Strange Bedfellows

I’ve been debating on whether to post this link, as it is likely to ruffle feathers, but I believe the author has a very valid point. I also believe that we need India as a political ally, not just an economic one. The history of the relationship between the US, Pakistan, and India is founded in bitterness and old grudges, and it is high time that we re-evaluate who we view as ideological partners and who is diametrically opposed to our values and way of life. The answer is India, and NOT Pakistan. Pakistan’s current regime is duplicitous at best, and at worse, an active enemy working to undermine our efforts to create an open and free society in Afghanistan.

Cheering Pakistan’s missile test | The Acorn.

…But the point is that even Saudi Arabia will be a little more worried than it already is. Now imagine if Pakistan’s missiles were capable of reaching Japan, Russia, Western Europe and, err, the continental United States.

India’s leaders have been scared of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons for three decades now. They are already beyond the point where they can be further scared. But the more Pakistan’s behaviour scares the leaders of other countries, not in indirect ways like a subcontinental war or through the export of terrorism, but in direct ways, the more they will see a need to tackle the military-jihadi complex that lies at its source. Few countries of the world, whether they admit it or not, are oblivious to military-jihadi complex’s use of nuclear weapons to shield its jihadi terrorists. If a direct nuclear threat is a high threshold risk, a nuclear blackmail has a relatively lower threshold of probability. (See That’s Washington’s problem)

The effect of all the stockpiling and all the launching by Pakistan will be to spread the risk among a wider group of nations. The quantum of risk India faces doesn’t change…but it will have others sharing similar risks albeit at a lower level. If the men in khaki in Rawalpindi think scaring the important powers of the world is in their interests then, to use a phrase I heard from Arun Shourie (but attributed to Napoleon) we must not interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake.

So let’s join them in cheering the Pakistani military-jihadi complex on the successful launch of Hatf-4/Shaheen1A missile—incidentally a gift from the Clinton Administration—and encourage them to acquire missiles with ever greater ranges. (There’s a small question of whether China will sell them this stuff, but let’s not be curmudgeonly and discredit the scientific talent in Pakistan.)

 

Recently the third US-India Strategic Dialogue took place, and the relationship between India and Pakistan will be a key part of that dialogue, although I doubt anything of substance will result, as they are as likely to cooperate as the Palestinians and the Israelis. Then again, why should they? How can you cooperate with an opponent whose only goal is the absence of you, in the universe? As with most conflicts, it isn’t the populace that pose a threat, it is those in control: the religious extremists, the military, and the autocracy. Whether it is Iran, North Korea, or Pakistan, the people do not have freedom of knowledge, much less freedom of speech. Pakistan is notorious for allowing its religious minority to make policy and control the direction of the country, and that direction veers farther and farther from representative government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

India has had numerous incidents of terrorist activities, and most are attributed to Pakistan. We, the US and India, both have a vested interest in seeing Pakistan’s militant extremist removed from power and discredited. There is a small but vocal group of expatriate Pakistanis who desperately want to see Pakistan become a modernized and free country. I believe it should be the goal of every nation, but then I am an idealist.

Dedicated to anyone deployed

…and anyone who has fought for our country. But most of all to my pal, Jeffrey, somewhere at an FOB in Afghanistan.


Deep in the ocean, dead and cast away,
where innocence is burned… in flames.
A million mile from home, I’m walking ahead.
I’m frozen to the bones, I am.

A soldier on my own, I don’t know the way.
I’m riding up the heights… of shame.
I’m waiting for the call, the hand on the chest.
I’m ready for the fight… and fate.

The sound of iron shots is stuck in my head.
The thunder of the drums dictates
the rhythm of the falls, the number of deaths,
the rising of the horns… ahead.

From the dawn of time to the end of days,
I will have to run… away.
I want to feel the pain and the bitter taste…
of the blood on my lips… again.

This steady burst of snow is burning my hands.
I’m frozen to the bones, I am.
A million mile from home, I’m walking away.
I can’t remind your eyes, your face.

h/t Ghost of a Flea who first introduced me to it.

Book plug for an Iraqi Freedom veteran

Stryker: The Siege of Sadr City.

Stryker is a first-hand account of what happened in those streets during the final battle for Baghdad. It began as a confession, a letter to old friends, and an attempt to confront the things that I had experienced. My initial goal was to shed some light on what happened, the things I had to do, and why I’ll never be the same. As the project unfolded, however, it turned out that there was much more at stake than my own well-being…

The link is to his website, but it also automatically opens up his Kickstarter page, which actually has a concise description of what the book is about. So don’t have kittens if it opens up on you, even if it is a bit annoying. Turn on your j-script blocker, and it’ll go away.

H/T/ Bittersweetme

Scam Alert: Veteran Charity

IRS forms show charity’s money isn’t going to disabled vets – CNN.com.

CNN Highlights:

  • Tax records for the Disabled National Veterans Foundation show $55.9 million in donations
  • Almost none of that money has been provided to American veterans
  • It has also provided useless donations, including over 11,000 bags of M&Ms to one charity
  • The DNVF did not respond to repeated questions from CNN

This is another example of how charities scam good people who believe they are contributing to a worthy cause.

http://www.charitywatch.org/ is a good organization to find out the percentage of donations that are actually going directly to the people they are supposed to be helping. You can also go directly to the IRS website and do a 501c status verification of all non-profit organization. Just because it claims to be a 501c, doesn’t mean that they are officially recognized as such. Always be careful, and do your due diligence before giving your hard-earned money away. You may be better off calling your local VA office and asking if there is a way to directly support homeless veterans, or families who are in dire straits. This way, you know for certain exactly what the money is going to be used for.

The independent group CharityWatch gave the DVNF an “F” grade. More than 30 veterans charities were rated by the independent group by the amount they spend on fundraising compared to actual donations, and two-thirds were given either a D or F grade, according to CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff.

“Up to $2 billion is raised in the name of veterans in this country and it’s so sad that a great deal of it’s wasted,” Borochoff said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars of our charitable dollars intended to help veterans is being squandered and wasted by opportunists and by individuals and companies who see it as a profit-making opportunity.”

This goes for every type of charity out there, regardless of how pious and sympathetic they may come across.

When approached by a CNN crew at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Disabled National Veterans president Precilla Wilkewitz rebuffed questions.

“Well, this is the Veterans of Foreign Wars and I really didn’t think you’d do something like this and we’ve agreed to talk to you … answer your questions,” she said, standing in the entranceway to her office.

Wilkewitz is the former national legislative liaison for the VFW, which is not directly tied to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

She said she would answer questions only in writing, but so far CNN has received no response.

Congratulations Precilla Wilkewitz! You are the latest winner of the Order of the Douchebag Award. I commend you on your singularly unethical behavior, as well as the bottomless pit of avarice that allows you to divert donations meant for homeless and wounded veterans. I look forward to numerous SEC and IRS investigations and the destruction of all that you have worked so hard to “achieve,” to include your personal assets and career options.

Meritorious Order of The Douchebag

It doesn’t count if you need to be shamed into doing a good thing.

Spirit caves: Airline boss to refund dying veteran’s fare | Fox News.

Dying Vietnam veteran Jerry Meekins is getting his money back from Spirit Airlines’ tightfisted boss after all.

After a week of criticism from veterans around the nation, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza issued a statement Friday afternoon saying he would personally refund Meekins’ $197 airfare, and that the discount carrier would make a $5,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.

To think how much good publicity he could have generated, if he’d just done the right thing in the first place. What an asshat. I know for a fact that other airlines will cancel your ticket if you have a doctor’s note. It’s just good business, especially when you are transporting hundreds of people, in a flying germ canister. Do you really want a medical emergency on your flight? Isn’t that going to cost you even more money, if you have to turn around,or stop, for a sick individual? Fine you’re a discount carrier, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have sound business practices or recognize a PR nightmare when it steps on your dick.

Ben Baldanza you are a fucking douchebag of the highest order. I may have to figure out how to create an award for tools such as this. The order of the douchebag.

Update: By Congressional Mandate (meaning me, myself, and I), Ben Baldanza is hereby awarded the Meritorious Order of the Douchebag

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On the Measure of Man

While searching around the Intertubes for positive stories, about US Military and Allies forces service-personnel, I am (more often than not) confronted by a verbal avalanche about the true nature of man (i.e. people who serve in the military). Hell, there was a particularly hilarious episode of Community that dealt with this subject.  Matthew Modine waxed poetic about the duality of man in Full Metal Jacket, and I, myself, was prone to a sense of superiority what with the internal monologue on the dichotomy dwelling within my own psyche. I’m not quite as pleased with myself now, as I was when I was 20 going on immortality.

I suppose this blog can be seen as a way to make peace with the dichotomy that I’ve never been able to parse. Then again, if the gods can’t be happy with just one facet, why should I have to be?  The two-faced Roman god, Janus, represents opposites in the nature of the Universe, and the multiple aspects of Shiva, a Hindu god is both destruction and creation, along with chaos and balance. The Christian god is equally contentious in aspect and demeanor; historically wars have been fought over The Truth; some would have him vengeful, others loving, and many more debate whether he is a god of justice or apathy. While, I refuse to turn this article into a religious debate (and no I am not interested in what your personal beliefs are), we are currently fighting a war with an enemy who believes that winning this war is a path to righteousness and paradise. They don’t have a monopoly on that belief, but then there-in lies the contradiction, and finally leads to my point.

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