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When my son deployed, I wrote him a letter in which I told him the following:
I know that our country has a mission in Iraq; I know that the Army and your unit also have their missions… Just don’t confuse those missions with YOUR principle mission – which is to come home safe to us. Your job is to do whatever it takes to accomplish YOUR mission. If it's you or them -- make it them.
Of course, I wasn't suggesting that he engage in illegal activity, just if he thought he was going to be killed, to act first... Of course, you assume that no one is going to be judging soldiers' actions from the offices of Time Magazine and by people who never stood a day in combat. Or by those that are "seasoned" veterans and should know better.
And I wrote about one of my son's buddies who told me while home on R&R in June LAST year:
What was mildly distressing was to hear my Guy tell us all that it's a bit demoralizing trying to fight what he calls "a pc war". He said we are so busy at times trying not to anger or upset the Iraqis that we compromise the task. The example he gave was that when they have good, solid intel that a house has weapons or a "bad guy" we should be kicking in the door and grabbing what we came for (his words). Instead, it has gotten to the point that at times (not always) our soldiers are reduced to almost politely knocking on the door and announcing, "Hello... it's the US and Iraqi Army. May we come in?" while the scurrying inside reaches audible proportions through the door.
It seems that the ROE are getting bastardized by some in the military more worried about their careers than the lives of their men... a complaint we have all heard from many combat theatres before... and I second that "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" response... Wonder what ROE the Iraqis will set for themselves when the Coalition is gone? What worries me even more is how soldiers and marines might hesitate in their response because they fear what the CO or chain of command will say or whether the response is "justified"
Despite media coverage purporting to show that escalating violence in Iraq has the country spiraling out of control, civilian death statistics complied by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, indicate that Iraq actually has a lower civilian violent death rate than Washington, D.C. Appearing with Westwood One radio host Monica Crowley on Saturday, King said that the incessantly negative coverage of the Iraq war prompted him to research the actual death numbers."I began to ask myself the question, if you were a civilian in Iraq, how could you tolerate that level of violence," he said. "What really is the level of violence?"
Easy enough to digest if you've ever been to Southeast.
Just trying to, you know: Lighten things up a little bit.
I can't download it solo - but if you go to FoxNews website and get to their "Today's Features" to Michael Moore's pudgey face and right where it says "Video: Mad Vet" there is a video of and interview by Neil Cavuto of Sgt. Damon.
Complementing the clarity offered by Grim and SMASH, who each posted below earlier today, Mark Davis (Via RealClearPolitics) writes of the Ghosts of Haditha.
Rep. John Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, spent part of his Memorial Day weekend saying that an alleged Iraq war atrocity may hurt America's war effort.
Well, what do you know? Maybe wishes do come true.
As you are about to discover, I have about had it with Mr. Murtha, who likes to flaunt his military record while abandoning the toughness such experience is supposed to bestow.
...of Iraq, from Iraq.
Main complaint? Overly restrictive ROE, too much second guessing from the FOB, etc. I've heard much the same from the wounded guys passing through this part of the world.
This guy's the real deal - not an IVAW phony. But that also means real grunt language used - the overly sensitive should be forewarned.
(Hat tip to Mrs G, who compiles this stuff daily.)
I haven't said anything about this business, precisely because it is so important to let the process work. If there prove to be good reasons for what happened there, these Marines deserve a fair trial and a presumption of innocence -- they deserve it far more than many who get those things every day in our criminal courts. If the worst is true -- which is very far from proven -- men who would do such things do not deserve to have the "out" of claiming that they couldn't get a fair trial, because certain Congressmen (who vote on military appropriations) and other political figures felt they needed to talk a lot about the issue before the trial. Too much talk among such officials could easily open an appeal that would allow the guilty -- if there are guilty -- to escape what would then be a righteous punishment.
Whether guilty or innocent, or guilty but of some lesser offense than the charges being bandied about in the press and by certain Congressmen, it is proper for us to keep our peace.
But, in the runup to the trial, there has begun to appear two unified positions among antiwar and antimilitary thinkers that demand an answer.
SMASH has answered the first -- the idea of collective guilt. Everywhere people are trying to talk about this business, I see people rushing to say that this "proves" that the war is criminal (so naturally bad fruit came of a bad tree) or that the administration is criminal. It proves nothing of the sort. The honor of our military is unquestionable. They would not serve in an evil cause, and if there has been evil done among them, they will correct it.
Events will bear that out.
The second idea is the notion that those of us who won't join in the ready condemnation are trying to find a way to excuse or justify "what happened." The opposite is true, twice: First, because we are simply not sure what did happen, and wish to know for certain before we condemn Marines.
Second, because what we are doing is preparing ourselves to hold our own accountable. Yes, we hope very much that some new evidence comes out that will serve as a defense. We ought to hope for that. These men are like us. They volunteered to serve. They lost friends -- American servicemen -- in our common cause. It is not that we would excuse them if they did commit evil. It is not (as I saw a commenter at Cassandra's "Villanous Company" say today) that we do not care about the Iraqis. It is about brotherhood among Americans and volunteers in her service. Of course we hope for them.
If it comes to it, and the charges are proven, we will support what must be done. Discipline is the soul of the army -- and it protects the souls of her men, and their lives, by restraining the natural wrath that can arise in these hard times.
But we will not, and should not, rush to condemn. We will hope as long as there is reason for hope. And we will not look kindly on those Americans who feel no such sense of brotherhood with our Marines, nor on those who seem so eager for an evil to appear.
I submitted the following comment in response to Swaraaj Chauhan's post on the Haditha incident, "Is it fair to blame the Marines Alone?"
As a veteran, I really don't like where you're going with this.
First, let us acknowledge that there are two official investigations underway, the results of which have not yet been released to the public. If any charges are to come out of this (as appears likely from all the leaked reports), there will be a legal process that must be followed according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There will be Article 32 hearings (the military equivalent of grand jury indictments), after which the accused will be formally charged by a military judge, and face courts martial.
Just like in the civilian world, the accused will have certain rights, including the presumption of innocence. Let us not assume that we know everything, or that the Marines (who have yet to be formally charged) are automatically guilty.
Having said that, if they are eventually declared guilty by a jury of their peers, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. Hundreds of thousands of military personnel (including myself) have served in the Iraq theater since March 2003. Most of us managed to escape with our lives, bodies, and honor intact.
Don't you dare paint us all with the same broad brush. Don't you dare excuse dishonorable and murderous behavior by blaming it on "the system."
We are all adults. We all know the rules of warfare. And we are all accountable for our own actions.
Let justice be done, the innocent be exonerated, and the guilty be punished.
They're already calling Haditha, "the My Lai of Iraq." I won't defend the indefensible, but neither will I stand by quietly while my honor is under attack. We can't allow the alleged crimes of a handful of men stain the reputation of the entire United States Military.
After Riots End, Kabul's Residents Begin To Point FingersThe Associated Press:
KABUL, Afghanistan, May 30 — As they swept up broken glass and boarded up windows and doors on Tuesday, Kabul residents placed blame for Monday's rioting on young hoodlums and criminal gangs who seized on a fatal accident involving an American military convoy to spark a citywide conflagration.
Brakes Blamed For Crash That Triggered Kabul Riots"It" happens.
KABUL, Afghanistan — A road crash that sparked the worst riot in Kabul in years occurred because brakes on a U.S. military truck failed as the vehicle came down a hill, leading it to plow into a line of cars, the military said Tuesday.
Via email, this thesaurus entry for murderer:
Main Entry: murderer
Part of Speech: noun
Synonyms: assassin, butcher, criminal, cutthroat, enforcer, gunman, hit man, homicide, killer, piece pan, slaughterer, slayer, soldier, trigger man
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.2.1)
Copyright © 2006 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
Armed Liberal at Winds of Change links to a recent post by Greg Djerejian of Belgravia Dispatch. AL laments Djerejian’s disappointing evolution from reluctant Iraqi War supporter to harsh critic, as do I. AL follows his critique of Djerejian’s latest comments with a reflection on timetables and the messiness of history.
AL echoes my sentiments. Whenever I (only occasionally) stray back to Belgravia Dispatch, if only to see if Greg Djerejian has regained any optimism. I am always, of late, disappointed. That as reasoned an intellect as his has turned against our purpose causes me no small discomfort; not that I waver in the rightness of our effort, but that the support of rational, middle grounders is essential for us to maintain national resolve, and national commitment.
The politicians who led us into Iraq may not hold the reins of power for long, let alone for the duration of this multi-generational struggle. We shall need friends in the middle, and even in the opposition, for that is where we may be, before long.
I’d like to think that Djerejian reflects an honest disagreement, a considered opposition to the war, at least in how the war has been executed. But Djerejian appears to want to make that impossible for those of us in strong support of our effort.
In the piece that AL links to, Djerejian refers to conservative, pro-war bloggers (including almost all of us over at Milblogs, by the way) as “kiddies in the sandbox,” “abject cretins,” “fools,” and “imbeciles.”
Don’t even bother to suggest Djerejian doesn’t mean us. He means precisely us. Bloggers “in the sandbox” or recently returned, who argue that the Insurgency is fundamentally finished.” Or who believe that (most) of the mainstream media reporting from Iraq parrot Al Qaeda press releases, and consider embedding or any form of cooperation with US military as violating their sacred duty to be objective.
More commentary at home.All done!
Don't forget to enter the contest, win the book, and send the message.
Here's what happened to Peter Damon that day at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq:
A helicopter mechanic, he was assigned to inspect for corrosion, cracks, and assorted damage. Army helicopters required scheduled phase maintenance every 250 hours, Damon said, and he and a crew would disassemble each part -- the transmission, blades, landing gear, and more -- then reassemble that component of the aircraft.Bueche was hit by the rim and killed, Damon lost his left hand and most of his right arm.
''For three weeks, we were doing unscheduled maintenance," Damon said. ''We were waiting for a phase."
A UH-60 Black Hawk finally arrived for phase maintenance Oct. 21, 2003.
''A UH-60 has three wheels, two in the front, one in the back," Damon said. ''We put a jack in each point. Me and another kid, Specialist Paul Bueche, were working on the right side of the landing gear, changing the brakes out.
''This is where I don't remember much."
Damon was filling a tire with high-pressure nitrogen, and while inflating the wheel, ''it exploded," he said. ''What actually exploded was the rim. When that blew up, it severed the hose. The nitrogen was spraying around like a wild snake. It was blowing dust everywhere, because there's dust everywhere."
A tragic accident in a combat zone, but not a result of combat. This in no way reflects negatively on Peter Damon, just demonstrates that Moore's use of the man in his propaganda film was fraudulent on multiple levels.
Peter Damon suing Michael Moore to the tune of 85 million?
Good to hear it, and I hope Damon and his lawyers aren't inclined to settle out of court - and I hope the whole thing is televised. With his strong appeal to the same sorts of people that believed Jesse MacBeth, few people have made as much money from the Iraq war as Michael Moore.
It could easily become a class-action suit too. Here's our first report on Peter Damon from back in the summer of 2004 - and it includes links to stories of numerous other GIs who were used by Moore.
And here's a must-read follow-up from last year, that includes a comment left by the man himself. (That being Damon, I wouldn't use that description for Michael Moore.)
In the extended section, some collected quotes from GIs and their families on the topic of the fraudulent filmaker. These facts weren't too widely publicized when they were made known two years ago, as the media was a bit too enthralled by Moore at the time. Maybe the lawsuit will help bring out the real truth.
The family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone was shocked to learn that video footage of the major's Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Maj. Stone was killed in March 2003 by a grenade that officials said was thrown into his tent by Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, who is on trial for murder.
The movie, described by critics as political propaganda during an election year, shows video footage of the funeral and Maj. Stone's fiancee, Tammie Eslinger, kissing her hand and placing it on his coffin.
The family does not know how Mr. Moore obtained the video, and Miss Gallagher said they did not give permission and are considering legal recourse.
The mother of the major labeled Mr. Moore a "maggot that eats off the dead."
A few days after Michael Moore's blockbuster documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 opened in theaters, a friend approached Roy Mitchell with a strange look on his face.
Mitchell, an Army staff sergeant, is a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he is recovering from the loss of his left leg in an explosion in Afghanistan. As the friend approached him that day, he studied Mitchell's face, then told him something that shocked him.
"You're in that 9/11 movie," he said, then added: "Man, it doesn't make you look good."
But he vehemently objects to filmmaker Moore's using them - without his knowledge - in a film he thinks undermines the military's mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he risked his life.
"The way they lead into my spot in the movie insinuates that I'm talking bad about the military," Mitchell said.
Australian artist and filmmaker George Gittoes has objected to American Michael Moore's use of some of his work in the controversial movie Fahrenheit 9/11.
Mr Gittoes said today Mr Moore had incorporated about 17 selections from his own documentary film Soundtrack to War into Fahrenheit 9/11.
They depicted American soldiers and their music in Iraq.
"I was concerned of course for my soldiers because their interviews were taken out of context," Mr Gittoes told the Nine Network.
"There are about 17 scenes from my documentary in his film. I wouldn't go so far as to say he lifted (them). Michael got access to my stuff and assumed that I would be happy for it to be in 9/11. I would actually have been quite happy for it not to be in 9/11."
What I'm going to try to do out here, to show people what its really like, and to get an opposing view point is I'm going to get several of my Iraqi friends that are interpreters for us here, drag them into my room, set up the laptop, show them the movie and film them watch the movie and shoot a short documentary on their thoughts and reactions to Michael Moores biased movie. And maybe get small little interviews with people in my Platoon. Maybe do the same thing. I think I'll call my documentary: FAHRENHEIT 7.62 (7.62 is the caliber of ammunition the AK47 fires) I'll keep you guys posted on how that goes.
-- Milblogger Colby Buzzell, Mosul Iraq, 2004
Of all the issues Moore discusses, the one thing I take issue with is this: Moore claims this movie was made and dedicated to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet I saw very little in the film that put soldiers in a positive light. From what I remember, soldiers were either gleefully discussing the indiscriminate killing they were about to do, boasting about destroying property and killing the enemy, or doubtful that they were having any impact. All of these things were meant to present in a negative light the perceived shallow nature and killer instinct of soldiers. The doubts expressed by the soldiers are felt by all soldier at times, even I, the “PR flack for the US Army” have expressed them here more than once. I have less of a problem with Moore voicing the soldier’s concerns, than using them for his own partisan ends.
-- Milblogger Chris Missik, Iraq, 2004
Precisely, Major John. Just How Spontaneous was the Kabul 'Riot'?
Consider that the Afghani Parliament now wants to prosecute the American drivers for the accident but not the 'spontaneous' rioters who murdered 20 and injured 160. Roggio's e-mail dispatch from Kabul reveals a consensus (his word) among observers there that it was all staged.
Perhaps we should get out of Afghanistan because of this - just as those currently say similarly about Iraq because of Haditha (and before this, WMD, then Abu Gharib, then phosphorus, then...)
Perhaps we should just stop this nonsensical supposed 'War on Terror' and bring them all back home for a big happy BBQ. Perhaps we should return to our skyscraper offices and board our planes, mind our own business and just give peace a chance.
If you’ve seen Fahrenheit 9-11, you may remember Peter Damon. He’s the soldier whose pain Moore used to make a point about supporting wounded veterans. Damon was interviewed by NBC in a military hospital specifically about how well the VA was supporting him and his family; Moore obtained that footage and turned Damon’s words inside-out so that it seemed the wounded soldier was criticizing the Bush administration.
Well. Damon is now suing Michael Moore.
But... but... but doesn't Damon know that Michael Moore is a saint?
Until recently, the British sector of southern Iraq has been relatively quiet. But lately...
Foreign terrorists, led by fighters from Saudi Arabia, are behind an upsurge in attacks against British troops in Basra, military sources said yesterday.
Ninewa appears to be the good news story, 6th in per capita atacks and 5th in total attacks.
McQ has the scoop, from Steve Oatney of AMVETS:
I received a call from a VA employee at the American Lake hospital. He had asked me to "verify" the 214. Now this is the first time I had any knowledge of Mr. MacBeth. I pulled his hard file out and reviewed it. As soon as I saw the DD214 (the fake one) I informed the VA employee that Mr. Macbeth had a fraudulent 214...
And yes, the VA will soon have a Federal Warrant on him and yep, they will prosecute him for fraud.
As far as I'm concerned, as long as what you're beating on is violent criminals, you're welcome to use anything that comes to hand.
This is your book. There are many like it, but this one is yours.
Your book is my best friend. It is their lives. You must master it as they have mastered their lives.
Your book, without them, is useless. Without your book, you are useless. You must read your book true. You must stop spewing more effectively than their enemy who is trying to kill them. They must shoot him before you shoot them. They will …
Your book and yourself know that what counts in this war is not the interviews you fire off, the noise of your burst, nor the smoke you make. You know that it is the hits that count. Who will you hit?
Your book is human, even as you, because it is their lives. Thus, you will learn of them as brothers. You will learn their weaknesses, their strengths, their loyalty, their units, their fear and their courage. You will ever guard them against the ravages of premature judgment and damage as you will ever guard your own legs, your own arms, your own eyes and your own heart against damage. You will keep your book clean and ready. You will become part of each other. You will …
Before God, you shall swear this creed. Your book and these men are the defenders of my country. They are the masters of our enemy. Perhaps one day you will join them. Until then, they are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!!
If anything untoward happened at Haditha, it was at worst a small exception. If anything untoward did not happen at Haditha, it is not an exception to the typical coverage provided by our major hysterical media. In either case, tell it to the Marines who bravely and honorably serve that you don't have the guts and patience to hear the facts, and would rather allow premature ignorance to besmirch their reputation and morale.
Perhaps then consider Mary Katherine Ham's effort.
Judith Klinghoffer of the History News Network will be appearing on CN8 Wednesday night to discuss the issue. She offers publicly her talking points and says "I would be grateful for any additional help." Take her up on it, gentlemen. Now. Click her name at the top of her page and oblige her with an insightful e-mail to help her. Dr. Klinghoffer is as good a person as you will meet, and one who I happen to owe a cup of coffee to.
Today I attended the traditional Memorial Day Observance in our town.
The 2006 Memorial Day service honored 22-year-old Sgt. Kenneth Schall who was killed in Iraq in May 2005 and buried on Memorial Day last year.
Terri said people often asked her if she thought we should be in Iraq. (I’m wondering how you ask a mother in not so many words -- so do you think your son died for “nothing”?). She told us that Kenny believed in the mission, in the good he was doing, in the hope he brought to the Iraqi people… how he had told her that he felt he had helped bring freedom to these people. She said that if anyone wanted proof of the commitment to the mission in Iraq, you only needed to look at her son: he had left his family, friends and home -- everything he loved and cherished -- to go to Iraq and Kenny’s commitment could never be wrong. She was honored to be his mother.
Of course, from the moment she began speaking, tears filled my eyes and quickly spilled down my cheeks. It was hard to control the sobs when she told us that the last time she had spoken to her son was on Mother’s Day 2005 and how he had told her he loved her and she had told him that she loved him, too, and that she was so proud of him. The Vietnam vet next to me that I met just minutes before borrowed a tissue, and we stood arm in arm as Mrs. Schall spoke. I watched Kenny’s father, sister Jessica and brother Matthew, aunts, uncles and cousins weep as Terri thanked them and the military community for their support this past year.
More, with pictures... HERE
I always preferred a 24" baseball bat. Beats a knife ever time. (As well as the idiot dumb enough to flash a knife)
Longtime readers of Grim's Hall know it's always been my assertion that a knife is better than a gun at that range. It's amazing how few people believe it: I think it's just that people have, certain honorable exceptions aside, lost the art. That's too bad, because it's as American an art as can be imagined. We talk about knives and knife-fighting just from time to time; I have a set of links for "gunfighting and bladework."
I think I'm going to open a school to teach knife-fighting, and a few other things. I'll call it, "Grim Bowie's Academy for American Gentlemen."