Das Fest der Feuerwaffen
Edition IV of the Carnival of Cordite is now playing at The Anarchangel.
Blogger has been a PITA for the last couple of days. That's why the lack of posts and the repeat post. Hopefully they sort themselves out soon.
I enjoy blogging, but not enough to pay for it.
Bad Guy Tactics & Convoy Ops in Iraq
The item below comes from an Army officer in Iraq. It is not an official Army report on TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) used by the enemy and by our troops in Iraq, but it does give a picture of what kind of things are troops are dealing with.
Hello from Tikrit (FOB Speicher)
Thought I would update both of you on what we are seeing over the past couple of weeks in Convoy operations & IED, VBIED, etc. I sit in every day in the Battle Update Assessment (I brief Mortuary Affairs - lucky me)but what I do hear immediately is what has happened on the convoys. This is as up to date as of 1700 last night.
The savages are taking advantage of us following SOP. We are now predictable and they are having a field day with that. Here is some of the things they are doing:
The are targeting secondary responders - EOD, Ambulance, other military trying help out injured (it's become a battle buddy nightmare).
The anti-Iraqi forces (AIF - nice terminalogy but I like Savages better) they bury one IED and place another on top. The IED is spotted and EOD called in. They wait until EOD has got the top IED disarmed and they blow the one underneath. We've lost more than necessary EOD personnel over the last few weeks this way. You'd think we'd change our process wouldn't you. Even worse is that the top IED goes off and injures folks or disables a vehicle. Someone goes in to assist the injured and they blow the one underneath. Or they know we halt 300 meters from the IED if we spot it (doctrine)and they've daisy chained IED for a 1000 meters - now every vehicle and personnel are in the kill zone.
The savages are using mirrors to signal when a target of opportunity is coming. The are using children's toys to hide the explosives (kids are being blown up). They especially like a device that looks like a frisbee. They are using fuel accelerated IEDs. This makes for a spectacular photo opportunity for them of a vehicle burning. We've had a bunch of soldiers wounded with burns. The up side is the fuel accelerated IED are less lethal to HMMWVs, HETTS, LMTV, etc can take the heat and keep it non-lethal.
They are quiet on Fridays (prayer day) and go crazy on Saturdays. If a vehicle goes out on a MSR or off the FOB they must be up-armorer. You should see some of the HETTs and the wild up armor that has been put on them. I'll send a photo - it's awesome the creativity of the solider.
The savages are also targeting Iraqi Police and Iraqi soft targets. Most of the VBIED are blowing up outside of police stations, etc. They are also stealing Police uniforms and setting up road block directing traffic straight into an IED kill zone. Nice. I've been on one 4 vehicle convoy and had an IED prematurely blow up about 200 yards in front of our lead vehicle. We tore off the road through peoples yards and through a neighborhood going about 40 mph along with a bunch of Iraqi POV who followed us. That was insane - the drivers were dodging people and hauling ass through this walled in neighborhood. Once was enough for me. I also saw CPT Heather Wobbe (she was trained by Charlie Co)she is running what's called a CLP (Combat Logistical Patrol) fancy name for a convoy. She takes about 20 HETTs with flatbeds and runs the road from Kirkuk to Speicher to pick supplies, parts, etc. She has a dangerous job and each time I see her she looks like she could use a beer. But as she says the days go by fast and you don't get bored.
So what's the bottom line of all this. Situational awareness. More soldiers are being killed from not wearing their seatbelts than anything else. Most injuries are due to not wearing you personal protective equipment while on a convoy - you are issued earplugs (we've had a lot hearing loss), Wiley X glasses and goggles, IBA- you take the front pad that hangs down and put it on your outside shoulder, Enhance Combat Helmet (very comfortable)and every vehicle has a seat belt. This protective equipment is what will keep them alive if they are hit by a IED.
Tell the IRR folks that they need to get strong and get use to carrying about 40-50 lbs of stuff on their bodies. It's no bullshit - you carry 11 full 35 rd mags. They need to be serious about their health & fitness because you will get sick - everyone does and it sucks because there is no quarters or days off unless you are in the hospital. Officers should not count on carrying 9mm they will get an M16. Everyone needs to get used to having it with them day and night (a Mamba Strap is the only way to go). If they wait to get fit until they are here they will fall out. Please let them know to take the training you guys do seriously - it is the best training we got in the entire IRR chain of events (Jackson - Refresher - Mobilization Station).
I'm off the soap box. Hope all is well at McCrady and everyone is fine. Again, thanks for the great training you all provided. The IRR soldiers here were better prepared than the National Guard soldiers that we work with. Says a lot for all of you.
Major K ----- T -----
PS Only one rocket attack last night - it was a quiet night. Plus they are really bad shots. :)
Band of Bloggers
This is the cover story in this week's issue of the Army Times. I figured it'd be in the subscriber section, so I didn't post anything about it.
Link courtesy of Instapundit.
Good War Story from a Seattle Paper
I know, the mere concept boggles the mind and is thought of in some circles as a precursor to the Apocalypse.
But it actually happened. From the Seattle P-I:
Like thousands before him, a soldier comes of age
What Y--- did do, after he was shot: He trained up a commo sergeant on how to run the LRAD, so that while he waited for evac, he could keep his mission going. He secured, or caused to be secured, all of his sensitive items and psychological operations equipment. He marveled at the bullet they dug out of his vest. He told everybody not to worry about him, and reminded them to keep their heads down.
And this comment: "I'll tell you one thing. These elections better work. They better get democracy, and freedom, and their rights, and hot chicks in tight jeans.
Typical get the mission done attitude, along with a good dose of American humor.
Guys my age are supposed to gripe about how kids today are letting the world go to hell in a handbasket, how there aren't any standards for behavior anymore. After all, we've taken such good care of things. Maybe it's because guys my age usually work with guys my age. Guys Y---'s age are just parts for the big machine in civilian life: laborers, clerks, apprentices. Y--- went from busboy to combat soldier. Now he's wounded in action, and he doesn't even have the good sense to snivel about it.
I don't want to hear any more about the passing of "The Greatest Generation." Ain't no generation better than his. Specialist Y--- didn't take it like a man. He took it like his brothers across the generations, and earned his flagon of mead at Valhalla or at least his pint of Bud at the local VFW.
He took it like a soldier.
And that's not an Infantryman, or tanker, or combat engineer. From the description given, it sounds like the kid is a Pysop operator. But he's still a Warrior.
News from the Home State
Mt. St. Helens has burped again. That's pretty much what this amounts to. Not sure why Drudge is treating it like it's a huge deal.
When I lived in Washington, I visited MSH many times. It's truly spectacular, and the fact that it's the only active volcano in the mainland U.S. just makes it more interesting.
Photos and video via Drudge.
Parker v. DC Continues
Triggerfinger has the latest on the legal goings-on.
When I saw the title of this one this morning on KABA, it caused an RCOB moment without me even reading the article. The title is "In the Fight Against Terrorism, Some Rights Must Be Repealed." The first link goes to a post on David Codrea's blog, The War on Guns. Codrea's post contains a link to the original article, written by one Junaid M. Afeef, of some think tank called The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. (The name alone tells me that it's a bunch of left-wing cranks. Understanding? Fuck that. When the Islamo-fascists stop trying to kill me, maybe I'll worry about understanding them. Until that time, I only need to understand them enough to predict their future actions so I can kill them more efficiently.)
BLUF: This jerkoff is even further out there than the Bradys. He actually advocates repealing the Second Amendment. Like most statist morons, he is apparently under the delusion that rights, such as the right to keep and bear arms, are created by the Bill of Rights, rather than simply existing, possessed by each and all people, and being protected by the Bill of Rights.
The newly appointed CIA Director Porter Goss, believes that terrorists may bring urban warfare techniques learned in Iraq to our homeland. If he is right, we could have a whole new war on our hands. The prospect is indeed scary.
Yes, it's scary. But it scares me a lot less now, when I have firearms and ammuntion to defend myself, than it would if I were a helpless drone like Mr. Afeef wants me to be.
The idea of terrorist cells operating clandestinely in the United States, quietly amassing handguns and assault rifles, and planning suicide shooting rampages in our malls, is right out of Tom Clancy's most recent novel. If not for the fact that the 9/11 attacks were also foreshadowed in a Clancy novel, I would have given the idea no further thought.
Yet another twink who thinks that the Islamofascists aren't smart enough to come up with ideas for how to attack us on their own. They need Tom Clancy to do their thinking for them. Tom Clancy didn't write about backpack bombs in a train station, and they figured that one out. (At least, I don't think he did. I didn't buy his last book, since it got awful reviews.)
However, rather than facing this potential threat publicly, the Bush administration is only focused on terrorist attacks involving missiles, nuclear devices and biological weapons. Stopping terrorists with WMDs is a good thing, but what about the more immediate threat posed by terrorists with guns? The potential threat of terrorist attacks using guns is far more likely than any of these other scenarios.
It's "far more likely," and yet it hasn't happened in three and a half years. come to think of it, I can't think of a single terrorist attack in a Western nation where the terrorists did most of their killing with guns. The only terrorist attack I can think of where guns figured prominently was Beslan, and those were smuggled from Chechnya, not bought there in Russia.
This leads to a bigger policy issue. In the post 9/11 world where supposedly "everything has changed," perhaps it is time for Americans to reconsider the value of public gun ownership.
Here I actually agree. However, I don't think I'd like Americans to reconsider in the same direction as Mr. Afeef. I think Americans should be more armed, not less. I would like to see America be like Israel, where a citizen can walk around in public with a M-16 or Uzi slung over his back and everyone considers it normal. Ever wonder why there are no terrorist mass shootings in Israel, Mr. Afeef? Because the terrorists figured it it didn’t work very well after their gunmen were gunned down by armed Israeli citizens.
The idea of public gun ownership simply does not make sense anymore. The right to bear arms, as enumerated in the Second Amendment, was meant for the maintenance of a "well-regulated militia." At the time the amendment was adopted, standing armies were viewed with a great deal of suspicion, and therefore, gun-owning individuals were seen as a protection mechanism for the public. These gun owners were also seen as guardians of the republic against the tyranny of the rulers. The framers of the Constitution saw the right to bear and use arms as a check against an unruly government. That state of affairs no longer exists.
Today, only a handful of citizens outside of neo-nazi and white supremacist goups (sic) view gun ownership as a means of keeping the government in check. Even those citizens who continue to maintain such antiquated views must face the reality that the United States' armed forces are too large and too powerful for the citizenry to make much difference. Quite frankly, the idea of the citizenry rising up against the U.S. government with their handguns and assault rifles, and facing the military with these personal arms is absurd. The Branch Davidian tragedy at Waco, Texas, was one such futile attempt.
Another mistaken assumption the Mr. Afeef seems to subscribe to is the collective model of the Second Amendment. Lucky for us this is not the model subscribed to by the U.S. Senate, the Department of Justice, or the Supreme Court.
I love how he tries to imply that the majority of those who believe in the Founders' intent with regard to the right to arms are "neo-nazi and white supremacist goups" (sic). And apparently the millions of members of the NRA, GOA, etc. are just a "handful of citizens." It's obvious why Mr. Afeef works at a social policy think tank: he can't do math worth a damn.
I also think that he severely overestimates the willingness of the U.S. military to use force to support his proposed attempt to disarm American citizens. The military is an extremely conservative bunch, and I think putting troops in such a situation would see mass resignations of the type seen in late 1860 and early 1861.
The more important consideration is public safety. It is no longer safe for the public to carry guns. Gun violence is increasingly widespread in the United States. According to the DOJ/FBI's Crime In The United States: 2003 report, 45,197 people in the United States were murdered with guns between 1999 and 2003. That averages out to more than 9,000 people murdered per year. Nearly three times the number of lives lost in the tragic 9/11 attacks are murdered annually as a direct result of guns.
No, those people were killed as a result of mutant criminals who wanted to kill them. Guns just happened to be the tools that were used to do the job. And if safety is your overriding concern, why don't we outlaw cars, since something like 45,000 die in car crashes annually? Finally, on the topic of freedom versus security, I think Ben Franklin said it best:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Now, back to Mr. Afeef:
Examples of wanton violence are all around. One particularly heinous incident of gun violence occurred in 1998 when former Aryan Nation member Buford Furrow shot and wounded three young boys, a teenage girl and a receptionist at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles and then shot and killed a Filipino-American postal worker.
Another occurred in July 1999 when white supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a member of the World Church of the Creator, went on a weekend shooting spree, targeting Blacks, Jews and Asians. By the time Smith was done he had wounded six Orthodox Jews returning from services, and killed one African-American and one Korean-American.
Ah, yes. The tired old "gun nut as racist/extremist/Nazi" thing. Nevermind that most minorities who are killed with guns are criminals who are killed by other criminals who also happen to be minorities.
Just recently, in Ulster, NY, a 24 year old man carrying a Hesse Arms Model 47, an AK-47 clone assault rifle, randomly shot people in a local mall. While the Justice Department did not label this murder a terrorist attack, all the signs were there. The Ulster, New York shooting is an ominous warning of what lies ahead. Terrorism can be a homegrown act committed by anyone with a gun and is not unique to a "Middle Eastern-looking man with a bomb." As long as the public is allowed to own guns, the threat of similar terrorist attacks remains real.
I'm not going to get sidetracked by Mr. Afeef's wholly incorrect characterization of the Hesse 47 as an "assault rifle." That's already been done by enough people. I would like to note that in the Ulster shooting, the shooter was pretty much shooting up the mall itself, not the people in it. That anyone was hit looks pretty much like an accident.
I also think Mr. Afeef is drawing the wrong lesson here. If, instead of Ulster, NY, the event had happened at a mall in, say, Texas, there's a good chance the shooter would have been killed by a citizen with a gun. If it had happened in Israel, it’s almost definite that he would have been.
The idea of curtailing rights in the name of homeland security does not seem implausible given the current state of civil liberties in the United States. The war on terror has already taken an enormous toll on the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, and thus far, very few Americans have objected. In light of this precedence, it seems reasonable that scaling back or even repealing the right to bear arms would be an easy task.
Again, Mr. Afeef is drawing the wrong lesson. The "scaling back" of our rights does not mean we should acquiesce to the abridgement or repeal of the right to bear arms. Quite the contrary. The slow slide into statism by our current government is all the more reason the right to bear arms should be vigorously defended, and even strengthened.
In fact, it will be a very difficult task. So far the civil liberties curtailment has affected generally disenfranchised groups such as immigrants, people of color and religious minorities. An assault on the Second Amendment will impact a much more powerful constituency.
According to the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2002 41 percent of American households owned at least one gun. According to these same statistics, 50 percent of the owners were male, 43 percent were white and 48 percent were Republican. More than 50 percent of the gun owners were college educated and earned more than $50,000 per year. Regrettably, these folks are going to marshal their considerable resources to protect their special interest.
That "powerful constituency" (I thought you said it was just "a handful of citizens" Mr. Afeef. When did you change your mind?) defending its "special interest." Liberty, and the means to defend it, are not "special interests." They are human rights.
This is a shame. Instead of laying waste to the civil rights and civil liberties that are at the core of free society, and rather than squandering precious time and money on amending the U.S. Constitution for such things as "preserving marriage between a man and woman," the nation ought to focus its attention on the havoc guns cause in society and debate the merits of gun ownership in this era of terrorism.
I can't argue with the fact that there are a whole lot more important things Congress should be doing than dithering over gay marriage. Like, say, providing for secure borders, or ending the abuses of our rights committed in the name of the War on Drugs, campaign finance reform, and economic development.
So long as guns remain available to the general public, there will always be the threat of terrorists walking into a crowded restaurant, a busy coffee shop or a packed movie theater and opening fire upon unsuspecting civilians.
The Second Amendment is not worth such risks.
So long as guns remain available to the general public, they will have the means to defend themselves should some Islamofascist mutant try to shoot up a restaurant, mall, or movie theater.
Taking that away is not worth the risk.
Buy A Gun Day 2005
In memory of Aaron's Rantblog (may he find work soon). Actually, BAG Day is supposedly April 15th. But my refund already got here, so I spent it last week at the gunshow in Charlotte. My wife already likes it.
The rifle itself is a WASR-10 from Classic Arms. It came with all the features-folding stock, threaded muzzle brake, and bayonet lug with bayonet-sure to induce coniption fits in Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Shumer, and Sarah Brady. But I'd really like to dedicate the purchase of this lovely AK to the death of the proposed AWB and .50 BMG ban in my home state of Washington.
Here's a look at just the rifle:
SAW-type pistolgrip came from TAPCO; handguards came from FAC.
This year's annual festival of firepower is brought to the blogosphere by The Countertop Chronicles and The Ten Ring.
ADDITIONAL: A special note to Senators McCain and Feingold: I also bought a new computer with my tax refund. Molon Labe, cocksuckers.
Molon Labe, Senators
You were a hero in the Hanoi Hilton, Senator McCain. But you'd do well to remember that Benedict Arnold was a hero after the Battle of Saratoga. How do we remember him today?
Many thanks to Mike at Feces Flinging Monkey for the image.