No more Buffy? Jords is disconsolate.
I admit, I’ve never really been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a fun show to watch. My favorite character in it is probably Xander (poor guy wound up a bricklayer with no superpowers. And he lost an eye.) But a fan? Nah. That being said, I will be watching the final episode tonight because I know my sister will be. I’ll be doing it because it’s a good feeling that, despite the fact that I’m now seven or so hours away from Jords, we can still do things together.
The current rumblings I’ve been following from the blogsphere involve this report from John Kampfner of the BBC suggesting that the Jessica Lynch rescue was “like a Hollywood film. They cried ‘go, go, go’, with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital – action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan.” In short, that evil US military faked it.
First, why on Earth would anybody, especially Special Forces, enter enemy territory with blanks? Even if your intel tells you that there’s absolutely, positively, you-can-shoot-me-if-I’m-wrong-I’m-so-sure, no enemy around, you’re still going to bring live rounds. If you didn’t, you don’t belong in the military, much less Special Forces. Then, if the enemy is there, you’ll have to switch from the blanks to the live rounds ( which takes some time with American infantry weapons.) The enemy, having cleverly brought bullets that kill people, will probably shoot you while you’re switching. Or do something else nasty. That’s why he’s called the enemy.
The second thing deals with how the American M16 is able to fire blanks. In short, it can’t; not unaided. Blank ammunition, when fired in the M16, is not powerful enough to force the weapons mechanism through its full cycle of operations. Because there is no live projectile, the build up of gas in the barrel is much less. When the weapon fires, there is no way that the mechanism will re-cock and chamber a fresh round. The same problems firing blanks go for the other two main infantry weapons used by US troops, the M4 carbine (a shortened version of the M16) and the Minimi Light Machine Gun.
So how does the US military use blank rounds in training exercises then? With the aid of an attachment called a BFA. The BFA is a box that attaches to the muzzle of the M16 that doesn’t allow the gases from the blank round to vent, which provides enough force to allow the rifle to go through its cycle. It’s also large and brightly coloured. It’s a safety feature; a visible way of proving in training that no one is pointing live ammunition at you by mistake.
Why am I mentioning the BFA? Remember, it’s large, brightly colored and would have been visible in the tape that US Central Command released. (You’ll need Real Player to watch.) I saw silencers, but no boxes attached to the ends of muzzles.
There’s a lot of other errors in the BBC story that probably could have been cleared up with a couple of phone calls to US Central Command, but since the story was about how US Central Command “faked” the rescue, Mr. Kampfner didn’t call them before filing the story. As a result, he looks like an idiot. He’s backpedaling a bit now too, changing his story from “the rescue was faked” to “the US military milked the story for its own PR purposes.” Well, duh, the military milked it. Not the point. The guy’s now spinning to cover up the fact that he did some shoddy reporting and got busted at it. Wonder if the BBC will follow the example of the New York Times by admitting it?
Moment of Zen