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Vets refuse to forgive Kerry for Antiwar Acts
The same record Mr. Kerry wields as evidence of his leadership abilities is also used by his harshest critics, who question the severity of the injuries he used to get sent home early and the five medals he garnered in five months.
"If I got three Purple Hearts for three scratches, I'd be embarrassed," said Ted Sampley, who fought in Vietnam and publishes U.S. Veteran Dispatch. He remembers soldiers turning away awards for minor injuries.
Mr. Kerry has said none of his Purple Heart injuries, only one of which removed him from the field for two days, was critical.
After his third Purple Heart, Mr. Kerry requested and was granted permission to return to the United States to work behind a desk in New York. Even while still a Navy man, he began traveling to antiwar rallies with leading war protesters such as Adam Walinsky, a former speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy.
Mr. Walinsky recalled that Mr. Kerry flew him around the state of New York for several Vietnam Moratorium protests in October 1969.
"He was a guy who had been in the war," he said. "We spent a lot of time talking about the campaign, the presidential campaign and the Vietnam War."
Mr. Kerry has said he did not take part in the protests, but was intrigued by Mr. Walinsky's views about the war. The two men stayed in contact and "became reasonably good friends," Mr. Walinsky said.
Others were shocked by the Naval officer's association with the antiwar movement.
"He gets this cushy job in his hometown, goes around protesting the war, then asks to get out six months early," Mr. Sampley said. "What regulations were busted when Kerry — as a Naval officer and still on the payroll — was flying around protesting the war? And who had to stand in and fight for John Kerry after he left six months early?"
Mr. Sampley recently started a group called Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry. The Web site, which labels the senator "Hanoi John Kerry," has attracted thousands of anti-Kerry e-mails and online postings from other veterans.
In Mr. Kerry's first active-duty assignment, he served in the electrical department of the USS Gridley, a guided-missile frigate supporting the Navy's fleet of carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin.
"I didn't have any real feel for what the heck was going on [in the war]," Mr. Kerry told the Boston Globe in a story last summer, referring to his time on the Gridley.
He then became a commander of a Navy swift boat, which at the time were used to transport sailors to ships in the gulf. Two weeks after beginning his new assignment, the safe job he had picked became much more dangerous when the boats began being used in the Mekong Delta to seek out the Viet Cong and block North Vietnamese supply routes.
"I didn't really want to get involved in the war," the Globe cites Mr. Kerry saying in a 1986 book about Vietnam. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling and that's what I thought I was going to do."
Then Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry got more than he had expected. He was involved in close combat with the Viet Cong, leading to all of his medals.
Questions arose during his 1996 Senate re-election campaign about whether Mr. Kerry deserved the awards, in particular the Silver Star. Accounts of the incident vary, but essentially Mr. Kerry chased down a wounded Viet Cong fighter, killed him and stripped him of the B-40 rocket launcher he had just fired at Mr. Kerry's swift boat.
The Viet Cong fighter had already been wounded by the boat's machine gunner, according to various reports from eyewitnesses, who had "laid down 50 rounds" into the hootch where the man had run to hide and from which Mr. Kerry emerged after applying what some described as the "coup de grace" to the wounded Viet Cong.
From the Fayetteville (NC) Observer
Decoration was not a solo affair, Wolford Says
Staff Sgt. Gerald Wolford received a Silver Star, the Army's third-highest award for valor, Feb. 12 for his performance last spring during a battle in Samawah, Iraq.
When asked about his award, Wolford is quick to note the actions of his cohorts from the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, during the four-hour battle March 31 and April 1.
He mentions Spc. Cory Christiansen, for example - the gunner who never left the turret despite being nearly shot 23 times. Or Spc. Michael Woodward, a driver, who stayed calm and returned to the fight after taking shrapnel during a rocket-propelled grenade attack.
Spc. Derick Rippee returned to battle, not once but twice. The first time after he was wounded in the grenade attack. The second time was after he passed out in the truck.
"The only reason that I was recognized was because of the work of my guys," Wolford said last week before heading to Oregon on leave.
"Those guys, I don't think, got the recognition they deserved."
"Once the bullets started flying it was a pretty shocking ordeal," Flippo said. "Everyone pretty much knew this was it." Christiansen saw a truck across the river with a heavy machine gun mounted on the back. Wolford gave the signal to fire.
The fight was on. As the platoon continued toward the second bridge, the Iraqis on the other side of the river shadowed the troops. The second bridge was the primary target because it provided the link over the Euphrates for Highway 8, the main north-south Iraqi highway.
Wolford's vehicle pulled into a little dip in the road. He didn't know that's what the Iraqis had been waiting for.
"Once we got into that position a guy literally popped up in the window with an RPG," Wolford said.
The man fired a grenade that struck the bridge above Wolford's truck. Woodward and Rippee took the brunt of the blast.
Wolford took the injured men to get medical attention. Both came back to the fight. The platoon continued taking fire, even as they were ordered to pull out.
After the battle, Wolford counted the bullet marks around Christiansen's turret. There were 23. "Somebody was looking out for him," he said.
"I had freedom of movement because they were doing their jobs."
Wolford's only injury was a ¼-inch piece of shrapnel that embedded under his right eye.
Heroes are all around you. Read the whole thing.
I would grow tired of examining John Kerry's military career, but since George W. Bush's military experience has been explored thoroughly here it's only fitting that his opponent gets equal time.
Without further ado, from Snopes.com, the defining moment of John Kerry's Vietnam experience:
Kerry earned his Silver Star on 28 February 1969, when he beached his craft and jumped off it with an M-16 rifle in hand to chase and shoot a guerrilla who was running into position to launch a B-40 rocket at Kerry's boat. Contrary to the account quoted above, Kerry did not shoot a "Charlie" who had "fired at the boat and missed," whose "rocket launcher was empty," and who was "already dead or dying" after being "knocked down with a .50 caliber round." Kerry's boat had been hit by a rocket fired by someone else — the guerrilla in question was still armed with a live B-40 and had only been clipped in the leg; when the guerrilla got up to run, Kerry assumed he was getting into position to launch a rocket and shot him:
On Feb. 28, 1969, Kerry's boat received word that a swift boat was being ambushed. As Kerry raced to the scene, his boat became another target, as a Viet Cong B-40 rocket blast shattered a window. Kerry could have ordered his crew to hit the enemy and run. But the skipper had a more aggressive reaction in mind. Beach the boat, Kerry ordered, and the craft's bow was quickly rammed upon the shoreline. Out of the bush appeared a teenager in a loin cloth, clutching a grenade launcher.
An enemy was just feet away, holding a weapon with enough firepower to blow up the boat. Kerry's forward gunner, [Tommy] Belodeau, shot and clipped the Viet Cong in the leg. Then Belodeau's gun jammed, according to other crewmates (Belodeau died in 1997). [Michael] Medeiros tried to fire at the Viet Cong, but he couldn't get a shot off.
In an interview, Kerry added a chilling detail.
"This guy could have dispatched us in a second, but for . . . I'll never be able to explain, we were literally face to face, he with his B-40 rocket and us in our boat, and he didn't pull the trigger. I would not be here today talking to you if he had," Kerry recalled. "And Tommy clipped him, and he started going [down.] I thought it was over."
Instead, the guerrilla got up and started running. "We've got to get him, make sure he doesn't get behind the hut, and then we're in trouble," Kerry recalled.
So Kerry shot and killed the guerrilla. "I don't have a second's question about that, nor does anybody who was with me," he said. "He was running away with a live B-40, and, I thought, poised to turn around and fire it." Asked whether that meant Kerry shot the guerrilla in the back, Kerry said, "No, absolutely not. He was hurt, other guys were shooting from back, side, back. There is no, there is not a scintilla of question in any person's mind who was there [that] this guy was dangerous, he was a combatant, he had an armed weapon."
Another member of the crew confirmed Kerry's account for the Boston Globe and expressed no doubt that Kerry's action had saved both the boat and its crew:
The crewman with the best view of the action was Frederic Short, the man in the tub operating the twin guns. Short had not talked to Kerry for 34 years, until after he was recently contacted by a Globe reporter. Kerry said he had "totally forgotten" Short was on board that day.
Short had joined Kerry's crew just two weeks earlier, as a last-minute replacement, and he was as green as the Arkansas grass of his home. He said he didn't realize that he should have carried an M-16 rifle, figuring the tub's machine guns would be enough. But as Kerry stood face to face with the guerrilla carrying the rocket, Short realized his predicament. With the boat beached and the bow tilted up, a guard rail prevented him from taking aim at the enemy. For a terrifying moment, the guerrilla looked straight at Short with the rocket.
Short believes the guerrilla didn't fire because he was too close and needed to be a suitable distance to hit the boat squarely and avoid ricochet debris. Short tried to protect his skipper.
"I laid in fire with the twin .50s, and he got behind a hootch," recalled Short. "I laid 50 rounds in there, and Mr. Kerry went in. Rounds were coming everywhere. We were getting fire from both sides of the river. It was a canal. We were receiving fire from the opposite bank, also, and there was no way I could bring my guns to bear on that."
Short said there is "no doubt" that Kerry saved the boat and crew. "That was a him-or-us thing, that was a loaded weapon with a shape charge on it . . . It could pierce a tank. I wouldn't have been here talking to you. I probably prayed more up that creek than a Southern Baptist church does in a month."
Charles Gibson, who served on Kerry's boat that day because he was on a one-week indoctrination course, said Kerry's action was dangerous but necessary. "Every day you wake up and say, 'How the hell did we get out of that alive?'" Gibson said. "Kerry was a good leader. He knew what he was doing."
Although Kerry's superiors were somewhat concerned about the issue of his leaving his boat unattended, they nonetheless found his actions courageous and worthy of commendation:
When Kerry returned to his base, his commanding officer, George Elliott, raised an issue with Kerry: the fine line between whether the action merited a medal or a court-martial.
"When [Kerry] came back from the well-publicized action where he beached his boat in middle of ambush and chased a VC around a hootch and ended his life, when [Kerry] came back and I heard his debrief, I said, 'John, I don't know whether you should be court-martialed or given a medal, court-martialed for leaving your ship, your post,'" Elliott recalled in an interview.
"But I ended up writing it up for a Silver Star, which is well deserved, and I have no regrets or second thoughts at all about that," Elliott said. A Silver Star, which the Navy said is its fifth-highest medal, commends distinctive gallantry in action.
Asked why he had raised the issue of a court-martial, Elliott said he did so "half tongue-in-cheek, because there was never any question I wanted him to realize I didn't want him to leave his boat unattended. That was in context of big-ship Navy — my background. A C.O. [commanding officer] never leaves his ship in battle or anything else. I realize this, first of all, it was pretty courageous to turn into an ambush even though you usually find no more than two or three people there. On the other hand, on an operation some time later, down on the very tip of the peninsula, we had lost one boat and several men in a big operation, and they were hit by a lot more than two or three people."
Elliott stressed that he never questioned Kerry's decision to kill the Viet Cong, and he appeared in Boston at Kerry's side during the 1996 Senate race to back up that aspect of Kerry's action.
"I don't think they were exactly ready to court-martial him," said Wade Sanders, who commanded a swift boat that sometimes accompanied Kerry's vessel, and who later became deputy assistant secretary of the Navy. "I can only say from the certainty borne of experience that there must have been some rumbling about, 'What are we going to do with this guy, he turned his boat,' and I can hear the words, 'He endangered his crew.' But from our position, the tactic to take is whatever action is best designed to eliminate the enemy threat, which is what he did."
Indeed, the Silver Star citation makes clear that Kerry's performance on that day was both extraordinary and risky. "With utter disregard for his own safety and the enemy rockets," the citation says, Kerry "again ordered a charge on the enemy, beached his boat only 10 feet from the Viet Cong rocket position and personally led a landing party ashore in pursuit of the enemy . . . The extraordinary daring and personal courage of Lt. Kerry in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire were responsible for the highly successful mission."
Comments are open. Exercise your right to freedom of speech while you can.
Continuing with the Snopes account of John Kerry's adventure in Vietnam:
John Kerry earned his second Purple Heart while returning from a PCF mission up the Bo De River on 20 February 1969:
One of the mission's support helicopters had been hit by small-arms fire during the trip up the Bo De and the rest had returned with it to their base to refuel and get the damage inspected. While there the pilots found that they wouldn't be able to return to the Swifts for several more hours. "We therefore had a choice: to wait for what was not a confirmed return by the helos [and] give any snipers more time to set up an ambush for our exit or we could take a chance and exit immediately without any cover," Kerry recorded in his notebook. "We chose the latter."
Just as they moved out onto the Cua Lon, at a junction known for unfriendliness in the past, kaboom! PCF-94 had taken a rocket-propelled grenade round off the port side, fired at them from the far left bank. Kerry felt a piece of hot shrapnel bore into his left leg. With blood running down the deck, the Swift managed to make an otherwise uneventful exit into the Gulf of Thailand, where they rendezvoused with a Coast Guard cutter. The injury Kerry suffered in that action earned his his second Purple Heart.
Brinkley noted that, as in the previous case, "Kerry's wound was not serious enough to require time off from duty."
Comments are open. One question for consideration: would you accept a second Purle Heart for this incident, or would you even report the injury?
Looks like it's "Military Justice Week" in Mudville. With that in mind the following two stories are reposted from their original dates.
From the Snopes article on whether Kerry earned his medals comes the account of how he received his first Purple Heart. From Douglas Brinkley's history of John Kerry and the Vietnam War:
"It was a half-assed action that hardly qualfied as combat, but it was my first, and that made it very exciting," [Kerry said]. "Three of us, two enlisted men and myself, had stayed up all night in a Boston Whaler [a foam-filled-fiberglass boat] patrolling the shore off a Viet Cong-infested peninsula north of Cam Ranh . . . Most of the night had been spent being scared shitless by fisherman whom we would suddenly creep up on in the darkness. Once, one of the sailors was so startled by two men who surprised us as we came around a corner ten yards from the shore that he actually pulled the trigger on his machine gun. Fortunately for the two men, he had forgotten to switch off the safety . . ."
As it turned out, the two men really were just a pair of innocent fisherman who didn't know where one zone began and the other ended. Their papers were perfectly in order, if their night's fishing over. The fear was that they were VC. Allowing them to continue might have compromised the mission. For the next four hours Kerry's Boston Whaler, using paddles, brought boatloads of fisherman they found in sampans, all operating in a curfew zone, back to the Swift. It was tiring work. "We deposited them with the Swift boat that remained out in the deep water to give us cover," Kerry continued. "Then, very early in the morning, around 2:00 or 3:00, while it was still dark, we proceeded up the tiny inlet between the island and the peninsula to the point designated as our objective. The jungle closed in on us on both sides. It was scary as hell. You could hear yourself breathing. We were almost touching the shore. Suddenly, through the magnified moonlight of the infrared 'starlight scope,' I watched, mesmerized, as a group of sampans glided in toward the shore. We had been briefed that this was a favorite crossing area for VC trafficking contraband."
With its motor turned off, Kerry paddled the Boston Whaler out of the inlet into the beginning of the bay. Simultaneously the Vietnamese pulled their sampans up onto the beach and began to unload something; he couldn't tell what, so he decided to illuminate the proceedings with a flare. The entire sky seemed to explode into daylight. The men from the sampans bolted erect, stiff with shock for only an instant before they sprang for cover like a herd of panicked gazelles Kerry had once seen on TV's Wild Kingdom. "We opened fire," he went on. "The light from the flares started to fade, the air was full of explosions. My M-16 jammed, and as I bent down in the boat to grab another gun, a stinging piece of heat socked into my arm and just seemed to burn like hell. By this time one of the sailors had started the engine and we ran by the beach, strafing it. Then it was quiet.
"We stayed quiet and low because we did not want to illuminate ourselves at that point," Kerry explained. "In the dead of night, without any knowledge of what kind of force was there, we were not all about to go crawling on the beach to get our asses shot off. We were unprotected; we didn't have ammunition, we didn't have cover, we just weren't prepared for that . . . So we first shot the sampans so that they were destroyed and whatever was in them was destroyed." Then their cover boat warned of a possible VC ambush in the small channel they had to exit through, and Kerry and company departed the area.
The "stinging piece of heat" Kerry felt in his arm had been caused by a piece of shrapnel, a wound for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. The injury was not serious — Brinkley notes that Kerry went on a regular Swift boat patrol the next day with a bandage on his arm, and the Boston Globe quoted William Schachte, who oversaw the mission and went on to become a rear admiral, as recalling that "It was not a very serious wound at all."
Additional posts will cover the subsequent events from the source article. For now, comments are open and the debate is on. Although Mr Kerry would have it otherwise, whether you're military or not you are free to speak out here.
John Edwards hasn't accepted Hugh Hewitt's offer to co-host; looks like the honorable Mr. Edwards has eyes on the VP prize. (Or '08) Two results: 1) John Kerry will cruise without opposition to the Democratic nomination and 2) I had time for a fairly long on-air talk with Hugh (thank you, sir). This being a slow year for news we discussed Blogopoly (Hugh is calling for a boycott because Aaron hasn't created a game piece for him yet).
After exhausting that topic we turned to John Kerry.
Hugh doesn't feel he has the credentials to speak on a veteran's war service (an attitude Terry McAuliffe would do well to adopt) and didn't want that to be the focus of his show. But after my call about 5 other vets/active duty guys called in from all over the country on the same topic, then time ran out on the show.
Increasingly, mention of Kerry is prefaced with "Of course, no one's questioning his service, it's afterwards..."
Or "That's ancient history!"
Because in addition to "Bush was AWOL" these are the Democrat's campaign slogans this year: "Ancient History" and "Shut up - you never served!"
And so far they seem to be working. A recent Gallup Poll reveals these numbers:
Americans who think Kerry did his duty for his country in Vietnam: 68% Americans who know what Kerry did in Vietnam: 49% Americans aware of Kerry's anti-war activities after he returned from Vietnam: 39%
And it's not ancient history because the man's entire life has been an orchestrated quest for the White House. There are many very good reasons why the Senator from Massachusetts is declaring all that "off the table". But every one of these figures is an insult to military people everywhere.
Because of Kerry's whining, foot stomping demands that no one who hasn't served can question his service. Fair enough, Senator. Now lets begin.
Snopes has posted a brief history of the Senator's Swift Boat service here.
And we're going to look it over together here through the next couple of days.
It could be easy to accuse anyone of "using the left's own tactic" in this issue, but that's not the case. Kerry and McAuliffe opened the door - Bush AWOL was a lie, and the issues about Kerry's service are facts. I'd go so far as to speculate that the Bush/AWOL issue might have been designed to desensitize the public to the coming questions about Kerry's service. They are just starting to emerge, but this issue will grow.
Blogs didn't do much for Dean, but they are going to do a lot for John Kerry. He's just not going to like it.
What did you do in the War, Kerry?
We're going to lower that 61% number. We'll raise the rest.
Well, at least somes lives are.
HANAU, Germany — A soldier was sentenced Friday to six months in jail and given a bad-conduct discharge for stealing a Humvee while drunk and crashing it through a security gate, then head-butting one military cop and spitting blood into the face of another.
Pfc. Dennis C. Glick Jr., of the 19th Maintenance Company in Hanau, was acquitted on a charge that he later punctured 101 tires on Humvees, 5-ton trucks and other heavy vehicles belonging to the motor pool of 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery at Underwood Casern.
Glick pleaded guilty — or was convicted — on five charges, including assault and destruction of government property, stemming from the Humvee incident, which occurred on May 6. The tire-stabbings happened on June 15.
Glick, who had four months left on his three-year hitch, choked up and sniffled when he read a statement asking for mercy.
“I truly do have battles with alcohol,” he said. “I know my conduct put others in danger and damaged government property. Please let me go and let me start rebuilding my life with the help of my family and friends.”
Glick could have been sentenced to up to 12 years of confinement. He was to begin his six-month sentence Friday night at the Mannheim Confinement Facility.
According to Capt. Chris Graveline, the prosecutor and the senior defense counsel for V Corps, at about 1 a.m. on May 5 Glick took the Humvee and drove through the candy-striped gate and out of Underwood Casern. He drove about 600 meters down the road before stopping, getting out and returning to the gate.
Comments on this story are limited to military members only. Based on the Kerry Rule only military members can comment about the military.
(Hat tip: Scott Ott)
Leno: "Saddam Hussein said today that he doesn't think America is any safer now that Howard Dean has withdrawn from the presidential race."
"But the point is that they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we can not fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now." -- John Kerry, address to Congress, 1971
Mr. Kerry, your cry for inaction was largely ignored by America, and communism has nearly vanished as a system of government around the globe.
Still, a few nations and many people suffer under the oppression of communist dictators. My questions for you today are simple: Do you still feel America's strength is inadequate to fight global conflicts, or, if needed, would you be willing to fight communism in Cuba or Korea, at least?
And do you still refute this:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -- President JOHN F. KENNEDY, inaugural address to the American people, 1961
Bravo. A must read (and a brief one). Hemingway would understand.
Update: Scroll to Men in a Time of Terror and curse blogspot!
MilBlogger Sean from Doc in the Box is packed and ready to go downrange. He hasn't left yet, so here's a chance to say goodbye to a departing troop.
Send a couple bloggers off in style.
A bedtime story
Son: Dad, what is Global Business Network?
Dad: Well son, Global Business Network was created in 1987 around a pool table in a Berkeley, California basement by five friends. These GBN cofounders envisioned a worldwide learning community of organizations and individuals—a network, connected by the open and generous exchange of ideas, "out-of-the-box" scenario thinking, ruthless curiosity, and exciting new information technologies.
Son: Out of the box? Berkeley?
Dad: Yup. Here are the founders:
Peter Schwartz, futurist and business strategist; author of The Art of the Long View, When Good Companies Do Bad Things, and The Long Boom; former head of scenario planning at Royal Dutch/Shell in London, and director of the Strategic Environment Center at SRI International
Jay Ogilvy, author of Living Without a Goal and China's Futures, professor of philosophy at Yale and Williams, and past head of SRI's Values and Lifestyles research
Napier Collyns, networker extraordinaire, a 30-year veteran of Royal Dutch/Shell, responsible for planning, public affairs and human resources
Stewart Brand, writer, futurist, and inventor of ideas; author of The Clock of the Long Now, How Buildings Learn, The Media Lab, and originator of The Long Now Foundation, the Whole Earth Catalog, CoEvolution Quarterly, and The WELL computer network
Lawrence Wilkinson, multi-media innovator; current vice-chair of Oxygen Media and former president of Colossal Pictures
Son: Wow! A philosophy professor, a futurist with the Whole Earth Catalog, a VP of Oprah's company who used to make movies...
Dad: I know. An impressive group. And also instrumental in GBN's creation were several key colleagues in Europe: Kees van der Heijden and Arie de Geus, both former heads of Group Planning at Shell, and Bo Ekman, a consultant and former Volvo executive.
Son: Must be money guys. So, are they making cable TV movies for women?
Dad: Why no. In fact, Schwartz, along with group member Doug Randal, wrote this piece in Wired magazine.
President Kennedy understood that dominating space could mean the difference between a country able to defend itself and one at the mercy of its rivals. In a May 1961 address to Congress, he unveiled Apollo - a 10-year program of federal subsidies aimed at "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth." The president announced the goal, Congress appropriated the funds, scientists and engineers put their noses to the launchpad, and - lo and behold - Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface eight years later.
"The country now faces a similarly dire threat: reliance on foreign oil. Just as President Kennedy responded to Soviet space superiority with a bold commitment, President Bush must respond to the clout of foreign oil by making energy independence a national priority. The president acknowledged as much by touting hydrogen fuel cells in January's State of the Union address. But the $1.2 billion he proposed is a pittance compared to what's needed. Only an Apollo-style effort to replace hydrocarbons with hydrogen can liberate the US to act as a world leader rather than a slave to its appetite for petroleum.
Once upon a time, America's oil addiction was primarily an environmental issue. Hydrocarbons are dirty - befouling the air and water, possibly shifting the climate, and causing losses of biodiversity and precious coastal real estate. In those terms, the argument is largely political, one of environmental cleanliness against economic godliness. The horror of 9/11 changed that forever. Buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center was the myth that America can afford the dire costs of international oil politics. The price of the nation's reliance on crude has included '70s-style economic shocks, Desert Storm-like military adventures, strained relationships with less energy-hungry allies, and now terror on our shores.
George W. Bush arrived in Washington, DC, as a Texan with deep roots in the oil business. In the days following September 11, however, he transformed himself into the National Security President. Today, his ambition to protect the United States from emerging threats overshadows his industry ties. By throwing his power behind hydrogen, Bush would be gambling that, rather than harming Big Oil, he could revitalize the moribund industry. At the same time, he might win support among environmentalists, a group that has felt abandoned by this White House.
Son: Ohhh... they're scientists?
Dad: No. Not at all. Schwartz, cofounder and chairman of Global Business Network, is an "internationally renowned futurist and business strategist. A specialist in scenario planning, he works with corporations and institutions to create alternative perspectives of the future and develop robust strategies for a changing and uncertain world."
Doug Randall is a senior practitioner at GBN with over ten years of scenario planning, business strategy, and sales experience working with large corporations, not-for-profits, universities, and research organizations to address complex business, social, and environmental challenges.
Son: Ohhh... so they're sorta like science fiction writers...
Dad: Well, sort of. But they are hired by businesses to develop plans for possible future scenarios...
Son: Right, science fiction stuff, by guys who can't write well enough to be pros. But they aren't scientists?
Son: Not Meteorologists?
Dad: Heh. No.
Dad: No, no...
Son: Chemists or Physicists?
Dad: No. What exactly...
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.. A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Dad: Well, it's sort of a sensationalistic newspaper...
Dad: Yea I know. Some people will believe anything they read. You've got to watch out. The truth is out there.
Son: And who leaked the report to the Guardian? Do you think maybe the authors got angry when they were laughed at? And how much taxpayer money...
Dad: Bedtime, son.
Son: Dad, does Tim Blair have more on this story, exposing the Australian press for jumping in; links to earlier, less sensational BBC coverage, and ridiculous new claims from Greenpeace?
Son: Did Tom Tomorrow suddenly add a weak disclaimer on his post saying the report "might" be speculative, even though he knows it is, and then suggested everyone should still have a hard time sleeping?
Son: Calpundit has lots of things posted, but his "global warming" story is almost the hottest thread going. Almost, because the hottest thread is one that says he just doesn't like Bush and can't see how the guy got elected President because he didn't earn it. Do they really care about whether the world ends or do they just hate Bush?
Captain's Quarters has a great caption contest featuring John Kerry. Go, enter. Don't be afraid, take a jab at Johnny.
Update: After you've had that bit of fun, re-read this post and follow the newly added links at the end. A longer discussion here soon.
Misha & co have a lot to say about Kerry's 'heroics'.
So do these guys.
Any time I think I'm being too hard on ol "cut 'n' run" I remember the bug eyed look on Terry McAuliffe's face when he stared into the camera and said George Bush was AWOL.
I don't know if this stuff will be common knowledge in time to save Edwards from the VP candidacy he seems to be angling for, but it will be known far and wide long before November.
Bring it on.
Hinzman, who grew up in Rapid City, S.D., joined the Army in January 2001. The socialist structure of the military appealed to him, he said. He liked the subsidized housing and groceries and, at the end of his service, the money for college.
"It seemed like a good financial decision," he said. And, he said, "I had a romantic vision of what the Army was."
But from the beginning, basic training bothered him. He said he was horrified by the chanting about blood and killing during marches, by the shooting at targets without faces and by what he called the dehumanization of the enemy.
"It's like watching some kind of scary movie, except I was in it," he said. "People would just walk around saying things like, 'Oh, I want to kill somebody.'"
Turns out one of those lucky young bloodthirsty soldiers might just get to kill Jeremy, who, it turns out,
...figured it was only a matter of time before his unit would go to Iraq. He said he felt the war there was unjust and was being fought over oil interests.
"Had we, say, gone to war with North Korea or someone that was an imminent threat, I would have gone along with it," he said. "I signed up to defend our country, not be a pawn in some sort of political ideology."
Which pretty much destroys your shot at Conscientious Objector status, jackass.
Nope, ol' Jeremy's a deserter in time of war.
According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Hinzman is believed to be the first U.S. soldier filing for refugee status in Canada for refusing duty in Iraq. During the Vietnam War, an estimated 30,000 Americans sought refuge in Canada to avoid compulsory military service.
But there's a huge difference between draft dodging and deserting, and bear in mind this guy was Regular Army, and a volunteer.
Hinzman's chances of receiving refugee status are statistically slim: According to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, none of the 268 American applicants last year was accepted. But people who are denied refugee status are not automatically deported; they may be granted permission to stay in Canada under other provisions, said Charles Hawkins, a spokesman for the board.
Though surely President Kerry will pardon him.
Personally I always thought he was a gelatinous smear on a cave wall.
Blackfive saves me a lot of typing here. Thanks, bro.
The number of veterans speaking out against John Kerry continues to grow. FrontPage Magazine reproduces this post from a Marine chat net authored by a retired Marine Master Sergeant. It repeats a lot of my recent questions, and sums up a growing number of veteran's thoughts on JFK's illustrious military career. It's full of great quotes, too. "...hardly in Vietnam long enough to get good tan" is among my favorites. (Think what he'd have earned in a full tour!) This guy missed the angle of Kerry abandoning his command, but we know that one already.
Those who insist on using the "ancient history" clause to ignore Kerry's record should skip forward to the second to last paragraph. (We'll talk later.)
I was in the Delta shortly after John Kerry left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used, and I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.
Here are my problems and suspicions:
(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. I never heard of anybody with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves, Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware that fast, and for such pedestrian actions. The Swifts did a commendable job, but that duty wasn't the worst you could draw. They operated only along the coast and in the major rivers (Bassac and Mekong). The rough stuff in the hot areas was mainly handled by the smaller, faster PBRs.
(2) He collected three Purple Hearts but has no limp. All his injuries were so minor that he lost no time from duty. Amazing luck. Or he was putting himself in for medals every time he bumped his head on the wheel house hatch? Combat on, the boats were almost always at close range. You didn't have minor wounds, at least not often. Not three times in a row. Then he used the three Purple Hearts to request a trip home eight months before the end of his tour. Fishy.
(3) The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star make no sense at all. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat and missed. Charlie jumps up with the launcher in his hand, the bow gunner knocks him down with the twin .50, Kerry beaches the boat, jumps off, shoots Charlie, and retreives the launcher. If true, he did everything wrong.
(a) Standard procedure when you took rocket fire was to put your stern to the action and go balls to the wall. A B-40 has the ballistic integrity of a frisbie after about 25 yards, so you put 50 yards or so between you and the beach and begin raking it with your .50's.
(b) Did you ever see anybody get knocked down with a .50 caliber round and get up? The guy was dead or dying. The rocket launcher was empty. There was no reason to go after him (except if you knew he was no danger to you just flopping around in the dust during his last few seconds on earth, and you wanted some derring-do in your after-action report). And we didn't shoot wounded people. We had rules against that, too.
(c) Kerry got off the boat. This was a major breach of standing procedures. Nobody on a boat crew ever got off a boat in a hot area. EVER! The reason was simple: If you had somebody on the beach, your boat was defenseless. It coudn't run and it couldn' t return fire. It was stupid and it put his crew in danger. He should have been relieved and reprimanded. I never heard of any boat crewman ever leaving a boat during or after a firefight.
Something is fishy.
Here we have a JFK wannabe (the guy Halsey wanted to court martial for carelessly losing his boat and getting a couple people killed by running across the bow of a Japanese destroyer) who is hardly in Vietnam long enough to get good tan, collects medals faster than Audie Murphy in a job where lots of medals weren't common, gets sent home eight months early and requests separation from active duty a few months after that so he can run for Congress. In that election, he finds out war heroes don't sell well in Massachsetts in 1970, so he reinvents himself as Jane Fonda, throws his ribbons in the dirt with the cameras running to jump start his political career, gets Stillborn Pell to invite him to address Congress and has Bobby Kennedy's speechwriter to do the heavy lifting. A few years later he winds up in the Senate himself, where he votes against every major defense bill and says the CIA is irrelevant after the Berlin Wall came down. He votes against the Gulf War (a big political mistake since that turned out well), then decides not to make the same mistake twice so votes for invading Iraq -- but that didn't fare as well with the Democrats, so he now says he really didn't mean for Bush to go to war when he voted to allow him to go to war.
I'm real glad you or I never had this guy covering out flanks in Vietnam. I sure don't want him as Commander-in-Chief. I hope that somebody from CTF-115 shows up with some facts challenging Kerry's Vietnam record. I know in my gut it's wildy inflated.
Veterans are deeply divided; while many respect the President, others can't stand John Kerry.
There may still be a few folks who haven't read Rex Hammock's blog entry about his encounter with the president.
The bottom line from this non-political blogger:
If George W. Bush could spend 25 minutes chatting with everybody in America like he did with me and five other folks today, he would win any election by a landslide.
Which makes reason #500 why Bush should win in a landslide.
For his trouble, Rex has been labeled "a mouthpiece for the Bush regime" - and worse.
CNN.com's headline story this morning was on the gay marriage issue in San Francisco.
Those who checked the international edition found a different focus, on a story that at that time received no coverage on the US "front page"
CNN has since toned down it's coverage, backing off the "high turnout" angle and instead announcing "conflicting reports"
The "Blog Iran" folks offer this photographic evidence in support of their claims.
Sharp eyed readers also may have noticed this story from the international page, detailing the concerns of Iranian bloggers
"It will be the end of the blog era in Iran," said a Tehran-based blogger who operates pinkfloydish.com, the name indicative of her love of Western music.
Of course, everyone has their own spin:
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the winner of the election was the Iranian nation. He was upbeat about voter turnout, even though it marked a drop from previous elections.
"The loser of this election is the United States, Zionism and enemies of the Iranian nation," he told state media.
If this is true, then for what it's worth and ignoring that he must first beat Edwards, the Kerry people can now paint him as the "center" candidate in a three-man race, Nader, Kerry, Bush.
But if such a race were to be, who would really be the "far-left" candidate?
By the way, Edwards isn't just number two with the Dems, he's number two with google too.
Most communities with a military installation nearby take a very nervous interest when talk of closing that installation begins. However, when the DoD looks at ways to save money that topic inevitably comes up.
As you might expect, BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) is a politically charged process. To appreciate what's at stake, note that Lowry Air Force Base was the largest employer in the Denver metro area until its closure in 1994. Many military installations are in or near small or medium size towns that can't absorb such a loss. Thus, when BRAC talk begins, civic groups tend to circle the wagons, concessions are made, deals are cut, and the best and worst of power politics come into play. The DoD, congress, and local communities often have conflicting interests and points of view, and what you see or hear about it is just the tip of the iceberg.
And for every looser there's usually a winner in the process, as many functions of certain bases are transferred to others.
If you fully grasp the ramifications of this, you'll understand why Smash appears to have scored quite a coup for the blogosphere.
Gallup reports that most American's don't know or don't care about "questions raised about George W. Bush's National Guard service". Expect a few pundits to declare that a failure of a Democratic strategy. Perhaps it is.
Or perhaps not. It's a failure unless the object was to get all questions of military service off the table. I'll maintain that's exactly the point. In reality, Bush's service was rather unremarkable, except for the fact that he served at all, and that his service was certainly not in a "cushy job".
And if eliminating the question was the desire, then the ploy was a success. American's don't care. In fact, one possible interpretation of the results would be that Americans will get very tired of hearing about anyone's service very soon.
But another result of the poll says that
Still, there are lingering doubts about Bush's military service more generally. The public is divided as to whether the characteristic or quality, "did his duty for the country during the Vietnam War," applies to Bush: 42% say the statement applies to Bush and 40% say the statement does not apply to him (18% have no opinion). In contrast, 68% say that characteristic or quality applies to Kerry, with 11% saying it does not and 21% not expressing an opinion.
Kerry's wartime activities are unknown to many Americans -- less than half (49%) have heard a great deal or moderate amount about his combat experience in Vietnam. Even fewer, 39%, have heard much about Kerry's anti-war activities after he returned from Vietnam.
So although less than half know anything about Kerry's service, 70% characterize him as having "done his bit".
So, a failed strategy? Hardly. Because it's Kerry's service that bears a bit more scrutiny (though as previously stated, everyone's tired of hearing about that now aren't they?)
I'll rephrase and expand an as-yet unanswered question asked earlier:
Although fully trained and completely fit for duty, Kerry abandoned his command (within the rules) after less then four months, leaving his men to adapt to a new situation at the height of the war. Are there any other examples that any one is aware of where officers took similar actions during the Vietnam war? Or any other conflict?
I maintain that Kerry's choice to "cut and run" with his three purple hearts was a rare event, and not indicative of the mindset of officers then, now, or ever. I've never heard of such a thing, and I have nearly 20 years of active duty and a family with well over a century of service in every branch of the military from 1942 to now. I could be wrong; if this sort of thing were common it could explain a lot of setbacks America sustained during the conflict.
I am aware of one comparison. The officers of the Iraqi army were said to have abandoned their men at the front (they "pulled a Kerry", if you will) prior to onset of ground operations in Desert Storm. This action is cited as a significant reason why the ground war was over before it started.
The Bush team, however, will choose other avenues to illustrate the many failures of John F. Kerry, to include his subsequent anti-war actions. Expect Kerry's handlers to scream "dirty tricks" at this use of their man's actual record:
"The beauty of John Kerry is 32 years of votes and public pronouncements," said Mark McKinnon, the (Bush campaign) chief media adviser. McKinnon suggested a possible tag line: "He's been wrong for 32 years, he's wrong now."
Indeed, but for now our question is this: "Were Kerry's actions in abandoning his command rare or common among American officers in time of war?
Comments are open.
Update: The screaming has begun. And though Bush & co have yet to "attack" Kerry on his actions during or immediately after Vietnam the Dems are insisting that he is. And don't miss this entry at Wizbang.
It's been brought to my attention that comments were banned from this blog today. An accident on my part, problem now solved. (Thanks Tammi!)
And has a great read for you.
The Army has issued a press release detailing charges in the case of Ryan G. Anderson, Washington National Guard soldier accused of attempting to supply military intelligence to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
Reading the brief linked story you'll see a portrait of a man with a lot of issues, as they say. As has been noted here before, his willingness to enlist in the Guard as a graduate of a major university certainly indicates a zeal for service to his cause. Determining just what that cause is will be the purpose of his trial.
Since he's innocent until proven guilty we'll refrain from speculating more.
A minor correction to the story, the "Article 132 hearing" is actually an "Article 32 hearing". Surely just a typo made by a reporter in a hurry to get the facts out to the public.
The day before Valentine's Day, Michele Bunda received a delivery of three roses and a card signed by her husband. It said, "I love you, Chris."
It came nearly three weeks after Bremerton resident Christopher Bunda, a highly respected Army staff sergeant with the Fort Lewis-based Stryker brigade, had died during a mission on the Tigris River. He was 29.
The flowers brought his grieving wife Michele to tears. From the battlefield in Iraq, he placed his Valentine's Day order a month early so the flowers would arrive on time.
On Jan. 25, Christopher Bunda died in the same manner he lived. He thought of someone else before himself.
With members of his A Company, several Iraqi policemen and an interpreter, Bunda went searching for insurgents on the Tigris River. They had been lobbing mortar rounds at U.S. targets the previous few nights.
Riding in an Iraqi police boat, Bunda, a sniper and squad leader, went to scout two islands on the river. Just as the boat passed under low-hanging wires, it ran out of gas.
It then drifted back toward the wires and those in the boat ducked safely under. However, the boat snagged the wires and capsized.
Dumped into the Tigris, Bunda, a top-flight swimmer and a certified diver, attempted to save one of the Iraqis who also fell overboard.
Moments later, however, Bunda, under the weight of his heavy flak vest and helmet, disappeared into the darkness of the mighty river near Mosul, and perished.
Bunda, a native of the Philippines, is survived by his wife, a 6-year old daughter and 3-year old son.
You should read the whole thing.
Matthew Yglesias writing in Tapped reveals a shocker: the New York Times is anti-Bush.
With hardly a pause he uncovers another stunning bit of foolishness: Iraq Blogs - written by people who aren't in Iraq!
Maybe I'm unenlightened, but when I want Ground Truth from the real Iraq, I'll check with MilBloggers like Warren, who is now up and blogging as a soldier with the CPA.
Or Deeds. Veteran John Galt has been the source for info on the countdown to handover to the Iraqi's for quite some time now.
...or even the guys Glenn Reynolds links here.
Still, some day soon maybe the left will have a blogger in Iraq. From what I hear the place is actually getting to the point where they have a growing Idiotarian class. Surely one of them is literate?
Til then, MilBlogs. And thanks for stopping by.
I noted in the "Redux" post below that the media would attempt to portray veterans as "deeply divided" between Bush and Kerry, if they were to be the options for President this November. Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb's USA Today opinion piece is probably an early salvo in that campaign.
James Joyner, the Deacon, and Donald Sensing have done a rather admirable takedown on the piece, and have rather adroitly addressed all the problems I have with it. (Balance to the left, this guy has the opposite opinion of everyone here. You decide.)
Deacon shines a light on the fact that Vietnam veterans will have a specific problem with Kerry because they are Vietnam veterans, but will be as likely to have a problem with Bush as non-veterans. He's right, but I'd add that Webb's point seems to hint that Vietnam vets have earned a right to have their opinion count more then others. There could be arguments made for that point, but I disagree with Webb on that. I think the majority of vets do, too, and likewise they recognize the horrible necessity of the Iraq war.
Joyner hammers the general "war was a failure" angle, a point we will determine some time in the future.
Donald Sensing thoroughly describes the considerable number of other factual inaccuracies in the piece, and counters the remaining talking points.
On reflection, the title of Webb's piece looks barely related to the substance of his post, but again, I think we'll be seeing lots more of that "veterans deeply divided" line in the immediate future.
But it's not true. While that will hopefully be apparent to all long before November the real potential loser of this argument is Edwards. The current talk of Bush vs. Kerry for the military/veteran vote eliminates Edwards from the equation by painting him as unable to compete with Bush on National security issues. After all, who is Kerry running against this week?
If Edwards doesn't attack Kerry on that issue between now and "Super Tuesday" then you can bet the farm that he's running for vice president right now.
A final related note: In addition to the "deeply divided" mantra the "we've lost the war" screed (with variations and mutations) is going to become quite loud in the near future. We are far from "losing" unless you allow the crier considerable leeway to define what constitutes "loss". Time will tell, as the cliché goes.
Over the past 12 months, however, I haven't seen any forecast of the future of Iraq borne out very well. This year "another Beirut" is going to replace last year's prediction for house-to-house fighting, hundreds of thousands of dead, and millions of refugees.
Now that was failed intel.
Nearly 500 people have seen the post below and thus far no answers.
But here are a couple more questions. (Almost seems unfair, I know.)
According to official John Kerry press releases,
John Kerry, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam commanding a Swift Boat in the navy, made it clear that as President, keeping faith with veterans would be a personal mission.
And I'm all for the "keeping faith" part. Problem is, according to a Kerry timeline in the Boston Globe:
December 1967: Kerry begins his first tour of duty, serving on the guided-missile frigate USS Gridley.
February 1968: With Kerry aboard, the Gridley sails into war to patrol the coast of Vietnam. He never came into contact with the enemy during this time.
June 6: Kerry's first tour ends as the Gridley returns home.
December: Begins second tour of duty as the skipper of swift boat No. 44, patrolling the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.
April 1969: Kerry ends his second and final tour in Vietnam.
To be gracious, that's 8 months total, four of which were relatively uneventful, and only one 4-month tour was as a commander of a boat. (And that tour was ended abruptly when Kerry abandoned his command after having received three minor injuries.)
The character of that service is open for discussion in the previous post. The point here is that the quote from Kerry's website "John Kerry, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam commanding a Swift Boat in the navy" is a deceptive one by any reasonable measure. The truth could have been told in very brief sentences, and Mr. Kerry should not be ashamed of the truth.
Is the remainder of the quote true? "...as President, keeping faith with veterans would be a personal mission."
Or just kinda-sorta-approximately true?
Later on in the Globe timeline we learn this:
January 3 1970: Discharged from the Navy.
Feb. 16 1978: Discharged from the US Navy Reserves
An inactive Reserve period? Not if CNN has it right
Military Service: Navy, 1966-1970; Naval Reserves, 1972-1978
That looks like a separate period of service, not a fulfillment of an obligation to inactive Reserve.
Obviously CNN is not a reliable source; no one there knows the difference between active and inactive Reserve status. But if Kerry was in the Reserves I'm not sure why he hasn't released his drill records. My fellow MilBloggers and I would certainly like to see them, I'm sure many other veterans would too. Maybe we could even show the Bush crowd what a real set of military records looks like.
And so my search begins. Of course, Mr. Kerry could save a lot of effort and just release the records now.
I've asked several subjective questions regarding the past, present, and future John Kerry on this Blog this week. Although over ten thousand visitors have read them, as yet none have been answered with valid support points for Kerry.
Another chance: I've tried to consolidate some of those questions here. I recognize that I'm coming from an anti-Kerry side, but I'd legitimately like to see these answered. To make it easier though, I'll also allow for folks to simply explain why they aren't important.
Any issues with Bush can be addressed in comments elsewhere on this blog. This is about Kerry. Likewise, I'd rather there be no "Kerry bashing" - just honest attempts to answer these questions on his behalf.
1) Kerry abandoned his command after 4 months in time of war. He did so under the rules that were in place at the time, so he broke no laws, only faith with those who depended on him. This is unexpected behavior from those in command. Can anyone defend this action in a leader? Would he do the same today?
2) Kerry was defeated in his first run for office. Was his subsequent abrupt change from "Kennedy style patriot" to virulent anti-war activist a shallow move, calculated to appeal to more voters? If not, what life-changing experience did he have that led to this conversion?
3) Did he actually believe the atrocity stories told by the false veterans in Jane Fonda's Winter Soldier group? Or did they fit his world view, so he didn't look too closely into them before repeating them before congress? Or is he just gullible?
4) Is the "flip-flop" issue 30 years old or is it ingrained into his personality? He's also flipped on Iraq, having been forced to recant his vote and dance to Dean's tune when Dean's was the message perceived to be desired by the Democratic Primary voters. Was he tricked into supporting the President originally, or was he tricked into supporting Dean? Or were his motives purely political, and we are left struggling to determine what Kerry's real position is. (His self-defense statements would seem to imply that he feels betrayed by Bush in that the President "had no plan". In other words - "tricked by Bush")
5) Has Kerry finally made up his mind that no one will fool him again?
6) What is the Kerry platform? (Both he and Miss America want "world peace", as do I.)
7) Is he the most extreme left candidate ever to be seriously considered for President of the United States of America? If not, who was?
8) The media wants to convince America that John Kerry represents a generation of Vietnam Veterans. Does he? Or does he represent a generation of draft dodgers who have found a veteran they can respect?
I believe that the military-related arguments above will be tabled under the weight of truth spoken by several generations of veterans all around this country. This may happen before Kerry secures the Democratic nomination. I also believe the media coverage will focus on the small minority of those who support Kerry, or at least attempt to portray some sort of one-to-one "deeply divided" ratio. Again, the truth will be available in VFW halls and military clubs around America.
Will America get the message?
These are subjective questions, but the answers matter, as we are discussing whether or not this man should have our support in his quest to be the most powerful man in the world.
And by the way, would Kerry abdicate that power to another group?
Comments are open. 112402
Looks like Hook is moving ever closer to moving. I first posted this some time ago, but it's time to re-launch.
You may note the absence of a paypal button on this site. Some day I may need one, until then I yield to the many fine charities I've linked in the sidebar.
But now for something completely different.
I'm going to link to a post from Sgt Hook detailing why he now has a paypal button.
All proceeds will go to the Sgt Hook morale fund which will be used to help keep morale up for my soldiers once we get to Afghanistan. I'm hoping to have a BBQ each weekend we are there so that they can enjoy a little down time and count down "52" BBQs until we are mission complete.
You can also buy merchandise, but to really maximize the benefit to Hook's troops I recommend the paypal button on his sidebar.
Note to my fellow MilBloggers - I hit Hook's Paypal tip jar (using my real name, thou shalt not tell, Hook.) and I challenge the rest of you to do so also. (Yes, we did just survive Christmas.) I think among all of us we can certainly afford to buy Hook's gang at least one BBQ.
And I've made another link banner to keep in permanent position on my sidebar while he's deployed.
Help: I'm trapped in an endless loop... (and truth is stranger than fiction, but Kerry blurs the lines).
The Kerry statement on NASCAR was another flip-flop for him. Thanks Scott, for tying together about three threads I've been running here into one tidy package. (Those who've been here a few times or followed the Instapundit links here this week will appreciate this more.)
And I'm doing other topics, and linking other people tomorrow. If Kerry would just keep his mouth shut one day, and Hewitt would just not play tapes of him...
"We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations, and if you read carefully the President's last speech to the people of this country you can see that he says clearly:"But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is al Qaeda, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to al Qaeda."
But the point is that they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we can not fight al Qaeda all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now."
John Kerry's 1971 speech to Congress, but Hugh Hewitt changed Kerry's words, substituting Al Qaeda for Communism and Iraq for Vietnam. But to be fair, he said so. And to be fair, in the recording the voiceover sounds nothing like Kerry. An obvious "makeover" of history, with a purpose: to make people think. Would Kerry say those words today? The Kerry of 30 years ago hardly matters today, unless it's the same fundamental man that stands before us now, asking us to help make him the most powerful man in the world. Hugh asked the question of several callers, none took the question on, but they got the point.
Josh Marshall was one of those on the show. He's got an interesting bit on his website:
Knocked on his heels by increasing evidence that he willfully deceived the American public, President Bush is off to a new strategy of spreading around the blame. Let's call it the anti-buck gambit. Don't pass the buck. Just get an M-80, light it, put it over in the corner with the buck on top of it. Then no more buck, no more problem.
In any case, back to our story. The new line is, well, okay maybe we were wrong. But everyone else was wrong too. So who's gonna cast the first stone.
He's referencing this piece from Reuters that includes this quote:
"My administration looked at the intelligence and we saw a danger. Members of Congress looked at the same intelligence, and they saw a danger. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence and it saw a danger. We reached a reasonable conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a danger."
Josh isn't stupid, far from it. Does he think his readers are? For he's decided to re-write history too, just like Hugh did, but unfortunately doesn't announce the deception. First he pretends the President was referring to WMD when he said danger. Put one foot in Marshalls land of make-believe and allow that it's so. It's not, but the numbers of people who've expressed convictions that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and/or the capability to produce them includes every politician on both sides of the aisle in America and most other nations of the world.
The President isn't saying anything new, nor is he passing the buck. He's making a statement of historical fact, and his context is not one of blame. Again, the left tends to assign their own motives to others.
And to build a fantasy world in which to live. A world of convenience, where Bush stole the election, there was no 911, and there were no elections in 2002. Good is relative, truth is maleable, crime is an opinion, and France was our bestest friend ever.
And from that world they will vote in November.
And hope that those of us in the real world do not.
Would Hugh make the same offer; three hours a day to the droning monotone of "me" that is John Kerry?
And yes, I'm aware of the unfairness of judging a man by the mere sound of his voice, but I've never heard a person exude self-convinced superiority quite the way Kerry does. (See Hugh's previous post to the one above.) The Doonesbury strips had him nailed in '71, the testimony Hugh broadcast last night bore it out, and the more recent examples show he hasn't changed a bit.
Like it or love it, I think Dubya's folksy style of speech is for real, ingrained from years of Texas and months in 'Bama that couldn't be erased at Yale. Likewise I think Kerry's haughty tone is for real, though perhaps amplified by his time at Yale. And his newly adopted (?) third-person style (the royal "we") suits him quite well.
But would mere "royal" status satisfy the new JFK?
He believes that we need a President who will lead the nations of the world into a new era of security, freedom, and peace.
Kerry might have problems with the new Mel Gibson movie when he discovers he has competition as messiah, too.
The Paratroop of Love also notes that no has one responded yet. Well, Phil didn't send out notices (not to me at least) and the rest of us were busy pointing out the fallacies of those types of argument anyway. Since the piece is dated Feb 15, and since it sounds a bit like an earlier entry in Intel Dump I'll assume the writing was done before the White House "released everything." Thus to address it would be chasing the tail, since there are several subsequent entries on this blog (here and here, to include comments) and others that detail how that sieve of a story doesn't hold a drop of water now.
Or does it? As predicted (and rather well documented) here, the media will reference "questions being raised" without noting they were subsequently answered from now 'til November. And without asking some other questions (more on those in a minute).
And if it's not obvious, look which version of the story is in a major metropolitan daily and which is known only to the entire US military past and present, and the good folks who read blogs.
Phil Carter's not stupid; he is a student at UCLA, after all. He does know most American's don't understand Guard service and the records keeping for it. Phil desires to appear as though he's giving the President a chance at redemption, but he knows better. If you're a Kerry man Phil, admit it. (As we say in the MilBlogs Ring: "Members are aware of the likelihood of difference of opinions between fellow members, and although we may not agree with each other on everything we say we will fight for the rights of each other to say it. We mean that literally.")
Ignoring the "lifetime ago" aspect of the events (which you did), your argument is weak (apples, oranges, and a lot of speculation) when applied to Bush, but ironclad evidence of "unfit for command" when applied to Kerry. He took an "easy out" and abandoned the men who depended on his leadership with three admittedly "low-grade" injury Purple Hearts during the height of the war. Yes, that was "within the rules" but I challenge any military leader to defend the action here.
That's not "Intel" dumped on Chicago. But thanks for opening that door.
Gotta hit the link at Tim Blair's. See #1 GI Joe with Kung Fu grip!
This is an example of feeble attack journalism from the right.
McCain: Hanoi Hilton Guards Taunted POWs With Kerry's Testimony
These days, former Vietnam War POW Sen. John McCain has nothing but praise for his fellow Vietnam veteran Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats' current presidential front-runner.
But after he was released from the Hanoi Hilton in 1973, McCain publicly complained that testimony by Kerry and others before J. William Fulbright's Senate Foreign Relations Committee was "the most effective propaganda [my North Vietnamese captors] had to use against us."
"They used Senator Fulbright a great deal," McCain wrote in the May 14, 1973, issue of U.S. News & World Report. While he was languishing in a North Vietnamese prison cell, Kerry was telling the Fulbright committee that U.S. soldiers were committing war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, a key Kerry presidential backer, was "quoted again and again" by jailers at the Hanoi Hilton, McCain said.
A careful read of the whole thing will reveal no quotes from McCain, either supporting the headline or the first line of the story. So if there was such a quote, they dropped the ball.
Unless the goal is to get McCain to make a statement on his current opinion. A statement that many might not want to hear. (Yea, I loose sleep over this one. Thanks Glenn.)
Really, there's plenty of real stories to look into on Kerry.
Like his support of the arms industry. (Not the American one, mind you...)
Senator John Kerry, D-MA, unwittingly tried to help a Chinese espionage agent and arms dealer in 1996 in return for campaign contributions for his Senate reelection campaign, according to congressional and other documents, interviews, and photographs.
Now we're talking, baby. Of course I want to see the documents and photographs...
Another new group blog, this one includes at least one MilBlogger among its members. We The People. Sound familiar? It should.
You have a very few hours to vote for Mudville or my opponent in the Blogmadness Tournament here. I'm losing a close race at this time.
Update: A commenter has noted that the original linked story has been pulled and replaced by AP or Yahoo. Whether for editorial, style, content, or moral reasons is debatable. (In fact the story now linked includes several "Bush wasn't AWOL" testimonials from Guard members.) You'll have to take my word that the quoted portions I included here from the original are verbatim. Will seek another source. (But could the Blogosphere have brought this one down?)
Glenn Reynolds notes that Scott Lindlaw, the reporter who brought us yesterday's coverage of our traveling president is (ahem) reporting again. (And this time the story was presented with Kerry's response, thus preventing Scott Ott from pre-satirizing it.)
FORT POLK, La. - President Bush sought to buck up troop morale at a base that has supplied more than 10,000 soldiers to the war on terrorism — and lost a dozen in Iraq - vowing Tuesday that "the enemy will be defeated."
Note the distinction between the "War on Terror" and the "War in Iraq". Iraq is part of the war on terror. Sorry. Can't let that one slip by, and it's only the first example of editorializing the Democrat's message into the piece.
Or perhaps that's just balance. After all, the War with Germany was different from the War with Japan, right?
"My resolve is the same as it was on the day when I walked in the rubble of the twin towers," Bush said, his voice breaking. "I will not relent until this threat to America is removed."
Bush spoke to a sea of thousands of rowdy troops here, who responded with hearty howls of "hoo-ah!" at his applause lines. "There is no doubt that the enemy will be defeated and freedom will prevail," he said.
And please allow me to explain that the 'hoo-ah' is a vocal show of enthusiastic agreement; "hearty howls of hoo-ah", however, is an alliterative no-no.
Now puzzle with me over this paragraph order. See if you can find the one our ace reporter couldn't find a proper place for.
After trying to quell stories about his Vietnam-era military record, Bush sought Tuesday to put that controversy behind him by having lunch with members of the National Guard.
Twelve soldiers assigned to Fort Polk have died in Iraq, including two soldiers killed by a roadside bomb last week, according to Paula Schlag, a base spokeswoman.
Bush had lunch with hundreds of members of a National Guard unit, the 39th Enhanced Separate Brigade combat team, which ships out to Iraq in two or three weeks. Its members are from 10 states, mostly Arkansas. Sitting in a large tent, they dined on MRE packs filled with canned beef in barbecue sauce; potato chips and cookies. Bush too was eating an MRE, or meal-ready-to-eat, that included a beef enchilada.
Shoehorning, anyone? Like reporters in the mess hall, it just doesn't fit.
And the knock on Blogs is that they don't have editors? Those paragraphs were incoherent, bordering on random word generation. This reads like unedited notes that accidentally found their way into a finished story. And why does this '...Bush sought Tuesday to put that controversy behind him by having lunch with members of the National Guard." remind me of this movie line:
Frank: Wilma, I promise you, whatever scumbag did this, not one man on this force will rest for one minute until he's behind bars. Now lets go grab a bite to eat.
In his defense, the intrepid reporter could have been a bit shell-shocked by the decibel level of the cheers. Louder then at Daytona, if that's possible.
Or perhaps he was stunned by Guard member reaction to the AWOL story buried here:
Some soldiers said in interviews they didn't care about the controversy.
"In all honesty, most of us see the president coming as his support for the Guard," said Staff Sgt. Rebekamae Bruns. "I've heard about (Bush's Guard service), but it's not really what's going through our minds."
Some? And where are the quotes from the 'some' that did care?
Ex-Vietnam Veteran John Kerry cares. And he continues to speak from a bizarro world where the cheering is for him.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry has kept silent on the flap in recent days, but he used Bush's trip to Louisiana to criticize the president's treatment of the military.
"With Kerry, veterans will have a veteran in the White House who fights to make sure they get the benefits they deserve," the Massachusetts senator said.
Wow, third person references. He's channeling Bob Dole and Mike Dukakis.
Kerry said Bush's policies had threatened to undermine troops' pay, health care and battlefield protection.
"John Kerry will keep America's promise to those who served their country bravely," he said.
The 198,000-acre base here houses the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center for training exercises with the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.
The final line of the story and fact is brought out? Does this enhance credibility?
Are there pro-Bush reporters covering Kerry?
Okay, I'd really like to address the issues. Can anyone answer these questions:
What is the Kerry platform?
In light of the real time broadcast of the cheers, what does Kerry gain from not just shutting up? Is he really claiming that the troops would love him more?
Obviously the individual members of the military overwhelmingly (admittedly not 100% but 90% is a likely number) approve of the President's prosecution of the war on terror. Kerry believes otherwise; can someone please tell me why I should think Kerry's positions are grounded in reality?
Finally can someone give me a compelling argument that this man is fit to start a NASCAR race? Because I currently have no question about his fitness to command the US military.
Really, this is your chance. Convince me.
Sadly, I think not.
Larry Flynt, recently denied the right to have his reporters escorted to the frontlines of military conflicts by American troops at taxpayer expense, says he has proof that President Bush knew a girl who had an abortion in the early 1970's. (And Moby had nothing to do with it.)
"This story has got to come out," the wheelchair-bound Hustler magazine honcho told the Daily News' Corky Siemaszko. "There's a lot of hypocrisy in the White House about this whole abortion issue."
He's not going to release it now though, it's going to be in a book he'll publish this summer.
Meanwhile, alleged Philidelphia Gym teacher Atrios provides insight to the make-believe world of the American Left
Larry Flynt says he's finally "nailed" the Bush abortion story. I'm sure the media, who spent the past week reporting on BS scandal-mongering from Drudge, will universally condemn Flynt for daring to do such a thing, as they did when he rightly thought that the hypocritical behavior by certain Republicans during the impeachment fiasco was newsworthy.
Wow, what media was that?
Atrios then attempts to cast his own well-earned imaginary aura of credibilty over the Hustler publisher:
I'd also like the media to consider one thing - compare Flynt's batting average with Drudge's. While the media will jump to condemn Flynt, they should recognize that Flynt has higher journalistic standards than any of them for this kind of thing. He doesn't run with things until he has multiple sources. This story may or may not be true, but frankly I have a lot more faith in the accuracy of Flynt's reporting than I do in a lot of the mainstream press. The recent week has only re-confirmed that.
This re-confirms why Philly gym teachers need anonymity on the web. Americans in general don't want people who think that way teaching their young sons to wrestle.
A graphic depiction of the influence of Lefty Bloggers on the political processes of the Democratic party.
Though a case could be made for the power of the right wing of the blogosphere to yank the rug out from under a candidate. ;)
Yes, this is the third entry to include NASCAR references here since the organization declared an end to major racing activities at Daytona.
ABC (the American one) urges Kerry ever onward:
The president's visit to Daytona this weekend raises inevitable discussions of the latest alleged swing voters, "NASCAR dads." We say: Throttle back.
When we run data from our recent polls we find that married, middle- and lower-income white men account for a single-digit share of the national population, and support President Bush in precisely the same proportion as all white men. (Make it rural white men, and it goes down to low single digits.) And white men, particularly Southern white men, are a solidly Republican group, highly unlikely to swing anywhere, anyhow.
So take that, you inbred southern slack-jawed hilljacks.
And you certainly can't get more "fair and balanced" then ABC. Peter Jennings, you may recall, led the outraged media masses in attacking Wes Clark over spurious allegations made by his potential voter Michael Moore that President Bush was a deserter from his National Guard unit.
You all remember that outrageous claim, don't you?
JENNINGS: At one point Mr. Moore said in front of you that he'd like to see a debate between you and President Bush, who he called a deserter. Now that's a reckless charge not supported by the facts and I was curious to know why you didn't contradict him and whether or not you think it would have been a better example of ethical behavior to have done so?
So no one would ever accuse a television network of supporting any particular candidate, (wink wink) or assume that such an organization would be suggesting policy for a Party.
Back to topic: Unless the Kerry campaign presents some position on the many issues facing America today it will become increasingly apparent that the only group that the Democrats have any attention of appealing to this year are Bush Haters. Unlike ABC's imaginary version of NASCAR dads, however, that group really isn't going to "swing", so Mr. Kerry's efforts are likely in a zero growth industry. The desire is that that group will be at least enough of the actual voters to win an election.
Which is possible, if Republicans and other Bush voters are so convinced their man can't loose that they stay home on election day.
Is that the strategy?
The NY Times reports on growing support for President Bush among wealthy Arab-Americans:
Wealthy Arab-Americans and foreign-born Muslims who strongly back President Bush's decision to invade Iraq are adding their names to the ranks of Pioneers and Rangers, the elite Bush supporters who have raised $100,000 or more for his re-election.
The fund-raisers are people like Mori Hosseini, the Iranian-born chief executive of ICI Homes, a home builder in Daytona Beach, Fla. Mr. Hosseini is a Ranger, gaining the top designation after raising $200,000 from his family and acquaintances. (The minimum level of money raised for a Ranger is $200,000, while it takes $100,000 to be a Pioneer.)
Never before has Mr. Hosseini been this active politically. But he said he was inspired by Mr. Bush's "decisive" action, especially in Iraq, and Mr. Hosseini's efforts have led to an invitation to a White House Christmas party and a private meeting with the president and a handful of other donors at a recent fund-raiser at Disney World.
"He has saved Iraq," said Mr. Hosseini, who left Iran when he was 13. "He's the savior, if not of Iraq, but also of the other countries around Iraq. They want freedom. I am so sure of this because I am from that part of the world."
The story gives several other examples and is worth a read for quotes like this:
This year, Dr. Hasan is a Pioneer. In the past few months he has met personally with Mr. Bush, once at a White House dinner and again at a fund-raiser in Washington. He visited with Mr. Bush at the president's ranch, and Dr. Hasan's wife, Seeme, has been brought into high-level meetings on Arab-American concerns.
The couple say they are still fans of Mr. Bush, even though, Mrs. Hasan said, their American-born son was recently surrounded by the police and detained at an airport for no apparent reason other than his ethnic background.
"As a Muslim I felt it was wonderful that Saddam Hussein was removed," Dr. Hasan said. "The rest of the Muslim countries were standing there doing nothing. Honestly, I wrote to the president and said I adored his accomplishments."
Expect a rebuttal from John Kerry at any moment. Once again, it can only be the most strident warnings from his stylist that keep him from pulling his hair out in clumps. His strategists, of course, can allude to "buying access", "the wealthiest of Americans" and all those other things that play so well to those who want to hear millionaires make vague accusations about other millionaires preventing non-millionaires from joining their ranks. And they will; but they'll conveniently ignore the spin's twisting effect on their make-believe America where Arabs hate us, airport security isn't needed, and dark-skinned immigrants are downtrodden victims of lilly-white Republican overlords.
If you haven't seen the classic Doonesbury '71 strips on Kerry you should. Bill Hobbs has them here.
Waiting for some new stuff though, Mr Trudeau...
A blog so new they don't even have a blogroll yet, I Love Jet Noise is run by some old friends of mine (who are MilBlogs eligible, but haven't joined yet.) They're off to a great start though. Now you can be one of their first 1000 visitors. (Actually, I don't know that since they don't have their site meter up yet. They're focused on content...)
Hope they don't mind a little company.
And hey, some people are always tweaking their sites. (And hate site meter.)
I'd really like to race into addressing the issues of the political campaign, but the ex-Vietnam Veteran just made me stomp the brakes and take notice of his personality problems again. This time John F. should have really just kept his mouth shut.
Kerry Blasts Bush's Daytona 'Photo Op' By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
WAUSAU, Wis. - A confident John Kerry launched a full-throttle attack on President Bush's economic policies, mostly ignoring his Democratic rivals on the eve of the Wisconsin primary. Howard Dean's campaign shed another top manager and John Edwards vowed to press on no matter how he fares Tuesday.
Kerry, who has a commanding lead in the race to oppose Bush this fall, chided the president for taking time out Sunday to attend the Daytona 500, saying the country was bleeding jobs while he posed for a "photo opportunity." Bush had donned a racing jacket to officially open NASCAR's most prestigious event in front of some 180,000 fans.
"We don't need a president who just says, `Gentlemen start your engines,'" Kerry said. "We need a president who says, `America, let's start our economy and put people back to work.'"
Uh, yea, sure.
And I'm sure the guys that were at the track yesterday (200,000 wildly cheering fans) are now saying, "Hey, wait a minute! He's right!"
But no wonder Kerry's going a little berserk. Even in a bizarro world where he was president this could never happen:
About 200,000 fans roared their approval when Bush arrived and worked his way along pit road, stopping to chat with pole winner Greg Biffle, who drives the Army National Guard car.
He patted the shoulder of retired champion driver and noted Republican Richard Petty. He chatted with Teresa Earnhardt, the widow of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. And he stood at attention for the national anthem with Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who owns a NASCAR racing team.
The Washington Post adds more details that must have Kerry pulling his hair out.
Bush sought to maximize his exposure to racing fans during his visit. Air Force One circled low over the speedway so the president could get a look - and to give racing fans a dramatic look at a symbol of the presidency.
With his wife, Laura, trailing him, Bush walked the pit, mingling with drivers, shaking hands with fans. He peered into car No. 16, sponsored by the National Guard, and if the car reminded him of the tempest swirling around his own service in the Texas Air National Guard, he didn't show it.
Bush referred to that history in an interview with NBC just before the race.
"I flew fighters when I was in the Guard, and I like speed," he said. "It would've been fun to drive up on these banks. ... I'd like to, but I'm afraid the agents wouldn't let me."
The president got a much warmer reception than Bill Clinton did when he visited a NASCAR race as a candidate in September 1992, when the question of his lack of Vietnam-era military service was dogging Clinton.
At the Southern 500 race in Darlington, S.C., Clinton was booed and heckled by fans, many shouting "draft dodger!" at him.
As Bush strode through pit road, he received rock-star treatment. An extravaganza unfolded around him.
And several thousand miles away a lot of GI's gathered to watch in Germany had ear to ear smiles.
Of course this has no end of satire potential. Issues with various banners, car advertising, the president arriving in an SUV, that he wasn't driving himself, Halliburton’s profits from the fuel used in the cars, just showing up in a NASCAR jacket and parading around starting the race...
Of course Kerry, who spent most of his many summers in his ancestral home in France, isn't aware of the popularity of NASCAR in America.
He's more of a Formula 1 kind of guy.
(Hat tip Ipse Dixit)
I'm honored and amazed to be in a rather high-rent district on Aaron's Blogopoly board. And if you follow the links you'll find there's plenty of room for others to play too.
The post "It's Not the Economy, Stupid", has a large number of good comments; several very good questions asked and several very reasonable answers provided. One caught my eye right way.
I'm active duty, but through the years the units I've been stationed at have had guard augmentees. They showed up infrequently, some months for a couple days, some for a week, some not at all. We'd always find some useful thing for them to do, generally one of those projects that seem to sit permanently at around number 8 on the "top ten things to do" list. We were their unit for drill because we were the closest to their home. I thought they had a pretty good deal, but since they weren't reporting to me directly I never attempted to figure out how their point system worked.
Apparently Chris Pastel (a man I haven't had the pleasure of meeting) knows the system though. And he took the time to explain it and tracked the President's earned points for his "period of questionable service" quite completely. Then to ice the cake, he explains why fighter pilots were not an immediate need in Vietnam in 1972-73. Thanks, Chris. Hope you don't mind that I've turned your comment into a full post here. It's the most thorough explanation I've seen, as even CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, and all the rest have yet to be able to track down anyone with this knowledge.
You guys should get out more often.
I started as a Private at Parris Island and ended up as a light colonel. I served 11 years active duty followed by 17 years reserves. I can tell you from personal experience that the reserves do have the sort of flexibility that the active duty folks never had. The key thing in the reserves is to get a "good year", which is defined as getting 50 retirement points in that anniversary year (based on your pay entry base date). Points are earned for active duty (1 point per day) or inactive duty (1 point per 4 hours with a maximum of 2 points per day). Inactive duty points are awarded for drills, whether paid drills or unpaid drills, for completing correspondence courses, or for other approved projects.
If you can belong to an active reserve unit and get paid for your drills, that's really great. I did a bunch of that, but I also did a bunch of drilling for what the Marines called a Mobilization Training Unit (MTU), formerly called a VTU (Volunteer Training Unit) which drills for points but no pay. In either type of unit, there are scheduled drills. If you miss a scheduled drill, you can make up the drill. Ideally, if you are going to miss a drill, you let the unit know in advance, but most reserve units are really flexible, especially for the officers, and if something comes up at the last minute, you can usually slide by even if you don't let the unit know in advance. It all depends on the unit. Frequently you can perform drills in advance and therefore not have to show up for the scheduled drill.
Some drilling reservists have very flexible "scheduled" drills, i.e., they can drill almost whenever they feel like it as long as the project they are working on gets completed when it is supposed to.
I looked at Bush's drill history, which has been floating around on the Internet for a couple of years, and I fail to see what the fuss is about. he earned 4 points in October 72 and 8 points in November of 72, which carried him through December, since you should average 4 points per month or 48 per year. (That's 4 points per month times 12 months.)
[Digression here. You also earn 15 points per year just for belonging to the active reserves or individual ready reserves. Add the 15 to the 48 and you have 63 points for the year. Guess what? You can only credit 60 inactive duty points per year towards retirement. That means that the average reservist is wasting points that count towards retirement. Couple that with the fact that only 50 points are needed for a good year, and the clear implication is that reservists are expected to miss at least some of their drills. Which is actually the case--I forget what percent attendance individual reservists are supposed to meet, and I forget what percent of total unit attendance units are supposed to meet, but I can guarantee that it is not 100%. End digression.]
Bush then earned 6 points twice in January 73, which equals 12, which is equivalent to 3 months, which carried him through March, so lo and behold, he drilled again in April, earning 4 points. Then in May, he drilled 4 times, earning 3, 3, 4, and 3 points respectively, or 13 points total. That carried him through July 73. Bush got good years for both 1972 and 1973, and left the service with an honorable discharge. That means he did what he was supposed to.
So what I see is an entirely normal drilling record for a reservist who, like so many of us, is holding down two or three careers at a time (counting the military as one of them).
So what is all the fuss about? Darned if I know. Remember, this was a time when new Army officers who had made life-changing decisions to join the Army after college were being discharged right out after finishing up their basic schools and being commissioned as 2/LT's because the Army had too many officers. Vietnam was winding way down--I had my orders to Saigon cancelled 2 months after receiving them (that was in December 1971), but I ended up in Thailand in September 72, working at a Marine Air Base called Nam Phong, aka The Rose Garden, as in we didn't promise you one, but we're sending you there. At that time, there were NO, repeat NO, ground troops permanently stationed in Vietnam, but Marine air, Navy air, and the Air Force were actively supporting the Vietnamese ground campaigns. And the Army must have provided aviation support to the Vietnamese, but they weren't being coordinated by the 7th/9th Air Force. The point being that LT's were a dime a dozen, with more reservists AND active duty types wanting to fly that there were flying billets available for them. If LT Bush, who had already been flying as part of the national air defense mission for 3 years, wanted to step down, that was no big deal because there were hundreds who wanted to take his place.
Again, I found nothing, absolutely nothing, in Bush's records that looked out of the ordinary.
AWOL: "It only becomes an issue when the guy dresses up in a flight suit, struts around on an arcraft carrier, calls himself a war president, and gets a lot of people killed."
Ahhhh... so the carrier landing, in which the CinC "dressed up in a flight suit and paraded around" is what's got the kollektiv lefty panties in a knot?
From Front Page Magazine, here's USN (Ret) CDR Lewis F. McIntyre's letter to Senator Byrd about that visit.
(Helpful note for you leftys out there, USN is United States Navy, CDR is Commander - his rank, and ret is retired. Look anything else up yourselves.)
As a retired Naval Officer, with two Gulf carrier deployments under my belt, I find your criticism of President Bush's visit to the Lincoln offensive in the extreme! This is the first time that the Commander-in-Chief took time out of his schedule to pay a visit to thank those who served in the line of fire, in a way that was both dramatic and meaningful to those on the carrier.
Perhaps if LBJ got off his fat ass to do something similar, our troops' morale in Vietnam might not have been so low.
As a Naval officer, I am extremely sensitive to styles of leadership.
That is, after all, our stock in trade. And it was not lost on me that the President spent about thirty seconds shaking hands with the Admiral, CO, and CAG (If you don't know these abbreviations just look them up in your Funk &Wagnalls!) He then spent the next forty-five minutes putting himself at the disposal of the people who make that ship work, the yellow shirts, the green shirts, the purple shirts, the chiefs, the sailors.
If you don't know the significance of those colored shirts, look it up in your Blue Jacket's Manual. Not dressed out in formal uniform (I understand at Bush's request), but in their greasy, smelly, sweaty working uniforms ... working a flight deck is hot, hard work. And yet he, in his flight suit, put himself at their disposal, this was their moment for 19 or 20 something year old kids a few years out of high school, to get a picture of themselves with the President of the United States, his arm draped around their shoulder.
That is a moment that those kids never dreamed would ever happen to them, maybe not even when they knew he was coming aboard. Surely, he would see the brass, not the troops. But it was the troops to whom he gave his time ... and it was the most natural moment in the world. You might have thought it was a family reunion, and in a way, it was...
Bush is one of them, the common man, and while he is still the most powerful man on the planet right now. He hasn't lost his touch for them.
Was it a political moment?
What moment of a president's life is NOT a political moment? Was it grand standing, to come in to an OK pass to a 4 wire, a bit high in close, correcting, left of centerline? Well, hell, he didn't fly the approach anyway, though I understand from the pilots who flew him that he did a pretty good job at formation flying, tucked in close for a lead change. You can always tell a fighter pilot, you just can't tell him very much. And, apparently after thirty years, it all comes back, with a little coaching, I am sure. Frankly, I would have liked to see him come aboard in an FA-18, but the Secret Service vetoed that, and Bush accepted their judgment ... again, a mark of a good leader.
If you had spent some time in the service, instead of the Klan, you might understand the significance of that moment to all the men and women aboard the Lincoln, and indeed to all the men and women in the service who shared that moment vicariously. But you chose the bedsheet instead of the uniform, and so you don't.
I am half-tempted to move to West Virginia just so I could vote against you in your next election.
Lewis F. McIntyre
CDR, USN (Ret)
One last helpful note: Don't look up "look them up in your Funk & Wagnalls!" in your Funk & Wagnalls.
A sampler of the sorts of things you'll find at the MilBlogs' Post Exchange page:
How was your Valentine's Day? Sarah said goodbye to her husband and he left for Iraq...
...where not everyone hates us. Don't miss this POD from John of Arrrggh.
JB might have run into one of Kerry's Winter Soldier Band of Brothers. In contrast, Hook has a great entry about what being a real NCO is all about. And it applies to civilians too, because whether you're military or not, regardless of your level of responsibility, here's management rule #1: Take care of your troops and they'll take care of you.
Tired of the "winter soldiers" and ready for authentic stories? Try Marine Memoirs, see what you think. I found that site via Grim, who runs a fine blog, with lots of great links to some out of the way places you'll likely find interesting.
Speaking of authentic, a while back in a post about the Air Force's part in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom I promised Lexl I'd find something to grant equal time to the Navy aviators who (as always) played an equally (at least) crucial role in securing complete spectrum dominance of the battle space. However, I soon realized that I couldn't find anything better than the many fine first-hand accounts of life as a Navy pilot he provides at his Blog. Go and enjoy. (This stuff should be a book, and a movie.)
And finally, a great opportunity for those who like this blog or hate this blog, and believe in expressing said opinions via the ballot box. Go here and vote for Mudville or my opponent's fine entry in the Blogmadness Tournament.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, whether you agree with me or not, I will fight for your right to do so. ;) Ain't America great?
The Washington Post has the same non-story as every news site this weekend, but their headline - Many Gaps In Bush's Guard Records - draws lefty bloggers like flies to... well, to political campaigns, I suppose.
Besides the headline, one of the best reasons for their choice of the WaPo version is that it doesn't explain that the medical records were made available to reporters but were not allowed out of the room. This enables the lefties to imply the medical records were "covered up", and drool over what might be hidden there. Given that it flies in the face of all facts, expect this to be the next feeble thrust (if there is one).
The right appears to be growing tired of responding, and why not? The IQ level required to believe the charge is now somewhere around 50 and still falling. (Though intelligent yet delusional people still cling, too.) Even Kos (in addition to noting that "As far as scrubbing jobs go, this wasn't a very good one") admits the "story might be in its final legs". But he continues to flog at least two dead horses:
1. "So where do we go from here? He clearly didn't do his duty."
Clear as mud. Neither Kos nor any other lefty blogger understands the term "duty" in military parlance. Not meaning to insult here, just stating cold hard fact. If any lefty that stumbles across this can provide such a definition, and demonstrate the young El-Tee's failure, please attempt to do so in the comments.
2. "that part about "Bush's home base in Texas declining to provide details of his activities between May 1972 to April 1973" might help keep it going a while longer."
Kos isn't stupid; does he think his readers are? And really, this isn't just about Kos - the whole left wing of the blogosphere has deposited DNA all over this. (I'm talking drool here.) Bloggers (who by now know the truth from Smash, Baldilocks, Blackfive, and a host of commenters at their own sites) know better, though as yet none have dared to link a MilBlogger on this issue.
The mainstream media, without any personal access to military people, may not.
And therein lies the bottom line, and why this is likely to rebound into the faces of the misguided individuals (be they DNC, mainstream media, or even bloggers) who want to perpetuate this. Each and every further utterance of these feeble claims, each denial of an explanation from a credible military source, simply illustrates the ignorance and contempt in which these people view the military.
Ironic, in that they are trying to demonstrate President Bush is not a qualified CinC. His current "Band of Brothers" (the very many registered absentee voters, including those such as me, an absentee Florida voter) are quite aware of the ignorance, and quite tired of the screed. And quite proud to serve under former Lt. George W Bush.
Every time the left tries to run with the "national security/defense ball, they fumble, and this is no different. It's not the economy, stupid. Get it? Each additional rendition or mutation of this mantra is tantamount to a proclamation of ignorance of all things military. It is a self-defeating statement.
Kos' summation is insightful into the Bushhate mindset:
But the damage is done. AWOL has taken a hit to his credibility. And we've got plenty more material for the press to work with.
Go ahead fellas, make my day.
As you read these words I'm probably working on something to post here on the front page of The Mudville Gazette. In the meantime I wanted to point out that those who only visit the front page are missing The Post Exchange, located here, where all the links to the latest from my fellow MilBloggers can be found.
I hope you can spare a few minutes to visit them. Back with more here later.
Fellow Blogospheric Brawler Mike has a great handle on the "'Bama Bush" story, so get the latest there.
The Blogospheric Brawlers, by the way, is a virtual, blog-world Rock Band we talked (okay, e-mailed) about forming, Mike and I being ee-lectric gee-tar players.
This guy plays bass. Might be nice if he joined up. (And don't miss the story he linked.)
And this guy says he's gotten so good at keyboards that his right hand moves like a machine, or something like that. Plus there's good stuff to read at his place too.
Gotta find a drummer...
This is an opinion.
This is satire.
This is a lie.
Wonder who might take it?
Fox News publishes an AP report containing excerpts from letters written to newspapers by Washington state National Guardsman, Spc. Ryan G. Anderson
"In my three years as an observant Muslim, I've encountered nothing but kindness, patience, courtesy and understanding from them."
Interesting that this young man refers to Muslims as "them" three years after becoming an "observant" member of that faith.
And although not completely unheard of, interesting too that a graduate of a Pac-10 University is willing to serve as an E4 in the military, a bit below his potential. Perhaps no commissioning opportunities were immediately available in the Washington Guard. Perhaps they only "promote from within". Or perhaps the guy was just that eager to serve.
More insight into the mindset of the accused here.
Lots more to come on this, I'm sure, but thus far I'm inclined to agree with "another Army official" quoted here:
One Army official told Fox News that Anderson violated the disclosure oath he took when he joined the Army if he talked about his unit's upcoming deployment to Iraq. Another Army official simply described Anderson as "stupid," and what he did as "stupid."
Update: Hook has a two word headline I agree with too.
Correction: I stated previously that no MilBlogs were nominated in the War Blog category. As near as I can tell, the page I was looking at was from last year.
Ann Coulter doesn't know what she's talking about on this one.
Cleland wore the uniform, he was in Vietnam, and he has shown courage by going on to lead a productive life. But he didn't "give his limbs for his country," or leave them "on the battlefield." There was no bravery involved in dropping a grenade on himself with no enemy troops in sight. That could have happened in the Texas National Guard – which Cleland denigrates while demanding his own sanctification.
More at Outside the Beltway, including a link detailing the accident in which Cleland lost his limbs.
Like the civilians insulting the President's service, Ann reveals a certain lack of insight.
I suggest she go to Walter Reed and visit the good troops who've lost limbs in similar circumstances in Iraq. Tell them they didn't give their legs for their country.
Or go find a couple of kids whose dad or mom was lost in an accident in Iraq. Tell them mommy wasn't brave.
From all accounts Cleland's service was above and beyond. Should he choose to impugn the service of the President or any other Guard or Reserve member, that's wrong and he deserves whatever scorn he gets for that.
But not for being a hero in time of war. An apology is called for, and I'm not in the mood for semantics issues. She said what she said, and she was wrong.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A Republican official who worked with George W. Bush in an Alabama campaign in 1972 said Thursday she recalled him talking about his National Guard duty and seeing him in uniform before the election that year.
Jean Sullivan, an Alabama GOP leader who worked with Bush in the Senate campaign of Winton "Red" Blount in 1972, said she recalled even then hearing rumors about whether Bush was fulfilling his Guard obligations.
She blamed those rumblings on some within the Alabama Guard who were resentful because Bush was from Texas and was spending only the minimum amount of required time on duty.
"It was just some idiots," said Sullivan, who is about 70 but wouldn't give her exact age. "He didn't do anything wrong," Sullivan, a former Republican national committeewoman from Selma, told The Associated Press as the election-year flap about Bush's Vietnam-era service persisted.
Sullivan said she was so upset at the time that she called an Alabama Guard commander - she couldn't recall his name - to explain that Bush was doing all he could while working "like a dog" on the campaign.
"The man called me back and apologized. I thought it was gone forever," Sullivan said. "And then I started hearing all this stuff a couple of weeks ago."
Of course, being a Republican, the Dems would state that only the testimony of three Democrats will suffice.
The headline? "Dentist Doesn't Remember Treating Bush"
You read it and tell me why. It's not in the story.
Is AWOL a dead horse? Or just among intelligent people?
Here's another "guess the headline": The ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 52 percent felt Bush was trustworthy, while 42 percent did not.
The headline? Poll: Public's Trust in Bush Hits New Low
FORT LEWIS, Wash. (AP) - A National Guardsman was arrested Thursday and accused of trying to provide information to the al-Qaida terrorist network, the Army said.
Army Lt. Col. Stephen Barger said Spc. Ryan G. Anderson was being held at Fort Lewis "pending criminal charges of aiding the enemy by wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to the al-Qaida terrorist network." Anderson, 26, will remain at the base near Tacoma.
Barger declined to give any details on the arrest, including what information allegedly was given to al-Qaida or how it was provided.
Anderson converted to Islam five years ago, and studied military history with an emphasis on the Middle East while attending Washington State University, the Everett Herald reported last week.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the press play up "soldier" and down play "Muslim"? Will the defense be that the Army was "out to get him"?
From the venerable New York Times, a transcript of a recent White House Press briefing
QUESTION: Scott, when Senator Kerry goes around campaigning, there's frequently what they call a band of brothers, a bunch of soldiers who served with him who come forward and give testimony. I see, in looking at our files, in the campaign of 2000, you said that you were looking for people who served with him to verify his service in the National Guard.
Has the White House been able to find, like Senator Kerry, a band of brothers or others who can testify about the president's service?
MCCLELLAN: All the information that we have we shared with you in 2000, that was relevant to this issue. All the additional information that has come to our attention, we have shared with you.
The president was asked about this in his interview over the weekend. And the president made it clear: Yes, I want all records to be made available; they're relevant to this issue.
There are some out there that were making outrageous, baseless accusations. It was a shame that they brought it up four years ago. It was a shame that they brought it up again this year. And I think that the facts are very clear from these documents. These documents, the payroll records and the point summaries, verify that he was paid for serving and that he met his requirements.
QUESTION: I wasn't talking about that. I was talking about people, you know...
QUESTION: .. comrades in arms?
MCCLELLAN: No, that's why I said everything that came to our attention that was available, we made available at that time during the 2000 campaign.
QUESTION: Well, you said you were looking for people. And I take it you didn't find any people?
Just got off the phone with Hugh Hewitt, only had a minute, but got to say this:
If any one is looking for President Bush's Band of Brothers, we're here.
Hugh got it right away; the Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve Military are mighty proud of the CinC.
I don't think the reporters ever will get it. Sadly I don't think the Democrats will either.
Hugh's archive available here, 'til tomorrow's show airs.
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
The LA Times, always above the level of political mudslinging practiced by the rest of the media, covers the Kerry/Fonda connection in a piece titled Vietnam War-Era Photo Seen as a Bid to Tarnish Kerry
Got that? It's Vietnam era. Ancient history. Let's read on anyway.
While many Americans know her as an Oscar-winning actress and onetime queen of aerobics videos, some Republicans hope voters will also remember Jane Fonda for a more controversial association: "Hanoi Jane."
A 1970 photograph showing Fonda and Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry has surfaced on the Internet and TV news programs, fueling speculation that the GOP may try to make Kerry's anti-Vietnam War record an election issue by linking him with a former antiwar activist still reviled by many veterans.
I can't believe the GOP would seek to gain political leverage from the fact that veterans revile Kerry! Don't they know the man has a chest full of medals? Or did until he threw them away? And 1970? Dude, that is like at least two decades ago!
Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, received numerous medals for his service as a Navy patrol boat commander in Vietnam. But he returned home a disgruntled 27-year-old serviceman, and became a leading voice in the protest group Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
That explains everything! A hero who knows all too well the horrors of war. I can only imagine the utter disdain and revulsion he felt listening to all those stories in Detroit, or the sleep he lost thinking about that wounded guy he chased and killed. I'm sure his wife, ex-wife, or girlfriend can tell you about how often he wakes up screaming in the night.
The photo of Fonda and Kerry was taken two years before Fonda's Hanoi trip.
The actress, who has apologized for her actions, told CNN on Wednesday that the effort to discredit Kerry by an association with her was part of "the big lie."
See? She apologized. That doesn't matter to those "big liars" though.
"Any attempt to link Kerry to me and make him look bad with that connection is completely false. We were at a rally for veterans at the same time. I don't even think we shook hands," Fonda said of the 1970 photograph.
Hanoi Jane doesn't get it. Nor does the LA Times. It's not about whether you shook his hand or even if you're his current mistress. The problem is what both of you stand for in the eyes of the vast majority of veterans.
"This was an organization of men who risked their lives in Vietnam, who considered themselves totally patriotic," she said, referring to Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
"So anyone who slams that organization and slams Kerry for being part of it is doing an injustice to veterans. How can you impugn, how can you even suggest, that anyone like Kerry or any of these veterans were not patriotic? He was a hero there."
No doubt many were heroes. Many others, like Kerry, discredited themselves thoroughly in their opportunistic post-war betrayal of everything the true heroes fought for. Many others in that group were posers and liars.
John Hurley, national director of veterans affairs for the Kerry campaign, said he had not seen the photo but downplayed its significance.
"John Kerry's war record speaks for itself," Hurley said. "His war service earned him the right to speak out against what he thought was an immoral war. A lot of very considerable people opposed that war. John Kerry was one of them."
Once it became apparent that it served his best personal interests to do so. Now, of course, he's a "war hero with a chest full of medals" again.
Paul Galanti, a former Navy pilot who spent more than six years in North Vietnamese captivity, said that the image of Fonda still makes many veterans angry.
He described a U.S. Marine friend at the U.S. Naval Academy who several years ago encountered a group of female midshipmen working out to a Jane Fonda exercise video.
"He took the video out of the machine, threw it on the floor and smashed it with his foot," Galanti said. "They were too young to even know who Jane Fonda was. But he was a Vietnam veteran. He'll never forget her."
And it's not just her; it's everything she represents. She's an icon, not of fitness, but of "unfitness" - for the benefits of being American, and the press just doesn't get it.
Republican strategist Arnold Steinberg dismissed any connection between Wednesday's debate over the Kerry-Fonda photo with Democratic criticism of President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard.
"I don't think they're related," he said. "But now that Kerry seems likely to become the Democratic nominee for president, the Republicans are going to try and define him in the eyes of the American public."
And, Steinberg added, "just the visual association with someone as infamous as Jane Fonda in the eyes of many suggests a level of irresponsibility not normally associated with a candidate for president."
At least that. Strangely unnoticed (meaning: intentionally ignored) by the mainstream press, it's not the "Republicans" (meaning Republican leadership) who are pushing the Kerry/Fonda issue. While the chairman of the DNC and a member of the house besmirching the President, with full support of the White House Press Corps and most of the rest of the "mainstream media", it's talk radio, blogs, and veteran's web sites and e-mail networks pushing this.
Democrats scoffed at a maneuver one advisor called "goofy in the extreme."
"This isn't your father's Democratic Party. If they think the line of attack that worked for Joe McCarthy or George Bush Sr. is going to work on John Kerry, they're sadly mistaken," said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who in 1992 helped Bill Clinton fight charges that he ducked the draft.
Citing Kerry's decorated war service, he said "on three different occasions John Kerry so annoyed the communists that they shot him. It would be difficult to paint him as a communist."
No, but it's quite easy to paint him as a man with very little in the way of a solid foundation, and a propensity to go whichever way the wind blows. If a reputation as a communist could get him votes he'd appear onstage in drab, unisex coveralls at all his remaining campaign rallies. (Though I doubt he'd offer to share his millions.)
If you have information relating to Iraq which you believe might be of interest to the U.S. Government, please contact us through our secure online form. We will carefully protect all information you provide, including your identity.
To help us confirm and act quickly on your information, you must provide your full name, nationality, occupation and contact information including phone number. This allows the U. S. Government to grant rewards for valuable information. We will maintain strict confidentiality.
Imminent attacks: If you have information regarding an imminent attack by insurgents or terrorists we ask that you also contact a Coalition Force member or Iraqi police immediately.
Weapons of mass destruction: The presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq puts at risk the health and safety of all Iraqis. The U.S. Government offers rewards to Iraqis who give specific and verifiable information that helps Iraqis rid their country of these dangerous materials and devices. Rewards will be available for specific and verifiable information on:
The location of stocks of recently made chemical or biological weapons munitions, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, or their component parts;
The location of chemical or biological laboratories and factories, development and production sites, and test sites associated with WMD, or sites where these materials were secretly disposed of;
Weapons system plans, military orders, or other relevant documents about biological and chemical weapons, missiles, or unmanned aerial vehicles;
Iraqis who are able and willing to provide detailed information on Iraq's WMD programs and efforts to hide them.
Ba'thist leaders: U.S. Government Rewards are available for the following information on former Ba'thist regime leaders, including 10 million U.S. dollars for information leading to the capture of former Revolutionary Command Council Chairman `Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri:
The current location and activities of these individuals;
Who these individuals are meeting with and their future plans.
Insurgency and terrorism: Insurgents loyal to the former regime, and terrorists are trying to undermine Iraq's future. Rewards are available for specific and verifiable information that helps in their capture or otherwise to deprive them of sanctuary and support, such as information on:
Al-Qa'ida, Ansar Al-Islam, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and affiliates in Iraq;
Individuals or groups obtaining explosives and other weapons to use against Coalition forces, Iraqi police, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps members, schools, businesses, or civilians;
Individuals or groups providing insurgents and terrorists with safe houses, training, logistics support;
Individuals or groups involved in, or knowledgeable about, terrorist smuggling routes into Iraq;
Individuals or groups recruiting, facilitating, fundraising, and otherwise supporting terrorism in Iraq;
Facilitators providing documents that assist terrorists' travel to Iraq;
Travel agencies, NGOs, and front companies involved in facilitating terrorists' travel to Iraq.
Missing Coalition personnel: Rewards are available for information on missing Coalition service personnel, as well as Gulf War officer, U.S. naval aviator Michael Speicher.
From the CIA's web page.
See also here
Those who demand an appearance by George W Bush's "Band of Brothers" will likely be dismayed to learn they are coming home from Iraq.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A wounded Iraq war veteran from Alton told the Illinois Senate on Tuesday to look past the "horrific images" from the Middle East and remember that U.S. soldiers were accomplishing positive things in the region.
Stephen Rice, 23, a second lieutenant with the Illinois National Guard's 233rd Military Police Company, was presented with a proclamation on the Senate floor thanking him for his military service.
In a brief statement, Rice told the chamber that in addition to the suicide bombings and other dire news out of Iraq, schools and hospitals are being reopened, Iraqi police officers trained and the society there rebuilt.
"Your Illinois soldiers . . . are doing an amazing job under extraordinary conditions," Rice said.
No doubt others will have other things to say, and even discredited veteran JFK will find GI's to speak out against the war. Some might even provide gruesome details of atrocities they heard about others committing.
But with the sheer numbers coming home, the truth will out. Expect to have to look to the local press for coverage though.
Although many on-line services track the number of links a story/blog gets, memeorandum looks like a powerful new blogging tool, a great way to see who's blogging about what in the "Political Blog" world. According to the sites "about" page:
memeorandum organizes commentary around headlines drawn from both traditional print/online publications (e.g. Washington Post) and web-only sources (e.g. SpinSanity). No attempt is made to separate so-called "straight news" from op-ed, editorial, or other pieces that disclaim objectivity. Any judgment of fairness is left solely to the reader.
The headline ordering is determined by the tally of weblog sources linking to an article, which boosts an article's ranking, and the length of time the article has appeared on memeorandum, which sinks an article's ranking.
memeorandum quotes some — but not most — weblogs and other publications, emphasizing the influential and popular. From an editorial point a view, this approach has both an upside and downside. The advantages are clearer from a technical viewpoint, as computing resources and manpower are limited. In any case, expect the roster of quoted publications to grow and evolve over the time.
I first found this site (like I find most sites these days) in my referral logs. Shortly afterward I swapped e-mails with memeorandum's creator (who does not run a blog, by the way):
"...I created this site after noticing that blogs identify news stories that are much more interesting to me than what appears on typical news portals. (Politically) ...I'm trying to strike a balance on the site."
And doing a fine job of it. The result is a great resource for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Check it out.
According to the New York Times, the Pentagon has conducted a study of the mindset of senior Iraqi leadership during the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
...a rough-draft history of the war from the perspective of Iraqi leaders, offers a scathing history of a Stalinist, paranoid leadership circle in Baghdad that guaranteed its own destruction.
Among other things revealed, were the expected and unexpected effects of Psyops on the enemy:
Instead, the Iraqis believed the calls were part of a "loyalty test" mounted by Mr. Hussein's secret services, the officials said during questioning. Afraid of arrest, incarceration, torture and even death, they refused to cooperate.
But as a result, the officers limited their calls or stopped using those telephones altogether, hampering their ability to communicate in the critical days before war.
Perhaps unexpected, but this, in contrast, wasn't:
The study details problems with another information operation, and quotes Iraqis saying that the millions of leaflets — carrying statements like "Beware! Do not track or fire on coalition aircraft!" — did not incite desertions. But the leaflets intimidated Iraqi soldiers who realized that American bombers could just as easily drop their payloads on their locations, despite Iraq's vaunted air defenses, according to the detained officials.
That's the known result of such drops. At least among those with common sense. And it would seem in both instances the common sense of the Iraqi's worked in our favor.
Common sense notwithstanding, the story also reveals yet another group who thought that the Hussein regime's lust for Weapons of Mass Destruction might result in it's possession of them:
Dr. Kay, the former chief C.I.A. weapons inspector, has said that his team learned that no Special Republican Guard units had chemical or biological weapons — but that all of the officers believed that some other Special Republican Guard unit had them. He said it appeared that the Iraqi officers were the victims of a disinformation campaign by Mr. Hussein
However, The Times notes that this is a "secret report, prepared for the Pentagon's most senior leadership and dated Jan. 26."
"The findings were described by senior Defense Department officials and military officers at the Pentagon and in the Middle East who have read it or who have been briefed on its contents."
Nothing particularly earth shattering in the Times story, but such leaks are troubling, to say the least.
Update: You definitely want to check it for yourself, but that might be a fake! Apparently the Bush White House is not above tampering with other people's images!
The nerve of them. Showing the President of the United States in a favorable manner goes against everything NBC stands for.
Calpundit had a very enlightening post on Bush/AWOL a few days back. Enlightening insofar as it displayed for the world the ignorance from the Left on the issue. Reading the post (or any of the others in the endless series he's made on the topic) and the comments you can almost imagine the group gathered around the paper, or the glowing monitors displaying the image thereof, marveling at the possible significance of their "Holy Grail". One went so far as to refer to the document as the "blue dress" for the Bush administration, which by itself gives a tremendous amount of insight into why the Dems get themselves into a slathering rage over this whole issue.
The only problem is, there's not one of them that comprehends what that document is, let alone whether it had any significance whatsoever, because none of them has a military background. In fact, few even know anyone who knows anyone in the military. To be fair, site owner Kevin Drum admits as much in the post, but also makes clear what his fondest dream is. (Or is that "Fonda-est" dream?)
Reading Kevin's post several days ago I hoped that Baldilocks would weigh in; a retired Air Force Reservist has a bit of gravitas when it come to interpreting such documents. She's done so, and she doesn't disappoint.
And both sides of the issue will be satisfied with her response; the Right because she completely and satisfactorily answers the questions and settles the issue, and the Left because the truth absolutely doesn't matter to them. In fact, their eyes are closed and their fingers are jammed dangerously deep into their... ears on this one.
Case in point, even after the White House released documents on the issue, Idiotarians in Congress attempted to push it. Unfortunately, they picked the wrong guy. Even more unfortunately for them, cameras were rolling, and America was treated to the site of a genuine military hero calmly dismantling a witless congressman and one of his lackeys.
...Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., Robert Melendez, D-N.J., Rep. Robert I Wexler, D-Fla., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, challenged Powell about the administration's case, suggesting it may have been misleading from the outset.
"Truth is the first casualty of war," Ackerman said. "I would contend truth was murdered before a shot was fired."
"We went into this war under false premises," Melendez said.
Wexler told Powell he considered him to be "the credible voice in the administration."
"When you reached the conclusion that Iraq represented a clear and present danger to the United States, that meant a lot to me," Wexler said. "But the facts suggest there was a part of the story that was not true."
Powell fielded the assertions calmly, defending the president's judgment and his own.
But when Brown contrasted Powell's military experience to Bush's record with the National Guard, saying the president "may have been AWOL" from duty, Powell exploded.
"First of all, Mr. Brown, I won't dignify your comments about the president because you don't know what you are talking about," Powell snapped.
"I'm sorry I don't know what you mean, Mr. Secretary," Brown replied.
"You made reference to the president," Powell shot back.
Brown then repeated his understanding that Bush may have been AWOL from guard duty.
"Mr. Brown, let's not go there," Powell retorted. "Let's not go there in this hearing. If you want to have a political fight on this matter, that is very controversial, and I think it is being dealt with by the White House, fine, but let's not go there."
If you haven't seen the video yet, you should try. The secretary was instantly the Four Star, with a dash of Top Sergeant thrown in for good measure. The exchange continued:
Powell then went on to defend the Bush administration's assertions on Iraq's prewar weaponry. "We didn't make it up," Powell said. "It was information that reflected the views of analysts in all the various agencies."
But the dispute with Brown did not end.
"Are you shaking your head for something, young man?," Powell asked when he noticed an aide to Brown apparently disagreeing.
"I seldom come to a meeting when I'm talking to a congressman and I have people aligned behind you giving editorial comment by headshakes," Powell said.
Brown, defending his assistant, said "I think people have opinions."
Indeed they do. In my opinion, Mr. Brown (who has no military service in his background) is a sad little fool, and a poor representative of the people of Ohio.
And he's fortunate that the "Secretary of State" side of Colin Powell stayed in control. Who wasn't longing for the unasked question; "How 'bout I walk across the room and wipe that smirk of your face?" Followed by a complete transformation into something that would make R. Lee Ermy cringe in fear.
But the General kept his cool. Ice, baby, pure ice. And you have to see it to truly appreciate it. A clueless congressman exposed with cameras rolling.
But none of this matters, as WaPo reports in this story about the President's visit to the Dentist
...White House press secretary Scott McClellan criticized Democrats and others who were asking new questions.
"I think what you are seeing is gutter politics," he said. "The American people deserve better. There are some who are not interested in their facts. They are simply trolling for trash."
He's referring to some in congress and the press, as the White House Press corps has made this their cause célèbre, in light of the lack of American deaths in Iraq this week. (Feb 11 White House press briefing video here)
Not to be outdone, Katie Couric got to ask hopeful future VP candidate Edwards on Today for his thoughts on the issue, specifically whether he thought the release of the President's records resolved everything. The wanna-veep said he thought there were plenty of legitimate questions to be answered.
Depends on what your definition of word "legitimate" is.
Update: The WaPo has more details, and a slightly different spin, (and the most intrusive registration process I've seen) on the General's testimony:
The public scolding came after Powell had already endured a number of attacks by Democrats on the administration's Iraq policy during an appearance before the House International Relations Committee. He had just snapped at a member of Congress who had casually declared President Bush "AWOL" from the Vietnam War.
Powell was recalling for the panel his review of the prewar intelligence. "I went and lived at the CIA for about four days to make sure that nothing was," he began, when he paused and glared at a staffer seated behind the members of Congress.
"Are you shaking your head for something, young man, back there?" Powell asked. "Are you part of these proceedings?"
Powell's unusual remarks threatened to derail the hearing. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a 12-year veteran of the House, objected, "Mr. Chairman, I've never heard a witness reprimand a staff person in the middle of a question."
Powell shot back, "I seldom come to a meeting where I am talking to a congressman and I have people aligned behind you giving editorial comment by head shakes."
"Well, I think people have opinions," Brown responded.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) rushed to defend Powell. "I think the secretary is owed an apology for that, not reprimand," he said.
This brought a reaction from Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who had earlier in the hearing been cut off by Rohrabacher when a statement he made denouncing the administration's claims on weapons of mass destruction ran over the assigned length. "Point of order, Mr. Chairman," he asked. "Has that gentleman who's speaking been recognized?"
Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), the committee's chairman, urged members to calm down, despite the "very emotional subject."
Repeat: The WaPo might be impressed with his 12 years in the House, but this guy Brown is an embarrassment to Ohio.
And the behavior of the Democrats can only be explained in light of the fact that the party is self-destructing. Not funny.
If you're quick, you can meet today's "Supporter of the Day" over at John Kerry's weblog:
Harriet Bell, London, England - is spending part of her Gap Year volunteering for John Kerry in DC, SC, VA and IA. Her energy and enthusiasm are welcomed and contagious. Thanks Harriet!
That should put to rest all those stories that Kerry can't win votes in England.
Sorry, Couldn't stop laughing...
But the idea that this puffs up Kerry to be the President's equal on the new war is a more tortuous stretch. The only relevant lesson from Vietnam is this: then, as now, it was not possible for the enemy to achieve military victory over the US; their only hope was that America would, in effect, defeat itself. And few men can claim as large a role in the loss of national will that led to that defeat as John Kerry.
Not surprisingly Atrios has issues with this Steyn quote:
A brave man in Vietnam, he returned home to appear before Congress and not merely denounce the war but damn his "band of brothers" as a gang of rapists, torturers and murderers led by officers happy to license them to commit war crimes with impunity.
Atrios' point being that Kerry didn't say that about his fellow troops, but only that he heard others say that, and helpfully provides a quote from Kerry '71:
“They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”
He refers to those who characterize Kerry's comments in the manner Steyn did as "liars". Nice work, Atrios. That group would include just about every Vietnam Veteran, and in fact just about every American Veteran who served anywhere in war or peace.
When the Naval Investigative Service attempted to interview the so-called witnesses, most refused to cooperate, even after assurances that they would not be questioned about atrocities they may have committed personally. Those that did cooperate never provided details of actual crimes to investigators. The NIS also discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans.
(More on Stolen Valor here.)
Of course, poor John Kerry was misled by those false veterans, just like he was misled by that bad ol' George Bush in the lead up to the latest Iraq war.
Kerry's not a bad guy, he's just gullible.
This by itself, though deserving of scorn, isn't the big problem with John Kerry. Many Americans opposed the war in Vietnam based on moral decisions they made at that time. Many Americans on both sides of the issue now have different opinions. However, this vision of John Kerry does reveal the problem.
Were you opposed to the war in Vietnam? Kerry's the man for you. Here he is with Hanoi Jane, in the front lines with the flag burners and draft dodgers.
Did you support the war? Here's the young boat skipper, bravely following in the footsteps of his family friend with whom he shares initials, even saving lives of those under his command. Couldn't have been better were it scripted by Hollywood.
That young hero had a problem though. Upon returning home from Vietnam he found the old Kennedy recipe for political success just hadn't aged well. Like the youngest Kennedy brother, the Party itself was transforming from something young and vibrant into a bloated negation of hope.
So Kerry asked himself not what he could do for his country, but what he could do for himself. Anti-war Kerry was born, and the rest was history. Except for the chameleon nature of the candidate. (And that reference is not just in regards to his face).
"Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war."
--letter from Senator John Kerry to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, dated January 22 
"Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf."
--Senator Kerry to Wallace Carter, January 31 
And now, of course, Kerry is against our involvement in Iraq, an involvement he authorized with his vote in 2002.
Instability is ingrained into Kerry's character; having betrayed his fellow Vietnam Veterans any other such betrayals would be comparatively easy.
He's the man for everyone. If you don't like his stance on any particular issue, stick around a while, it's bound to change.
Scott Ott (of ScrappleFace) covers the subcommittee hearing on broadcast decency rules live here.
And if you think the Super Bowl Halftime was bad, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Smash has a great round up of who's going where among the MilBloggers as Iraqi Freedom II begins in earnest.
The essay WHY? below was originally part of the Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy? series that begins here. It was first published as a stand alone document on September 22 last year, but has now been updated to add a very applicable recent quote from John Kerry.
And would the passengers feel differently if they saw this?
John F. Kerry, having previously declared that he can become president without support from the South, now implies that votes from Guard and Reserve members aren't wanted either. Is he a realist or a fool?
"I've said since the day I came back from Vietnam that it was not an issue to me if somebody chose to go to Canada or to go to jail or to be a conscientious objector or to serve in the National Guard or elsewhere."
This quote and many others like it, uttered many times through the years and displaying a complete disregard (if not contempt) for those who served, are prompting many to make comments like this one from fellow MilBlogger Joe Carter:
I'm so appalled that if this man becomes President then I will leave the Corps at the end of my enlistment. Though I'll only have three years until retirement, I'd forego that honor to keep from having to serve under Kerry. I refuse to serve under a Commander in Chief who has besmirched the reputations of men I consider heroes, men such as Gen. Charles Krulak and Adm. James Stockdale.
Or Op/Ed pieces like this one from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The rigors and hardships of being a POW aside, I remember the so-called "peace movement" and peace marches and rallies that were taking place back home in the United States.
Our captors were more than willing, within their means, to provide us with any and all anti-U.S. and anti-Vietnam War propaganda. Without a choice in the matter, we listened to the "Voice of Vietnam" broadcasts by "Hanoi Hannah" and were shown newspaper and magazine photos and articles about those opposing the war back in the states.
One of the peace marchers' standard slogans was, "Bring our boys home now and alive." The warped thinking of such people was that by demonstrating against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, they'd be shortening the war and reducing the number of American casualties. These demonstrators would also try to make one believe that their efforts would bring POWs like me home sooner. They were utterly wrong on both counts, not to mention the detrimental effect their actions had on the morale of our troops and our POWs.
John F. Kerry was not just one of these demonstrators. He was leading them.
In many ways the next paragraph from that opinion could be applied to the "peace movement" that last year made the war in Iraq an inevitability:
These demonstrations for peace had the exact opposite effect of what they purported to accomplish. Instead of shortening the war the "peace movement" served only to protract the conflict, resulting in a vastly greater number of Americans killed and wounded, greater economic burdens and longer periods of incarceration for Americans held captive in Vietnam. The war would have been over much sooner and with a much more favorable result if those in the "peace movement" would have rallied behind the commander in chief to accomplish our mission and then withdraw.
The pre-Iraq "peace movement" helped convince Saddam (or at least his French allies) that the US would not dare attack him. The blood of hundreds is upon them. Like Kerry, they don't care.
Of course, Kerry wasn't "anti war" this go round until Howard Dean made him dance to that tune. More on Kerry's many faces in a later post.
Chest full of medals? He threw those away long ago. Now his is a chest full of nothing but loathing and contempt for those who serve their country for reasons other than political expedience.
Many of the same people who demand President Bush release his service records to prove his innocence of AWOL charges will be screeching like nails on chalkboards over this one.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.
Consequently, all left wing blogs have been forced to shut down.
Sorry, folks, but an investigation? This is how law enforcement determines if a crime has been committed, or whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a trial. We aren't talking about rolling in tanks here, and to insist that campus "political activities" are exempt from any scrutiny whatsoever is a bit naive. (An extreme example for the sake of the point: your frat has an "anti-war kegger" during which several females are drugged and raped.)
The court, as in all cases, is forbidden from commenting, so thus far only one side of this story is told. Even so, as is hinted at later in the piece, we're getting about half the story that a reporter worth his paycheck could provide:
The targets of the subpoenas believe investigators are trying to link them to an incident that occurred during the rally. A Grinnell College librarian was charged with misdemeanor assault on a peace officer; she has pleaded innocent, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.
Even the local Civil Liberties Union rep knows better:
"The best approach is not to speculate and see what we learn on Tuesday" when the four testify, said Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, which is representing one of the protesters.
See kids, you're a little premature on this one. (See here, here, here, here) By the way, there are more than a few of us who will be there to defend you should the big bad boogie government ever show up to haul you off to the gulag.
Ultra right wing fascist Fox News, of course, carries the same story.
There now, all better.
Scott Ott (yes, of ScrappleFace) has helped launch a new group Blog. Not what you might expect.
Some time back I was asked about steps being taken to counter low-tech improvised explosive devices in Iraq. Here's partial answer, from the Washington Post's details on "lessons learned" from the troops departing Iraq. (Warning: graphic discussion of violence in the linked article.)
As the insurgency in the Sunni Triangle was heating up last fall, Lt. Col. Steve Russell was dealing with a new wave of attacks in which bombers were using the transmitters from radio-controlled toy cars: They would take the electronic guts of the cars, wrap them in C-4 plastic explosive and attach a blasting cap, then detonate them by remote control.
So Russell, who commands an infantry battalion in deposed president Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, mounted one of the toy-car controllers on the dashboard of his Humvee and taped down the levers. Because all the toy cars operated on the same frequency, this would detonate any similar bomb about 100 yards before his Humvee got to the spot. This "poor man's anti-explosive device" was "risky perhaps," Russell writes in a 58-page summary of his unit's time in Iraq but better than leaving the detonation to the bombers.
Emphasis added to the following:
As one of the biggest troop rotations in U.S. history gets underway in Iraq, with almost 250,000 soldiers coming or going, the seasoned units that are leaving are doing their best to pass on such hard-won knowledge to their successors, in e-mails, in essays, in PowerPoint presentations and rambling memoirs posted on Web sites or sent to rear detachments. And in the process, these veterans of Iraq have provided an alternate history of the Army's experience there over the past nine months -- one that is far more personal than the images offered by the media and often grimmer than the official accounts of steady progress.
Taken together, these documents tell a story of an unexpectedly hard small war that has been punctuated by casualties that haunt the writers. At the same time, they show how a well-trained, professional force adjusted last year to the first sustained ground combat faced by U.S. troops in three decades, relearning timeless lessons of warfare and figuring out new ones.
An "unexpectedly hard small war"? Packed with amazing revelations (the people of Saddam's home town hate us) the stories from the troops will be used to justify "quagmire" claims from many of the same folks who predicted hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.
And with a decidedly different set of lessons learned, here from one of those "memoirs posted on Web sites" is Arkhangel, ("I'm a soldier in the U.S. Army. Currently, I'm in the eighth month of a scheduled year-long rotation in Iraq.")
Yet, we based virtually all our planning on the best-case scenario, and refused to plan for the worst-case scenario. This became more and more obvious the higher you ascended the Pentagon's chain of command. For example, it wasn't until early August that the highest levels of command admitted that we were fighting a guerrilla war--even though we had already lost more men than in the Bosnia and Kosovo operations combined by that point.
And it wasn't just the guerrilla war...it was thinking that Iraq had a far more modern infrastructure (it doesn't); it was thinking that the population would embrace us (they haven't; in fact, they can't stand us, except for those who work for the occupation authorities, and even there, opinion is decidedly mixed); it was hoping that other nations would pitch in to help us, even though we had offended most of the world with our actions throughout the past two years (Kyoto, the ICC, and the build up to war only being a few examples)...I could go on, but the conclusion is simple and inescapable: we were banking on hope, rather than reality, to see us through. And you can't do that. Hope is not a plan.
Not sure who Arkhangel's "we" are, but I doubt he actually was one of the planners of the war. But for a soldier in Iraq (which claim I do not dispute), Arkhangel's thoughts on our progress there seem to draw more on feelings (to which he is absolutely entitled) without any cited facts supporting his statements. (Or with a careles disregard of facts: Bosnia and Kosovo were bombing campaigns; hard to lose soldiers in those.) Though thoughtful and informed, most of the claims could have been lifted without question from any lefty blog. The same tone is used when discussing the situation in Afghanistan.
And like the lefty blogs, the Bush hate shines through loud and clear.
Still, Arkhangel offers the first evidence I've seen yet from a military person that the Iraq mission is an unjustified failure. And he's certainly in a better position than I am to judge. I suppose only time will tell.
Although from the military vantage point I think the toy car remote control is a more useful lesson learned.
Hat tip: Tacitus
UPDATE: From the WaPo story: "We had to learn the hard way," Capt. Daniel Morgan, an infantry company commander in the 101st Airborne Division, writes in an essay that is rocketing around military e-mail circles.
Perhaps it is, but it's also an Army Times story available here. Long, but worth the effort. Should be required for those readying for downrange. Excerpt:
An explosion rocks the vehicle in front of you, throwing soldiers onto the street. You see the vehicle rise up onto two wheels before settling and rolling to a stop. AK-47 fire and RPGs are heard almost simultaneously. Your soldiers stagger about trying to shake off the effects of the concussion. Some fire wildly in different directions because the cracking of the AK-47s are echoing off the buildings, so you cannot pinpoint the direction of fire. The battle drill says to clear the kill zone, but you have competing priorities. First, you have casualties that need to be secured, assessed and stabilized. Second, if you run, you won’t kill the enemy or deter them. You must fight back and hopefully kill them. Do you stay in the kill zone and fight?
This happened to my soldiers and me. Sadly, this has happened to my company and me on several occasions in various forms. On this day, I lost a platoon sergeant and it was a devastating experience to many soldiers. He is alive but when I got to that truck he was a pile of blood and matter. His leg was completely blown off with shrapnel wounds all over him. He stayed there as we secured everything, trying to still lead his soldiers. We fought back that day, killing one suspected enemy and detaining two more. This reaction occurred due to rehearsals, AARs, aggressive leadership at every level, and discipline.
Why do Democrats insist the War on Terror is a staged political event? Why do they think events in Iraq are timed for the benefit of Republican political campaigns? Why do they believe every action that the President takes as Commander-in-Chief is designed to advance his personal agenda and humiliate them?
Retired General Wesley Clark has this answer: Because it's what they would do.
Some top Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war abruptly in the summer of 1999, at almost any cost, because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to begin, former NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark says in his official papers.
"There were those in the White House who said, 'Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That's the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn't matter what you do, just turn it off. You don't have to win this thing, let it lie,' " Clark said in a January 2000 interview with NATO's official historian, four months before leaving the post of supreme allied commander Europe.
Clark's chances of securing a Democratic nomination for the Presidency are all but finished, and comments he made regarding frontrunner John Kerry's comparatively limited military experience render him an unlikely VP candidate. But details revealed in Clark's papers, which he made available in response to a request from the Washington Post, indicate why he has never been embraced by the Party apparatchiks.
"All along, I always had a terrible feeling about Milosevic, that we were really sort of making a compromise with Hitler in 1943," Clark said. He expressed particular regret that both Washington and Europe had failed to intervene against Yugoslavia in the summer of 1998, when, he said, Milosevic had timed a campaign of ethnic cleansing to coincide with Western officials' summer vacations.
Berger disputed Clark's account of his views, calling it "garbled hearsay that is just incorrect," because "I was a strong advocate of action on Kosovo."
Clark told the historian that he chafed during the war at having to submit individual bombing targets to the White House and the French government for approval. He said Clinton reviewed them directly, apparently because of embarrassment over the U.S. military's 1998 bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. He also quoted a deputy French defense minister as acknowledging that Paris rejected some of his target choices simply for the sake of "saying no."
"There were those in the White House who said, 'Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That's the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn't matter what you do, just turn it off. You don't have to win this thing, let it lie,' " Clark said in a January 2000 interview with NATO's official historian, four months before leaving the post of supreme allied commander Europe.
Which may help explain why the French government was convinced it could "call the shots" on America's post-911 war on terror.
Tim Blair notes that Clark is crazy but thinks the "French approval" paragraph has the ring of truth. Elsewhere, Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds cast doubt on the veracity of Clark's claims. But if false, what, exactly, is motivating the General? Clark is undoubtedly aware of the "Dr. Strangelove" aspects of his reputation; these revelations do little to directly discourage that view. The real question is would his desire to set the record straight (or "get even with the Clintons") overcome his duty not to discredit his own party (or his own common sense)?
Does Clark desire to establish a MacArthur-like, noble-warrior-at-odds-with-leadership persona for himself (sans "fading away")?
Perhaps it's a personality flaw, but were I in his place and had this happened to me I might be angry enough to reveal what happened, without pulling punches. Fabricating such a story, however, goes far beyond acceptable behavior for American military leadership. (There is an interesting contrast that illustrates the desired military-civilian leadership relationship; General Schwarzkopf has been reluctant to this day to openly discuss details that led to the abrupt end of Desert Storm.)
From a military perspective, Clark's story does have the ring of truth. Perhaps begun with the purist of intentions, every campaign mounted during the Clinton administration (and they were endless) had the ever-oppressive pall of being driven by political expedience, and lacked a sense of true purpose or real commitment. Although not invented at that time, the "cut and run" was perfected in Africa, and the "shoot and run" in the Middle East. Meanwhile, to this day American troops and resources, needed in the war on terror, are bogged down in a European quagmire.
Quite the legacy.
A side issue: Note the number of people smiling in the photo accompanying the story. A distinct difference from more recent images.
The turnover of power (what the Democrats will call the "cut and run" part of the "no exit strategy", while still insisting that Iraq is a "quagmire") continues.
Negotiators in Baghdad insist that Iraq's 25-member Interim Governing Council (IGC) will hit the first of four deadlines in the process of transferring sovereignty that were set out in an agreement reached last November with Paul Bremer, the US administrator.
The confidence was expressed in spite of suggestions this week by the US administration that the June 30 deadline for handing over sovereignty to a new government was not "set in stone".
By February 28, the former opposition groups that now dominate the 25-member IGC have to agree on a "fundamental law" to see the country through a transitional period.
Adel Abdul Mahdi, head of the political bureau of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shia party, said Iraq's political groups already had "80 per cent of the text" of the fundamental law.
Faysal Istrabadi, legal adviser to the Iraqi Independent Democrats, led by Adnan Pachachi, a former Iraqi foreign minister, agreed with that assessment.
He said any delays might result from the recommendations of the UN electoral team due to arrive in Iraq soon to advise on the feasibility of holding elections.
Constitutional right to war coverage, Larry? We've got something better.
Blogmadness continues. Your vote here will be appreciated. Rules are that you must read both entries in any contest you vote in.
Fellow MilBlog The Evangelical Outpost is also still in the running, you can vote in that contest at the same page.
"Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war."
--letter from Senator John Kerry to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, dated January 22 
"Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf."
--Senator Kerry to Wallace Carter, January 31 
By the way, Senator Kerry, as a Vietnam Veteran with a Blog, is eligible to join MilBlogs. I wonder if he will?
Speaking of which, how come no left wing blogs link as "Friends of MilBlogs?" I thought they supported the troops?
Maybe just some of the troops?
In light of the failed economy
The U.S. economy created just 112,000 new jobs in January, far fewer than expected, government data showed on Friday in a disappointing report that will likely weigh on President Bush's re-election campaign.
The fifth straight monthly gain in payrolls outside the farming sector was the largest since December 2000, the Labor Department said.
And a divided nation
Howard Dean — like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis before him — constantly invokes the 1960s as a time when America was really pulling together with common purpose. It was "a time of great hope," Dean declared on the stump. "Medicare had passed. Head Start had passed. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the first African American justice [was appointed to] the United States Supreme Court. We felt like we were all in it together, that we all had responsibility for this country.... That [strong schools and communities were] everybody's responsibility. That if one person was left behind, then America wasn't as strong or as good as it could be or as it should be. That's the kind of country that I want back."
"We felt the possibilities were unlimited then," he said in an interview with the Washington Post. "We were making such enormous progress. It resonates with a lot of people my age. People my age really felt that way."
Well, no. That's not true. What is true is that many people Dean's age, who were also liberals, felt that way
it should surprise no one that Bush's popularity has plummeted to an all time low.
The answer? Let John Kerry become president now! Stand aside Mr. Bush; a better man is ready for the job, a "man with a plan" for the economy and other growing things:
This is a phony budget that doesn't make any real tough choices. And let me tell you, I know something about "savings." I saved Jim Rassmann's life in Vietnam. When he fell out of my Swift Boat, I single-handedly pulled him from the water, under fire, in an act that has forevermore stood -- at least in my own supple and quite impressive mind -- as a metaphor for my long career of making sacrifices and tough choices.
And perhaps America will be able to laugh again!
Question: How long was the air campaign prior to ground operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom?
Answer: Almost 12 years.
And there's no "but...". Air Force operations over Iraq began during Desert Storm and never ended. Over the years, elements of the USAF were continually deployed and flying combat sorties against the Hussein regime.
These forces, based in several Middle Eastern locations but specifically in Saudi Arabia, were among the "humiliations" suffered by Al Queda that led to 911. As a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom, those forces are no longer located in the Saudi "holy land".
Do I need to paint a picture? Pretend you're in charge. You've had forward deployed troops for over a decade with no end in sight. It would be politically expedient to withdraw them, but the reason for their presence is an intransigent regime that refuses to do anything to allay suspicions that it is developing weapons of mass destruction. The same despotic ruler is likely supporting the terrorists that consider the presence of US troops an affront to their manhood. Where do you move that Air Force to?
From Air Force Magazine:
A year ago, as Gulf War II was about to begin, another conflict in Iraq was already at its peak. US forces were engaged in a systematic but undeclared air campaign that set the stage for the coalition’s rapid victory over Saddam Hussein’s regime. And it, in turn, was aided by almost 12 years of combat air patrols in the Iraqi no-fly zones.
Unlike Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Operation Iraqi Freedom officially began (on March 20, 2003) with a ground campaign. Unofficially, a preparatory air campaign already had taken place. Since the end of the first Gulf War, the US and Britain had flown hundreds of thousands of combat and support sorties over Iraq in two no-fly zones that enforced UN resolutions. Air operations intensified greatly in the final months before the start of the ground war.
As Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the air boss for Iraqi Freedom and now the Air Force vice chief of staff, explained in a wartime press conference, “We’ve been involved in Operation Northern Watch for well over 4,000 days ... [and] Operation Southern Watch for well over 3,800 days. ... We’ve certainly had more preparation, pre-hostilities, than perhaps some people realize.”
A few days later, Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, expanded on Moseley’s comments. He said, “We started our work in the air component back in June of last year , and, between June and March, we actually flew about 4,000 sorties against the integrated air defense system in Iraq and against surface-to-air missiles and their command and control.”
Jumper added, “By the time we got to March, we think that they were pretty much out of business.”
Ironically, this early preparation of the battlefield was aided immeasurably by the near constant Iraqi attacks on US and British aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones. Since 1992, Iraqi military forces had fired anti-aircraft artillery or surface-to-air missiles during almost every coalition aircraft patrol. The aircrews returned fire—sometimes immediately, sometimes a few days later. Over the years, attacks outnumbered responses by a 10-to-one margin, according to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
For most of the “pre-war” period, coalition aircrews routinely responded by targeting individual AAA or SAM sites. Occasionally, they would strike radar and communications facilities to weaken the Iraqi air defense capability overall. In summer 2002, however, air operations intensified dramatically.
Queried at a Sept. 16, 2002, press briefing about a perceived escalation in the number of coalition air strikes, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, openly acknowledged that tactics had changed.
Pace explained that coalition forces had begun specifically targeting command and control and communications nodes. Pace said, “Instead of going at the specific radar that was involved, which can easily be moved between the time the missile was fired and the time we’re able to counterstrike, they’re picking on targets that are still part of that continuum of air defense but are not easily moved.”
“I directed it [the change in tactics],” Rumsfeld said at the same briefing.
The new target set comprised all elements of the hostile Iraqi system, ranging from the AAA and SAMs themselves to support systems. The latter category included radars that helped gunners zero in on aircraft, communications links that connected those radars to the command and control nodes, and links between the command and control nodes.
Rumsfeld characterized earlier responses against the mobile gun batteries as “only marginally effective,” given that Iraq continued to attack coalition aircraft. The benefit, he said, was not “worth putting pilots at risk,” so flight operations were changed so that coalition aircraft would sortie in less risky areas.
However, said Rumsfeld, further consideration led Pentagon leaders and theater commanders to see that “there was a way to make the cost-benefit ratio make more sense.” Coalition aircraft were sent back into the most risky areas but, explained Rumsfeld, with different orders. If attacked, they could strike more lucrative targets. Thus, said Rumsfeld, their responses “would give us a benefit that would merit the risks that were undertaken.”
Plenty of fodder for the tinfoil hat brigades, but for those with short memories,
Saddam had ousted UN weapons inspectors in late 1998, and, in response, in mid-December 1998, President Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox, four days of air strikes that targeted suspected weapons of mass destruction sites, Republican Guard facilities, and air defense systems. After those strikes, the Iraqis became even more aggressive in their attacks on coalition aircraft.
Before Desert Fox, the coalition tended to confine its response to an Iraqi attack to the attack’s immediate source. On Jan. 27, 1999, the Clinton Administration revised the rules of engagement (ROE), permitting US aircraft to target a wider range of Iraqi air defense systems and related installations. Pilots could not only defend themselves but also act to reduce the overall Iraqi air defense threat to coalition aircraft.
From 1999 onward, Iraq mounted more than 1,000 AAA attacks, launched 600 rockets, and fired some 60 SAMs. On Feb. 16, 2001, 24 US and British aircraft struck five Iraqi air defense command and control installations. The goal was to disrupt a fiber optic cable network that China was installing for the Iraqi military. On July 24, 2001, Iraqi forces fired a SAM at a U-2 spyplane, narrowly missing.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, there was a brief lull in Iraq’s provocations. It lasted just two months. Iraq subsequently resumed full-throttle attacks.
In no way intending to downplay the accomplishments of the ground forces, who truly accomplished America's goals in Iraq, the moral of this story is America's abilities at total force application, resulting in Full Spectrum Dominance:
The entire Southern Focus effort gave the coalition a clear advantage once ground troops crossed into Iraq and the air campaign “officially” began.
Just hours before the declared start of the war, Col. Gary L. Crowder, chief of Air Combat Command’s strategy, concepts, and doctrine division, estimated that Saddam had, by that date, effectively ceded “about two-thirds of his airspace” to coalition forces. “We are starting off in a significantly better position as a consequence of the northern and southern no-fly zones, which will enable operations that might not otherwise have been able to commence.”
After the fact, it was obvious that Day 1 air dominance made it possible for the coalition to escalate the timetable for the ground attack and seize Iraqi oil fields on short notice. By April 5, Moseley could declare: “The preponderance of the Republican Guard divisions that were outside of Baghdad are now dead.” As Air Force Secretary James G. Roche pointed out at the conclusion of the war, “During the entire campaign, the Iraqi Air Force didn’t fly a single sortie against coalition forces.”
At first, many airpower critics called attention to what they saw as the lack of a long air campaign as prelude to the war. Retired Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, a former Air Force Chief of Staff, knew the true story.
In a June 5, 2003, Washington Post article McPeak wrote: “It’s incorrect to say that, unlike Desert Storm 12 years before, there was no independent air campaign in advance of the jump off of our ground forces from Kuwait.” He continued, “Because of this aerial preparation, Iraq’s air defenses stayed mostly silent, and our aircraft were able to begin reducing opposing ground forces immediately. Army and Marine Corps formations, judged by ‘experts’ to be much too small for the job, captured Baghdad in just 22 days and with comparatively light casualties. Not only did coalition airpower systematically disorganize Iraq’s ground forces, it did so at small cost.”
And in addition to the infamous "Shock and Awe" campaign, as the troops rocketed north they had air support, as described in this (now behind paid archive wall) WaPo story:
"We were surprised when they [the U.S. pilots] discovered this place," said Khalidi, 28, a Republican Guard captain from a military family. It was late at night, a strong sandstorm was blowing, the vehicles were hidden under the trees, and the soldiers thought they were safe, he said. But two enormous bombs and a load of cluster bombs hit their targets on a tract of agricultural land in the Sabaa Abkar ("Seven Virgins") area of northern Baghdad, killing six members of Khalidi's unit and destroying much of their equipment.
"This affected the morale of the soldiers, because they were hiding and thought nobody could find them," he said. "Some soldiers left their positions and ran away. When the big bombs hit their target, some of the vehicles just melted.
You can't hide.
For those who haven't caught on yet, that airpower is no longer needed in Iraq.
Mr. Khadafi? Mr. Kim? Ayatollah?
Interesting news from The Korea Times (installing Korean characters not necessary. Select "cancel")
ROK Soldiers Rush To Apply For Iraq
The number of soldiers volunteering to join the country’s contingent to be dispatched to Iraq for rehabilitation work has far exceeded the required figure less than a week after recruitment started, officials said on Wednesday.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the number of applicants had reached 18,000 as of Wednesday morning, some 5.1 times more than the 3,585 needed.
By rank, about 3,800 applied for the 523 posts allocated for officers, while some 13,300 noncommissioned officers expressed interest in 966 posts allotted. For rank-and-file soldiers, about 6,800 privates asked for only 2,065 jobs.
Particularly, more and more privates are applying for the opportunity, although the application letters should be accompanied by a parental consent form.
Ministry officials expected the overall figure will keep increasing to an application rate of five-to-one by Tuesday, when applications close.
``We didn’t actively advertise the application plan in consideration of the fact that the troop dispatch motion has not been approved by the National Assembly yet. But we can now feel the heated atmosphere,’’ an official said.
He ascribed the rush to join the overseas mission to the soldiers’ sense of duty to help the Iraqi people who are suffering from security concerns, poverty and poor living conditions after the U.S.-led war to topple former leader Saddam Hussein.
The article also hints that financial considerations may have played a part in their decision, as there are monetary "perks" involoved. But perhaps they haven't "forgotten" their own nation's rebuilding?
Or perhaps they're just doing the right thing, even if it's hard?
By the way, from my time in Korea, ROK troops, especially the career guys, are tough SOB's.
Recent "fallout" from the WMD issue has brought a ray of artificial sunshine into the lives of Saddam's apologists, and some are crawling out from under their rocks. However, that sense of warmth they feel isn't sunshine, it's just their ever-present burning hatred for George W. Bush. Unfortunately, Saddam had 99.9 percent of the world convinced he had WMD, thus little traction can be gained against the Bush administration per se on this issue. Hence the current Bushhaters Mantra concerns AWOL, not WMD. But standby for change if there's any indication that this could be a growth industry in the vote-seeking fields.
And if so Scott Ritter is waiting in the wings. Thus far his resurrection has been limited to C-Span, but can PBS be far behind? And, dare we hope, the NY Times?
During a recent C-Span radio appearance (30 Jan '04 archived here), Ritter called for an immediate pull out from the failure that is Iraq, and a turn-over to UN control. (Is he truly ignorant that the UN has bravely run away, but is currently slinking back? Or does he think you are?)
Later in the program Ritter "deftly handled" a couple of veterans that dared call in and question his motives:
CALLER: Always believed -- I’m a Desert Storm veteran, U.S. Air Force. Can you explain the cut and run that the American forces will not be cutting and running -- to turn the Iraqi situation over to the United Nations? And also can you explain to the people how you and France have been advocating that there was no reason for war and we should not be criticizing France for taking the stance that has proven to be correct?
RITTER: Well, you know, I’ll start off with the cut and run. You know, it’s going to be a defeat no matter what for the Bush administration. Iraq will be a defeat for the Bush administration. They will not achieve that which they had hoped to achieve going in. They were looking for a relatively quick victory. They were looking for, not only the rapid collapse of the Hussein regime, which they got, but a transformation of Iraq into a nation that accepted democratic principles, that accepted the Americans there as liberators, that would become a model nation for the transformation of the entire Middle East.
This isn’t going to happen. You’re not going to derive this result from unilateral American intervention in Iraq. What we now need to speak of I believe is the mitigation of this defeat and how we can minimize. I like to visualize it by saying my goal and objective is to create the smallest possible Iraq war memorial. We already have far too many names on a memorial that would be built for Iraq. I want it to be no bigger than what it is now and the only way to do that is to get American troops out. If you view Iraq as a nation on fire, the fuel that feeds this fire is the presence of American troops. We need to separate the fuel from the fire. We need to get the American troops home. That doesn’t mean that we leave Iraq in a vacuum. I believe that there is a role for the United Nations to play today and that doesn’t mean the United Nations minus the United States. We’re a member of the United Nations. We signed the charter. We are held and bound by that charter and we have tremendous influence at the Security Council level and the rest of the United Nations. We can lead the United Nations into Iraq to take the place of unilateral American occupation so that we can create a multilateral approach towards transformation of true political and military power to the people of Iraq.
I think that’s an effective role of the U.N. and it’s one that France articulated. Don’t view France as the enemy. If I were an American fighting man or woman today in Iraq, you know, I wouldn’t be cursing the name of France; I would be saying why didn’t we listen to France? France was acting as a true friend of America, maybe not a true friend of the Bush administration, but a true friend of America, saying this is bad policy. This is a war that doesn’t need to be fought. Had we listened to France and Germany and our other old European allies who, you know, were thinking more in terms of a peaceful resolution and not a violent resolution to the issue in Iraq, those boys and girls who have died in Iraq would be alive today.
And that speaks volumes.
LAMB: Five minutes left with our guest. Fauquier County, Virginia. Good morning.
CALLER: Good morning. Good morning. Mr. Scott Ritter, how are you doing?
RITTER: I’m doing fine. Thank you.
CALLER: I’m active duty Air Force. And the comment that you just said a while ago about that we’re going to be coming out of there with our tails between our legs is un-American and the comment that you just said about Franc, France and you know their bread and butter was arms, arms sales. A big piece of their bread and butter is arms sales. They were in bed with Saddam Hussein. And I think that you have a lot of money going into your pocket to say a lot of the things that you’re saying. You’re un-American.
RITTER: The gentleman is welcome to his opinion. Again, let’s just address the money. I’ve received no money from the government of Iraq or any non-American source. To say what I say I derive my comments from my service to my country as a 12-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps who served in a combat situation during Desert Storm. I’ll put my patriotism on the line.
I think it’s unpatriotic to sit back and do nothing to allow Americans to die in a war that’s needless and shameful. I think the most patriotic thing an American citizen can do is live up to the values and ideals that are set forth in the Constitution that you sir have sworn to uphold and defend with your life against all enemies foreign and domestic.
And when you have an administration that is acting in a way that deviates from the values of the ideals and indeed, some cases from the letter of the Constitution, you’re not patriotic if you stand back and say nothing. The most patriotic thing you can do is to hold those whom we elect to higher office accountable for what they do in our name. That, sir, is what I’m doing today and I think it’s very patriotic.
The callers are afforded no opportunity for response; likely they were disconnected before Ritter began his reply. Ritter is declared triumphant by default, and the host now rapidly changes the focus.
LAMB: Has anybody called you -- not just since David Kay’s testimony, but since the indication was that so far they’ve found no weapons of mass destruction? And said to you they apologize to you for saying things that they said to you in the past about you?
RITTER: I’ve had some e-mails. And I’ve had people stop me -- traveling across the country. I’ve been stopped at airports. I’ve been stopped in a restaurant and people have come up and said, you know, I didn’t agree with you in the past. I thought what you were saying was fundamentally wrong, but you’ve been proven right. I’m sorry for what I thought about you and please continue to do your work.
That’s been the vast majority of the responses. There are a few people who continue to say that what I do is unpatriotic and somehow treasonous.
LAMB: Bel Air, Maryland. You’re on with Scott Ritter. A couple of minutes left. Go ahead, please.
CALLER: Thank you and thank you for C-SPAN and Scott Ritter; you are a very patriotic man. And I appreciate what you’ve done and I’ve been following some of the things that you’ve said for a long time.
I guess what I’m concerned about as I listen to the hearings with Mr. Kay and everybody -- a lot of people are saying, well, we needed to go in anyway because he was a very bad man and you know he gassed the Kurds. Well, that was so, so many years ago that I don’t think that we can use that as an excuse for going in. Yes, he was a bad man, but there’s a lot of bad men out there. What we’re failing to say, however, is what we have done as we have committed genocide ourselves. We talk about genocide, but there are over 10,000 innocent Iraqis who have been murdered because of us for a war that we should never have been in.
And I believe that if we don’t want to have terrorism that we do what perhaps one of the things that Dennis Kucinich said and let’s have a Department of Peace. I think that we could get rid of a lot of terrorism if we did things that were humanitarian; people wouldn’t hate us. And there are always going to be people who hate somebody, however, they wouldn’t be able to hide because people would appreciate what we’re doing.
LAMB: Scott Ritter.
RITTER: Well, you know, I agree totally. First, I’ll say two things. One, I think history is going to show that our nation will be much worse off because of our decision to go into Iraq; that we are not a safer place today because we took out Saddam Hussein. Indeed, Iraq is not a better place because we removed Saddam Hussein.
But we need to look at national security from two fronts, one, what’s happening outside of our borders and as I said I think the invasion of Iraq have made things much worse for us today, but also inside our borders. Our decision making process to go to war in Iraq, the total abrogation by the Congress of the United States of their constitutional responsibilities in regards to war powers in the declaration of war, to transfer that to the President in October of 2002 without the President formally declaring his intent to go to war is cowardly and despicable and there must be an accounting.
Ritter's lust for Bush is probably exceeded only by his lust for pre-pubescent girls. However, like Ritter's quest for weapons, my search for the phrase "child molester" or even "sex offender" in the full transcript came up empty, thus Ritter had no opportunity to refute the rumors that he's banned for life from Burger King. Some vague "stories told/planted about him" are mentioned and dismissed. He's apparently above that sort of ad-hominem attack.
Surely he could dismiss such accusations with the aplomb he demonstrated in this Time magazine piece from fall '02?
Did you write a report, at the time you were doing inspections in Votkinsk in the Soviet Union in 1988 that said the group your wife worked for was full of spies?
No. I indicated that given past models of Soviet penetration techniques that these young girls, of which my wife was one, who were brought in by the Soviets to carry out translation services had been used in the past to attempt sexual compromise. I subsequently wrote a series of reports that said this did not appear to be the case in Votkinsk. In fact, because of the human intelligence work I did in the Soviet Union I was able to ascertain that the girls were actually dissatisfied with the Soviets. They showed a tendency to speak out against the KGB to the U.S. inspectors.
"…these young girls, of which my wife was one,..." Strange choice of words. But back to our current transcript:
LAMB: Are you planning another book?
RITTER: Yes, I am. I am actually working on it right now.
LAMB: When is it going to be out?
RITTER: Well, first of all, there has to be a publisher who is interested in the book and then the publisher would set that schedule, but I’m hopeful for some time in the fall of 2004 so they can play a role in the ongoing education of the American public so that when they vote in November of 2004 they vote with as much available fact set before them.
LAMB: Are you planning to go back to Iraq?
RITTER: No. I was planning on going back. It is a very dangerous situation right now. I don’t think that there’s anything constructive I could do as a private citizen. Again, if the United States Government approached me and said we would like you to go to Iraq to serve your country, it’s something that I would do because I am a patriot and I don’t bring politics to bear when it comes to service of my country.
Here's a reason to go, Scott, from Time again, same article. You can apologize to the parents of these kids:
You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?
The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.
Here's my propositioon: America will apologize to him after he goes to Iraq and apologizes to the children.
Under adult supervision, of course.
"Our people in uniform understand the high calling they have answered because they see the nation and the lives they are changing. A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here's how this man defines his own mission: "It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way." Everyone one in this room can say amen to that." (Applause.)
- President George W. Bush, salutes Chief Wiggles during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, 5 Feb 2004. Written transcript, audio, and video of the very brief speech here. (Don't miss the video.) The president cites other individuals in uniform performing similar charitable acts.
Meanwhile, in my part of the world we were treated to an appearance by Ravi Zacharias. An extraordinarily gifted speaker, listening to him in person I didn't notice the passage of time as I contemplated his powerful words. Such talents are rare these days. You owe it to yourself to not miss any opportunity you may have to see this man.
Paraphrasing, but Dr Zacharias relayed a story about being in Washington DC, in an event with journalists, "think tank-types", government officials, and others. A question was raised; "what do terrorists fear?" His simple answer: A moral America.
I think the President was on the same wavelength.
An earlier version of Dr Zacharias' remarks can be read here, from a Prayer Breakfast speech to the UN from 2002.
There are tremendous, audio, video, and text resources available at Dr Zacharias' website.
With something different:
In light of this I realize that perhaps it's time to reveal a bit of the about me stuff that many think a blog requires.
1. I'm pseudonymous, vice anonymous. One day I will gladly announce my identity. That day will be after I've left military service.
2. I've been in said service for quite some time. My "anonymity" is due to the fact that a lot of people "work for me", upon whom I will not impose my (non-military) views.
3. The reader will note that my opinion is mine, and is not a "military" opinion. See the side bar disclaimer for full details.
4. In my particular job I've been fortunate to work and train with every branch of the military, to include Guard and Reserve units and personnel.
5. Aspects of my job could be considered scientific. I have worked extensively with civilian counterparts. I have published peer-reviewed articles alone and as part of a group. I find hypertext-links in blog entries to fill the same roll as footnotes in such documents. I hope the similarities end there. But I note the comment section serves as a fine "peer review" forum.
6. It's not nice to ask if I've killed people.
There is no constitutional right allowing journalists to cover troops in a war zone, a U.S. appeals court in Washington ruled yesterday.
Fortunately not the Ninth. And who would claim such a right?
The ruling came in a suit brought by publisher Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine over access to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Flynt contended that there was a "First Amendment right of the news media to have access to U.S. troops in combat operations," and that the Pentagon's delay in allowing Hustler correspondents access to the troops in Afghanistan violated that right.
Hopefully Flynt picked up the tab? Or did you and I?
After some pressing, at oral argument it became clear that they claimed a right, protected under the First Amendment, in their own words, to "go[ ] in [to battle] with the military." This right is different from merely a right to cover war. The Government has no rule at least so far as Flynt has made known to us that prohibits the media from generally covering war. Although it would be dangerous, a media outlet could presumably purchase a vehicle, equip it with the necessary technical equipment, take it to a region in conflict, and cover events there. Such action would not violate Enclosure 3 or any other identified DOD rule.
With that distinction made, appellants' claim comes more sharply into focus. They claim that the Constitution guarantees to the media -- specifically Hustler's correspondent -- the right to travel with military units into combat, with all of the accommodations and protections that entails -- essentially what is currently known as "embedding." Indeed, at oral argument appellants' counsel stated that the military is "obligated to accommodate the press because the press is what informs the electorate as to what our government is doing in war."
The facial challenge is premised on the assertion that there is a First Amendment right for legitimate press representatives to travel with the military, and to be accommodated and otherwise facilitated by the military in their reporting efforts during combat, subject only to reasonable security and safety restrictions. There is nothing we have found in the Constitution, American history, or our case law to support this claim.
And as far as the history of press on the battlefield, I'm not sure there is a real precedent to the recent Iraq war example. But the imbedded reporters accomplished little, insofar as those who didn't want to believe that their reports were anything other than propaganda simply dismissed them as tools.
Historically, reporters relied on their wits (and a good rapport with the troops) to get to the front lines.
Joe talked his way into the X-Ray battle, and, sitting on a box of hand grenades, landed in a Huey at 9:30 PM the first night. He remained on the ground with the men of the 1/7 Cav for the rest of the 3 day battle.
Nothing there about waving the constitution under any one's nose and calling shotgun in the hummer.
Nor is there here.
Everyone says they are sorry:
A top Pakistani scientist accused of spreading nuclear technology to other countries has admitted responsibility and apologized to the nation on television.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, said Wednesday he had been confronted with government evidence that Pakistani technology was given to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
"Much of it is true," Khan said. "I have much to answer for."
In a similar story,
Janet Jackson issued another apology for her surprise breast-baring during the Super Bowl halftime show and took full responsibility for the fiasco, in a videotape that was released to media late Tuesday.
"I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention," she said.
I think they are both sorry too. There now, all better.
From Stars and Stripes:
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain ? Seabee Petty Officer Second Class Erik Balodis once hoped to retire at the company he grew to love.
But those aspirations were crushed when automotive parts retail giant Pep Boys fired him in June 2002 after he returned from Navy Reserve training.
Company executives contend they laid him off because of poor performance. But Balodis claims the retail chain sacked him because of his military service. He is suing the company for $5 million in lost wages and punitive damages, but hopes the lawsuit will help others.
?If nothing else, it?s going to send a tremendous lesson to the work force and also mostly to Pep Boys to save maybe more people that this might have been happening to,? said Balodis, who is in southern Spain for annual Reserve training.
His case has attracted some headlines and put greater attention on worker rights as the military leans heavily on reservists and Guardsmen to help fight the war on terrorism and rebuild Iraq. The battle also has spawned concerns that companies might penalize some of the tens of thousands of part-time soldiers when they return to their full-time jobs.
The lawsuit alleges that Pep Boys fired Balodis because his Reserve duties kept him from his job as a district manager in Tucson, Ariz., adding that the retail chain pressured him to choose between his military service and work.
Hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the company reportedly sent a letter to the Navy requesting that Balodis not be called up because he was too important. When Balodis returned from a Navy exercise on June 27, 2002, the company fired him for ?job abandonment.?
Pep Boys spokesman Bill Furtkevic called the accusations by Balodis ?preposterous.?
Furtkevic said that the American Legion awarded the company for its support of the military and that more than 25 reservist employees were deployed.
?The whole allegation is just appalling to my organization,? he said. ?The founders of my company were World War I buddies who pulled together their money to start this company. The president of our company is retired U.S. Army. The CEO of our company was a Canadian military paratrooper. The fact that someone would believe we would terminate an employee because of their military obligation is preposterous.?
Perhaps so. But the timing is certainly not good. There's more in the full article here.
Though not an invariable fact or immutable law, I've noticed that successful, high ranking folks often leave disturbed children in their wake. This isn't always the case, some folks are able to balance home life and career. But those folks often top out somewhere below the highest echelons. (Happily, for that matter.) They're simply unable to compete with the guy who never goes home, the guy who places personal ambition ahead of family life, or justifies his lust with the argument that it's for the family's benefit. This is true, but there is a balance point. Sadly, most don't realize it until the cops show up at the door with junior (or junior shows up on TV) or they come home to find wife and kids packed and gone.
I expect this is true in corporate as well as military America.
General Clark sure seems to have somehow avoided that. His son's a down-to-earth, unspoiled type who has pitched in to support dad on the campaign trail. Warms your heart.
And by the way, when will the press stop giving Bush a free pass? After all, how many people have been killed since he declared an end to major hostilities?
Hates Kerry...! hates him we does...
Many new links posted on the Milblogs Post Exchange (as always) including Vietnam Veterans weighing in on John Kerry, the UN in Baghdad, why GI's aren't wearing their seatbelts in Iraq, and who will prosecute them if they get busted for it ;)
(And join friends of MilBlogs, if you haven't yet.)
An amazing comment has ben added to this entry. I'm looking forward to Friday. Set the fire raging. Fallen heroes should be lamented and celebrated in poem and song.
Howard Dean was born on Nov. 17, 1948, with a Scorpio Sun and Gemini Moon. Thus, Dr. Dean's character contains a paradox: he is both deep and shallow.
Wow. And tall and short? And smart and stupid? And angry and... never mind.
Note that this is an op/ed piece from the New York Times, not satire. My comments are. More on the candidates:
Wesley Clark was born on Dec. 23, 1944, with Sun in Capricorn and Moon in Aries, two leadership and executive signs. He has a warrior signature: when civilized it indicates a master strategist; at its most martial, it is ruthlessly determined and messianic.
More than a few Dems are seeking a messiah these days.
John Edwards, born on June 10, 1953, is a Gemini with the Moon in Gemini. There is much in his horoscope that makes him the puer aeternus, the eternal boy... However, his chart shows him to be a true son of the messenger and trickster god, and so capable of exceptional dualism.
Is dualism like being deep and shallow? Or is he prone to telling lies?
John Kerry, born on Dec. 11, 1943, is a Sagittarius with four Gemini planets in the public relationship sector of his birth chart. He has a judicial character, but also has little tolerance for fools.
Being a party member must truly stretch his tolerance. More on Kerry:
Born with the rare Mars retrograde, he entered life with a rage — a deep, inner need to overcome (the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also had the Mars retrograde). He has a strong sense of responsibility as well as feelings of caution about his message. Over the last 18 months the planets have empowered him with core strength. The long-term picture depicts him achieving his highest goals.
Sounds like an official anointment by the NY Times to me. And for as good a reason as any to support one of these guys. In fact, let's worship him!
Dennis Kucinich, born on Oct. 8, 1946, has his Sun in Libra with its opposite sign, Aries, rising at birth. This is the signature of the peaceful warrior, who desires serenity but is willing to spar for it. The planetary formation at birth endows Mr. Kucinich with a profound dedication to conservation of resources, both natural and manufactured. He is relentless in his pursuit of justice and truth. He deeply empathizes with the collective suffering of humanity. The planets show his life at a major juncture; he is only just beginning to establish roots and a sense of real security.
Wow, he's got a future. The man of tomorrow for the Democrats. Vice presidential? Naah, look for someone more puer aeternus with a dash of Dixie.
Joseph Lieberman was born on Feb. 24, 1942. Although his exact time of birth is uncertain, based on the Sun in Pisces and Moon in Gemini on his birth date, he is primarily motivated by his intellect as it is applied to his spiritual values. He is stubborn and not adaptable.
Yeah, that's why he didn't flip on everything he held dear to be Al Gore's boy back in 2000.
Al Sharpton was born on Oct. 3, 1954. His birth time is also uncertain, but based on the day of his birth, he is a Libra with the Moon in Sagittarius. His horoscope reveals him as witty, quietly subversive, and having lofty intentions. He is fascinated by other cultures and desires global harmony, seeing the whole world as his home. Right now, his chart indicates he is seeking a way to consolidate his many talents and focus on one or two main themes. He will feel the increasing pressure of those who are in greater places of power over the next 10 months.
Wait, gotta wipe the coffee off my monitor.
Okay. By the way, my birth date (disregarding years) is closer to Clarks, but I'm not sure where my moon is and I don't think I'm the messiah.
And although not born with the rare Mars retrograde I'm always willing to help fund the cure.
Next up, my analysis of the candidates based on the coffee stains on this dishrag.
The new old canard, this time from DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, speaking on military issues on which he is either patently clueless or unforgivably slanderous.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe began the latest verbal spat, by saying on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that he relished debate over military service if John F. Kerry became the party's nominee for president. The Massachusetts senator is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who has made his military service a centerpiece of his campaign.
"I look forward to that debate, when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard," McAuliffe said Sunday. "George Bush never served in our military in our country. He didn't show up when he should have showed up."
Later McAuliffe stated "Call it AWOL, call it what you will..."
Actually no. Once again the frightening implication that in the Democrat mind crime is a matter of opinion. General Clark was thrashed for similar claims not two weeks ago; will the press excoriate McAuliffe? Or does he get a pass?
Kerry, like Clark before him, denies all knowledge of his opponent's military record, but did stop short of claiming to not know who the president is. (More to come on Kerry's flip flop and that and other issues.)
I've had the unenjoyable task of escorting chained prisoners from confinement to trial to prison. Their crimes? Desertion. In (relative) peace time.
AWOL is not an opinion. AWOL is a crime. It is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And if the Democrats insist that the president is/was guilty of such a crime they should establish that fact beyond slanderous unsupported accusation.
But they should read this first.
And perhaps this:
Near-live from basic training:
Tomorrow is the PT test. We have to run the 8 and a half minute mile, do 13 push-ups and 17 sit-ups. So tonight during formation, our senior drill instructor had all of Alpha (about 350) Company doing stretches. In the middle of a stretch, someone from Bravo Co. came running out of their barracks, screaming that someone had been found unconscious. Then they came carrying him out, about six guys, and he was motionless. So, PT ended early tonight. Apparently, the guy had passed out while doing his push-ups. He had dehydrated himself.
Not sure if he'll be able to update routinely, but if so this blog is going to be fun.
Many pundits agreed.
And in a stunning move, the Kerry campaign has announced that the Senator has offered the vice-pesidential position on the ticket to Dr. Condoleeza Rice.
"A down-to earth, approachable, intelligent, conservative, self-made black woman with a spine would provide the perfect balance to our ticket." Said a spokesperson for the Kerry campaign.
Blogmadness 2003 continues. The winner's bracket is on hiatus briefly, and thanks to those who voted Mudville is in that category.
Meanwhile, the elimination rounds continue, with many fine blogs deserving your support.
For instance, those of you who voted for Mudville can now vote for those fine Blogs you voted against. Here you will have a chance to vote for Bear Left on Unnamed Road or Beth's Contradictory Brain. (If you, as I do, find them worthy. Check the competition too.)
And here you get a chance to help a fellow MilBlogger. The Swanky Conservative was unable to promote the contest from his website because he was away at Navy Basic Training. So take a look at his entry and his competition and vote accordingly.
And thanks for your continued support.
Howard Dean, a physician and a Democratic presidential candidate, on Monday dismissed as "silly" the government inquiry to discover who may have sent a quantity of the lethal poison ricin to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. All Senate office buildings were shut down Tuesday and all Senate hearings were postponed or cancelled as a result of the incident.
"I find that to be a bit of a flap about nothing," the former Vermont governor said. "I'm probably affected in some ways by the fact that I'm a doctor, so it's not exactly an unusual phenomenon for me, for people to die."
"Most of my patients died." The Governor added.
The Capitol itself remained open Tuesday.
"We will have our activity on the Senate floor," Frist told senators.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said he remembered all too well what it was like to be in Frist's position. His office was targeted in the 2001 anthrax attack.
"I know the difficulty that it presents personally to staff and families of staff," Daschle said on the Senate floor Tuesday. In an uncharacteristic departure from the official party line he added "I know that we're probably in a better position to confront these challenges today than we were two years ago."
"That man is obviously controlled by Carl Rove." Dean responded.
Note: This series on the turnover of control in Iraq began here.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 1 — American commanders have ordered a sharp reduction in the presence of occupation troops in Baghdad, senior officers announced Sunday. The most visible role of policing the capital is being turned over to local forces while American troops pull back to a ring of bases at the edge of the city.
Brig. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commander of the First Armored Division, which has responsibility for security in Baghdad, made the announcement during a visit by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary. Mr. Wolfowitz returned here on an inspection tour three months after the hotel he stayed in then was hit by rockets fired by insurgents in an attack that killed one Army officer and wounded more than a dozen people.
American officers said that after reaching a peak of almost 60 operating locations in Baghdad, the American military had already cut its posts in the capital to 26, and that the number would drop to 8 by mid-April. Six of those bases will be in the Baghdad outskirts, and two will be in the high-security "green zone" that is home to the American-led occupation authority inside the city.
General Dempsey said the new Iraqi police force and civil defense corps "are capable of handling the threat" inside the city.
This has been in the works for some time. Of course, now the outcry from the left, to the effect of "cut and run" and "abandoning Iraq" will be raised. There's a degree of amusement (and consternation) in hearing non-military people discuss military-related issues. The hypocrisy becomes rapidly apparent. How dare the smirking chimp deny them the bloody quagmire for which they so fervently pray? Another unforgivable act! Their anger at the possibility of success in Iraq is palpable. Their denial of its impact on other dictators and possible future conflicts astounding.
See comments here and here, and bear in mind that we are taking about another step in an on-going process, and that the troops will be far from soaking sun in California, they will in fact be pulled "back to a ring of bases at the edge of the city." Still in easy range for those with RPGs and an inclination to use them. But from that point evaluations wil be made, plans laid, and progress and setbacks will occur.
And yes, American troops will likely never completely leave the country.
Some things will go right. Other things will go right to hell. And people will continue to die.
As in Boston, where in the latest round of riots the death toll has risen since the referees declared an end to major conflict in the Super Bowl.
Pray for our Soldiers and the people of Iraq.
And tomorrow being the likely last gasp for a lot of the characters in this series, I thought you might want to enjoy them now.
Enjoy! (Warning: true-to-life language)
This Boston Globe piece on Gen Clark's NATO days is a puzzler. I'm not sure whether its pro- or anti- Clark, as everything that seems to be considered negative in the story would actually raise my opinion of the General, if it were true. Starting with the headline:
Ex-associates paint Clark as decisive, 'micromanager'
There's a positive and a negative description side by side. I suppose the story strikes its own balance
Steven Everts, director of the trans-Atlantic program for the Center for European Reform, a London-based think tank, has closely studied the diplomatic and military lessons of Kosovo.
"On paper, Europeans should like Clark. But there is some hesitation," said Everts. "He pushes all the right buttons on multilateralism and consensus, but when you speak with those who worked closely with him, there is often a different impression."
The most obvious example of that was Clark's insistence that since the United States provided more than 90 percent of the assets in the war, that it alone would select targets and devise strategy.
On paper, if Europeans should like someone then any American should approach that someone with caution. But consider the heroic arrogance of a man who'd think that just because the umpteen NATO nations combined are only contributing ten percent of the effort they shouldn't share full control! Surely, though, Gen. Clark "considered" the NATO inputs. In military terms "considered" carries a definite connotation, and a foregone conclusion.
On the eve of the Kosovo war, he also went up against his superiors in the Pentagon, not to mention President Clinton, by insisting that a ground invasion had to be prepared and completely in place for it to be a credible enough threat to force Milosevic's troops out of Kosovo.
That's a display of common sense, but one that reads like it was scripted by the General's own PR squad. But then there's this catechism:
One incident was revealing. Russia had helped broker the deal for the Serbs to surrender, but then Russia unexpectedly made a move to land its own peacekeepers at the Pristina airport. Clark ordered Britain's commanding officer, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Jackson, to send paratroopers to seize control of the landing strip before the Russians could arrive.
Jackson refused the order, and in a response that has been quoted in numerous accounts and not denied, told Clark, "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you."
Soon after that, Clark was notified that he would be relieved of his NATO command two months early. The move was viewed as a form of disapproval by General Henry H. Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other brass in the Pentagon with whom Clark had found himself at loggerheads. Yet a short time later, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
This Strangelove moment will haunt the General forever, but the Globe apparently has some Clark fans on staff.
The Kosovo campaign was ultimately an air war with virtually no allied casualties. It was carried out with wide international consensus. It had an effective plan for postwar stabilization. And in the end, Milosevic was brought to international justice. The victory made Clark a hero among Kosovar Albanians.
You see? It was everything Iraqi Freedom wasn't.
Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at King's College London, said, "Clark carries a certain amount of baggage among Europeans, but he also has experience. There would be a sense here that we understand this guy."
Yep. So when you enter that voting booth, ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for Europe.
The story, by the way, was in the News section, not the Op/Ed, of the Globe online. Mis-filed, to be sure.
For those of you born yesterday: when was the last time you stood around the water cooler discussing Janet Jackson?
Mad props to the publicity team. In some quarters they upstaged the finest Super Bowl played.
Remember the game? ;)
By the way, expect that ninja-throwing star hood ornament thing to be a hot seller at fine stores everywhere later this week.
Of course, the whole thing was timed to distract from this:
US officials knew in May Iraq possessed no WMD
Leave it to the Guardian. What are they guarding by the way?
Does this signal a long overdue shift in allegiance for some media outlets? Regarding GI's view of media in Iraq, ABC notes that:
They quickly learn not to watch, listen or read. If they do, it often makes them angry or hurt. There's no better example than last month's bank raid in the city of Samarra. A convoy carrying what many believe to be millions of dollars was moving into the center of the city at night. The money was part of several shipments to banks in the area and was guarded by less than two dozen military police. It was attacked from buildings and rooftops on both sides of a narrow road.
The attackers quickly got the advantage on the military police. Bystanders and other Iraqis joined the fight. Soldiers are taught to establish fire superiority. That means let the bullets fly. That's what happened when plan "B", two armored columns, arrived just minutes after it all began. Fifty-four Iraqis were killed. There were no U.S. casualties.
In the following days, the press reported on the indiscriminant shooting of civilians. Soldiers were dumbstruck — "They ambushed us." Maj. Larry Perino was indignant. Although none of his men was involved, he felt the sting.
Many of the soldiers I spoke with were furious. They saw the incident as validation of their training as professional soldiers. "If you are a civilian and it's night during a war and you hear a firefight, what do you do?" Perino asked. "You get out of there." If you don't, he implied, then you're part of the fight.
There's more, and the story ends with a stunning bottom line, considering the source:
Soldiers don't get the news, but, then again, maybe they don't need to.
On the other hand, Americans often don't get the real news, and maybe they need to.
The technology topping the Soviets' wish list was for computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the K.G.B. sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by Farewell, we added what geeks call a "Trojan Horse" to the pirated product.
"The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," writes Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."
Our Norad monitors feared a nuclear detonation, but satellites that would have picked up its electromagnetic pulse were silent. That mystified many in the White House, but "Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry. It took him another twenty years to tell me why."
Farewell stayed secret because the blast in June 1982, estimated at three kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known. Nor was the red-faced K.G.B. about to complain publicly about being tricked by bogus technology. But all the software it had stolen for years was suddenly suspect, which stopped or delayed the work of thousands of worried Russian technicians and scientists.
Hat tip Vodkapundit
Update: Food for thought here.. I'm inclined to agree.
Something for everyone in a speech by new NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, at the National Defense University, Washington D.C., 29 Jan. 2004
Over the past few months and years, some pernicious myths have started to become a little too popular. Myths that are undermining the foundation of our cooperation – trust. And I fully intend to make my voice heard in dispelling them.
The first myth is of a Europe that might rival the US. Let us be clear: such a Europe is politically impossible, militarily unrealistic and financially unaffordable.
The second myth is the flip side of the first: the dangerous illusion that the US can, and should, go it alone when it comes to security. Iraq should demonstrate the impossibility of that approach.
Pushing the US down a unilateralist road serves no one’s interest, least of all America’s.
Diplomacy in action, to be sure. The "unilateralist" myth apparently plays well to the European crowd, but "pushing down the road" is a tenuous acceptance of the fact that the US isn't acting unilaterally, and the "pushing" bit serves to imply Europe exersizes some control of the situation. Thus a face-saving (for some NATO member nations) route to reconciliation is open.
On the other hand, what agenda is served by the implication of failure in Iraq? By what legitimate, realistic standard has "impossibility" been "demonstrated"? Although undesirable, the US can indeed "go it alone". A misconception shared by many around the world is that what America is doing now is its utmost. Waging the war on terror thus far does not require anything near the "total commitment" (ala WWII) that we are capable of.
Speaking of war on terror, note that the Secretary does not:
We have a broad and important agenda to complete together: bringing peace to troubled areas; welcoming new democracies into the NATO family; engaging with Russia, and with Ukraine; building our partnerships with countries across Europe, through the Caucasus, and into Central Asia; strengthening our bridges to countries of North Africa and the Middle East; and building a true and trusting Strategic Partnership with the European Union. We have no more time to brood over past disagreements. As I said when I began, it’s time to get back to business.
I got my eye on him now though. He's on the blogroll.
Desert Storm is looming. Security is tight. Almost all the gates to Yongsan are closed, locked, and blocked with heavy equipment. Hannam Village, where those of us fortunate enough to be serving accompanied tours live, is about three miles from the post.
Those of you familiar with traffic in cities with populations over ten million will know immediately that this means you must allow a half hour for the drive to work.
But the car I drive (like Americans in country) is a Korean Klunker, purchased for about 500 cash American, and hopefully fit to last the brief amount of time I need it in the land of the morning calm. The prayermobile, because every trip involved a certain degree of faith that the car would make it without incident.
And the Mrs. is pregnant. And the hospital is on post, and the gate nearest to the hospital is blocked, so the trip to the hospital could be a nightmare, and this is our third, so labor is not expected to be long.
Appreciate the situation?
The moment comes. Fortunately in the middle of the night, so traffic is surprisingly light. The car cooperates and we make the hospital in no time flat. We're in the delivery room and all systems are go.
And the Super Bowl is on. On a TV in the next room, that I can see if I take about three steps back from the bedside. A great moment for two reasons!
"I'm right here hon." Sheesh, it is our third you know.
And this is the Super Bowl with the Bills and Giants, XXV, the first good Super Bowl ever. Giants 20, Bills 19 in the Super Bowl I never saw. Buffalo missed a potential game winning field goal with seconds to go. The kicker is cursed by many in that town to this day.
Baby was born around halftime. Due to international dateline issues I always tell her she has two birthdays, her birth certificate says the 28th (Super Bowl Monday) but in America it was the 27th. And of course, halftime of the Super Bowl, whenever it is played, is her birthday too.
So baby born, halftime, mom goes to sleep. Dad leaves, goes to Burger King, gets breakfast, and goes to work where all are gathered in the dayroom to watch the game. I had called in earlier to explain why I wouldn't be in. Now with the second half underway I stroll in happy with Burger King Breakfast in bag.
My boss looks at me. I say nothing. "Well?" He says.
"What?" I reply, having decided to have some fun.
"Boy or girl?"
"I don't know. Not born yet but I didn't want to miss any more of the game."
Everyone stares at me a second, then they return to watching the game. Boss with a slow shake of his head. I sit calmly chewing hash browns.
Boss's boss enters room. This is a man with silver eagles on his shoulders.
He's come for the game but sees me. "Well?"
"It's a girl sir."
Boss spins head and shoots me a look that could rip paint from a wall.
Congrats all around. Moments later the phone rings, the Mrs. is awake and would appreciate my return. I miss the rest of the game.
No complaints from me.
I can't believe XIII years have passed.
Happy birthday baby!
Super Bowl Monday is a great time to post this:
This NFL program was initiated by the six NFL owners who served in the military during World War II. It includes TV and radio messages supporting the Intrepid Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Fund plus in-stadium salutes to the military and visits by players to military hospitals.
The six NFL owners who served during World War II are: Bud Adams, Tennessee Titans; Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints; Wellington Mara, New York Giants; Art Modell, Baltimore Ravens; Alex Spanos, San Diego Chargers; and Ralph Wilson, Buffalo Bills.
"Our clubs recognize that the men and women of our armed forces are tremendous NFL fans," said Commissioner Tagliabue. "This program is one small way to re-pay that support to families who lose a loved one in defense of our country in the Middle East. Our owners, coaches and players speak with one voice when it comes to this project."
The campaign cornerstone is a new national TV and radio spot produced by NFL Films that will air during network game telecasts starting this weekend. Narrated by Vietnam veteran and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, the message encourages NFL fans to support the Intrepid Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Fund, which provides an immediate $10,000 gift to families who have paid the ultimate price with the loss of a family member in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, of course. In addition to making the games available worldwide for free viewing by US military the NFL has been an avid supporter (commercial tie in admitted: Anheuser Busch is a big sponsor of NFL broadcasts and Fallen Heroes. Kudos to both organizations) of this worthwhile charity.
And yes, Super Bowl Monday for those of us serving around the world. Big parties long after midnight, with many places basically shut down tomorrow. A lot of those parties will take place in tents and former palaces. (Note to Akbar: go ahead, dumbass, try something. Some folks have to work anyhow, and they're not happy. Killing you would make their day.)
Drawback: we get the game commercial-free. Usually we get to see the commercials the next day via the web though. Ain't technology wonderful?
Hey, let me (and the rest of us in far off places) know the best commercials here in comments, would ya? And a link to any web sites with them. (No product endorsement intended.) I know a lot of folks who'd appreciate the information.
Nothing like a big game and hot coffee. Go team!
And support The Fallen Heroes Fund if you can. (And if you've got a blog you can download my banner link from the sidebar if you'd like.)
Update: New England just scored. In the best commercial I've seen so far Sylvester Stallone told me he appreciates my service, and wants me to always protect classified or sensitive information. Now I'm being reminded that smoking is bad.
Can anyone top that?
SondraK takes out two myths with two shots.
Weapons of mass destruction. Heh. (as they say.)
Heck just read everything. Knowledge is Power.
For some reason the telescreen in the living-room was in an unusual position. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in the end wall, where it could command the whole room, it was in the longer wall, opposite the window. To one side of it there was a shallow alcove in which Winston was now sitting, and which, when the flats were built, had probably been intended to hold bookshelves. By sitting in the alcove, and keeping well back, Winston was able to remain outside the range of the telescreen, so far as sight went. He could be heard, of course, but so long as he stayed in his present position he could not be seen. It was partly the unusual geography of the room that had suggested to him the thing that he was now about to do.
But it had also been suggested by the book that he had just taken out of the drawer. It was a peculiarly beautiful book. Its smooth creamy paper, a little yellowed by age, was of a kind that had not been manufactured for at least forty years past. He could guess, however, that the book was much older than that. He had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy little junk-shop in a slummy quarter of the town (just what quarter he did not now remember) and had been stricken immediately by an overwhelming desire to possess it. Party members were supposed not to go into ordinary shops ('dealing on the free market', it was called), but the rule was not strictly kept, because there were various things, such as shoelaces and razor blades, which it was impossible to get hold of in any other way. He had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipped inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home in his briefcase. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession.
The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp. Winston fitted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had procured one, furtively and with some difficulty, simply because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nib instead of being scratched with an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate everything into the speakwrite which was of course impossible for his present purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote:
April 4th, 1984.
He sat back. A sense of complete helplessness had descended upon him. To begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or two.
For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
Funny, from a Blogosphere perspective, that that book should start that way.
I first read 1984 several years before that date, and had always promised myself I'd re-read it. Now I am, and although I'd forgotten the diary bit, as I read it I find it all too familiar. Is that a result of vivid writing and a reliable memory, or a chilling similarity to recent events?
BlogMadness round two continues. Visit here and you can vote for Mudville or my opponent, who has a fine entry you should definitely read.
For those who take the trouble to vote, I offer these as a reward: insight into another campaign process (warning for explicit lyrics and some huge laughs). But first you must vote, then
Congressional and CIA investigations into the prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons and links to terrorism have found no evidence that CIA analysts colored their judgment because of perceived or actual political pressure from White House officials, according to intelligence officials and congressional officials from both parties.
And of course there's this to consider too.
I actually expressed my opinion on the "failed intel" aspect of the Iraq war buildup in a Democracy Whiskey Sexy? chapter, (although some reading between lines would be in order):
It's the weather and intel part that throws the degree of uncertainty into operations. Those in the know understand this uncertainty is there. Decisions, nonetheless, must be made. This is a responsibility of command, this is "why they get the big bucks". No one anywhere expects a perpetual one-hundred percent accuracy from the weather forecast. It's guidance, and anyone with a vague grasp of chaos theory knows a small part of the things that can go wrong.
The degree of uncertainty vanishes only in hindsight. A weather forecast, like intelligence analysis, is not "bad" before the fact. It is a known best guess. An attempt is made to bridge a chasm of ignorance with as many facts as possible, but rarely if ever, is that bridge complete. Usually a leap of faith is required, and until the leap is actually taken the length of the gap is not known."In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, For then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain
If only that were still true! Because the gap is always there. A timid or cowardly person would never take that leap. A vulture would immediately heap scorn on any heroic failure, but now these same vile cowards would even criticize a successful jumper after the fact. Those who must jump should pity the timid (who may gather their courage and make the jump themselves having seen the example) and simply ignore as best as possible the reprehensible actions of the rest, except as they may influence the decisions of the hesitant. That their poisonous taunts could paralyze a generation or more is unacceptable to any person of true courage. But perhaps among the wise the brave one's example is the best counter to this.
And that is true of every decision made in life. Leaders know when to jump, when to wait, and when to jump even though waiting seems the more attractive course.
Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt said it best."It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
I quoted Solzhenitsyn in a seperate chapter of that story, but this amazingly accurate "intelligence estimate" bears repeating, if only as a "perfect forecast" of our current situation:
"Today's Western society has revealed the inequality between the freedom for good deeds and the freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; thousands of hasty (and irresponsible) critics cling to him at all times; he is constantly rebuffed by parliament and the press. He has to prove his every step is well founded and absolutely flawless. Indeed, an outstanding, truly great person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind does not get any chance to assert himself; dozens of traps will be set for him from the beginning. Thus mediocrity triumphs under the guise of democratic restraints."
Update: More here.
A troubling story from Texas (but note the individual is not a native Texan).
Instapundit has more, (of course), but I find this passage from the AP coverage somewhat puzzling:
"I have no doubt whatsoever that had these men been affiliated with al-Qaida, we would have heard more," said Daniel Levitas, author of the book "The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right." "There is something of a blind spot within the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., when it comes to the violent potential of America's own homegrown version of al-Qaida."
I'm sorry, but who exactly is in charge of publicity? Law enforcement did its part, (albeit with some luck) and unless this was done in a "Secret Patriot Act Police State" manner, doesn't the media decide what we hear, vice the Justice Department in Washington DC?
And while I'm at it, what exactly makes this guy "right wing"?