Monday, October 31, 2005

Scooter Libby and Extramarital Sex with Interns

Last night, while driving home, I was listening to cheesy AFN (Armed Forces Network) to hear more about the Alito nomination. Unfortunately, the only thing that was on was George Stephanopolous interviewing Senate Minority leader Harry Reid about the "Scooter" Libby indictment. "Giv'em Hell" Harry Reid was spewing the Democratic line that the Bush administration is the most corrupt administration ever, yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum. Anyone with more brains than a slice of Wonder Bread knows that the previous Democratic adminstration wasn't a bunch of choir boys, however, in order to make this point to liberals in a way that even they can understand, I would refer everyone (especially liberals) to Liberal Larry's blog.

As Liberal Larry points out, perjury and obstruction of justice are considered inexcusable crimes by Democrats, unless commited to cover-up extramarital activities with ditzy White House interns. So, remember boys and girls, when the Democrats start yelling and screaming about the Republicans, they are only trying to make you forget about the skeletons that they have hidden in their closets.

Yet another Bush "in-your-face"

In another example of a President Bush "in your face" to his critics, he has nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace justice Sandra Day O'Conner. As I blogged here and here, I thought that Miers was a "throw-away" nomination to take down the Democratic opposition so that he could slip a real conservative justice thru the nomination process. From what the Democrats are saying (check out Michelle Malkin's site), it looks like this will be a real "knock-down, drag-out" nomination fight. Just what the Repubilcans in Congress want to show how out of touch the Democrats are with mainstream America.

I don't know about you, but I rather like the fact that our president does things because he thinks they are right and let his critics be damned as taken straight from the El-ahrairah book of politics. Remember, public opinion polls are for sissies and Democrats. Real men let the chips fall where they may.

President Bush rediscovers his mojo...

...with the nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court.

I haven't seen any poll data or even scanned the blogosphere yet this morning but I can tell you already that the President has hit a home run. During NBC's live coverage of the announcement this morning, the perky Katie Couric didn't even smile once. Rather, with her serious, solemn demeanor she looked as if she were covering Hurricane Katrina.

In reality this is a disaster for the Democrats and the MainStreamMedia. They have labored long and hard to drag down the President, only to have him bounce back and pick a bruising fight, one that they simply cannot win. Now they are faced with the politically unpleasant prospect of openly opposing a pro-life Catholic. In one brilliant move, the President has energized his base, divided the Democrats, and effectively banished the name of Scooter Libby from the front pages. Masterful.

In fact (adjusting Rovian tinfoil hat) I might even suggest that this was the plan from the start. Nominate an obviously weak Supreme Court candidate, get the Democrats smelling blood, and then pull the rug out from underneath them just as the Fitzgerald handed down his indictments. Now they not only don't have a front-page controversy to beat the Republicans with, but they also have to oppose and possibly filibuster an extremely well-qualified pro-life judge.

Hey, it could happen.

Friday, October 28, 2005

On October 28th in military history....312 A.D.

On October 28th in military history….312 A.D. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great gains control of the Western Roman Empire by defeating Roman Emperor Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine was the son of Tetrarch Constantius Chlorus. The ruling system at the time was a tetrarchy where the Roman Empire was split between four different rulers who ruled four different parts of the empire, Gaul (France and Britain), Italy, Illyricum (Yugoslavia and Greece) and Oriens (Turkey and Asia Minor). Two of the tetrarchs were considered senior ("Augusti") and the other two were considered junior ("Caesares") and responsible to the two Augusti and intended as the future successors to the two Augusti. Constantius Chlorus was a junior Tetrach and ruled Gaul and when he died in July, 306 AD in Eboracum (York) in Britain, Constantine was proclaimed Augustus by his father’s troops, although the tetrarchy did not provide for hereditary succession. Back in Rome, the son (Maxentius) of Constantius’ predecessor (Maximian) was proclaimed as Augustus. So, for the next two years, both men claimed the title of Augustus until 308 when a conference proclaimed Maxentius as a senior Emperor (along with Galerius) and Constantine was named as junior Emperor and allowed to rule Gaul and Britain. This really didn’t solve the problem and there was a still lot of "bad blood" between the two men even though they were related by Constantine’s marriage to the sister of Maxentius. Finally, in 311 AD, the other senior Emperor, Galerius, died and the stage was set for a classic Roman power struggle.

During the summer of 312, Constantine decided resolve the dispute by force and prepared for war. He easily overran northern Italy and was marching on Rome. Maxentius decided to make his stand in front of Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio in Italian), a stone bridge which carried the Via Flaminia road across the Tiber river about 10 miles from Rome. He needed to hold the bridge to keep Constantine out of Rome since the Roman Senate would favor whoever held the city. Maxentius was confident of hold the bridge since his forces outnumbered Constantine forces 4-to-1.

The night before, Constantine reportedly had a vision where he looked toward the setting sun. A cross appeared emblazoned on the sun and Constantine either saw or heard the Greek phase "With this sign, you shall conquer" (or something close to that). So impressed was he by the vision that Constantine had the symbol placed on the shields of his army before going into battle.

Maxentius decided to place his forces on the far bank of the Tiber River, between Constantine’s army and the bridge leading to Rome. As the battle progressed, Constantine’s forces starting pushing Maxentius’ forces back to towards the Tiber River. Seeing that the battle was starting to go badly for him, Maxentius decided to retreat back across the Milvian Bridge and make another stand in Rome itself. Normally during ancient warfare, it was very hard to keep a "tactical withdrawal" from degenerating into a panic-stricken "sauve-qui-peut". The usual result was that the victorious army slaughtered the panic-stricken retreating army. Unfortunately, since there was only one escape route across the Tiber River (the Milvian Bridge), Maxentius’ tactical withdrawal degenerated very quickly into the aforementioned "sauve-qui-peut" as the retreating forces became congested and bunched up at the bridge. Seeing the opposing forces starting to panic and run away, Constantine’s forces pressed home the battle and started to inflict very heavy losses on Maxentius’ retreating forces. A boat bridge was set up along side the bridge to help evacuate the retreating forces, but when it collapsed, the men stranded on the north bank of the Tiber River were either taken prisoner or killed. Maxentius was unable to get back across the bridge and was found among the dead.
Constantine advanced into Rome and was declared the sole Western Roman Augustus. He credited his victory to the god of the Christians and ordered the end of religious persecution within the Western Roman Empire, the same as he did in Gaul and Britain in 306 AD. Now, with the Western Roman Emperor as its protector, Christianity suddenly grew in popularity and power to give us the Roman Catholic Church that we know today.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Well, could this be another "I told you so"?

I don't know whether to jump up and down, screaming "I told you so!" or not, but Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination (like anybody who reads blogs wouldn't already know). Earlier, I blogged that the Harriet Miers nomination was just another part of the Evil Karl Rove Master Plan so that the President could nominate someone that he really wanted (read: ultra-conservative). Well, I expected that she would either not be confirmed or she would withdraw her nomination due to Democratic attacks, but I didn't expect that it would have been the Republicans doing most of the attacking. Anyway, hopefully the President will nominate someone that will royally piss off the Democrats and rally the Republicans for a real, good, knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckles nomination fight.

It's 1986, all over again

Gas prices continue to decrease. I put $20 worth into my tank yesterday, and the price ($2.55/gal) was actually lower than I remember during the week before Labor Day ($2.56/gal).

Not surprising to me, at all. In fact, just a few weeks ago, when prices started to decline, I predicted to a co-worker that the price of gas would be below $2.50 by Christmas. I expected prices to correct naturally, as they always do, but I didn't think they'd go into free-fall. Now it's not unreasonable to expect gas to be below $2.00/gal by the end of the year.

Why? Because there's alot of speculative money in the price of oil. Over the past few years, oil has been seen as the stock market was perceived during in the 90's: A can't miss investment that would always increase in value. So people kept buying oil, and the price kept increasing and exceeding what would be reasonable given the demand. And because what goes up, must come down, now all those speculators are losing their shirts as high prices have finally crimped demand and they find themselves holding a big barrel of oil.

I saw this happen in 1986. Gas prices had skyrocketed in the early 80's and stubbornly remained over $1.00/gallon (ah, the good old days). Then suddenly, in the summer of 1986, the bottom fell out of the market. Gas prices that experts had predicted would never go below $1.00/gal ever again were now as low as $0.69/gal. And all the oil companies took a bath.

I think the same thing is happening now. The post-Katrina price shock has forced consumers into a conservation mode, and the demand has dropped accordingly. But because the price is still higher than what the market will bear, it will continue to drop. By this time next year, gas prices will be much more reasonable and in line with the realities of the market.

Which is bad news for the Democrats. High gas prices are one of their "winning issues", and it will likely not be an issue in the 2006 elections. Given that they don't have any issues other than the Republicans are Evil, it won't help that their predictions of doom and gloom have once again failed to come true.

"They're gettin' nuttin' for Fitzmas!"

Fitzmas, the name liberals have given to the day Karl Rove et al are indicted, is fast approaching.

I'm feeling kinda lazy this morning, so I'm not going to provide any links. The speculation and discussion about the "imminent" indictments are all over the web, and my dear reader(s) have probably read more about it than I have.

I'll just go out on a limb and say there won't be any indictments. Period. Fitzgerald might issue a statement tsk-tsking the White House's behavior, but other than that, it'll be a wash.

Why? I don't know, just a gut feeling. But if Fitzgerald is as "meticulous" and "tough" and "non-partisan" as the lovestruck media say he is, I doubt he'll risk his name and reputation by turning what is essentially a partisan debate over Iraq into a criminal case. Unfortunately, once he fails to announce indictments he'll suddenly become a sinister pawn in an Evil Rovian Cover-up, so either way he's going to have headaches.

I don't have anything to back any of this up. I'm just guessing, based on what I would if I were in his shoes and what I'd like to see happen. This is no different than virtually everyone else in the media and the blogosphere. But unlike the liberal media, I'm honest enough to admit I'm making a wild-assed guess.

A sad day for Utah and the US Navy

The nuclear attack submarine, the USS Salt Lake City, is being decommissioned by the US Navy after 21 years defending the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So, I guess the only ships which now bear the name Salt Lake City are those which exist in a your local Star Trek convention.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Which historical general are you?

From Siflay Hraka, a quick test to see what general I would have been (and for some reason, the editing tool is gone, so I can't link to Siflay Hraka. Rats!)

(Yeah! I fixed the problem! The link is here.)

William Wallace
You scored 79 Wisdom, 73 Tactics, 66 Guts, and 56 Ruthlessness!
Like William Wallace, chances are you have no problem charging a larger, better trained, better equipped, better armed and armored English army with a band of naked drunken Scotsmen. I'm not contesting that you have balls. It's your brain function I'm worried about.

Scottish soldier and national hero. The first historical record of Wallace's activities concerns the burning of Lanark by Wallace and 30 men in May, 1297, and the slaying of the English sheriff, one of those whom Edward I of England had installed in his attempt to make good his claim to overlordship of Scotland. After the burning of Lanark many joined Wallace's forces, and under his leadership a disciplined army was evolved. Wallace marched on Scone and met an English force of more than 50,000 before Stirling Castle in Sept., 1297. The English, trying to cross a narrow bridge over the Forth River, were killed as they crossed, and their army was routed. Wallace crossed the border and laid waste several counties in the North of England. In December he returned to Scotland and for a short time acted as guardian of the realm for the imprisoned king, John de Baliol . In July, 1298, Edward defeated Wallace and his army at Falkirk, and forced him to retreat northward. His prestige lost, Wallace went to France in 1299 to seek the aid of King Philip IV, and he possibly went on to Rome. He is heard of again fighting in Scotland in 1304, but there was a price on his head, and in 1305 he was captured by Sir John de Menteith. He was taken to London in Aug., 1305, declared guilty of treason, and executed. The best-known source for the life of Wallace is a long romantic poem attributed to Blind Harry, written in the 15th century.

Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Um, well, I would have thought someone else, but hey, at least I can wear a cool kilt.

On October 21st in military 1805

(Ed. note: OK, since the Cap'n brought it up, here is my post for October 21st.)

On October 21st in military history….in 1805. The British fleet under command of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson defeats the combined Spanish and French fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar off the southwest coast of Spain. At the start of 1805, the France was the dominant military power on the European continent, but the British Royal Navy dominated the seas. Because of this, the British were able to attack the French when and wherever they chose while the French were always unable to move beyond the European continent. The British also were blockading the French ports, which affected French trade. In 1805, when a coalition of European countries (Britain, Russia, Austria, Sweden and Naples) declared war against France, Napoleon decided to invade Britain. However, to do so, he would have to break the British blockade and defeat the British fleet.

Napoleon believed that he could wrest control of the seas from the British this time since Spain was also now allied with France. He felt that the combined French/Spanish fleets would be more than a match for the British. The plan was for the Spanish fleet on the Atlantic and the French fleet in the Mediterranean would break thru the blockade and join up in the West Indies. From there, the combined fleets would sail towards Brest to help the French fleet there and then sail to the English channel where they would destroy the English fleet and take control of the English Channel so that Napoleon’s could invade Britain.

Unfortunately for Napoleon, Lord Nelson was commanding the British fleet that was blockading Toulon. The blockade was very "loose" since Lord Nelson hoped to lure the French fleet out of port so that they could be destroyed. Because of this, the French fleet was able to escape from Toulon, pass thru the Straits of Gibraltar, rendezvous with the Spanish fleet and sail towards the West Indies. When Nelson realized what had happened, he left station and sailed in pursuit.
The French commander, Vice-Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve started sailing towards Brest, but after a setback at the Battle of Cape Finisterre, decided to sail back to the Spanish port of El Ferrol and from there, south to Cadiz. Nelson had returned to England to provision his ships, but kept the French/Spanish fleet under surveillance in Cadiz by using frigates. When he set sail for Cadiz, the French/Spanish fleet was still sitting in port.

Naval battles at this time relied on two ways to destroy the other fleet, by gunfire and by hand-to-hand combat. The battle usually started with opposing fleets facing each other on line, exchanging broadsides until the fleets closed with each other for hand-to-hand combat or one of the fleets retired. A major component of naval warfare was the direction of the wind. Whichever ship had the best wind position usually won. As a result, both ships would maneuver to place themselves into a position where their guns could be brought to bear on the undefended bow or stern of the opposing ship. This was called "crossing the T" and would usually result in the surrender of the opposing ship.

The largest warship of the era was the ship-of-the-line that could carry up to 100 cannons and the combined French/Spanish fleet outnumbered Nelson’s fleet by 33 ships-of-the-line to 27. Because of this, instead of exchanging broadsides with the French/Spanish fleet from 2000 yards away in two parallel lines, Nelson decided to sail his fleet directly at the French/Spanish fleet. This would force the battle to be fought as a number of individual ship-to-ship battles where the superior training of the British seaman would win the day. This would also divide the French/Spanish fleet in two where the ships in front would be unable to turn around and help their ships to the rear due to the prevailing winds. However, Nelson’s front ships would be exposed to full broadsides from the French/Spanish fleet, as they would be in the position of crossing the British "T".

As the battle opened, the French/Spanish fleet was off Cape Trafalgar, heading north towards Cadiz. Before entering battle, Nelson issued the famous command "England expects that every man will do his duty" and his second-in-command, Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood told his officers, "Now gentlemen, let us do something today that the world may talk of hereafter". Nelson divided his fleet into two columns, one led by him on-board his flagship, the 100-gun Victory and the other lead by his second-in-command, Collingwood on-board the 100-gun Royal Sovereign. He sailed both columns at a right angle to the French/Spanish fleet so that they would meet at about the same point in the French/Spanish fleet. During the ensuing battle, the British captured or destroyed 22 enemy ships and lost none. Lord Nelson was shot and later died while leading the battle his flagship Victory and he is forever remembered as Britain’s greatest Admiral. Trafalgar Square in London commemorates his victory and Nelson’s Column was erected there upon which his victories at Aboukir Bay, Copenhagen and Trafalgar are inscribed. Nelson’s Pillar was also erected in Dublin, Ireland to commemorate his victory (many sailors at Trafalgar were Irish) but it was blown up by the IRA in 1966. The French were never able to challenge the British Royal Navy again and the British Royal Navy was the eminent world sea power until World War II when it was eclipsed by the United States Navy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Turning victory into defeat

Anyone who has gone to the movies or watched TV for the past 40 years knows that Hollywood has a single, overriding template they use whenever they make movies or TV shows about war. The unwritten law is you will not make any movie that makes the US Military look patriotic, brave, or competent.

There are exceptions to this rule. It is generally still acceptable to have patriotic World War II movies (Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers) largely because the Commander in Chief during WWII was the Sainted FDR. Also, movies that show US troops being defeated and demoralized are still celebrated (Black Hawk Down). Otherwise, every conflict must be viewed through the Apocalypse Now/Platoon prism: Incompetent officers, cynical troops, flawed military objectives.

Hollywood hasn't made many movies about the first Gulf War, probably since it is almost universally considered to be the most lopsided military victory since Agincourt and therefore a poor subject for Vietnamization. However, that appears to be changing: Jarhead is coming to a theatre near you.

As a former Marine infantryman, I am definitely interested in seeing this one. Both of my former reserve units were activated during the Gulf War; one helped liberate Kuwait. I had many friends who served. Indeed, had I not decided to marry my wife in 1988 instead of becoming an officer, I almost certainly would have been there myself.

But looking at the description of the story on the website, I'm concerned this is going to be just Platoon set in the desert instead of the jungle. Here's the official summary of the story:

Jarhead (the self-imposed monkier of the Marines) follows "Swoff" (Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't understand against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully fathom.

When the website's own description of the movie contains several historical errors, well, that doesn't bode very well for the movie itself.

Intolerable heat? Blazing deserts? Yeah, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are very hot. But Operation Desert Storm began in January 1991, and the ground troops didn't cross the border until late February. Despite relatively pleasant temperatures of up to 70 degrees during the day, the conditions were very cold, with windchill dropping below freezing at night. Several Army Green Berets even died of exposure while operating in the deserts of western Iraq. If the movie portrays the Marines fighting in Kuwait in the desert heat that will be a serious historical error.

Furthermore, I remember the run up to the Gulf War, and during the hot months of August, September and October, 1990, there wasn't even talk of the Marines doing anything but preventing an invasion of Saudi Arabia. It wasn't until after the November elections that President Bush announced his intention to kick Saddam out of Kuwait, and even then it wasn't a sure thing, as the US Congress and the United Nations were very reluctant to go along.

Against an enemy they can't see? The Iraqis had nowhere to hide during the Gulf War. They were pounded mercilessly by Coalition air strikes and artillery. After the Marines crossed the border, it wasn't hard to find them: Over 100,000 Iraqis surrendered, so many that according to General Norman Schwartzkopf they actually slowed the Marines down, and a roughly equal number were unable to surrender because they were dead. If "Swoff" couldn't see the enemy, he must not have been looking for them.

For a cause they don't fully fathom? It's not an exaggeration to say that everyone in Gulf War I, from the highest-ranking generals to the lowliest privates, knew why they were there: To kick Saddam out of Kuwait and enforce the UN Resolutions. The tactical objectives were as clear as crystal, which explains in part why we were so successful. True, the realpolitik cabal of the Bush Administration (led by General Scowcroft) snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by allowing Saddam to survive (something we are paying for now), but as far as the troops were concerned, their way home was through Kuwait.

This account may be "irreverent" but it's certainly not "true", other than there was a Marine sniper named Swofford who served in the Gulf War. From what I read it's simply an attempt to discredit the most lopsided rout in US military history. While American blood was spilled and Marines did die, that's what war is about. The fact the US was victorious doesn't mean that history has been "sanitized".

This day in history, 1805

I can't believe I scooped El-ahrairah on this one. The Battle of Trafalgar took place 200 years ago on this date.

I don't have much time to go into detail, so maybe ol' El can make up for his oversight and provide the history of the battle that established Britain as the pre-eminent naval power for the following century, until it was eclipsed by the United States.

Too bad they can't just cut the military like Clinton did

In the latest puff-piece designed to help re-elect Utah's highest ranking Democrat, Jerry Spangler of the Deseret News uncritically regurgitates propaganda from Rep. Jim Matheson's office.

Yeah, those "Blue Dog" Democrats sure would stop that out-of-control spending if they were in charge, yessiree. I guess that's why only one Democrat Senator dared vote for the Coburn Amendment, which would have defunded a single Republican pork barrel project in Alaska. And that's why another Democrat senator, Patty Murray, threatened to cut anyone else's pet projects if the amendment passed (links via Professor Reynolds).

Democrats are fiscally responsible? Excuse me while I guffaw.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A good start

This century's "trial of the century" (don't you think it's kind of early to start throwing that phrase around?) got started in Iraq today and as was expected, Saddam Hussein tried to throw his weight around. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward (as are many Kurds and Shiites) when "throwing his weight around" will mean dangling from a hangman's noose.

Since I'm not as articulate as others in the blogosphere, I would direct anyone who wants to know more to Michelle Malkin's site. It will be very interesting as the trial unwinds to see how the left reacts and continues to defend Saddam's actions. Although most people are good, decent human beings, there are some who are just evil. Saddam's defenders seem to fall into that category.

Hey, why am I not surprised

This just in: "Blaque Jacques" Chirac and Hugo "Castro-Wannabe" Chavez have decided to deepen their already close ties due to their "common vision". This should come as no shock to anyone since the French seem to always find the dictator and/or despot (see Saddam Hussein) who has oil to cosy up to. This also has the added benefit of adding another member to the "Axis of Weasels" to counter balance the influence of the US, so this is a win-win situation for both. I guess Chirac has worn out his welcome in the EU trying to get other European countries to oppose the US and he's looking for greener pastures, or at least "oilier" ones.

They weren't saying this last February

The Utah Democrat Party has discovered the First Amendment. Left-wing gay rights advocate and State Senator Scott McCoy wants to eliminate Utah's criminal slander law, calling it "unconstitutional, antiquated and outdated". "You just shouldn't go to jail for free speech," says McCoy. "The time for criminalizing speech is over; it's silly."

Oh, this is too rich. That comment in and of itself wins the Andrew Sullivan Hypocrisy award, if I had time to award it.

You see, the Utah Democrat Party and their gay rights base have been the driving force behind efforts to pass a "hate crimes" law, one that would "send a message" to anyone who thinks that homosexuality is sinful. As Captain Holly has said, ad infinitum, hate crimes laws have one purpose, and one purpose only: To stigmatize and marginalize certain points of view, with the ulitimate goal of criminalizing them. In this case, the undesirable belief is that which holds homosexuality in a less than enthusiastic light.

I'm going to keep that comment. Come next January, when the Legislature convenes and the Democrats once again try to pass a hate crimes law, we'll see how quickly Voltaire McCoy becomes Torquemada McCoy. I predict he'll be much less enthusiastic about defending Free Speech and much more enthusiastic about sending people to jail for expressing an unpopular opinion.

On October 19th in military 202 BC

On October 19th in military history….in 202 BC. The Roman forces under Scipio Africanus Major defeat the Carthaginian forces under Hannibal Barca at the battle of Zama in Tunisia. By the time of the Battle of Zama, the Second Punic War had been going on for about 20 years. At the very start, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca had lead his forces from Spain, across southern France, over the Alps and into northern Italy. For the first two years, he had inflicted three crushing defeats (Trebbia, Lake Trasimeno and Cannae) on the Roman legions sent again him. The Roman senate had decided to leave him basically alone and hoped that he would loose interest and go home. Hannibal had hoped to incite an uprising among the various peoples on the Italian peninsula conquered by the Romans, but this did not happen. So, Hannibal was stuck in a stalemate, waiting for reinforcements to eventually arrive in Italy.

In the meantime, a certain Roman general, Scipio Major, had decided that to defeat Hannibal, Rome needed to attack Hannibal’s area’s of support, Spain and Carthage. So, after destroying the Carthaginian presence in Spain, Rome invaded Carthage (modern day Tunisia). The Roman invasion caused the Carthaginian senate to recall Hannibal from Italy to protect the city from the Romans.

For many years, the Carthaginians had relied on their Numidian allies for their cavalry forces. After the Roman invasion, the pro-Carthage Numidian chieftain, Syphax, was replaced with Massinissa, who caused the Numidians to defect to the Roman camp. When Scipio Major met Hannibal at Zama, the Romans were outnumbered by the Carthaginians in infantry, but held a distinct advantage in cavalry. At the start of the battle, the Roman cavalry chased the Carthaginian cavalry from the field, but instead of immediately turning on the Carthaginian infantry, they continued to pursue the Carthaginian cavalry. This left the two infantry forces against each other. The Carthaginians had some war elephants, but the Romans had learned how to deal with elephants and they were soon stampeded past the battle. However, the superiority in Carthaginian infantry started to turn the battle to the Carthaginian favor and things looked like another brilliant victory for Hannibal when the Roman cavalry returned to the battle and attacked the Carthaginians from the rear. This sudden attack from the rear combined with the Roman attacks to the front turned the battle to the Roman’s favor and the Carthaginian forces started to disintegrate, resulting in a typical "sauve-qui-peut" slaughter. After the battle, the Carthaginian senate sued for peace. Carthage was so crippled by the peace terms that they were never able to challenge the Romans for supremacy again. In fact, when Rome finally settled the question of Carthage 50 years later during the Third Punic War ("Carthago delenda est"), the Carthaginians were only able to organize a defense of their home city which was eventually captured and utterly destroyed. For his victory, Scipio Major was awarded the title of Africanus and became known as Scipio Africanus Major or just Scipio Africanus.

Useless Hollywood Information #1: At the first of the movie "Patton" with George C. Scott, he is shown walking along the desert with his aide, talking about a battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians. The battle that he is talking about is the Battle of Zama.

Useless Hollywood Information #2: In the movie "Gladiator", when Russell Crowe and his fellow gladiators are brought out into the Coliseum to battle gladiators riding in chariots, the Romans are recreating the Battle of Zama or some facsimile thereof.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Can I say "I told you so" yet?

Here at The Warren, the Cap'n and I have commented somewhat on the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court. The Cap'n blogged here about how the Harriet Miers' nomination was doomed because she once owned a handgun and I mused here that her nomination was just a part of the Evil Karl Rove Master Plan to get a much more conservative judge on the court. The Cliff Notes Version of my post was that her nomination was a "throw away" for Bush so that the Democrats would spend their time and energy on defeating her and enabling Bush to nominate a much more conservative judge. All Harriet Miers would have to do would be to come down hard on abortion to be assured of being rejected for the job. Well, from this revelation, someone better call 911 Emergency since it looks like Senator Kennedy's heart will need a "jump start".

The Cap'n thought that she was toast for owning a handgun. That might be so, but she just touched the third rail of judicial confirmations, so to speak, and now the Democrats will be falling all over themselves to denounce her as "unfit for the court". So, do I get to say "I told you so" yet?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Great Minds and All That

I was thinking of writing a post similar to this one yesterday. If I hadn't been so lazy and sat around watching BYU actually win a game then perhaps I could've gotten the highly-coveted Instalanche instead of Murdoc.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Who said college professors know history?

University of Utah Professor Armando Solarzano thinks that Utah is "his place" because it was once nominally Mexican territory.

Well, that's nice. But it's garbage, nonetheless.

Yes, Utah was part of the Spanish Empire, and then Mexico when they gained independence. But if you're looking for original inhabitants, the Shoshone and Utes were here long before Fathers Escalante and Dominguez passed through and claimed the whole area for Spain in 1776. If we're getting into claims of who "deserves" to be here, Mexicans are at the back of the line because they never permanently inhabited Utah in the first place.

You see, when the Mormon pioneers arrived in 1847 (an event that causes the good professor "deep-seated pain"), there wasn't a permanent Mexican settlement within 400 miles of the Salt Lake Valley. To the Mexicans, Utah was an uninhabitable corner of a barren region, and they made no effort to settle here. Indeed, the Mormons considered the lack of settlements here to be a great advantage.

What's more, Mexico and Mexicans have no claim on Utah because we have paid them for it already. According to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, in which Mexico ceded control of most of the western US, the US paid Mexico fifteen million dollars for the land. Adjusted for inflation, that's several billion dollars for land that was considered at the time to be worthless desert. Sorry, Professor, but it doesn't matter if the pioneers were "illegals" when they got here -- the US ended up buying the land from you anyway.

So Professor, please take your snide entitlement mentality and shove it. This is the United States of America, and just because there weren't any immigration laws then doesn't mean Mexicans -- or persons of any other nationality -- can ignore immigration laws now. There is a tremendous undercurrent of resentment towards illegal immigrants here in the US; in my opinion we're just another 9/11 away from closed borders and mass deportations.

Even though there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, there are also 280 million legal residents. Unlike the illegals, they have a right to vote. And if a large majority of those 280 million Americans perceive that several million Mexicans pose a threat to their safety and security, you'll see a 1,500 mile-long, 40-foot high concrete fence on the southern border quicker than you can say "Japanese internment".

Don't push it.

I know how this kid got that way

This kid deserved what he got.

Cliff notes: Choir Boy and his upstanding buddies push another kid around at school. Principal intervenes, sends kids home, Choir Boy calls kid when he gets home and challenges him to a fight.

Choir Boy and his Skanky Ho bring along BB pistols and rob kid when he shows up for fight. Choir Boy, now feeling Big and Bad, puts away gun and starts a fistfight with the kid. Kid fights back, hits Choir Boy in head, causes brain hemorrage.

Choir Boy ends up in Hospital.

And, best of all, Sheriff and DA are going to let kid off but charge Choir Boy and Skanky Ho with robbery and assault.

So far, no problems here. In fact, I'm quite proud the Sheriff and the DA are able to supress their Oprah instincts and make a decision based on the law.

But now Choir Boy's family are saying that Choir Boy was the victim here. As expected, Grandpa says that Choir Boy was jumped by several of the kid's friends, that only the girl tried to rob him, and that even if he did make trouble, rob the kid, and start the fight, he doesn't deserve to die.

Bulls#*t. This brat deserves to spend the rest of his life as a vegetable. That kid, with his lucky punch, did more to lower the future crime rate of the neighborhood than the entire Sheriff's office and Juvenile Court System. If Choir Boy is doing armed robbery at age 12, then one can only imagine what he'll do when he gets older. And since the Courts will only slap his wrist when he's this young, in my opinion this is a far more just punishment.

Let's consider what would have happened if Choir Boy had gotten mad shot the kid in the eye. Or if, as happens on rare occasions, the BB penetrated into the skull of the kid. The tables could be turned and the kid might be the one fighting for life in the hospital. And Choir Boy would be sent to Juvenile hall for a stern talking-to. Based on what I've heard them say on television, I know his white-trash family wouldn't do anything to punish him.

So, do us all a favor, Slater family, and shut your frickin' traps. Your kid started this. Your kid pulled the gun. Your kid committed armed robbery. Your kid threw the first punch. Now shutup and enjoy the consequences of raising a juvenile delinquent.

Like you and me, only better

Say Uncle regularly posts examples of how government elites, often liberal Democrats, get away with breaking the law because, well, they're better than the common man. Now Utah has its' own example: Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Today, the Salt Lake City Attorney, Ed Rutan, provided some cover to the beleaguered mayor by stating he gave the legal "green light" for Rocky's Excellent Italian Adventure. Specifically, he said it was legal for Rocky to use city money to pay trip expenses for his girlfriend and cronies. Not a problem at all.

Oh, come on. I work for a government bureaucracy; every time I have gone on a speaking trip or conference and brought my wife along I've had to pay her expenses myself, with no reimbursement. In fact, I'd get at least a letter of reprimand, if not get dismissed outright, if I used taxpayer money for her meals and any other items she decided to buy.

I doubt Rocky will get indicted for this; the calls for an investigation are merely a political ploy to call attention to his blatant hypocrisy. Not a bad thing that, but the fact I know nothing will happen kinda rankles me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A crack appears in the wall

Once again, Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson finds himself in the middle of a controversy. Seems he might have broken the law when he accepted a donation for a trip to Italy.

But this dust-up is different from past ones. The Salt Lake County Democrat Party chairman, Megan Risbon, has joined Republican calls for an investigation, an amazing step for a party that allows Rocky to do pretty much as he pleases.

It's not surprising as to why. Rocky, with his outrageous behavior, bigoted statements, and far-left activism has alienated virtually all LDS voters in the state, and a good majority of the non-LDS voters outside of Salt Lake City. The local and state Democrat party officials have watched, cringing, as he has offended voters both conservative and moderate, and they perhaps have begun to realize that if he keeps this up their candidates will have virtually no chance of being elected to any statewide office.

Rocky, of course, is apoplectic. From his ritzy hotel in Washington, DC, he screeched:

"I have a hard time understanding why she's even involving herself in this. She knows nothing about the facts or the issue," said Anderson, who had asked players in the party to remain on the sidelines. "Democrats have a long history of screwing up just about everything they touch."

Let me answer this one, Megan.

Rocky, they're getting involved now because you are a big, fat, rotting, stinking albatross around the Utah Democrat Party's neck, and they've decided that if you're going to sink yourself they don't want to go down with you. It may be just Ms. Risbon now, but they're eventually all going to cut you loose.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Where were they a month ago?

Some members of the New Orleans PD are under investigation for -- surprise, surprise -- police brutality. My question for those vigiliant Defenders of Freedom at the major networks: What took you so long?

Now, it doesn't take much to convince Captain Holly that the NOPD is full of corrupt, brutal, and incompetent cops. But it's interesting to contrast the Media's reaction now to when the cops were lawlessly entering hundreds of private residences, confiscating legally-owned firearms, and arresting anyone who resisted.

Some people are more equal with others, I guess.

That's it, she's toast!

The MSM are all a-flutter over the news that Harriet Miers once owned a gun.

In most of America, this is not a big deal. To the insulated elites of the Media, however, this is somewhat akin to finding credit card receipts for hard-core pr0no. Never mind leading liberal gun control activists like Dianne Feinstein and Sarah Brady own guns; Republicans who own guns are automatically assumed to be night-riding Klansmen.

This might be the last straw for poor Ms. Miers. We can't have gun-owning Supreme Court justices now, can we?

Photos to illustrate a previous post

In the Cap'n's previous post about the military and preparedness, he talked about the M-4 Sherman. Here are a few photos to help with the illustration.

This is an M-4 Sherman tank that was on display outside of the Battle of the Bulge Museum in Bastogne, Belgium. Just your basic M-4 Sherman with a basic low-velocity75mm main gun.

This is a German Mark VI Tiger tank (and my progenity) with a high-velocity 88mm main gun. As you can see, it looks much more heavily armed than the M-4 Sherman. This tank is located in the French Armor Museum in Saumur, France. Notice the thick, vertical armor. Thick is good, but sloped is better. This was the first version of the Tiger and although it had it's problems, when it showed up on the battlefield, the Shermans ran away.

This is a German Mark V Panther tank with a high-velocity75mm main gun. As can be seen, the German tank has sloped armor to deflect shots. The 75mm main gun is much longer than the M-4 Sherman main gun. This means that it has a higher muzzle velocity which translates to more penetrating power which is the difference between having your shot ping harmlessly on the enemy tank and watching him burn while the sound of secondary explosions fill the air.

This is the German Mark VII King Tiger (and yet again, my progenity) with an ultra-high velocity 88mm main gun. This tank had it all, sloped armor, high-velocity main gun, etc. It ate Shermans for lunch. Luckily, it was so heavy and large that there were not many on the battlefield.

The Panther is widely considered the best German tank of World War II. It had sloped armor which prevented enemy shot penetration, a high-velocity 75mm main gun which could defeat anything the Allies had (until the arrival of the Pershing) and good mobility. Unfortunately for the Germans, they didn't have an unending supply. Yet again, the side with the best logistics usually wins the battles.

Could this be part of the Evil Karl Rove Master Plan?

I have been reading the reaction to the Miers nomination from the MSM, the blogsphere and my own brother and the thought just crossed my mind. Could this be just another part of Evil Karl Rove's Master Plan to make the Democrats look stupid?

Let's think about this. The Republicans want another conservative judge for the Supreme Court. Many have mentioned a few names of very conservative judges who would be more than qualified. However, since they are conservative, the Democrats will pull out the stops to stop their nomination to the Supreme Court. So, President Bush decides to nominate Miers for the Supreme Court. Since Miers has no experience as a judge, is an evangelical christian who is against abortion and is part of Bush's inner circle, the Democrats should be falling all over themselves to express their "grave concerns", yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum about how she doesn't represent "mainstream American" (read: Chuck Shumer). Since the Roberts nomination made the Democrats look stupid, they would really be motivated to kill this nomination. You could say that Miers is a throwaway nomination.

After successfully killing Miers nomination, the Democrats would be celebrating big time. However, President Bush would be free to nominate who he really wants to, a very conservative judge. This nomination would be confirmed more easily since the Democrats, having spent their political muscle killing the Miers nomination, would be seen as "obstructionist" (as if they aren't already) if they killed this nomination. Ergo, yet another conservative judge for the Supreme Court and the Evil Karl Rove continues to make the Democrats look stupid.

The fact that the Democrats aren't doing much criticism and that it's mostly coming from the Republicans doesn't mean much at this time. All Miers has to do is when asked about abortion during the hearings is just say that she thinks it is murder and should be prosecuted as a crime and Bingo! Ted Kennedy and the rest of the Democrats will have a collective coronary.

I could be wrong but President Bush has shown himself to be a master of setting his enemies up to show their stupidity. He did it masterfully on the Roberts nomination, don't be surprised if this scenario actually does happen. If it does, The Great El-ahrairah told you so. Of course, if it doesn't, oh well, what do I know. I'm just a rabbit.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I can't disagree with this

The liberal MainStreamMedia are all squealing with delight over President Bush's inexplicable choice of Harriet Miers as Supreme Court Justice. They point out that Bush has alienated his conservative base and that might bode ill for the Republican Party in the next election.

They're correct, of course. As a conservative, I've about had it with the Bush Administration. I have been a loyal supporter of President Bush for years now, largely because of his leadership in the War on Terror and his tax cuts. But in everything else, he has been a huge disappointment. The Miers nomination has pretty much destroyed whatever loyalty I had to the White House. It would serve them right if the GOP lost control of the Congress next year.

Nevertheless, as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are worse. While the MSM and liberals salivate over the Republicans troubles, they still have yet to figure out that they are even less popular. Indeed, the recent indictment of Tom DeLay is the worst thing for the Democrats because it maintains their delusion that they don't have to do anything to win next year. All they have to do is show up, and people will vote them in.

Hardly. From gun control to taxes, from the War on Terror to abortion, the Democrats are on the wrong side of every major hot-button issue. There is no "winning issue" they can run on that will inspire the majority of American voters. They can only hope that enough conservatives sit on their hands next year to allow their candidates to win. That's not a winning strategy.

Stupidity, thy name is Benson

Whenever I don't have much time to blog, I can always read one of the columnists from the Deseret News or Salt Lake Tribune for an easy-as-shooting-ducks-in-the-rain-barrel target. They are so chronically clueless it's almost cruel to criticize them.

In this case, it's Lee Benson of the DesNews, who pens an unbelievably dumb column about how -- get this -- Iraq is worse than Viet Nam. And yes, that's not a typo. Benson actually believes this tripe. I should know, I read it a couple of times just to make sure it wasn't a cleverly-written satire.

Of course, he provides no proof of the imminent collapse of Iraq other than to point out that the various ethnic groups hate each other. And he maintains, with a straight face, that we are losing all the battles.

I'm speechless. This man is simply in way over his head. Benson is a former sportswriter, which might explain his stupidity. He's the journalistic equivalent of a dumb jock, someone who knows sports pretty well but has no grasp of history, statistics, or military tactics. Better send him back to covering BYU football: If you want to see consistent losing, they're far better examples than the US military.

Of course, Benson might just be repeating Big Media groupthink, where everyone he knows has said the same thing over and over for so long that he believes it's true. Whatever the case, I'll monitor his output to see if he even is aware of the constitutional referendum next week. You know, the one that all polls predict will produce a massive turnout and will likely pass. I'm betting he doesn't even know it's coming up.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Went to see the movie "Serenity" tonight. Pretty cool. I wasn't familiar with Joss Whedon before, but I sure am now.

For those who are not familiar, think of a cool mix of kung-fu and sci-fi, with some Omega Man and Aliens thrown in.

Go see it.

A picture of the Great El-ahrairah's progenity

Since we all know what the Cap'n's progenity look like, here is a picture of the Great El-ahrairah's son in France. For some reason, he decided that a McDonald's Happy Meal Box would fit on his head.

A test of photo bloggin capabilities

Here is a test of the Great El-ahrairah's photo blogging capabilites. As you can see, tailgating is a problem in Iraq.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On 6th October in military 1973

On October 6th in military history….in 1973. Egypt and Syrian forces, under cover of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, launch a surprise attacks against Israeli positions in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. After the end of the Six-Day War in 1967, the various Arabs nations surrounding Israel (Egypt, Jordan and Syria) had been hoping for a way to win back their lost territory and also complete the destruction of the nation of Israel. Egypt and Syria decided to attack Israel during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, when the Israeli armed forces would be off on leave. Jordan, however, fearing another loss of land, declined to participate.

During the Six-Day War, The Israeli Air Force had decimated both the Arab ground forces. During the lull between the two wars, both the Syrian and Egyptian armed forces had built up batteries of SAM missiles on their sides of the cease fire lines. Also, before the Six-Day War, the combined Arab armies had announced the day that they would attack Israel, thereby enabling Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack. This time around, thru a campaign of misinformation on the part of the Arabs and complacency on the part of Israeli intelligence, the attack and its preparations were kept a secret to prevent another Israeli pre-emptive strike.

At the start of the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli army had built a number of forts along the Suez Canal. Called the Bar Lev Line, they were designed to prevent the Egyptians from crossing the Suez Canal. They were protected by large earth berms to protect them from artillery fire, which were assumed to be impenetrable. However, when the Egyptians attacked, they used water cannon to direct streams of water pumped from the Suez Canal against the berms which quickly reduced them to the point where the Egyptian forces could assault the forts. One by one, all the forts (except for one) were captured. Expecting a vicious armor counterattack, the Egyptians had equipped their forces with large numbers of wire-guided anti-tank missiles (NATO Code Name "Sagger"). When the Israeli tanks counterattacked, they were met not with Egyptian armor, but wave after wave of wire-guided anti-tank missiles for which the Israelis had no defense. The Egyptian Army was able to advance 15 kilometers into the Sinai and stopped, not wanting to leave the security of the SAM batteries located on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal. As a result, there was a lull in the fighting, both sides reluctant to attack.

In the Golan Heights, the Syrian tank forces outnumbered the Israelis by about 1,400 to 180. The Syrian forces were able to meet with some success but also were reluctant to advance out of the safety of their SAM batteries. Israeli high command had given priority to the fighting in the Golan Heights since it posed the greatest threat to the security of the country. By the second day (8 October), Israeli forces had stopped the Syrian advance and started pushing the Syrians back. By 10 October, they had restored more or less the pre-war border. At this point, Golda Meir, the Israeli Prime Minister, decided to take the battle to the Syrians and authorized the Israeli Army to advance into Syria. For the next four days, until 14 October, the Israeli Army pushed into Syria to a point where they were 40 kilometers from Damascus and where using heavy artillery, they could shell the Syrian capital.

Back on the Egyptian front, the Egyptians brought their reserves across the canal and launched a massive counterattack on 14 October to take some of the pressure off the Syrians. The attack was an utter failure. The next day, 15 October, the Israelis launched their counterattack, named Operation Stouthearted Men. Instead of using tanks supported by air cover, they used infantry to infiltrate and destroy the Egyptian SAM batteries and anti-tank forces. The division lead by Major General Ariel Sharon attacked the "seam" between the Egyptian Second and Third Armies and was able to cross the Suez Canal. Egyptian armored counterattacks were repulsed using American M72 LAW anti-tank rockets. As soon as the infantry had neutralized the Egyptian SAM batteries and anti-tank forces, Israeli brought its superior tank and air forces to bear on the Egyptians.

The crossing of the Suez Canal by the Israelis caught the Egyptians with their proverbial "pants down". The Israelis were threatening to surround and destroy the Egyptian Third Army take the last road from the Suez to Cairo. On 22 October, the UN passed a cease-fire, which forced the Israelis to stop their advance and save the Egyptian Third Army. However, due to numerous violations of the cease-fire by Egypt, the Israelis decided that "when you have the enemy by the balls, their heart and minds will follow", and continue the attack. On 23 October, they succeeded in closing the pocket around the Egyptian Third Army and the road to Cairo was wide open.
The US was now in a position to "pull the Egyptian bacon out of the fire" (no disrespect to Muslim readers intended). At the start of the war, the US had been flying tons of military supplies to Israel. The US was able to convince the Israelis to pull back and allow humanitarian supplies to get thru to the Egyptian Third Army, thereby enabling the US to negotiate an end to the conflict and move Egypt out of Soviet influence into American influence.
By 26 October, all organized fighting had stopped and all forces had moved back to their pre-war boundaries. The Israelis lost 2,700 men killed, 7,200 wounded, 400 tanks destroyed and 100 aircraft shot down. The Egyptian/Syrian armies lost 15,000 dead, 35,000 wounded, 2,250 tanks destroyed or captured and 430 aircraft destroyed.
One of the nasty little secrets of the war was that Israel almost went "nuke". In the early days of the war, when it looked like Israel would be overrun, Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered that the Israeli nuclear bomb or bombs be moved out of storage and start to be assembled. However, as the tide turned towards Israel's favor, the order was countermanded and the nuclear bombs were placed back into storage. Luckily for the Arab world, Israel never used their nuclear arsenal. If they had, Mecca, Medina, Cairo, Riyadh, Baghdad and Damascus would probably be glass parking lots today.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

There will be a period of mourning

It's official: Utah's six-year drought is history.

It's nice to hear that the experts, namely Randy Julander, are pleased as punch. However, there are some who won't be so happy: The doom-and-gloom Global Warming crowd, who claimed the drought was evidence of Mother Gaia's anger with our SUVs and Kentucky bluegrass. These people have enjoyed being sour Cassandras for the past few years, and I'm sure some are secretly hoping this year is only a temporary wet spot in a dry decade.

Until then, they will be in mourning.

Rocky's on a roll

Utah's most famous liberal idiot is at it again. In an interview with the Guardian (yes, that Guardian), Rocky compared his situation in Utah to that of living under the Taliban.

Gee, where have we heard that one before?

When he realized that his quote would be read outside of Britain, he backpedaled furiously, stating it was that eeevil Deseret News, yes, the DesNews and all those other nefarious persons who are out to get him, like those brainwashed Mormons on the City Council.

But not the LDS Church. Oh, no. Rocky loves Mormons. Honest.

This does not shock me in the least. It's actually kind of refreshing to hear some honesty, instead of bland platitudes about unity and tolerance and diversity. Rocky and his hard-left base hate Mormons with a purple passion, and that's that. Why is it so hard for the preening elites at the Alliance for Unity to face the truth?

Rocky Anderson is an anti-Mormon bigot. Period. End-of-sentence. Now that we all know what he is, can we all stop pretending otherwise?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Once more, with feeling: Bush Lied, People Died!

Utah's lefty rag, the Salt Lake Tribune, has had a couple of their reporters in Iraq for the past few months attached to a local National Guard unit, the 222nd Field Artillery Battalion (the reporters even have their own blogs). Their posts have mostly been feel-good, reassuring human-interest stories but you knew, you just knew, they were itching to find something to pillory the military and the Bush Administration with.

Well, they finally found it. And what better subject than the supposed failure of the bumbling Rumsfeldian Neo-Cons to provide adequate armor for vehicles?

Now Captain Holly certainly isn't downplaying the importance of ensuring that all vehicles are adequately armored. I'm more than willing to provide the troops with whatever armor they may need, and I'm distressed to find that some vehicles are still not up to par. But I do take issue with this quote from a company commander (which, knowing the liberal media, might have been selectively edited to provide the desired effect):

Zecher only hopes the challenge is met before she has to explain to one of her soldier's parents why their child was killed in a poorly armored vehicle.

She said her frustrations are only tempered by an understanding that the U.S. military had not anticipated the challenge the insurgency would present to the Army's supply system.

"In every other war, the supply routes were not compromised as much as they are now," she said. "This is new to us."

With all due respect, this is hogwash. And having said that, Captain Holly will relate to his readers the sad tale of a US tank that wasn't quite good enough, the M-4 Sherman.

The Sherman was the main US battle tank at the start of the war and was used, with modifications, until V-E Day. Some 50,000 M-4s were made and used by the Allies.

The Sherman's design had several advantages: It was reliable, inexpensive, had good mobility and was easy to produce. Most importantly, it was relatively small enough to be shipped in large amounts across the Atlantic.

It also had several critical disadvantages; namely, it was inadequately armored and woefully undergunned. But worse than that, because it's engine was originally designed for aircraft, it used highly flammable gasoline instead of diesel fuel, in spite of recommendations from US tank commanders such as General George Patton.

In other words, it had the nasty habit of blowing up in a fireball whenever it got hit. The Germans were so impressed with it's propensity to burn that they nicknamed the Sherman "the Tommy Cooker".

The Sherman, in other words, was essentially obsolete by 1942.

Yet even though the Roosevelt Administration knew this by late 1942, based on the experience of the British in North Africa, they continued to allow great numbers of Shermans to be produced and shipped to US and Allied troops. It is not an exaggeration to say that thousands of American, British, French and Russian troops died as a direct result of the Sherman's inadequacies.

And talk about "hillbilly armor"; after the Normandy invasion, when it became obvious the Sherman couldn't stop the German 75 and 88 mm anti-tank shells, desperate GIs used metal plates, sandbags, tree trucks and wooden planks to protect themselves.

The truth is, the experience in Iraq with inadequately armored vehicles in neither unprecedented nor surprising. Every war is fought using weapons and equipment that were designed for the previous war, and no battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.

So please, spare us the snide insinuations that somehow the Bush Administration was criminally negligent. In light of history, the experiences in Iraq are par for the course.

I saw this coming months ago

The US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has told the ACLU to get stuffed.

I saw this coming months ago. I knew the ACLU had to appeal the decision to maintain their bona fides with their far-left Mormon-hating donors, but I didn't mind because it wasted alot of their time and money, as well as squandered alot of goodwill.

Incidentally, "Mormon-hating donors" is not too strong a term. Read what plaintiff Lee Siegel said about the decision in the Tribune:

Lee Siegel, one of the ACLU's four plaintiffs, called the decision a sad day for the principle of separation of church and state and said it "adds to the feeling that I live in a state run by the American Taliban."

"Salt Lake City and the church have successfully weaseled themselves to a victory, but it doesn't make it right," he said. "I hope they enjoy their lily white, golly gee, clean, fun plaza."

Yeah, they hate Mormons all right.

There's NO WAY this was an accident

Somewhere in LA a mischievous employee of a DVD production facililty is laughing.

It's hard to keep up with Rocky

Captain Holly has been so busy lately he hasn't had time to keep up on all the scandals surrounding SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson. If I ever wanted to blog full-time, Rocky would keep me busy.

Here's the latest. It's not surprising that Rocky would use taxpayer dollars for his own purposes; what's surprising is the Salt Lake Media are suddenly willing to make a big deal of it.

UPDATE: Surprisingly, Rocky has agreed to pay the money back. That was fast.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Quote of the day

Jay over at Wizbang provides an excellent metaphor of UN administration:

Is there ANYONE who can give any reason WHATSOEVER why the UN should be trusted with control of the internet, especially in light of their own stellar record of failures, corruption, and ineptitude? I wouldn't trust the UN with a g*dd#mned lemonade stand -- it would be overpriced, toxic, and served in leaky cups. (profanity slightly edited, emphasis added -- CH)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

On October 1st in military 331 BC

On 1st October in military history….in 331 BC. Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeats King Darius III of Persia at the Battle of Gaugamela. After crossing the Hellespont (the Dardanelles) in 334 BC and his defeats of Persian armies at the Battle of the Granicus River in May, 334 BC and the Battle of Issus in October, 333 BC, Alexander the Great spent the next two years occupying the eastern Mediterranean coast and Egypt. In 331 BC, he started advancing thru Syria toward the heart of the Persian Empire along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. During all this time, Darius had spent his time rebuilding his forces that he had lost at the Battle of Issus and planning for a final decisive fight with Alexander which would destroy the Macedonian. He had assembled an army (estimated around 220,000 men) which was much larger than Alexander’s. However, it was composed of mostly lightly armed infantry forces common to Persian armies. However, he did have around 200 "scythed war chariots" (a favorite weapon in Persia where the land was flat) and his cavalry forces more that outnumbered Alexander’s. Darius wanted a place where he could fight the Macedonians on his terms and where his superiority in cavalry and war chariots could be used to their fullest. He selected a flat plain (an area east of Mosul in modern Iraq) where he would wait for Alexander. To maximize his war chariots effectiveness, he ordered that brush and other vegetation be removed from the battlefield (some say that he even leveled the terrain) before the battle.

Alexander’s forces numbered around 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry. However, Alexander’s forces were comprised of more heavily armed Greek hoplite infantry and Macedonian phalanxes. Alexander organized himself in a line with his general Parmenion commanding on the left flank, himself commanding on the right and phalanx infantry in the center. Due the size of the forces facing him, he would not be able to match the broad lines of Persian infantry and cavalry facing him and would most probably be out-flanked on either one or both wings. Anticipating this, he formed another line of phalanx infantry behind the first, a "double phalanx" with the instructions that the second line was to turn around if out-flanked by the Persians. Both his flanks were protected by lightly armed forces.

When the battle started, Alexander’s forces started advancing towards the Persian line, across the prepared battlefield just as Darius had planned. However, as the Macedonian forces started to moving farther into the trap laid for them, they abruptly stopped moving forward and started moving to the right (a sort-of "right oblique"). This oblique movement started moving Alexander’s forces out of prepared ground where Darius hoped to use his war chariots. Faced with a "use it or lose it" situation, Darius ordered his chariots to attack. A nasty little secret about war chariots was that although they could wreck havoc on a battlefield, they couldn’t change directions very easily and being pulled by horses, the horses tended to avoid sharp, pointy objects like walls of spears. So once a chariot got going, it was pretty well stuck in a straight line until it could slow down enough to turn. Alexander had anticipated this and had ordered gaps to open up in his lines to allow the chariots to pass thru. However, as the chariots passed thru the lines, the drivers of the chariots were attacked from the sides and killed, thereby negating the chariot’s advantages.

Darius sent his cavalry forces to encircle Alexander’s flanks, but Alexander’s forces were able to stop the encircling attacks. After awhile, Alexander’s slow rightward movement threatened to outflank Darius’ left flank, so to counter this, he ordered more of his cavalry to encircle the Alexander’s right flank. However, the cavalry protecting Alexander’s right flank was able to stop these attacks.

As more and more of Darius cavalry was committed to encircle Alexander’s right flank, a gap started to open in the line where the main Persian forces were connected with the flanking cavalry. Alexander stopped his rightward movement and turned back toward the Persian forces. Because of his rightward movement, when Alexander turned toward the Persian line, he was much closer than he normally would have been allowed to be. At this moment, the heavier Macedonian forces hit the lighter-armed Persian forces and naturally, the Persians started to give ground. Alexander and his elite Companion cavalry attacked at the gap, splitting Darius’ forces in the center from his left flank. As the Persian left flank started to disintegrate, Alexander wheeled his forces around and headed directly for Darius. The Persian center started to come apart and Darius decided that it was better "run way to live and fight another day". Estimates of casualties are that Alexander’s forces lost 10,000 killed and wounded while the Persians lost 140,000 killed and wounded. (Ed. In ancient warfare, it was very easy for the losing side to loose many more men than the victorious side due to the dynamics of masses of men being panicked. The same effect can be seen when crowds of people panic and people are trampled to death at sporting events, etc.)

King Darius later escaped to Arbil (modern Erbil) and was later killed by Bessus, one of his generals who by coincidence, was also the commander of his left flank during the battle. Alexander was crowned "King of Asia".