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I should leave more often. Been away for a few days and all kinds of things have happened in the world of MilBlogs.
First, I'm wondering how much Noonan paid NewsBusters for posting privileges? There goes the neighborhood. Someone should really have a talk with Brent Bozell about this.
Mrs. G adds some commentary to this Dawn Patrol. I miss Mrs. G's commentary!
And finally, I see that we have some new contributors here at MilBlogs. Greyhawk let a lawyer in? At least he's an ARMY lawyer. Can't leave this place for two minutes.....
Seriously, it's good to have the husband home, and good to be blogging again. Excuse me while I hop back over to my place and figure out how to dust off the cobwebs.
If you thought the nasty business in the former Soviet Union was all over, Chirol of Coming Anarchy raises the caution flag and shows why the phenomenon of micro-states (such as the recently independent Montenegro and perhaps soon to be independent Kosovo) could have a very destablizing effect in the world, especially in the "frozen" conflicts of the former Soviet Union.
Despite international focus on Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, the Caucasus is now in danger of being the next disaster zone. The future conflicts will be Abkhazia and S. Ossetia in Georgia and Nagorno-Karbagh in Armenia/Azerbaijan.
Read on, this could be an important area for Russian-US-EU cooperation, something that's increasingly rare these days.
This has been bubbling around in Democratic circles for quite awhile. They know that the military vote put Bush over the top in FL in 2000, and the Democratic Party's "issues" WRT the military did not help them or Senator Kerry in 2004. I like the fact that they are trying and all - but from my perspective they are not helping by their latest effort - if anything they are digging deeper.
An unidentified Democratic staffer in attendance said, “When you get down to it, most military values are really Democratic values,” which received a warm applause from the estimated two dozen fellow staffers in attendance. Mrs. Roth Douquet said she agreed with the statement – but when asked if politicizing military values was dangerous, added, “The military shouldn’t be an institution that belongs to either party.”You just can't treat the military like another voting block like gays, minority X, pro-abortion, pro-Socialized Medicine, etc. - but that is what they seem to be doing. The whole concept to me makes me uncomfortable - not wanting more (D) in the military (dig down to my linked '04 post, I think it is a good idea) - but the way they are going about it. Perhaps it is a chicken or egg thing - but the long term answer for getting more military members to check the box next to the (D) is a long term issue. Let ROTC into your universities. Encourage your children to join. When you get in power, don't treat field grade officers like a dangerous pet or a footman. Don't socialize politically with these people.
With even less MSM fanfare, Karbala,Western Ninewa and Hillah were also handed over to ISF.
It is easier to track which provinces the ISF isn't more than 50% in the lead now -
Muthana - UK Sector
Dhiqar - UK Sector
Basra - UK Sector
Irbil - Peshmerga not technically ISF
Dohuk - Peshmerga not technically ISF
AlAnbar(From Ramadi to the West- 7th IA Division- only Division without units owning battlespace)
Aww, Eddie - you let me down. I thought you had some pictures of Greyhawk and BLACKFIVE .......... oh, nevermind.
I would post something of substance, but blogger is having "issues" right now. Grrrr.
My ancient abode, the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), is getting underway in a short while and the air wing (CAG-5) moved on recently.
Two years after participating in Summer Pulse, for my last deployment we get to play the great aircraft carrier mash up again... this time, we've got the oldest aircraft carrier (Kitty Hawk), the brand new USS Ronald Reagan and my future home for my last year in the Navy, the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Not that any of this matters, as many are STILL fuming about no World Cup games on AFN. This bout of hate and discontent will last until July 9th. Consider the HAWK-5 team of nearly 5,000 has sailors who hail from some 35 odd countries, including traditional soccer powers like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Italy, as well as aspiring greats like Croatia and Ivory Coast. Lukewarm support for America's talented squad is far less about politics than it is about their notorious clunky play. Most folks who truly care about the World Cup also happen to be the hardest working types in the infamous Engineering spaces and on the flight deck.
A little look at life in the Gibraltar garrison under seige (from the Oxford book of Military Anecdotes)
Some of my favorite parts of entry #112 (by an unknown British soldier "S.H." at the seige of Gibraltar in 1727):
March 9th. Came a deserter who reports that while our guns were firing at them an officer pulled off his hat, huzzaed and called God to damn us all, when one of our balls with unerring justice took off the miserable man's head and left him a wretched example of the Divine justice.
April 12th. A recruit who refused to work, carry arms, eat or drink was whipped for the fifth time, after which being asked by the officer he said he was now ready to do his duty.
June 17th. Today two corporals of the Guards boxed over a rail until both expired, but nobody can tell for what reason.
December 9th. Last night a deserter clambered up within a little of Willis's battery and was assisted by a ladder of ropes by our men. When the officers came to examine his face, they found him to have deserted out of the Royal Irish two months ago. Asking the reason of his return, he said he chose to be hanged than continue in the Spanish service, so is to have his choice.
John Noonan's post reminded me of my own grandfather, gone for 30 years now. I mentioned in a comment that I never had the chance to really discuss his experiences in WWI with him. But he did leave behind some letters from the front, and here's an excerpt from one dated November 11, 1918.
The guns are on the q.t. now, thank God for that, and we hope and pray that they do not start again. We were almost blown of the map last night by shell fire but none of us were hurt but believe me we had some narrow escape. Though everything looks good today and we all expect to be home before many months. Unless the war starts up again in full blast, but we do not think it will start again for everything looks to be in our favor at present. The yanks sure have given the Huns a good whipping so I do not think they will be very anxious to start the ball to rolling again. And if they do the thing will not last very long so I hope to be back in the good old U.S.A. with my girl before so very long.I don't need to explain the significance of the date to fellow milbloggers, who will also note that although defeated the Germans continued to pound away with artillery up to the last moment of the negotiated end of hostilities.
Any American in Iraq can relate immediately to that expressed desire for home. Only with the passage of decades does it seem ironic, as a few years later his sons were sent to finish the task.
Over at my place, I assert that Lieutenant Watada is going to find himself in jail - but at least under far more honorable circumstances than John Kerry.
I also am taking bets he moves on to be Janis Karpinski's aide.
C'mon over and poke holes/reinforce my argument at the Castle.
The first division-level transfer of territory from US to Iraqi military control in al Anbar province occured this week (details in extended section).
Obviously a significant step in the ongoing transfer of security to Iraqi units - especially in that al Anbar is the terrorist heartland, and the (per-capita) most violent region of Iraq.
As for media coverage, the transfer itself will largely be ignored. (Though not completely - here for example the LA Times tacks it on as a final paragraph in a story about the discovery of boxes of heads in Baqubah.) But where prior to this any violence in Habbaniyah could be attributed to the failure of the American plan, from this point on any acts of violence will be squarely blamed on the failure of the American plan. In short - don't expect much. Ignoring the fact that no one said the battle was won, each such future report will include remarks to the effect that the US had previously touted this as a success story, rushed to withdraw, pinned their hopes on an ally now proven incompetent/untrained/unworthy, etc. etc...
And don't doubt for a moment the "insurgents" will make their first test of this high-visibility target soon. The stories are written, all they need do is fill in the blanks with total dead, wounded, etc.
IRAQI ARMY TAKES OVER TERRITORY AT CAMP HABBINYAHAll done!
Release Date: 6/6/2006
Release Number: 06-06-06PP
Description: CAMP HABBINYAH, Iraq – The 1st Iraqi Army Division officially assumed control of territory vicinity of Habbaniyah on June 2d. In a ceremony with the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment the 1st IA has taken the lead and will operate in the area.
The Iraqi unit is now responsible for planning and executing their own operations in Habbaniyah, Iraq, located between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.
It was the first division-level transfer of territory in al Anbar province. Four Iraqi brigades and nine Iraqi battalions are also assigned territory in the province.
“This is a very happy day, and we congratulate our great Soldiers,” said Iraqi Brig. Gen. Beha’a Hussein Abed Hassen, deputy commanding general of the 1st IA Division.
The Iraqi unit will continue to work with Coalition military transition teams in the area. MiTT teams are responsible for training and mentoring Iraqi divisions, brigades and battalions with the ultimate goal of transferring complete control to the Iraqi units.
“Working side by side with the Iraqi Army was a great experience for my Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Loris Lepri, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment. “This transfer is another step to a free Iraq.”
Coalition Forces for the time being will still provide the Iraqi division with assets such as medical evacuation and fire support.
In addition to Habbaniyah, the 1st Iraqi Army Division has units in Ramadi, Fallujah and the surrounding communities.
Bubblehead's Staffer's Hard Sayings Log includes what appears to be a staff-modified bit of ancient military wisdom that in it's original form reflects the cunning brilliance of the average GI Joe.
In it's original (impossible to attribute) glory: Deny everything, admit nothing, make counter-accusations, never sign anything.
Staff modified: "Deny everything…Admit nothing…Demand proof…Counter-accuse…”
The beauty of the original is this:
Never sign anything
Staffers everywhere, military and non-, always modify good ideas to make them "their own" hence no good idea ever makes it past the first level of supervision.
Expect the evening news tomorrow night to be filled with stories of a "brave" Army Lieutenant. The actions he'll be lauded for don't fit the traditional definition of bravery, but you'll see pundits far and wide hailing his actions. Here's what he'll be celebrated for: refusing to deploy with his unit to Iraq.
1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada says, through his lawyer, that he cannot "participate in a war that he cannot justify or support legally and morally". Interestingly, he joined the Army after Baghdad fell, so this can't have come as a surprise to him that he might have to go there.
I'll be interested to see if he refuses to go to Leavenworth as well. More on this story over at my home blog.
The political and military strategies now in place talk the right language of unity and counterinsurgency, but this is still mostly Green Zone talk. Marine Capt. Scott A. Cuomo argues in the June edition of Marine Corps Gazette that the U.S. military should make "embedded training teams," living and fighting with the Iraqi security forces, its main effort. He says frankly of his own combat experience in Iraq: "We did very little to truly help indigenous security forces protect the populace from the insurgency."Any thoughts on Capt. Cuomo's idea? This almost sounds like an Iraqi version of the highly successful (in Vietnam) Marine and Green Beret teams that Max Boot wrote about in "The Savage Wars Of Peace."
His 110th, to be precise. And, get this, he's the last remaining survivor of the Battle of Jutland, and a founding(!!!) member of the Royal Air Force.
You guys probably want to know his secret:
Mr Allingham has put the key to his old age down to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women".
Ha, well that explains Keith Richards....
Ah Eddie, you forgot to include what I consider to be one of President Reagan's most inspiring soundbites.
In his speech in Normandy, France on 6 June, 1984, Reagan capped his already moving D-Day tribute with:
"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
From the highly interesting "bottom line" observations of Gen. McCaffrey's visit to Iraq & Kuwait in April.
There is a rapidly growing animosity in our deployed military forces toward the U.S. media. We need to bridge this gap. Armies do not fight wars - countries fight wars. We need to continue talking to the American people through the press. They will be objective in reporting facts if we facilitate their information gathering mission. The country is way too dangerous for the media to operate in any other manner than temporarily imbedded with U.S. or Iraqi security forces. The enormous good will already generated by the superb performance of U.S. combat forces will ebb away if we do not continue to actively engage media at every level.
Try as I might because I want to reward the excellent reporting of folks like John Burns (and until recently, Dana Priest), I can find no acceptable justification for the incessant war on morale most US reporters and editors have waged with the kinds of stories filed on a regular basis that showcased twisted logic, perverse connections and prolific use of false information and enemy propoganda. While the US military is learning from its stumbles in the WOT (with some poor exceptions that will come back to haunt us), and even the USG and State Dept. in particular are reforming, the US media remains wholly and happily out of touch and aloof from reality.
Also, McCaffrey's comments on Iran should give pause to those advocating preemptive strikes against the regime without any careful study of the severe regional security, economic and political consequences.