Future Combat Systems

This is an important article. I encourage you to read the whole article if you have time. I believe the funding of Future Combat systems to be of paramount importance to our future defense.

The Army’s plan to transform itself into a futuristic high-technology force has become so expensive that some of the military’s strongest supporters in Congress are questioning the program’s costs and complexity.

Army officials said Saturday that the first phase of the program, called Future Combat Systems, could run to $145 billion. Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the “technological bridge to the future” would equip 15 brigades of roughly 3,000 soldiers, or about one-third of the force the Army plans to field, over a 20-year span.

“We’re dealing today with a train wreck,” Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a March 16 Congressional hearing on the cost and complexity of Future Combat Systems.

Army officials say the task is a technological challenge as complicated as putting an astronaut on the moon. They call Future Combat weapons, which may take more than a decade to field, crucial for a global fight against terror.

The Army has canceled two major weapons programs, the Crusader artillery system and the Comanche helicopter, “to protect funding for the Future Combat System,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and a member of the Armed Services Committee. “That is why we have to get the F.C.S. program right.”

The Army wants Future Combat to be a smaller, faster force than the one now fighting in Iraq. Tanks, mobile cannons and personnel carriers would be made so light that they could be flown to a war zone. But first they must be stripped of heavy armor. In place of armor, American soldiers in combat would be protected by information systems, so they could see and kill the enemy before being seen and killed, Army officials say.

Future Combat soldiers, weapons and robots are to be linked by a $25 billion web, Joint Tactical Radio Systems, known as JTRS (pronounced “jitters”). The network would transmit the battlefield information intended to protect soldiers. It is not included in the Future Combat budget.

That doubt may damage a conceptual underpinning for Future Combat: the ability to deploy armed forces quickly in a crisis. Unless the weapons are as light as advertised, they will have to arrive in a theater of war by ship.

The challenge for the Army and Boeing is to build “an entirely new Army, reconfigured to perform the global policing mission,” said Gordon Adams, a former director for national security spending at the Office of Management and Budget, “and that is enormously expensive.”

Mr. Rumsfeld told the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee last month about the challenge of remaking an Army in the middle of a war. “Abraham Lincoln once compared reorganizing the Union Army during the Civil War to bailing out the Potomac River with a teaspoon,” he said. “I hope and trust that what we are proposing to accomplish will not be that difficult.”

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Power To The People!

I previously reported on the civilians in Iraq gunning down terrorists in the street. It was good news.

Christian Science Monitor’s own masthead editorial enthused:

“This preemptive citizen attack, done in the absence of a strong police presence, sends another signal that Iraqis really do want stability and not sectarian strife.”

“Vigilantism, of course, isn’t the way to do this,” the Monitor added. “The US still needs to put more resources into training the new Iraqi army and police force.” But nobody really seemed to tackle a crucial question: whether preemptive attacks count as criminal activity, or how Iraqis can otherwise deal with terror attacks while they wait for the country’s security situation to improve. It’s hard to fault civilians who’ve been targeted by terrorists for fighting back, but it also seems dangerous to herald the eruption of sectarian gunfights as an overall improvement in security.

It sounds like a good idea to me! What do you think the real answer to countering terrorist cells in the U.S. should be? Many think giving the police more power is the answer. Not I! I donââât wish to live in a police state. The answer is already with us; the Second Amendment.

No one can protect us better then ââÅwe the peopleââ?. We have eyes everywhere in the country. Some times making a 911 call will be enough, but if something deadly is going down right in front of you, the only way to stop it is through action. I say arm and train the people! Certain lobbyist screamed that concealed carry permits would yield to a ââÅwild westââ? atmosphere with gun fights rampant in the streets. Well that never happened, there logic was wrong! Only ââÅwe the peopleââ? can defend ââÅwe the peopleââ? effectively.

Indoctrinating Our Children

Recently Harvard President Larry Summers was attacked and censured for what he said. What he said was that he fancied that not as many women as men get on with science and engineering, perhaps because there is a genetic indisposition there, women to science.

President Summers apologized profusely over his presumption, but even this did not spare him formal censure by the faculty of Harvard.

Why did he apologize? Didnââât he realize he would be crucified for making such a statement? Cannot one have such observations? Of course not, we have become to politically correct for such statements.

The scene at Columbia University was slightly different. For once, rights of teachers and professors were being challenged. The complaint had gone out that Columbia was, brace yourself, anti-Semitic. This wasn’t just one Jewish student, reacting to one adverse comment on Ariel Sharon. It was, to quote a dispatch in the Jerusalem Post, a charge that faculty members in the school’s Middle East classes “use their positions to promote anti-Zionist activism, discourage intellectual discourse on the Israeli-Arab conflict and vilify Israeli students. One student recounted a professor telling his class, ‘The Palestinian is the new Jew, and the Jew is the new Nazi.'”

Academic freedom was conceived to protect scholars engaged in scholarly thought. The Type of wild charges of the kind done by, such as Ward Churchill who said ââÅthe “technocrats” working in the World Trade Center who died on 9/11 are to be likened to Adolf Eichmannââ?, should not be protected by academic freedom.

We must find a way to protect our children from political indoctrination in the classroom!

People are pushing for censorship of cable T.V. to the standards of the broadcast networks, but they are going to continue to let our children be brainwashed in all levels of education! Wake up people, we have got to do something about what textbooks print and teachers teach.

When Will Arab Leaders Learn?

As reported in the Jewish world review:

This week, MK Azmi Bishara’s Web site, http://www.Arabs1948.com, published an interview with Hamas spokesman Ahmed al-Bahar in which he discussed the significance of Sharon’s plan. Bahar claimed, “The painful and qualitative blows which the Palestinian resistance dealt to the Jews and their soldiers over the past four and a half years led to the decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.”

“All indications show that since its establishment, Israel has never been in such a state of retreat and weakness as it is today, following more than four years of the intifada,” he continued. “Hamas’s heroic attacks exposed the weakness and volatility of the impotent Zionist security establishment. The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that the resistance is the only way to pressure the Jews.”

These kinds of statements just go to prove my sentiments that Arab Leaders are all violent, Jew hating, Neanderthals that respect nothing but a show of strength. To accomplish any diplomacy of importance in the Middle East, Their leaders must know you have power and are willing to use it. This last part has been a problem for America for quite some time. Usama Bin Laden, pointing to the American pull out in Mogadishu, called us a paper tiger. This was the end of our influence in the Middle East. It showed we were weak. We must learn to understand the way other cultures view our actions if we ever hope to advance Democracy and freedom around the world. Now that we have started to show we have a back bone in Iraq, things are starting to change. Let us remember to keep them assured of our strength and willingness to use it.

Iraqi Students Beaten!

I have been following this story in the Iraqi blogs, but I could not get a clear picture of what exactly happened. This article makes it very clear.

From a Times Online article dated March 28, 2005:

Students are beaten to death for playing music as Shia militiamen run amok.

The students had begun to lay out their picnic in the spring sunshine when the men attacked.

ââÅThere were dozens of them, armed with guns, and they poured into the park,ââ? Ali al-Azawi, 21, the engineering student who had organized the gathering in Basra, said.

ââÅThey started shouting at us that we were immoral, that we were meeting boys and girls together and playing music and that this was against Islam.

ââÅThey began shooting in the air and people screamed. Then, with one order, they began beating us with their sticks and rifle butts.ââ? Two students were said to have been killed.

Standing over them as the blows rained down was the man who gave the order, dressed in dark clerical garb and wearing a black turban. Ali recognized him immediately as a follower of Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric. Ali realized then that the armed men were members of Hojatoleslam al-Sadrâââs Mehdi Army, a private militia that fought American forces last year and is now enforcing its own firebrand version of Islam.

The picnic had run foul of the Islamist powers that increasingly hold sway in the fly-blown southern city, where religious militias rule the streets, forcing women to don the veil and closing down shops that sell alcohol or music.

In Basra, however, Islamic militias already are beginning to apply their own version of that law, without authority from above or any challenge from the police.

Students say that there was nothing spontaneous about the attack. Police were guarding the picnic in the park, as is customary at any large public gathering, but allowed the armed men in without any resistance.

One brought a video camera to record the sinful spectacle of the picnic, footage of which was later released to the public as a warning to others.

It showed images of one girl struggling as a gunman ripped her blouse off, leaving her half-naked. ââÅWe will send these pictures to your parents so they can see how you were dancing naked with men,ââ? a gunman told her. Two students who went to her aid were shot âââ one in the leg, the other twice in the stomach. The latter was said to have died of his injuries. Fellow students say that the girl later committed suicide. Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight.

Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the studentsâââ ââÅdancing, sexy dress and corruptionââ?.

ââÅWe beat them because we are authorized by Allah to do so and that is our duty,ââ? Sheik Ahmed al-Basri said after the attack. ââÅIt is we who should deal with such disobedience and not the police.ââ?

After escaping with two students, Ali reached a police station and asked for help. ââÅWhat do you expect me to do about it?ââ? a uniformed officer asked.

Ali went to the British military base at al-Maakal and pleaded with the duty officer at the gate. ââÅYouâââre a sovereign country now. We canââât help. You have to go to the Iraqi authorities,ââ? the soldier replied. When the students tried to organize demonstrations, they were broken up by the Mehdi Army. Later the university was surrounded by militiamen, who distributed leaflets threatening to mortar the campus if they did not call off the protests.

When the militia began to set up checkpoints and arrest students, Ali fled to Baghdad.

A British spokesman said that troops were unable to intervene unless asked to by the Iraqi authorities.

Colonel Kareem al-Zeidy, Basraâââs police chief, pleaded helplessness. ââÅWhat can I do? There is no government, no one to give us authority,ââ? he said. ââÅThe political parties are the most powerful force in Basra right now.ââ?

The students have begun an indefinite strike, but fear that there is little that they can do to stop the march of violent fundamentalism. Saleh, 21, another engineering student, said: ââÅIf this is how they deal with the most educated in Basra, how would they deal with ordinary people? The soul of our city is at stake.ââ?

The fact that we still have this kind of theocratic nonsense going on in parts of Iraq, greatly concerns me. I cannot believe they are still allowing this madman Sadr to run amok!

For more on this story from an Iraqi blogger click here:

Comments from the Iraqi street taken fromYahoo News

Students and their families demonstrated for three days in Basra after the assault. Some university students in other parts of the country reacted with outrage or apprehension over the fundamentalists’ attack.

“The religious leaders have their social positions and respect, but that doesn’t mean that they have the right to make others obey their orders by force,” said Furssan Salah Al-Deen Ahmed, 22, a third-year political science student at the University of Baghdad.

“These fundamental groups know well how to monopolize fear and strike back at democracy,” said Nadiya Shaban, 22, a fourth-year political science student at the university.

Shaban said she believes in freedom of speech. “There is no meaning of democracy without being able to express yourself,” she said. But she also fears retaliation. “Let us take gradually to the (democratic) process,” she said.

Engineering Major Mohssen Abdullah Hussein, 19, who is more conservative, said, “Islam was not spread only by talk, but also by force. Still, I am saying it was possible to avoid the things that happened in Basra.”

Munther Alwan, 29, a fourth-year political science student, was defiant.

“Everybody has his life and has the right to express himself the way he likes,” he said. “The time of Saddam and his terror has gone and will never be back.”

Terri Schiavo Case Has Polarized Us All

Terri Schiavo’s case has put the principles of American government through its paces!

Congress had intervened earlier when it appeared that efforts by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others in the state to keep Schiavo alive were failing. The executive branch of government got involved, as well. President Bush rushed back from his Texas vacation to sign the bill that sent Schiavo’s case to the federal courts; an extraordinary action over one citizen’s fate.

Think about it for a minute. What else has the Government really accomplished of late? Then for the fate of ONE citizen they drop everything and pass legislation in a matter of days. Why can’t they do this with other issues? You know the ones they are actually suppossed to be passing? We voted the Republican Party into power to get things done! So get it done! Fight back against the Democrats any way you can! If you don’t the pendulum of power will swing to the other side.

The battle, like many public policy disputes, has been tangled in politics, emotions, religion and finger-pointing. But it has also been a display of of democracy at work.

Not a pretty sight, says Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.

“It is in fact an object lesson on democracy; it just doesn’t happen to be a good lesson,” he said.

Congressional intervention, he said, flies in the face of the Founding Fathers’ intention to give most rights and powers to the states. “I believe that the framers would be horrified,” Turley said.

Even so, he allowed, “it is impressive to see judges holding such a uniform line against tremendous pressure from Congress.” Steven Gey, a professor of constitutional law at Florida State University, said it was as if “the Founding Fathers anticipated precisely this kind of situation.” “What you see is the legislature – both federal and state level – rushing into a situation where they don’t have adequate grasp of the facts or the law and then you see the courts doing things correctly, very deliberately going through the facts.”

For all of the criticism of Congress’ role, though, Tom Patterson, a professor of government at Harvard University, said Americans could well look at the case and reach the opposite conclusion about whether the system functioned properly in Schiavo’s case. “It’s a very painful decision that families make around the country daily,” Patterson said. “And in this case, it became political and therefore just out of that personal realm of family members and health providers trying to do the sensible thing.” He said the dispute was “part of the larger culture wars” and represented a joining of political opportunity and beliefs. The case has also exposed the limits of what politicians can do. The law passed by Congress did not change the outcome. Bush’s support for it did not make a difference. And in Florida, his brother Jeb Bush, the governor, was thwarted by a court when he tried to bring Schiavo under state protective custody. In a line that could be inserted straight in a civics textbook, the governor said: “I cannot go beyond what my powers are and I’m not going to do it.”

I have stated previously how much this case has affected me personally. I think this particular case has affected many people in this country in a very big way. I don’t know what the fallout is going to be when this is all over; but I know there will be fallout. My only hope is that it does not help the Democrat party in any way, shape or form. They cowardly hid under their desks watching this whole mess unfold. No matter what side of this debate you are on, they deserve nothing but our scorn.

Two Years in Iraq

I encourage you to read the whole article from Demomocracy in Iraq. Here are some excerpts:

Two years is about 730 days. In those days what have I seen. My eyes have seen more than I had ever hoped, more blood, more death and more pain, then I ever imagined or hoped I would have seen.In those days I have seen the worst of humanity, the animal that lives in all humanity, the ability of humanity to destroy at will others, and rob the life given to others by God almight himself. So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq acheived? These are questions I get a lot.

Ask him if it was worth it. Ask him what is different. Ask him if he would go through it again, go ahead ask him, ask me, many of you have.Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.Before March 20, 2003, we were in a dungeon. We did not see the light. Saddam Hussain was crushing Iraq’s spirit slowly, we longed for his end, but knew we could not challenge him, or his diabolical seed who would no doubt follow him and continue his generation of hell on Earth.

Since then, we now have hope. Hope is not a tangible thing, but it is something, it is more than being blinded by darkness, by being stuck in a mental pit without any future.