Sunday, March 28, 2010


I am really, really, really, really sick of the Media putting our country on SPIN CYCLE.

Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head in her key address to the protest in Nevada:

" When we talk about fighting for our country, let’s clear the air right now about what it is that we’re talking about,” Palin told the crowd in the rally’s keynote address. “We’re not inciting violence. Don’t get sucked into the lame-stream media’s lies about … Americans standing up for freedom as inciting violence. Violence isn’t the answer. It’s a bunch of bunk that the media is trying to feed you.”

While Sarah won't be attending any MENSA meetings anytime soon, the DEMS and their lefty allies were the ones spouting " Protest is Patriotic" for the last 8 years.....funny how their tune has changed.....Bastards.

Leave my freedom alone.....I paid for it in full in service to our country.

Saw a T-shirt that summed it up....It showed a soldier standing in a hot LZ and it said " I know I'm going to Heaven because I have already been to Hell."

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Each day in the warzone has the potential to be a GOOD day or a BAD Day. The key indicator is where the flag is when you get up in the morning

When you get up and the flag is at full mast, it will be a good day. When you get up and the flag is at half mast, you know it will be a bad day. The flag tells the tale and is a visible reminder of the reality of being here in Afghanistan.

I look each morning as I am hopeful that our flag is at full mast. Too many times, I am disappointed. The greater disappointment is experienced by a family back home who now must deal with many terrible days ahead. We, as American have always known the cost of defending freedom and have always understood that while we pay for that Freedom today, the dividends are reaped by future generations. Families of servicemembers understand that also and willing send their sons & daughters to defend Freedom around the world.

Our Forefathers understood this and paid mightily for the freedoms we now take for granted. The Military community and their families understand the significance of where the flag stands on the pole and the "real" cost of what it symbolizes. Each day, think about where the flag stands on the mast and be grateful for each good day, and hopeful that we will have less bad days ahead.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mirada rights for Terrorists

We grant the terrorists the appropriate level of "rights" they are entitled to...and no more.

To quote FDR,

" Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God."

Iranians train Taliban to use roadside bombs

WTF ? I think it is high time we find where Mr. Wack-amin-nutjob sleeps at night and send him a few "bon-mots"....

The TV feed from the nose cone of the missile that slams into the goat shack where old beady-eyes sleeps would be justice delivered.

Iranians train Taliban to use roadside bombs - UK Times

TALIBAN commanders have revealed that hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The commanders said they had learnt to mount complex ambushes and lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have been responsible for most of the deaths of British troops in Helmand province.

The accounts of two commanders, in interviews with The Sunday Times, are the first descriptions of training of the Taliban in Iran.

According to the commanders, Iranian officials paid them to attend three-month courses during the winter.

They were smuggled across the border to the city of Zahidan, in southeast Iran, an hour’s drive from training camps in the desert.

Instructors in plain clothes provided daily exercises in live firing. The first month was devoted largely to teaching the Taliban how to attack convoys and how to escape before Nato forces could respond.

During their second month they were shown how to plant IEDs in sequence so that the rescuers of soldiers wounded in one blast would be caught in further explosions.

The third month was spent on storming bases and checkpoints. A hilltop fort was among the locations used for practice by a Taliban platoon.

Local mediators persuaded the commanders to travel to Kabul to tell their stories. They were interviewed on separate occasions on the edge of the city.

Western officials troubled by growing Iranian support for the Taliban describe the accounts as credible. A military crackdown in Pakistan is thought to have encouraged Taliban leaders to look to Iran for more help.

One of the commanders said: “The military is pressuring the Taliban in Pakistan. It is certainly harder to reach places that were once easy to get into. I think more of my fighters will travel to Iran for training this year.”

Karl Eikenberry, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, recently described signs of co-operation between Iran and the Taliban as disturbing.

“Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban,” he said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has publicly backed his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. But American and British officials have accused Iran of playing a double game by giving covert backing to the Taliban.

Shi’ite Iran had long opposed the Sunni-dominated Taliban. The reason for the change was summarised by one Taliban commander who said of the Iranians: “Our religions and our histories are different but our target is the same. We both want to kill Americans.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Agreement...with statements on both sides

SHOCK & AWE.....I actually agree with a statement made by Atty. General Eric Holder - We will not need to worry about reading Miranda to OBL because we WILL be reading it to his dead & lifeless corpse....or the mouth of a bombed out cave where we sealed him in for eternity...

My admiration and agreement of sentiment goes double for the statement of Rep. Culberson, the learned gentleman from the great state of fact make that triple.

Holder: Osama bin Laden will never face US trial
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer Devlin Barrett, Associated Press Writer 30 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Tuesday that Osama bin Laden will never face trial in the United States because he will not be captured alive.

In testy exchanges with House Republicans, the attorney general compared terrorists to mass murderer Charles Manson and predicted that events would ensure "we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden" not to the al-Qaida leader as a captive.

Holder sternly rejected criticism from GOP members of a House Appropriations subcommittee, who contend it is too dangerous to put terror suspects on trial in federal civilian courts as Holder has proposed.

The attorney general said it infuriates him to hear conservative critics complain that terrorists would get too many rights in the court system.

Terrorists in court "have the same rights that Charles Manson would have, any other kind of mass murderer," the attorney general said. "It doesn't mean that they're going to be coddled, it doesn't mean that they're going to be treated with kid gloves."

The comparison to convicted killer Manson angered Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who said it showed the Obama administration doesn't understand the American public's desire to treat terrorists as wartime enemies, not criminal defendants.

"My constituents and I just have a deep-seated and profound philosophical difference with the Obama administration," Culberson said.

Holder, his voice rising, charged that Culberson's arguments ignored basic facts about the law and the fight against terrorists.

"Let's deal with reality," Holder said. "The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in an American courtroom."

Pressed further on that point, Holder said: "The possibility of catching him alive is infinitesimal. He will be killed by us or he will be killed by his own people so he can't be captured by us."

Much of the hearing centered around the Obama administration's stalled plan to put the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on trial. Last year, Holder announced the trial would take place in federal civilian court in New York City, not far from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

In the face of resistance from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other local politicians, that plan was shelved and the White House is now considering putting KSM and four alleged co-conspirators into a military commission trial.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., bemoaned what he called a "cowardly" desire to avoid a civilian terror trial in a major city.

If a terrorist had killed thousands of Philadelphians, Fattah said, "we would expect him to come to Philadelphia" to face trial "if he would live long enough."

"It doesn't befit a great nation to hesitate or equivocate on the question of following our own laws," he said.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Relections

Monday Reflections -

This is one of the days where I don't have to spend half the day running around ...It is also a day of working on projects on the computer and I've got my tunes playing.....

The path of our lives takes many turns and it is a wonder to see where you wind up....I'm here in Afghanistan and never anticipated that this would be my 2010 career path but life dealt me some interesting cards and like always, I made the best hand out the cards I was dealt...

My IPod was playing " Crystal Ball" - a favorite song from STYX

" I wonder what tomorrow has in mind for me
Or am I even in it's mind at all
Perhaps I'll get a chance to look ahead and see
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball

Tell me, tell me where I'm going
I don't know where I've been
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
And then tell me again

....Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
I've just got to know

Crystal ball
There's so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There's so many things I've got to know
Crystal ball..."

I don't relay on a "Crystal Ball" for obvious reasons but it would have been interesting to have looked into the future many years ago and seen where life would have taken each of us.

But then again, sometimes the process of going forward into our future and seeing it happen as it unfolds makes the process even more interesting.

For now, I'll make the cards I have work and see what the next hand of cards holds....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


There is aTom Petty song that says, " The waiting is the hardest part, every day you see one more card, you take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part..." Some of us a re living this song...each & every day.

The process of anticipating anything comes to us from the earliest ages. We are told things like, "Your Birthday is only a few months away...Christmas is coming and will be here before you know it...." It seems our whole childhood is spent anticipating the next big event, the next big surprise, the next time you can go out with your friends. Then as we get older, we develop a different outlook and become a little more accepting of the issue between where you are and when you will get where you need to only 2 more years until I can pay off the car, 1 more year of college until I get my degree, etc. etc.

Here, I am on the deployment R&R countdown as I am looking forward to going on my R&R back home. I am getting short as I am closing in on a little more than a month and it is the kind of anticipation that just gets me excited. Soon, I will be able to be home and see all my friends and family...It will be wondrous and over all too soon...

That is the other side of this issue - Once we get there, (to the thing we need, want, desire) it will be over entirely too soon...UGH!

Well the process is not entirely what we would want BUT it is part of life. For now, I will go with the flow and hope the days go by faster while I'm waiting and slow to a crawl when I get home.

It will be a time to remember, savor and enjoy until the next one.....

Monday, March 8, 2010

" Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail "

Dutch MP Geert Wilders spoke at the House of Lords in London on Friday. Whether you agree with him or not, he makes a well thought-out case for his point-of-view.

Patrick Henry famously stated, " I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

I agree with Patrick Henry as Freedom & Liberty must be defended. Our forefathers did so and allowed us the freedoms we have today. We owe them our thanks and a continued vigilance. The British fought off Fascism and Hitler. we must be prepared for the next battle and it is a dire warning that is outlined in this speech.

" Thank you. It is great to be back in London. And it is great that this time, I got to see more of this wonderful city than just the detention centre at Heathrow Airport.

Today I stand before you, in this extraordinary place. Indeed, this is a sacred place. This is, as Malcolm always says, the mother of all Parliaments, I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to speak before you.

Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for your invitation and showing my film 'Fitna'. Thank you my friends for inviting me.

I first have great news. Last Wednesday city council elections were held in the Netherlands. And for the first time my party, the Freedom Party, took part in these local elections. We participated in two cities. In Almere, one of the largest Dutch cities. And in The Hague, the third largest city; home of the government, the parliament and the queen. And, we did great! In one fell swoop my party became the largest party in Almere and the second largest party in The Hague. Great news for the Freedom Party and even better news for the people of these two beautiful cities.

And I have more good news. Two weeks ago the Dutch government collapsed. In June we will have parliamentary elections. And the future for the Freedom Party looks great. According to some polls we will become the largest party in the Netherlands. I want to be modest, but who knows, I might even be Prime Minister in a few months time!

Ladies and gentlemen, not far from here stands a statue of the greatest Prime Minister your country ever had. And I would like to quote him here today: "Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step (...) the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome." These words are from none other than Winston Churchill wrote this in his book 'The River War' from 1899.

Churchill was right.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't have a problem and my party does not have a problem with Muslims as such. There are many moderate Muslims. The majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens and want to live a peaceful life as you and I do. I know that. That is why I always make a clear distinction between the people, the Muslims, and the ideology, between Islam and Muslims. There are many moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.

Islam strives for world domination. The Quran commands Muslims to exercise jihad. The Quran commands Muslims to establish shariah law. The Quran commands Muslims to impose Islam on the entire world.

As former Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan said: "The whole of Europe will become Islamic. We will conquer Rome". End of quote. Libyan dictator Gaddafi said: "There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent today and their number is on the increase. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted into Islam. Europe will one day soon be a Muslim continent". End of quote. Indeed, for once in his life, Gaddafi was telling the truth. Because, remember: mass immigration and demographics is destiny!

Islam is merely not a religion, it is mainly a totalitarian ideology. Islam wants to dominate all aspects of life, from the cradle to the grave. Shariah law is a law that controls every detail of life in a Islamic society. From civic- and family law to criminal law. It determines how one should eat, dress and even use the toilet. Oppression of women is good, drinking alcohol is bad.

I believe that Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to Western values. The equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of islamization. Ladies and gentlemen: Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible. They are opposite values.

No wonder that Winston Churchill called Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' "the new Quran of faith and war, turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message". As you know, Churchill made this comparison, between the Koran and Mein Kampf, in his book 'The Second World War', a master piece, for which, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Churchill's comparison of the Quran and 'Mein Kampf' is absolutely spot on. The core of the Quran is the call to jihad. Jihad means a lot of things and is Arabic for battle. Kampf is German for battle. Jihad and kampf mean exactly the same.

Islam means submission, there cannot be any mistake about its goal. That's a given. The question is whether we in Europe and you in Britain, with your glorious past, will submit or stand firm for your heritage.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible pace. Europe is Islamizing rapidly. A lot of European cities have enormous Islamic concentrations. Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin are just a few examples. In some parts of these cities, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women's rights are being destroyed. Burqa's, headscarves, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honour-killings. Women have to go to separate swimming-classes, don't get a handshake. In many European cities there is already apartheid. Jews, in an increasing number, are leaving Europe.
As you undoubtedly all know, better then I do, also in your country the mass immigration and islamization has rapidly increased. This has put an enormous pressure on your British society. Look what is happening in for example Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and here in London. British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill have now taken the path of least resistance. They have given up. They have given in.

Last year, my party has requested the Dutch government to make a cost-benefit analysis of the mass immigration. But the government refused to give us an answer. Why? Because it is afraid of the truth. The signs are not good. A Dutch weekly magazine - Elsevier - calculated costs to exceed 200 billion Euros. Last year alone, they came with an amount of 13 billion Euros. More calculations have been made in Europe: According to the Danish national bank, every Danish immigrant from an Islamic country is costing the Danish state more than 300 thousand Euros. You see the same in Norway and France. The conclusion that can be drawn from this: Europe is getting more impoverished by the day. More impoverished thanks to mass immigration. More impoverished thanks to demographics. And the leftists are thrilled.

I don't know whether it is true, but in several British newspapers I read that Labour opened the door to mass immigration in a deliberate policy to change the social structures of the UK. Andrew Neather, a former government advisor and speech writer for Tony Blair and Jack Straw, said the aim of Labour's immigration strategy was, and I quote, to "rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date". If this is true, this is symptomatic of the Left.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: The left is facilitating islamization. Leftists, liberals, are cheering for every new shariah bank being created, for every new shariah mortgage, for every new islamic school, for every new shariah court. Leftists consider Islam as being equal to our own culture. Shariah law or democracy? Islam or freedom? It doesn't really matter to them. But it does matter to us. The entire leftist elite is guilty of practising cultural relativism. Universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians. They are all betraying our hard-won liberties.

Why I ask myself, why have the Leftists and liberals stopped to fight for them? Once the Leftists stood on the barricades for women's rights. But where are they today? Where are they in 2010? They are looking the other way. Because they are addicted to cultural relativism and dependent on the Muslim vote. They are dependent on mass-immigration.

Thank heavens Jacqui Smith isn't in office anymore. It was a victory for free speech that a UK judge brushed aside her decision to refuse me entry to your country last year. I hope that the judges in my home country are at least as wise and will acquit me of all charges, later this year in the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, so far they have not done so well. For they do not want to hear the truth about Islam, nor are they interested to hear the opinion of top class legal experts in the field of freedom of expression. Last month in a preliminary session the Court refused fifteen of the eighteen expert-witnesses I had requested to be summoned. Only three expert witnesses are allowed to be heard. . . [and] their testimony will be heard behind closed doors. Apparently the truth about Islam must not be told in public, the truth about Islam must remain secret.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm being prosecuted for my political beliefs. We know political prosecution to exist in countries in the Middle East, like Iran and Saudi-Arabia, but never in Europe, never in the Netherlands.

I'm being prosecuted for comparing the Quran to 'Mein Kampf'. Ridiculous. I wonder if Britain will ever put the beliefs of Winston Churchill on trial... Ladies and gentlemen, the political trial that is held against me has to stop.

But it is not all about me. . . .Free speech is under attack. Let me give you a few other examples.

As you perhaps know, one of my heroes, the Italian author Oriana Fallaci had to live in fear of extradition to Switzerland because of her anti-Islam book 'The Rage and the Pride'. The Dutch cartoonist Nekschot was arrested in his home in Amsterdam by 10 police men because of his anti-Islam drawings. Here in Britain, the American author Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi businessman for defamation. In the Netherlands Ayaan Hirsi Ali and in Australia two Christian pastors were sued. I could go on and on. Ladies and gentlemen, all throughout the West freedom loving people are facing this ongoing 'legal jihad'. This is Islamic 'lawfare'. And, ladies and gentlemen, not long ago the Danish cartoonist Westergaard was almost assassinated for his cartoons.

Ladies and gentlemen, we should defend the right to freedom of speech. . . .I believe it is our obligation to preserve the inheritance of the brave young soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy. That liberated Europe from tyranny. . . .As George Orwell said: "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear".

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe in another policy, it is time for change. . . .If I may quote one of my favourite American presidents: Ronald Reagan once said: "We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow". That is why I propose the following measures, I only mention a few, in order to preserve our freedom:

First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, we need something like the American First Amendment.

Second, we will have to end and get rid of cultural relativism. To the cultural relativists, the shariah socialists, I proudly say: Our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Don't be afraid to say it. You are not a racist when you say that our own culture is better.

Third, we will have to stop mass immigration from Islamic countries. Because more Islam means less freedom.

Fourth, we will have to expel criminal immigrants and, following denaturalisation, we will have to expel criminals with a dual nationality. And there are many of them in my country.

Fifth, we will have to forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in Europe. Especially since Christians in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia are mistreated, there should be a mosque building-stop in the West.

And last but not least, we will have to get rid of all those so-called leaders. I said it before: Fewer Chamberlains, more Churchills. Let's elect real leaders.

Ladies and gentlemen. To the previous generation, that of my parents, the word 'London' is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope in my country, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my fellow country men listened to it, underground. The words 'This is London' were a symbol for a better world coming soon.

What will be broadcasted forty years from now? Will it still be "This is London"? Or will it be "This is Londonistan"? Will it bring us hope? Or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery? The choice is yours. And in the Netherlands the choice is ours.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will never apologize for being free. We will and should never give in. And, indeed, as one of your former leaders said: We will never surrender.

Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail."

Friday, March 5, 2010

K-9 VETS can have PTSD Issues

Even K-9 VETS have trouble with the battle - Poor pups have it rough and do an awesome job but still can have issues - Hats off to the Marines & their K-9 Battle Buddies !!

Even His Red Squeak Toy Can't Get First Sgt. Gunner, USMC, to Fight

Despite Rehab, the Yellow Lab Won't Sniff for Bombs in Combat; He's 'a Lover'
MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS - Wall Street Journal

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan—When the Marines cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, one remains in his kennel. Quivering.

Out of the 58 bomb-sniffing dogs the Marines have in Afghanistan, only one—a brown-eyed, floppy-eared yellow Lab named Gunner—is suffering from such severe canine post-traumatic stress disorder that he had to sit out the ongoing offensive in central Helmand Province.
Marines' Troubled Pup

"He's the only combat-ineffective dog out here," says his kennel chief, Cpl. Chad McCoy.
Like their human comrades, some war dogs can handle combat, and some can't. One Marine Corps explosives dog, a black Lab named Daisy, has found 13 hidden bombs since arriving in Afghanistan in October. Zoom, another Lab, refused to associate with the Marines after seeing one serviceman shoot a feral Afghan dog. Only after weeks of retraining, hours of playing with a reindeer squeaky toy and a gusher of good-boy praise was Zoom willing to go back to work.
"With some Marines, PTSD can be from one terrible event, or a cumulative effect," says Maj. Rob McLellan, 33-year-old operations officer of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, who trains duck-hunting dogs back home in Green Bay, Wis. Likewise, he says, the stress sometimes "weighs a dog down to the point where the dog just snaps."

Gunner snapped.

He graduated from bomb-dog school in Virginia. He could hunt and tolerate gunfire. He could sniff out explosives, including the homemade ammonium-nitrate fertilizer bombs that inflict most allied casualties in Afghanistan. But he was skittish even before he arrived in the combat zone in October and was posted to a front-line battalion. He reached a crisis soon afterwards.
He reacted so nervously to the rattle of gunfire and deep boom of artillery commonplace around military outposts that he never even got a chance to test his mettle on a real patrol. His handlers aren't sure what pushed Gunner over the edge. His official record is damning, however: Gunner, it reads, "is not mission capable and is a liability if he is to leave the wire."

Capt. Michael Bellin, an Army veterinarian working with the Marines, says he's seen canine post-traumatic stress disorder cases before. "I think it's possible, depending on what they went through," says Capt. Bellin, 33, from Delafield, Wis.

Gunner was sent to the main kennel at Camp Leatherneck, a rear base. There, bomb dogs recuperate from illness or injury, under the care of Cpl. McCoy, a 25-year-old member of the famed feuding clan from Hickman County, Tenn.

Cpl. McCoy, a sandy-haired man with sunburnt cheeks, tries to strike a balance between encouraging the dogs' natural whimsy and keeping his own emotional distance. The handlers can't grow so fond of their charges that they hesitate to send them into danger's way.
Still, it's hard to stay very aloof from the slobbering, enthusiastic Labs. Although the dogs generally live in 9-by-9-foot aluminum cages, Cpl. McCoy sometimes lets Gunner sleep on a camouflage-patterned sheet on a cot in his tent.

A security detail that includes bomb-sniffing dogs is working to protect Iraqis, but these canines had to overcome some cultural roadblocks. Video courtesy of Agence France-Presse.

The Marine Corps gives each dog a military rank, one notch above his handler's, to reinforce the idea that the dogs deserve respect. Gunner is formally assigned to a gunnery sergeant, so he's a first sergeant, a high rank among enlisted Marines, human and canine.

For weeks after he arrived at Camp Leatherneck, Gunner refused to leave the kennel compound. Even now almost any sound sends him into a panic. If a shipping container door slams somewhere nearby, Gunner hunches down and bolts for an open cage door. If an artillery round goes off in the distance, he races into Cpl. McCoy's tent, then weaves around the cages, his tail low and twitchy. Even the click of a camera shutter can send him flashing back to some bad experience only he can recall.

Lately, the corporal has been able to persuade Gunner to take walks around camp, though the dog tugs at his leash in fear and appears to take no pleasure in the activity.

There are moments, however, when Gunner resembles his old self. On a recent day Cpl. McCoy drove him out to the training area to try his nose at finding hidden bombs. The corporal buried three sticks of C-4 plastic explosives in a few inches of dirt.

"He won't make it 20 feet," Cpl. McCoy predicted, letting Gunner off the leash some 100 yards from the hidden C-4.

But Gunner surprised him. Despite the roar of helicopters overhead, he ventured out in the direction of the buried explosives, dodging left and right in response to the corporal's whistles and hand signals.

At no time, though, did he drop his nose to the ground to sniff for explosives. "It's a miracle he did that well," the corporal said afterwards, tossing Gunner his red-rubber toy as a reward for his effort.

Next he let another Lab, Mag, give it a try. Mag was in rehab for a condition from which he tired quickly and lost mobility in his tail and legs. But Mag is an enthusiastic bomb hunter.

At Cpl. McCoy's command—"Back!"—Mag sprinted across the rocky desert, sniffing and searching in instant response to the signals. Soon he caught a whiff of something and dropped to his belly—directly on top of the spot where Cpl. McCoy had buried the C-4.

The corporal assured him he was a good dog and let him play fetch for a few minutes. "This is a constant game to them," says Cpl. McCoy. "They don't know it's life or death."

Gunner gives the impression that he understands exactly what's at stake. On the next trial, Cpl. McCoy dispatched him to find explosives buried under a soda can on the side of a dry ditch. There was machine-gun fire audible in the distance, and Gunner got no more than 20 or 30 feet before he changed his mind and circled back to the corporal's side.

"Gunner's a lover," Cpl. McCoy says. "Mag's a fighter."

The corporal holds out little hope that Gunner will one day be fit for combat, searching for hidden bombs amid the din of war. He'll consider it a success if Gunner casts his demons far enough aside to be a good pet for someone back home.

"We're trying to get him into the dog mind-set," Cpl. McCoy says.
Write to Michael M. Phillips at

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Prime example of what's wrong with the Auto Industry

THIS is a prime example of what is WRONG with the new cars - Too much secretive reliance on "Black Boxes" and computerize BULLSH-T. I like my OLD JEEP as it is a basic weird components that complicate what doesn't need to be complicated.

Keep your PRIUS- NO THANKS!!! Send your computerized econobox to the scrapheap where it belongs!

AP IMPACT: Toyota secretive on 'black box' data
By CURT ANDERSON and DANNY ROBBINS, Associated Press Writers Curt Anderson And Danny Robbins, Associated Press Writers
Thu Mar 4, 6:30 pm ET

SOUTHLAKE, Texas – Toyota has for years blocked access to data stored in devices similar to airline "black boxes" that could explain crashes blamed on sudden unintended acceleration, according to an Associated Press review of lawsuits nationwide and interviews with auto crash experts.

The AP investigation found that Toyota has been inconsistent — and sometimes even contradictory — in revealing exactly what the devices record and don't record, including critical data about whether the brake or accelerator pedals were depressed at the time of a crash.

By contrast, most other automakers routinely allow much more open access to information from their event data recorders, commonly known as EDRs.

AP also found that Toyota:

• Has frequently refused to provide key information sought by crash victims and survivors.

• Uses proprietary software in its EDRs. Until this week, there was only a single laptop in the U.S. containing the software needed to read the data following a crash.

• In some lawsuits, when pressed to provide recorder information Toyota either settled or provided printouts with the key columns blank.

Toyota's "black box" information is emerging as a critical legal issue amid the recall of 8 million vehicles by the world's largest automaker. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that 52 people have died in crashes linked to accelerator problems, triggering an avalanche of lawsuits.

When Toyota was asked by the AP to explain what exactly its recorders do collect, a company statement said Thursday that the devices record data from five seconds before until two seconds after an air bag is deployed in a crash.

The statement said information is captured about vehicle speed, the accelerator's angle, gear shift position, whether the seat belt was used and the angle of the driver's seat.

There was no initial mention of brakes — a key point in the sudden acceleration problem. When AP went back to Toyota to ask specifically about brake information, Toyota responded that its EDRs do, in fact, record "data on the brake's position and the antilock brake system."

But that does not square with information obtained by attorneys in a deadly crash last year in Southlake, Texas, and in a 2004 accident in Indiana that killed an elderly woman.

In the Texas crash, where four people died when their 2008 Avalon ripped through a fence, hit a tree and flipped into an icy pond, an EDR readout obtained by police listed as "off" any information on acceleration or braking.