When You Find Yourself In a Firefight....
St. Jacquestobersfest 2012


--The Iranians are showing off a new homemade airdefense system with a specific purpose in mind:

At Friday's parade in Tehran, Gen. Ami Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guard's airspace division, warned that the system was ready in case of an attack on Iran.

"This system is built with the aim to confront American warplanes," Hajizadeh said, adding that Raad carries missiles with a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles), capable of hitting targets at 22,000 meters (75,000 feet).

If they can see them.  Any question about whether or not pursuing stealth technology is important?  And, is there any question about who the Iranians see as "the enemy"?  That "leading from behind" and "open hand" sure has paid dividends, hasn't it?

--Speaking of stealth, meet China's latest stealth fighter:


The Chinese military rolled out their newest stealth fighter, the J-31, with new pictures appearing on government media outlets to coincide with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit.

A little "in your face, Round eye" from the Middle Kingdom.

It again begs the question of whether or not stealth technology is something we should abandon for the somewhat cheaper status quo.

The J-31 is smaller than the previously introduced J-30.  It also has a dual nose wheel which some are speculating means it may have a carrier based role in the future.

-- Speaking of carrier based roles, the F-35 continues to make progress in that department.

--A little Navy focus, such as everything you ever wanted to know about the new Zumwalt class of destroyers (DDG 1000) but were afraid to ask, plus a bonus article on Naval surface warfare.  Both articles are written by RADM Thomas Rowden who is the director for the Navy’s Surface Warfare Division.

--Bonus Navy focus, the USS Ft. Worth, a Freedom variant of the littoral combat ship, has joined the fleet:


--It looks like the Army will be getting the XM25 Punisher in 2014:

The weapon features a target acquisition system that calculates the range to a target with a push of a button and transfers the data to the electronic fuse built into the 25mm round. When fired, the projectile is designed to explode directly above targets out to 600 meters, peppering enemy fighters with shrapnel.

The XM25 has created a lot of excitement in the infantry community, but it has also attracted its share of criticism from door-kickers that the five-shot, 14-pound weapon system is more of a burden than a benefit to combat units.

The Ranger Regiment isn't so sold on it:

In March, elements of 75th Ranger Regiment refused to take XM25 with them for a raid on a fortified enemy compound in Afghanistan, sources familiar with the incident said.

After an initial assessment, Ranger units found the XM25 too heavy and cumbersome for the battlefield. They also were concerned that the limited basic load of 25mm rounds was not enough to justify taking an M4A1 carbine out of the mission, sources say.

As they say, "interesting".

--Well, the Afghan surge is apparently over, although you'd likely not know that if you weren't paying attention:

The 33,000 additional U.S. troops that President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan to tamp down the Taliban attacks nearly two years ago have now left the country, but a new wave of deadly insider attacks and a reassessment of how NATO troops partner with Afghans have raised questions about how well the military strategy is working.

"Have raised questions?"  Those questions were raised when this surge and a sell by date were announced at the same time.  You don't "surge" to victory by announcing a pull out date when you do.

Time to get out of that cess pit and let them return to the 7th century where they belong.

--Speaking of that, this says it all:

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton knew there was the threat of casualties when he deployed toAfghanistan for his third tour of duty, but he said he was "totally on board with sacrifice for [his] country."

What he didn't agree with, though, was his chain of command, who mandated Sitton's 25-man platoon to take twice-daily patrols through fields littered with explosive devices. The platoon was averaging an amputee a day, Sitton said, and since the patrols didn't have an end goal, he didn't see the point of risking such extreme danger.

Sitton was so concerned with his platoon's safety and morale that in June, he wrote a measured letter to Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., who chairs the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

"I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent," Sitton wrote in an e-mail. "There is no endstate or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard."

"We are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives," he wrote.

That's what happens when you don't have a plan or strategy to win.  You mark time and go through the motions.  Only in this case the "motions" can cause death. By the way, Sitton was KIA less than two months after he sent the email to Young.  He was killed by an IED. He left behind a wife, a 9-month-old son.  In a moral world, the man in the White House would be haunted by that death and so many others.

--Which brings me to the "absolutely no sympathy" portion of this post:

A U.S. soldier who fled to Canada to avoid the war in Iraq has been arrested and detained at the U.S. border after losing her deportation case.

Kimberly Rivera, who lived in Canada for five years with her husband and four children, was issued a deportation order last month and given until Sept. 20 to leave the country.

Rivera, a 30-year-old Army private, served in Iraq in 2006. She said she became disillusioned with the mission. She crossed the border into Canada while on leave in February 2007, after she was ordered to serve another tour there. After arriving in Canada on leave, she applied for refugee status.

Really?  Where'd she think she'd be going and what did she think she'd be doing?

"It doesn't get any clearer than this. The risk that we've pointed out, of Iraq War resisters being punished as prisoners of conscience isn't just risk, it's fact," Marciniec said.

Prisoners of conscience my ass.  She joined during a war, what, did she not imagine she'd have to participate?

You know what they're supposed to do with deserters in a time of war.  But my guess is she'll get something like this instead:

[T]wo other Iraq war resisters who were deported, Robin Long and Clifford Cornell, faced year-long jail sentences upon their return.

Long was given a dishonorable discharge in 2008 and sentenced to 15 months in a military prison after pleading guilty to charges of desertion.

Bottom feeding losers who hadn't the guts or gumption to do what they signed on to do and ran off claiming they were "disillusioned".

Tell that to SSG Sitton's widow, face-to-face, I dare you.