January 12, 2003

OKAY, THIS WAS FUNNY Aislin's

OKAY, THIS WAS FUNNY

Aislin's cartoon today sums up just about everything I have to say or will ever have to say about the federal New Democratic Party leadership race.

Posted by BruceR at 09:27 PM

STORIES BILL QUICK IS UNLIKELY

STORIES BILL QUICK IS UNLIKELY TO COMMENT ON, no. 1

Although I still hold out what I think is a reasonable hope that Glenn Reynolds will do the right thing and note this accordingly.

UPDATE: Of course, he did just that.

Posted by BruceR at 01:25 AM

THOUGHTFUL PIECE, THIS A former

THOUGHTFUL PIECE, THIS

A former Canadian officer in the Spectator, outlining the thoughtful case against war with Iraq. Like this other one, mandatory reading in this time.

Posted by BruceR at 12:55 AM

TWO ERRORS OF NOTE I

TWO ERRORS OF NOTE

I have no huge problem with the piece on the Kandahar bombings tribunal, starting next week, in the National Post today... other than the fact it takes the statements of the accused pilots at face value, and without corroboration, despite the obvious discrepancies between their later statements and their actual behaviour, as recorded in the radio log, commented on this log ad nauseam since last April. I'm sure other accused killers would appreciate that kind of benefit of a doubt, too. A couple notable errors of fact, however, both in the pilots' favour:

"Ninety seconds after Maj. Schmidt asked to shoot his cannons, Maj. Henry [in the AWACS] told the pilots to "Hold fire, I need details." He later told investigators that he had a "hunch" friendlies were in the area."

The actual transcript:

Schmidt: (21:23:34) Euh, Okay [AWACS]. This Coffee 52. Iíve got a TALLY on the vicinity. Euh, request permission to lay down some 20 mike-mike.
AWACS: (21:23:42) Standby.

The Post article seems to suggest Schmidt's request was ignored for a minute and a half. It wasn't. He was responded to and told, as the army would say, to "wait out," within seconds.

"OK, I have got some men on the road and it looks like a piece of artillery firing at us," Maj. Schmidt said. "I am rolling in in self- defence."It was another minute-and-a-half before Maj. Schmidt actually unleashed the GBU-12, a 225-kilogram laser-guided bomb.

The actual transcript, again:

Schmidt: (21:25:04) Okay, I have got some men on the road and it looks like a piece of artillery firing at us. I am rolling in in SELF-DEFENSE.
...
Schmidt: (21:25:39) Bombís away, cranking left.

In fact, it was 35 seconds, from the time Schmidt said he was starting his bombing run, to the time he said the bomb had cleared his plane.

The National Post writer is fixated on the 90-second time, which is in fact the key timing in this whole story, but he either can't explain or doesn't understand what that 90 seconds represents. The 90 seconds is the time between Schmidt's first report of a contact to AWACS, at 21:23.34, above, and the time he, for his own personal reasons, gave up on AWACS and took the matter irrevocably into his own hands again by starting his bombing run at 21:25.04. The other key time is 21:26:11, when the no-doubt working-like-a-maniac Maj. Henry told Schmidt his target was likely friendly, having confirmed he was, in fact, actually looking at a Kandahar base facility, less than 3 minutes after Schmidt's first call to him. Average time-in-theatre to confirm friendly targets was 5 minutes, according to the official inquiries... Henry, a Canadian, must have been one of the better AWACS officers in theatre. Unfortunately he was apparently dealing that night with one of the more reckless fighter pilots in the USAF.

Posted by BruceR at 12:27 AM