You Were Working As a Waitress In a Cocktail Bar

Three of the 2020 Candidates for President of the United States have made their service in the Military as “focal” points for their campaigns. That said, they aren’t necessarily only playing that card, but they have all made their service known ála John Kerry, who served in Vietnam.

Now, Stars & Stripes has a front-page article pointing out that all three are not only dead in the water, campaign-wise, but only one of them even registered on the polls. Only one of them was even on the stage last night for the latest “debate.” Given their military service, people are asking, “What happened?”

In the history of our country, we have had plenty of Military people in our leadership posts, including the President. usually, or so it seems, Generals and Military people are held in high political esteem, right?

Well… it’s not quite true. Sure, we like Generals, but Captains and Majors? Surprisingly, we’ve had those as well, including one Private.

I think that the bigger question is why exactly do these three think that their service demands attention to their politics?

All three of these candidates remind me of one of the worst songs that everybody says that they love from the 1980s, even though we can only remember one line from it… 


You know the AR-15, but what about the AR-1? How about the AR-9?


The “AR” in each case does not stand for “assault rifle” as those who are uninformed often think. It is, in fact, short for Armalite, the firearms company that employed a generation of incredible forward-thinking gun designers, engineers, and inventors including Eugene Stoner, Charles Sullivan, Charles Dorchester, Arthur Miller, Daniel Musgrave, Robert Fremont and even the great Melvin Johnson (inventor of the M1941 Johnson rifle series).

Established in the early 1950s as a division of the Fairchild Airplane Corporation, the latter perhaps most famous today for their A-10 Warthog tank buster attack plane, Armalite leveraged aviation industry’s advances and applied them to firearms. Their engineers registered some of the first firearm patents incorporating foamed plastics in both stocks and handguards, aluminum receivers, self-lubricating alloy gun barrels, folding synthetic buttstocks, and other developments.

Before the original Armalite company tanked in 1983, they made it from the AR-1 to the AR-180, with…

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How to find and access peer-reviewed studies (for free)


The Logic of Science

The peer-reviewed literature is where scientists publish their research, and it is the source for scientific information. As a result, I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about it. I have explained how the peer-review system works (also here). I have provided advice on how to evaluate studies and how not to evaluate studies. I have explained the hierarchy of evidence. I’ve explained P values and false positives. I’ve explained why many studies are unreliable and why it is important not to cherry-pick studies. I have provided worked examples of how to dissect studies (e.g., here, here and here), and I do my best to cite studies to back up all the claims I make on this blog. Nevertheless, it was recently pointed out to me that I have utterly failed to explain something important and fundamental: how and where to…

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Perspectives of Awe


Yes, I realize that there is a certain level of repetition with some photographs and quotes, but this was necessary to illustrate a point I have been meaning to make about the power of photographs.

“What is the most badass military picture you have ever seen?”

There have been many… but two (possibly three) stand out:

USS Harder (SS-257) off the coast of Woleai during the rescue of Ensign John Gavlin, 1 April, 1944. (Source:Operation Forager)

There is a better picture from the same day which gives a bit more perspective:

From the associated Facebook post I wrote a while back:

My desktop background is a slideshow of American submarines in…

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The Wrong Lessons

According To Hoyt


Perhaps it’s being human, but we always seem to take the wrong lessons from wars or big events.

From World War I we took the idea that nationalism was bad and led to war. From World War II we added the bit not only that nationalism was bad — a reinforcement of it — but that it was particularly bad if those nations were based on blood and soil.  Though lately we seem to be going after those that aren’t either.

Yeah, WWII had the side effect of stopping the runaway fascination with eugenics for a time at least.  Then again, maybe it didn’t, because you know, lately the left has been returning to it, again, like a dog to its vomit, wanting to fund abortions in the third world and generally believing race equals culture, and that they should suppress or eliminate anyone they disagree with.

The Cold War…

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Asadabad and East River Range

I love these kinds of stories…


“Do US troops ever “police” their brass after a firefight in Iraq or Afghanistan? Why or why not?”

Short answer:

Unless at a range, there is no need to – we had better things to do.

“Story-time” long answer:

However, there are two occasions where the collection of brass was noteworthy.

The first took place in Asadabad, Afghanistan. We had landed not too long before, dropping off whatever VIP to do whatever they needed to do: meet with the troops, negotiate with the local imams, conduct routine checks of their folks… that sort of stuff. Our UH-60s had been shut down for about 10 minutes and we were chatting with some SF folks by the nose of the aircraft when all hell broke loose in the valley just beyond the refueling points. Small arms fire – calibers ranging from 7.62×39 all the way up to 12.7×108 – as well…

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Maslow and Conflict


Posted 10Sep19.

“Asking war veterans who have fought overseas, what do you want your fellow countrymen to know about the war that we civilians should know, but never talk about?”

You conflict us.

For those folks who haven’t served, your opinions and
commentary about present day conflicts we are directly involved in (Iraq,
Afghanistan, and to some extent, Syria) as well as those we aren’t (Ukraine, Yemen,
Somalia, Sudan, Lybia) place some of us in odd ethical positions.

I follow several respected people on social media: veterans,
active-duty folks, intelligence folks, professors of history, and people of
faith. Many of them have very solid perspectives on the nature of warfare, the
causes and effects of conflict, and the moral dilemmas of violence – both justified
and unjust. Their political and foreign policy views vary, but they all make
sense on some level – even if those views run contradictory…

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