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May 2008

Rib Victory- Lions of the Serengeti feeding

Well any doubts as to the victor in the Rib Challenge were erased completely when we dove into the TankerBabe's dry rub ribs. She is proclaimed the official BBQ Chef of the Freefly and over the summer we will determine who gets the title of official BBQ Chef of Blackfive. So the challenge is re-lit and any other BBQ gurus bring it on. Kev selflessly has volunteered to eat as much as he can.

Austin Bay- The Arena Academy

Why haven't I been hearing raves across the internets about Austin Bay's new project, the Arena. WOW! it is brilliant. I just watched the episode of Consequences about scenarios after a rapid US withdrawal from Iraq. It is a 21 minute very slickly produced video and synced slideshow that is tremendously informative. It should be required viewing for all high school students, who would benefit greatly from the clue they would never get from their teachers or our media.

I need to find out more about this project and what else they will be doing because this is the kind of information that will help us win the global counterinsurgency.

Blackfive goes pro

There is a flurry of frenzied activity going on behind the quiet, cultured facade here at Blackfive. The new logo is out, t-shirts are for sale, videos are flying left and right, and now I can announce that I work here. Tomorrow I am full time as the Executive Producer of Blackfive TV. That is a high-falutin' title and what it really means is we will have real pros doing the cameras and editing instead of me. Woo Hoo!. I suck as an editor, videographer and soundman.

We have a number of sponsors, advertisers and others who are making this possible and we are actively seeking more. You are our audience so think about anyone who would want to market to you. If you can point us to s specific person who has responsibility for marketing or advertising please point them in my direction. We are launching the filming of a tribute to the men who died in Afghanistan on Op Redwing, tentative title "The Men of Murphy's Ridge". Lone Survivor tells the tale of that battle, we want to tell the stories of the men who lived before that day.

We will start off in Denver for several days including the 4th of July to film with the Dietz family and friends of Danny. The Traveling Vietnam Wall will be in town and we will be throwing a fiesta at the combined fireworks/wall event. BBQ, Dead Tangos In HiDef, T-shirts me, Kev & the BBQ  Queen the righteous Tanker Babe. Oh and she dominated the rib challenge. Her ribs made me and Kevan cry like we were at a Disney movie. Mmmmmmmmm.

What does this change mean for Blackfive, I don't know for sure. We now are selling things and raising money, but we will donate good chunks of it to the charities we have always supported. We have expenses, but in short order we should have them covered by advertisers and sponsors completely. We are working out the details, but essentially we are making it up as we go along. Suggestions and comments are always encouraged, you all are the reason we have these opportunities. I will continue to update over the weekend and then have some kind of comprehensive post for Monday. Now I need to go take the dry rack of Tanker Babe's ribs and the homemade beans out to warm up for the Freefly in a couple of hours. This is livin'! Shot on the cam in my laptop.

Call for Submissions: Investment

Wolf and I had a conversation after yesterday's roundtable with Lieutenant General Stephen Speakes.  The roundtable and its concepts are discussed in the post below.

One thing that we noticed was that LTG Speakes pointed out that, during the 1990s, investment in developing combat systems was minimal.  The result was that the expertise in engineering, computer technology, and other spheres was simply not there when we went back for it.  FCS has had to invest enough to allow the industry to restart itself -- far more expensive than maintaining an existing capacity. 

The result was what Rumsfeld called "going to war with the Army you have," an army that -- you may remember -- at one point had to urge soldiers to buy their own kit, including body armor, to make up its shortfalls. 

A certain candidate favosr eliminating, slowing or cutting back all current investments in future capacity.  Some things he opposes outright -- for example, missile defense and space control (oddly, his chief military advisor, Gen. McPeak, was a strong supporter of space control -- is Obama actually listening to his chief advisor?).  Other things he just want to delay or pare back, including the FCS.  The result would be not just a weakening of America's actual defense in the moment, but a weakening of her capacity to strengthen herself at need.  The failure to invest has two costs:  not only do you have worn out equipment, but you don't have the experts on hand to help build better things to face current challenges.

Wolf remarked that this was very much like the Army he'd known in the Carter years, 1977-9.  We'd like to ask veterans of that era to write in with their stories, the best of which we will publish here.  What was it like to belong to such an Army, or Navy, or Marine Corps or Air Force? 

Submissions may be sent to me or to Wolf. 

COIN: Do we need a proponent for COIN?

Wolf and I were on for yesterday's discussion with Lieutenant General Stephen Speakes on the Future Combat System.  I'd like to tell you a bit about what he said in terms of the system's utility for COIN operations. 

I'd also like to put it in context with a letter from Colonel David Maxwell, the G3 at USASOC, which he has graciously allowed me to reprint from his mailing list. 

Continue reading "COIN: Do we need a proponent for COIN?" »

Masculinity and Martial Courage

Jimbo is right to say that Obama is wrong for a dangerous world.  Let's talk about exactly why he is wrong for it.  The key clue comes from listening to some of his supporters talk about why they don't want Senator Jim Webb to serve as Obama's Vice President.  I supported Webb for the Senate, and would have no problem supporting him for President -- but to them, he is a bad choice.

Continue reading "Masculinity and Martial Courage" »

Greyhawk tees up another one

One of the blogosphere's best feature analysis writers Mudville Gazette's Greyhawk takes a look at trend-spotting in Iraq.



(Part one in a series)

Through the duration of the war in Iraq I've identified key indicators of important trends in the conflict on this web site. These indicators take the form of discrete events of variable duration, the trends are larger scale and longer term, and generally identifiable to the observer only as a series of events. The key to understanding what's happening in Iraq is to be able to identify a trend by it's indicators (and conversely to be able to determine which events are part of a trend) and to recognize which trends or events matter (in long or short term) and which don't. Identifying events and trends (or even distinguishing events from brief trends) is exceptionally difficult without the benefit of hindsight and demonstrably challenging even after the fact. And any attempt at forecasting - extending those trends into the future - compounds that challenge by an unknown degree, and at some point is an exercise in futility.

Those who attempt to accomplish any of those tasks without constant monitoring of the situation or first hand experience therein do so at a distinct disadvantage. Identifying trends from outside Iraq can be impossible - the observer is dependent upon reports from others (from traditional and new media, if no other contact are available), and must be aware of the bias of those few reporters whose work reaches the outside world. If I've had any success at all in the attempt (and I will humbly demonstrate shortly I've had some success, at least) much of that is due to my lack of those disadvantages that burden so many others. Further, while those of a certain partisan stripe might find my conclusions more appealing than others, another key to understanding is to be able to view the scene without partisan prejudice of any sort - at least as far as that is humanly possible - separate facts from feelings, and limit motives to truth over a desired outcome.

Is There An Illustrator (Or Two) In The House?

One thing that no longer surprises me in the least is the amazing array of talents to be found in our readers. Towards that end, if you are an illustrator or artist, please drop me a line using the e-mail to be found over there on the right if you might be interested in some possible work. Not saying it is connected to anything here, but would love to talk with you.


Pelosi Said What?!

I realize that Uncle Jimbo already commented on the recent commentary by our Speaker of the House but I think it needs a bit more, less diplomatic, opinion.

Commentary Magazine first broke the story.

Regarding her recent trip to Iraq, she was asked if she had seen any evidence that the "Surge" was working.  Of course on a moron can't see the significant improvements. 

Did she give the credit to Prime Minister Maliki?  General Patraeus?  The US military?  The US trained Iraqi Army?  Nope, nope, nope and nope.

Again, here is what this total POS said:

Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal.  And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians - they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities - the Iranians.

The "Goodwill" of the Iranians?

I thinks it's time for a swig from the little brown jug of reality for San Fran Nan.

The Iranians are killing our troops you idiotic dolt!  The cease fire in Basra that was supposedly negotiated by the Iranians collapsed like a card table.  That was when Maliki and the (US Trained) boys went in and kicked their asses!

No Iranian negotiations brought peace to Basra.  It was sustained targeting and killing of Iranian backed terrorists.  You see Ms. Pelosi, PM Maliki and General Patraeus have discovered that a dead Tango is significantly less threatening than a live one.

The Iranians have done nothing less than overtly foment violence across the Middle East you miserable surrender monkey.

Assuming the "Surge" was in place in June of last year; 605 Americans have died to help this thing work.  Of course all of those deaths were for nothing until the Iranians stepped in to bring peace?  The reality is that a vast majority of these Americans were killed by the damn Iranians!

This is beyond pathetic Ms. Pelosi.  It is clear that you hate President Bush but you now have demonstrated how much you loathe America.

In spite of all your efforts Dingbat, we didn't lose.  Now shut your festering piehole and let your betters finish what they're doing!