Thursday, September 20, 2007

OOTG Goes to War

And your Humble Narrator goes with them. Out of the Gutter, the "magazine of pulp fiction and degenerate literature," has a new edition coming out November 1. It's the "War Is All Hell" Issue and my historical redneck noir piece "So Round, So Firm So Fully Packed" is there. Think of it as The Greatest Generation meets The Greatest Degeneration. Check it out, if you've got the nerve.

(Hat tip to Victor Gischler)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I'm Really Psyched About

This weekend's going to be a blast, as Your Humble Narrator returns to Wisconsin at the invitation of some of my favorite folks, namely Jon and Ruth Jordan. I'll be joined by the wickedly talented Zoe Sharp.

Saturday, September 22d at 2:00 PM, Zoe and I will be at Booked for Murder, 2701 University Avenue in Madison; Sunday, September 23d at noon, we'll be at Mystery One, 2109 N. Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee. The rest of the time, I expect I'll be drinking good beer and having a large time in fine company. C'mon and join the fun if you're in the area.

The weekend after, I'm at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) trade show at the Atlanta Hilton, which is located, strangely enough, in Atlanta. 2-2:50, I'll be doing a panel with
Ferrol Sams, Sonny Brewer, and Margaret Sartor, called "Southern Born and Bred". Should be a natural. After that, I'll be signing at the Southeastern Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America booth from 5:00 to 6:00. More merriment to follow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good Things Happen to Good People, Redux


Some great news: Ali Karim, representing SHOTS has been nominated for an Anthony Award, in the Special Services category. The winner will be announced at the upcoming Bouchercon convention which attracts mystery writers, editors and fans alike. The event will take place September 27 - 30 in Anchorage, Alaska. According to, an subsidiary that compiles information about Web site traffic, SHOTS is the second most popular crime and thriller-fiction spot on the Internet. Ali is also a contributing editor at January Magazine & The Rap Sheet and writes for Red Herrings, Deadly Pleasures, Crimespree and Mystery Readers International magazines. Karim has contributed to 'Dissecting Hannibal Lecter' ed. Benjamin Szumskyj due out September 2007 from McFarland Press.


Tess Gerritsen's new one, THE BONE GARDEN debuts, as her newest paperback, THE MEPHISTO CLUB, hits the revamped NYT bestseller list at #7.

Congrats to both.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, At Least Somebody's Hiring...

'Help Wanted' Ad Belies Report on Iraq Security -

By Walter Pincus
Monday, September 17, 2007

A week ago today, Gen. David H. Petraeus started his rounds on Capitol Hill, reporting that security in Iraq was improving to the point that a small number of troops could begin coming home by year's end.

But 10 days ago, his commanders in Baghdad began advertising for private contractors to work in combat-supply warehouses on U.S. bases throughout Iraq because half the soldiers who had been working in the warehouses were needed for patrols, combat and protection of U.S. forces.

"With the increased insurgent activity, unit supply personnel must continue to pull force protection along with convoy escort and patrol duties," according to a statement of work that accompanied the Sept. 7 request for bidders from Multi-National Force-Iraq.

All of the small logistics bases, called Supply Support Activities, or SSAs, are "currently using about 50% of their assigned (currently less than 100% strength) military personnel for other required duties (force protection, patrols, escort duties, etc. along with performing 24 hour combat operations)," the statement says.

The contract proposal covers 10 of the logistics bases and another warehouse with chemical protective items. Although the initial request is for 101 individuals qualified in warehouse operations, "additional manning may be required and the contractor should anticipate possible increases," according to the proposal. Some locations may end up being "completely manned by contract personnel," the statement says.

Wait...I thought the surge was working ! I thought insurgent attacks were down! Dear God....could someone have been LYING TO US?!?

Following in Dubbya's Footsteps

Rudy Blasts Hillary Again Over MoveOn Ad

Except Hilary didn't run the ad, and she isn't affiliated with

Responding to an unprovoked attack by declaring war on someone who had nothing to do with it. Sound familiar?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

Latest Newspaper Column:

After months of waiting, the most anticipated event since the introduction of the iPhone finally came to pass. The so-called Petraeus Report has been delivered.

Actually, calling it the Petraeus Report may be a misnomer.

"Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq," the L.A. Times reported, "administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government."

Of course, the so-called "liberal" L.A. Times managed to bury this little tidbit in the next-to-last paragraph of the story. And how much do you want to bet that "officials throughout the government" is a code word for "Dick Cheney"?

While we're at it, does anyone really think the timing of the delivery of the report to Congress -- the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- is a coincidence? The administration that's repeatedly denied trying to blame Iraq for 9/11 never seems to miss an opportunity to put the two side by side.

Considering all of the above, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the basic thrust of the report was, in the words of the old tune, "Give Me Just a Little More Time." Sectarian violence is down. The Surge is working. We may even be able to reduce troop levels by this time next year to only 130,000 -- where they were before the so-called "Surge."

Problem with this is, we've heard it all before.

"Things will get better in six more months" has become such a frequent mantra of war supporters that some bloggers coined a new term for it -- the "Friedman Unit," or FU. It's named after journalist and Iraq War apologist Thomas Friedman, who's said things like "the next six months will be critical," "the next six months will be decisive" and "we'll know within the next six months whether this country will collapse" at least 14 times over the past four years.

It's not just Friedman. Joe "Man O'God" Lieberman, the Democrat the Republicans love, predicted "by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down." Unfortunately, he said this in July of 2006.

Former Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner told us, "We've got to stay firm; the next six months is a critical time." He said this in November of 2005. Petraeus himself said, "The next six months will be critical" -- in October 2005. And the Iraqis? Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki claimed "our forces will be ready by June 2007."

There's also some evidence that the figures on decreasing sectarian violence may be a matter of changing definitions rather than lowered numbers of dead people.

A recent Washington Post article (again, buried in the back pages) quoted a senior intelligence official as saying: "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian. If it went through the front, it's criminal." Oh, and those 500 people killed in a truck bombing last month? They don't count as sectarian, which should come as a great comfort to them and their families.

"Let's just say there are several different sources within the administration on violence, and those sources do not agree," Comptroller General David Walker told Congress upon the release of a Government Accountability Office report on violence in Iraq that was considerably less rosy than the Bush/Cheney -- oh, sorry, the Petraeus Report.

Meanwhile, the GAO report notes that the Iraqi government fully met only three of the 18 benchmarks laid out by U.S. lawmakers to demonstrate progress.

"It would not surprise me that the GAO would make this assessment given the difficult congressionally mandated measurement they had to follow," sniffed Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council. 'Cause, you know, governing yourselves is really hard and stuff.

So you'll forgive me if I'm a little less than confident that the next "critical" six-month period will be that much different from all the other "critical" six-month periods. It's more and more obvious every day that the Bushistas' strategy in Iraq centers on running out the clock until he president can hand the mess he made to the next poor sap to handle.

Meanwhile, the actual architect of 9/11, Osama bin Ladin his ownself, stays free. In fact, bin Ladin recently released his own 9/11 anniversary video, as if to say "Yoo-hoo! Remember me? I'm over here, guys! You don't know where I am, but you can bet your combat boots it ain't Iraq!" And Al-Qaeda, according to an intercepted communiqué , is telling its people in Iraq that "prolonging the war is in our interest."

Yeah. Some of us have noticed that.

(Speaking of tiresome B.S. we've all heard before, the following letter appears today on the same page as the column, from frequent "contributor" Dave Edmunds of Charlottesville, Va. ):

Dems Show Disloyalty

If there were ever any doubt about the true allegiances of liberal, left-wing Democrats regarding Iraq, they were fully exposed recently in the congressional report by Gen. Petraeus.
The general is widely recognized as this country's foremost authority on counterinsurgency warfare.

Because liberal Democrats are so politically invested in the failure and defeat of our efforts in Iraq, they have attempted to deny any signs of progress and disparage any leader who presents a more positive view of our efforts there.
Dave-o, you ever have anything original to say that's NOT taken directly from a Bill O'Reilly rant?

That's exactly what happened Sept. 10, when Democratic leaders accused Petraeus of "cooking the books" for Bush before he testified.
Actually, Dave-o, the Congress was working off the above-mentioned GAO report, as well as quotes from senior officials. Republicans also sharply questioned Petraeus at the hearings. Oh, and a joint ABC/BBC/NHK survey released before the report stated that:

Barely a quarter of Iraqis say their security has improved in the past six months, a negative assessment of the surge in U.S. forces that reflects worsening public attitudes across a range of measures, even as authorities report some progress curtailing violence.

Care to actually address those, or do you want to just continue blaming any bad news on Democrats?

What a disservice and disrespect to one of our greatest military leaders, who probably has more integrity in his little finger than some of his liberal detractors have in their entire body. Who can forget the self-serving comment of the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who announced to the entire world that "the war is lost."
Self-serving? Considering how much heat Reid's taken for it, How the hell is that a self-serving comment?

It should be clear by now that liberal Democrats are more interested in our defeat in Iraq than our success. It is sad to see a once-great party transcend from its traditional role of "loyal opposition" in time of war. These Democratic leaders have offered no alternative plan for fighting this war, and they have no clue on how to win it.
Hey, Dave-o? 2004 called. It wants its discredited rhetoric back. The Democrats have presented several plans, while all we've heard from Bushco is "keep doing the same thing for six more months and hope it works."