I could continue with dozens of other inconsistencies
Wed Sep 12, 2007 16:46

I could continue with dozens of other inconsistencies, but instead
I'll close on this note.

1) Who in the mainstream media is asking these, and other, pertinent
questions? No one!
2) Who in the Pentagon is answering these questions? No one!
3) Finally, who in the Pentagon has been made accountable for the Air
Force stand-down? Again, no one!

Do you think it's time that we FORCE our government and the media to
start addressing these issues? I do.

Air Force 60th anniversary celebration set for Sept. 18

By Christine Harrison
Dispatch editor

-- Air Force graphic

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In 1947, the proceedings of Congress were first televised, Jackie
Robinson became the first African American to play professional
baseball and the Army Air Corps became the Air Force.

In honor of the Air Force's 60th anniversary this year, the
Maxwell-Gunter community will come together Sept. 18 to pay homage to
Air Force warriors past and present, as well as Air Force families.

The celebration revolves around two, large-scale events: an Air Force
heritage relay race beginning at 6 a.m. will pit large unit teams
against one another; and a 60th birthday festival in Air Park that
will run from 3 to 7 p.m.

The relay race will utilize a one-mile course on Maxwell. Runners will
begin in the shadow of the static B-52 display next to Air Park, turn
left onto the academic circle road, trace along the boundaries of the
Squadron Officer College lodging complex, before heading back to the
B-52 start/finish line.

Each race team will be responsible for advancing a colored vest around
the course a total of 60 times, thereby achieving 60 miles of running
in recognition of the anniversary.

For the past several weeks, unit coordinators have been assembling
large teams - in some cases 40 to 50 people - that will share the
running load together. According to relay race organizers, the
response for far has been outstanding, with as many as 18 relay teams
expected to compete. The winning team will receive a large trophy from
the Air University commander at the birthday festival, and team
members will be allocated a one day pass at the discretion of their
unit commander.

According to Air University's event organizer, the run is significant
for several reasons.

"It's a competition and we expect that unit pride will be on display,"
Maj. David Stringer said. "But the run is also about getting as many
people to participate as possible so we can send a message about how
important Air Force heritage is to us, and how much we value those who
make sacrifices along the way."

The entire community becomes involved in the program when the 60th
Birthday Festival kicks off at 3 p.m. in Air Park, the open area just
north of the cadet pool. Vendors and a kids' fun zone, including a
bouncy castle and rock wall, will be set up.

Live music by a local cover band will entertain the crowd from 4:30
p.m. until the fireworks show at the end of the night. The Sweet Young
'Uns cover dozens of contemporary rock bands. Organizers invite
everyone to bring lawn chairs, blankets and coolers to make themselves

Part of the festival is an award presentation and retreat ceremony
that will begin at 4 p.m. The Commander of Air University Lt. Gen.
Stephen Lorenz and the 42nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Paul
McGillicuddy will address the crowd and recognize the victorious relay

Air Force warriors past and present will then be honored with a
rendition of Amazing Grace performed by an Air Force Reserve bagpiper.
Next, a formation from the Officer Training School will conduct a
retreat ceremony as the Sweet Adelines quartet will sing the National
Anthem. A fly over will cap the ceremony, and birthday cake will be

>From there, festival activities will continue, including prize
give-a-ways for those in attendance. Finally, at 7 p.m., a
professional fireworks display will light up the sky behind the static

During the event, a shuttle service will be available from the north
parking lot of Bldg. 804.

Due to the relay run, there will a number of lane closures around Air
Park and the SOC lodging complex Sept. 18. The northbound lane of 2nd
Street, from the main gym to Sycamore Street, will be closed until 4
p.m. Therefore, any traffic destined for the north side of base
(Officer Training School, lodging, academic circle) will need to take
Poplar Street (alongside Air Park) northbound to the circle road in
order to get there. Because Poplar Street will be northbound only, any
traffic originating from the north side to leave will need to exit via
the southbound lane of 2nd Street.

Additional traffic advisories will be published in the Base Bulletin
beginning next week.

Lanes around the SOC lodging complex and along 2nd Street will reopen
by 4 p.m.

At that time, however, addition barricades will go up around Air Park,
completely blocking off Washington Ferry Road, Poplar Street, and the
circle road along the northern edge of the park.


Coming To A State Near You: Blackwater Air Force

As if having them run around Iraq like loose cannons wasn't bad
enough, Blackwater is building an Air Force. Via Scholars & Rogues:

Security company Blackwater U.S.A. is buying Super Tucano light combat
aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. These five ton,
single engine, single seat aircraft are built for pilot training, but
also perform quite well for counter-insurgency work.... The bubble
canopy provides excellent visibility. This, coupled with its slow
speed (versus jets), makes it an excellent ground attack aircraft.

Now why would the good patriots at Blackwater need airplanes that "can
carry up to 1.5 tons of weapons, including 12.7mm machine-guns, bombs
and missiles"? For their missions in Iraq, of course. Because, you
know, the world's largest military merely owning everything that flies
over a third-world country isn't enough in the way of air superiority.

My first thought was that this had to do with the Administration's
almost promised plans to invade Iran. (Please please please please
please please please PLEASE don't do that! I can hope, can't I?) How
else are we supposed to keep Iraq's friendly skies safe while we're
shocking and aweing the mullahs? But there's an even more awful
prospect for these "excellent ground attack aircrafts." Here's Jeremy
Scahill, Blackwater expert and biographer:

Blackwater's been in negotiations with several state governments in
the United States. Blackwater met recently with California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger about doing disaster response in California.
They're opening up a new private military base in San Diego. Another
one is in Mount Carroll, Illinois. They have applied for operating
licenses in every coastal U.S. state.

That's right, folks: the U.S. military whose expenditures are almost
half of the total military spending worldwide needs private military
bases in the United States for some reason.

What might that reason be? Perhaps it has something to do with
National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51, which lays out
exactly how the Executive Branch would run the entire government in
the event of a "Catastrophic Emergency," which could be anything from
a terrorist attack to the next Katrina, as far as the ambiguous
wording of the directive is concerned:

"Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location,
that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or
disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure,
environment, economy, or government functions

Meanwhile, the clergy is being enlisted to keep citizens in line in
the event of a declaration of martial law. Is it really a coincidence
that a private company with close ties to the GOP is arming itself
with attack planes just at the moment when the President is laying the
groundwork for extraordinary wartime powers? The calmer side of me
says, "hold judgment." I just can't help but see a mercenary force of
palace guards looming in the not-too-distant future.

Should it come to that, I hope Machiavelli's thoughts on mercenaries
will prove valid:

Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one
holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor
safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline,
unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have
neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is
deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by
them, and in war by the enemy.

Aw, but who am I kidding? If we've learned anything from the Iraq War
it's that we can be robbed by mercenaries in war as well.
UPDATE: I've clarified my position re: conspiracy theories. Yes, this
probably means I'll get some angry responses and self-righteous
condemnations, but it seems that it had to be done.



More on Mercenaries; and Moron Conspiracies
Gee, publish one item indicating the possibility that the
powers-that-be are comin' to getcha, and you wouldn't believe who
comes out of the woodwork. Prior to publishing my piece on
Blackwater's Air Force and some other things that scare me, I had
gotten maybe 1500 or so hits during the entire life of this blog, many
of which were me, chacking how many hits I've had. I'm now pushing 10,000.

Most of them seem to have come here via the website of Jeff Rense, who
is apparently fond of accusing the Jews of training chupacabras to
implant radio sensors in the brains of neocons so that they won't leak
the truth about Roswell, which is the site of ancient Atlantis. Or
something like that. So let this be a lesson to you newbie bloggers:
if you want to be read, publish a conspiracy theory.

I've received a few comments on the Blackwater story, most of which
either accuse Blackwater of pushing the zionist agenda or the
christianist agenda. One favorite ties Allah with the god of ancient
Atlantis, which is just so amazingly far out there (read the Timaeus
and the Critias some time: Socrates made up the city of Atlantis for
the sake of argument) that I had to read it a few times to trace the
mental leaps. I've seen what happens when you engage cranks (if you
don't know what that is or how to spot one, check out the denialism
blog and their Denialists' Deck of Cards for a humorous look at the
phenomenon) so I'll avoid that here.

But there was a comment worth responding to at length, from a
"Canadian Looking Dispassionately At The American Experience":
The problem with this article is it shows EXCESSIVE bias towards
paramilitary groups which is what Blackwater is. Bias is good becuase
it is an opinion, but excessive bias is fanaticism in its own right.

The author should also know that they are NOT generally disunited,
unambitious and lacking discipline, unfaithful, unvaliant before
friends, nor are they cowardly before enemies since the majority of
Blackwater Associates have already been in service as Navy Seals, Army
Rangers, Ex-Delta Forces, British SAS, etc. They're neither stupid nor
untrained and in many cases DO IN FACT do their JOBS with
professionalism and tact!

It does help to focus one's mind that 100 Grand A year + bonus is
yours if you just DO YOUR DAMN JOB but many join Blackwater because
they LIKE being professional soldiers and like the lifestyle. So you
don't always have to rail against Blackwater since they do provide a
useful service in uncivil times and being paid much more than regular
forces can be sent to do the "Dirty Jobs" no one else wants to do!

Well yes, of course my piece is biased. It's my opinion, which is
subject to change. Whether my bias is "excessive" or not is another
story. I've spent nearly two years of my life in Iraq, and I have
encountered many an employee of Blackwater and the other security
firms who have security contracts here. (Technically speaking I'm a
mercenary, even though I'm not even authorized to carry a weapon.)

Have I found that they are disunited, unambitious, lacking discipline,
unfaithful, etc.? That's really an individual thing. They often, as my
Canadian interlocutor asserts with a bit too many capital letters, "in
many cases DO IN FACT do their JOBS with professionalism and tact."
I'll admit, they do tend to be patriotic Americans, but that can take
many forms. One form is the one that many on the Right take, which
asserts that patriotism means following the President no matter what.
They accuse those who protest the current state of American society of
anti-Americanism. Many Blackwater contractors share this opinion.
Actually, it's been my experience that this opinion is the default one
among many sectors in Iraq, as this post indicates. I don't doubt that
these people are patriots, but I'm really disturbed by the prospect of
them flying around our country in military aircraft designed for close
ground support.

I'm disturbed by the prospect of anyone doing that, though.

For most of the Blackwater types I've met, this definitely describes
them: "they LIKE being professional soldiers and like the lifestyle."
Sure they do--that's why they took a high-paying job to come over
here. I do take issue with the "they're all former SEALs and Green
Berets line, though: a good rule of thumb is that when someone claims
to have been in Special Forces and starts telling stories about it,
they're lying. The actual SOF guys I've known have tended to not brag
much at all. The Blackwater guys I've known can't shut up about how
awesome they are. A close friend who once worked for Blackwater told
me that they all claim to have had some sort of high speed career, but
most of them turn out to have been garden-variety infantrymen who
served, it should be noted, in the 80's and 90's, when there wasn't
much combat to be had.

Returning to my point, Blackwater is the closest thing we have to a
Foreign Legion, and that should worry anyone who is concerned about
civil liberties, if for no other reason that foreign legions, if they
must exist at all, ought to be limited in their scope to foreign
countries. I think my commenter hits the nail on the head when he says
that they "can be sent to do the "Dirty Jobs" no one else wants to
do." That's what scares me about them. Sure, right now they're all
fighting the fight that our elected officials have sent Americans to
fight. No matter how much deceit went into getting us into this war,
Congress did, in fact, declare this war, and the President is our
Commander in Chief. But what happens when that mission changes? Will
our legislative branch have any say whatsoever in any domestic
missions a Blackwater would conduct during peacetime? There's no
reason to suspect that they would. In that case, they would be an
armed wing of whoever paid them, in this case the Executive Branch of
the United States government. Need I remind my readers that there is
no provision in the constitution for such a thing?

Those "dirty jobs" are dirty not just because no one wants to do them,
but also because they are in many cases illegal and the military can't
do them. I'm one of those people who likes the fact that there are
defined limits to the scope of what the military of a Constitutional
Republic can do. That's why I find the Blackwater phenomenon
dangerous, and that is why I think my short discussion of NSPD-51 is

And for the record, I suspect that many Blackwater Paramilitary Troops
would go AWOL rather than provide close air support to the suppression
of, say, an anti-WTO demonstration. But do we really want to trust the
individual consciences of these people to protect us should they ever
be given

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