Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Quora collapsed: What was it like to be a soldier in Iraq?

The Quora Gestapo has collapsed my answer to "What was it like to be a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan?"  Because telling the truth about a horrible place is neither nice nor polite, I guess.  Truth is no defense to Leftists, of course.

Anywhere, here's my answer, in all its stream of consciousness glory:

Iraq, 2003–2004, 14 months. (This was my third war.)
It sucked, I’m glad I did it, I never want to do it again. I didn’t hate Arabs before I met them. Most disgusting people I’ve ever met, and I’ve been to over 40 countries, all around the world. Everything Evan Friend mentions in his answer, plus ubiquitous pedophilia - the curse that keeps on cursing. I had an eight year old boy try to sell me his little brother for “ficky-ficky”. MedCap missions routinely treated little boys for prolapsed colons. They don’t have anything remotely similar to what we Americans would describe as morality. Their moral code (the real one, not the formal one for company) consists of “Do whatever you want, as long as you don’t get caught.” Except for the rules of hospitality: if a man invited you into his home for tea, you were his guest and safe from harm. By him. While you were inside the house.
Arabs lie constantly, pointlessly. And they’re not even very good at it. They can’t shoot worth spit, which is why they use so many bombs. The vast majority of them don’t understand the concepts of self discipline, cooperation, courage, and loyalty. The one word that best describes the men is ‘craven’. On multiple occasions, companies of over a hundred Iraqi police or soldiers, armed with AKs and RPKs, in a reinforced concrete building with steel doors, would surrender to two or three men with pistols.
I will admit that I met one respectable, decent Iraqi man. Bravest, most dependable guy I ever met. He kept a PKM next to his door, and never went anywhere without a pistol. It was funny watching the kids, including the baby, pointedly not touch the loaded machine gun on the floor. His wife could really cook, too.
I had a different experience from most. I was on an independent CI/HUMINT team. That meant we got to run our own missions. It also means we got almost zero support from anybody. Our own command betrayed us at levels I really don’t want to go into here. It was fun tooling around with just two, soft sided HMMWV’s, one with a SAW on a cast-iron pedestal in the back, with a bench from an old truck tied to a slab of plywood for a rear-facing gunner’s seat. Sometimes, we talked some support guys into going out with us to be a third truck. There got to be a waiting list for that eventually, after they passed the word that we bought lunch and sodas out on the economy. The chicken was some of the best I’ve had outside Peru. (Never eat the fish over there. Or the vegetables - they wash them with their own water, which has been polluted for all of recorded history.)
Almost everything we (US forces) did in Iraq back then was pointless or actively counterproductive. We built schools - but let the Saudis provide Wahabi teachers. They taught the Arab boys (never girls) to hate America and kill infidels. Where do you think the ISIS supporters came from? Funny story - we built a school on the west side of a main road. A couple months later, the people on the east side of the road complained about their children being hit by cars, and asked us to build a school on their side of the road. We told them no, and explained the concept of the crossing guard. They didn’t get it. Why would anybody care about any children but their own? They just repeated their demand that we build another school.
I reduced a commo officer to tears one day after he asked me, “So, what’s really going on outside the wire?”
The weather sucked most of the time. It’s a desert, so it’s either too hot or too cold. In the summer, when it cools down to 95 Fahrenheit at night, you shiver. You sweat so much that when you take off your shirt, it’s white with salt and can stand up on its own after it dries (in about 5 minutes). Nomads plant and harvest the wheat, then let their sheep and goats graze on the stubble. They also got paid to block the roads with their flocks, so the bad guys could ambush us when we stopped. If you killed the sheep, you had to pay $100 each for them out of your own pocket.
Did you know that a .50 BMG round will go through a cow and then 12 inches of mud brick wall?
The coffee and tea are hot and they drink them with lots of sugar. They don’t use filters, so never drink the bottom 1/4 inch of the cup.
When it snows, the kids immediately build snowmen and have snowball fights. It seems to be built in.
Hummingbird moths are fascinating.
Every spring, millions of hedgehogs migrate across the desert. They move at night, and burrow into the dirt to disappear during the day. You can’t help but run over scores of them when you drive anywhere at night.
Every fall, millions of ravens migrate south from Turkey. The flock is miles wide, and runs from horizon to horizon for three days.
Dust devils come in waves across the desert. It’s not really sand so much as dried, powdered dirt. From land that sheep have grazed on for at least ten thousand years. It gets into your food no matter what you do.
There’a village made entirely out of sheep dung. They cook with it as fuel, too. You can imagine the smell. Especially after it rains.
They still make mud bricks the old fashioned way. It still works.
Not being allowed to shoot back when you’re being shot at really sucks. Politicians are stupid and a little bit crazy, and many of them wear stars on their shoulders. Intelligence reports have dates for a reason - raiding a house three weeks after the meeting seldom produces useful results. The smaller the scorpion, the more painful the sting. The bigger the wasp, the more it hurts. Camel spiders are to be shot on sight. Biting flies are smaller than the mosquito mesh, and don’t care about DEET. There are five separate species of mosquito. Mice get into everything. Gatorade is a literal life saver. You can drink a liter every hour and still not need to pee all day. You can hear a serious burn victim from a quarter mile away - even when the doors are closed on the ambulance. Mass graves have a distinctive smell. Putting a cow or sheep on top of the bodies just makes it that much more unpleasant to dig through. They will never send out power equipment until you dig down far enough with a shovel to be able to take pictures.
There is nothing Iraqis won’t pretend to do, if you offer them enough money. There is very little they will actually do, even when their lives are in danger. Kurds are way better than Arabs - but that’s not exactly a high bar to cross.
Lieutenants are stupid yet arrogant, and think they know everything. This is a universal truth, and never changes. It takes a special sort of genius to order several armored vehicles, one at a time, into the same swamp.
Arab officers are chosen for family connections, ability to pay bribes, and incompetence. (Competent officers would be a threat to their superiors.) The better Arab officers treat their men like illiterate, superstitious peasants. (To be fair, most of them are.) The normal officers treat their men worse than animals. (They generally remember to feed and water the sheep, and seldom beat them for no reason.)
They don’t have enough trees to have toilet paper.

Friday, May 25, 2018

School is hell

From yesterday's blog at Alma Boykin's place.  (You are reading her novels, right?)

I was tiny, and geeky, and introverted (Aspie much?) through school. There was one kid (out of 400) shorter than me – and he was less than 5′ tall at graduation. And he outweighed me by 20 pounds. (Food? What is this food I keep hearing other kids talk about?)
(Side note – My Mom taught me how to cook. On Saturday, make dumplings in chicken broth, with the leftover bones and the wilted carrots and soft potatoes the grocer sold us for half price. On Sunday, boil stew beef for eight hours, or roast a chicken for three. Serve leftovers all week with day-old factory seconds from the Wonder Bread plant.)
In 4th grade, four other boys thought it would be fun to attack me with pocket knives, clothes line, and a length of cable. I was fairly passive until they started damaging my bike. Then I sent them to the hospital. I gave their knives to the cop who showed up at my house a little while later, and showed him the cuts on my hands, arms and back.
I was absolutely tormented through middle school. Even one of the teachers got in on the psychological abuse. Until this one girl just walked over to me in gym class and punched me in the crotch. I knocked her out. The teacher sent her to the office for starting it – he had watched the entire incident (all 5 seconds of it). I didn’t get physically picked on after that.
In high school, thank goodness, I found a group of other outcasts. We really didn’t have much in common other than nerdosity and loneliness. We played chess and talked about The Destroyer (Remo Williams) novels at lunch, played D&D after school, and went to the local Bell Lab to play with their computers once a week. It was wonderful.

The EU can kiss my ass

The EU has new "full disclosure" rules.  I am using Blogger, over which I have no control.  I just type here.

I'm an American, typing this in America, on a service that is located in America.

The EUrocrat fascists can kiss my fat, pasty white ass. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The debate continues

Lee - 
“Through very careful tests, it has been observed that the Earth is attracted to where the sun is, not where it was eight minutes ago. The simplest explanation for this is that the speed of gravity is effectively instantaneous.”
McChuck, I don’t know where you got this bizarre idea, but it’s wrong. The theory of gravity (The General Theory of Relativity) has gravitational influences traveling at the speed of light. Didn’t you hear about the recent direct detection of gravitational waves? They traveled from the source to us at light speed.

Me - 
Lee – As I wrote above, waves (including gravity waves) are limited to light speed. The effect we call gravity is not. This has been exhaustively tested, and can be observed by noticing that the moon is in a stable orbit around the earth, which would not be possible if gravity operated at the speed of light. (If it did, the moon would orbit a spot 40,000 km behind the earth-moon center of gravity.) If gravity operated in waves limited to the speed of light, it would be red and blue shifted. That would make the universe a much more interesting, and chaotic, place.
The very equations used to compute gravitational effects include a kludge factor to estimate the current position of the attractor from its apparent position. Because the math only works if you assume that gravity is instantaneous.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Entertaining discussion of physics and metaphysics

One of the places I hang out every day is William Briggs' blog.  In the linked entry, there's been a particularly interesting discussion of quantum physics, relativity, and Bell's theorem.  Plus the usual debates and discussions on statistical analysis and Christian theology.

It's an interesting place.  Go check out WM Briggs, Statistician to the Stars.

Here's an extract of the latest comments there, for easy reading.

Lee Phillips - 
Some may think at this point that McChuck and YOS must be just trolls, but I don’t think so. They may be deceiving me, but I really think that they sincerely believe they have achieved such a deep understanding of reality that the mere Einsteins and Bells of the world are as but children in comparison, playing with toys that they’re not sophisticated enough to understand.
Humor us, McChuck. Explain how “gravity” “obviously” “can surpass the speed of light”.
Enlighten us, YOS. Explain how the cosmological constant enters into QM, and how QM requires it to have a particular value.

McChuck - 
  1. Lee – Through very careful tests, it has been observed that the Earth is attracted to where the
    sun is, not where it was eight minutes ago. The simplest explanation for this is that the speed
    of gravity is effectively instantaneous. The mathematical equations are obviously kludges to
    make the theory very nearly match the observations. They reek of epicycles.
    The earth moves to the current position of the sun. The moon moves to the current position
    of the earth. The sun moves about the current position of the galactic center. The galaxies
    themselves orbit about their cluster’s current center of gravity, not where it was hundreds
    of thousands of years ago.
    If you agree with Bell (as I do, I just find the argument to be weak), then instantaneous action
    at arbitrary distances must be possible. Both Bell and Einstein cannot be correct. At least one
    must be wrong, as they directly contradict each other. Choose.
    Here is my choice – They are both correct, but require limits. Bell’s theorem, as Bohm points
    out, only prohibits local hidden variables. Global hidden variables are perfectly acceptable,
    and enable instantaneous action. Waves are examples of local actions. No wave can travel
    faster than c. Normal, every day gravity is not a wave function, but a global variable effect.
    Gravity waves are, of course, waves, and thus localized functions. No contradictions here,
    and everything accords with observations.
    Assume a quantum field. Give it an enormous positive strength. From this field, all other fields
    draw their strength, instantaneously (field, not wave), dissipated in root-square fashion. This
    field governs motion, and we may name it “gravitational potential energy” for convenience.
    Particles exist as localized waves within this field, with their upslopes directly behind them,
    and downslopes directly before.
    The instantaneous slope of field strength determines everything about a particle’s 4-velocity.
    The sine of the slope is velocity (and gravitational acceleration), as fraction of c The cosine of
    the slope is the particle’s perceived time (and distance), as a fraction of 1 (no dilation).
    Enormous energy with very little practical effect at cosmic distances – check. Gravity – check.
    Time and space dilation – check. Red and blue shift – check. Accordance with quantum field
    theory – check. Accordance with relativity – check. Conservation of energy – check.
    Conservation of momentum – check. Lack of epicycles – check. Lack of contradictions – check.
    Simple explanation for complex behaviors – check. Possible explanation for ‘dark energy’ –

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Plastic cased ammumition

Seen in the June, 2018 issue of Guns & Ammo magazine, pages 40-53.

Now there's fantastic plastic ammunition for all those plastic fantastic guns.

True Velocity is making ammunition, in a variety of calibers, with plastic casings.  They offer a 40% weight reduction, and improved heat characteristics.  Well, at least the chamber stays cooler.  The heat has to go somewhere, so it goes down the barrel.  The rounds also don't cook off.  At all.  Not even when they tried their best to make them do so.  The casing eventually deformed and started to melt, but the powder never lit.  Plastic's a pretty good insulator.

They also claim a dramatic improvement in case dimension consistency.  One lot measured an SD of 3 fps, with a max deviation of 8 fps.  That's unheard of in large production runs.

The casings, and thus the ammunition, are also cheaper than traditional brass.  The company is currently focused on serving the military and law enforcement agencies.  I'm sure the troops wouldn't mind shaving a few pounds off every case of ammunition.

What's the downside?  They're probably a lot harder to reload.  

Available in .223, .308, .338 Norma, .50 BMG, and 12.7 Soviet.

See also:  NovX stainless steel/aluminum cased ammunition, available in 9mm and .223.  They also claim a 40% weight reduction and cost savings.  The resin/copper powder bullets are a bit weird, though, with some outlandish claims.  Shell Shock makes their casings.

They haven't seen "toxic masculinity"

My comment to this article: regarding "toxic masculinity" and involuntarily celibate men.

Men suffer more from autism and Asperger’s than women. So women mock them for their disability. Very mature and compassionate of them.
Young men will do almost ANYTHING to get laid. The primary drives of young men are: eat, sleep, fight, screw. Not necessarily in that order.
Bucks grow antlers to fight each other every fall for the chance of having sex, and go without food for weeks in the constant quest for available does. Male praying mantises literally have to die to mate. Black widow spiders earned their name.
Most of Western Civilization is conditioning men to NOT rape, murder, loot and burn. Personal responsibility and self restraint are key to this. That’s why the Left’s constant attacks on Western Civ. (formerly known as Christendom) are doomed to cause far more harm than any marginal good they could possibly accomplish.
Islam is founded on encouraging men to do these things. (To non-Muslims, of course.) The explosive popularity of Islam to unattached young men was not a coincidence. When you allow the older men to keep harems, the only hope young men have is to conquer new territory and capture a bride.
The Zulu conquest of Africa began when their culture changed, and demanded that young men must first kill an enemy before they could marry a woman. They then slaughtered their way down half a continent, and killed over 10% of the total population of the continent. So that each man could take a woman (and ranch cattle).