sent to friends back in February:
"I was watching C-Span last night mostly just to bore Julie and get on her nerves. I happened across a Pentagon briefing. Could have knocked me over with a feather when Gen Schoomaker announced the cancellation of the Comanche helicopter program.
Do not misunderstand me, I am not arguing with the decision. I am just stunned beyond belief that Rumsfield & Co had the political will and power to make such a ballsy decision.
I actually agree with the decision on technical terms. The Comanche was a technological nightmare of bad ideas. It was a STEALTH HELICOPTER. Probably brought to us by the geniuses who invented the aerodynamic brick, the light-weight paperweight, soft bullets, and the Democratic National Party. STEALTH. You know Abdul, I would swear to Allah that I hear a DAMN HELICOPTER. But I be damned if I can see one on the radar. Oh well, just to see what happens, let's shoot at that big metal aircraft hovering over there behind that palm tree and above that dust cloud.
Yes, there were other technological innovations being concurrently planned, lightweight, simpler components, smaller fuselage, state-of-the-art weapons control, etc.... But they were trying to imply that all that combined made it a better helicopter while ignoring the one major flaw in helicopters currently in service - the things fall-down when shot or a part breaks. Build an armored helicopter. Build a helicopter with a ballistic parachute that automatically deploys when the rotor quits turning. Build a helicopter with reactive missile counter-measures. Build a helicopter that flies much faster. Build a helicopter that doesn't have to have 100 hours of maintenance for every 1 hour of flight. That was not the Comanche. It was a replacement for the Apache/Cobra fleet and we do NOT NEED a replacement for the gunships. We NEED to replace our heavy utility fleet and our Hueys. The Hueys are good ships but too old. The Blackhawks are maintenance intensive and let's remember that neither bird in Mogdishu took a direct hit, and the Chinooks are too slow and vulnerable. Can you imagine shooting at a Chinook or CH-53 on a slow hover pattern providing cover fire for troops on the ground? Don't lead it just aim center mass. It will be in the same place when our bullets get there. Look at the ride of choice by the SF kill teams. They ride those bubble-shaped little birds that TC used to give tours with on Magnum PI.
Hey people, this is not rocket science. Rocket science is what keeps hitting our helicopters."
UPDATE: Disappearing Nuclear Stuff
As I wrote earlier, I was incredulous as the US forces in Iraq being so incompetent regarding securing nuclear materials that the IAEA had identified during inspections. It seems thatI was wrong and the leadership was just that incompetent. When I say leadership I am talking about Defense Secretary "No Additional Troops" Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration. The IAEA has indicated that 380 tons of a VERY high power explosive was removed from bunkers in Iraq after the invasion. Just how bad is this information?
From the NY Times article:
"The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material, and larger amounts were apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November 2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people."
Damn this makes me so mad. I wonder how many of those bombs that kill our guys, the Iraqi police and national guard, and the bystander Iraqis contain this stuff. To make matters worse it appears that the US Administration in Iraq was attempting to keep this information hidden from the public.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo is all over this issue (read his previous posts also), so I defer to him.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
The increasingly trendy position statement
It seems to have now become trendy to state your vote before going into the polling place on November 2nd. Instapundit and E Volokh, Drezner, Yglesias, Armed Liberal to name a few have all stated their positions (more or less). Since I want to avoid the fate promised by Brad Delong (a good blog to including in your reading) and wouldn't mind being trendy for once...
I'll be pulling the lever, pushing the button, punching the chad, or using a No. 2 pencil to vote for Kerry.
Those who know me most probably are not suprised. I am and always have been a registered Democrat. I grew up on a farm, raised by teachers, and have become a college professor at a northern private college. So, as Popeye would say, "I 'am what I 'am".
This election has been far harder on me than most. Mainly because I have lived in the Republican dominated eastern third of Tennessee, whereas I now live in the swinging state of Pennsylvania. Almost all of the time my vote amounted to nothing more than an affirmation of my views since my candidates had little chance in winning (Phil Bredesen being an exception.) The most distressing thing to me in these elections was how weak the Democratic syndicates usually were and how their opponents defeated them so handily. I blame the local party for this weakness and if any should read this blog they are hereby given notice: I will return one day to the land of my birth and I will do what I can to drive that weakness into the darkness where it belongs. The correlation between the weak E. Tennessee Dems and Kerry are obvious. I have never thought he was the best candidate, in fact I voted in the primary for John Edwards. He is the only candidate I have viewed in person (there might have been 50 people in the room) and what I heard really resonated with me. Now in all honesty I must say that the Edwards I saw then has been missing for most of the post Dean Machine meltdown.
Instapundit comments in the Gaurdian about the Scots-Irish Jacksonian traits in the South. I am not sure where Reynolds hails from but I know where I do and I am the above (mitigated with a bit of Jeffersonian and Wilsonian views). When 9/11 happened I had to control the white hot rage inside, mostly because if it was to be wielded I needed to use it for the right reasons. I supported the War on Terror. I was for a more aggressive Afghanistan campaign than we employed, and as a result I am VERY bitter about Osama and Tora Bora. I even supported the Iraq invasion, because I thought that kicking the crap out of bad guys was what the good America did and Saddam was the easily on my short list of bad guys. I wanted the US to liberate the Iraqis, provide them with enough stability to let them form a functional democracy of their own choosing. However, as Drezner put it, the cluster***ks really piss me off. To that end I cannot count on the Bush Administration to correct their mistakes, mostly because they don't see them. And all thats just on the war, my main issues are energy and the environment and I feel that Bush and company had done little more than crap on what worked in favor of returning to a Regan era view on regulation (less = better and companies that are unburdened with regulation will never be bad and cheat.)
I could go into a litany of things that are wrong with both sides, however I'll just exit this post by pointing to an article in the The Nation magazine's online edition. The Nation has been rather weak in recent years but this article , or rather a blog like listing of other articles was quite good. Take each point with a grain of salt and consider the source, but if only a few of the 100 points is true then Bush and company need to go.
Roger L. Simon
Michael J. Totten
Winds of Change
Outside the Beltway
Daniel W. Drezner
The Ornery American
Iraq the Model
The New Republic Online
National Review Online
The Crayon Years
Number 2 Pencil
The Weekly Standard
New York Times