The Long Tomorrow


Yes, I know…on Thursday, I said I’d start listing the characteristics of the contemporary environment ‘tomorrow‘…but between twins, sick animals and wife being home for the weekend, some things got nudged off to the side…the first instalment will come off the slips tonight…promise…

This is cool

mountain moto 2010

Following through on my resolve to renew old contacts, I rippled off a number of LinkedIn connection requests to LinkedIn members in my email address book. One of them runs a Christchurch-based company, FX Bikes which manufactures and distributes “…the world’s lightest off-road motorcycle, a superlight dirt bike that crosses over between motocross and mountain bike to form a totally new category of ‘mountain motorcycle’…” with an all-up weight of only 57kg – I’ve carried packs weighing that much!! I first came across the Mountain Moto in 2004 when the FX Bike New Zealand marketing tour came through Waiouru…as a former despatch rider on the trusty old XL250, many was the time when a ditch, log, fence or other easily climbable obstacle became a real war-stopper so I saw a real appeal in this new design from the start…unfortunately, I was somewhat alone in those thoughts and FX got a fairly cool reception from capability managers back then “…it’s just a mountain bike with an engine…!” Thus it is quite satisfying, five years on, to see that this is now “…Under evaluation by NZ Special Forces and Police Search and Rescue, under consideration by US Army…

The California Office

Man dogs

Michael Yon, has (finally) given up on bashing and gotten back into serious writing.

Two days ago, there was a series of coordinated IED attacks in Kandahar City “… Details still sketchy but the “Consolidated SITREP” indicates multiple explosions at 1937hrs. 1) BBIED at al-Jidad Market, vicinity Indian Embassy; 2) VBIED at Sarpoza prison incl SAFIRE/RPG; 3) SVBIED at Red Mosque; 4) VBIED Police HQ approx 20 KIA incl 12 ANP, 8 Unkn; 5) Attack PSS (type attack unkn); Total approx 30 KIA incl approx 20 ANP and 10 LN. 97th MPs responded. No known Coalition Casualties. HWY 1 closed to civilian traffic until further…” The bill to date stands around three dozen civilians and ANP – Afghans killing Afghans…

His latest Dispatch Man Dogs provides an interesting commentary on the technological contrasts of this conflict (with some stunning imagery) and also upon the true nature of suicide bombing…the abuse of fellow Afghans and Muslims by their own…this is not a ‘nice’ war as much as we try to distance ourselves from the realities and create a ‘no eggs broken’ omelette…

One comment on the Facebook page raises some interesting issues regarding metrics and combat indicators “…So sad – lives lived to kill or be killed. I’ve read Afghan women and their young daughters, in case of being raped and they survive, keep rat poison handy to commit suicide rather than endure humiliation…I’m also aware of use of a wide variety of drugs by the insurgents/suicide bombers to perpetuate Man Dog behaviors: epinephrine to embolden the bomber/shooter and squeeze out the last drop of blood in a “hyper”-pumping, dying heart, narcotics to dull the pain, speed, cocaine, etc…
Michael, the troops and you have encountered numerous weapons caches and young human shields on housetops. Any comments regarding drug caches and abuse among insurgents that pose an even more asymmetric aspect of war our honorable, decent troops face?…
” While we focus upon the IED trail to the left and right of the BANG, and the obvious components of bomber, bomb components, initiation devices, etc it may be that the dishonour/drug combination can be added to the list…

…and on NATO…

…Guaranteed that many troops who have served here will have sharp feelings/thoughts about some Coalition partners. Some partners get accolades — others would be better off at home. It’s not one big happy family over here. A lot of partners simply do not pull their weight, and you will see complaints do not always involve U.S. I’ve seen Italians complain about Spanish, and French complain about Italians, for instance. The Dutch say the Germans don’t pull their weight. (But the Dutch are leaving while the Germans are sending more troops.) We are lucky that NATO never faced a serious enemy because, fact is, we have very few credible partners. Most of the partners cannot fight. The Taliban will crush nearly all of them. If we left, and the rest of NATO gave it their very best effort, the Taliban likely would be driving captured NATO vehicles through Kabul within a couple years. The Taliban would blast these bases to smithereens if the U.S. were not defending against the rocket/mortar attacks. (Saw that in Iraq — U.S. bases got hit, but partner bases got pounded like pinatas.) This war has been an eye-opener. Most of our partners are weak. Pitifully weak...”

Portable books

I’ve been an Audible subscriber for almost 10 years and  been a believer in portable reading for a long time. One of the problems I have been grappling with for a while is the sheer bulk of information that comes across my desk these days. I find myself continually tempted to print out reports, articles, papers etc for reading away from the PC and so have a growing mountain of paper that can only be searched the old-fashioned way. Dean @ Travels with Shiloh is trying out a ‘nook‘ and so far it seems to be working well. I’d tried this with both iMate and Blackberry and found the experience of reading a PDF on such a small screen somewhat unsatisfying – I’ll be watching Dean’s experiment with interest…

Marines ‘get it’

Hardly any surprises there. Neptunus Lex comments on the Marines’ approach to COIN in Afghanistan where they are apparently creating some ripples in the pond of the ‘nice’ war…”…CENTCOM’s strategy is to protect population centers using the “oil spot” strategy of Baghdad. The Corps, on the other hand, is seeking to minimize the Taliban’s freedom to maneuver through vast swaths of otherwise uncontested battlespace outside the cities as they did in Anbar…” Good to see that at least someone sees the folly of the CENTCOM ‘Cursed Earth‘ strategy…

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