Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Almost done!

I'm almost done! YAY! Its getting down to the home stretch and i'm starting to pull away from the pack!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

War...what is is good for?

Absolutely nothing? I'm not convinced thats really true. Ignoring Iraq for now, the thing i referring is the situation in Palestine. Hamas is duking it out with Fatah down there. The thing that interests me the most is that the first headline I saw of it was "Bloodly day in Gaza raises civil war fears" and now the UN is talking about urging for the restoration of law and order. Am I out of line to suggest we, gasp, let them fight it out?

Hear me out now, this isn't just Anti-Arab sentiment here. The problem in Gaza is that these two groups have very different opinions on what to do there. And violence is a part of both of their cultures so maybe its best not only for the rest of the region (like Israel that is safer when its enemies are fighting each other) but also for the Palestinians themselves so the individual people can have a real sense of responsibility for themselves. I feel for the average citizen there, but at the same time, its their job to run their country well and they are responsible for what happens.

The problem, as i see it, is that the people are not fed up with war because a real war always is stopped in the Middle East. Just imagine for a second you have two powers going at it, say its a civil war. Ethnicity is similar though not fully the same and they were under the same government for many years. Now imagine that this war was stopped so that the common folks could live more in peace and there peacekeepers enforcing a proxy border between the two states. Thats seems to be the solution put up today by the UN and other groups. Now imagine that situation named earlier was the US Civil War 150 years ago, and think where we would be now.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I don't know who reads my blog but if anyone who does has any information about the performance of the M1117 vehicle i would appreciate it. The background on this vehicle is that it was intended as an MP vehicle but I know for a fact that there is a goodly number of them out here in Iraq and that the guys how use it tend to prefer it for convoy duty over the M1114 ( or Up-Armored HMMVW as its also called). Its a slant bottom 4x4 that boasts a .50 cal, a MK19 and a SAW. Seems to me that it performs the 'outside the wire' duty better than the HMMWV and i'm curious if there has been a doctrinal shift to use these more, although i don't have any performance data to know how well they actually work, just word of mouth. So if anyone knows how well they work, let me know!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Laptop!

Well, the Mac died. And when i say died, i don't mean it petered out, no it died a tragic, horrific, and as yet undetermined death. It has been giving me all sorts of problems lately but it didn't hit the wall until yesterday. It won't work at all as I think the harddrive has suffered some sort of total meltdown. The very sad, i lost everything that was on hard drive, including my music and even more importantly my pictures. The good thing is i have backups of most of them online and Sara has a bunch so thats good.

So i was planning on buying a new laptop anyway, even had it picked out and ironicly it was just ordered yesterday morning. It was an Asus F3T. Had the AMD duel-core processor but the big thing was the GeForce 7600 series video card. Problem was, now that the Mac died, i couldn't wait the forever it would take to have it shipped (they all take about 6 weeks i found out). So i got a new one from the PX instead.

Its not exactly what i had in mind when i was looking obviously, but its still a pretty neat laptop. Its a Toshiba A205. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 15.4 inch screen (which is pretty freaking awesome), a 160GB HD, 1GB ram (though that will be upped to 2 GB relatively soon). Thats the good, the only downfall is it has integrated graphics, which kinda sux. Its running Windows Vista Home Premium pretty well so far though, but i can't wait to get the ram.

So thats the fun story of today, much less serious than the previous post!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why do we serve?

What is the role of the military? I ask that as a somewhat rhetorical question but also with some sincerity. I was reading a post on the internet (courtesy of Instapundit) with a tempest brewing over a 30 second youtube clip from Fred Thompson and a reply to it. Some of the comments struck me so i thought i would write about it for a little bit. First, what Fred Thompson was speaking is a poem here:

It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
- Father Dennis Edward O’Brian, USMC

The argument being made by the responder is that soldiers should be proud of their profession, but at the end of the day that is what it is, a profession. I wonder if thats true. Is serving in the military a profession, is it an additional job for the benefits and the money, or is it something more akin to a calling? Is serving in the military the same as another profession like being a writer, a politician, an engineer, or anything else? Is the military just pawns?

After being over in Iraq for getting close to a year now, I still don't know how to feel about it. I do know that I am thankful everyday for the rest of the people here with me, but more specifically, the full time combat guys here. My job over here is signal, most transmission side stuff and a good hunk of tech stuff too. Now my job isn't the safest job, and certainly I have a higher risk of bodily harm and injury and such compared to doing a deskjob, yet compare my job to those of the 11B, 13C, and many other combat jobs and mine is a walk in the park. Those are the guys that, day in and day out, are the ones who are patroling the streets, kicking in doors in Baghdad, etc etc etc. Those guys are the real rough guys that can take the dirty jobs that allow everyone else to sleep peacefully in their beds at night (to paraphrase). Those men are real heros to me.

But are they also pawns? I would have to say no, they are not pawns, because they do have the right to not do what they do. They volunteered to do what they do, as do all soldiers in the American military. We all chose to give up our constitutional rights so that we might defend those same rights when we come home.

I don't denigrate other professions, and there are certainly many others that are fully honorable professions to work in, most notably people who work as police, and firemen. They take a full risk of life to serve a higher calling of making a difference.

I guess my questioning comes from when i hear people say "I support the troops" and i ask how. Someone actually got offended at this question. I'm just curious how people's mindsets are when they say they support me, or the military in general. Most of the people i know in my unit don't want grand accolades. They don't want a parade, or ribbons, and they don't want to put on a stage. All the support I want, and i think this goes for alot of us, would like in recognition of our service is an occasional 'Thanks' and maybe a free beer at the bar.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In Baghdad

Well i have been doing some traveling as of late so i am in Baghdad now. Its pretty decent down here, seen some palaces and such, and trying to go see the perfume palace tonight (its where saddam kept his mean his female companions). the Al Fau palace is pretty cook, not alot of spires but really cool architecture. So thats fun.

Its really hot out here lately though, which is a big poop. Its about 110-115 today and no signs its going to get cooler any time soon, quite the opposite actually. So yeah, if you wonder what iraq feels like, go find 10 hair dryers and point them all at your face, thats a pretty good approximation.

4 cool thoughts for today:
1) Its freaking awesome to be an Uncle, i can't wait to meet my little niece!
2) I saw Toby Keith in concert on Tuesday night and it was really cool. He played American Soldier and i alot of guys and gals there were tearing up. Thanks Toby Keith for making our day a little better
3) C-RAMS, i love this thing
4) Its realy odd to see HMMWVs driving down the street all up armored and then the doors have been taken off.

Oh yeah, I'm taking an advanced networking course down here in Baghdad. If ya'll didn't know it, i don't know basic networking but the instructors here have been really working well with me and everyone else so i will pass this course and actually really like this networking stuff. CCNA...doubtful, but hey, who knows?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cool Military Equipment

The AF has formed its first UAV wing. The 432 Wing is composed of 6 Predator Squadrons and 1 Maintenance. The really cool thing is that not only the original predator is being fielded, but also the new Predator B, aka the "Reaper." The Reaper is differnet from the original in that it wasn't designed as a recon UAV but instead it was designed directly for combat. I love this in that the new UAVs are being designed and fielded at a fairly rapid pace compared to how long it takes other services to come up with newer technology, such as the redesign for the HMMWV (though putting the Couger, Badger, and other IED ressistant vehicles into theater is pretty impressive).

Two week break

Since Sara has been at SERE school, i decided that I wasn't going to blog for then since as far as I know she is one of the only people that bothers to ready my blog. Anyway, now that she is just about done with it, I think i'll start writing some stuff so check back regularly, whoever you are, for the updates.