October 18, 2006
Things are a bit sluggish around here this week as I work behind the scenes on some other media ventures. But here are some interesting pieces to keep you occupied:
Westhawk wonders if James Baker's Iraq Study Group will pull the plug on the war, or recommend a radical change of some sort.
The British are apparently asking universities to keep close tabs on Muslim students.
Michael Freund warns readers of the Jerusalem Post that there is another war right around the corner, larger in scale, and much more deadly.
Thailand's new prime minister plans to "reach out" to Muslims in the south. I wonder how that will work . . .
September 1, 2006
Here's some good fuel for the fire from the past few days:
Kobayashi Maru recently considered if there might be any internal contradictions within Islamism/Islamic fascism.
Westhawk thinks that the Mahdi militia has stumbled into an unwise battle.
Publius Pundit recently traveled all over Belarus, Eastern Europe's last dictatorship, and offers his refllections. He's trying the travel-the-world-and-write-about-it model of blogging popularized by Bill Roggio, Michael Yon, and Michael Totten, so slip a few dollars his way if you like his work.
June 30, 2006
Some things to note for weekend thinking:
1. The Guardian reports that:
The intelligence agencies have warned ministers that Iran could launch terrorist attacks against British targets if the row over its controversial nuclear programme escalates, it was disclosed today.That's something to keep in mind. The same article notes:
The parliamentary intelligence and security committee - which oversees the work of the agencies - said the possibility of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism was now considered one of the main threats facing the UK.
"There is increasing international tension over Iran's nuclear programme and backing of groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah," the committee said in its annual report.
"There is a possibility of an increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism should the diplomatic situation deteriorate."
The report also revealed that MI5, the security service, was expanding so rapidly in order to meet the threat of terrorism in the UK that it had outgrown its London headquarters building.Wow. That is amazing. MI-5 is the agency that will be infiltrating or surveiling any homegrown terror cells or organizations. Good to see that they are taking things seriously across the pond.
Thames House at Westminster is expected to have exhausted its capacity by October. The committee said another building had been found to provide additional accommodation - but its identity was censored out on security grounds.
MI5 staff numbers are now expected to grow by over 50% over the next three years, with over half its resources now devoted to counter-terrorism.
2. That article was via RegimeChangeIran, which is asking for your help. Gary Metz, aka Dr. Zin, is requesting donations for "several campaigns to take this work to the next level." Look for more info there soon. He's also asking for volunteers. Sounds like he has something up his sleeve . . . RegimeChangeIran is a great site, so consider supporting him.
3. Finally, while we're in an altruistic mood, Robert Mayer of Publiuspundit sends this:
I have decided to try the path of Michael Totten sans the Middle East. I will be writing pieces from places like Honduras (one of the darkest corners in Latin America), Catalunya (which voted for large autonomy from Spain), The Netherlands (where the government has collapsed over the Ayaan Hirsi Ali affair), Switzerland (an overlooked and extremely interesting country), and the Czech Republic (home of the original velvet revolution that people talk so much about). Most of my reporting will be from Latin America and eventually Eastern Europe, someday moving on to other regions.His first post is here. Check it out and if you like it hit his tipjar.
October 31, 2005
Michael Yon reports that Bruce Willis is going to visit "Deuce-Four" in Fort Lewis. That's pretty cool.
Bill Roggio still needs your help in getting to Iraq. He's about a quarter of the way to his goal. On a personal note, I have to say that Bill is a great guy. I know, I know, frequent readers will tell me to stop praising Bill. I just want to be on the record that he's a good dude and well worth supporting.
Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times has a new blog, called Golden State. Check it out.
Todd Crowell wants to clarify everyone on the exact nature of the US-Japan security relationship.
The New Atlantis has released its Fall, 2005 issue online. Goodness, what great stuff there looks to be there!
October 20, 2005
A small posting bottleneck: my wireless router is down and Mrs. C is monopolizing the one connected computer to write a paper for school. So here I am in the middle of the night with a few links instead of a post:
Dr. Andrew Bostom is a physician specializing in Epidemiology. Since 1997 he has been part of the full-time medical faculty at one of the two major teaching hospital affiliates of Brown University. His current research focuses on the relationship between kidney and cardiovascular disease. Bostom is also the editor of the newly-released book The Legacy of Jihad, a compendium of writings, both modern and ancient, on the uniquely Islamic institution of Jihad. I interviewed him for Redstate via email over this past week.
SyriaComment.com: Scroll a bit here to see lots of Syria news aggregated in one place. I don't always agree with Landes, but this is a blog to keep an eye on for raw Syria news.
A Syrian member of parliament warned publicly against MEMRI, and of course, MEMRI gave him the full treatment.
Here's another Syrian blogger to keep an eye on: Aleppous.
Tigerhawk: The fascinating trial of Saddam Hussein
Asia Cable writes of an old Hong Kong institution: the ferry to mainland China.
Here's a guy I plan to keep an eye on: A Theory of Power, Jeff Vail's Critique of Hierarchy & Empire. He used to be an intel officer in the Air Force. He's coming at things from lots of different angles . . . intial thought is that I probably won't agree with all of what he says, but will get lots of good intellectual mileage in the process.
Merv at PrairiePundit, one of the few bloggers I've actually met in person, and a fellow Marine, notes that Hispanics are rebuilding New Orleans. Mike Davis, the guy who wrote two books about Los Angeles, one of which was later proven to have some -- er -- made-up stuff in it, also wrote a book called Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US Big City. Could be an interesting read if the Hispanic angle continues in New Orleans.
Finally, it looks like Japundit may have found the ultimate protest babe, a Korean protesting Japanese war crimes. Be sure to actually read his post too, as it's amusing. Note: this link might not be safe for work! [Sorry Mom, couldn't resist this protest babe shot. All for a good cause.]
And I'm out!
August 10, 2005
It Can't Happen Here . . . can it?
Last weekend brought a visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War, an excellent museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, which is an excellent place, as anyone in San Antonio or Austin will tell you.
Each President who served in the military during the war had a monument detaling his service. Lyndon Johnson had activated himself as a Naval Reservist while still a sitting Congressman. Then this note, "On July 1st, 1942, President Roosevelt ordered all Congressmen serving in the military back to Washington to attend to their legislative duties."
Those were certainly different times.
The museum was excellent and detailed everything very well. All of the large Naval battles were covered in some depth, and the land battles and amphibious invasions in acceptable depth (though i could have used a bit more). Many tangential topics about the home front -- rationing, quick marriages, internments, and all manner of interesting things that usually slip under the radar, like the fact that the Coast Guard conducted horse-mounted patrols of the Oregon and Washington coasts in 1942.
All in all, an excellent depiction of the whole affair. Only when nearing the end of the museum, and seeing the black and white photos of Hiroshima, did I look at my watch and note the date: it had been exactly 60 years prior.
I've been to the Gembaku Dome in Hiroshima, a daytrip I took by myself from Osaka in high school. While certainly doing its part to honor the memory of the dead that day, the Japanese installation did little to place the blast into the context of the overall conflict, which is a recurring problem in Japanese society. Before going, my host-father (who is still a friend) told me that I "would see what your country wanted to do to Japan." The war is taboo over there, but when it is discussed, it is usually in the context of victimhood. From a standpoint of encouraging Japanese pacifism, perhaps that is a good thing in the long run, but given China's rise, I doubt it is any longer in our interest to encourage the Japanese to be passive in world affairs.
I dare say that any Japanese interested in the history of the war would do much better to visit the museum in Fredericksburg than in Hiroshima.
Was Nagasaki the last nuclear blast the world will see?
If you have not yet read the first two parts of "The Sacrifice and The Reckoning" over at American Digest, you must do so immediately: (Part 1, and Part 2). I can't wait for Gerard's next installment, and feel a morbid guilt for saying so.
June 9, 2005
Friday Reading & Misc.
You must immediately read this post from Dadmanly: Grief and Anger.
Geopolitical Review notes that 600 people have been killed in Thailand in the past 18 months as a result of terrorism.
COUNTERCOLUMN is in high dudgeon about the plans for the WTC memorial, and rightfully so. (Thanks to an Alert Reader for sending this link).
Was Hemingway a lousy war reporter?
A bit of, well, sobering humor from Tech Central Station: And So the Kinder, Gentler War on Terror Began...:
"I don't care, sir! If the bad guys have information, I'd do anything short of torture to get it out of them. I'd take to those Korans like Gallagher to watermelons. I'd use rendering plants, pigs in yarmulkes, Vegas strippers, wood-chippers, sumo wrestlers, leather-clad perverts, battery acid, Jesuits -- everything! I'd feed every last Koran in the world to rabid aardvarks if it would save the life of even one of my men. And if that ticks off the 'patriotic Iraqi protestors,' maybe somebody better tell them that in the civilized world, lives are worth more than books."
"Guards, arrest that man on charges of bigotry and crimes against sensitivity!"
"I'm not a bigot, sir! If it was Catholics plotting terrorism, I'd hire fat guys to use consecrated hosts as deodorant pads. If Greenpeace was responsible for 9/11, I'd feed 'em dolphin nuggets at every meal. You can arrest me all you like, sir," cried Snuffy, as a horde of burly men dragged him away, "but if you keep playing pattycake with them insurgents, pretty soon me and all my hilljack buddies will get elected to high office, because the American people want soldiers to be soldiers and not diversity consultants. Get real with the bad guys, or we will!"
The Daily Demarche is organizing an exchange between left and right blogospheres. Careful. Actual debate taking place in a civil manner.
Pejmanesque: THOUGHT FOR THE DAY (THE "I REALLY WOULDN'T WANT TO MESS WITH HIM" EDITION). I think it's a good thought. The same one is in the first few chapters of "Ender's Game" I think.
Submit your questions to the Big Pharaoh here.
The Bill Gertz story Analysts missed Chinese buildup makes me wonder: perhaps a cadre of intelligence generalists should be created within the intelligence agencies of the US? Rather than expertise in a specific region, they would be asked to analyze all manner of things. Some of their output would not be valuable because they would not latch on to the correct details. But much of it might find connections between far-flung events and between methods and conditions that stove-piped country-specialists, or technology-specialists, might not see as easily.
I wonder how often our nation's intelligence analysts are told to shut up and get back in their boxes? One reason I don't think I could do this.
The mother of all blogrolls, is, as to be expected, taking longer than I thought it would. But I'm making some steady progress.
Coming soon: The Adventures of Chester gear! You can be the first on your block to get some cool Adventures paraphernalia. Should be fun.
Finally, I'm reading the new book, "Sniper" right now. Thus far (80 pages in) it's great. Brings back lots of memories of the invasion. When I'm done I'll post a review.
June 3, 2005
This weekend, if all goes as planned, I hope to create the mother of all blogrolls. I've had an anemic blogroll for far too long and I aim to remedy this oversight!
Here's a lot to keep you occupied:
Michael Yon photoblogs from Dohuk, Iraq, north of Mosul, and reports that it is a peaceful and stable with place with nary an insurgent or US troop tobe found. Great stuff, great pictures.
Henry Sokolski tries to crack the Iran nut in the latest issue of Policy Review.
The Atlantic Online has just posted a new article about wargaming a Korean Peninsula conflict. Haven't read yet. May be subscription only.
The Emirates Economist looks to be an interesting blog and I've just bookmarked it.
In the Red Zone has been updated several times since I last checked in. Steven Vincent's travels through Iraq continue. Just keep scrolling.
The Word Unheard details the laying of the keel for the new class of US Navy's littoral ships. Also, check out "Have You Heard the Word?" a newswire feature patterned after Chester's Newswire here. I imagine that USMC_Vet will do a better job than I have at updating it!
Finally, the only thing I have to say about this is that morale among the British seems exceptionally high. Or, maybe all of their morning PT sessions are like this?
UPDATE: If you need even more stuff, here's some more great reading from American Digest.
And Syria Exposed looks to be a fascinating blog that Alert Reader Dymphna has brought to my attention. Check it out.
February 22, 2005
No time for in-depth posting today, but here's a myriad of links I ran across today. All kinds of topics:
INTEL DUMP - pontificates upon the rise of entrepreneurial, private military forces in Iraq.
An outstanding piece at World Tribune.com discusses life with the 1st Marine Division in Ramadi. General Mattis is quoted yet again:
"The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event," he tells about 200 Marines, sitting on the ground under a metal windbreak against a cliff in Al Asad.Read the whole thing.
"That said, there are some a--holes in the world that just need to be shot. But you go on and find your next victim or he's gonna kill you or your buddy. It's kill or be killed," he said.
"There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim. ... It's really a hell of a lot of fun. You're gonna have a blast out here!" he said, with marked glee. "I feel sorry for every son of a bitch that doesn't get to serve with you."
Who knows if it is true, but another World Tribune article says that the assassins of Hariri were dispatched from Iraq and trained by Ansar al Islam.
This Guardian article, Bloggers will rescue the right, set off lots of commentary. Power Line here. Samizdata.net on the other hand, says Blogging will not necessarily save the Conservative Party.
The Conservatives now have a hideous problem. Having lost confidence in its own economic nostrums, with the collapse both of the old USSR and of its own attempts to galvanise the British economy by seizing control of it, the British dirigiste left is content to allow Blair – or, I suspect, any likely successor of Blair – to triangulate away into the sunset. Labour knows that for them, it is either New Labour or no Labour at all. Which means that the Conservatives are no longer united by Labour. Instead they are divided by New Labour.Meanwhile, the executive editor of the New York Times recently told an audience at the Columbia School of Journalism, “This is not a time when editors swear off alcohol.”
Keller also sees “blogging,” or online writing that blurs news and commentary, as a mixed blessing. While he celebrated the blogger’s ability to uncover breaking news, he noted that a blog’s inherent bias might be detrimental to the reader. “A blog is still a view of the world through a pinhole,” he said, noting that it can sometimes fall as low as being a “one man circle jerk.”The genius statements never stop coming at the NYTimes. Brilliant one there, Keller. Keep thinking that right until you get canned. What a moron.
National Journal notes that blogging is quite on the rise.
"Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters," The New York Times headlined on February 14, in a story that was picked up across the country. "Some in the traditional media are growing alarmed," the story said, "as they watch careers being destroyed by what they see as the growing power of rampant, unedited dialogue."Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, in a pretty-good piece, Society is dead, we have retreated into the iWorld.
Rampant, unedited dialogue! Mercy me, what is democracy coming to?
And why are we having all this intra-media warfare, anyway? Because we can, and because it's good for us. Anyone who isn't exhilarated by the bloggers and the havoc they're wreaking has lost touch with what American journalism at its best has always been about: making trouble to get at the truth.
Technology has given us a universe entirely for ourselves — where the serendipity of meeting a new stranger, hearing a piece of music we would never choose for ourselves or an opinion that might force us to change our mind about something are all effectively banished.A Wired article asks if things aren't about to shift wildly in favor of right-brained individuals.
A confirmation here: Hariri Assassins Said to Come From Iraq
An opinion piece in Arab News apologizes for Syria:
If Syria began pulling out in earnest tomorrow and cut ties with Beirut, where does that leave tiny Lebanon, especially if the new Israeli-Palestinian détente turns sour? What if unfriendly influences fomented a new civil war, just as they did before? Who will step in then? The Americans, who are leading the charge, perhaps or, its client state, the Israelis? The Syrians would no doubt tell them “on your bike”. It isn’t that Syria shouldn’t leave its neighbor but that the timing is wrong. First, let’s wave goodbye to Iraq’s invaders and witness the Middle East peace process reaching fruition. Then, if Syria still insisted on hanging around where it isn’t wanted, it should, indeed, be hauled in front of the UN Security Council with all that could follow.Who will take care of all those poor pitiful Lebanese when the Syrians leave? What drivel.
Once again, Syria is not the aggressor here. Imad Mustapha, the Syrian ambassador in Washington asserted that: “Syria is trying to engage constructively with the United States. We are not enemies of the United States and we don’t want to be drawn into such an enmity.” With the specter of Iraq as a precedent, Syria appears to be hedging its bets and forming closer ties with Iran, currently accused of enriching uranium for weapons purposes. Russia seems to be lining up with them both and is set to supply Syria with advanced missiles.
It is time for the Lebanese to decide where they stand during these threatening times. Their choices are thus. They can go shoulder to shoulder with their Syrian cousins, or trust the Americans and the Israelis to secure their safety and future prosperity? Sadly, either way they could be losers in a world where winners are inevitably the ones with the biggest bombs and hardest hearts.
Apparently, the Lebanese agree with me: Thousands in Lebanon Protest Government
Across the Bay is a blog from a writer in Syria, which I have just added to my newsreader. Excellent.
The BBC reports the price paid for blogging Iran.
Chrenkoff interviews Michael Ledeen. Way to go Chrenk!
Bush in Europe
Discarded Lies asksIs Europe Starting To Love A Cowboy?
New Sisyphus has a line-by-line analysis of Bush's speech today in Brussels.
Sen Rockefeller, the Vice chairman of the intellligence committee, thinks half of Russia's nuclear materials are unaccounted for. Doesn't seem like good news at all.
The Blue State Conservatives has a greatroundup of conservative blog opinion from blue states. Great stuff.
And I'm out . . .
February 17, 2005
Here's all kinds of stuff that might have slipped under your radar:
A medic in the Washington State National Guard was recently awarded the Silver Star for saving the lives of several Iraqi soldiers caught with him in an ambush on a convoy on November 2nd.
Spirit of America is hiring. Openings include a VP for Project Management and a VP for Communications, among others. All are based in Los Angeles.
The city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, plans to add 500 miles of man-made coastline in a very large public development project to be bigger than Manhattan.
Here's a good account of one company of Light Armored Infantry that is taking the long way home from Iraq after fighting in Fallujah.
caliber50 is a new blog by another former Marine officer -- a tanker. Stop by and check it out.
One of the bloggers at I Should Have Stayed Home tells of an ethical dilemma he recently encountered:
I had detailed information that someone would be kidnapped and executed the next morning, and that it would be carried out by someone they knew (whether through work or family or friendship I'll leave out). But I wasn't allowed to provide the person the details because doing so would compromise the source, and end more lives. So I called up this person out of the blue, with the barest minimal warning: "You are going to be kidnapped tomorrow morning, leave your home tonight and trust nobody." Naturally, they were skeptical. "Thanks very much, but I can take care of myself." I had the information that would have convinced them otherwise, but couldn't release it. Nor did I have time or ability to get to them in person or interdict the kidnappers.I just love that blog. Everything they write about is interesting.
Another blogger in Iraq, Cigars in the Sand writes about intimidation's effects on his Iraqi coworkers.
The Regime Change Iran blog, which I read every day, notes in a detailed post that blogging is incredibly popular in Iran.
Some observers say the gathering revolution will be blogged, not televised.
The blog NKzone.org, which I read every day by the way, offers an interesting take on the possibility of a food shortage in North Korea.