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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Solidarity with Saddam

With Operation Iraqi Freedom concluded, with the Iraqi Baath Party driven out of power, you'd think that groups like International Answer would acknowledge reality and help the millions of Iraqis yearning to join the Free World.

Nope. There's Saddam's standard, bearing his own handwriting, flying over the Capitol Mall in Washington DC. At least we know which side this guy is on.

Fighting the power? Destroying the USA? Isn't this supposed to be a peace rally?

Is that a threat? Words fail. I think these folks have crossed a line here.

Peace, love and invective: all rolled into one handy sign stapled to a tree. Friends of the Earth indeed!

As you know, when I document these rallies, I look for signs supporting our troops. They're the bellwether by which you can tell how effectively our PGMs (precision guided munitions) have obliterated the old babykiller canard. On this occasion, I saw dozens of such signs: all printed up by Veterans for Peace. While I disagree with them, I applaud them for presenting a class act. However, they might consider whether a Stalinist rally is something with which they want to be associated.

A contingent of organized anarchists attended the rally, complete with black flags and covered faces. Here's one of them, holding his pike with the President's head on it.

Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.

Folks attending this rally fulminated against Bush and his Krony Kapitalists. Of course they weren't above a little commerce between themselves.

Imagine attending a peace rally and subscribing to The Militant. Can nobody spot the contradiction? Either way, as you can see: you really can wear your heart on your sleeve, at affordable prices.

As usual, International Answer took the time to engage in a little fund raising. It's OK when they do it, because they have such sensitive consciences.

Doubtless you're wondering how large of a crowd the Saddam Supporters could draw. Here's a map:

The red area represents a generous boundary for the crowd. And here is said crowd:

Now I'm sure International Answer will claim they drew hundreds of millions of thousands of people, but I think a fair judge would reduce that estimate. These folks didn't swarm the Mall. They didn't even disturb the football match taking place right next door.

Hey, what's that in the background? Why it's the National World War II Memorial, presently under construction. Let's forget about those MasterCard Marxists for a moment and take a look.

[UPDATE:] While we're on the subject of World War II let's recall that the United States Arsenal of Democracy has exactly one, and only one, successfully combat-tested means of defeating suicidal fanatics. Okay, two. Don't these protestors realize what they are encouraging?

Y'know, when I first heard they were building this monument right smack in the middle of the Capitol Mall, I didn't have high hopes. But having viewed the construction site, I've got to say it already looks classy. It'll be open next Summer, so mark your calendars.

Ready for another brush with madness?

As usual, giant puppets attended the rally, if only to let the world know on which side they stand. This time they stood as mute witnesses, leaving the job of articulating a coherent argument to the...

...spokesclowns. Serious, pro-Saddam spokesclowns.

The rally centered around a stage with amplifiers and big PA loudspeakers. People would walk up to the microphone and address the audience, confident their voices would carry to the back of the crowd. And yet each speaker shouted into the mike with urgent fury. Demagogues one and all, they showed the true face of today's Mommy Party: a hyperventilating harridan. Keep it up: only 13 months 'til the election.

Of course, there's a lighter side to every rally.

OK, I laughed. So did you. Sadly, these folks were the exception rather than the rule. Witness the sullen, dour types as they protest their way to the john:

Now we can identify who gives a crap about International Answer.

Watching these folks, I wondered whether James Lileks was right:

If Clinton had risen to the occasion, wiped out al-Qaeda, sent Marines to kick down the statues and put bullets in those filthy sons’ brainpans, this would be the most noble effort of our time. We would hear clear echoes of JFK’s call to bear any burden. FDR, Truman, Marshall Plan, forbearance, patience - the editorial pages of the land would absolutely brim with encouragement and optimism every damn day, because the good fight was being waged, and the right people were waging it.
(The Bleat)

Would these folks have turned out if Clinton or Gore were President?

There's your answer. And their double-standard.

Now here's a protestor I can get behind:

His sarcasm is wasted on me. I say go for it! Here's another:

Yikes! General Boykin, call your office! And another:

Her sign reads: "No Racist Profiling on Campuses." Right on, affirmative action is simply racial profiling under a different name and with a different gored Ox. Let's pull together and strive to reach the day prophesized by MLK Jr., when people are "judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Oops, she's protesting the Patriot Act. Still, with a little critical thinking, she might some day make the connection.

Here's a placard typical of the sentiment of the day.

Wait a minute. Under whose authority was this communist confab called together? International Answer: part of the Workers' World Party and unreconstructed Stalinists. They're pro-Castro (the Western Hemisphere's last slave-owner). They're pro-North Korea, home to a crazy tyrant who isn't above starving his people. Whose authority ought to be questioned first?

Dear readers, I apologize for the tone of this post. If I seem upset, bear in mind I just mingled with folks who aren't interested in civil discourse. I listened to their lectures and minded their missives. If they had a strategy to protect this country from organized terrorists, I didn't hear it. And because you can't beat something with nothing, they are reduced to crude insults like this:

And this:

And this:

Honestly if you're going to introduce the National Socialist trope, you could pick a better venue than a rally organized by a national, Socialist organization. Oh the irony!

But enough about them.

At the other end of the Mall, a rally sponsored by Free Republic gathered together. With spirits in need of lifting, I checked them out.

To be sure their rally was sparsely attended, but with the Right it is ever so. As P.J. O’Rourke pointed out:

"How come," I asked Andy, "whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?"

"We have jobs," said Andy.
(P.J. O‘Rourke Shrine)

It is after all, a silent majority, except at the ballot box.

Naturally these right-thinking Americans brought “support our troops” signs. And from among them, I present my favorite:

Indeed, freedom is never free. Thank you veterans, and thanks to those still in the service. Because of you, we are free to raise these rallies. Even the most sanctimonious socialist, even the most preachy pacifist knows that his freedom to throw a tantrum outdoors and in public is protected by our Arsenal of Democracy. Oh how it must irk him!


James at Hell in a Handbasket comments.

Greg at commiewatch (because someone must) posts a similar report from San Francisco. Could this be the start of a trend?


As you know I like to document the trash the locusts of peace leave behind. To my happy surprise, International Answer left their corner of the Capitol Mall as free from litter as they found it. Cleanest. Protest. Ever! But about that fence...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Bad Week

Ken at Brickmuppet Blog has had a rough past few days. I recommend you drop by and offer condolences, prayers and best wishes.

P.S., Against all hope, I'm crossing my ears for Matt.

The Power of American Television

From Healing Iraq:

The gang were in a black BMW (very fashionable among gangs these days). 4 of them. The police patrol ordered them to stop by loud speakers. The gang tried to flee, and opened fire from their kalashnikovs on the two car police patrol. A policeman was injured. The patrol returned heavy fire and hit one of their tires. After a small chase the gang stopped and surrendered. My driver told me that while they were approaching the criminals, they blurted "Don't touch us", "We want our rights!", "Promise you won't hurt us!". Of course that was too much to ask. They had just shot and killed a police officer. I told my driver that I hope they beat the [stuffing] out of them. He relieved me by answering yes.
(Healing Iraq)

Heh, Iraqi crooks want their rights. Who could have predicted it?

Neal Stephenson, that's who:

We seem much more comfortable with propagating those values to future generations nonverbally, through a process of being steeped in media. Apparently this actually works to some degree, for police in many lands are now complaining that local arrestees are insisting on having their Miranda rights read to them, just like perps in American TV cop shows. When it's explained to them that they are in a different country, where those rights do not exist, they become outraged. Starsky and Hutch reruns, dubbed into diverse languages, may turn out, in the long run, to be a greater force for human rights than the Declaration of Independence.
(In the Beginning)

Now that is too funny.

Location, Location, Location

Paul, 30, a lighting installer, said: "I like a laugh but it was beyond a joke. We've had people steal the street sign and it got to the point where I dreaded reciting our address.

"I thought it would be nice to rename it Button Hole Road. But it's easier to move than go through all the hassle of a new name with the local council."

You know the rules; follow the link to see where they lived. Snicker...

Thursday, October 23, 2003

'Bout that Fence

If you don't live in or near DC, you might not know that a large section of the Capitol Mall is obscured from Constitution Avenue by a tall solid wood fence. Oh, it's ugly and people are starting to complain.

The fence was erected to keep visitors safe from heavy equipment and to prevent obstructions for workers, Keys said, but it has become a lightning rod for criticism of the Park Service's stewardship of the Mall.

Among those who have opposed the fence, which screens about two-thirds of the monument grounds, is D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). A spokesman for Williams said yesterday that the Park Service's decision to drop the underground project should be followed by a decision to scrap the fence, which he said is too large for the landscaping project.

"The fence is an atrocity, an embarrassment and an absurdity," said spokesman Tony Bullock. "There can't be a reason to have a solid wood fence surrounding such a large area. The public will not tolerate this fence being up for years, which is the plan we're now learning."
(The Washington Post)

I have two comments:

1) The fence may not be a security measure, but it looks like all the anti-terror stuff you see around the city. It's ugly and it implies we're cowering behind concrete and walls. I have no use for this "Fortress Democracy" approach. We belong to a free country and I think our cities should look the part. If I were in charge, I'd go with a different, combat-tested approach: massive retaliation.

And I'm not alone:

I agree with you, Jonah, when you say that, regardless of all this, it was worth going after Saddam for the “demonstration effect.” Having said that, I think it’s terribly important that the problem of WMD’s not get lost. The administration’s basic calculation was right. We are in a kind of race against time. When you combine the increasing ease of nuclear proliferation with the ability and willingness of terrorists to kill massive numbers of civilians, you have an almost certain recipe for the destruction of an American city. The administration decided to make a demonstration on the country that was maximally vulnerable and despicable, and that, to the best of our knowledge, not only had WMD’s, but had every hope and intention of someday acquiring a nuclear capacity.
(The Corner)

By all means, I also endorse pre-emption (and so did the Democrats when they called it 'forward engagement,'): identify threats and take them out real quick like.

We don't need to cower behind concrete if we are willing to look the world in the eye and say: "one false move and we nuke you!"

2) I'll post a picture of that fence on Saturday. As it happens, I'll be down at the Mall on other business. With a camera. You know what I'm talking about...

'Bout that NATO

Looks like it's back on again:

And here's a little bit about the "new NATO," and America's coalition in Iraq (and yes, contrary to what you may have heard — and may be hearing incessantly, every day — there is a coalition):

"I arrived this morning from Colorado Springs, where the United States hosted a meeting of the NATO defense ministers. At that meeting of the 19 NATO nations were three former Warsaw Pact adversaries: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, now NATO allies. Also present, interestingly, were seven former East Bloc nations: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia, nations that have been invited to join NATO and will become part of that alliance in the early part of next year. The membership of those recently-free nations is changing the alliance. It is injecting a new energy into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a new love of freedom which can really . . . only come from nations that so recently were enslaved. That's the world that Ronald Reagan left us."

Rumsfeld told me, by the way, that when he made that famous remark about "Old Europe" and "New Europe," he was really thinking of NATO — the old, established NATO (to which he had been ambassador, in the early 1970s), and the new, augmented NATO.
(National Review Online)

Boy was I wrong!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Back it up

The Inoperable Terran is here for a bit. Just so you know.

UPDATE: It's back.

Adios NATO

Talking warhead Jed wonders whether NATO is dead:

The Euromob in Brussels is putting the finishing touches on the thousand-page constitution for the European Union. One of the many mischievous tasks they've undertaken is to create a European defense establishment that will weaken, if not destroy, NATO. The Cold War is over. Do we really care if NATO joins the Evil Empire on the ash heap of history? We do, and whatever Brussels brummagem results, we must work hard to reform and maintain NATO.
(National Review Online)

*Yawn*, so what. We look silly standing alone, waving a yellowed Article V declaration. Face facts: most of NATO took a pass on OIF. That they felt they had a choice speaks to the state of the mutual defense pact. Didn't they pledge their honor or something? Yes or no, good riddance.

Hey wait a minute: if NATO is dead, that means Burstein was right:

I love that picture. And yes, you'll be seeing it again...

Well Said

Interesting triptych over at FrontPage Magazine, by an Iraqi who lives in Norway and published in London:

Yes, the occupation is a blessed and promising liberation for Iraq, even if the U.N., Europe, Russia, India, and all the Arabs say otherwise. The logic of international law could be of interest to the French, the Germans, the Russians and the Arabs, who are enamored with it... but not to us, the Iraqis. International law should not be of interest to us in any form or shape, because Saddam's dagger was dripping Iraqi blood, not Russian or Arab [blood]. Saddam's plague wreaked havoc with us, the Iraqis, not with the Arab League's minions, nor the Russians or the Chinese! The Iraqi tragedy, which exceeded any rational boundaries, was and continues to be at the epitome of its viciousness and degeneracy.
(FrontPage Magazine)

You know, a Free Iraq is going to have a giant chip on its shoulder when it attends the next Arab League meeting. And why shouldn't it? After all, Free Iraq's elected representatives will confront the delegates of autocrats who didn't seem to mind the fact that Saddam held his citizens like chattel.

These other countries could have stood up to Saddam. They could have used peer pressure on behalf of their brother arabs. At the very least, they could have protested Saddam's use of VX on his own minority tribes. But they did not, and by their silence they have Iraqi blood on their hands. How should Free Iraqis act in the presence of these nasty folks?

We could help: we could rearm the Arsenal of Free Iraq, wind it up and point it at the bad guys (and we will), but that's years away. What to do in the meantime?

Iraqis should modify their flag. A red white and blue one would be nice, but the old template will work fine. At a minimum, they should get Saddam's scrawls off their standard and find a more fitting inscription.

What should Free Iraq's new flag say? Of course "Don't Tread on Me" is taken, but I think my humble proposal captures the same spirit nicely.

I'd love to see how the other summit delegates would react...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Liberty's a great bunny:

(Liberty's Page)

Liberty is a female dwarf who was rescued by Missouri House Rabbit volunteers from an outdoor cage just in time before they were going to be turned loose to fend for themselves. Libby is a very outgoing little girl and wants to be queen of her domain. We have tried her with a few different neutered males, and her reception has been mixed. She would probably do well as a single. She is available for adoption to an adult only home.
(Kansas City HBS)

Little, single, different. Now that's a good house bunny!

Iraqi Cowboys

Stephen DenBeste writes a thoughtful essay about how the people of Iraq should deal with self-styled revolutionaries.

So another good reason for letting Al-Sadr alone is so that other Iraqis can hear what he says, and oppose it. They need to learn not only that they can oppose us, but that they can oppose each other. Al-Sadr isn't the first to preach submission and slavery and he won't be the last. We could stop him, and the next one like him, and the next. But eventually that's something that the Iraqi people will have to do for themselves, so it's better for them to start getting practice now.

Instead of asking why the Americans don't do something about Al-Sadr, we need Iraqis to start thinking, "What are we going to do about him?" But they also need to learn what kinds of things they should do, for if they deal with him and others like him the wrong way, it will destroy their liberty just as surely as he wants to destroy it.

The one thing that they must not do is to shut him up. We tolerate and encourage dissent in Iraq, and the Iraqis must learn that they can argue with one another but that they must also tolerate others arguing with them. They must ask what they should do about Al-Sadr rather than asking why we're not doing something about him, and they must learn that the solution is to argue against him, publicly and privately, so that he never picks up enough influence to take over.
(U.S.S. Clueless)

The Al-Sadr cited above is a radical cleric. Stephen notes that the fellow is organizing some sort of gang or militia to confront the US occupation force, and has thusly crossed a line which may compel the AoD to take him out.

Ideally, free Iraqis would shout down these cranks, fighting speech with speech. Or ideally, the AoD would protect nascent Free Iraq from these threats until the country is strong enough to take care of its own problems. Sadly, modern day Iraq fits neither ideal.

The Arsenal of Democracy isn't Iraq's new branch of law enforcement. It's a surrogate military, and would be best employed pointing is weapons out, not in. Even if Al-Sadr raises his militia and crosses the line we've drawn, we should fold our hands, whistle and look skyward. Free Iraqis must take charge of these problems.

While the government of Free Iraq accretes, the country is like an untamed frontier with hostiles to confront and fortunes to be made. What does that sound like?

Stephen DenBeste notes that Iraqis haven't had a stake in their own society:

There's a deep undercurrent of passivity in many Iraqis. Good things may happen to them, bad things may happen to them, but too many believe they can't influence their fate, and sit and wait for what someone else does. That's a natural consequence of living in the kind of brutal police state we just removed, but it's also something which has to change. If Iraqis welcome freedom but expect us to continue defending it forever, then this experiment will fail. If they think that freedom is something America gave them, then they haven't become free.
(U.S.S. Clueless)

That's got to change pronto, partner. And fortunately, free Iraqis have the tools they need at hand.

Then, in late May, the occupiers changed course. Paul Bremer, the top American official in Iraq, issued new gun policies that required Iraqis to turn in military-style weapons by June 15 or risk arrest. But they were conspicuously allowed to keep small arms and that omnipresent relic of the Soviet Union, the Kalashnikov, for household defense. The message still seemed to be that, since the Americans were unable to keep law and order, it was up to Iraqis to protect themselves.

The arms round-up effort was a spectacular failure. Iraqis simply weren't willing to hand over the guns, no matter what promises or threats US officials made. As the June 15 deadline passed, only about 650 rifles, pistols, and machine guns had been collected.
(Mother Jones (heh!))

Mind, I understand there's an effort to confiscate AKs in Iraq. While I don't favor this initiative, history teaches us that freedom can be defended out of the barrel of a six-shooter.

I hope Iraqis realize that it's up to them. The future of their country is in their hands. The AoD can act as Atlas, holding the rest of the world at arms length while Iraqis get their act together. But the AoD can perform this service only for an ephemeral moment. After all, there are other butts to kick.

The future of Iraq belongs to its new Sheriffs, its new ad-hoc Posses, and its new Hanging Judges. While frontier justice isn't known for its accuracy, it's legend for its speed. In two generations, it transformed California from anarchy into a sated, welfare state. I'm optimistic Iraq can beat that record, but only if free Iraqis take a stake in their own society, take the law into their own hands and realize rough justice is essential if only in the short term.

Before you retreat to your fainting couch, consider how often you've endorsed the notion of the righteous vigilante. Did you ever buy a Batman comic-book? Ever tip your glass to the Guardian Angels? Ever enjoy a Schwarzenegger film? If yes, you're hip deep in complicity.

If the free Iraqis need to defend themselves, crack heads and settle scores in order to join the free world, they can absolve themselves years from now on their Sunday political chat shows.

After all, they'd be following in some well-heeled rattlesnake-bootsteps.


In my last post, I lamented the lack of latter-day counterparts to the soldiers of the 442nd. Maybe you've noticed, too?

I'm not asking for new regiment, segregated by tribe or religion -- that's no longer the American way. But a forthright declaration of allegiance, and a pledge to support the war: is that asking too much?

For Oubai Shahbandar, the answer is an emphatic no!

In particular, proud Muslims who are also proud Americans need to tell the truth about Wahhabism, the intolerant and militant brand of Islam being exported from Saudi Arabia and which is defended in the United States by CAIR, AMC and MSA.

I know about these issues firsthand. As a Muslim student at Arizona State University who abhors Wahhabism, I've been the victim of MSA's hate campaigns. For my efforts in organizing a "Support our Troops" rally the day that Operation Iraqi Freedom started, I was told by several MSA members that I was "going to hell." In a letter to the editor in the campus paper, the president of the MSA even accused me of being guilty of bigotry toward Arabs and Muslims. In his view, it was anti-Muslim of me to want to see Iraqi Muslims liberated from the oppression of Saddam Hussein, who has murdered more Muslims than anyone else in this century, and perhaps in any century.
(The Arizona Republic)

I've read his essays over at Frontpage Magazine. He's the real deal. I wish he weren't intimidated on his own campus. I wish he weren't remarkable for his exceptionalism. I wish I didn't fear for his life when he writes this stuff.

It is the challenge and responsibility of the American Muslim community to confront the evil rot in our midst. We know who among us preach death and destruction for America and its citizens. But many of my fellow Muslims remain trapped in a delusory groupthink. We ignore or even deny the possibility that fellow Muslims could be guilty of treason and terror.

It is now up to a new generation of American-born Muslims to show our pride in being Americans, and our willingness to advance our chosen brand of moderate Islam, not the Wahhabi despotism backed by our so-called leaders. The sooner that Muslim Americans come to realize the error of following groups like CAIR, AMC and MSA, the sooner we can be welcomed and respected wholeheartedly by the rest of America. It is our nation, too; we must expose and denounce those who would destroy it.
(The Arizona Republic)

Darn straight, dude. If I ever travel to Arizona, I want to buy you a beer. An O'Douls, naturally.

UPDATE: oops, I forgot to tip an ear to LGF

Monday, October 20, 2003

Arsenal of Democracy

On a beautiful, sunny morning, evil fanatics took to their planes and struck the United States. Thousands of Americans faced a deadly choice between fire and a far worse fate. More than two thousand would not survive the day. Reeling, the country found itself at war with an implacable enemy who sought to impose its will on the world. But after nearly a decade of fallow years, would the Arsenal of Democracy meet its greatest test?

The enemy hailed from a font of Anti-American sentiment. With few available allies, the AoD would need to punch across half the world, establish bases and supply trains and fight against every disadvantage the enemy and nature could call upon.

On the home front, America faced a well-organized network of citizens and resident aliens with tribal and religious sympathy for our enemies. While most of these immigrants and their offspring posed no hazard, a small but significant fraction of them could sabotage our war effort and even assist our enemies as they strove to bring the fight to the Continental United States.

With our military strength at its lowest ebb, America took no chances. A popular Democratic administration signed Executive Order 9066 (under the protests of prominent Republicans such as J. Edgar Hoover,) to round up the risky tribes and consign them to relocation camps.

To the issei and nisei in the United States' Exclusion Zones, World War II marked the moment America betrayed its promise. With their wealth and property confiscated, with their erstwhile friends baying for their blood, their government packed them into trains and sent them to hastily built camps for the duration of the hostilities. Placing their trust in the hallowed tradition of American rule by law, the Supreme Court shattered their hopes in the notorious Korematsu decision.

Some folks compare the relocation camps to Nazi concentration camps. Some folks think Executive Order 9066 is essentially an American pogrom. Some folks chafe, knowing that the Supreme Court never overturned Korematsu.

These folks are wrong: pogroms necessarily entail massacres. Concentration camps were built for slave labor or slaughter. EO 9066 neither contemplated nor carried out either atrocity. Nevertheless, the order was a raw deal for the people it affected. In subsequent years, America apologized (if inadequately) with reparations and a memorial.

Some folks think EO 9066 represents a nadir in the American experiment. While I'm willing to concede the Democrats wrought a horrible wrong, I disagree. In every cloud you can find a silver lining, and from the cluster of relocation camps emerged the finest Americans ever to claim the honor.

Prior to Pearl Harbor, the AoD (in its shrunken state) relied on its nisei:

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, there were 5,000 Japanese Americans in the U.S. armed forces. Many were summarily discharged. Those of draft age were classified as 4-C, "enemy aliens," despite being US citizens.
(100/4422 Research Center)

I can't conceive how rejected they must have felt. Imagine enlisting or getting a notice of the draft, only to be shucked aside as the United States rounds up your family and declares war on your ancestral homeland. These folks had every reason to sit this fight out, but with roots in this country over a hundred years old, they did not.

In 1943, the War Department in need of manpower reversed itself and sent recruiters to the relocation camps asking for volunteers to form a new Japanese American combat unit the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Volunteers were also accepted from Hawaii where 12,500 men had volunteered. The Nisei volunteers were combined with Japanese Americans still in the military and were sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for combat training.

Roll that mind-boggling excerpt around your head for a moment. The War Department sent recruiters into the relocation camps. And fulfilling DeToqueville's prediction, the nisei volunteered from the camps to fight for America. These brave folks formed the all-volunteer 442 Regimental Combat Team. Were you in their position, would you have volunteered?

The 442nd included the 100th Battalion (another all-volunteer unit raised from Hawaii). They fought all across Europe, liberating the unfree, even while their families languished in relocation camps. Why did they fight for America? Don't uncork an immediate answer, think about it for a while.

The nisei units weren't a product of American propaganda. They weren't assigned to milk-runs or handled with kid-gloves: they fought, killed and died for us. They gave their lives for their countrymen. Especially during the battle to rescue the lost battalion:

Their bloodiest battle occurred during their rescue of the "Lost Battalion". The First Battalion of the 36th Division had been given the assignment to clear a ridge deep in the Vosages, but had been cut-off by the Germans. The battalion, the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment (a former Texas National Guard unit), had been cut off since October 24,1944. The other two battalions of the 141st were unable to break through. The 100th /442nd, was ordered to rescue the Lost Battalion in a real-life "Saving Private Ryan" mission (More men were lost in the 100th/442nd in the rescue operation than there were to save in the 1st of the 141st.).

(More about the Lost Battalion.)

The 442nd's greatest moment might have been their liberation of Dachau. Yeah, American nisei liberated that hellhole. The tale is not for the squeamish:

The 522nd Field Artillery Battalion which was part of the 442nd Infantry were going through Germany when they stumbled upon the Dachau concentration camps. they didn't even know it existed. It was late April 1945 when two scouts from the 522nd were among the first Allied troops to release prisoners from one of the Dachau concentration camps. A tank destroyer rammed through one gate and another gate was shot open by carbines. As they walked in, they saw hundreds of prisoners, some so weak they were crawling. Others were just lying down. They looked like skeletons with sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. As soon as they opened the gates some prisoners went straight to the dead cows, eating the meat raw while others roasted them. They were dressed in raggedy black and white striped prison suits. Some were walking in the snow barefoot and others had burlap wrapped around their feet. You couldn't tell the men apart from the women because they were so emaciated. They were sick, starving, and dying of malnutrition. The soldiers gave them food, clothing, and medical supplies even though they were ordered not to because the war was still on and they needed such supplies. When one of the soldiers threw a candy bar at the prisoners, one of them picked it up and took a bite, but right after that he threw it up. His body couldn't handle it. Some even died after eating the food. There were no German guards in the camps. They must have fled when they found out the Allied Troops were coming.
(442nd Dachau Reference Page)

There it is: the sons of families in relocation camps liberating the prisoners of real concentration camps. Please tell me either camp shares even the broadest similarity. Or rather you can't.

The American nisei distinguished themselves well beyond the call of duty. The 442nd remains the most highly decorated combat unit ever to grace the AoD. They vindicated America's promise and came home heroes to a man:

Following post-war occupation duty in Italy, the soldiers of the 100th/442nd -- who had once been suspected of disloyalty because of their Japanese ancestry -- came home as heroes in the summer of 1946. President Harry Truman, in a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington on July 15, 1946, personally pinned the 100th/442nd's seventh Presidential Unit Citation on the unit's colors.

The 442nd led the V-E parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. President Truman singled them out for praise, claiming: "You have fought the enemy and you have fought prejudice, and you have won!"

The American nisei made a deep impression on America. Two of the team served in the Senate (Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) continues to serve.) If you've ever uttered the phrase "Go for Broke," you owe them and should say "thank you." Even if you haven't, you are still in their debt.

Why raise this subject now? I celebrate the 442's fighting élan, if only because we are in a similar situation and their sentiment is notable now by its absence.

Arsenal of Democracy

Longtime readers are probably wondering why this web log hasn't featured another flying robot. You're right, it has been an awfully long time, they are so neato. Let's have a look at one right now:

Aurora's GoldenEye is a fully-VTOL aircraft specifically tailored for low-cost, clandestine RSTA (reconnaisance, surveillance, and target aquisition) missions. GoldenEye is a vehicle in the 150 lbs GTOW class, with 45 lbs useful load allowance for payload and fuel. Among GoldenEye's many features designed to enhance mission flexibility, survivability, and covertness are reduced infrared and accoustic signatures, fully autonomous day/night operational capability, optionally-deployable payload stowage, and ample tactical-level endurance at any airspeed from hover to 160 knots.
(Aurora Flight Sciences)

Follow the link to see the robot in question. Stealthy, autonomous and capable of hover? This plucky little robot has everything!

I recommend the optional camera/laser/radio package. With these, Goldeneye can paint targets for LGBs and other stand-off weapons. And give our over-worked special forces folks a well-deserved break. After all, the AoD's new motto is "send a robot, not a man."

Expect big things from Aurora Flight Sciences, and from the hundreds of other small, robot oriented defense contractors. As long as they keep cranking out better and better turnkey solutions for an unfriendly world, we can take comfort in knowing that the robots are on the job and never need sleep.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Introducing Diana:

(Colorado HBS)

This black beauty, weighing just under three pounds, was found near a reservoir, where she had probably been dumped. Hungry enough to hop right up to a woman there, she was fortunate in her choice of people, for the woman took her and brought her to us. She was probably born in 2001. A little shy, she warms up quickly when handled gently.
(Colorado HBS)

She ran right up to a nice person and asked for help. Smart bunny!

Arsenal of Democracy

There's a new unit in the AO:

The former Saddam International Airport now houses Iraq's first Burger King. Part creature comfort, part therapy for homesick troops, its sales have reached the top 10 among all Burger King franchises on Earth in the five months since it opened. The shiny metal broiler spits out 5,000 patties a day.
(Washington Post)

Already in the top ten. Impressive.

The best part of the article is the reporter's interview with two young Army officers and restaurant patrons. Clearly they're doing a bit of shtick:

"It's $2 of heaven. It's the only thing getting us through this deployment," Gercken said in reverent tones.

"The perforated edge of that pouch, when you open it up it sings," Beck said.

"The pie completes the deal, the chocolate-crumb base," Gercken continued.

"It speaks for itself," Beck said.
(Washington Post)

When it comes to logistics, the AoD is without peer. When it kicks down the door, it brings along everything: gas stations, hospitals, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, movie theaters, stadiums and skating rinks. For examples, check out Yokota or Wiesbaden or, um, Olongapo.

I hope the city fathers of Baghdad are ready for what's coming. If they're sharp, they'll unfold a map and start identifying candidate building sites. Simply by dint of being there, the AoD exerts a big, beneficent effect on the society and the skyline.

But for now, a Burger King is a good start. It might be Yankee Imperialism, but at least you can have it your way.


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