Sunday, February 27, 2011

Juarez vs. Afghanistan

More civilians were killed last year in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city across the border from El Paso, Texas, than were killed in all of Afghanistan.

Consultation rather than democracy

“This idea that a general election, Western-style, is a solution to all these problems, seems to me a dangerous fallacy which can only lead to disaster. I think we should let them do it their way by consultative groups. There are various kinds. There are all sorts of possibilities. It’s happening now in Iraq, for example.”

“Well, you see, two things have happened. One is that their position on the whole has been getting worse. The second, which is much more important, is that their awareness of that is getting much greater. As I said before, thanks to modern communications, they can now compare their own position with that in other countries. And they don’t have to look very far to do that. I have sat with friends in Arab countries, watching Israeli television, and their responses to that are mindboggling.”

Pessimist or realist?

A couple of weeks ago a Facebook entry stated that more than 50 percent of the US budget went directly to the Pentagon. I searched and posted the correct percentages, but never got a reply, nor did the person posting make a correction.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thinking about writing

Why I started this blog to begin with. Maybe political stuff, but the arguments are angry and so am I when reading the arguments. Military stuff maybe. That covers a lot of ground. And air. And even an ocean’s worth of water. California to Korea on the water and a few places between. Maybe things from growing up. As much as I have grown up.

Thought association. One evening I got home after a weekend drill out of town, at Camp Maxey, which is more than 4,000 acres of good land and trees and if the state decides to sell it and I have a few millions I would put in a bid. I got home after dark on a Sunday. My wife was on the phone. She said to whomever, “I’ve got to go. Bob just got in from playing soldier.”

That kind of made me mad. Playing soldier? I was not playing soldier. I said that to Priscilla. I don’t remember her reply, but later on I decided she was right, in a way, but not in the way she meant. Later on I decided that even though you’re wearing a uniform, if there aren’t bad guys shooting pointy bullets at you, you’re playing soldier. You might think you are training for war, but nobody can really train for war. You can learn everything about your assigned weapon or your track or tank or truck, but you cannot train for war.

Speaking of Camp Maxey has pictures of the 99th Infantry Division training in 1943.

The 99th was hit hard on the first day of the Ardennes offensive. German forces penetrated the division’s line, but the three regiments – 993, 394 and 395 – held the northern shoulder. The 394th’s Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of 18 scouts and four artillery observers held a German battalion,and the Sixth Panzer Army following, for more than a day before surrendering when out of ammunition. In 1981 the platoon received a Presidential Unit Citation. Other awards to the platoon included four Distinguished Service Crosses, five Silver Stars, and ten Bronze Stars with V for Valor. also has pictures of Camp Maxey, including one from the funeral for a German POW. One POW holds a guidon with a swastika.

In 2000 I interviewed a former POW after he sent photographs to the newspaper in Paris, Texas.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One of the best lines ever

One of the best lines ever is in an interview of Bernard Cornwell concerning his historical novel Agincourt. Cornwell talked about the training of an English bowman, usually beginning around age 8 and continuing for at least 10 years. By contrast, Cornwell said, the user of a musket could be trained in only a few weeks. A musketeer, he said, could line up front sight and rear sight and French soldier, pull the trigger, “and the world’s a better place.” Some English have not forgotten William of Normandy.

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9

“One veteran remembered how, as a wheeze, he and his comrades marched off to the nearest MO to report sick. The MO had them all take ‘number 9’ pills* and sent the lot packing. On the way back the Emma Gees made a surreptitious visit to a cafĂ© and restaurant. Undoubtedly this sort of incident was not a one off.”

“*The number 9 was legendary for being dished out as a cure-all for every ailment. One veteran recalled that number 9 ‘was expected to cure trench feet, the aching tooth and ingrowing toe nails, to lower temperature, restore lost appetite, regulate the pulse, heal the boil on the official place and cure scabies'. There was a widespread conspiracy theory that the number 9 was a placebo.”

The more we learn about Earth ...

In a story about Earth's permeability, a researcher commented: “There may be really complex interactions that we don't appreciate."

That pretty much works for everything else about Earth.

Central Arkansas is a land of hills. In making the land more acceptable for transportation, people have cut into the hills. In winter months, ice forms on bare rocky faces of the cuts, the ice from water seepage inside the rocks. Before seeing the ice, I had never known there was that much water flowing through rocks. Also, do a search on “atmospheric rivers.” There is, scientists say, water vapor flowing through high air, the vapor containing enough water to bury Maryland. We keep learning more about Earth, but still fanatics among us claim to know everything. Earth heals, Earth abides.

It's not my fault!!

Of course it is.

Skinny, fat, paranoid, Democrat, book reader, opinionated , bad drive, murderer – Maybe you've fallen for the idea there’s a gene for that. Well, probably not.