Tag Archives: Military

Verbatim

Verbatim

As president, I have said we’re going to reverse it. I got the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I got the secretary of defense to say that we’re going to reverse it. Think about what happened in Congress two days ago where you got 56 Democrats voting to debate this issue and zero Republicans. And as a consequence, some of those signs should be going up at the other folks’ events. And folks should be hollering at the other folks’ events because the choice in November could not be clearer.

— Pres. Obama, answering protesters who want to overturn the Clinton-era Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy for gays serving in the military.

Uncategorized

It Was Inevitable — Day of the Gamer/Soldier Arrives

What do you get if you combine an electronic Roomba vacuum cleaner with an X-Box video game? The next generation of military weaponry, operated by 20-something gamer/soldiers with big thumbs, lightning reflexes and a knack for remote-controlled combat.

It’s been a standing parental joke for decades: If only Junior could turn his skills at Halo 3 honed over hundreds of hours to good …. Well, now he can — in the Army.

According to NextGov, for the past year the U.S. Army has been testing robots, unmanned airplanes, sensors and other gear at the White Sands facility in New Mexico, and plans to deploy the high-tech weaponry to combat troops as early as 2011, when it’s likely we’ll still be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The high-tech systems the Army is testing and refining at White Sands Missile Range are both the remnants of its ambitious and now canceled $160 billion Future Combat Systems program and the core of a new battlefield modernization program the service plans to develop to replace it.

The Army intends to spin out systems developed for FCS as part of the brigade combat team modernization program headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas, which adjoins White Sands, said Jerry Tyree, director of integration for the program. These include the tracked robot, an aerial robot, tactical and urban unmanned ground sensors, a missile system, and a battlefield network to link them all together.

The service plans to field these systems to seven infantry brigade combat teams between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of less than $2 billion, said Paul Mehney, an Army spokesman.

Of course, first the Army will have to figure out how to provide a battlefield broadband network to operate and coordinate the new systems. Today, communications-equipped Humvees can only deliver about 1.5 megabytes per second while the average speed of a residential broadband connection is 7 Mps.

News & Comment

The Haircut

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama Orders Stephen’s Haircut – Ray Odierno
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Keyboard Cat

Gotta love Stephen Colbert.

Politics

D.C. Insiders Doubt an Attack on Iran — Don’t Tell the Public

In recent months the U.S. population has become more “hawkish” according to some polls. A recent Zogby poll found that 53 percent of those polled think the U.S. will mount strikes against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. I’m not so sure it’s due to increasing hawkishness or more an increasing realization that George W. Bush seems bent leaving a legacy of scorched earth — in healthcare, social services, education and war.

But today’s PollTrack from National Journal gives some insight into the topic from a different angle — Beltway insiders — and the breakdown of opinion between parties might surprise you:

Of the 41 Republican insiders surveyed, over half said a strike was ‘not very likely,’ and one in five called it ‘very unlikely.’

In National Journal’s latest survey of 84 congressional insiders, Republicans were much more skeptical than Democrats of the chances the administration would attack Iran, but few members of either party considered an attack to be “very likely.” Whether they were optimistic about the effectiveness of diplomatic pressure and sanctions or merely distracted by the growing foreign policy challenges in Pakistan, respondents were generally less concerned about Iran than is the public at large.

Of the 41 Republican insiders surveyed, over half said a strike was “not very likely,” and one in five called it “very unlikely.” Asked about the chances of attack, one GOP member dismissed the possibility, saying, “The administration swung its bat in Iraq…. They don’t have the energy, backing or resources to attack Iran.” Another Republican who said the U.S. was not very likely to launch a strike added, “Israel will, however.”

Democrats were more convinced that President Bush would attack Iran, with over half saying that attacks were likely. “They’re that crazy,” said one insider. While 14 percent of Democrats said attacks seemed probable, a 49-percent plurality were less sure, deeming military action only “somewhat likely.” “The administration may bomb or attack by air if Congress is in recess; but no invasion, because we lack the troops for that,” said a Democratic respondent.

What do they know that we don’t know? And why won’t they tell us, their constituents why they think it’s unlikely that Bush won’t attack Iran?

there’s the argument that we don’t have enough troops, but we certainly have enough planes and bombs. And what was that bit about Israel? Are these Republicans confident that the U.S. isn’t going to attack because they know there’s a plan to have Israel be the aggressor? And are the Dems less sure because they’re not in on the plan?

Politics

New Gov’t Report: Surge Producing Little Progress in Iraq

New York Times:

Attempts by American-led reconstruction teams to forge political reconciliation, foster economic growth and build an effective police force and court system in Iraq have failed to show significant progress in nearly every one of the nation’s provincial regions and in the capital, a federal oversight agency reported on Thursday.

The report, by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, comes as the United States tries to take advantage of a drop in overall violence to create a functioning government here.

Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general, testified about the report to a House Armed Services subcommittee yesterday.

Politics

Al Qaeda in Iraq Said to Be Defeated

This appears to be credible:

The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq [AQI] in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

Of course, it could be White House propaganda to seed good news into the media, however one of the reporters, Thomas Ricks, is the author of “Fiasco,” a book on the Bush administration’s disastrous war planning.

And while the defeat of bin Laden’s franchise group in Iraq is good news for Iraqis and U.S. troops, it is not necessarily a positive development for war advocates, including Pres. George W. Bush who has used AQI as a bogeyman to prolong the fight — as he did in July, addressing a pro-war group in South Carolina:

“It’s hard to argue that Al Qaeda in Iraq is separate from bin Laden’s Al Qaeda when the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Bush said, referring to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of the affiliated group in Iraq who was killed last year.

Mr. Bush called the two similarly named groups “an alliance of killers,” and said, “No enemy is more ruthless in Iraq than Al Qaeda”…

“We’ll stay on the hunt, we’ll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand,” he said. “However difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it.”

It is possible that news about the defeat of AQI is the first step in a strategy by the administration to declare victory in Iraq and get out.

Politics

Are Chinese Zombies Lurking On Your Computer?

First it was pet food, then it was lead paint on toys, but the latest toxic import from China might be more dangerous than both of those incidents — computer zombies that inhabit the computers of unsuspecting Americans. The U.S. government knows about it, but will not officially accuse the Chinese.

As of the morning of Sept. 14, there were exactly 735,598 computers in the United States infested by Chinese zombies.

The wave of cyberprobes or cyberattacks against Pentagon networks and government computer systems in France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom this summer appears to emanate from China, but no one in authority in the Defense Department or any of the other countries that have been victimized seems willing to finger the Chinese government or military as the culprit.

Paul Strassmann — who served as director of Defense information in the early 1990s, the acting chief information officer of NASA from 2002 to 2003, and now serves as a Defense senior adviser — declines to point fingers, either. He prefers, instead, to focus on one startling fact about Chinese activity in cyberspace: As of the morning of Sept. 14, there were exactly (remember, Strassmann is an engineer and likes precision) 735,598 computers in the United States infested by Chinese zombies, he said. Zombies are those small programs that infect computers at the root level and allow the computers to be controlled by remote users.

“This is a fact that should get everyone’s attention,” Strassmann said. Those zombie computers can launch massive denial-of-service attacks, spewing 1,000 messages a second against target computers, he said.

The ostensible purpose of harboring these malicious little programs on U.S. computers would be to use them in denial-of-service attacks against Defense Department computer networks:

Defense experiences millions of cyberscans of the Global Information Grid every day, according to an internal talking paper it prepared in response to news reports this month that China had successfully attacked Pentagon computer systems, including those used by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The paper dances around the subject of Chinese culpability and would only go as far as to report, “We have seen attempts by a variety of state- and nonstate-sponsored organizations to gain unauthorized access to, or otherwise degrade, DoD information systems.”

So whatever you do, don’t open that e-mail about Viagra or the one about nice Russian girls because they could be harboring little zombie units just waiting to get into the millions of lines of code that constitute your Microsoft operating system. To check your computer and to monitor the inexorable march of th computer zombies, visit CipherTrust, a company that sells Internet detection and protection products.

Politics

New Ads Blame GOP Senators for Continuing Bush’s War

The public, including most liberals, blame Congressional Democrat for not ending Bush’s war — despite the fact that majorities of Democrats in both the House and the Senate voted against the war several times earlier this year.

The Democrats’ efforts were quashed in the Senate, however, where a majority of Republican senators continued to rubberstamp the president’s desire for never-ending war in the Middle East.

Now Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) have launched an ad campaign against key Bush-enablers, GOP Senators Mitch McConnell, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins and Pete Domenici, targeting them, according to an AAEI news release, for “their continued support of the President’s endless Iraq war policy, which leaves our troops in the crosshairs of another country’s religious civil war.”

Titled “Fatigues,” the ad shows children going through mock basic training. It will air in each of the four senators’ states by the Campaign to Defend America, which is part of AAEI.

Politics

Cuba Creating Mega Death Ray Technology to Repel Impending U.S. Invasion

Maybe something was lost in translation, but I think the reporter for Agence France Presse must have gotten something wrong in the story about Cuba beefing up its weapons to repel a U.S. invasion. Or maybe the original story was written by the former Bat Boy story editor from the recently defunct Weekly World News.

But it was posted on DefenseNews.com, so it must be true, right?

Weapon systems that have been upgraded in precision targeting and destructive capabilities include munitions, grenades, land mines and anti-tank rockets.

Cuba has been upgrading its military arsenal since President Fidel Castro fell ill 13 months ago, to defend itself against a possible U.S. invasion, senior officers told Trabajadores weekly on August 27.

Ah-ha! I knew it. Translated from Trabajadores weekly to Agence France Presse, then to English. Get a load of this stilted, yet oddly meaningless quote:

“In the irregular combat we would face in Cuba in case of an invasion, the engineering, infantry and artillery systems we produce and repair here are of vital importance, because they’re designed for the aggressor’s direct assault,” said Lt. Col. Pascual Machado, chief coordinator of Cuba’s Military Industrial Firm (EMI).

Huh? Sounds like somebody’s been using Babelfish again. But if true, these developments would be, well really scary:

Weapon systems that have been upgraded in precision targeting and destructive capabilities include munitions, grenades, land mines and anti-tank rockets, Trabajadores said.

As an example, the weekly said a laser-guided targeting system called VLMA has boosted the AK-M automatic rifle’s precision by 80 percent to 90 percent, regardless of the shooter’s skill level.

Wait, aren’t these the same people who are still driving 1950s-era cars? Of course, I suppose if you can keep a Chevy running for 50 years, you could probably build a laser-guided targeting system out of old sardine cans and some bailing wire. And wait, what was the accuracy of the AK-M rifle before it got the VLMA and increased 80 percent up to 90 percent, 10 percent? Or did something get mangled between Spanish, French and English?

One thing the Cubans do have for their fancy-schmancy weapons system is a cool name:

Raul Castro said special military operation Caguairan, put in place following Fidel Castro’s illness, would finish at the end of 2008 — U.S. presidential elections take place in November of next year.

Caguairan is either a province in Cuba that contains Guantanamo, the name of a local tree or, translated with a little latitude, means “mega death ray” in Spanish. I guess we’ll find out around election time next year, because everybody knows the best time to invade a Third World dictatorship is just after the presidential elections when the minds of most Americans are occupied by Florida’s latest vote scandal, and, after all, George W. Bush will still be president ….

Politics

Starting With No Exit Strategy Means No End in Sight

The question isn’t “Will we leave Iraq?” The question is, “When will we leave, and how do we begin that process?” Bush answers by insisting we can’t leave now. He never says when we can, and that’s because he never had an exit strategy beyond shock and awe and mission accomplished. After three months, he was out of ideas.

See this film. If your nearest theater isn’t listed here, email them. I did, and they answered immediately and told me it’s coming my way soon.