"Hopefully this Buck won't stopone of the best damn MilBloggers to ever knock sand from his boots." -- The Mudville Gazette

03 January 2010


27 November 2009


Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

16 March 2009


video flashback of Buck Sargent circa August 2008

JAMming in Jamia: Strumming the West Baghdad Blues and bringing it to Jaish al Mahdi with some SRV northwest of the IZ.

Yes, I'm finally home again.

You know, I'm glad. I need the rest.

19 July 2008


photo by Buck Sargent

"The Secretary of the Army has reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professional excellence of REDACTED [aka, "Buck Sargent"]. In view of these qualities and his demonstrated leadership potential and dedicated service to the U.S. Army, he is, therefore, promoted from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant ... effective 1 JULY 2008."

Any of you sons of Iraq calls me Staph Sargent... I'll kill ya.


21 December 2007


photo by Buck Sargent

The Willing Suspenders of Disbelief
The Tao of Modern War part III

(Parts I and II can be found here and here).

We meet in an evil land
That is near to the gates of hell.
I wait for thy command
To serve, to speed or withstand
And thou sayest, I do not well?
-Rudyard Kipling,
Evil Land

As conditions on the ground shift as extra boots gained a step
Expect not to hear how indeed they've made a dent
When one can form their own opinions
Why not then their own sit-reps?
That's the way it was
Hence, always
has it went

Stay tuned for The War (as mostly seen on TV)
A blurred reality cooking show with fancy sat-com IEDs
Long-range ballistic missives straight from the mêlée to your telly
Improvised Exploitive Dispatches
Fresh dread made up daily
All the sedition that'll fit the morning edition
Reporto ergo sum
From their position...
On the way...

'As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch'
They soon won't be the only ones left reminiscing the stench
All those downsizing layoffs at the Baghdad morgue
Must mean another disappointing quarter for MoveOn.org
With their discounted prattle they claim our leaders have betrayed us
Smearing generals on the battlefield while they rhetorically flay us
1st Amendment haters who think its defenders the real traitors
Roger, those guys love soldiers like Picard loved the Borg

But when troop slander fails
Shift fire to contractor bogeymen
If your shtick isn't sticking
Cry havoc and lie, lie again
Gunning down innocence in cold blood
Just like them Haditha Marines
Ain't that right, Judge Murtha?
You dishonorable excuse for a human being
Halliburton no longer the corporate devils of the hour
Harsh interrogation reserved only for real life Jack Bauers

Those soggy bottom boys need their gunslinging immunity holders
How else to keep their heads down and squarely on their shoulders?
For security I'd take the Contractor Curts and the Blackwater Bobs
Any day of the week over Pvt. Joe Snuffy and the karaoke kings of the FOB
But the rule of media momentum equals mass times atrocity
The shortest route to reaching any narrative’s terminal velocity
Earnest reportage still no match for editorial conniving
If at first you don’t succeed
Trust me, don't take up skydiving


Osama has-been Laden and his grotto fabulous quack
Still namedropping every single last "sectarian" attack
Didn't they get the memo?
AQ's got nothing to do with Iraq!
So sayeth Messrs. 'Potamia and their NY Times peeps
Cutting room hacks with the knife perennially at our backs
facts emanate from The View's heifers during sweeps

Quite a semester indeed for Columbia U.
Ahmadinejad? Welcome!
ROTC? Hiss, boo!
Real courage must be defacing what you don’t have to fear
Congrats to the whole faculty
'07 Madrasa of the Year!

Another '20 headless bodies found':
Just one more enemy authored byline
A whopping 19,000 bad guys toast:
"Science fiction worthy of Heinlein"
MoH heroics and battleground stoics aside
Nothing to see here, no cause for undue national pride
Witness Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy’s Law:
Less press for Dunham, J. and Smith, Paul Ray
Than for Durham, N.C. and Anna Nicole's baby's pa

'Troop, Civilian Casualties In Rapid Decline!'
And other such headlines, buried on page A10 you'll find
Remember Lost: Al Anbar?
Well, then in you’re in plenty of bad company
Neither does Reuters, Time, AP, or McClatchy!
But whatever did happen to Wild West Ramadi?
File not found/404
Beam us up, Scotty
From rocket propelled grenades to unity parades
And nary a newsworthy MSM story?
I suppose calm & reconstruction is much too last season
Yawn, nothing to see here, bor-ring

Sure, it likely never will be mistaken for an idyllic arcadia
But all things considered
I'd still rather not be in Philadelphia


Iraq's still a blight with NO END IN SIGHT
Or so says former Gen. “Ridin’ Dirty” Sanchez
Though a toss up still whose war service was more valuable:
His, Germany, or France's
Dare we recall a time when retired also meant retiring
And not just more whining about one's own de facto firing?
Media villain or DoD fall guy, who's to say?
It'll take a lot more than lava
To scrub Abu Stains from one's resume

Through a plethora of triple-starred, quadruple-holds-barred sissies
Did it take to finally unearth GW’s own present day Ulysses
A Patton cum Grant, no Westmoreland come lately
None of that tell us what we want to hear and we'll reward you accordingly
The Surge'on General
Surge Projector
Aka, Insurgency Home Wrecker
Dismantling AQI via PowerPoint and a cordless Black & Decker
His team of Ph.Ds in ass kickery deemed precisely the trick
The Petraeus ex machina of this overbudget war flick

And speaking of projects ending in multimillion $ zeros
Where are the Duke Waynes to honor today's military heros?
From the stalwart Bruces and Sinises
Not even a paltry movie-of-the-week?
Yet stuck with Best Dramatic Feces
From the likes of DePalma, Redford, and Streep
Patriotic producers:
Indeed the most endangered of left coast species

But Americans vote with their pocketbooks
And not simply through polls
May Hollywood's only war casualties
Cut them straight to their souls
Their investment in the latest cinematic antiwar crop
M1 tanks at the box office
Full metal ticket sales flop

Fess up all you boomer antiwar protest re-enactors
Aging hippies, Botoxed chippies, and detoxed over the hill actors
This pretense that you care about our safety and our lives
Is as shallow as your idealism
As retreating as your hairlines
Having once pitted your might against your own generational fight
Though only to the extent your own hide could be drafted
Experiencing not even a twinge once a whole populace got shafted
Now older but no wiser
And yearning for a sense of shared sacrifice
How better to mask your guilty conscience
Than with leftward guile, denial, and artifice


Three visits to Iraq, what in Crawford was he thinkin'?
Q: Name the last CinC to grace the battlefield
A: Abraham Lincoln
Though if national security devolves into a game of internecine chicken
No Hand Left Untied dictates mean both aisles will surely lose
So long as rules of lawfare inhibit throwing the habeas out with the Baathwater
Count on mullah militia neighbors to keep playing Nebuchadnezzar Scrooge

Legislators on frequent holiday
Political reconciliation unthinkable
Landlocked spoils,
Deadlocked oil,
All deemed patently unworkable
Unsecured borders,
Politically launched mortars,
Gridlocked parliamentary morass
But I digress,
Enough already about our own Donkey Kongress...

All those who were for it before they were agin' it, say "aye"
Or until the next election when you'll go back on your lie
You know it's time to return to the private sector anew
When le President de France sounds more pro-American than you
The cris de coeur of your colleagues to raise the white flag
And storm the sands of Ima Vajina passed off as a gag
It's said the wish is often the estranged father to the deed
Et tu, Senator Harry (D-feat, NV) Reid?

But four years of investment in defeatathon rhetoric
Can't be undone with sardonic milblogger metrics
Employing logic and reason, albeit quite spherical
Legally blind to the nascent Iraqi quagmiracle
Shrill obsessed floggers of the choose-to-lose motif
Ye judge who sports the willing suspenders of disbelief


Are we your modern day Hercs or just more play-for-pay mercs?
Pax dispensers for hire with little else which to aspire?
The middleground we occupy between pacifist and jihadist
A dirty job some of us do regardless of mad lib blue state ire
Still, the retail cost of freedom has been relatively stationary
Even as prices and participation so often have varied
But those who serve when called rarely require an airtight rationale
Hell, we'd take out our own grandmothers if they joined AQ Internationale

True, 'tis likely I'm but a throwback to a romanticized age
When the country demanded surrender on the double and on the page
Of the enemy, that is, not of our very own military
To fight when called upon, to see through the battle’s end
Never leaving a single comrade, an alliance, or a friend
Against all enemies: foreign, imported, or domestic
A volunteer force, never in history more majestic
In defiance of anonymous t'rollicking colics
That’s what you call old school broke-the-mold warrior politics

To all those menstruals of constant sorrow
Bad news bearers of little else
Whenever BDS rears its ugly mug so smug
Simpatico bores, vainglorious and shallow
Still their schadenfreude is of but very low import
To concerned local citizens as Iraqis again do rejoice
Listen intently and inshallah you may hear
Somewhere a mara chibiira
Patiently warming up her voice

12 November 2007


photo and unapologetic sentiments by Buck Sargent

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
-Abraham Lincoln

On this Veterans Day I'd like to take this opportunity to offer thanks to the countless Americans who came before us; who wore the uniform, charged a hill, walked a post, flew a sortie, trained a recruit or bandaged a wound.

My generation is honored to follow where your boots once tread.

Buck Sargent
Ft. Hood, Texas
November 2007

If you've just read this in English, thank a veteran.

In French, thank an American.

In Japanese, Polish, Korean, Arabic, German, Dutch, Dari, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Pashto, Czech...

I think you get the point.

26 October 2007


Father and son Scorpios plotting world domination/naptime.
photo (and baby) by Mrs. Sargent

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
-John Adams

World: meet Wilder Scott. Wilder Scott: world.

On my signal, unleash smell.

28 September 2007


Buck Sargent taking the Oath of Reenlistment in April 2007, thus simultaneously awarding the gift of flight to pigs while sending the temperature in Hell into an irrecoverable nosedive.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
-Shakespeare, King Henry V

Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Once more.

27 March 2007


The Tennessee Gore family compound as seen from space. During daylight hours. While vacant.

When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing--they believe in anything.
-G.K. Chesterton

The sky is warming! The sky is warming!

Poor Al Gore. He had a speech booked at a lecture hall in Hell to scold the devil on runaway carbon emissions but had to cancel when it froze over. So he rescheduled at the next closest thing: Congress.

"The plann-itt has a fay-ver," Gore twanged last week before separate House and Senate panels on climate change in a textbook display of projection. It's the end of the world as Al knows it and he is far from fine. But he's not the only one. John Edwards, presidential dopeful and fellow Democratic philosopher-king, thinks global warming will "make world war look like heaven." Right. Whatever that's supposed to mean.

But why all the manufactured hysteria, and why now? Gore's been scaremongering on this issue going on two decades. In Earth in the Balance, first published back in '92, he wrote that "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization," even going so far as to propose a "Global Marshall Plan."

But what if a tree is decomposing in the forest and no one's around to fear it, can you still get a million dollar grant to study all the ways it's destroying the planet?

For the majority of the earth's existence our climate has exhibited a temperature scale wholly incompatible with human life. We're now living in a time frame especially hospitable to our own existence (go figure), but from the planet's perspective (allowing that a planet can have a perspective) there is nothing especially remarkable about the relatively narrow temperature range that renders life possible.

Take the polar bear--and no, not the cuddly CGI variety made famous in the Goracle's recent Oscar winner (Best Supporting Factor in a Misleading Role?) The polar bear seems to have weathered extreme weather variations just fine over the previous millennia. Average temperatures during the Middle Ages were significantly warmer across the board than anything the global alarmists have their carbon neutral hemp boxers in such a twist over today. Were the sun's output to rise precipitously or fall off dramatically from what we in the 21st century consider "normative" levels, the plight of the We Care bear in the coal mine would be the least of our worries. Unless you're one of the growing legions of ecolytes in the Church of Al Gordo of Latter Day Senators, it already should be.

But if it is the politicization of science that has truly become inevitable then at the very least both sides of the argument should be provided equal time, rather than just the lefty columnist lockstep that ensures us "the debate is over." Funny, I guess I missed that one. Must have aired exclusively on Current TV.

Claiming that all scientists concur that we're carelessly heating up the world is a bit like saying all Hollywood actors agree that the War in Iraq is only about petroleum rights. Consensus over faulty assumptions is their stock in trade. (Interesting how the only article of faith the otherwise secular Left seems to agree on is that Big Oil is the root of all evil.)

If that neocrog Prometheus had just stolen a more sustainable source of energy from Mt. Olympus we wouldn't be in this position!

Meanwhile these same gliberal econauts minimize the danger of Islamic radicalism, a fatally proven threat that could at any time instantly vaporize a sizable portion of our citizenry; instead of the dread of a terrorist slow bleed strategy of sharia psoriasis they live in mortal fear of being slow boiled like the proverbial frog in the pot. If 24 were written by libs it would star Federal Agent Major Bore as he jets across the troposphere in his Gulfstream IV stopping at nothing--nothing!--to halt international thermostatism in its tracks. Of course, every episode would simulate a single year in the previous twenty four that the Fifth Horseman of the Apocolypse has been pounding his bongo drum of Impending Doom.

Science is by definition an unfinished debate, in that no hypothesis can ever be definitively proven, but only strengthened progressively with the addition of supportive and thoroughly tested and challenged evidence. The scientific method itself is rooted in skepticism. It's what makes the entire process of inquiry possible, how it can as a discipline exist apart from mere conjecture. So when someone instructs you that the debate's over, what they mean is that the door is closed, so stop jiggling the knobs lest the roof cave in on their preconceived worldview. Any scientist that tells you to stop doubting is no scientist at all. Just ask Galileo. He reminded the Catholic Church about the Copernican belief that the earth revolved around the sun and they answered debate's over, got it?

But if all the back and forth of the data miners and chart toppers is giving you a global case of MEGO, I really can't blame you. But just consider but one of the many points of contention upon which the entire non-debate pivots.

If temperatures are indeed gradually rising, then it stands to reason that either they are being driven by increasing CO2 levels or increasing CO2 levels are a trailing byproduct of rising temps. The Earth First! ("People Last!") crowd (more of a mob, really) would have you believe the former; that the approximately one degree centigrade increase over the last hundred years is just the tip of the fast-melting iceberg. So what they're saying is that they somehow averaged out all the varying temperatures recorded all over the planet, condensed them into a single number, and they expect us to believe that this century-long uno degree-o heat wave is actually greater than their observable margin of error? That's one kick-ass thermometer. Must be electric.

However, if instead the latter is true--a finding backed by at least a few more climatologists than the Stepford media cares to acknowledge (must not have gotten the memo about that whole debate thing being over), then the entire house of carbon credit cards collapses.

If not only do rising CO2 levels trail rising observed temperature trends--but that there exists between them a lag of potentially hundreds of years--then the truth may well be inconvenient after all. Inconvenient for whom, though, is the real question. We said debate's over! Stop debating!

Is it merely a coincidence that the secular Left has latched onto this cause with more intense quasi-religious fervor than found on the set of the 700 Club?

The unofficial religion of this new environmentalism (key word: mental) is a realization on the neo-Marxist Left that communism's biggest PR misstep was in attempting to banish the Almighty from public life lest it compete with the almighty State. But worship of the perpetually angry gods of Mother Earth can readily fill that void while simultaneously providing ample justification for the triumphant return of Big Government to reassert its grip over virtually every facet of our daily lives. The impulse to control, the will to power never truly lessens; it just changes with the times. The earth is cooling! Ice age! Ice age! Wait, now it's warming! Heat wave! Heat wave!

Gee fellas, you're finally starting to get it. The planet tends to do that kind of thing. Maybe we don't actually live in The Best Damn Shorts Weather Ever, but just got lucky in the whole Holocenic sense. When even the co-founder of Greenpeace thinks you've gone over the deep end ecologically, don't you think its time to reassess your assumptions and rein in the crazy just a bit?

In any event, us permitting Al Gore to ordain himself as our self-anointed guru of Gaia would be akin to the Senate confirming Sean Penn as Secretary of Defense. When confronted with reports of his own massive public utility consumption Gore countered that he lives a "carbon neutral life" by obtaining "offsets" to compensate for his gargantuan energy use. You know, like after the time he accidentally left the guest cottage helipad lights on all month, he footed the bill for a third party to blow up a third world electrical grid in order to make up for it. I'm a man who seeks balance, lectures the Lecturer-in-Chief. If I decide I want a steak, I'll happily pay you not to have one. I buhlieve that's mah responsibility as a co-steward of the plann-itt.

Just like they say at the annual Sierra Club meetings in Aspen: think globally, act vocally.

A very necessary and timely rebuttlal titled the Great Global Warming Swindle -- or as it's been repackaged in Deutschland, Fahrenheit Nein Danke -- has been making the rounds in the public sphere since first airing in the UK. It should be included with every sale of Big Al's rubber-stamped Hollywood imprimaturn-back-the-clockumentary; the one salient difference being that it actually makes an ounce of sense. Apparently that much-touted scientific consensus isn't quite as solid as the Ain't Easy Being Greens would have us believe.

True, we're stuck with another Clash of the Polemics, but it does seem to be the height of fashion lately. My propaganda's true, your propaganda's bunk. The New York Times said Fox News is full of it. So there. We contort, you deride.

If you fear being branded an infidel, don't worry. If your name isn't Mohammed, chances are you already have been.

Either way don't be too surprised if The Man Who Won The Popular Vote ultimately descends so far into his own ecomania that to set the example for all of us he has himself recycled, all 200+ carbon based cardio-free pounds. Just think how many starving polar bears that could feed.

Nahhh... that's not believable either. Sounds like too much of a "risky scheme." What is believable, however, is that it's eminently more likely that solar activity is what primarily drives climate change, just as it has for the millions of years prior to the invention of the smokestack, rather than human propelled carbon dioxide emissions from the previous hundred. Of course, like Al I'm no scientist, but then neither am I mad.

If this makes me a New Holocaust That Hasn't Happened Yet (But Just Might) denier, then so be it. It's the hollow cause that I'm actually afraid of. See, I've gotten pretty used to industrial civilization and I'd prefer to keep it if that's alright. If you've witnessed how the other half lives then you'd know it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Give warming a chance, Al. A few of us could still use some.

18 March 2007


In a Perfect World: Former Guantanamo Bay detainees shuffle along toward their brand new facilities relocated to the Supreme Court parking garage.

It’s easy to hate Bush because he’s not going to come and behead you.
-Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born former member of the Dutch parliament and author of Infidel

It's official: the lunatic fringe has now gone mainstream.

Perhaps I'm just being played by the choose-your-own-conjecture media, but doesn't it at times appear that half the country has gone completely bonkers? Often I wonder who it is all these Bush-haters are going to continue to hate come January 2009. Does anyone really believe that it's going to be Happy Days Are Here Again for this sad bunch when George W. leaves office after eight years without having instigated a military coup or snooping into the public library records to find out the home addresses of everyone who checked out Clueless George Goes to War?

Don't laugh, that's a real book. Sample a few of the rave (as in stark raving mad) reviews on Amazon:
...as an amusing little book about our idiot-in-chief, it is really rather poignant because it is all too true. You end up actually feeling sorry for Dumbya...if you detest the imposter in the White House as much as the rest of the US of A seems to, you will enjoy this mightily; I bought multiple copies to give to friends and relatives.

I loved it! This little book may do to George W what Uncle Tom's Cabin did to slavery!

...Only extremist radical right-wing nuts who confuse dissent with disloyalty will hate it.

This light-hearted book can really tell the truth in a great way. It should be required bedtime reading for people of all ages to keep reminding us how gullible and easily manipulated people can be.

Superb. It offers the Occam's Razor for the Iraq invasion debacle. I totally believe it's [sic] portrayal of the manipulation of George. One hopes the book will be irrelevant soon, alas, in at least two years.
For anyone not familiar with Occam's Razor, it is the philosophical precept that simple explanations are preferable to more complicated ones, in that the simplest explanation is the more likely of the two. It's also the razor that so many of Generation Y Bother use to shave their cojones while they rationalize away their lack of personal involvement in our vital generational struggle.

No, I'm not hauling out the tired chickenhawk canard again; that raggedy old bird has flown the coop. But I've noticed a trend among people who persist in calling for a return to the draft -- they always seem to be well past service age. How very expedient. Funny, you don't see too many of these placards being hoisted on college campuses these days:

Hell no, we won't go! (Unless you ask us nicely)

What these conscription artists fail to realize is that contrary to popular belief, the military draft is still very much alive. The only difference is that since 1973 it's been entirely optional. No longer do you have to flee to Canada or pursue a PhD in tribal linguistics or marry your sister's best friend to sidestep a centuries-old tradition that our grandfathers waited in Playstation 3-size lines to volunteer for. In other words, if you're one who thinks it such a wonderful idea, then go right ahead. Vote with your feet and draft yourself silly.

This reminds me of those people who write gung ho letters to the editor about how willing they would be to pay higher taxes if only the administration would just ask them for the sacrifice. Well, as luck would have it I do believe I can act as a facilitator. Please forward all charitable tax monies to:

Income Rationing
c/o Buck Sargent
Rightwing War Pawns
Ft. Richardson, AK 99505

Before you head off searching for your checkbook, allow me to direct your attention to the Coalition to Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, aka International A.N.S.W.E.R. They're typically the ones that organize those perennial D.C. protest marches that draw tens of thousands of people unless of course it's cold out and then they're not feeling it so much. Well, apparently it was formed within three days of 9/11 by none other than Ramsey Clark, aka Saddam's stellar lawyer, aka LBJ's attorney general, aka world class dirtbag.

Three days.

We didn't even know yet how many thousands had perished at Ground Zero and already they were calling for preemptive surrender. Okay, so these Men From (Cry) U.N.C.L.E. have all the answers. Remind me again what the question was?

I realize that old school media loves to overhype antiwar protests because they remind them of their own dazed and confused youth, their shaggy sideburns and discarded bellbottoms and flaming draft cards... ah, reminiscing can be such sweet sorrow. But back to reality: serious antiwar sentiment this time around is about as prevalent as was opposition to the Second Boer War. (Don't feel bad, I had to look it up too). In that sense, Iraq could be considered the Second Bored War (after Afghanistan) in that a sizable percentage of the public is simply tired of having to hear about it. Never mind battle stress, they've got a serious case of frontpage fatigue, people!

But I'm starting to get the sense it's no longer just the cuckoo for cocopuff crazies who are getting down with the sickness. Take this blurb from an Associated Press story covering the latest antiwar march on Washington:
Retired Marine Jeff Carroll, 47, an electrician in Milton, Del., held a sign saying: "Proud of our soldiers, ashamed of our president." Carroll said he served in Lebanon when the Marine barracks was bombed in a deadly attack in 1983, and thinks the U.S. should be focusing on Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden instead of Iraq. "We're fighting the wrong country."
Well shouldn't we have started with the Lebanese then, Jeff? (If this is to be believed, it may actually come to that). But I'd like to assume Jeff to be an otherwise rational fellow, and as things currently stand the reason why not is precisely the same reason we can't possibly be "fighting the wrong country." We're not fighting a country at all. Thanks to us, Iraq and Afghanistan both now have friendly representative governments that furnish (somewhat) uniformed armies that are fighting alongside us. Precisely what it is we're still battling is a viral ideological movement that has no borders and no territory other than where we allow it to operate due to our own political vacillation.

But what I really cannot believe is that there are still so many Americans out there that fail to grasp this crucial distinction. I blame the public education system. Naturally, they blame Bush:
[The President] makes me literally ill. the bile is rising up in my stomach as we speak....I wish I could race into [his] office and vomit all over his face. I wish I could stand over him and puke and gag and wretch until nothing but the last nasty drop of yellowish green bile runs down his ugly hate filled face, off his chin and down over his suit. [h/t: Best of the Web Today]
Am I alone in thinking this Anyone But Bush bile that courses through their veins is the only thing keeping people like this alive?

As Victor Davis Hanson notes, "both Republican and Democratic administrations did not reply forcibly to a series of terrorist attacks, from the 1983 Marine barracks murdering in Lebanon to the 2000 ramming of the USS Cole. That forbearance sent a message to bin Laden that there would likely be few, if any, real consequences, should he escalate his attacks."

All this talk of realists and idealists, corporate pawns and neodecepticons... I think what we really need is a new realism (you know, one that's actually "realistic"), grounded in principles acknowledging that Islam is not only at war with the West and its secularist values, but also at war with itself. And this new realism should be dedicated to siding with every struggling Muslim nation or community that chooses liberty for its people over submission to Islam’s worst impulses.

Or we can just continue to ignore the problem and allow a tiny segment of the American populace to handle our dirty business on foreign soil so that we don't have to think about it anymore. Just as long as we don't read the papers or surf the web or watch the news or suffer the Oscars.

Congressional Big Shtick Redeploymacy aside, the Democratic poll weevils are doing cartwheels trying to keep current with public opinion on the shifting sands of the war. The big D frontrunner has changed her position more frequently than her husband-in-name-only used to bite his lower lip, drop his drawers, and sexually assault unsuspecting cigars. One week she's loudly proclaiming that she'll be signing the withdrawal orders at the inaugural and the next she's patiently explaining that we can't afford to turn our backs on Iraq lest the terrorists win. The Democrats haven't had such a flip-flopping candidate since, well, since their last presidential candidate. But I digress... and apparently I'm not alone.

Liberal candidates have always been known to be wishy-washy fence riders, but tossing scraps over the Bastille wall rarely makes good political sense. I'd offer that if this keeps this up the Democratic base are going to lose their minds, but I think we're well beyond that point. That bridge over the river nuts was crossed long ago and then just as quickly blown up. Like Jesse Ventura in Predator, they ain't got time to slow bleed.

What do we want? Strategic redeployment!
When do we want it? Yesterday!

What can we expect them to get? Crazier!

And not like a Fox.

10 March 2007



It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
I'll never look into your eyes again

Is this really the end, (beautiful friend)? Has the Democratic takeover Congress spelled doom for the war? Should we be expecting another embassy airlift on live TV with al-Maliki and his favorite interpreter hanging from the landing wheels as the last Blackhawk leaves the Green Zone? Is Iraq about to jump the shark, or am I about to flip my lid? Um, will this be on the test?

One of the consequences of being in the majority party is that it ultimately entails a measure of seriousness on the holders of the gavel that is rarely expected of the back-benching opposition. Voters expect those holding power to behave accordingly (as we say in the military, "when in charge, be in charge"), rather than succumb to the easy out of continuing to blame everything on the top executive. The Democratic Party has spent the last six years in a death spiral of insanity, seeing as how their most vocal and angry hard left supporters are indeed clinically insane by any definition. You should read the email I get.

Is that you again, Speaker Pelosi?
How dare you mercenaries coast on the government's dime for the privilege of free foreign travel to exotic locales on your very own Air Force transports! What, you can't fly coach like the rest of us?

  • Saddam is but a distant memory
  • An elected government with a written constitution now stands in his place
  • The indigenous security forces are increasingly in the forefront of the fight
  • U.S. casualty figures, though unsettling, remain historically low
  • Neither al Qaeda nor insurgent forces have ever garnered broad popular support
  • The bulk of the daily violence that still plagues the country is concentrated primarily around the capital province
  • Middle class Iraqis want nothing more than to raise their families free from fear and care little about the trumped-up "sectarian" divisions
  • The majority of the current U.S. mission is primarily defined by routine boredom
There seems to be a reluctance to admit this last point -- especially from fly-by-night embeds or rear-echelon mike foxtrots who desperately seek to come across as brave and battle-hardened -- but it is an indisputable fact nonetheless, if only recognizable after month five or six of daily, constant patrolling. Iraq is rarely the way it's depicted on the nightly news. It is the war of perception that's harboring weapons of mass deception.

Whenever your senses are being overwhelmed by those hyperbolic headlines, cynical soundbites, or calamitous cover-stories...

"...yet another grim milestone for coalition forces in Iraq today as the U.S. death toll climbed significantly after the military reported Sunday that six more troops had died in the deadliest day in two years for American forces since the second to last deadliest day was eclipsed only by the one-day death toll that came after the third highest daily casualty count for U.S. forces since the war began when the deadliest most deadly day of death among U.S. forces who have died while braving death rose to a level never before witnessed since the day before yesterday when three more soldiers died..." (Any of this sounding familiar?)

...you must develop the discipline required to ignore the pack mentality of the journa-list o' grievances peanut gallery...

"...sectarian-fueled insurgent death squads of masked gunmen dressed in military uniforms, still inflamed over the public execution of Saddam Hussein, the humiliation of Abu Ghraib, and the lack of universal health insurance for unemployed ex-Baathists unceremoniously laid off over three years ago by Bush administration officials..."

...ignore your instincts...

"...candidates announced today that had they been President in 2003 they would not have made the decision to go to war despite voting to authorize it in 2002 and reaffirming support in 2005..."

...and trust your instruments.

Altitude: Identify the facts that apply and those that distract.

Airspeed: Pay less heed to media hype and hyperbole.

Heading: Apply common sense backed with grounded perspective.

Attitude: Keep a steady hand and a level head on the horizon.
Check, please...

Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure, meaning that when the going gets tough, the tough don't argue endlessly about how best to retreat. They leave that to the Spartisan 300 whose only resolve is to continue gorging themselves at the public trough while insisting that war is but an anachronism. Here's to the losers.

"Spartisans! There is where they fight! Here is where we lie!"

No retreat.
No surrender.
¿No comprende?

Fortunately however, the average voter tends not to be as excitable and expects at least a bare modicum of statesmanship from their elected representatives rather than simply another stepped-up level of brinkmanship. That's what I like to tell myself, anyway.

You see, regardless of how many times Cindy Lou "Who?" Sheehan gets herself arrested for public indoctrination, or what manner of nonsense Keith Olberman's Bush Tourette's Syndrome causes to fly out of his mouth during his nightly Three Minutes Hate on PMSNBC/OMGSTFU... there was no -- rush -- to -- war. The U.S. dithered so long over whether or not to invade that it began to appear as if we were waiting for Uncle Saddam to succumb to secondhand smoke and mirrors.

So we didn't rush into war but we've spent the last few years inadvertently trying like hell to rush out of one, and all the while the Iraqi chariots of (trial by) fire simply haven't been ready to accept the baton. (Remember, we're talking about a people who own Beemers and beepers but lack toilets; their priorities are about as straight as a Hollywood hairdresser.) So up to this point they've been left little choice but to do what anyone (or at least, anyone with a [D] after their name) would do in a similar situation: go soft on terrorism while trying to make nice with the enemy. Because let's face it, it was either that or die. And despite the suicidal tendencies of the jihadists in their midst, native-born Iraqi Muslims are not real big on dying.

At the same time, those of us at home must maintain some measure of historical perspective. Think of it this way: Years ago back when I was a student pilot, one of the earliest things my instructor taught me was that if and when you find yourself caught in zero-visibility conditions, you must rely on your instrument gauges to keep the aircraft at the proper attitude and altitude. Flying by the "seat of your pants" or your "gut" will quickly cause you to become disoriented, inverted, and headed straight for the nearest mountain. Despite everything your physical senses or nervous backseat co-pilots are screaming in your ear...

We're drifting left! We're drifting right!

We're spiraling out of control!

We're pitched nose-up!

We're about to stall!

...you must do your level best to ignore them and believe in only what the instrument panel is telling you. Find the gauges that are providing you useful information, and then trust them. Granted, the Iraq War has been piloted through dead reckoning to this point, with our time hacks between waypoints being anything but on target. But even if navigating via prominent landmarks tends not to be the shortest distance between two points, and is often a long and winding course, it will ultimately get you where you're trying to end up:

02 March 2007


"Terrorism has no religion" -- rough translation of a common PSA billboard seen throughout Baghdad.
Actually, I can think of one religion in particular...
photo by Buck Sargent

While America's military strength is important, let me add here that I've always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

That was President Reagan speaking before the National Association of Evangelicals midway through his first term, delivering what would come to be known as the "Evil Empire" speech. It was a telling window into the soul of his winning strategy for defeating the commie red giant by treating it like an exhausted white dwarf. That is, forcing it to collapse under its own immense gravity and inner contradictions through confrontation via oblique ideological warfare rather than chancing mutual annihilation through conventional military action.

Today the Soviet menace is kaput and the communist advance rolled back, and we didn't have to hug our children with nuclear arms after all. I feel it’s safe to say it worked.

Soon after, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down with the Warsaw Pact in fact crumbling to the ground, ding dong the witch is dead, long live the wicked witch. It was the End of History as we knew it (and we felt fine). Global cooling was out, global warming back in.

But the Iron Curtain lifted only to reveal an Islamic Veil that had quietly been descending behind it, which for another decade the West proceeded to ignore like it does all impending matters that don't involve the next election. Why bother tracking the market when you’re already living comfortably off your peace dividends? Black Tuesday? Never heard of it.

Exactly how does globalization promote stability again? For one, it doesn’t. True, you can purchase virtually any model of cellular phone your technological heart desires from any street vendor in Baghdad. But one moment you’re walking away with your state of the Korean art LG camera-phone and five minutes later an Improvised Explosive Daewoo is raining supersonic shards of rear axle down on you for having the temerity to engage in global commerce while wearing a reversed stars & stripes velcro-ed to your right shoulder.

So clearly "It's a Small (minded) World After All" cuts both ways. It means that wherever in the world you travel you’re no longer able to lament: "Y'know, I wish we could just get a dang cheeseburger here." But it also means that an entire culture 7,000 miles away can hate your guts before you even set foot on the tarmac.

So if your conception of "stability" refers to the fin shape on the long range booster rockets that North Korea is likely shipping to Tehran via FedEx next week, then sure, I suppose it does promote it. But ultimately, globalization is to stability what McDonalds is to world hunger. It means your looming humanitarian crisis could soon be obesity rather than famine and still it’ll be "everyone’s problem." (Though I do find it the mother of all ironies that the mid-eighties liberal bleeding heart hunger telethons helped lead to a revitalized generation of Ethiopians more willing and able to confront militant Islam without wetting their pajama pants than we currently seem to be).

We are the world...
We are the children...
We are the ones who spoil al-Qaeda's day, free of handwringing...

Condoleezza Rice prefaced her remarks to the American University in Cairo a few years back that our nation was "founded by individuals who knew that all human beings—and the governments they create—are inherently imperfect."

For sixty years [we] pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East—and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.
A group of prominent intellectuals and dissidents then erupted in wild applause as the Secretary of State triumphantly left the podium, at which point they were promptly led away by agents from the "Mubarakat," aka the Egyptian Ministry of Love. Condi Rice is, after all, the protégé of Brent Scowcroft, the Dapper Dean of the college of Realist Arts University State, so when she mentions things like "the democratic aspirations of all people" the implied parenthetical is of course "all people (under Middle Eastern governments not already on our payroll)." Cold warriors never die, they just fade away. (With exceptions that prove the rule made for former SecDefs who fight losing uphill battles against bastions of entrenched thinking they once championed and in fact helped seat.)

But I know what you're thinking: Assuming the nation-state is still the effective unit of action in world affairs, where are we today in the life cycle of international political systems? (These are the type of questions one has to wrestle with as a redeployed postgrad). What, no multiple choice?

The Russians lost the Big Chill and they haven’t forgiven us since. And neither have most of the Middle East client-state beneficiaries of their military-industrial largesse. The Realist World of Ford, Kissinger, Carter, and even Bush père was predicated on the Soviet counterweight in Middle Eastern affairs keeping every sheik in his right place; make sure you tell-em, status quo antebellum. He may be a son of a despot, but he’s our son of a despot. But a single clear September morning changed all the rules in one fell swoop after nineteen not-so-frequent fliers rotated our nation’s foreign policy completely off its axis of see-no-evil.

If winning the Cold War by forfeit proved anything it's that it sure can be lonely at the top. If the United States is still the "indispensable nation" in world affairs it’s only due to the fact that we’re one of the few remaining Western holdouts to the Eutopian ideal of One World Government whose overriding mission often seems predicated on the coming day new Secretary General Tojo Annan can scold us for not getting with le programme sooner. Panacea-told-you-so…

But is it American primacy that’s the endangered specimen, or is it the United Nations General Assembly that is the Last of the Potemkins? The international community’s vacillation over Iranian nuclear ambitions would seem to suggest the latter.

Iran’s mullahs have plenty of petro-fueled moolah, but what they’re really seeking is the security and venture capital of the radioactive variety. Russia’s ex-coms enjoy dangling their isotopes-on-a-rope over Iran's grubby paws, even if in hindsight the enrichment they'd rather have back is all the rubles spent on them over that blasted septuagenarian cowboy. But the con artists formerly known as Persia have assessed correctly that the barriers to entry in the superpower status club are lessened mightily once you’ve passed your first underground test. Supply, meet demand. A pleasure doing business with you Comrade Ahmadinejadovich. Please give our regards to the 12th Imam, da?

The fifty-year Cold War paradigm simplified American foreign policy into one basic premise: with our guns pointed east and theirs pointed west, mutual security rested on keeping our fingers off the triggers and thumb safeties engaged. Stubborn September 10 mindsets notwithstanding, events of the past five years have proven that the U.S. is hardly a "Reluctant Sheriff,*" unless by sheriff you mean Gary Cooper in High Noon. If anything we’re a Dirty Harry--one who tries to work within the system as best he can, but at the end of the day doesn’t shy away from doing what has to be done, the system be damned. But to many of our so-called allies not only are we not the antihero, we're the antichrist.
*WARNING: Do not read prior to operating heavy machinery

Still, the $64,000,000,000,000 Question remains. In the decade since the bi-polar ice caps thawed, has the world scene become more or less dangerous? The answer, of course, varies with the individual. Which scenario do you find less appealing: the peril of Mutually Assured Destruction or the threat of Globally Acquiesced Submission? If the Cold War wasn’t the long war, then how long is the Long War really going to take?

A truly inconvenient fact is that there are currently over one billion and counting, and I don’t mean all the Happy Mao's in China. If even 1% of this billion plus have become radicalized--a process that began long before the War on Terror was even a southeasterly blip on the FAA's radar--that still equals out to as many as ten million angry young Muslims for whom the "religion of peace" means never having to say mecca culpa.

By this point our options have become quite limited. We can continue to push back, to stay on offense, to keep spreading the seeds of political and economic liberty to oppressively damp corners of the world that otherwise will remain Petri dishes of cultural backwardness -- violence and hatred their chief exports -- or we can disengage, pull the wool back over our eyes, and start memorizing our suras al-pronto. But either way, things are going to get worse before they get better.

I miss the Bad Old Days already.

"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln