Odyssey Dawn is just the latest in the great tradition of military operations with silly names

 

“You have operational names like Desert Storm or Iraqi Freedom that convey a message. Others, like Operation African Lion, are symbolic of the location. Odyssey Dawn is neither of those.” – Eric Elliott, spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, or Africom, explaining how they came up with the name “Operation Odyssey Dawn” for the U.S. action in Libya.

As the great cartoonist Bill Mauldin noted during World War II:

Willy N Joe

And if you’ve never read Mauldin’s great book Up Front, shame on you!

Medal of Honor video game shoots itself in the foot

medal of homer Simple marketing rule: Don’t include a feature in your product that directly contradicts the name of your product. Case in point: The Medal of Honor video game from EA games. In this first person shooter, players get to pretend they are soldiers. I assume it lets you pretend you are a US soldier since those are the only people who can actually win a Congressional Medal of Honor. The latest version of the game — coming out next month — includes a feature where you can play as a member of the Taliban … and thereby shoot US soldiers. Here’s the brand disconnect: Shooting US soldiers is definitely NOT going to let you get a Medal of Honor.

Surprisingly, many people and organizations are upset by this. A lot of those people are the families of soldiers who have been killed in the war. Who could have seen that coming? Also upset is the commander of the US Army and Air Force Exchange Service (that’s the group that runs the stores on military bases), who has decided that they won’t sell the game. That will hurt because, as Sgt. Big Brother CollateralDamage can attest, military folk LOVE games like this. It will also hurt because it will make Walmart and co. think twice about stocking the game. Congrats, guys, on a blunder that could have easily been avoided. 

How little does EA get it? From the official EA response:

“The criticism of ‘Medal of Honor’ is disappointing because I can’t think of another interactive game that has gone to such lengths to convey respect for soldiers. From the very first day of development, the ‘Medal of Honor’ development team has been dedicated to creating an homage to the soldiers who fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. [EA feels] "a deep sympathy and respect for the soldiers and people with family members killed or wounded in Afghanistan. … We don’t see a distinction between a film like ‘Hurt Locker’ and a game like ‘Medal of Honor.’ We don’t agree that it’s OK to depict the war in films and books, but not in games. We don’t see a moral difference."

Hey dummy: You don’t make a game where people can play as the enemy in a war that is still going on. That’s the point. In the words of the comedians: Too soon. And by the way: You’re comparing yourself to Hurt Locker? You’ve got big brass balls there, my friend. Unfortunately, the balls are hollow.

This would have been a strong contender for the stupidest marketing move of the year if BP hadn’t already locked that up. Given that, EA definitely has a strong case for first runner-up.

Soldiers say Purell© is their own personal napalm

No one loves discovering new uses for an existing product more than consumer packaged goods companies like Unilever, and P&G. “It’s not just a floor polisher, IT’S A DESERT TOPPING!” Even so, I doubt Johnson & Johnson is going to make a lot out of a new way to use Purell©. At the great blog Kit Up, where military folk swap ideas on all sorts of gadgets to use in the field, one writer suggests applying a match to

the waterless hand cleaner gel that every grunt should be carrying. I love playing with that stuff.  It puts out a blue/clear flame (read extremely hot) and it is a gel, so handles well.  Put that in the middle of your tinder and you are good to go.

While a good reliable fire-starter is a must have for our servicemen and women it should be noted that, as seen below, they are exploring other possible uses for the substance – which is 62% alcohol.

Judging by the above (and other evidence on YouTube) actually setting your hands on fire with Purell© seems to be “relatively” “safe.” However, this phenomenon has actually sparked an urban myth. Snopes rebuts a legend that some worker suffered severe burns on his hands when he lit a cigarette after using a “hand sanitizer product.” J&J media is quoted as saying that incident is “not something they would expect to happen with their product” – which is definitely not a denial that it could happen. Although it evaporates so fast on skin I think it almost requires the intentional and quick application of fire to get a reaction.

Wonder why the TSA allows the stuff on airplanes? Snopes points to a 1998 FAA study that reports hand sanitizers are difficult to ignite and relatively easy to extinguish. To which both Snopes and the US Military might respond: “What brand are you using?”

(For those of you wondering – it’s not all that hard to create actual napalm. Just mix Ivory Snow (or other soaps) and gasoline in the right proportions and VOILA you’ve got it.)

Norway honors penguin for military expertise

Nils Olav, colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard, was knighted today in a ceremony in Scotland. King Harald the Fifth of Norway said his fellow monarch — Col. Olav is a king penguin — is “in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood.” More than qualified than some others given that the list of people knighted (by the UK) includes Elton John, Rudy Guiliani, and Tom Jones. I would watch the vid to see how smartly Col. Olav reviews the troops.

While some may scoff at claims of Olav’s military brilliance and see his rank as some rank PR stunt, I say otherwise. Want proof? Name another foreign military officer who has been kept behind bars for 20 years. They may call it a “zoo” but hey so’s Guantanamo. I sense a PETA protest.

For his fine sense of irony, we’d like to honor King Harald. Therefore he is now:

PS — an old joke: What’s the difference between the Army and the Cub Scouts? The Cub Scouts have adult leadership.

Yeah, but do they have penguins?

Having won the wars on terror, cancer & poverty, US now takes on feral pigs

The US Army is on the offensive against feral pigs in and around Fort Benning, GA, training grounds of the elite Rangers. The officer overseeing this is Maj. Bobby Toon, who is known as the base’s Pig Czar. About 2,000 people have been authorized to hunt the estimated 6,000 feral pigs roaming the 75,000-hectare base.

The base is offering a $40 bounty for every pig tail that’s brought in. Hunters must be active-duty, retired military or civilian workers at Benning and must have a licence from the base.

Hopefully this will work better than a similar tactic we’ve been using to bring in Osama bin Laden.

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Having decided to accept less qualified applicants, Army also decides to give them less training

clipped from www.boston.com
“We are doing everything we can without jeopardizing the quality of the training to make it more efficient and compress it,” Colonel Joe Gallagher, chief of plans for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, said in an interview earlier this month. “The whole intent is to get the soldier into the unit where he can be used faster. Time will tell if something is missing.”

  blog it

This is spin talk for we are so short of warm bodies that we will do anything. Unfortunately the proof of whether something is missing is … horrible. This is far too reminiscent of what the military did in the late 60s/early 70s. And look how well that turned out.I take this a bit personally as these are the people who are going to be next to Staff Sgt. Big Brother Collateral Damage should he ever have to play another round in the George Bush Desert Classic.

Any senior officer who signed off on this should resign or face a court-martial.

And, by the way, congrats to Jenna Bush on her engagement. Since she’s not in the service. I assume her fiance is.

Remember: Army Strong is Army Dumb

TROOP SUPPORTED!

From my pal in Iraq:

Hi and Thanks for the many Birthday emails.

To those of you that I know  –  can’t wait to see you all again.

To those I don’t – Thanks you very much for thinking of me.

Dad & Constantine – Thanks for putting the word out. Here’s to a proper drink in 50 sumthin’ days.

cheers,
Ype

Decaf with sugar, two frosted and some body armor … to go

Tim Hortons, the famous-for-Canada version of Dunkin Donuts, is going the extra several thousand miles for Canadian troops and opening up a branch in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There are currently 2300 Canucks in the area, which means the morning rush is going to be amazing…

Doonesbury … how could you?

Allow me to express my incredible disappointment in my old drinking buddy Gary Trudeau* for ruining/explaining “Why BD always wore a helmet.”

In a strip earlier this week, GT provides the namby pamby ex-post-facto explanation that BD always wore a helmet because his mom was a safety freak. It is well known that the reason BD was first portrayed avec football helmet was that Trudeau wasn’t a very good artist and that was the only way to distinguish him from everyone else. DON’T TRY AND REWRITE HISTORY, dude. Nothing good ever comes of it.

*By way of an explanation, and yes I am name dropping here, it happened exactly once in 1978 at Collateral Damage Sr.’s second wedding. My memory says we spent some time discussing if one of the maids of honor was going to succeed in picking up the minister who officiated. I believe she did, but I’m willing to be corrected on that point.

Congrats, BTW to the ultimate liberal cartoon for winning

the U.S. Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award for Public Service, Universal Press Syndicate announced Friday. The award — the fourth highest honor the Army can give a civilian — recognizes Trudeau’s “outstanding contributions to the morale and support of wounded service members, veterans, their families, and the Walter Reed family of healthcare providers,” wrote Major General Kenneth L. Farmer Jr. “Your compassionate portrayal of Lieutenant B.D.’s recovery and struggle to assimilate into this environment … has touched our Warrior Family and opened the eyes of the rest of the world to the physical, emotional, and personal challenges our soldiers face.”

This does not bode well for your credentials as a pinko…