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What About The Helipads?

I hope the guys who designed the 104-acre US embassy compound in Baghdad remembered to include the helicopter landing pads on the top of every building.

The Saigon embassy evacuation was really touch-and-go due to the lack of good helipads. If we are going to spend $1 billion on this, they ought to be able to handle large transport helicopters, not just Hueys.

April 19, 2006   4 Comments

Why We Need Universal Healthcare

From CNN: Case of bubonic plague confirmed in L.A. “Bubonic plague is not contagious, but if left untreated it can morph into pneumonic plague, which is.”

So, if this individual couldn’t afford to seek medical care and wasn’t given the antibiotics needed to knock down the bubonic plague, we could have had a break out of the “Black Death” in Los Angeles.

April 19, 2006   8 Comments

Casus Belli

First, as some seem confused on this point, the United States has not been officially at war since the conclusion of World War II. December, 1941 was the last declaration of war passed by the Congress of the United States. Congress passed an “authorization for the use of force” for Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sooner or later, this reality is going to come before the Supreme Court and all hell is going to break loose. Many of the “special powers” claimed by the Executive are based on an assumption of war or insurrection, and neither condition currently exists as a matter of law. The Shrubbery and Congress colluded to produce this ambiguous situation.

Some people are talking about a military revolt against civilian leadership in the Department of Defense, and that is exactly what is not happening. The complaints are coming from civilians who are former military officers, not military officers. That is how the system works. While in uniform these people couldn’t make their dissatisfaction known outside the military because that would be a military revolt against civilian leadership.

If Rumsfeld didn’t want this fight to break into the open, he should have told Condoleezza Rice to apologize. She declared war on the military on March 31, when she said:

“I believe strongly it was the right strategic decision,” Rice said Friday.

“I know we’ve made tactical errors, thousands of them, I’m sure,” she said in a speech at Blackburn’s Chatham House — a center for independent research on global issues.

That translates to “the civilian leaders had this great plan, but the military screwed up the implementation.”

Look at the timeline. The generals took a week to calm down, then they responded to this direct attack on their professionalism and skill. They were tired of the “few bad apples” excuses for things that obviously were Department of Defense policies. They were tired of lower ranks being scapegoated to protect the Pentagon.

April 19, 2006   Comments Off on Casus Belli

Rummy Remembers

In speaking about the conflict with the retired generals Rumsfeld talked about his first stint as the Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford, from 1975 to 1977. He said that the generals opposed his plans for the Abrams tank, but he held firm and was proved correct.

Wellllll, not quite. The 9 variants of the XM1 main battle tank weren’t built for evaluation until 1978, and the M1 Abrams went into production in 1980. The M1 was never tested in combat.

By the time the first Gulf War came around the Army was using the M1A1 version, which does look like the M1, but uses different armor, main gun, is made by a different company, has a different engine, etc., but it does still look a lot like the M1…mostly.

An interesting fact about the Abrams is that no one had ever died in one, even those stuck by accident by American anti-tank weaponry, until Iraq. Those “Improvised Explosive Devices” have been able to kill Abrams crews while destroying the tank.

April 19, 2006   Comments Off on Rummy Remembers

What Now With Iran?

CNN is reporting that there is: No Iran consensus in Moscow talks. The world is not ready to drink the Koolaid this time.

A thoughtful program for dealing with Iran was delivered in a statement to the House Committee on International Relations back in February of 2005, but you can’t expect them to listen to Gary Sick, he has spent too many years studying and writing about Iran and US-Iranian relations.

Mr. Sick was on the BBC World Today last night talking about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, essentially saying that the office of President actually is not that powerful, and there is no reason to believe that Ahmadinejad actually knows what he is talking about when it comes to the nuclear program. Mr. Ahmadinejad has no scientific training and was the mayor of Tehran until his election.

April 19, 2006   Comments Off on What Now With Iran?

Grave Robbers

The FBI wants go through all of the papers of recently deceased columnist Jack Anderson, supposedly looking for classified documents so they can be confiscated. The reporting would seem to indicate that the FBI made a demand for the documents without bothering to obtain a subpoena or warrant.

The attorney for the family told the FBI that, as Mr. Anderson wouldn’t have agreed, neither will they.

The arrogance of these people: rude, crude, and unglued.

April 19, 2006   7 Comments

Border Security?

Laura Rozen wonders what Mohammad Nahavandian, a senior aide to Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, is doing wondering around Washington, DC without the US government noticing.

Apparently the “No-Fly” list only has “dangerous” people on it, like Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Brown returning from duty in Iraq, not senior officials in the governments of members of the “Axis of Evil” with whom we have no diplomatic relations.

April 19, 2006   Comments Off on Border Security?