Archive of Mar 2009

31.03.09
“Incurious” Former President = “Masterful” in Iraq Surge?

In a review of Tom Ricks’ new book The Gamble, Josh Trevino highlights so-called “transitional figures” who played important roles in the implementation of the Iraq “surge” strategy that helped turn the tide against extremists. “The most surprising — and least discussed — transitional figure in The Gamble is President George W. Bush,” Trevino writes: [...]

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31.03.09
Replacements too Pricey for Death-Trap Choppers

The Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout chopper was always a compromise aircraft. Too small, under-powered and under-armored for its mission, Kiowa Warriors have struggled to survive murderous ground fire and unforgiving weather conditions in Iraq. Eighteen of the old choppers were shot down in just the first two years of the war. Today, as a [...]

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30.03.09
Wired.co.uk: One Giant Leap for Robot Space Marines

Wired.com has launched a new U.K. edition, edited by Holden Frith. I wrote two pieces for the launch. The first revisits my favorite far-out idea: Space Marines! In one of Aliens‘ most exciting scenes, Colonial Marines assault the alien-infested planet LV426 from an orbiting spaceship. The ship drops a lander, which swoops to the planet’s [...]

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30.03.09
Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game

Wired.com has launched a new U.K. edition, edited by Holden Frith. I wrote two pieces for the launch. The second examines the Royal Navy’s role in fighting pirates. After hitting the headlines last year, successful pirate attacks have been on the wane in the early months of 2009, despite the recent failed attack on a [...]

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30.03.09
F-22s versus Russia’s Rusting, Ramshackle Air Force (Updated)

Air power is a relative thing. If your enemies’ air forces are all inferior to yours, it doesn’t matter whether your planes represent the absolute cutting edge of technology. More to the point: there is little chance that any world air force, besides the U.S. Air Force, will develop and build significant numbers of stealthy [...]

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30.03.09
U.S. General: Darfur No-Fly Zone Not “Developed”

Let’s be perfectly clear about this: deploying Western forces to establish a no-fly zone over Darfur is a bad idea, and would only further entangle foreign powers in a war in which they have no clear interest. Not to mention, the logistics and rules-of-engagement would be nightmares. Fortunately, the U.S. Air Force doesn’t seem terribly [...]

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30.03.09
Kyle’s Links 3/30/09

* Patriot missiles deployed to downtown Tokyo * Pirates attack German naval supply ship off Somalia * The drug war in Mexico * Fighters reported to escort Al-Bashir to Arab League conference * Chinese pilot awarded medal for saving malfunctioning J-10

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30.03.09
Former FARC Hostage: Boredom Was “Painful”

Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes and Keith Stansell — Americans working for Northrop Grumman — were on a counter-narcotics mission in Colombia in February 2003 when their plane crashed. The three, and several Colombians, were captured by leftist FARC rebels. Five years later, U.S. intelligence helped pinpoint the rebels’ location. Colombian commandos disguised as aid workers [...]

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29.03.09
Coast Guard Saves Menagerie from N.D. Floods

Fargo, North Dakota was spared major flooding when the Red River crested at a lower level than expected. Not taking any chances, the Coast Guard deployed five helicopters, two airplanes and more than 100 people, and rescued 85 people, 14 dogs, 14 cats and three birds. That’s right: birds, presumably parrots or other caged pets. [...]

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29.03.09
Offiziere.ch: How Fast Is Fast Enough for the Navy’s New Warship?

In the late 1990s, the U.S. Navy decided it needed a small, cheap vessel to extended its reach into crowded, chaotic near-shore “littorals.” The result was the Littoral Combat Ship, a 3,000-ton warship roughly the size of a European corvette. The Navy contracted with two companies to build competing LCS designs: Lockheed Martin’s mono-hull USS [...]

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27.03.09
Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Focuses on Pakistan, Ignores Tactical Problems

President Obama released his new Afghanistan strategy today, promising an extra 4,000 troops (in addition to the 17,000 reinforcements he’s already sent) and a renewed effort to enlist the support of U.S. allies. But most importantly, the Obama strategy calls for expanding our war effort to include greater focus on Pakistan. “We must recognize the [...]

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27.03.09
Border Drone Aids N.D. Flood Response

As the Red River swells and threatens to flood Fargo, North Dakota, the National Guard is deploying and residents are preparing to flee. Overhead, monitoring the unfolding crisis, is a bule-and-gray painted Predator B drone (pictured) belonging to Customs and Border Protection. CBP’s Predator B, called Reaper in Air Force service, flies from Grand Forks [...]

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