Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Missile Defense

The 'why's' of torture

An incredibly thoughtful article by Noemie Emery of the Washington Examiner:

In the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was offered the use of a bullet that exploded inside the body, doing the victim incredible damage. Lincoln approved it: It would shorten the war. For the same reason - to shorten the war – President Harry S Truman incinerated not one but two Japanese cities. Neither man is considered a war criminal (except by Bill Maher), as they took some lives to save more lives, specifically those entrusted to them, and to preserve a political system less unjust than the ones they were fighting.
Their guilt is absolved by their intent, which was to save lives, and a more benign social order. Yet liberals, who apply the motive defense in trying to exonerate perpetrators of criminal violence - the accused was stressed out, he ate Twinkies, he was deprived as a child, etc. - seem strangely unwilling to extend this to those who made use of ‘harsh’ tactics to forestall further attacks after thousands had perished in the most torturous manner on Sept. 11, 2001.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just who is crazy?

John Bolton or Allison Kilkenny?

Happy Memorial Day

Jeff Emanual writes:

Despite taking place in the Information Age, very few of the heroic exploits of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines since September 11, 2001, have made their way into the living rooms of ordinary Americans — at least in any lasting way.

Whether this is the result of changing values among the American people, the general population’s perpetually dwindling attention span, or because there are so many things closer to home our nation is choosing to focus on instead of our service men and women’s gallant deeds and efforts (whether that be a rocky national economy or the latest season ofAmerican Idol), the fact is this generation has failed to identify and treasure its incarnations of historic military heroes like Audie Murphy,Jimmy DoolittlePappy BoyingtonBill PitsenbargerBud Day, and countless others.

This disappointing reality is not unique to the current decade. Who, for example, can name the most recent pre-global war on terror (GWOT) recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor? The names of Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon — two Army special operations sergeants who received the nation’s highest award for their heroic actions in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 — are utterly foreign to the vast majority of the same American population that can name the latest movie star to file for divorce, the latest starlet to have borne a child out of wedlock, or the latest teen sensation to enter alcohol rehab.

Part of the problem is a lack of reporting on stories of true heroism among the men and women serving this country in war zones around the world. After all, how can people know of the deeds being done by our best and brightest if the news media — whose sole raison d’ĂȘtre is to report on deeds and events — doesn’t the job it exists to do?

This lack of reporting on American military heroism isn’t due to a lack of media access to the military in any form. On the contrary, Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom have begun a new era of access for journalists who desire to observe firsthand coalition military operations abroad, on the front lines, or in the rear, as part of the Department of Defense’s media embed program.

The ability to embed with coalition troops and report from the battlefront has spawned a new generation of independent combat journalists. Intrepid individuals — often veterans — like Michael Yon, J.D. Johannes, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, Pat Dollard, and Bill Ardolino have followed in the footsteps of legendary World War II reporter Ernie Pyle, giving generously of their time and resources to travel to and within the combat zones that make up the many fronts of the global war on terror, for the dual purpose of accurately reporting on events (something so many media outlets have demonstrated time and again that they are incapable of doing) and of telling stories that simply would not make it back to the American people any other way.

However, a mere handful of individuals cannot, by themselves, provide a nation with enough of that which it so desperately needs in this age of ephemeral pleasures and doom-and-gloom news reports: true stories of courage and sacrifice, bravery, and gallantry shown by our fighting men and women around the world on a daily basis.

In reality, there have been countless cases of exceptional courage under fire to this point in the war on terror, and there will doubtless be many more before this generational conflict has drawn to a close.

It is clichĂ© (but entirely accurate) to say that every man and woman fighting for America deserves respect and acknowledgment. It is also accurate, though, that there are some who go above and beyond even the bravery and valor shown by the “average” soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who puts his or her life on the line, day in and day out, in defense of America and in pursuit of our nation’s goals, safety, and interests.

Names like Eric Moser and Chris Corriveau, two paratroopers who stood shoulder-to-shoulder against dozens of al-Qaeda fighters on a rooftop in Iraq, fighting for their lives and for their country’s honor; Zach Rhyner, an Air Force combat controller who saved the lives of dozens of American special forces soldiers through his quick, effective actions in the middle of an overwhelming Taliban ambush; and Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who leapt onto an enemy grenade, sacrificing himself to save the lives of his teammates despite the fact he was the only person who could have escaped the blast with his life, are far more deserving of remembrance than are the pop idols with which our nation has filled the place formerly reserved for such true heroes as these.

LGF also notes a new software application for Google Earth: Map the fallen

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A 60 Mph Unmanned Tank

The Ripsaw:

"Every engineer they consulted said they couldn’t best the 42mph top speed of an M1A Abrams, the most powerful tank in the world. Other tanks are built to protect the people inside, with frames made of heavy armored-steel plates. Designed for rugged unmanned missions, the Ripsaw just needed to go fast, so the brothers started trimming weight. First they built a frame of welded steel tubes, like the ones used by Nascar, that provides 50 percent more strength at half the weight."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Upgraded B-2 Bomber

Its unmistakable teardrop profile is shrouded in the blur of a condensation cloud as it reaches high subsonic speed.

The striking image of the B-2, officially known as the Spirit Bomber, was taken as the aircraft soared over Palmdale, near Los Angeles.

It was released to coincide with the announcement of upgraded military software for the United States Air Force's fleet of 20 B-2s.

Maybe Nukes Aren't So Bad

Thomas P.M. Barnett, writing in Esquire, is certain to make the anti-war crowd apoplectic:

George W. Bush had his "axis of evil," while Obama seems to find nuclear weapons to represent a kind of natural evil unto themselves — no matter who possesses them. Now the twentysomethings in Prague may have cheered his invocations of "hope" and "change," and others may be jumping on board, but I've discovered something in my years of global-strategy analysis, and it's not the deadly fatalism Obama describes — it's the modern realism he ignores: Nuclear weapons are the single best thing that has ever happened in mankind's long history of war.

Barnett is no raging neo-con, and he has been highly critical of Bush on more than one occasion.