Monday, April 30, 2007

Our leaders???? The Enemy watches....

Send them the "White Feather of Cowardice". The meaning may be lost. I don't think they have read any A E W Mason. They are to busy reading Chomsky.

Prince will go forward....

His mother was a Stewart after all. Militias and other Hit squads will be looking for him.

At Least It's Over

I think the folks at left were luckier than the ones that drew me as a ref for my second game last Saturday.

Here are some photos. If that doesn't work then go here, click "Order Online" and then click on "Rugby 2." I'm wearing all black.

I tore up my heels something awful by the end of the first game, but I went on to do the second one anyway. That was a mistake. I lost my concentration and I was just terrible.

I couldn't very well have said that I was too hurt to continue since I was the only one on the field not tackling or being tackled.
I found this photo on the web. It's not me, but BOTH my heels are AT LEAST this bad.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Preparing for the Worst

One of the last papers I am preparing for my ILE-CC is a plan to put a Battalion that has just suffered some serious losses (including it's CO, XO, S-3 and CSM - I am supposed to write from the viewpoint of the CO) back on it's feet. A terrible and vital task, indeed.

The first thing that leapt to mind was S.L.A. Marshall's advice in Men Against Fire:

“When troops have been hard used in battle, and especially when green troops have taken heavy losses during their first engagement, talk itself is the easiest and most effective first step toward the re-establishing of a fighting morale.
Nothing is more likely to break the nerve of an intelligent and sensitive young commander in the aftermath of a costly and bloodletting experience than to leave him alone with his thoughts. That holds true also of the men under him. Men need to talk it out. The need of such a release is greatest when they feel they have been whipped.
It makes little difference how clearly the circumstances say that the fault was not one’s own. The shock of seeing one’s own men or comrades killed and of pondering one’s own hand in the making of their fate leads almost inevitably to a mood of self-accusation and bitterness – the tokens of moral defeat. The more able and conscientious the commander, the more likely it becomes that he will react in this way.” [p.118]

“The darkest hour for the novice in war comes with the recoil after the unit has been badly hit. It is then that the young commander has the greatest need of the friendship and steadiness of his superior or of any other officer whose judgment he respects. Criticism or tactical counsel are of no value at that time. They can be given later if necessary, but in the wrong hour they add to the hurt. Let him get out his crying towel! When he has told how it happened, the important thing is that he be given a pat on the back, an assurance that he did his full duty, and some little reminder that while he may feel his losses are excessive, such incidents are an unavoidable feature of combat and do not keep one from coming back the next round.” [p.119]

I have taken this advice to heart, especially as the possiblity of making LTC comes around next year. May God grant that I never have to avail myself of it. However, if I ever have to, I hope I have a superior officer like my outgoing Brigade Commander, or COL Algermissen, who was my TF Eagle CO. I think they understand this, and would do the same for one of their BN commanders.

Oh, and what does one fear could happen?

“The treatment is simple. Its psychological results should be apparent. I have seen it work many times in battle… But it is by no means a rule of action even among those senior officers who make a sincere effort to live close to their troops. More times than not, I have seen them freeze up in the very hour when their subordinates were hurting worst for a few words of understanding. Then someone else had to come along and do the job for them. Likewise, I have witnessed units which had been badly bruised their first time in battle, spend several days in painful brooding, and then bounce back almost at once when given a little intelligent moral treatment by a superior. A man remains a man after he puts on a soldier suit. Death in the company is like death in the family. Talk relieves tension. It is the first step toward moving on to life’s next problem.” [p.199-120] (emphasis added)

Always easier if you have a CSM Bones (an excellent Command Sargeant Major), or an Inner Prop (a fellow field grade officer) to prod you out of that, should it happen.

Friday, April 27, 2007

News of Afghanistan - the 55th edition

Grab your mug of Alokozay BOP1 Leaf Tea, raise it in honor of The World's Greatest Military Contractor (he's the one who got mine for me, thanks Haji-o-matic!) and read on!

An honest assesment of French military impact in Afghanistan?

A small, but interesting set of stories. Check the last one for Dole Foods thoughts on Afghan investment.

Afghan Rail history!

Kids in Kulata, Kapisa Province, winter of 2005. (photo by me)

Abdullah Abdullah looks back.

So, how is that refugee problem? Urk. Argh!

Hurrah for the Kiwis! I rather liked working with them, their NSE CDR whiole I was there, LTC Aaron Couchman, was a good man.

Advice for Afghan Moms.

Canadian Parliamentary squabbling. You know, I never thought I would type those three words together in a non-funny way.

How this plays out is worth watching. Also note the bit about the Japanese at the end.

Haji Almos, member of the Wolesi Jirga (L) and Molanna SayedKhail, Chief of Police of Parwan Province (R) Spring 2005 [Molanna's swearing in ceremony] (photo by me)

Sticks and Stones...

Party time - no, political parties, not the fun type.

A sad note here.

An Afghan girl washes her brother near an army-destroyed building where refugees live in Kabul, on Friday, April 27, 2007. Iran is deporting around 5,000 refugees a day back to Afghanistan, which lacks the capacity to feed and accommodate them, an Afghan official said Thursday. In the last three days, Iran has deported Afghan refugees living illegally in the Islamic republic through the Zaranj border-crossing in southwestern Nimroz province, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)

More ungood, plus ungood news. I guess at least something is being done about capturing awareness of this subject.

Ha, I guess the Afghans have two seasons just like us - "Winter" and "Road Construction"!

The Kabul cricket juggernaut rolls on!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ukraine, The Gnomes of Zurich and the Borg

Is this too risky?

Zurich provides groundbreaking political risk insurance for capital markets transaction in Ukraine
Dateline: 04/23/2007 Schaumburg, Ill., April 23, 2007 -- Zurich’s unit offering political risk and trade credit insurance in emerging markets announced today that it recently provided political risk insurance (PRI) for a capital markets transaction in Ukraine. This is the first time that political risk insurance was utilized in Ukraine to manage the unique risks of a capital markets transaction. Zurich is supporting a $134.1 million Class A Notes issue of Residential Mortgage-backed Securities (RMBS) originated by PrivatBank JSCC and issued by Ukraine Mortgage Loan Finance No.1.The Zurich insurance policy protects against the risks of currency inconvertibility and expropriation of funds, providing coverage equal to 18 months of interest payments. In addition, a PRI reserve fund was established that will provide six months of interest coverage for the first 180 days after the occurrence of a political risk event.“This groundbreaking transaction, the first public RMBS issue out of Ukraine, highlights the importance of political risk insurance in helping make an issue more attractive to investors concerned about political risk and market volatility,” said Daniel Riordan, executive vice president and managing director for Zurich’s emerging markets unit. “PRI support can help elevate bond ratings to investment grade, often above the country’s sovereign currency rating.” [emphasis added]

Ukraine makes me nervous. It is not as bad as hoping Hugo Chavez or Vlad Putin won't swoop in and seize something, but still...
Otherwise, the Gnomes, er...corporate continues its march toward world domination! We opened some new stuff in New Zealand and are continuing our Borg-like treatment of Farmer's Insurance.

Insurance resistance is will be assimilated.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy ANZAC Day

"Walzing Matilda" click here

Seeming to have lost my voice

I have noticed that I have not been posting very much - nor very often lately. I seem to have lost my voice so to speak.

I find myself reading fewer blogs too. I still visit some of my favorites, but not as many of the "once in a while" ones.

After this Friday's News of Afghanistan, I am going to have to think about what I am going to do...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pittsburgh and near death flight experiences

Well, the not-really-but-it-felt-like-near-death experience was approaching O'Hare from Pittsburgh. Returning from a mostly successful mediation, my oft-delayed flight was finally making final approach at O'Hare - when suddenly we lifted sharply and the pilot put the hammer down. All I could think was "Aiee! Collision!" In fact, it was a wind shear alert/wave-off.

Extra bonus fun - United managed to temporarily misplace my single bag.

I'm glad to be home.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Istanbul Not Constantinople

I couldn't help myself with the title, although it was a different story that brought my attention to the Holy Father today.

I don't know if I'm the only, but I am the most vocal Papist here, so I guess I'm the Papal Donut, so to speak. Also, my children are within the flock of the Eastern Orthodox Catholics (an oxymoron to be sure, since catholic means universal) so this is right up my via.

The Pope (that's Benedict XVI not John Paul II, which I as I'm sure so many adult Catholics often forget) is in Turkey today. From what I hear he's fence mending, not our distant neighbors of the Book (Muslims), but the ones who live in our in-law suite, the Eastern Orthodox. He's visiting Hagia Sophia (after which my youngest prop was named). That's cool. Maybe it's because the Eastern and the regular Easters were the same day this year.

You'll have to go to Illini6 to see the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say).

News of Afghanistan - the, uh, Late edition

Half a day late, hopefully not a dollar short. I was at a conference hearing wealthy trial lawyers proclaim their inate goodness and moral purity. I had to go find a bucket... Now that I am recovered, here is the news!

What's the buzz, tell me whats a happening...

Gold prices? You want me to worry about gold prices?! Black tea is up 10 afghani a kilo!!

Gee, better late than never, huh?

Maybe this will catch on? We can only hope.

And in sports: soccer tourney time, and the same for cricket.

photo: UNHCR/B.Baloch

There is still plenty of anger about amnesty.

OK, this needs to stop, right now.

Trouble in Konduz.

Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

@#%$^ Iran. THey can so easily have naught but a benign influence on Afghanistan - and they have natural friends in the Dari speakers of the country - so this is doubly maddening.

Anyone still need convincing of what scum the Talib are? Read this.

Taliban? I would have initially thought smugglers - being the Tagab and all... Governor Murad is a good guy, I am hoping Kapisa comes out of this OK.

Hey France! Go give thanks to Italy for why this is happening. Pay ransom once and...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One brave old man recognizes evil again...

He was a hero, this professor who recognized the same dead eyes of evil he saw as a child. He sacrificed himself to protect his students. He survived the killing fields of eastern Europe of the Nazis, Soviets, and Ceausescu to die Monday in his class room at 76. Remember how he chose to make a stand. Die fighting with your face toward the enemy instead of as sheep on your knees.

Iranian Weapons being sent to Taliban......

The beat goes I surprised? The Civil war after the Russians left was actually a proxy war between Iran and Pakistan. It continues....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I just returned from Baltimore, Maryland... Baltimore needs help. It reminded me a bit of Philadelphia and St. Louis, in that it seems that the last 20+ years of general prosperity have unevenly flowed around certain places.

Let us just say I don't hope to get lost on the East side of Baltimore again. Ugh.

Friday, April 13, 2007


After many many emails, worries, sleepless nights, attempts, months and chewed nails I have finally accomplished something. Mrs. Prop will be so happy it is finally over!

To see what I'm talking about go to Illini6.

Now, to get all those stories written, books edited and miles swum. Major John, do you happen to have a thesaurus?

News of Afghanistan - Friday the 13th Edition!

I am lucky I am not superstitious...but taking no chances, I am tossing a four-leaf clover into my Alokozay Tea.

Well then, on to the News!

More sadness from the past.

Oooh, this should be fun!

Another guy I know, makes good.


Yeah, cry me a river, pal. If your weak @$$ hadn't been paying ransoms in the first place....anyway, I am sure Adjmal's family feels much better now. Piss on you, Mr. Prodi.


And now for the comedy portion of our presentation, "All Taliban are moderates". The HIG deplores violence. I am looking for Mr. Spock with a goatee, if you know what I am saying.

"Get a load of this!"
Aviation to the rescue.

Go ahead, junkies, shoot up and help the Talib. Extra special helping of Taliban hypocrisy as well!

photo: DoD /Leslie Angulo
Rabia Balki.

A new information and news source about Afghanistan: Asia Observer.

A new bank.

Photo: Ebadi/WFP

Some better news about flood relief.

A lengthy letter to the editor re: Dostum. Heh.

Speaking of letters to the editor - ouch! Calling them out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Map, Please.

CSM Bones pointed out an interesting map o' terrorism and the like. You can find it here. The page "automatically reloads every 460 seconds". Why do I find that one tiny aspect of the site so disturbing?

Uh-oh time?

I saw this and ... uh-oh. Several of the units in this alert are ones mine works with, or was deployed previously at the same time as they were. Hmmmm...

Full announcement here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

News of Afghanistan - The 53rd Edition

It's a two mug of Alokozay tea day here. So here is the News, slighty disorganized and an hour or two late...

A little news round-up (I like the micro finance idea m'self)

Umm, maybe so, but what's yer point, boss? And what the heck is this "leasing" business?

"Rent to own!"

photo: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

WTF?! I thought Dutch military "restraint" had died, along with several thousand innocents, at Srbenica. Guess not...

More worries about economics than the Taliban.

"Did someone say economics?"
Charikar, October 2004 (photo by "Z")

I rather like this. The painting they show, especially so.

Super Bazaar or EU?

Flood relief efforts - I remember helping, as best we could, in 2005.

Photo: UNAMA
A man in Zewjug village of the Nili district in Dai Kundi province tries to attach a cable to a van hoping to drag it from the fast-flowing river

And now a word from our Afghan cell phone providers: Roshan and Afghan Wireless. CSM Bones will have to give you the exact consumer review, heh.

Share and enjoy.

A park. Good idea.

Sure, like floods aren't enough.

This little article says a lot. I think the headline is a masterful one too.

One time event? So sez Karzai!!11!

Fire fighters wash the road after a suicide attack in Kabul, on Friday, April 6, 2007. A suicide car bomber hit a police checkpoint in Afghanistan's capital Friday, killing at least five people, including the bomber and a policeman who tried to stop him, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is there no England now????

What happened to the Bulldog? To much football and take away Curry? I am ashamed for the collapse of my Island kinsfolk. I was ready to paint myself blue and charge the enemy with my Claymore. But Mr. Blair did his best Chamberlain impression and cut a deal.
I watched with pride as my Celtic brothers and sisters fought for the Falklands 25 years ago. Now their politicians sell them out just like ours.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"GWOT" - begone!

I am not sure what the purpose behind this really is... but I suspect it might be a little awkward when it comes to awards of the GWOT or GWOT-E.

Some Rep (D) would have to mention that a constituent was awarded the _________ Service Medal or ___________ Expeditionary Medal?

Go figure.

Oh really?

I guess we will soon see if this pans out. If the British get these people back, I will be keenly interested to hear their stories. And to see if the Royal Navy revises their ROE to avoid having people taken hostage a third time by Iran.

UPDATE: Looks like it...

Monday, April 02, 2007

1-178 Infantry Snipers One Shot-One Kill

HHC 1/178th Snipers win big at 2007 All Army Sniper Championships.

The 1/178th Sniper Section represented the Battalion well at this years All Army Championships. They took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards from the three day event. Shooting at 600, 800, and 1000 meters they competed against the best teams from the 5th and 7th Group Special Forces, 3rd Ranger Battalion and the All Army Rifle Teams. In all their were 71 competitors.

Every member of the team shot well above the overall competition average against teams with much more competitive experience and superior equipment.


Overheard at Drill this past weekend

"The National Guard Bureau just finished it's sourcing conference" - uh oh.

"Hey, look at my retirement letter" - no, Prop, it makes me sad.
  • Wikablog - The Weblog Directory

  • My blog is worth $60,970.32.
    How much is your blog worth?