The Army Times conducted a poll of military personnel. In summary:
|By Duty Status|
|Guard & Reserve||71||21|
A word from academia:
“The military has been perceived as a conservative Republican institution,” said Peter Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University and a special adviser to the National Security Council from 2005 to 2007.
“A lot of people thought that eight years of frustration with the Bush administration was going to undermine that,” he said. “This evidence suggests that it hasn’t undermined it as much as they thought, at least not yet.”
Indeed not. After all, the total lack of experience (and understanding) of B. Hussein Obama doesn’t bode well for a Democrat takeover.
But the interesting thing about this poll is the answer to this question:
What is the most important issue for you in deciding for whom you will vote for president?
|Character of the candidate:|
|War in Iraq:|
Note: percentages estimated from looking at a graph for anything
other than "Overall", but they are pretty darn close.
Who would have thought that the prosecution of the war would be third on the list of priorities for those charged with carrying the fight to our enemies? Could it be because they know they are winning, and thus other items take precedence? Or could it be because character counts, no matter what the issue? Well, for Whites, Hispanics, and "Other" anyway.
Anyone see any ACORN representatives staking out military bases? No? I wonder why . . .
Precursor to the Terminator series? Who’s to say? But what was once saving lives as a bomb disposal robot has been retooled to carry weapons for combat. Pictured is a SWORDS* bot, 3 of which have been deployed to Iraq. None have fired a shot to date, but expect that to change.
They are designed to be used in high-risk situations, like scouting narrow streets infested with snipers before a foot patrol is sent in. Major Saitta, a consultant for the program, nails it when he says:
Anytime you utilize technology to take a U.S. service member out of harm’s way, it is worth every penny.
Although these metal soldiers were ready to go in 2004, they had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. As this isn’t exactly desirable during a firefight, they were kept at home while work continued. But now, according to Danger Room:
So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety. In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds — a significant lag during combat. Now, the SWORDS won’t act on a command, unless it’s received right away. A three-part arming process — with both physical and electronic safeties — is required before firing. Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there’s any odd behavior. “So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy,” Zecca says.
* special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system
American Express is donating $5 million to a new charity to be chosen by card members. Among the projects being considered (and actually receiving votes) are restoring the bee population, saving Lake Winnipesaukee (that’s in New Hampshire) and posting women artist’s work online.
The only effort that is related to the military is something called Treating our Troops, a project that would establish a nationwide system of rehabilitative specialists to bridge the gap in care for troops returning from Iraq. Says the creator:
This project is not meant to take the place of care given at a VA facility or other military hospital. What I hope to do with this project is treat injured soldiers who have been discharged from an inpatient military hospital, and can sometimes wait up to a year to be seen at their local VA. I feel that if these soldiers can receive therapy within a week or two of being discharged from an inpatient facility, they would be more likely to not only maintain the gains they made in the inpatient hospital but be able to improve upon them. Unfortunately, a lot of these soldiers are discharged from the hospital without a clear plan of care and then lose a lot of the skills and functional ability they gained while in inpatient care. Due to this loss of function, by the time they get to the VA it is almost like starting over again. Hopefully, this project will work in conjunction with the VA system to give a full continuum of care to our injured troops.
This nascent charity has survived previous rounds and made the top 25. It needs about 2,000 votes on Sunday to make it into the top five and thus make it into the final round. If you have an American Express card, go vote now!
Soldiers come back from Iraq, get assigned to West Point for a summer assignment to train cadets, and Sprint cancels their service because it doesn’t have a tower close to this major center of military activity — in spite of the fact that the soldiers did everything possible to ensure that their situation was understood and were told by “customer service” that everything would be fine. Read the entire story authored by one of the returning officers, but this is my favorite part:
Why on earth I cant get coverage at the United States Military Academy, 40 minutes away from New York City is a mystery to me. I had a cell phone the entire time I was in Iraq with a middle eastern company. I payed LESS to call home and keep in touch from the otherside of the world than I do now with Sprint to call within the country. It also did not matter if I was in a major city or out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, I ALWAYS had full coverage. Never had a dropped call, and the customer reps of that company spoke better English than those with Sprint do.
While it is true that Sprint is acting according to the letter of the contract, the customer service is frustratingly poor (i.e., lying to customers who happen to be soldiers).
The author promises to contact news agencies and senators, so we may be hearing more about this.
HT to The Consumerist.
On 21 March 2007, the Queen of England awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross to two unusual recipients.
Pictured is Private Michelle Norris of C Company, 1 Bn the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. She is the first female to ever receive the be awarded the Military Cross.
Last year she braved sniper fire to administer life saving first aid to her vehicle commander.
This is Major William D. Chesarek Jr. of the United States Marine Corps. He is the first US soldier to receive the United Kingdom’s Distinguished Flying Cross since the Second World War.
Although he trained to fly a Super Cobra helicopter for the US Marines, Major Chesarek is serving as an exchange officer assigned to Royal Air Force’s 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force. These days he is flying the RAF’s Lynx Mk7 helicopter.
During the action that had Private Norris’ unit under attack, Major Chesarek flew his helicopter low over the “insurgents” to disperse the crowd. Instead, he drew fire. But when he heard that someone on the ground had been hurt and that a casualty evacuation was necessary, he took action:
Chesarek made the unconventional move – what’s considered an “implied mission” in military parlance — to conduct a medical evacuation with the Lynx to help a British soldier with a life-threatening head injury. As the only aircraft available to assist, he landed the Lynx near the company in distress as his door gunner and another crew member jumped out.
“My door gunner jumped out and picked up the injured soldier and put him in the helicopter,” Chesarek said. “My other crew member had to stay, or we would have been overweight to fly.”
Heroes. God bless ’em!
No, really. I was in the market for one until I watched this:
Hat Tip to non-blogging Advised by Wolves.
Even the most advanced weapons systems get old, and our nuclear arsenal of about 6,000 warheads has been decaying for quite some time. As they age they become harder to maintain (i.e., it takes more of our tax dollars) and military officials worry about reliability. (Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if we lobbed a missile at military base in China — and it turned out to be a dud?)
So in 2004 an initiative was launched to design a reliable replacement warhead (RRW) composed of new components that are “more robust, easier to manufacture, safer and more secure, while at the same time not requiring new underground testing.”
The “no testing” requirement means we are going to produce a nuclear weapon, deploy it by replacing current warheads, and, God forbid, someday use one or more — all without having actually setting one off to see if it works. That’s thanks to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which we signed in 1996 but never ratified. (Still, no need to piss of the neighbors if we don’t have to.)
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have been in a competition to win the contract to design the next nuclear warhead. The LLNL design is an updated, “more robust” version of an old idea — the W89 warhead that was designed in the 1980s but canceled in 1991. The LANL design is totally new, but uses components that have been tested.
In January 2007, it was rumored that bureaucrats were going to direct that a hybrid design be implemented that would combine “well-tested elements from an older design with new safety and security elements from a more novel approach.”
The most likely reason for this decision is seen as a measure to save jobs and retain experience at “losing” laboratory. But in mid-February John Pedicini, design leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, warned:
A hybrid design by inexperienced personnel, managed by committee, is not the best approach, and even provoked negative comment at the JASON review. The best appellation I have seen for such an approach is “frankenbomb.”
But the hybrid idea has been canned, as last Friday the LLNL design was accepted. Production should start as early as 2012. Not only will the new design replace the old, the total number of warheads may be reduced to as few as 2,000.
That is, if the new warheads are built at all. Democrats in Congress are less than pleased with the idea.
Glenn Reynolds has a few links that should put a stake in the heart of the revisionist claims that returning Vietnam vets were never spat on.
Hat Tip to non-blogging Advised by Wolves.