Monday, December 24, 2007

Rootin' for a U.S.S. Robert Anson Heinlein

For those of you who don't know who Robert Heinlein is, go ahead and walk off and read Starship Troopers. No, don't watch the movie, damnit(although it did have it's pluses), the book. It's pretty short, you should get it done in no time. If you want to read something bigger I can also recommend Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

You back? Good. As far as Sci-fi authors go, Heinlein was one of the best. Certainly, he almost singlehandedly popularized the idea of "Power Armor" in the future military, and we're definately heading in that direction. He was also a Navy vet and, like myself, somewhere between a socialist and arch-conservative.

The Navy is in the process of ordering a new series of destroyers that are pushing the limits on current technology. Railguns and direct energy weapons are being seriously commented as future upgrades/included components for later ships of the class. Truly, it is the surface combatant of the future. And who better than Heinlein for a name of one of these fine vessels? The man who described HUDs, high speed computers, and a drift towards overwhelming quality of troops instead of quanity in the '50s deserves a badass ship named after him. So far the only ship named after him anywhere was in Star Trek and those communist pussies are undeserving of being even remotely associated with his name. Makes me want to throw chunks of the Moon down at Starfleet Headquarters in SF.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some of that Old Time religion

A man strangled his daughter to death in Canada recently, because she was into dancing and not into wearing the Hijab. Sounds like the logical resolution to a family dispute.

I wonder what the thought process is for someone who travels from one craphole of a country to a civilized one, and then assumes he can rigorously apply his dark-ages beliefs in the country he as emigrated to. For that matter, it must have crossed his mind at some point that his kids were going to be infected by The Infidels(tm), so why the Hell didn't he pack up and go home? Not that killing your daughter would be just as acceptable to me if it happened in Derka Derkastan, just trying to follow the logic train. Hopefully they withhold bail on the turd(and his turdling of a son for obstruction of justice).

On a somewhat more petty note, I recently patched CoD4...and the patch nuked the program, and I appear to be far from the only one to have that problem, if the Infinity Ward forums are anything to go by. At least they didn't do what the EVE Online guys did, and overwrite Boot.ini.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

lol soldiers are idiots lol

Ted Rall recently made a cartoon basically implying that the only reason people sign up for the military is (1) to go to Iraq and (2)for the recruitment bonus that they will get "if they live". Therefore, because of those reasons, soldiers(and by extension Marines, Sailors, and Airman) are idiots. And because they are idiots the United States as a whole is better off with them dead because it boosts the average IQ.

There are many reasons why people sign up. Money could be one. Maybe you want to get out of the little town in the middle of nowhere, or the ghetto in an urban area. Maybe your family all did so you did too. Maybe it's patriotism. Maybe you just didn't have any better idea as to what to do with your life(which I suspect is the vast majority). Down on the bottom of the list, however, is "let's go to Iraq and kill kill kill!"

Idiots? Well, the United States Military is better educated than the general population. Almost all the enlisted personnel have a diploma, and once they are through with technical training they are often considered equal to a journeyman in that trade to the DOL. In addition, it's increasingly a requirement for some kind of higher education in order to to get senior enlisted ranks. Hmm. Doesn't sound very idiotic to me. Officers? Much the same, except replace "diploma" with "Bachelors" and "Higher education" with "Masters or PhD."

But remember, to most civilians there is something wrong with folks who sign up for the military. They must be stupid, or foolish, or ignorant. Even with Bushie supporters who want to continue the war, when challenged to join the military if they support the war so much, mumble "I'm more important to the war effort in the private sector". Maybe they really are. Or maybe they are just cowards.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How much would you spend on your pet?

Last Thursday I noticed that one of my two cats, Mary, was acting in an unusual manner. She was following me around, meowing like she was in distress, and vigorously scratching her left ear. To the point of her cutting herself and getting a healthy bleed on. I got her to stop scratching, but her leg kept on twitching, and in the end she just yowled in distress more.

I set an appointment for the next day with the vet, went in...and found that it was a damn earwax build up. All told the trip cost me 120 clams, but I was instructed to bring the cat back next week. It seems that since she hadn't had a vet visit in who knows how long, she was due for a couple of vaccinations according to the Commonwealth of Virginia. One week later I am informed that she needs ear ointment(because the ear medicine I was giving seems to have irritated her ear, go fig) as well as two vaccines. That was another 130 clams.

Now, if she needed a $1,000 dollar operation, or more, I probably would have still came up with the money. It just perturbs me that I'm getting hammered on what I suspect was a simple problem and solution. The cat is back to her normal, anti-social self, at least.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Georgian Nazis!

So apparently immigration found themselves a former concentration camp guard in Georgia(the state, not the country). The fine outstanding gentleman volunteered for the Waffen SS in 1941, which instantly dashed any potential sympathy I might have had for him. For some reason the idea of volunteering to be part of the armed Nazi Party Apparatus strikes me as more than a little worse than being conscripted into the Heer. This hasn't stopped some of the Jackholes at some of the message boards I hang out though. One of them even said that "With such viral bias[against the SS], you're opinion is thus rendered useless." to me because I said "The only appropriate place for a SS volunteer is at the end of a noose." As it stands, the Nazi in question is going to be deported.

Speaking of killing Nazis, the expansion for Company of Heroes is out, and I'm enjoying the gameplay quite a bit. Relic really outdid themselves with the "How often can we make you punch in a registration key" mission right when you run the game for the first time. The rest is gravy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A couple months back I told my buddy William Chiu that I intended to build my next computer instead of buying one from a major manufacturer like Dell.

"It's cheaper that way," says I.

In true bullshit artist economist fashion, he responds(in what I can only imagine is outrage, it was over AIM) "Did you draw up a cost-benefit analysis of the time you'd spend assembling the thing instead of buying one built???"

It made me feel better about my own Geek-ness.

Well, three weeks ago I finally had all the parts here(well, all the ones needed, soundcard came later). When finished, my system looked like this:

Antec 900 Case
Windows XP home edition(Bite me, I'm using the restore disc from my laptop)
EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB
650w-ish Antec PSU
LG 18x DVD-ROM/Burner
Samsung 21.6" Syncmaster monitor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
ASUS P5N32-E Mobo

Despite a few hiccups I managed to get it up and running, and I learned the difference between owning a computer, and Computer Ownership. After building it(it was my first new-build, despise years in the Navy and DoD in IT) and I became immensely more confident, to the point of me setting up a Ubuntu Duel-boot(no reason, just because) and farting around with the settings in BIOS. It is one kickass rig. And to top it all off, the LED behind the front fans scare the hell out of one of the cats.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love-Hate relationship with Mass-transit.

I have to say, normally I love the DC Metro train system. It tends to get me where I'm going on time, it's(mostly) clean, and fast. Today the train crapped out somewhere between the Van Dorn and Franconia-Springfield stop, and in the infinite wisdom of whoever it was that was driving, he started to shut off AC while waiting for a technician to take a look.

Thank God it was this Wednesday instead of last Wednesday! And, of course, he turned out to be one of those asshole drivers who would park the train at the station and pick his nose while reflecting upon how he landed such a sweet job...all while us passengers are waiting for him to open the damn doors.

I'm more than a little bitter. I bet his cabin didn't lose AC...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Forward our Bright and Atomic Future!

As a crazed Paleoconservative Nationalist who thinks the extent of our overseas adventures should be in the Western Hemisphere, nothing is more worrisome to me than our reliance on foreign oil. Specifically, the kind of foreign oil that funds jackholes who crash planes into our buildings.

Which is why I was very pleased to hear that the NRC has received the first submission for a new reactor in decades. Nuclear plants have long been the best,the safest, the most secure, and most independent energy option for the country. The biggest hold up, of course, has been the scaremongers and the cheap oil prices.

The days of cheap oil are drawing to a close, one only has to take a glance at the pumps to verify that. While there are other methods of getting oil, the military and government agencies are going to get first call. Especially when nuclear plants are there to pick up the slack.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Iron Man trailer at Comicon!

Have you guys seen the Iron Man trailer released at this year's ComicCon? It looks pretty cool. As far as hard drinking womanizing heroes go, Robert Downing Jr. was an inspired choice.

I confess that I was more than a little skeptical that this could be pulled off. I thought the same about the Spider-man movies(first with Spider-man, then Doc Ock), and was proved wrong then. Guess it show's what I know.

Tony Stark has been getting a bit of a bum rap in the geek community of late. He was the driving force behind registration in the recent "Civil War" storyline, and now has to deal with one big green and pissed off Hulk, who has, in his own words, returned to Earth to "smash".

Leaving aside the Hulk thing, (and Dr. Strange leaving Earth high and dry by refusing to banish him again) most of the hate centers around Stark being a government stooge. Of course, the man now controls virtually every superhuman in the United States so it would be a bit hard for him to be anyone's stooge. That he was pushing for the right thing, creating a secure country(even in the midst of the Civil War with Captain America running around Stark's running of the show brought super-crime down to record levels) is lost on most guys because of the big bad government(tm). Then you have clowns like J.M.S. running around and claiming that Stark Industries is basically like Haliburton. This, of course, is a falsehood.

Let's be honest, Stark Industries gets shit done.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good news for the RN, and USN eyes a new CGN class.

It's been a fairly interesting week, navy-wise. First off, the Royal Navy is going to get it's new Carriers. Second, Defense News ran an article indicating that the USN is interested in a CGN as a following on to the Venerable Ticonderoga class cruisers.

First, the CVF. One of Tony Blair's first acts as PM was to commence a study to determine what the British military's force structure should look like in the early 21st Century. Surprise surprise, the study revealed that the CVLs built in the '70s and '80s to combat the Soviet sub threat were of decreasing utility in the modern area. Large carriers that carried big airwings are of more use in likely future actions, as the USN carrier fleet has proven again and again. And so, the decision was made to procure two large carriers and retire the 3 Invincibles. Only one problem.

The procurement process dragged on. And on. And on. Eventually, 10 years passed and the damned things hadn't even been ordered yet, while retirement of the mediocre CVLs had begun. Eventually, French participation in the project(the French requiring a back up for the infamous Charles de Gaulle) breathed new life into it, and, I suspect, saved the project entirely. The CVFs will use the F-35 "Joint Strike Fighter" in STOVL configuration, which will be a step up from the Harriers and Sea Harriers. One big problem though is that the RN has opted to use gas turbines instead of nuclear reactors.

Which brings us to our second subject. The USN is eying a return to nuclear propulsion for surface combatants. Why? Well, oil prices are high, and they are only going to get higher. The largest single "coast of business"(besides human lives) in Iraq has been fuel. Fuel for tanks, trucks, Helos, planes, and ships. And so much of that fuel comes from the Middle East. So not only is it increasingly costly to operate "conventional" powerplants, but it isn't very secure either. And eventually we will start hitting a wall in oil production, which means we'll have a lot of idle ships. Following Saint Rickover's example can lead the USN into continued global dominance, while the rest of the world struggles to protect their own coasts, much less project power. Blessed be Saint Rickover.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Excalibur gets it's first kill, and don't fear the Reaper.

If you are a in the service, and are a military enthusiast like myself, you may be interested to know that the new XM982 Excalibur Precision-guided 155mm shell got it's first kill in Iraq recently. The Excalibur is a very accurate shell designed to provided rapid support...and Raytheon has been having a devil of a time to get it to work right. Most electronics are not built to withstand the forces imposed on a shell flying out of a howitzer, but the contractor seems to have satisfactorily resolved the issue.

At $39k a pop, it's a bit more expensive than a "dumb" shell, but more accurate, which increases the chance of hitting the bad guys and missing the good guys(or non-combatants).

Of course, this isn't the only thing entering combat this week. The MQ-9 Reaper has arrived at Balad Air Base in Iraq, although USAF officials expect it's first combat use to be in Afghanistan. Unlike the MQ-1 Predator, the Reaper has been designed from the start as a bomb/missile truck in addition to Reecee duties. The Predator wasn't pitched as a combat aircraft, because for a lot of pilots in the USAF it would mean, frankly, that they would be out of a job. The Predator proved to be technically capable of being used as a UCAV, and impressed the Brass enough that the Reaper was ordered.

I note that all these new toys coming down the pike, the Reaper, Excalibur, and V-22, will be able to slap "Combat Proven!" stickers on them when making sales pitches to foreign countries. Might want to think fo keeping an eye on the stock of these companies...

Friday, July 13, 2007

World in Conflict, and DC Metro Passengers

The World in Conflict beta is out. As a guy who's introduction to RTS games was the original Red Alert, I am more than a little intrigued by the game. Alas, I suspect that my elderly laptop(which can play Company of Heroes surprisingly well) has finally reached the wall in games it can play. Time to turn in my Navy-era laptop for a real desktop.

So, one of the tools that the DC Metropolitan area transit system(the Metro) uses for it's frequent customers is a smart card called "Smarttrip". Besides paying for fare, your company/federal agency can also deposit fare directly onto it, which I think is neat. The third use is that it's used to pay for a parking spot at the major Metro train stops(that have parking lots/garages). In fact, it is very nearly the exclusive method of payment at these facilities. But this is no big secret, oh no, there are big signs everywhere(including when you drive in) that say "Smarttrip is the only method of payment here". This isn't frickin' rocket science. How hard is it to pay just a little bit to your surroundings?

Well, this afternoon as I'm trying to leave the station and go home, the fine gentlemen in the car in front of me pulls out his credit card(I could see the magnetic strip) and just starts tapping the reader. And then I see him pulling out different credit cards and randomly tapping it. Probably 90% of the surface area of these readers at the exits say SMARTTRIP in big letters. Then, in the lane next to me, it becomes backed up because some young lady is staring blankly at the empty booth, as if a employee will magically appear. It was a nightmare and a half to get everyone to back the eff up so these two piles of human garbage could turn around and no doubt complain that the big signs all over the damn place weren't prominent enough. Such instances of stupidity happen with depressing regularity, but rarely does it cause a massive back up like it did today.

If you can't even pay attention to the big honking signs all over the place saying what the requirement was, what makes you think you pay attention driving on the road?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Probable Treason

The President seems to have publically admitted that his administration leaked former CIA agent Valerie Plame's status to the NYT. He managed to put in the qualifier "probably" and said "And now we're going to move on".

Very few things the administration has done so far has made me enraged like this. The Administration has basically disregarded all professionalism and concern for National Security in the name of petty vendettas and spite. The President can't seem to understand why Scooty Libby deserved jail time. Not that he wasn't the only one, I have suspicions(completely unprovable) that his former boss, the Vice President, either gave the order or approved the leak. The President isn't even willing to have ones of his boys be the fall guy. Why?

Can the President be so out of touch with reality that he can't see how outing a undercover agent probably put her life in danger? Can't he see how outing a undercover closed off any and all sources through that channel? Or does he simply not care? How can it be possible that someone in his position lacks a basic understanding of right and wrong? Of concern for the safety of other people? Of National Security?

Monday, June 11, 2007

In Northern Virginia, eveng the jogging trails are bumper-to-bumper traffic

Believe it or not, and this will come as a shock to many of you, I have put on a few pounds since getting out of the navy. I know I know, you're thinking "Matt? Fat? That's un-possible!" Well shipmates, it's true. And 40 minutes on the elliptical just ain't cutting it. So I came up with an alternative, one that I think is better.

Not far from my place is Burke Lake Park, and I thought (temporally forgetting that summertime in Virginia makes my nose clog up and my eyes puffy. Huzzah) "What better than a 5 mile run/walk on a jogging trail along the lake?"

Well, I got about a mile before I started to feel it, and it was pure agony every step of the way. That's okay though, if I fell the masses of yuppies that had the same idea as me would break my fall. Assuming the angry, hissing Canadian Geese didn't get me. Or the cyclists clipping me. Why would I continue to subject myself to this?

Why, it would be because of the attractive urban professional chicas that also jog on said trail. See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 8, 2007

As I was.

I believe the term for what I'm feeling is Schadenfreude!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

This is an outrage

Chris Rock used to have this bit about OJ Simpson. His line was something like "If OJ was a bus driver instead of rich and famous, he wouldn't be OJ Simson, he would be "Orenthal the wife-murdering busdriver""

Sadly, it seems that once more the justice system has been made a mockery out of. Paris Hilton has been let out of prison for"undisclosed medical reasons". No doubt the whore thought she could tough it out and then decided that not getting gangbanged in a dirty bathroom stall nightly wasn't for her. Instead, she'll be wearing an electronic bracelet while under house arrest. Poor baby. I should be so lucky to be under house arrest at my mansion.

Of course, if I had gotten a DUI, I'd be in jail for a while and lost my job because I would have lost my clearances. Then again, my parents aren't wealthy socialites who are enraged that the judge rules that she has to be punished under the law.

I wonder what would have happened if she killed someone while under the influence. 6 days instead of 3

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cox or Cocks?

It wouldn't be Monday without horrible customer service.

So, first off I call the vendor my company sent me to for class on a certain 4-letter certification, and tell them I'm all set to schedule the tests for it. The woman on the phone, slurping something ever so loudly, goes "You have a voucher number?"

First, a little background. It was a nightmare trying to get a response from these guys(who my company had directed me to) just to sign up for the class, then finally the receptionist sends me an email stating that the class started on such and such date, and the tuition paid by my company included a voucher for all the tests. Of course, I came to found out that the start Date in the email was the second day of class, which put me behind, but whatever. They handed me the books, and class started. No indication that I was not suppose to be there.

So I respond to the lady on the phone "I never got a voucher number from you." To which she replied "Yes you did." A quick opening of my *.pst file proved that my original recollection was correct. "Well, I can't find any evidence of a voucher code for you."

"Fine, I'll pass this along to my company's HR folks. I'm sure they'll be real pleased to hear you're trying to charge me for something they already paid for."

"I'll call you back tomorrow." *click*

So basically, I think next cert I work on I'll just take the course at the community college and have the VA pay for it.

So, I get home and just to add to the fun, my Cable interweb crapped out. That is, to say, the splitter between my TV and modem once more died. Knowing that this would be the third damn time I replaced it on my own(as the phone reps mumbled something about coming out "sometime later in the week" and I didn't want to wait that long) I called them and told them "hey, the splitter is busted it. This will be the third time I've replaced it on my own, come out and replace it."

To which the woman on the other line said. "Let's go through some basic troubleshooting..."

Now, I personally hate asshole customers, but I was a bit of a one then. "Look, I've done this this and this. Bottom line, I can get Cable TV with the splitter, but not internet, and I only get internet with the modem plugged directly into the drop."

"Okay, we'll send someone out tomorrow, between 1500-1900*click*

If it wasn't for the fact that Cox Communication's internet was so damn great, I would have dropped them a long time ago.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What does your summer reading list look like?

I have a somewhat full docket, at first glance.

Nonfiction: Castles of Steel by Robert Massie
Re-read Dreadnought, also by Massie
Vinegar Joe Stilwell and the American Experience in China by Barbara Tuchman
Re-read A Distant Mirror(also by Barbara Tuchman)

Fiction is somewhat limited:
In at the Death by Harry Turtledove
WH40K Books:
Rebel Winter
Brothers of the Snake
Descent of Angels.

This is all tentative, of course. Odds are I'll see somethign I like at the bookstore more than once. In addition, I have a passle of Osprey books to work through.

What does your list look like?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Memorial Day Geekend

Ladies and Gentlemen, 30 years ago this weekend(today, in fact) a little known but soon to be entirely awesome movie called "Star Wars" was released. Star Wars went on to reinvigorate the Space Opera genre, and become a visually stunning masterpiece.

Years later, after the end of the original trilogy, a science fiction author by the name of Timothy Zahn wrote a "sequel" trilogy, concerning the post-Endor SW galaxy. This breathed new life into the Star Wars franchise, and we have been reaping the benefits, and the bad since. Certainly, the prequel trilogy did not measure up or have the staying power of the original. The expanded universe novels have mostly degenerated into a series of hack writers writing hack stories, too afraid to comp template a "big Galaxy".

On the whole, I think, the quality of the Franchise has gotten worse, not better over these past few years. While there are some diamonds in the rough(ROTS, KOTOR, Clone Wars Cartoons) I am reminded of what my Dad used to say, "no matter how hard you polish a turd, it's still a turd." Unfortunately, that's where the franchise is now, and where I think it's gonna continue going.

Now if you excuse me, I have a 6 hour Star Wars marathon to watch.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer is here...

Which means that, shortly, all cookery will cease inside and only continue outside on the grill. Which isn't to say that this wasn't the way before(no mere hurricane force winds are going to stop me) but now it's more official.

Cooking on the grill is always preferable to cooking inside, unless you have $5.00 to last till next paycheck, and you have to go Ramen noodle out. In addition, all the relavent food groups are cookable on the grill. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb...even various seafood for you fish-mongers. If you want to get really wild, you can have peppers and make a shish kabob. Get your carbs by soaking some bratwursts in beer for several hours before grilling.

But what kind of sidedish? Well, obviously potatoes of some kind. Whether baked or otherwise. I prefer my baked potatoes to be fairly plain...just salt, pepper, and little bit of butter. But for the rest of you, knock yourselves out.

And fries? There is only one topping to go on fries...and that is Malt Vinegar. Anything else is an abomination.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

WH40KCraft2 announced.

Attention good citizens of the Imperium of Man! The most hated of foes, Blizzard Entertainment, has announced that they intend to once more pitch their "Starcraft" franchise as an original universe. Granted, few little "Sci-fi" can be considered original, but like the "Warcraft" franchise any reasonable person can see they quite a bit was ripped from Games Workshop.

And so, Good Citizens of the Imperium, I as thee to smite these foes! Go out and buy WH40K novels! Play Dawn of War/Dark Crusade! Do not anticipate Starcraft 2, we all know that Dawn of War 2 will come out long before it anyway, no matter what Blizzard's goal date is.

Thought for the Day: It is better to die for the Emperor, than live for yourself.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Be Professional, Damnit

Many moons ago in High School I was on the Debate team. Like most others, I had joined to beef up the 'ol college application, and hey I like to argue so why not do that as an extra curricular activity?

Of course, there was one thing I hated about the whole concept, and that was dressing up. Those damn collared shirts. Those damn jackets. Those ties tied with arcane means. Back then(and now) you'd be lucky to get me in anything other than a Tee-shirt and jeans, unless you made me. My after-school job was at a bowling alley, so obviously I wasn't dressed to kill there either. I only "dressed up" at debate meets, and I considered that a chore.

Graduating High School I went to Texas A&M,joined the Corps of Cadets, and for the first time in my life "look professional, damn it" was drilled into my head. Polish those shoes! Iron those pants! Shine that brass! Later, after I left TAMU I joined the Navy, and I spent 4 years concerned about keeping the uniform reasonably clean and wrinkle free.

After I got out, I went to Men's Warehouse to get the first suit I had bought in over 5 years. Need to look purty for job interviews, obviously. While I was getting measured and fitted, a father and son entered the store, and the son proceed to piss and moan about how he didn't need a suit and tie, and he would find a job where he wouldn't have to "dress up" to work. I was both amused and irritated, after all even McDonald's makes you wear a uniform.

Outside of work I still dress up to a maximum of a polo shirt and jeans, but wearing a suit and tie no longer bothers me as it once did. Impressions, whether in an IT enviroment or otherwise, are important. Dressing and acting in a professional manner instills confidence in others, and the only way you can get away looking like a hobo in today's world is if you have (1)proven over an extended time period to your employer that you're valuable enough to be given special dispensation and (2)you can be kept out of sight so as to not embaress the company/agency in front of customers/clients.

If you look and act professional, you may even feel proud about it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fred Thompson replies to Michael Moore

Okay, this made me chuckle:
Fred Thompson Exclusive: The confrontation over Cuba continues. Michael Moore has challenged Fred Thompson to a health care debate. At issue -- Moore's trip to Cuba and Thompson's criticism of that trip. Moore noted Thompson's evident favor for Cuban cigars as a possible violation of the trade embargo. Now, Thompson responds. Cigar in hand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are MRAPs the wave of the future?

So, 4 years into Iraq and the decision seems to have finally been made to stop driving around in Humvees "outside the wire" and ride around solely in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected(MRAP) vehicles. With the possibility of us pulling out and leaving Iraq "as is"(as no politician has the cajones to institute a draft to get the numbers necessary to pacify the country) within the year increasing, it may not seem entirely logical to go out and buy 17,000 new vehicles.

Most modern MRAPs are derived(or heavily influenced by) from South African designs dating back several decades. Indeed, when the CF deployed to Canada they went out and bought several dozen vehicles from a South African firm. Today, users from subsaharan African countries to Blackwater Security utilize these vehicles.

But that doesn't answer the question of "If the odds are we won't be in Iraq much longer, why spend the money?". For one thing, we(that is, the Nation) would be derelict in making sure our servicemen and women have the protection they need, not matter how long we're going to be there. For another, the Humvee is slated for a replacement soon anyway, so we might as well use a safer vehicle for a replacement(I would prefer a safer vehicle that also has better gas mileage , personally). And thirdly, IEDs seem to be here to stay. Even if we were to leave Iraq tomorrow, we would still face IEDs in Afghanistan, and I suspect that were we to deploy on peacekeeping missions in other high-pace environments(such as Darfur) we would face them there as well.