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Saturday, March 15, 2003
 

The Ides of Marching with Commies



If it's March 15th, it must be time to get in touch with your inner Stalinist and go attend International Answer's Rally for the Preservation of Tyrants.

I attended -- not to endorse, but rather to Fisk. Now, crowds are heck on bunnies. Everybody gets all wet-eyed and asks to pet the bunny. And I don't want to smell like patchouli oil for the rest of the day. So for the shots from the interior of the crowd, I sent an ally. With that out of the way, let's take a look.

As always, it's important to follow the money. Plenty of people with sensitive consciences aren't above making a fast buck off a looming international conflict. I believe the dictionary calls it war profiteering.




I suppose the merchandise reads "I came, I protested, I bought the T-shirt."




These peace-vendors listened to the wrong weather prediction. Sometimes sunny days make the grubby capitalists sad.




International Answer likes to call itself a front for unreformed Stalinists, but you can't fool me. As you can see from the sign, they like it when folks show them the money. And they aren't above shameless mendicancy, either.




I bet the pretzel vendors made a killing peacing today. Nothing builds up an appetite like denouncing your government. Said government thoughtfully provided rest-room accommodations, leading to the other major transaction of the protest. Hey W, this one's for you!

On to the politicization of children. Remember, these folks know they're in favor of a good cause. Their saintliness gives them the right to do things you and I might find repugnant. Lying, distorting, obscenity, politicizing children -- it's okay if you're on the side of angels.




I love that last one. The lady's sign reads "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND." And she's turned her back on her own kid! If there is another way to totally refute your personal principles, I've not seen it.

On to the signs. Remember: if you want to articulate a foreign policy alternative to pre-emption, make sure it fits within a pithy tagline. Otherwise, it's just evidence of mental illness, posted on a placard.




Doesn't it seem right to see the communist banner flying next to the emblem of the UN? They just go well together.




The American fifth-column was out in force today. Who knew we had so many Francophiles? And the guy who carried the cardboard? Let's say he's still not convinced.




The sandwiches of war made a major showing today. You figure it out; I gave up already. And yes, I got a chuckle, from the guy who has a crush on sexy Presidents. Do you think his girlfriend is beginning to suspect?




Not too many red flags at the "Solidarity for Saddam Session." But the commie balloons more than made up for the deficit.

Regular readers know how much I like the Arsenal of Democracy's lethal robots. So obviously this is my favorite sign:



If only!

While there were plenty of other kooky signs, I leave it to other authors to post what they saw.

By now I suspect you're wondering: "where are the giant puppets?" Yes indeed. Nobody takes a protest seriously unless it has puppets. They scream credibility. Here they are:




The Count Choculas of Peace. Convincing, wouldn't you say?

Some people criticize these rallies as derivative: aping the look and feel of earlier marches, but hollow to the core. Well this isn't your father's appeasement event. It features belly-dancers!




A word about the size of the protest. Here's a standard network news crowd shot: a full frame packed with people. And here's the part you don't see: the edge of the crowd.




This event packed the Sylvan Theater. I'll grant them that. But they did not swarm the mall. This was a very compact rally. They didn't even disturb the interns' soccer matches.



I'd like to conclude this tour on a positive note. After all, we're all Americans. I found two signs I liked.




I've always thought washing the flag was much more persuasive (and much less offensive).

And yes, I'm pleased to report at least one person brought a "Support Our Troops" sign. Considering that all these pacifists are defended by the Arsenal of Democracy, and because its brave men and women are on the eve of putting their lives in harm's way for us, I'm glad at least one couple was thinking of them today.

God bless you two (and the guy who protested while respecting his flag). The rest of the crowd: they're selfish, petty and vain. And it really shows.

Friday, March 14, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny




(Washington (State) HBS)

Jackie is a large beautiful angora. She's white with black ears and needs a haircut about every two months. She will need to be combed/brushed daily in order to keep her hair from matting. Jackie was born appx. Jan. 2001. She needs someone to pay a lot of attention to her. She loves ear rubs.
(Washington (State) HBS)


You folks seem to prefer the big fluffy bunnies. Well here she is, and she could be yours!
 

Arsenal of Democracy



In terms of yield, MOAB isn't the biggest bomb in the AoD. That honor goes to the B83.

In 1983, the U.S. nuclear arsenal acquired the B83 strategic nuclear gravity bomb. The B-52H, B-1B, and B-2 bombers all can carry it. The B83 has delivery and fuzing options that include free-fall air or ground burst, retarded air burst, and retarded ground burst or delayed ground burst (or "laydown"). These capabilities make this bomb a full fuzing option (FUFO) weapon. Length: 12 feet. Weight: 2,464 pounds. Stockpiled: 1983. Yield: megaton range.
(Atomic Museum)


The best B83 page I could find is here. Just looking at it gives me the shivers. I hope we never have to let slip one of these monsters.

(reflective pause)

But just in case we did, it's nice to know that the B83 has all the bells and whistles you could want in a hydrogen bomb.

The B83 is 12 feet long and 18 inches in diameter. It was developed at Livermore in the 1980s and has the advantage of already being built to withstand impact. It was designed as a "lay down'' bomb, one that is dropped from an airplane at low altitude and high speed. It is constructed to smash into buildings, knock down trees or careen into cars, and still work. Its detonation is delayed to provide the plane time to clear the area; otherwise, the crew would be flying a suicide mission.
(Peace Movement Aotearoa)


You can set the B83 for surface (and even subsurface) detonation, or airburst. You can drop it high and slow (it even has a ballute to slow it way down) or low and fast. It's got safety features like insensitive explosive lenses, non-violent command disable options and a Category D permissive action link (PAL).

And my personal favorite: you can dial-a-yield (DAY) from a few kilotons right up to and through the megaton mark.

All our big bombers are qualified to carry the B83, and so are most of other aircraft in the arsenal. Apparently even the plucky little Harrier can carry one (although I really hope it never comes to that).
 

Partially Principled



I'm still cheesed off about that painting I mentioned in an earlier post. Mind you an artist can paint whatever she likes, but we certainly have the right to mock it.

Still, we could take the mockery a step further. Specifically I'm talking about the critics who faint with righteous indignation at the thought that somewhere some artist isn't able to get on the gravy train via subsidized obscenity.

It's one thing to posture as a proud defender of free expression. It's quite another to fold at the hint of a fatwa.

On the one hand, Geissel's piece is a mutilated Koran, which (like bread and wine in Catholic Communion) is not considered a symbol of holiness by Muslims, but holiness itself. Anderson knew what Geissel had in mind before he made it, but, she said, "An actual defaced Koran is offensive to all Muslims--even a photograph of it would have been different."

On the other hand, the art world (correctly) went to the wall to defend Andres Serrano's photograph of a cross floating in his own urine, which offended devout Catholics. So why is it somehow all right to offend Catholics and not Muslims? It's a question of relative fear, of the (perceived or real) difference between facing an angry Catholic activist and an angry Muslim one. "Christians can take it," Anderson said.
(The Stranger)


Isn't it brave to selectively bash those who can take it?

And where were they when a playwright tried to write a play about the intifada from a Palestinian point of view?

Of course, one man's bold experimentation is another's political correctness--and a cynic might suggest that the Playhouse would be a most inhospitable venue for a play that, say, lauded American imperialism, or made fun of "the nation's leading gay performance artist." Such cynics are likely to be more numerous after what happened with Paradise. Because when a dozen hard-line Cincinnati Muslims decided to protest O'Malley's play before he had even finished writing it, the theater's leadership quailed, its donor base panicked, the city's anti-racism bureaucracy began to meddle, its school system scampered for cover from threatened lawsuits, and Paradise collapsed like a house of cards.
(The Weekly Standard)


(crickets...)

My what fair-weather principles the defenders of free expression have...
 

Heresy



I know it means suicide, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm disagreeing with Victor Davis Hanson:

100,000 troops, planes, ships, and bases in South Korea and Japan once posed a strong deterrent to the Soviet Union and are useful in reminding China to think twice about storming Taiwan. But ultimately powerful countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan after 60 years of an American presence will have to provide for their own defense, with or without us.

What the United States should seek is a sort of military autonomy, a muscular disengagement that lessens dependence on other mercurial and conniving countries and yet allows us strategic flexibility -- and, yes, the freedom to move in the interest of freedom-loving peoples abroad who wish to act in concert with us.
(National Review)


I think Mr. Hanson is arguing that we should reduce our foreign-deployed commitments, and send them forth only as necessary. I disagree. One of the reasons the AoD is so large and fearsome is that we have spread it all over the world. Because it's dangerous to spread it too thinly, we pay to reinforce our outposts (or oases, if you prefer).

To bring them home is to bring them to the attention of our lefties, who would starve them to pay welfare queens.

Lastly, who is going to pay for all the added rapid sea-lift capability we would need? You can take the train from Germany to Turkey. You can't do the same from the CONUS. So for those reasons, I think we should continue to deploy our arsenal around the world -- even to the extent of establishing more outposts.

I mean, we're going to have to go over there, sooner or later. So it makes sense to ship our gear ahead of time.
 

Nomenclature



This is rich:

A bus driver has been issued with a parking ticket after leaving his out-of-service vehicle at a bus stop while he went to a newsagent's for change.
(Ananova)


Now what's wrong with that?

It's understood Merseytravel has told parking attendants to clampdown on out-of-service buses stopping at bus stops.
(Ananova)


Hmmm. They're called bus stops for a reason, you know...

Thursday, March 13, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Here's Pogo, posing with one of his toys:


(Oregon HBS)

Pogo is a sweet yet shy medium size fellow who would love to get pats and loves from his new family. Found alone outside, he appears not to have had much people lovin' until now. He needs an inside home that is quiet and one that will shower him with attention so he can get use to gentle handling. A very special boy!
(Oregon HBS)


Another rescued bunny. Your kindness is overwhelming!
 

Arsenal of Democracy



Since it's Bomb Week here at BBB, let's take a look at the newest big bomb in the AoD: MOAB.

The U.S. Air Force is developing a new, 2nd generation, ten ton large, low air burst bomb. It will replace the older "Daisy Cutter" 7.5 ton bomb developed during the 1960s. This was a 7.5 ton bomb using a semi-liquid explosive for clearing landing zones in the Vietnam jungle. The terms "Daisy Cutter" actually comes from the four foot probe at the bottom of the bomb which triggered the explosion without creating a crater (helicopters don't like to land in craters.) The probe was later replaced with a radar altimeter fuze, but the nickname "Daisy Cutter" stuck. The official designation was BLU-82 (or "Big Blue").
(Strategypage)


Now you've already read the details about this one elsewhere. Follow the link above to see what MOAB looks like. Here's what the BLU-82 looks like. Spot the difference?

I don't think MOAB is really a replacement for the BLU-82. Form follows function, and these have two entirely different forms. The Daisy Cutter was designed to flatten a forest so helicopters could land. If it hit the ground and detonated it would leave a crater (something of a no-no for helicopter LZ's). On the other hand, MOAB looks sharp and sleek. In fact, it looks like a GBU-28 'bunker buster." The black cap on the tail might be for a retarding ballute or something else entirely. I favor the latter, because MOAB looks designed for speed.

Remember the brouhaha a few months back when the AoD announced plans for a new class of earth-penetrating nuclear weapons? No? Here's a refresher:

The new weapon is to be a low-yield device with earth penetration capability, intended to destroy deeply buried bunkers. Paul Robinson, Director of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., which would build the device, is a strong advocate of it. Robinson apparently favors a new, low-yield device because U.S. leaders presumably would be more ready to employ smaller weapons than to use the larger city- and silo-busting high-yield weapons in our current arsenal. He considers large weapons "self-deterring."
(CDI)


What if MOAB is really part of a project to develop a non-nuclear deep earth penetrating bomb? Or maybe MOAB will come in two flavors: surface blast and subsurface penetration? Let's check in with the mighty USAF:

Steve Butler, director of engineering at the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., said at a conference last year that Air Force interest in a follow-on to the Daisy Cutter was gaining. He said options ranged from simply reproducing the BLU-82/B to developing a dramatically heavier munition with a scaleable blast capability.

He said he was lobbying Air Force and Defense Department officials to pursue the latter option and develop a 30,000-pound penetrator/blast weapon that could be tailored to the threat.

"We are looking very seriously at both very, very heavy penetrators and blast weapons," Butler said last October at the Precision Strike Technology Symposium at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. "We'd like to create a family of weapons of very large size that are uniquely available to go after certain targets."
(USAF)


Aha! Thought so.
 

Hoss Country



I really hope this is true:

The only remaining advantage of delay is for the new Turkish prime minister to give the U.S. forces that have actually been unloading in, and transiting, Turkey, the legal cover of a fresh Turkish Parliamentary vote. For as I am convinced by witnesses on the scene, the U.S. and Turkish armies are now in fact fully co-operating towards joint action on Iraq's northern front, whatever you read in the papers.
(David Warren Online)


Here at BBB we’re big fans of Turkey. If you're ever in Turkey drop by Ephesus. For decades now, the Turks have been turning the ruins back into a city.

Oh, and by the way, Ephesus has the world’s oldest known advertisement (not surprisingly, it’s for the world’s oldest profession).



As we were all walking back down the ‘Arcadian Way’ which lead towards the old harbour, my wife suddenly pointed to a small block of stone embedded in the road. It had the imprint of the outline of a woman and a human hand pointing towards a determined area. Florencia immediately looked into her horoscopic picture book. She started giggling. Showing us the description of the odd mini-monument, it read: ‘THIS WAY TO THE [BROTHEL]. About 100 BC!’
(Hackwriters)


In some parts of the Muslim world, statues to Greek gods and dirty advertisements would merit dynamite. In Turkey, they’re national treasures and tourist attractions. That just about says it all, if you ask me.
 

The Nightmare



Think this could happen?

It is all too possible to devise an American nightmare in which Spain and Italy return to their traditional policy of supporting France and Germany in building a European superpower as a counterweight to the United States; the British and East Europeans initially resist but, outvoted and outmaneuvered, are dragooned along in the wake of Paris and Berlin; then the United States, out of sheer irritation with Franco-German obstructionism, leaves NATO which is promptly reconstructed as the defense arm of the EU; and finally the Russians, seeing that Europe is becoming a serious security partner, move from the unipolar camp into the multipolar one permanently. Of course, the world itself would then no longer be unipolar but divided between two rival superpowers — Europe and America — and therefore decisively multipolar, just like Europe in 1914. In other words, it would be more divided, less stable, and more dangerous.
(National Review)


Um, who’s going to pay for all this? Europe’s retiring boomers? Or their overtaxed progeny? I don’t think they can stage a defense build-up while simultaneously maxing out their ponzi pensions. If they want to be our rivals, they’ll need another Marshall Plan. (And the cynic in me says we just might be dunderheaded enough to give them one.)
 

Arsenal of Robots



When the rest of the world looks at the AoD, you can tell they’ve got real robot-envy. But just because we make it look easy, doesn’t mean anyone can make fighting robots.

For example: these folks built robot falcons to ward off prosaic little seagulls. But they didn’t have the AoD inside:

An Aberdeenshire seaside town is rethinking a plan to use robots to deter seagulls, after the seabirds ganged up on their fibreglass foes.
(Ananova)


To be defeated by an arsenal of seagulls. O the ignominy!
 

Never give up; never surrender



Now these folks are relentless:

A man who died in 1997 has received a telephone bill at the cemetery where he is buried.
(Ananova)


Well if they want his phone money, they’ll have to pry it from his cold, dead fingers.

Cemetery Superintendent Wayne Bloomquist says he was surprised to see the bill from the telephone company Sprint for 12 cents, including 10 cents for a call on February 16, five years after Mr Towles died.

"Our clients here don't usually get mail," he said. "I wondered if maybe we should start putting mailboxes on the monuments."
(Ananova)


You know, I just thought of something. Apropos of Iraq: why did we bother sending UN inspectors, when we could have relied on the Sprint collections department?
 

The Bad Taste of War



Oh sure, she’s just defending the front line of free expression:

A painting showing the World Trade Centre towers protruding from George W Bush's trousers has caused controversy at a Canadian university.
(Ananova)


That isn’t artistic bravery, but rather publicity-mongering. And mocking the three thousand (who can hardly retort) is simply cowardice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



A word of warning: Buddy is a big bunny girl:


(Upstate New York HBS)

Buddy is a large (12 to 13 lb) New Zealand white spayed female bunny. Don’t let her all white coat fool you into thinking she is plain or ordinary! This is a bunny with lots of energy and is very amusing to watch. A paradox of her character is that at other times she is very gentle and quiet. She loves human attention, especially a head rub or to be petted (but not to be picked up off the floor. She is intelligent so with patience, that is a likely possibility also.).

Buddy likes to romp around the room hide in cardboard tunnels and boxes with holes. She can be picky about other bunny friends, preferring boy friends better than girl friends. She is healthy and has a good appetite and loves grass hay, carrots, dandelions, endive, Swiss chard, kale, apples, pears and broccoli. She needs a stable loving home where people will appreciate her variety of character.
(Upstate New York HBS)


Wow is Buddy big! For comparison, the incomparable Dutch bunnies top the scales at between 5 and 6 pounds. So Buddy is twice as large. I bet Buddy could trade punches with cats and small dogs. Not that Buddy is necessarily belligerent, nor am I advocating you stage a contest. Just bragging about big bunnies is all...
 

Arsenal of Democracy



Big bombs are neat, but the best way to destroy an enemy formation is with dozens of little bomblets dispersed from a "truck," or cluster-bomb.

The real drawback to using cluster bombs is accuracy. Cluster bombs are dumb, so you've got to rely on your airplane's CCIP (continuously computed impact point) which is OK, but not nearly as accurate as a precision guided munition.

During Operation Desert Storm, RAF Tornados carried JP233 cluster bombs on sorties against Iraqi runways. The JP233's carried a mixture of bomlets and mines to pock the surface and impede the enemy bulldozers as they tried to clean off the tarmac. In order to actually hit the runways, the Tornado crews had to fly really low.

Thanks to their night and all-weather penetration capability - and their unique JP233 airfield denial weapons - the Tornado GR1s were ideally suited to offensive counter attacks against iraqi airfields and were used intensively for that purpose in the early days. Initially, the RAF were tasked to harass enemy airfield operations rather than attempt to close a selected few and in those early days the GR1s carried out low level attacks with HP233 to crater runways or taxiways. These attacks were carried out in the face of exceptionally strong anti-aircraft artillery and missile fire from the Iraqis.
(RAF History)


Because the Tornados flew so close to the enemy air defense, the Brits lost several crews on these missions. The worst place to be hit is at low altitude.

What if there were a way to accurately deliver cluster bombs from a safer altitude? As a matter of fact, you can -- with a little wonder weapon invented by (you guessed it) the AoD.

A WCMD is a tail kit that is attached to a tactical munitions dispenser, which contains cluster bombs. The cluster bombs are dispersed as the TMD glides over a target.

Before introducing WCMDs to the Air Force inventory in April, TMDs were unguided. They often missed the intended target due to pilot error or strong winds, especially when launched from mid to high altitudes, said Col. Ken Merchant, director of Eglin's Area Attack System Program Office. The weapons typically needed to be dropped from low altitudes to be accurate.
(Mighty USAF Fact Sheet)


The WCMD is cheap (~$10,000), INS guided (i.e., no-jam) and combat-tested in Afghanistan. Best of all, it fits all our best cluster munitions. Check them out!

The WCMD lets us attack runways and enemy formations accurately from just about any altitude. And that gives us a big leg up on the enemy.
 

International Answer



Tonight while I was on the way to the Metro, guess what someone tried to stick in my face? (It's the one at the top.)

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and other organizations are calling for an Emergency National Anti-War Convergence to TAKE IT TO THE WHITE HOUSE on Saturday, March 15. There will be a parallel activities in San Francisco (gather at 11 am at Civic Center Plaza) and Los Angeles (gather 12 noon at Olympic and Broadway, march to Downtown Federal Building).
(International Answer)


Oh I'll be there with a camera.
 

Silent Genocide



Because it is by its nature quiet, we don't hear much about the silent genocide we are apparently waging in Central Asia. Here's an update:

To express his gratitude for the milk that he and his classmates receive each day from the United States, Ramzi Gadomamadov, a fourth-grade student from Tajikistan's Roshtkala District School, created a cardboard house, furniture included, from the donated milk cartons.
(State Department)


Poor little guy. If only he knew of our evil intent...

FAS [U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service]donates agricultural products for use in school feeding and nutrition programs in an effort to improve global food security and encourage education. It has donated 5,000 metric tons of nonfat dry milk to help support the Aga Khan Foundation's food distribution efforts to 376 schools in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
(State Department)


Hey wait a sec. There's no genocide going on. I'm sure old Noam has issued an apology, right?

(crickets)

Thought so.
 

Old Europe



Is this true?

Americans need recognize that, for most Europeans, America is not a nation but a continental extension of Europe. When French Foreign Minister de Villepin lectures us in the name of an "old country," what he means is his is a true nation and ours is not. Europeans define a nation in terms of longevity or bloodlines, but not the American vision of shared aspirations in a "nation of nations." This condescension unites Adolf Hitler, who disparaged America as a "mongrel nation," and Vaclav Havel, when he proposed that then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright succeed him as Czech president. To Havel, Albright's U.S. citizenship was a mere formality because her national identity must be Czech. Americans encounter this mentality almost anywhere in Europe.
(National Review)


They have got to be joking; America is nothing if not a rejection of Europe, and we are un-European to the core.

As I have argued before, many European countries are simply places where one tribe pushed the rest out and squatted until the Treaty of Westphalia. So naturally these states have rich histories full of ethnic cleansing and advanced cultures based on expressions of their racial superiority.

I think it’s cute that they think we look up to them. To persist in maintaining that delusion in spite of all the contravening evidence is admirable stubbornness. For goodness sake: our refutation is printed on the dollar bill!

America is the Novus Ordo Seclorum, Reagan’s Shining City on the Hill. Our motto is E Pluribus Unum, which means that we take the world, distill it down to what Matthew Arnold called “the best that has been thought and said,” and apply those best practices every day.

America is the original no-tribe state. While today there are others, let’s not lose sight or forget just how rare a thing like America really is:

We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and values systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right.
(In the Beginning...)


America is like the original self-replicating molecule that started life as we know it. As Richard Dawkins says: that such a thing would spring into existence is extremely unlikely, but it had to happen only once.

Ever since then we have been multiplying and spreading like a virus across the face of the Earth. America infects all classes, from the poor, huddled masses to the talented, tax-haven seeking professionals. Is there another country that could soak up so many refugees and drain so many brains at the same time? Are any of them even trying?

The American Way of Life is so potent, so fecund, you can’t get through the day without confronting it. I’m not just talking about songs, books and films. I’m talking about airplanes, television, telephones, and (especially for you readers), computers and the internet internet. Oh, and by the way, we invented electric light. So everywhere on Earth, America owns the night.

The core set of ideas which comprise what it means to be American is more infectious than a virus. It’s almost religious. It is certainly universalistic: I mean it when I say that in the future, everybody will be American. Or a local knock-off version. It is the manifest destiny of man to shed his tribes. So the path to the future runs through the USA.

The French have long been clear that America's proper vocation is as strategic reserve and servant of Europe.
(National Review)


Let us be clear about the proper vocation of the French: They shall be our attendants and parking valets at Eurodisney. Everything else is akin to a booster rocket we may now safely discard.

UPDATE:

Apparently I'm late to the party. Steven Den Beste has covered this territory already. I'm happy to be in good company. Surely there are other countries ready to take the Pepsi Challenge.
 

Checklist



With proper planning, this could have been avoided:

A man tried to hijack a Bulgarian train using a pair of scissors and a goat horn.
(Ananova)


Note: it says tried.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Another rescue bunny!


(Chicago HBS)

John Winter Bun
Found as a stray, this white and brown rex is a little wary of people. He has lots of spunk and is looking for the right human family that can teach him to trust again.
(Chicago HBS)


Just a reminder that pet bunnies are a separate species from American Cottontails. Stray pet bunnies have thousands of enemies, and no allies save you wonderful samaritans. Thanks again!
 

Arsenal of Democracy



It must be Bomb Week here at BBB. Let's take a look at the latest in a long and successful series of kits for the venerable, dependable Mk. 80 series of bombs: Paveway IV.

As you know, Paveway turns regular bombs into precision-guided, laser-homing weapons. The US Navy and the Mighty USAF are big customers of Paveway II and III. Now the British Ministry of Defence (sic) is about to begin buying Paveways that are one louder.

For extreme accuracy Paveway IV utilises (sic) second-generation, state-of-the-art GPS aided inertial navigation that incorporates anti-spoofing and anti-jamming technology. The weapon has evolved from Enhanced Paveway, which the RAF has already fielded operationally. Although for MoD the guidance kit will be fitted to a 500lb warhead, Paveway IV has a totally modular guidance unit allowing it to be fitted to different sized warheads without modification.
(Raytheon)


The Paveway IV has a snap-on laser homing package for super-accuracy in good weather, plus GPS to take it to the target in smoke or fog. Wow: two great tastes that taste great together. Paveway IV is a regular flying Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!

And because it's based on the Mk. 80 family, you can buy the optional wingkit package for standoff capability. Look: pictures!

Let's be sure to buy some, because we can't let the Brits have all the fun. Oh and it's a good thing Paveway IV still has the optional laser. I mean a GPS-guided Paveway... that just sounds like heresy.
 

Freedom Fries



Now this is just wrong:

WASHINGTON - Show the flag and pass the ketchup was the order of the day in House cafeterias Tuesday. Lawmakers struck a lunchtime blow against the French and put "freedom fries" on the menu.
(AP/Yahoo News)


Oh c'mon, that's just juvenile. On the other hand, Liberty Numerals is really catchy!
 

Old Europe



You learn something new every day:

Personalities rather than deeper forces often play a determining role in Old Europe. The EU, far from being an embodiment of the rule of law, as Mr. Kagan argues, is fundamentally corrupt and in a sense lawless. French governments invariably break or ignore its rules when they conflict with national interests. Jacques Chirac is an opportunist with a long record of malfeasance. If he did not enjoy ex officio immunity, he would be under indictment. His current anti-Americanism is in part an effort to win over his accusers on the left.
(Opinion Journal)


Okay, we all knew that the EU is fundamentally corrupt and lawless. But who knew Jacques Chirac was a regular Edwin Edwards?

Note to US Security Council: vote for the fraud; it’s important.
 

Adopt-a-Drinker



Way to go UK!

Country pub regulars have been put up for adoption on an internet site in an attempt to raise funds for rural drinking houses.
(Ananova)


Folks, make sure you have a large enough cage…

Jon Ellard, who runs the site http://www.pubs2000.com/, said the Adopt a Local scheme was inspired by similar projects run in zoos.
"I hope this will appeal to people who care for country pubs especially Americans, who really like the quaint, traditional pubs."
(Ananova)


I bet that would appeal to Americans. In fact, why don’t we have adopt-a-barfly campaigns?

UPDATE:

On the subject of adoption, check this out:

A Canadian man had to be rescued by police after his cat went berserk and trapped him in a bathroom.
(Ananova)


I'm not saying it's the final proof that bunnies are the best possible pets, but it certainly does impeach the case for the cat... don't you think?

Monday, March 10, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



The New York City HBS appears to be a new chapter (or at least new to me). Rather than pick a favorite, I recommend you check out all the available bunnies. Who knows: you might make a match.
 

Arsenal of Democracy



Yesterday we discussed the various wingkits we'll field to turn plain old Mk. 80 series bombs into short-to-mid-range precision gliding missiles.

Today I was thinking about how to extend the range of these unpowered bombs. I think we could get an extra "oomph" if we revived an old Strategic Air Command trick called "Low Altitude Bombing System" (LABS).

As a means of avoiding detection by radar, penetration of enemy airspace was to take place at high speed and at an altitude of only a few hundred feet. At the target, the aircraft was to execute an Immelmann turn with weapons delivery taking place in near vertical flight. (An Immelmann turn consists of a half loop followed by a half roll from inverted to normal flight attitude at the top of the loop. A change of 180° in direction coupled with a gain in altitude are accomplished during the maneuver.) This method of weapons delivery was known as LABS (low altitude bombing system) and was intended to provide the aircraft a means for escaping destruction from the blast effects of its own weapon.
(Global Security)


Because LABS is a bit of pre-internet trivia, online pictures are rare. Here's a picture of a similar bombing technique. It doesn't quite do justice to LABS, but you can get the gist of what I'm talking about.

What if a modern aircraft were to approach a target from high-altitude. While scores of miles from the target, the pilot pulls an Immelmann turn. At +45, the pilot releases the weapon, before completing the turn. Meanwhile, the bomb's momentum takes it upward and downrange to the target. At the apex of its parabola, the bomb sprouts its wings, activates the guidance package and picks an attack profile.

I think that applying the LABS concept to modern gliding bombs released from high altitudes could increase their standoff range while reducing the pilot's vulnerability. Best of all, it's practically free: no new equipment, and only the barest of software modifications.

LABS and glide bombs are an ideal combination. Let's hope the AoD thinks so, too.
 

Serendipity



Quite by accident, I found a really interesting website. Before I share it with you, I want to explain why.



As you folks know, I recently finished reading Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson. He discusses why the Greeks were so good at kicking butt.

One of the reasons the Greeks usually won is because they fought for an important reason: to impress upon a rival the solution to an intractable political dispute. Now this seems like an obvious statement to you and me, because we’re accustomed to war as the last resort in a dispute. We’re used to the idea of marching into the enemy’s capital to enforce our will.

The Greeks faced plenty of tribes who fought for entirely different reasons. Some were raiders like the Vikings. Some armies were mercenary. In these cases, foes would fight until the cost became too expensive, or the reward seemed too low. They weren’t prepared to slug it out to the bitter end over an idea or opinion. So the Greeks cleaned their clocks.

The West inherited the Greek tradition of warfare. So we marched into Berlin and sailed into Tokyo Bay. Or Kuwait City, or (soon) Baghdad.

While I was researching this "pound them into submission" theme of Western warfare, I came across this WWII Pacific website, particularly it’s Operation Downfall page. OD is the name for the proposed invasion of the Japanese Home Islands; the one, but for the blinding power of American Sunshine, we would have fought through 1946. It’s chilling to think of the cost of the operation that never happened, both in terms of lives and treasure. How Greek of us to sacrifice lives and expend treasure to reach the end of a conflict.

By contrast, the Arab world doesn’t seem to have caught onto this trendy Greek way of war. While poking around the WWII Pacific website, I found that the author (apparently a Navy vet) has taken the time to read the Koran and draw preliminary conclusions about the warfighting potential and propensity for terrorism of Islam.

I recommend to you the author’s observations and conclusions. I think they go a long way to explaining why Arab Muslims seem to favor skirmish and demonstration over the grim Greek resolve to put a column in your Capitol. And for that, I’m a bit more optimistic about how this war is going to turn out.
 

Too much credit



Normally dependable columnist Michael Ledeen wonders if France is conspiring with Germany and suicidal terrorists to take on the United States:

No military operation could possibly defeat the United States, and no direct economic challenge could hope to succeed. That left politics and culture. And here there was a chance to turn America's vaunted openness at home and toleration abroad against the United States. So the French and the Germans struck a deal with radical Islam and with radical Arabs: You go after the United States, and we'll do everything we can to protect you, and we will do everything we can to weaken the Americans.
(National Review)


Sorry, but I don’t buy it. For a freely elected government to participate in such a conspiracy, it would have to be sure that either it could keep the plot completely secret, or that it had the sympathy of a majority of voters. Neither condition exists in either country.

Plus, we’re talking about France. From the XYZ Affair to Operation El Dorado Canyon, their behavior is entirely consistent:

The French official position was all over the map. It was "a question of national sovereignty" one day and "we weren't consulted in advance" the next. Then it was "we don't approve of such methods" followed by a hint that they would have approved of such methods after all if we'd only used bigger bombs. The French are masters of "the dog ate my homework" school of diplomatic relations.
(Holidays in Hell)


And Mr. Ledeen thought France might a ringleader or something.
 

Joining the Party



The Derb embraces American Sunshine:

The logic all points one way: to nuclear weapons. The only way to put North Korea out of business without South Korea's cooperation is by attacking their emplacements along the DMZ with neutron bombs ("enhanced radiation weapons"). Nothing else does the job without precipitating an invasion of South Korea. We have to take out the Yong-byon reactor, too, and since doing that would probably trigger the aforementioned invasion, and since nuclear weapons are the only sure way to thwart that invasion, we might have to go nuclear on Yong-byon too.
(National Review)


I’m happy to be in good company when it comes to untying the other hand from behind our back. The rest of you should catch this trend while you can still credible claim to be early adopters.

Why threaten to nuke the ne’er-do-wells? It’s called deterrence. If our enemies think we will take our stockpile out of consideration, then so will they.

Ever since the Berlin Wall came down, Americans haven’t seriously considered nuking someone. A lot of people seem embarrassed by the stockpile, as if it hadn’t guaranteed them a safe childhood. Others think of nuclear weapons as beyond the pale: "Oh we would never use something like that…"

"Duly noted," concludes the terrorist and tyrant alike.

Which kind of person are you? Here take the test:

After a North Korean ship launched its rockets and deluged Manhattan in VX, you:

a) Turned to Oprah, or
b) Cried havoc.


The more likely a tyrant thinks our collective response will be "a)," the more likely an attack. And the converse is true for "b)."

Warmongering equals deterrence equals world safe for Americans. Are you doing your part?

P.S., Mr. Derbyshire suggests that while our enemies would employ a countervalue strategy, we would let slip a counterforce response.

No way, baby. If we lose a city, we aren’t going to send neutron bombs after decrepit tanks and cannon. We would demand full scale atomic warfare against maximum countervalue targets. It’s what General LeMay would have done.
 

Warmonger



I had no idea: Elena Bonner is a warmonger. Awesome!

No, we are not joining those who seek to dissuade you from taking a military action in Iraq. On the contrary, we think that this action is long overdue, and that Iraqi people were left to suffer from the evil regime of Saddam Hussein for too long. Neither can we share the pacifist sentiments expressed recently by many millions of marchers. Our own experience under no less evil regime of the Soviet Union has taught us that freedom is one of a few things in this world worthy of fighting and dying for. And the sooner we do it the better because such regimes, as history proved time and again, leave us no option but to confront them and to destroy them for they, by their very nature, are both oppressive internally and aggressive externally.
(Frontpage Magazine)


And after Iraq, who’s next on her s-list?

Indeed, the KGB has won. After ten years of some hesitant, half-hearted attempts at reform, the power was handed back to them, once again, and they were very quick to re-establish their authority throughout the country, as well as to reinstate the old symbols of the Soviet Union - the national anthem and the Red flag in the Army. The last outlets of independent media were closed down one by one. We did not have political prisoners for ten years; we have them now.
(Frontpage Magazine)


Elena, I’m with you on Iraq, but not so sure about Russia. In the past couple of days, I’ve alternately praised and laughed at them. While that might sound inconsistent, it comports with my true feelings about Russia. Namely: one false move and we nuke you. That goes for the rest of the world, by the way.

Even if we disagree about Russia, I’m just pleased as punch to have folks like Victor Bukovsky and Elena Bonner on our side. Besides being all around hosses, they are like kryptonite to lefties.

Try this at home: make friends with someone who lived through Communism, and bring him to a snooty, lefty party. In front of your lefty friends, congratulate St. Ronnie for defeating the evil empire. At the first sniff of derision hilarity will ensue!

Sunday, March 09, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Call me partial, but Dutch bunnies always go to the head of the line here. For example, Ian:


(DC HBS)

Ian is a little black and white dutch boy. He is a bundle of energy. He loves to run laps around his exercise pen and likes attention but is too high energy to stay put long and would rather not be picked up. He is less than a year old.
(DC HBS)


High energy bunnies are the best!
 

The Full Horror



Oscar Jr. has posted a useful summary of the situation in North Korea.

Follow the link to read the testimony of a lucky refugee. Here's a sample:

One rainy day in 1991, a housewife from Pyongyang name Ok tan Lee had been carrying dung all day long and was ready to transfer the dung to the huge pool. However, the lid of the tank on the wheel somehow got stuck and would not open. When she climbed on the tank to push the door open, she slipped from the rain wet surface and plunged into the ground dung pool. It was so deep that she disappeared into the dung. A guard some distance away (they always keep their distance because of the stink from the prisoners) shouted, "Stop it! Let her die there unless you want to die the same way yourself!" She was left to drown there in the dung.
(US Senate)


What a nasty, pathetic little country. Its leaders do not derive their power from the consent of the governed. The people cannot legally change their government -- or even illegally: the country is one big concentration camp and third-world arms bazaar. As far as I'm concerned, their sovereignty is illegitimate If we get the chance, we should take'em out.
 

Arsenal of Democracy



We used to claim we could fight two regional wars at once. But back in the 1990's, as part of our peace dividend, we decided to maintain enough strength for fight two nearly simultaneous wars. Folks call it the "win-hold-win" strategy. In theory we should be able to vanquish one foe while fighting another to a standstill until we can redeploy enough assets to win. Perhaps not surprisingly, wags call this the "win-hold-oops" strategy.

So what's going to happen when the balloon goes up in Iraq? Some folks think that's Kim Jong-Il's time to make his move on South Korea. Can we repel his million-man army? Can we avoid the inevitable carnage of an artillery bombardment of Seoul?

I think the answer is yes to both questions. While we and the ROK forces are outnumbered, we have a huge qualitative advantage.

I classify military power the same way I classify bellybuttons: innies and outies. The AoD is an outie: it's completely subordinate to civilian authority, and exists to address external threats. The arsenals of the free world are almost all outies. And because they are part of the free world, they are (as Victor Davis Hanson notes) subject to civilian audit to keep them honest and strong.

On the other hand, most third world militaries are innies. A clan or mafia gains control of the army and uses it to reinforce their control of the population. A tyrant uses his innie army as a tool of personal enrichment. North Korea is an especially egregious example of a rapacious innie army.

North Korea is not a serious military threat to anyone. The most its corrupt, decrepit, so-called army can do is commit suicide with a week long artillery bombardment of the Seoul area in South Korea. That would be horror show, but it would end quickly for a variety of reasons included running out of ready ammunition in its border forts and American precision guided munition (PGM) decapitation. But it won't happen due to the phenomenal corruption of the North Korean Army.

What got me here started about 10 years ago when I noticed the spontaneous criminal entrepreneurial activity by the Chinese Navy (PLAN), commonly referred to as piracy. While I was puzzling over that one, I started reading of North Korean support of terrorism ceasing in favor of drug smuggling after the fall of the Soviet Union.
(Winds of Change)


The North Korean Army is apparently too busy smuggling drugs and running concentration camps to rehearse their war games. They don't have a Fort Irwin. They don't have enough money, spare parts or fuel.

Innie armies can fight other innie armies to a stand still (as Iran did against Iraq). But how did Iraq's million-man, battle-hardened innie army fare against the neophyte American outies in Operation Desert Storm?

Innie armies look imposing, because they're suppose to intimidate. In practice, they turn out to be brittle bluffs.

On the other hand, look at South Korea's order of battle (here and here). They're well educated, highly trained and lavishly equipped and supplied as only a wealthy free-world country can afford. Plus they buy American, which gives them an even greater qualitative edge.

So what would happen if Kim Jong-Il decided to roll the dice next week? He'll need to keep enough strength at home to keep down the population and strengthen his bodyguard, so let's not overestimate the numbers he'd use.

Let's use the scenario postulated on the nightly news: a massive artillery bombardment followed by a push to Seoul. Let's take a look at some admittedly crude maps.



Prior to hostilities, US/ROK military intelligence and electronic warfare (EW) signal analysts would observe unambiguous preparations. They know for what to look, and if they're sharp, they can negate or reduce NK's advantage of surprise.



Once the bombardment begins, US/ROK Firefinder radars will track each incoming shell back to its source. Each NK cannon will advertise its location every time it shoots. Allied tube artillery can have rounds on the way before the first enemy shells explode.

While both sides can "shoot and scoot" to avoid counter-battery fire, their artillery is mostly fixed or towed, while our is usually self-propelled and GPS registered. I leave it to you the reader to conclude which side will wither faster.

Meanwhile both sides require resupply of shells and propellant and other sundries. US/ROK rocket artillery (and the mighty USAF) will be interdicting NK resupply by destroying bridges, railroads and vehicles. The NK's will try to do likewise, but they won't control the skies, and they'll be up against the lavishly redundant logistical network in South Korea. Guess who has more trucks, roads and rails?



Here comes the big push: NK armor and infantry across the DMZ. Augmenting the existing minefields, allied Gator- and Volcano-equipped units will squeeze the North Koreans into pre-planned killing lanes. At the end of each lane is American and ROK armor.

American UAVs like Predator will spot targets for Apaches and other air power. Allied air-assault units will jump north to establish air-heads into which heavier forces will follow. Now the enemy is surrounded on all sides, and the hammer is ready to squash the North Koreans against our anvil of armor.

Now that we have cut off and killed the enemy, we have a wide breach of the DMZ with little between us and Pyongyang.

What next? That's the same question we asked ourselves during Desert Storm. While we won't have assets in country to keep rolling forward, the South Koreans will. And don't think they haven't been wondering how to capitalize on a situation like this.

Now this isn't necessarily the most likely scenario, nor is it necessarily accurate. I'm just looking at a map and speculating. I just hope the North Korean mafia captains have considered the risk, and I hope Kim Jong-Il realizes that if he rolls the dice wrongly, he might just make that upside-down appointment with a lamppost.
 

Uncle Joe



Sorry folks, I was late on finding this story:

A group of Russian communists want to clone Joseph Stalin to bring back the good old days.
(Ananova)


Who isn't nostalgic for starving while standing in lines?

Under Stalin's 30-year rule of the Soviet Union, millions were murdered, tortured and left to die in labour camps and gulags in what later became known as 'the terror'.

But, almost a third of Russians, according to recent polls, believe Stalin was a great leader who should be remembered for the good he did.
(Ananova)


Pathetic. Anyway, if you were still on the fence regarding the question of whether Communism was or wasn't a religion, this should settle the issue.

 

 
   
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