More 'Grim Milestones', or just Grim Outlooks?

Today Gateway Pundit and NRO's Tank point out the good news in Iraq, the continuing and rapid decline of US troop deaths. Why is it that despite this good news, the MSM can only give us their own grim outlook?

I have opined on this subject before, and would like to point out that the news is even slightly better than it appears. The casualty statistics that have been trumpeted in all the media's "grim milestone" reporting are all inclusive. They include everything to include traffic acidents, heart attacks, and even deaths outside of Iraq.

Take a look at today's reporting which hypes the fact that this year was the "deadliest year".

While all the numbers you will read like those above will say 901 (UPDATED) troops died this year. But in fact, if you look at true "hostile fire" casualties, the number is only 765. That is a 15% difference, which is not insignificant.

As Gateway and The Tank mention, the month of Dec 2007 has seen only 24 (up from earlier) deaths, the lowest since Feb 2004. However, this number does include 10 non-hostile deaths which includes injuries and traffic accidents. So in reality, there were only 14 hostile fire deaths in Dec.

No matter how you cut it the statement that this was the "Deadliest Year Ever", while factually acurate, is a loaded statement and willfully disregards the current ground truth.

Additionally, I have always thought that a better way to look at this 'metric' (if you will) is to look at it as "Hostile Deaths per day".

While the graph looks much the same as the regular monthly metric, the ratio takes some of the ambiguity out of the numbers.

The bottom line of course is that no matter how you look at it, the numbers are down dramatically, and it leads back directly to the change in strategy.

Why is it so hard for the media to recognize this and change their tune? Could it be that they are pursuing an agenda??


Be Afraid

Marc Cooper over at the HuffPo says that Hillary's new campaign message is "Be Afraid".

Of course, she wants us to be afraid of the the big frightening world out there, so that she can be our savior. Or as Instapundit put it, "Mama's gonna make everything all right".

So, since the world is big a scary, with lots of mean people, you would suppose that the get-tough Hillary would confront them head-on, right? Lets see....
"When that person gets into the Oval Office," she [Hillary] said, referring to the next president, "there will be a stack of problems already waiting: a war, another war to resolve..."
Resolve? Resolve?? How about 'win'?

I guess this should be of no surprise. when was the last time you heard a Democrat state that they wanted to win this war? I mean even if your goal is to get out of the war, at least say "Let's win this thing and go home!"

Again it is no surprise that Hillary's official campaign website states:
"And to keep our country safe, we need to start engaging our enemies again. During the Cold War, with missiles pointed at us, we never stopped talking to the Soviet Union. That didn't mean we agreed with them or approved of them. But it did mean we came to understand them -- and that was crucial to confronting the threats they posed."
To wit my first question is, "OK ma'am, which weapon should we engage them with? M-4?, JDAM?, GAU-8 perhaps?"

But seriously....yes we did negotiate with the Soviets, because we knew them to be fairly rational actors. But if one comes to "understand", as Hillary suggests, our current enemies (DPRK, Iran, Al Qaeda) you will find them a mostly irrational bunch. And one can not reliably "engage" an irrational actor, at least if the goal is to "resolve" a problem. The irrational actor will either laugh at you for being a fool, or deceive you to their own ends.

So, yes Hillary, engagement is the key, but sometimes engagement comes in the form of rough men ready to do violence, rather than delicate diplomatic discussions.

UPDATE:  Perhaps we should send Hillary a copy of the new FM 3-0 (Doctrine for Dummies), or its new video compendium available at Blackfive.



If you are already a Dynasty, what comes after that?


Books to win Wars

The other day I had a little fun with my Army brothers concerning Counter-Insurgency. However, I do feel strongly on the subject, especially on how the Air Force has a lot to learn when it comes to our role in such a fight. We are still caught in an Air Supremacy paradigm, and need to do more thinking on how we can be relevant in a 'Small War'

The new edition of Air & Space Power Journal dedicates its current edition to 'Irregular Airpower'. It should make for interesting reading, and is in my queue.

Now speaking of Small Wars.....

The Army is continuing its drive to incorporate Counterinsurgency education at all levels, to include our coalition partners, with its Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy.
"Six years into the Afghan war, the Army has decided its troops on the ground still don't understand well enough how to battle the Taliban insurgency. So since the spring, groups of 60 people have been attending intensive, five-day sessions in plywood classrooms in the corner of a U.S. base here, where they learn to think like a Taliban and counterpunch like a politician.

The academy's principal message: The war that began to oust a regime has evolved into a popularity contest where insurgents and counterinsurgents vie for public support and the right to rule. The implicit critique: Many U.S. and allied soldiers still arrive in the country well-trained to kill, but not to persuade."

To help out this effort, the Small Wars Journal and some others have put together a book drive of sorts to help stock the bookshelves at this Academy.

So, if you really would like to help he U.S. and its allies prevail in its current fight, then go to the SWJ's Amazon wish-list, and buy a book or two for the Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy (books delivered directly to Kabul).


Stay Frosty

Now that I am done with my Air Command and Staff College, I can get back to reading a lot of things that I have piled up in the office. Currently working on Robert Kaplan's 'Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts' (a follow up to one of my favorite books from 2005, 'Imperial Grunts'), along with 'Charlie Wilson's War'.

However, it always seems that new books continue to come out and regenerate the pile of unread books on my shelf....making the Domestic Command Authority none too happy.

One of those new books that I currently have on order from Amazon is the forthcoming 'The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad', which has gotten a glowing review from leading front-line milblogger Badger Six.
"Writing about the military experience in general and combat specifically is a tricky matter. Write too cynically and the piece will make the experience appear to be a nihilistic drive into dark; write too heroically and war is falsely painted as glamorous. The good combat writer portrays both the horror of combat and the nobility of ordinary Soldiers in extraordinary circumstances. Fortunately for the reader author Sean Michael Flynn delivers the goods in The Fighting 69th.


If you read one book this year about American Soldiers on the ground in the Global War on Terrorism, make it this book. An entertaining and informative read, you will meet everyday Americans like Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Slack, Captain Chris Daniels, Sergeant Jay Olmo, and indirectly Captain Sean Michael Flynn. These ordinary men have a remarkable story, one that should be familiar to all Americans."
Read the whole thing....


New Army doctrine admits Air Power is superior!

Apparently the Army has seen the light and has admitted that Air Power is superior in the counter-insurgency fight...
"Whacking bad people is dangerous. It’s also hard. It’s easier and safer to whack the bad people if you do it from the air or the ocean. That’s because the bad people can’t afford the super weapons that do stuff from there. That’s why we have to be nice to the Navy and Air Force; so they will whack bad people with great enthusiasm."
It is good to see that AirLand Battle has returned, with the emphasis on "Air"

If the above quotation seems to be written in an unorthodox manner, then perhaps you need to read the entirety of the new spiffy version of "FM 3-0 Operations" for School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) students.

Big Fat :-)

(H/T: Small Wars Journal)

Enjoy the holidays!!!


The tragedy of Ice and IEDs

Tragically, 32 people have died in the US since Sunday as a result of ice storms in the midwest
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that during the same time frame (Sun-Wed) only 2 US military service members have died in Iraq, and only one of those was due to hostile action.

In fact only 7 troops have been killed thus far in December (only 5 to hostile fire), putting it on pace to be the most casualty-free month since the war began.

I am reluctant to be flip about casualty numbers, since every death is one troop too many, but does anyone honestly think that is 32 troops had died in 3-4 days in Iraq that it would be relegated to the bottom of the stories on the wire?

Of course not....because the well has to be poisoned.


A Green Pig in a Poke

If you have been watching TV in recent weeks, you have probably seen the latest ad from Honda, selling their new hydrogen fueled FCX Clarity.

Now it is a nice shiny well-produced ad, which does a good job at making its point visually ("What if we could replace something harmful with water") , and ends with the tag line "A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

Now forget for the moment that they are mass marketing this to the entire country, even though the car will only be available in limited numbers in Southern California, making it smack of a shakedown payoff to the Green Mafia to avoid further harassment. Focus only on the message...

"A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

Doesn't that sound great?

However in a New York Times website envrionmental column titled "Hydrogen Car Is Here, but Where’s the Hydrogen Economy?" (H/T: Instapundit), another NYT article is quoted as saying:
“Compared with alternatives like plug-in hybrids, the on-board energy supply is quicker to replenish and has a better travel range, 270 miles. Moreover, in Honda’s full-cycle calculation, a fuel-cell vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide output by half compared with a gasoline vehicle."
Now, since we are told that Carbon Dioxide is the main greenhouse gas causing Global Warming, how does this:

"...a fuel-cell vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide output by half compared with a gasoline vehicle."

square with this:

"A car that emits no pollution, only clean water vapor"

It sounds to me like Honda is playing fast and loose with the truth to appease their new Green Overlords... or the NYT reporter has got his facts wrong.


Thank the Troops, since NBC will Not

Last night I met my wife and son at TGI Fridays for dinner. Coming directly from base I was still in uniform.

The busboy who dropped off the appetizer looked at me and said "Thank You for your service".

It caught me off guard, since I was trying to keep a pair of 12 month old hands out of the Pot Stickers. It took me a second to realize what he had said. Had I been paying attention, I would have been more gracious. So if you are out there busboy, thank you for your tanks.

For others out there, if you would like to thank the troops, consider sending these videos from Freedom's Watch to everyone you know. Make them viral, since NBC wont show them for being "controversial".

Ace of Spades suggest we boycott NBC...

Hat Tip: Powerline and Freedomswatch.org


Beware of Falling Flags

Apparently the Massachusetts Highway Department wants to remove all of the flags and troop tributes on highway overpasses.

State officials said they are concerned the flags and signs could fall on drivers, causing a crash.

"We can't avert our eyes from a known hazard," said Paiewonsky, who estimated that hundreds of signs have adorned bridges over the state's 9,000 miles of highways.
Hmm... Beware of falling flags?

Perhaps the MHD should be more concerned with preventing any more falling slabs of concrete from killing commuters inside their huge pork-barrel project.
Woman Killed as Slab Falls From Big Dig Tunnel (Jul 06)
Massachusetts vets and families, call your representatives....

Hat Tip: Instapundit


Gaia is Pissed!

After it failed to produce the predicted rash of killer hurricanes this summer, Global Warming has struck back with a vengeance as a rash of killer winter storms hit both the Northwest and Midwest, and is heading for the Northeast.

Global Warming hasn't been this bad since.....errrr....please stand by....we are experiencing technical difficulties with our ideology....


Lost Credibility


Another reminder why it is good practice to check out Michael Ramirez every day...

Quote of the Day

I think this is a good quote of the day...
"Such is the way of the world. Thousands of Sudanese men calling for the execution of a middle-aged schoolma'am over a teddy bear are "good-natured"....and I'm a "flagrantly Islamophobic" hatemonger."
Mark Steyn rocks...