08 June 2009

Links of the Day

Kings of War—a blog run by the war studies department of King's College in London--had two good articles today.

The first was on the involvement of British military officers in political matters, with the issues that this brings up. Certainly, a greater involvement in the domestic and foreign political issues of the nation should be of great interest to a military leader of any nation. But there's a delicate balancing act with a completely apathetic warrior class on one end of the spectrum, and the Banana Republic military governments on the other end of the spectrum. The post was worth a read, but the article it references isn't available without paying $30, so, well, I can't really provide too much commentary on it.

The second post was entitled "100 years of COIN: What Have We Learned?".

Moving on, a post from War is Boring brought up the fact that Samuel L. Jackson is being considered for a role in a new movie about Somali pirates. Ten bucks to whomever can write the best script with Jackson battling pirates.

I already lay claim to Samuel L. Jackson saying, "I've had it with these motherfuckin' pirates on this motherfuckin' ship!" while slicing them up with a purple lightsaber.

Focus: Say 'What' again!

MountainRunner had some great information on social networking, noting that Facebook is now the network of choice for Europe. Myspace, based on a lot of the data I've seen recently, might still be the most popular network in the US, but if so, it's rapidly losing ground to Facebook.

Which means that, with the end of Myspace, maybe we'll see the end of douchebags, white trash, and emo kids. Or maybe not.

And finally, Stephen T. Colbert filmed his first show in Iraq. Honestly, I can't improve on this story. You need to read it in full.

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- Stephen Colbert left no doubt about his solidarity with American troops when he taped the first of four Comedy Central shows he'll produce in Iraq this week.

Colbert, wearing a business suit made of the same camouflaged material used for soldiers' desert uniforms, submitted to a regulation military haircut as hundreds of U.S. troops cheered wildly Sunday.

The comedian, who satirizes conservative TV pundits on his "Colbert Report," began his "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" USO tour Sunday in the Baghdad headquarters of the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq.

"It must be nice in Iraq, because some of you keep coming back again and again," Colbert said, joking about the multiple tour many troops have had in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. Some troops had accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to earn them a free ticket to Afghanistan, he joked.

Colbert told his guest, Gen. Ray Odierno, he felt "a little intimidated" by him, not because he was he top U.S. commander in Iraq, but because it felt like he was "interviewing Shrek." Odierno is an imposing bald figure at 6-feet, 5-inches tall.

Odierno said the military is "not yet ready to declare victory" in Iraq and that there was a little more work to be done for long-term stability.

"I, Stephen Colbert, by the power invested in me by basic cable, officially declare we won the Iraq war," Colbert said, as his audience broke out into applause.

The interview was interrupted when President Obama appeared on large television screens. The commander-in-chief told his general it was time to "cut that man's hair."

With white electric hair clippers in his hand, Ordierno stood up and began shaving Colbert's trademark thick dark hair. The troops stood and cheered as a female member of Colbert's staff finished the job.

After the haircut, Colbert ran through the audience, high-fiving the troops as he showed off his new military look.

One Army major said that "shaving of the hair is an amazing show of support" that was "very touching."

Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain also made a pre-taped appearance on the show, jokingly reminding the troops to "take time to clean your muskets."

Lt. Col. Debra Shoemaker, a native of Colbert's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, said the show was a "nice break" from the monotony of service in Iraq.

USO Senior Vice President John Hanson said the shows are an important diversion for the troops.

Colbert's USO tour is unusual because it's the first time a show taped in a combat zone has been edited and aired so quickly. The Sunday show will be televised on the Comedy Central network Monday night.

In case anyone needs any more proof that Colbert is awesome, here he is in action:

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