The RAAF F111C are still flying after 38 years but in todays Australian they are reaching their use-by date. Non military readers may be concerned that our bomber force is comprised of middle-age aircraft but don’t believe that everything old is bad. (The conservative in me loves saying that). The USAF’s B52s enlisted in 1955 and you could have meaningfull conversations with Saddams Republican Guards as to how effective they are. Menzies, the Prime Minister in the 60s, placed orders for the F111s to combat Indonesia’s rumblings as ‘Bung’ Sukarno tried to deflect public opinion from economic worries by overworking the ‘War’ word – as you do. They worked. Just sitting on the tarmac at RAAF Amberly was a sufficient deterrant to all expansionists in South-East Asia. And get this; The aircraft was unpopular with officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs who lived with criticism from diplomats that, in all South-East Asia, only Australia possessed a warplane which could reach foreign shores. Get real, chaps, that is what it was all about. I hoped they smiled smugly when this obvious point was raised. Not only can it reach foreign shores but it was developed to fly from mainland US to China, drop a nuke and then fly back home again, so it’s umbrella covers all of South-East Asia. The USAF has demobbed their F111s giving Australia a ‘Cash Converters’ type shopping mall that will enable us to keep the fleet airborne for years at ‘competitive’ rates. In the article much is made of new ‘stealth’ technology the US have deployed with their new strike aircraft but it is expensive and I can tell you an aircraft flying at mach 2.5 with ground hugging radar is a difficult target; considering that when the enemy are first aware of the bombs, the F111, using ‘smart bomb’ technology, is half way home. The Australian Defence Forces struggle as politicians and defence heads try and get more bang for the buck. In this article what isn’t mentioned, is the years of bludging as Australia’s decreasing spending on defence was rationalized by multi-coloured’ papers, most common – White Papers. These papers promised no-one was about to attack and therefore we can cut back on Infantry battalions, new tanks and new aircraft. Us proffessional officers argued ‘one day the rent will fall due’ and it has. No-one anticipated the world as it exists today and if they did, they were laughed out of the conference room. Now, where are the Infantry Battalions, new tanks etc when we need them? Circulating from Government coffers to Arts funding, dole payments, single mother supporting pensions and a host of other social necessities that are needed in a caring society but have we balanced all our expenditure responsibilities? No! For every year we didn’t spend responsibly on defence we need to make it up. If for ten years our defence expenditure was 1.5% of GDP when 2% is reaonable, then lifting 2004 to 2% doesn’t begin to catch up. We need a big hit of 10 time .5 to get back in the game. Yesterday in Jakarta, Jemaah Islamiah announce that they are still playing the game, are we?
Retired infantry officer. Conservative by nature and politics; Happily married and father and grandfather of eight. Loves V8 powered Range Rovers, Golden Retrievers, good books and technology and think there should be open season on Greenies. Born in the mid forties and overdue for servicing but most parts still work.
Wired, has a fascinating article on anti-gravity machines. I picked up this site from Yobbo but find it of sufficient interest to do a post myself on the subject. Reading it, it makes one wonder just how much is there, out in the big world, that is about to change our lives. Maths crunching, the base of most of society’s inventions, becomes easier as computers increase their capabilities. Considering computers are the only man-made invention that are used to create their own next generation, the possibilty of exponential development is huge.
The Prime Minister rules out supporting ‘Gay Marriages’ Way to go John. Stick with it. Same sex relationships are just that – relationships. Marriage is between a couple, male and female, for the purpose of procreation and providing a secure base for the next generation. Relationships, including ones legaly defined, certainly don’t need to borrow ‘Marriage’ as a base. Why do a small proportion of society feel a need to change that? Maybe they fight to get ‘alternative’ lifestyles accepted as the norm. Well it isn’t, they aren’t and never will be. This is not an anti-gay post as I’m happy to accept ‘different stroke for different folks’ but hey, us hetro’s thought up marriage – you think up something else.
I took my wife to Brisbane International Airport this morning to send her on her way to London. Time allocated for check-in and then coffee and last minute instructions on how to live, put out garbage etc. Not to be. A large family in the check-in queue refuse to pay baggage excess. The airline refuse to accept the excess baggage. Impass! For twenty minutes the whole queue is held to ransome and static as these arrogant, tight arse, unable to cope with world standards, bastards, sit tight. The queue fumes and the men of swarthy middle east complexions and women all with scarves over their heads do untold damage to the reputation of their kind. We are left with 12 minutes to say goodbye. By the time I buy coffee I end up finishing the cup by myself as my Bride is summonsed for boarding.
With two daughters in London, the bride has been pushing to go visit and this week she won her case. I think I’ve been subjected to a conspiracy of Gillett women and even though I’m an old soldier I didn’t see it coming. Next Tuesday she flies via Air Bruinei to London, bunks with the girls and conducts a recce for our trip next year. I expect a full reconnaisance report but of course won’t get it – she’s not staff trained and never studied Staff Writing in the Field Chapter 4: Recce Reports. The girls are all a tizz and are making grandiose plans about shackling Mother to the kitchen in the London bed-sit until she produces roast lamb dinners and spagbog suppers. I hope they let her out. Never mind, this frees me up to travel south to Wagga Wagga, NSW for the 38th anniversary reunion of 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. I made a reservation at a motel in Wagga and in speaking to the receptionist suggested she speak to management about having counsellors booked to help the staff handle the trauma of hundreds of visiting Veterans. She laughed but later I thought, well maybe we aren’t a threat anymore. Recently I travelled to Yepoon, Queensland, and while there dropped in and had coffee (later rum) with an old friend from those days, “Doc’ Savage. In April 1970 my friend ‘Doc’, commanding an ambush patrol of 12 men, held back about fifty Viet Cong from midnight to dawn. Gratefull for help from Australian and US air and artillery support this doesn’t detract from the fact that the battle is fought on the ground and those guys soldiered magnificently for those six hours. When I visited ‘Doc’ mid afternoon, he was taking a nap! I guess we slow down. As an aside, when I surf the net, I often come across references to this little battle as War Gamers try and re-enact what we actuallly were obliged to do. I feel sorry for them – but not too much. In 1970 I commanded a patrol in a recce platoon. The eyes of the Battalion, we would be remote and miles from support. We could cut track anywhere, recognize the passage of enemy by the way the rain settled on the leaves and judge which way he went by the lie of the vegetation. Now, the most common form of communication between my wife and myself starts with, “Have you seen my reading glasses?. These thoughts, coupled with the unkindest cut of all, old friends refering to me as the ‘Grey Ghost’, brings home the truth of mortality. AT Wagga, after a couple of beers, will we care? Hell no! The battles will be bigger, better fought and all conclusive victories. The bar will be knee deep with shrapnel and hand grenade pins and if you don’t like this type of testosterone charged environment then stay away from Wagga. If any Wontok bloggers are in town then you’ll find me at the RSL (Ex-services Club) After the reunion I intend to travel south to Melbourne to visit old mates and cousins and then head north to Mt Buller where my eldest daughter and her chap are the staff nurses at the medical centre. At least I think they work there but all photos to date have a ski holday look about them. The astute reader/viewer will note one common thread in the photos – cold and definitely not what comes to mind when foreigners think of Australia. The zero temperatures reported at Wagga pose no risk as bars, dining halls and motel rooms have reverse cycle airconditioners but I dread the cold of Mt Buller. Maybe my kinder knows of a warm bar – I hope so. I’m not leaving for a week yet but as I travel I will post via any unattended computer I find.
Sam at Yobbo makes a point about US soldiers using trickery to achieve their aim. He thinks its reasonable but Tim Dunlop argues its immoral. In the original article from the Washington Post Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: “If you want your family released, turn yourself in.” Such tactics are justified, he said, because, “It’s an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info.” They would have been released in due course, he added later. Sam’s comment – Tim, with all due respect, neither of us have ever fought in a war is relevant. Unless you have been there and done it, it is unwise to comment so adamantly about these matters. An old Army expression talks about Johnny on the Spot being the best man to make the decisions. This rule says to the armchair generals and inexperienced commentators “if you don’t know the whole story – shut up! The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered. Good tactics. No one was hurt, particularly the soldiers taking the risks, and the bad guy was captured. Aims met, move on. On a similar thread, Orpheus, writing from Iraq and quoted at Chief Wiggles has something to say on the subject of reporting from the war zone. Orpheus quotes an article from the London Times and states The only words for the journalist’s work are willful deception, misrepresentation of information, and deliberate intellectual sabotage. In the article in question, the journalist goes on about the poor Iraqi prisoners being held in tents where the temperature exceded 120 degrees. Orpheus replies; Spoken of are prisoners who are held in tents with temperatures reaching “up to 122 degrees” with no relief. There’s a reason why it’s 122 degrees inside the tent, and that’s because the outside ambient temperature is 131, and there are precisely the same temperatures in my tent, and every soldier’s tent in this country. I know well what it is to wake up in the morning lying in a pool of sweat that the taut material of my cot cannot absorb. There are soldiers even now who don’t have tents to provide shade, who are rationed two MREs a day, who preciously horde their allotment of water, trying to figure out how keep enough water in their bodies when anything they drink immediately sweats out. For well over two months at the camp here, latrines consisted of ditches with wooden planks and tubes half-buried in the sand for urinals. Which goes to prove anybody can pen words to make the soldier look bad. In previous wars the soldiers have not had to put up with journalists questioning every move made in a sub-unit, say a platoon or rifle company. In war soldiers are obliged to do things that normal society would consider an afront to polite behaviour but folks, that is the nature of war and if some rules are bent to maintain the aim then so be it. If it gets hot at your favourite coffee joint you can seek airconditioning; the soldier can’t and where you rationalize the soldier’s poor behaviour from the cooler corner of the coffee shop with the biggest risk you face being an inexperienced cappucino maker; the soldier is being fired at, he is fearful of his life, he misses his wife/mother/girlfriend/mates at the pub. He is working under these conditions all day from sunup to sundown and at nights it gets worse. A word to journalists and commentators – get off the soldiers back. If you have a bitch then direct it at the politicians.
I must be IT challenged as I can’t get archives up and running. Blogger ignores my help desk query. I’m desperate, so desperate that I’m prepared to forego decades of being a tight arse. I’ll pay. email me (link top right) and solve my problem.
Militants are ready to give up arms They also want to forward allegations of alleged government corruption to investigating officers of the intervention force. “We want the intervention forces to come and observe this,” said Mr Rasta. “We want to make a lasting peace for Solomon Islands.” Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza has said if any evidence of wrongdoing was found against him, he was prepared to face the courts. Meanwhile the Royal Australian Navy bolsters it’s strength. Four new ships, Oh OK – boats, will join HMAS Manoora Arrival of Australian patrol boat HMAS Whyalla overnight, the first of the four new ships, came as the force prepared to set-up bases outside Honiara to continue the mission to restore law and order in the troubled nation. A spokeswoman for the intervention force said the arrival of the Whyalla “adds considerably” to the capability of the intervention force, which would be joined by three more Australian navy craft later this week. Mine hunter HMAS Hawkesbury will be tasked as a patrol boat, while landing craft HMAS Wewak and HMAS Labuan will be used to transport stores and equipment. The ADF is stretched too thin. I trust PNG doesn’t fall into the abyss until after the Solomon Islands matter is stabalized.
This from a Wontok in Texas explains it all so simply. Life is easier for me now – I have seen the light! The division of the human family into its two distinct branches, liberals and conservatives, occurred some 20,000 years ago. Until then all humans coexisted as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. A thousand generations ago, in the pivotal event of societal evolution, beer was invented. This epochal innovation was both the foundation of modern civilization and the occasion of the great bifurcation of humanity into its two distinct subgroups. Continue reading “How It All Began“
Morally questionable – tactically sound. Display the pictures of Uday and Queday’s dead bodies or the poor Iraqi’s will never, never tell about WMDs. Until they see the photos they will always be terrified that the animals will come back to kill and torture them. So the US displayed the photos and was this predictable or not; DUBAI (Reuters) – Televised images of the bodies of Saddam Hussein’s sons shocked many Arabs on Friday, who said it was un-Islamic to exhibit corpses, however much the brothers were loathed. It must be un-Islamic to show images of Islamic corpses only. Displaying Images of non-Islamic corpses is obviously OK. American soldiers dead on a concrete floor, their bodies manhandled by grinning Iraqis, broadcast repeatedly on Al Jazeera Television. American soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Images of dead Israelis after suicide bombings, lovingly lingered over on Arab web sites and in Arab newspapers and magazines. Palestinian “collaborators” forced to “confess” on camera, then executed, their bodies strung up in a public square. Jihad videotapes showing Russian soldiers being decapitated while still alive. Daniel Pearl. And of course Reuters reports this stunningly two-faced hypocritical garbage with no context whatsoever. The post at LGF solicited 96 comments from angry people and do you blame them? Go read some of them.