29 October 2010

Most Awesome Week Ever

From Mother Jones' "We're Still at War" series, 28 October 2010
Once again, Ackerman and Weinstein seem to be busy with their full-time jobs as real journalists, so it's up to me to put together the weekly roundup.  And was it not the most awesome week ever or what?

'Tis the season for defense-oriented conventions.  On my side of the Atlantic, Cyrille, the administrator of TDL-News, has been in Paris attending Euronaval, an excellent European naval convention.  If the Army's leadership is reading this, plese, let me attend this conference next year.  I know I'm far removed from anything naval related, but I...I can make something work.  Just a week in Paris on the Uncle Sam's dime is all I ask.

It's convention season on the other side of the Atlantic as well.  Ackerman's been busy at the Association of the US Army convention in Washington this week, reporting on all sorts of gadgets, such as the new LUH-72A Lakota, robotic exoskeletons, a new combat vehicle, and robotic limbs.  Yet, despite the high-tech wares peddled at the AUSA convention, we also discovered that the best bomb-sniffing tool in the business is a dog, and that Special Forces prefer Google Phone to all the high-priced junk from defense industry.  Not to mention, the most important stories didn't concern MRAPs or high-tech rifles, but rather, the ever-mounting human cost of war.  Ackerman reports that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grimly told an audience that the US military hasn't "even come close to solving" the military's alarming suicide rates.

Ackerman wasn't the only blogger at the AUSA conference.  Diana Wueger of the Brookings Institution snapped some awesome pictures and provided the milblog community with some hilarious insights.  As you might remember from last week's "Most Awesome Week Ever", the defense community is, for some strange reason, endlessly intrigued by panda hats.  As one of the infamous Panda Hat Twins (along with Lauren Jenkins), Diana volunteered for the most dangerous of missions:  getting a man in an exoskeleton to pose with a panda hat.

Her assignment, however, was fraught with peril.  Just as she was about to snap a picture of Mr. Exoskeleton-cum-panda-hat, some Navy guy ruined her opportunity.  Seriously, who did he think he was?

Oh yeah, that guy.  I guess we can make an exception for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  
In other news, the latest Wikileaks report reveals little we didn't already know.  When all is said and done,  Bob Woodward's latest book reveals more shocking war news than Wikileaks, such as the CIA's 3,000-man Army in Pakistan.  In fact, I'd argue that the most surprising news this week wasn't Wikileaks, but rather, this.

What's amusing, however, is the response I've gotten throughout the blogosphere.  I drew the ire of bradleymanning.com for my expose on Julian Assange, and a link from Fark.com for another Assange article.  It's too bad I could never charge money for blogging, otherwise I'd have made millions in ad revenue.              

And just in time for Halloween, Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes' official Rumor Doctor, investigates strange and mysterious happenings aboard the USS Constitution, the US Navy's oldest vessel afloat.  The Rumor Doctor ain't afraid of no ghost, but he has to admit, the USS Constitution can be kind of creepy.

Add in the Army Times' speculation over the next Army Chief of Staff, and you've got quite a busy week.  Personally, I'm torn between General Dempsey and General Odierno.  I slightly prefer General Dempsey, though General Odierno would be a fine choice as well.  Unfortunately, General Odierno has a certain reputation in Washington.  Months ago, Andrew Exum feared that he might become the next Army Chief of Staff, based on the fact that General Odierno is:

"I just hope they don't make Ray Odierno Chief of Staff of the Army. We can't afford to get rid of the Army."
-- LTG (Ret.) David Barno, to [Andrew Exum], outside the [Center for a New American Security's] kitchen...in reference to Ray Odierno's habit of being the last man to hold a given position
Lastly, according to the Christian Science Monitor, the US military beats out Disney for job satisfaction, despite, well, this

Most awesome week ever?  You decide.

No comments: