Iran's October Surprise
MOSCOW — Iran and Russia said they have completed construction of the nuclear power reactor at Bushehr.
Komrade Putin has said he's serious about fighting terrorists...and yet his country has helped the biggest state sponsor of terrorism build a nuclear reactor capable of producing bomb-grade nuclear material. And they're in negotiations to sell the Asshat Ayatollahs nuclear fuel. While I don't doubt Vlad's willingness to turn Chechnya into something resembling the surface of the moon, he's coming up just a wee bit short in dealing with global Islamofascist terrorism.
Now, if I were President Bush, I'd be sending the B-2s at Whiteman AFB an On Order mission to destroy the reactor. The Persian Pissants have buried the thing, but that's why we have those bunker buster bombs. And we have stealth bombers to deliver them. We could probably even deny it, absent one of the planes getting shot down. They take off from Whiteman, fly to the target and destroy it, and fly back again. Or land at Diego Garcia, get some sleep, then fly home. All that the rest of the world would know is that the reactor blew up, and that we probably did it. But they'd have no proof.
That being said, I think we should do everything we can to stop the Russians from selling the Iranians the fuel. Heck, we can even buy the stuff from them. I'd call it a good investment. We could even build our own reactor, say in California. I hear they've got a good market for electricity there.
But having the hammer option never hurts. "Walk softly, and carry a big stick."
Platoon Arrested for Refusing Mission
I've seen this story linked to in a few places, and figured it needed some commentary from a military point of view.
A 17-member Army Reserve platoon...refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe,
OK, let me explain a bit about the terminology used in Army maintenance. For the record, I've been a mechanized Infantry platoon leader, a mechanized Infantry company executive officer, and a Stryker battalion maintenance officer. I know a bit about Army maintenance. There are two kinds of 'deadlines' in Army maintenance (this applies to everything from rifles to space heaters to tanks, but I'm sticking with vehicles here): mechanical and safety. A mechanical deadline means the vehicle is mechanically incapable of performing it's mission-it's got a flat tire, busted tie-rod, blown head gasket, buggered trannie, whatever. A safety deadline means that the vehicle is operable, but there's something unsafe about it-headlights don't work, no seatbelts, no fire extinguisher, or something else along those lines. Vehicles with safety deadlines can be authorized for operation, given limited conditions where the problem isn't a factor (i.e. a vehicle with broken headlights can be authorized to drive, but only in daylight.) This is what is commonly called a 'Circle X'
The article doesn't state (probably because no information has been released) what exactly was supposedly wrong with the vehicles.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said he plans to submit a congressional inquiry today on behalf of the Mississippi soldiers to launch an investigation into whether they are being treated improperly.
"I would not want any member of the military to be put in a dangerous situation ill-equipped," said Thompson, who was contacted by families. "I have had similar complaints from military families about vehicles that weren't armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It concerns me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to equip our forces in Iraq.
I've seen this complaint before-that troops have to go on convoy missions in vehicles that aren't armored. The vast majority of the Army's vehicles have no armor. Contrary to the popular image, tanks and other armored vehicles make up a very small portion of the total Army fleet. Cargo vehicles-which would be what these troops drive-aren't armored for the simple reason that their function is to carry cargo. Armor is heavy, especially armor strong enough to stop bullets Loading up on armor reduces the vehicles ability to carry cargo-the cargo that is the vehicle's reason for existence in the first place.
One wife states that she was told that her husband's unit was "arrested on a bogus charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission." Later in the article, it states that the
"unit tried to deliver fuel to another base in Iraq Wednesday, but was sent back because the fuel had been contaminated with water. The platoon returned to its base, where it was told to take the fuel to another base....The platoon is normally escorted by armed Humvees and helicopters, but did not have that support Wednesday."
At this point, here's the picture I have in my head: unit is told to deliver the fuel to Base A, which they do. But at Base A, they discover that the fuel is contaminated, so they can't deliver it. They return to their point of orgin. They probably had escorts for this part, because it would have been a planned mission. They have to get rid of the bad fuel before they can do any more missions, but their home base has no facility for disposing of contaminated fuel, so they are told to take it to Base B, which does. Now the escorts are unavailable, because this isn't a planned mission, and the escorts already have another mission to do. So the platoon is told that is has to do a second mission that day, after it had already partly done the one they planned on, and this one with no escorts. I'm sure that made them incredibly happy. But sometimes that happens in the Army. Sometimes you have to launch an attack without the artillery support, or air support, or engineers, or whatever, that you planned on. But you still have to do the mission, because the unit on your flank is counting on you taking that hill away from the enemy.
The convoy trucks the platoon was driving had experienced problems in the past and were not being properly maintained
OK, more enlightenment on Army maintenance. The people primarily responsible for the maintenance on any given vehicle are that vehicle's operators. If the vehicles have been having a lot of problems and weren't being properly maintained, most of the responsibility falls on the folks who drive them every day. Granted, reserve units tend to have older equipment which requires more care, but primary responsibility for maintenance still rests with the operators.
Patricia McCook said her husband, a staff sergeant, understands well the severity of disobeying orders. But he did not feel comfortable taking his soldiers on another trip.
"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to use were deadlines ... not safe to go in a hotbed like that,"
If they were mechanical deadlines, they wouldn't have been rolling at all, either along the Baghdad Highway or to the shoppette for a slurpee. If they were safety deadlines, and they were told to go, some commander somewhere made the decision that the vehicles were safe enough for the mission. Obviously the operators didn't agree.
Hill said the trucks her daughter's unit was driving could not top 40 mph.
"They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back."
I fail to see what speed has to do with fighting back. Speed is more useful for running. And while I acknowledge the difficulty of fighting back while driving a fuel truck, the Army gave those soldiers rifles, grenade launchers, etc for just that purpose.
As for the speed restriction, again, it could be mechanical or it could be a safety thing. Mechanically speaking, if the vehicles were older ones, they might not be able to do it. A lot of the Army's older trucks can't, mostly because they're weren't built to. 40 was thought to be plenty fast for a cargo truck.
On the safety side, some of the newer trucks-specifically the M1083 FMTV series-have been restricted on how fast they are to be driven because they have a tendency to tip over when maneuvered or subjected to panic braking at high speed. This is due to their high center of gravity, a consequence of their high suspensions designed for rough and off-road travel.
Do I think the soldiers have done something wrong, or that a wrong has been done to them? At this point, I really don't have enough information to say.
My Feelings on the Debates
Am I the only one who's glad they're over? I watched only a small bit of the first one-further debate watching was banned by my wife when my yelling at the TV threatened to wake up our son.
But I simply find them incredibly dull, since they're really not debates, they're just mostly nationally televised exchanges of talking points. And I get sick of reading about them afterward, especially the whole horse race "who won" aspect.
How to Brighten A Long, Tough Day
Yesterday was not a good day at work. I won't bor you with the details. But my day brightened considerably when I got home. Not only did I manage to get home while my son was still awake (which doesn't always happen) and thus become a human jungle gym, but waiting for me in the pile of that day's mail was a veritable jackpot of reading material: the Shotgun News, the Blue Press, Stuff magazine, and Liberty & Law.
Not that I got even close to reading all of it, but it did gladden my heart.
Bush & kerry on RKBA at the Debate
I'm probably a bit late on this, but Bush & Kerry (and the folks who ask the questions) finally got around to RKBA in the third an final debate, if only for a short bit. Here's my take:
Mr. Schieffer: Mr. President, new question, two minutes. You said that if Congress would vote to extend the ban on assault weapons that you'd sign the legislation. But you did nothing to encourage the Congress to extend it. Why not?
Mr. Bush: Actually, I made my intentions, my views clear. I did think we ought to extend the assault-weapons ban and was told the fact that the bill wasn't ever going to move. Because the Republicans and Democrats were against the assault-weapon ban, people of both parties.
El Presidente is straddling again. Trying to mollify the soccer moms who are scared of Evil Black Rifles.
I believe law-abiding citizens ought to be able to own a gun.
Except the aforementioned Evil Black Rifles which scare soccer moms and I want their vote so I say the ban should have been extended to make them feel warm and fuzzy.
I believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don't get in the hands of people that shouldn't have them.
There are background check at gunshows, if you buy from a licensed dealer. Just like at a gun store or Wal-Mart. And private transactions between private citizens are not the purview of the government, at gunshows or anywhere else.
But the best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. And that's why early in my administration I called the attorney general and the U.S. attorneys and said put together task force all around the country to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. And the prosecutions are up by about 68 percent I believe is the number. Neighborhoods are safer when we crack down on people who commit crimes with guns. To me that's the best way to secure America.
No disagreement from me on that. Just stop calling it "gun crime," OK? Except for crimes that actually involve the illegal sale or possession of a gun, there's no such thing a "gun crime." The crime is robbery, or assault, or murder, or whatever. The gun is just a tool, something used in the commission of the crime.
Mr. Schieffer: Senator.
Mr. Kerry: I believe it was a failure of presidential leadership not to reauthorize the assault-weapons ban.
Actually, it was the kind of no-consequence posturing that you're an expert at, Senator.
I am a hunter. I'm a gun owner. I've been a hunter since I was a kid - 12, 13 years old.
True as far as that goes.
And I respect the Second Amendment, and I will not tamper with the Second Amendment.
Then kindly explain your voting record on gun control, which shows that you don't even seem to recognize that the Second Amendment exists.
But I'll tell you this: I'm also a former law enforcement officer. I ran one of the largest district attorney offices in America, one of the 10 largest. I've put people behind bars for the rest of their life. I've broken up organized crime. I know something about prosecuting.
Blah, blah, blah. Gun control is not about crime. You want to reduce violent crime, legalize drugs and arm the citizenry. The drug gangs won't have anything to fight over.
And most of the law enforcement agencies in America wanted that assault weapons ban. They don't want to go into a drug bust and be facing an AK-47.
So legalize drugs and they won't have to go on drug busts. Anyway, one of the costs of freedom is that it can occasionally be dangerous to be a cop. They volunteered for the job. They knew it was dangerous. I volunteered for the Infantry. I know that's dangerous, too.
I was hunting in Iowa last year with the sheriff of one of the counties there, and he pointed to a house in back of us and said, "See that house over there? We just did a drug bust a week earlier and the guy we arrested had an AK-47 lying on the bed right beside him."
And apparently they used good tactics and the guy never had a chance to use it. BTW, the guy is a criminal. He's willing to make and/or sell drugs, which carries more possible prison time than breaking any gun law in most jurisdictions. What makes you think he would care if his choice of weaponry is illegal or not?
Because of the president's decision, today law enforcement officers will walk into a place that'll be more dangerous.
I could buy and SAR-1, WASR-10, MAK-90, Maadi, XM-15, AR-15, R1A1, and all sort of other Evil Black Rifles during the ban. How is life more dangerous for cops now?
Terrorists can now come into America and go to a gun show and without even a background check buy an assault weapon today. And that's what Osama bin Laden's handbook said, because we captured it in Afghanistan and it encouraged them to do it.
And they can buy real, full-auto AKs for $50 each in Somalia, put them in a cargo container full of auto parts, and bring it into the country with little or no trouble. Why would they want to go to the trouble of buying an inferior rifle here and create a paper trail to boot?
So I believe America's less safe. If Tom DeLay or someone in the House said to me, Sorry, we don't have the votes, I'd have said, Then we're going to have a fight. And I'd have taken it out to the country and I'd have had every law enforcement officer in the country visit those congressmen. We'd have won what Bill Clinton won.
Bill Clinton may have won it, but Tom Foley and a bunch of other Democrats in Congress paid for it, and so did Al Gore. Gun rights folks managed to move 90 votes in the Senate to keep the law from being extended. 90 Senators. 45 states. That's a pretty big chunk of the Union there, Senator Dumbass.
And it's the more well-armed section, too.
Flu Vaccine and Price 'Gouging'
The Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline has filed suit against a Florida pharmecutical distributor for charging too much for flu vaccine. The alleged crime? On 1 October, the distributor was charging $85 for a vial of vaccine. On 8 October, the price had gone up to $900.
In between those two dates, the British government shut down one of the two factories that makes the vaccine, reducing the available supply by almost half.
The Kansas AG stated that he has no objection to companies charging "fair market value" for their products. And apparently his definition of "fair market value" is whatever the company was charging before the supply was cut in half. But what really decides fair market value? Shouldn't it be the market? It's apparently been a while since AG Kline took basic economics, and I'm wondering if he passed the class.
Let's review the situation: you have a product, flu vaccine. The amount supplied has been cut in half. But the demand is still the same-there is the same number of people who want to get flu shots. In this situation, the price is going to increase, and by quite a lot, since there is no easy way to increase the amount supplied. The media, local and national, isn't helping the situation by constantly reporting that there's a shortage and further making the flu seem like the return of the Black Death. This makes people see the vaccine as a "need" (they'll die if they don't get it) instead of a want (they might get sick if they don't get it).
So you have a perception by people that they have to have the vaccine, while at the same time the supply of vaccine is greatly diminished. The market is fluid, when left on its own. Prices will rise, until they reach the point where consumers stop buying the product. Apparently, people aren't willing to pay $900 for flu vaccine (for 5 doses, so $180 a shot), so they gripe to the government about it. If they simply didn't buy the stuff, the company would lower their price. Granted, it still would be higher than people probably want to pay, but it would come down until the seller found a buyer.
And if the price stays at $900, you can be dang sure companies are going to start making more of the stuff. Amount supplied increases, and price goes down. No need for government interference.
FBI Downplays School Threat
Barabara Simpson comments on the FBI's apparent non-response to the capture of an Iraqi terrorist in possession of American school floor plans and emergency response manuals.
After Beslan, how can the FBI be so non-responsive to something like this? Either they know something they're not telling us, or they're under orders not to scare the sheeple. If it's the latter, it's bordering on criminally negligent.
Why Guns are Best for Home Defense
Georgia prison escapee shot by Alabama homeowner
MT. VERNON, Ga. (AP) -- The (Georgia) state Department of Corrections says one of four inmates who escaped from a south Georgia prison over the weekend was wounded during a burglary attempt in Birmingham, Alabama, and has been captured.
Spokeswoman Scheree Libscomb says 30-year-old Tracy O. Mullins, who was serving at least three years for firearms possession and other offenses, is in the intensive care unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital after being shot this morning.
Libscomb says the other fugitives were with Mullins but escaped. She says Mullins was not identified until later in the day.
Libscomb says Mullins was shot by the person who lived at the residence.
The men escaped from medium-security Montgomery State Prison on Saturday in Mount Vernon by cutting a hole through a security fence. Earlier, officials said the men may have left the area in a stolen truck. The men are from northwest Georgia. Mount Vernon is 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Besides Mullins, Lipscomb identified the escaped inmates as 19-year-old Joshua J. Thompson, who was serving an 18-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter; 21-year-old Joseph M. Lee Junior, serving at least 12 years for armed robbery and other offenses, and 22-year-old Micah D. Sheer, who was serving 17 years for aggravated assault and burglary.
So...the homeowner faced 4 to 1 odds yet emerged victorious. I don't think that would have happened with pepper spray, or a baseball bat,l or a phone call to 911. Outnumbered by violent felons, one of whom had been convicted of killing another person. Only a gun and the willingness and ability to use it gives you a fighting chance.
On a down note, it's too bad the bullet (which apparently hit the goblin in the neck) didn't hit a few inches higher.
Another WA GOP Office Burglarized
A second GOP office in Washington state has been burlarized. Apparently nothing was taken this time, although the computer containing voter info was messed with.
We know who the real brownshirts are, Mr. Gore. Funny how I have yet to hear of any Democrat official denouncing this sort of thing.
I Love My Wife, Part IV
Alternate Title: Gunshow Report, Charlotte, NC
This was the first gunshow I've been to since the AWB expired. As I would expect, there were plenty of folding/collapsable stocks offered for sale. Every vendor that had AKs had some with folding stocks, all of them the Romanian variety. And pretty much every vendor selling ARs had M-4 style collapsables. I didn't see anything with a price so good that it made me want to buy it on the spot, though if I had hung around the AK vendors much longer, I would have been very, very tempted. My wife did have to push me to move on from some VZ-24s a couple times, but that's about it.
There were two things I was looking for at the show, and I left without either of them. The first thing was some 7.62x54R Mosin-Magant stripper clips. These seem to have vanished from internet vendors and I was hoping to score some at the show, but there were none to be found. The second item was a milsurp shipping case, to put my milsurp rifles in when it comes time to move. One vendor-Classic Arms had a pair of storage/shipping boxes for VZ-24s, each of which could hold 8 rifles. However, they were not for sale. They did say that they had some larger 20 rifle boxes at their store (located in the Charlotte suburb of Indian Trail) they they'd be willing to give away. So I may have to visit them later.
Coolest Thing at the Show: Got to meet another member of THR and talk guns and gun stuff over a beer.
Coolest Vendor Name: Black Rifle, Inc. AR specialists.
Most Annoying Thing: The aforementioned Classic Arms was selling Romanian AK folding stocks for $49. They advertise the same item in their Shotgun News ad for $39.95.
Now, why I Love My Wife (Part IV): after we got home Sunday, my wife declared to my parents that I am not allowed to buy anymore "old guns" (her term for my C&Rs, especially the bolt guns, which I learned she can't tell apart.)
That is, I can't buy any more "old guns" until I buy her an AK or an Uzi.
I'll bet you can guess what I'm shopping for now.