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...and no, I am not talking about the
"Sir, you can't leave the aircraft except by the bus." "But it isn't here, and the terminal is only 50 yards over there and I need to make a phone call."No, no, no. This is better than trying to find the non-red line on the deck at night in a snow storm so some AirFarce guy won't pull a gun on you..
The Air Force plans to cut 30 generals from its rolls as part of a new force-shaping plan, according to the service’s top civilian leader.Of all the empty piers and the lack of shadows on the deck – I have yet to see the number Flags go anywhere. There is a downside of this for the AirFarce; who is going to measure the depth of the grass on base housing?
“We are cutting the force from top to bottom, in fact, leading with 30 general officers,” Wynne said. “The officer field and the enlisted field are imbalanced, so it is a working process to make sure that we have force balance across the spectrum.”
“We’re going to operate more efficiently,” he said.
A nation at war must either be better at propaganda than their enemy or ignore the media and win the battles on the ground. In either event, it's no place for half measures. See here:
The Israelis are losing this war because their government is fighting indecisively on one battlefield and not at all on the other. Because the Israelis aren't fighting the media war, the press is slashing at the Israelis hourly in a manner previously reserved for President Bush. Like the president, the Israelis are losing politically because the enemy is fully engaged on both fronts.Hezbollah is playing the media like a fine instrument, and despite Israel's post-event explanations, videos of dead babies trump videos of rockets being launched from the building housing the children.
In a weird way, one of the factors that hurts Israel is that its people are protected from the unguided rocket attacks by their civil defense preparation- bomb shelters and safe rooms, anti-missile defenses. If Israel had lost 50 kids when a rocket had hit a school early in this skirmish, the world might be more sympathetic to Israel. But....when the rule is "if it bleeds, it leads" then the reprehensible tactics of Hezbollah in using human shields work.
Pictures are better than a thousand word babble. Video will gain you 2,000. Last night I had a very hard time explaining to a civilian friend why Israel is bombing in residential areas, and will continue to. With some people, Israel can do nothing right, then again; Israeli Derangement Syndrome has been around longer than Bush Derangement Syndrome. For some video, new video, of what Israel is going up against, I have two here.
I met Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy on Friday, outside Walter Reed.
A report and some speculation here.
Thoughts by submariners?
How did Cindy Sheehan acquire her new property in Crawford, Texas?
On the Gold Star Families For Peace website, Sheehan explained how Central Texas had grown on her. She now wants a permanent place where she and fellow protestors can go to demonstrate against President Bush.
Peace Supporter, Gerry Fonseca, says he purchased the 5-acre parcel, which cost more than $52,000. It was bought with the money frome [sic] her son, Casey's, life insurance policy.
"I doubt they would have sold her the property if she tried to buy it herself," said Foncseca.
"I feel deceived," said Celia Ramsey, who sold the land to Cindy Sheehan through a third party. She talked to News Channel 25 exclusively on the matter. "I would have never sold it to Sheehan. Nobody wants them here."
The Ramsey's claim Fonseca told them he was an evacuee from Hurricane Katrina.
As is always the case with this crowd, the ends justify the means.
Terence Mann: I'm going to beat you with a crowbar until you leave.
Ray Kinsella: You can't do that.
Terence Mann: There are rules here? No, there are no rules here. [advances with crowbar]
Ray Kinsella: You're a pacifist!
Terence Mann: [stops] Shit.
[from Field of Dreams (1989)]
Has anyone else noticed that we seem to be the only ones that play by the rules any more?
Just ranting (again)... at Some Soldier's Mom
That's the percentage of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines this Washington Post smear job represents. They could have run a profile from any one of the incredible 2.4 million men and women of our Armed Forces, but they don't. No, those folks aren't worth the ink and space; they don't fit the script. Instead, it's the obligatory "military turns troubled youth into murderer and rapist" schtick.
Best of all, they get a former Stars and Stripes writer to do their dirty work. As every conservative writer knows, the easiest way to get a byline with these guys is to sell your soul to the MSM devil by writing copy that allows them to say, "See, it's not us saying it. Even conservatives feel this way..."
So they get this former military newspaper writer to pull the trigger for them by running a lengthy profile of .000000416 of the U.S. military chock full of eye-popping quotes from an obviously troubled individual in order to trash the other 2,399,999 members who serve with distinction. The writer walks away with a WaPo clip to add to his resume, WaPo scores a direct hit against the military with no fingerprints on the weapon, and the anti-military forces (Murtha et.al.) get anecdotal talking points grist for the MSM mill ("Yeah, Anderson, you're right. I mean, just the other day the WaPo featured a story about a raping murdering service member written by a former Stars & Stripes writer....")
It's loathsome, but that's the way the big boys play the game.
USS Benewah (APB-35), a Sunday Ship History salute here.
231 years and counting.
General George Washington founded the U.S. Army JAG Corps on July 29th, 1775. Since then, the JAG Corps has played a key role in the events that shape our nation and our world while becoming one of our country's largest law firms, with more than 3,400 full- and part-time Attorneys. With such a rich history, it is no surprise that Army JAG Corps Attorneys have been prosecuting the "trials of the century" for centuries.
Between 1802 and 1849 the Judge Advocate position was suspended, but since reinstatement, the JAG Corps has continually grown in size and in the scope of its expertise and support. Arguably, the most fundamental achievement of the modern JAG Corps is the creation of the Uniform Military Code of Justice (UCMJ, 1951), which applies one consistent code of conduct across the entire U.S. military while providing important judicial safeguards.
The JAG Corps upholds the basic rules of conduct for our Soldiers—and also upholds the rule of law in the most important international cases. Judge Advocates made an example of the treacherous General Benedict Arnold; prosecuted Lincoln's Assassin; probed Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn; delivered justice for Nazi crimes at Nuremburg; and helped end the disastrous ethnic warfare in Bosnia by drafting the Dayton Peace Accord.
Military operations large and small have driven JAG Corps growth while continually presenting new challenges, roles and responsibilities. There were 15 Judge Advocate Officers during the Revolutionary War, and today, there are more than 3,400. Moving beyond the confines of internal military justice, Judge Advocates created the legal framework for the rebirth of Europe after World War II and helped to rebuild and heal a nation after the Bosnian War.
Sometimes the enemy isn't an armed opponent: it can be a force of nature, or the face of chaos. The JAG Corps has been actively involved in humanitarian aid, disaster relief, nation building and peace operations. In 1995, JAG Corps Attorneys helped to create a new Bosnian nation From the 1960s through the ‘90s, the JAG Corps undertook humanitarian and disaster relief missions from the Dominican Republic to Samoa to Central America.
...and many more.All done!
ok, Capt B and Taco... You guys have anything to do with this?? (Yes, you did!)
This September, Senator John McCain's youngest son, Jimmy, 18, will report to a U.S. Marine Corps depot near Camp Pendleton in San Diego. After three months of boot camp and a month of specialized training, he will be ready to deploy. Depending on the unit he joins, he could be in Iraq as early as this time next year, and his chances of seeing combat at some point are high. Of the 178,000 active-duty Marines in the world, some 80,000 have seen a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, and there are 25,000 bearing the brunt of some of the worst fighting in Iraq now. About 6,000 Marines have been wounded there, and about 650 have been killed. "I'm obviously very proud of my son," says the elder McCain, "but also understandably a little nervous."
McCain says he doesn't read much into Jimmy's decision. "I know that he's aware of his family's service background," he says, "but I think the main motivator was, he had friends who were in the Marine Corps, and he'd known Marines, and he'd read about them, and he just wanted to join up."
Couldn't agree more with Senator McCain here:
McCain says his son's service won't change his position on the war; he claims it won't even affect how he feels about it. "Like every parent who has a son or daughter serving that way, you will have great concern, but you'll also have great pride," McCain says.
Like his father before the Senator, I wouldn't want to be him...
But it will be hard to ignore. If Republicans retain control of the Senate after November's midterm elections, McCain is due to ascend to the chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee in January, a position he has long aimed for. There he will have day-to-day responsibility for the oversight of the war.
Oorah, James. Oorah. (and keep in mind that McCain has a 20 yr old son about to start his 2nd year at the Naval Academy...)
Read the whole TIME Mag story HERE
No wonder Ahmadinejad is taking so long to reject the nuke proposal ... He's busy in the "reading room"...
Iranian Leader: 'Pizza' to Be Called 'Elastic Loaves' in Foreign Word Ban Saturday, July 29, 2006
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.
The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Koran is written in Arabic.
Among other changes, a "chat" will become a "short talk" and a "cabin" will be renamed a "small room," according to official Web site of the academy.
The headline reads: Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist. As with most of these stories that make it into the news, the charge is that the soldier was "outed" by "anonymous sources" and it was these anonymous sources that formed the basis of his discharge.
Andrew Stuttaford of NRO opines that this is part of a "Sept 10th mentality" on the part of the Army.
Yet again, the policy on homosexuals in the military is reported on by those who haven't read it.
I write as one who is constantly briefing commanders on the policy (mostly in the context of trainees that think they can just say "I'm gay" and get out--sorry bucko).
As an initial matter, while the soldier was an Arab linguist, that was not his assignment at the time. He was assigned to the All-America Chorus (i.e. a singer), which is part of the 82nd Airborne Division but with a decidedly different mission.
So unless we're fighting the enemy with show-tunes, discharging this soldier is not part of some "Sept 10" mentality. Were the soldier actually working as an Arabic linguist at the time, perhaps you could make that argument. But as he wasn't, you can't.
For reference, here is the Army policy on homosexual conduct and the procedures by which allegations are investigated and substantiated:
The story contains several errors, the first being a fundamental misunderstanding of the Army policy:
(1) The policy does not discharge you for being homosexual. The policy mandates discharge for "homosexual conduct." Such conduct is defined as a statement ("I am gay"), act, or marriage. Statements of others that a soldier is gay doesn't count. Nor do rumor, opinion, or mere suspicion qualify as homosexual conduct.
You don't have to affirmatively state that you are homosexual to be discharged. But you do have to engage in homosexual conduct. You could be as gay as can be, but provided you don't actually act on it, you cannot be discharged under the policy. Additionally, you could have engaged in all sorts of homosexual conduct BEFORE joining the Army--the policy is only concerned with conduct occuring while you're in the Army. So statements like "I had lots of boyfriends before joining the Army" would not be grounds for discharge under the policy if there's no evidence that the soldier did anything while on Active Duty.
(2) The story also claims he was "outed" by several anonymous emails. There's a problem, anonymous sources are not a credible basis for discharge. Before an investigation can commence, there must be "credible information" that the soldier engaged in "homosexual conduct."
(a) Credible information is information coming from a credible source. For instance, a soldier goes up to his platoon SGT and says "I am gay"--the SGT goes to his company commander and reports what the soldier said. The Commander must determine first if the information (that the soldier made the statement) is coming from a credible source. (I.E. does he believe his SGT's story?) If so, then he can begin an investigation.
The problem with this story is that anonymous emails is not "credible information" as defined. The policy is specific on that point. So the fact that this soldier was discharged did NOT come from "anonymous emails"-- it came from the soldier's own sworn statement (i.e. under oath).
(3) Finally, the story claims that the soldier never admitted to anything, but his discharge was based on his own sworn statement:
Lt. Col. James Zellmer, Copas' commanding officer in the 313th military intelligence battalion, told the AP that "the evidence clearly indicated that Sgt. Copas had engaged in homosexual acts." While investigators were never able to determine who the accuser was, "in the end, the nature and the volume of the evidence and Sgt. Copas's own sworn statement led me to discharge him," Zellmer said.
Presumably when asked "did you engage in this specific conduct?" the soldier responded in the affirmative--or at least, provided enough of an affirmative response (as he refused to answer some questions)-- such that the recommendation for discharge was legally sufficient. (this story from a gay paper lays out some more "curious" details of the investigation: including the allegation by the soldier that he was "lured" into a chatroom where supposedly "Ft. Bragg officials" tried to get him to admit he was gay -- sure, why not not like your average 15-6 investigator has anything better to do...)
I understand objections to the policy (even if I don't agree with those objections)--but the policy is clear and far more protective of homosexual soldiers than is commonly portrayed. Accordingly, stories like this need to be taken with a fair amount of salt.
Tonight (Saturday) and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, CNN will air a special report on the October 23, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 service men and women.
I can tell you firsthand that this event pained Cap to his core; he was never really able to move beyond it.
He always felt that his strong, almost strident, warnings to the President should have somehow been even stronger.
As he wrote in his autobiography, In the Arena:
Our mission would be nebulous at best, with no way to tell when it was completed. Although I made these arguments repeatedly and forcefully, the president, unfortunately, concluded otherwise....I have never overcome the feeling that I somehow should have been more persuasive in urging the president not to engage in such a failed policy. The whole episode ingrained even more deeply in me the conviction that we should never commit troops into situations where the goals we give them are not clear and where the equipment we give them is not sufficient at least for self-defense.
As President Reagan later wrote in his autobiography, An American Life, "Every day since the death of those boys, I have prayed for them and their loved ones."
Then as now, sage counsel from both men.
This is a sad story. Good to remember that when it is all said and done, that guy that seems to win it all, have it all, and everything he touches turns to gold - in the end - just may want to trade places with you. What a loss for his kids, family and nation.
Now that the 172nd SBCT has been held in Iraq(Not the 10th or 101st) could the Grand Planners at the Pentagon finally admit that up-armoring Humvees is penny wise and pound foolish, and just spend the extra money for Strykers?
Excellent report on seaborne threats to Israel by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Video here.
SEATTLE, July 28 (Reuters) - A woman was killed and five other women were wounded on Friday when a gunman opened fire at a Jewish organization in downtown Seattle that last weekend organized a rally in support of Israel.
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Vice President Amy Wasser-Simpson told the Seattle Times in a story on its Web site that a man got through security at the building and shouted, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.
I'm starting to get frustrated with these clowns. Maybe we are just being too nice. Maybe the ROE in Iraq should be everytime an IED goes off withing 100 yards of a US Soldier, a Sunnie and Shiite Mosque is leveled. Everytime some Muslim angry at America hurts an American citizen, we drop a daisy cutter on Syria and Iran.
I wonder how co-operative Assad and that loon in Iran would get if we dropped some daisy cutters into the palace pool.All done!
A tae kwon do match instead of a soccer game has broken out down under:
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will today investigate ugly scenes involving North Korean players after they lost their Women's Asian Cup semi-final in Adelaide last night. Trouble erupted deep in stoppage time when North Korean players thought they had equalised against China but the goal was disallowed for an off-side infringement.
Play continued but at the final whistle, and as the Chinese started to celebrate their 1-0 win, frustrations among the North Koreans boiled over with four or five surrounding Italian referee Anna De Toni and one appearing to push her. Television footage also showed a player seemingly aiming a kick which missed De Toni as she and her assistants were escorted from the ground by security guards. Korean players were also seen throwing plastic bottles which had been thrown onto the ground.
You can check out the video of the fight by clicking here. Well I guess I would be upset too, if losing meant the possibility of being entered into a forced labor camp.
Wretchard of The Belmont Club speculates on what how the current fight in Lebanon came out, Israel’s information operation and what may be the deception plan at its core, and similar fascinating insights. His initial post here, and a postscript http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/07/postscript-to-pulp-fiction.html.
Here’s a taste, but go read the whole thing:
From this observation I'm going to say that despite the received wisdom of the newspapers to the contrary, the fighting at Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil have been and continue to be an unmitigated defeat for the Hezbollah. The Hezbollah are doing the single most stupid thing imaginable for a guerilla organization. They are fighting to keep territory. Oh, I know that this will be justified in terms of "inflicting casualties" on the Israelis. But the Hez are probably losing 10 for every Israeli lost. A bad bargain for Israel you say? No. A bad bargain for Hezbollah to trade their terrorist elite for highly trained but nevertheless conventional infantry. Guerillas should trade 1 for 10, not 10 for 1.Wretchard makes many more fine points, but go read his initial post here, and a postscript here.
Reduced to its essentials, the IDF strategy may be ridiculously simple: fix the Hezbollah force in Southern Lebanon while detaching its command structure from the field by simultaneously striking Beirut. One of the great mysteries, upon which newpaper accounts shed no light, is why the IDF should so furiously pulverize Hezbollah's enclaves in southern Beirut, blockade the port and disable the airport. The object isn't to shut down Lebanon. It is to momentarily disorient the Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut, so that in a moment of absentmindedness, the Hezbollah forces in Southern Lebanon will do what comes most naturally: commit themselves against the IDF.
I'll be the guest of Pundit Review Radio --WRKO Boston--, this sunday at 9:20pm EST.
I'll be on right after Blackfive, who is an impossibly tough act to follow.
You can listen live here.
My article on academics vs. ROTC is up at National Review.
WESTERN AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq - Coalition Forces struck a blow to the insurgency recently, capturing 21 insurgents during a counterinsurgency operation in southwestern Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
The July 18 operation, a combined effort between U.S. Navy SEALs and Marines between the cities of Ramadi and Rutbah in Al Anbar Province, led to the most detainees netted by U.S. forces in this region since March, Marine leaders here say.
The operation took place near a gas station located between the two cities – a slab of desert sprinkled with a few small villages, connected by one of the province’s few major roads.
Marine leaders with the Twenty-nine Palms, Calif.-based 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, the U.S. military unit assigned to provide security to this region of Iraq, say the capture is a blow to the insurgency’s supply chain.
“Most of the guys we nabbed are enablers – they hijack goods to provide for the terrorists operating in Ramadi and Hit,” said 2nd Lt. Court Rape, a 24-year-old platoon commander with the battalion’s Company D, which spearheaded the recent counterinsurgency operation. “All of them are known terrorists. Two are very substantial targets linked to executions of truck drivers.”
Ralph has turned the nob to 11 again, and came up with one of the worse Courses of Action I have seen in print by a sober person.
We should be drawing up contingency plans to move a reinforced division and adequate airpower to the Kurdish provinces in the north, to withdraw the remainder of our forces to the south, and then to let Iraq's Sunni Arabs and Shias go at it.I like his COA 1 better; but all he did was ruin by breakfast.
I've had a tough "technical" evening. For starters, I published the post below instead of saving a working draft, so you may have seen the draft version. Good thing Mrs. G is otherwise occupied, or she would be assigning push-ups. Yikes. I'll try not to embarass the milblog family in the future.
So, to lighten things up a bit.... Yesterday, I stumbled across the blog of a soldier who is about to finish his tour of duty in Iraq. He lists a few things he's going to miss about the place. Being an Army wife, this one caught my eye:
Knowing that if the (bleep) hit the fan, every US Army soldier and Marine here would protect every Air Force and Navy schmuck.
Admit it - you laughed. But come to think of it, now I'm in jeopardy of being assigned push-ups by Greyhawk, being Air Force and all. I think I'll just get off of the computer now. I've done enough damage this evening...
1:09 a.m. - Challenges continue. While trying to update the post that originally appeared below, I wiped out most of the extended entry portion. I will reconstruct and republish, if my password isn't yanked. For now, I really am leaving the computer...
Ain't she sweet? First picture of the Rodgers from dockside this century...
.... I think Mama Sheehan qualifies as a stalker.
1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Regimental Combat Team 2, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Regimental Combat Team 6, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia has been placed in a prepare-to-deploy status for possible deployment later this year.
extend the deployment of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team operating in Iraq for up to 120 additional days
III Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas
II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas
2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska
2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo
Division Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
13th Corps Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas
1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard
2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany
3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash
3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y
However, Claudia Rosett should earn an award for her complete and utter dissassembling of the UN's pathetic leadership right here. Hammer time on Kofi, Jan "Stingy" Egeland, and others of the self-important set that has overseen scandal after scandal (as in Oil for Food - the reportage of the corruption of which should have earned Ms. Rosett every journalism award) and other instances of corruption (Congo rape and UN pederasts) and, yet, presume to pass judgment on others.
Totten is a singularly insightful commentator into the Middle East, and a brave and dedicated journalist as well. He was an early observer and advocate for the Lebanese Spring, the emergence of nascent democracy even as Syrian occupiers were hounded out. He is greatly dismayed by current events, and had refrained from public comment other than a few bleak and angry comments about Israel and the tragedy this represents for the Lebanese people.
They have grown dear to Totten, and I think he needed the distance and space of time that a prescheduled commitment gave him, to refrain from blogging at his site. He breaks that silence with this very pessimistic piece, an assessment as accurate as it is dark:
Disarming Hezbollah through persuasion and consensus was not possible in the first year of Lebanon’s independence. Disarming Hezbollah by force wasn’t possible either. The Lebanese people have been called irresponsible and cowardly by some of their friends in America for refusing to resume the civil war. Unlike Hezbollah, though, most Lebanese know better than to start unwinnable wars. This is wisdom, not cowardice, and it's sadly rare in the Arab world now. They are being punished entirely too much for what they have done and for what they can't do.This speaks a greater truth, not just for the Middle East, but for all of civilization. To realize any of the fruits of Democracy, people need to first be free in their physical safety and security. The freedom to die or be taken into captivity is no freedom at all.
Israel and Lebanon (especially Lebanon) will continue to burn as long as Hezbollah exists as a terror miltia freed from the leash of the state. The punishment for taking on Hezbollah is war. The punishment for not taking on Hezbollah is war. Lebanese were doomed to suffer war no matter what. Their liberal democratic project could not withstand the threat from within and the assaults from the east, and it could not stave off another assault from the south. War, as it turned out, was inevitable even if the actual shape of it wasn’t. Peace was not in the cards for Lebanon. Its democracy turned out to be neither a strength nor a weakness. It was irrelevant.
First things first, after all. If the strongman and the gunman and the executioner are allowed “free” reign, no other freedoms have any real meaning. This is the poverty of options that Michael so laments for the Lebanese.
In the end, the very principles of Democracy and Freedom remain irrelevant in the face of terrorist violence and brutal aggression. That is why we fight. (Reason #99)
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
Real Clear Politics published a translated text of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s remarks before Congress Wednesday, July 26th.
The speech is terrific, as several have said, as good as or even better than US Presidential speeches, and far beyond anything the war’s opponents have been able to muster. He knows who the enemy is, and knows that same enemy attacked America on 9/11, and Iraq since its liberation from the brutality of Saddam Hussein.
PM Maliki sounds like a man of deep religious convictions, and stands as proof that one can be a committed Muslim and still honor and desire freedom and democratic principles. He and his fellow free Iraqis risk their very lives on that premise.
GHARMAH, Iraq (July 27, 2006) -- The search for Army Sgt. Keith M. Maupin continued in Regimental Combat Team 5’s area of operations recently.
A team of Marines, U.S. Army and British soldiers fanned out across several sites to search for the remains of the soldier missing for more than two years. The team searched in two separate locations in this town north of Fallujah. Marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment assisted in the search.
FUHUYLAT, Iraq (July 24, 2006) -- Marines from 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment rescued three hostages and uncovered a large weapons cache, including a fully-assembled suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, during Operation Spotlight.
The intelligence-driven operation was conducted alongside Iraqi Army soldiers from 2nd and 4th Brigades, 1st Iraqi Army Division recently. The three hostages were personal assistants of Dr. Rafa Hayid Chiad Al-Isawi, an Iraqi government official in Baghdad. They were held by al-Qaeda insurgents for 27 days.
“We are extremely pleased we were able to recover these Iraqi citizens,” said Col. Larry D. Nicholson, Regimental Combat Team 5’s commanding officer. “The safety of Iraqi citizens to move freely about their own country without fear is a priority for U.S and Iraqi forces and we will continue to assist the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in ensuring their citizens have a future that is free of terrorism.”
The hostages were beaten with electrical cords by their captors, as well as bitten and threatened with their lives at gunpoint. They were treated by Coalition Forces medical personnel.
The three were taken hostage by insurgents west of Zaidon, a rural area south of Fallujah.
Also recovered nearby was a significant weapons cache, including a fully-assembled suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Marines also recovered IEDs and IED-making material, mortar tubes and round, artillery rounds, machine guns, bulk explosives, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, small-arms ammunition and video cameras.All done!
Along the same lines as Lex below (great, or at least satisfactory Navy minds think alike) The China Option for Lebanon is being discussed a lot here and there. You know things are bad when people, including myself, who should know better, start to think about it. Executive Summary: Bad idea.
The official DoD directive governing active duty participation in political activities can be found here. Note that these restrictions explicitly do not apply to retired, guard, or reserves, except when they are recalled to active duty.
Note also that this instruction was updated in 2004, and clarifies some issues that were previously considered "gray area," such as displaying of partisan bumper stickers on POVs (allowed), and calling in to radio or TV talk shows to advocate for or against a partisan candidate or cause (prohibited).
Of specific interest is Enclosure 3, which gives examples of permissible and prohibited activities:
EXAMPLES AND ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
This enclosure provides examples of permissible and prohibited political activities and other requirements for implementing this Directive.
E3.2. EXAMPLES OF PERMISSIBLE POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
A member on active duty may:
E3.2.1. Register, vote, and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces.
E3.2.2. Promote and encourage other military members to exercise their voting franchise, if such promotion does not constitute an attempt to influence or interfere with the outcome of an election.
E3.2.3. Join a political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform. See Directive 1334.1 (reference (f)).
E3.2.4. Serve as an election official, if such service is not as a representative of a partisan political party, does not interfere with military duties, is performed when not in uniform, and has the prior approval of the Secretary concerned or the Secretary's designee.
E3.2.5. Sign a petition for specific legislative action or a petition to place a candidate's name on an official election ballot, if the signing does not obligate the member to engage in partisan political activity and is done as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Armed Forces.
E3.2.6. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper expressing the member's personal views on public issues or political candidates, if such action is not part of an organized letter-writing campaign or a solicitation of votes for or against a political party or partisan political cause or candidate.
E3.2.7. Make monetary contributions to a political organization, party, or committee favoring a particular candidate or slate of candidates, subject to the limitations under 2 U.S.C. 441a, 18 U.S.C. 607 (references (g) and (h)), and other applicable law.
E3.2.8. Display a political sticker on the member's private vehicle.
E3.2.9. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform.
E3.3. EXAMPLES OF PROHIBITED POLITICAL ACTIVITIESAll done!
In accordance with the statutory restrictions in 10 U.S.C. 973(b) (reference (b)) and references (g) and (h), and the policies established in section 4., above, of this Directive, a member on active duty shall not:
E3.3.1. Use official authority or influence to: interfere with an election, affect the course or outcome of an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or require or solicit political contributions from others.
E3.3.2. Be a candidate for civil office in Federal, State, or local government, except as authorized in paragraph 4.2., above, of this Directive, or engage in public or organized soliciting of others to become partisan candidates for nomination or election to civil office.
E3.3.3. Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions (except as a spectator when not in uniform), or make public speeches in the course thereof.
E3.3.4. Make a contribution to another member of the Armed Forces or a civilian officer or employee of the United States for the purpose of promoting a political objective or cause, including a political campaign.
E3.3.5. Solicit or receive a contribution from another member of the Armed Forces or a civilian officer or employee of the United States for the purpose of promoting a political objective or cause, including a political campaign.
E3.3.6. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
E3.3.7. Serve in any official capacity or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club.
E3.3.8. Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
E3.3.9. Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against of a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
E3.3.10. Conduct a political opinion survey under the auspices of a partisan political group or distribute partisan political literature.
E3.3.11. Use contemptuous words against the officeholders described in 10 U.S.C. 888 (reference (b)), or participate in activities proscribed by references (c) and (d).
E3.3.12. Perform clerical or other duties for a partisan political committee during a campaign or on an election day.
E3.3.13. Solicit or otherwise engage in fundraising activities in Federal offices or facilities, including military reservations, for a partisan political cause or candidate.
E3.3.14. March or ride in a partisan political parade.
E3.3.15. Display a large political sign, banner, or poster (as distinguished from a bumper sticker) on the top or side of a private vehicle.
E3.3.16. Participate in any organized effort to provide voters with transportation to the polls if the effort is organized by, or associated with, a partisan political party or candidate.
E3.3.17. Sell tickets for, or otherwise actively promote, political dinners and similar fundraising events.
E3.3.18. Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces.
I think Army Lawyer covered this a while back... and this says AF... I assume it's standard across the services??
The November 2006 elections are fast approaching. Political activity rules are listed in Air Force Instruction 51-902. Violators of this instruction can be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Examples of prohibited activities listed in the instruction include attending a political event in uniform, using official authority to interfere with an election and affect its course or outcome, and using contemptuous words against officials in public office. Military members are allowed to attend political events in civilian clothes but only as a spectator. Speaking publicly at these events is not allowed in or out of uniform. Contact your local legal office for more information about the instruction.
Military.com has an Election Center that has some very good links to Candidate Blogs, Veterans running for office, absentee ballot rules, etc.
Turns out that New York Congressman Owens gave the tickets to Medea "what's the definition of sedition again?" Benjamin.
How about China?
(W)ho has a large enough force, just sort of sitting around, not doing anything? Well…
The Peoples’ Republic of China does. They’ve been spending a lot of money modernizing recently, haven’t really had the chance to practice any of their military doctrine since getting thumped by the PAVN back in 1979 - I don’t count crushing unarmed protesters under tank treads. Furthermore, they’re looking to be taken seriously as players on the world stage, a station worthy of their huge population and growing economic status. Even better, as charter members of the non-aligned movement, they haven’t ever been on anyone’s side but their own and so no one could accuse them of playing favorites. Sure, they’ve taken some heat for repressing their Islamic Uighur minority, but I doubt that many in the Hezbollah rank and file can pronounce Uighur, far less find their “Autonomous Region” on a map, and in any case, a bit of alien culture even-handedness combined with a keep-all-sides-guessing reputation for gloves-off brutality might be just the ticket.
If it all works out for the best, China emerges with a burnished reputation as a serious and mature player on the world stage, and the rest of us will owe her one. Things go quickly south, and who knows, maybe those cross-straits saber-rattlers get a wake up call. Me, I’d like to get a look at their running, shooting and passing game. For reasons of my own.
The Wall Street Journal profiles MilBlogs.
The gals of Code Pink have drawn the ire of some bloggers today.
Michelle Malkin tells us that Medea Benjamin, chief Pinko, disrupted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s speech to a joint session of Congress today. Classy.
SMASH has already posted his encounter with the Pink ladies and their I.V.A.W. buddy.
This morning, I published a post about Code Pink getting smacked down by Walter Reed security.
This group of aging hippies pride themselves on their radical, attention-getting methods. While they do get their fair share of attention, the more the public knows about them, the less harmless they appear, which is one reason I'm going to be keeping my eye on Code Pink, and those who cozy up to them.
See if you can answer this one.
Some concern raised in the WaPo about a "real missile threat" posed by missile-capable merchant ships here:
If a country was serious about wanting to attack the United States with nuclear fire in a manner that would ensure surprise, leave no fingerprints and guarantee success, there's a much easier, better and cheaper way. It's one that could avoid the challenge of smuggling weapons into U.S. ports under the eyes of law enforcement, intelligence, customs officials and the Coast Guard: Put the missile on a ship disguised as a commercial freighter or private craft, sail near American waters and fire.Some background and earlier discussion on this topic here and at the links provided (at no additonal charge) therein.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A Coalition patrol killed seven extremists on July 25 after they attacked Coalition forces in the Garmser District of Helmand Province.
There were no Coalition casualties in the fight. The Coalition unit received small arms, rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and sniper fire from a group of extremists. The Coalition force returned fire, killing five insurgents.
Later in the same area, insurgents fired small arms at an Afghan National Army mortar team, with a Coalition embedded tactical training team attached. The combined unit responded with machine gun fire and killed the remaining two insurgents.
“If enemy extremists fire upon Coalition forces, we will respond with deadly accuracy,” said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force -76 spokesman. “If they attack Afghan civilians, we will respond just as forcefully. We remain committed to engaging any threats to the peaceful future of the Afghan people.”
Afghan National Security forces continue to maintain a strong presence in the area of Garmser and provide security that will enable reconstruction and humanitarian aid projects to be delivered that will improve the lives of the Afghan people.
Deadly accuracy indeed. Good to see the Afghan National Security forces hard at work defending their own.
I just love it when a good plan comes together:
The AP also notes that it is unclear whether the 'punishment committee' yanked off the streets was Sunni or Shi'ite. While clearly an important factor to US & Iraqi troops on the ground fighting the good fight, upon further review, it matters little from this distant perspective. One more down, lots to go. Good news for Iraqi civilians, one way or the other.
You know, maybe it's because he glows in the dark or something, but Bubblehead has some unusual correspondents.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 9981
ESTABLISHING THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON EQUALITY OF TREATMENT AND OPPORTUNITY IN THE ARMED SERVICES
WHEREAS it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:
1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known' as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.All done!
3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the armed services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy hereof.
4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for the use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive order.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
THE WHITE HOUSE,
JULY 26, 1948.
A USS Ronald Reagan sailor has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis. The entire ship's crew, air wing, and anyone embarked at any point during the latest deployment has been ordered to be tested for exposure. So far, the tests have returned a positive result in 34 of 776 cases, or 4.4 percent. The expanded test should net a lower percentage of positives, because it will include many people who had little to no direct contact with the sailor with active TB.
This has happened many times before in the Navy, and protocols are in place to prevent the spread of the disease throughout the crew and into the community. A positive test does not indicate active TB, but that the person is a likely carrier of the bacteria which causes the disease. Carriers of TB are typically not contagious unless they develop full-blown cases. Preventative treatment with heavy doses of antibiotics is highly effective at stopping these carriers from developing active tuberculosis.
Unfortunately, those who take the antibiotics must also abstain from drinking alcohol for the course of the treatment (usually six months) to avoid causing liver damage. That's got to be rough on a sailor just home from six months at sea.
I run across an "Iraq Veteran Against the War" protesting outside the White House.
The results are predictable.
Master Chief Carl Brashear, the African-American Navy diver who was the inspiration for the movie "Men of Honor", passed away Tuesday at age 75. He truly lived life to the fullest, and is an inspiration to all who honor those who strive to excel.
Sailor, Rest Your Oar...
It is becoming more and more obvious that the end may be near for United States Forces Korea:
An Asia specialist with the U.S. Congressional Research Service has presented a report to Congress suggesting the U.S. Defense Department is pushing to change the military command structure as a means to drastically reduce the role of the U.S. Forces Korea. Larry Niksch drew up the 16-page report after North Korea's volley of missile launches earlier this month, saying part of the plans is thought to be putting the U.S. Forces Korea under the U.S. Army First Corps whose headquarter is to move from Washington State to Camp Zama in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo.
That would also mean lowering the rank of the USFK commander and changes in the UN Command in Korea, which have taken orders from a four-star general since the Korean War.
Niksch's analysis could mean that moves to downgrade the military relationship with South Korea reportedly instigated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are well underway. A former high-ranking official in the Bush administration told Grand National Party lawmaker Park Jin last week that Rumsfeld wanted to bring the Korea-U.S. alliance down to a level similar to Washington’s relationships with the Philippines or Thailand.
So what is the Korean President Roh Moo-hyun doing while the US contemplates moving out of Korea? Well bashing America of course!:
“Are any ministers here who say the U.S. made a mistake going to be reprimanded at the National Assembly?” Roh continued. “Are you saying we should suffocate Pyongyang? Do you think that the U.S. is a country without fault? Do you believe that we should always keep quiet when the U.S. makes a mistake?” The president urged ministers to voice their conviction when answering lawmakers at the National Assembly, saying, “Ministers are supposed to speak straight from their own convictions.” The remarks come amid a widening gulf between Korea and its long-term ally over additional sanctions Washington wants to impose on the North. Roh has rarely made a secret of his critical attitude to the U.S., saying during his election campaign in 2002, “I don’t go to the U.S. just to take a picture with the president there” and asking in yet another rhetorical question, “What’s wrong with anti-Americanism?”
"What's wrong with anti-Americanism?" Can you imagine if the American President made a comment such as "What's wrong with being anti-Korea?", what the response would be? President Roh's term in office ends next year and he seems determined to drive a permanent wedge between the US and Korea before leaving office by encouraging anti-American groups, delaying the US camp consolidation on the peninsula, accusing USFK for environmental damage, and denying the US Air Force a training range.
However, the USFK commander B.B. Bell has not been taking President Roh's actions without response unlike former USFK commanders:
The top U.S. military commander on the peninsula said U.S. and South Korean officials hope to have a road map toward independent military commands here completed by October.
U.S. Army Gen. B.B. Bell, who heads the Combined Forces, U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations commands, said he hopes to have a macro-level road map approved at an October security consultative meeting in Washington, D.C.
Asked whether the goal of restructuring implied fewer ground soldiers ¿ or additional Air Force or Navy assets on the peninsula Bell said, Not at all. We're not anywhere near that kind of level of fidelity.
In the Security Forum speech, Bell also stressed the need for a modern air-to-ground training range. He said that lacking such a range in South Korea, he¿d ¿be forced to pursue other approaches¿ to train U.S. crews.
Asked whether other approaches meant moving Air Force crews out of South Korea either temporarily or permanently, Bell declined to provide specifics.
A range requires electronic devices to rate aircrews, Bell said. You're not just looking for a splash of water or a big field of dirt somewhere. You're looking to score the capabilities of these aircrews.
Bell said officials believed they'd have that type of range soon after South Korea closed the Kooni Range Complex in August 2005. He said he thought it appropriate to remind the National Assembly of this and to emphasize how important he considers it.
One thing is for sure, Bell said. We are not going to allow American aircrews to go into a war, or to propose that they can deter a war, unless they're trained and ready.
If I can't get access to an air-to-ground range, I'm going to have to do something.
Basically the writing is on the wall, and by October you might want to start dumping any Hyundai stock you might own.All done!
According to our friendly Wikipedia:
The 10 main troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations as of Februrary 2006 were Bangladesh (10,172), Pakistan (9,630), India (8,996), Jordan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Uruguay, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.Which strong, well-equipped and well-trained military would like to step up to the plate to get in between Israel and Hezbollah?
About 4.5% of the troops and civilian police deployed in UN peacekeeping missions come from the European Union and less than one per cent from the United States (USA). The biggest contributor from a western country is Poland with 707 peacekeepers, in 21st place. The USA ranks 31st with 393 peacekeepers. The EU combined have 4,421 peacekeepers.
Come on, who has 12,000 to15,000 troops ready to put into the field? With tanks, equipment, food, weapons and sustainment goodies?
And who's ready to take anyone who violates the separation zone with violence if necessary?
By the way, the article does note that the U.S. provides 26% of the UN Peacekeeping 2006 budget.
I don't see the Russians, North Korean, Iranians or the Chinese on the Peacekeeper list.
But I could be wrong.
UPDATE: I was wrong. According to the June 2006 stats available here (pdf), China has contributed 1663 Peacekeepers, Russia has contributed 315 Peacekeepers and Iran has contributed 2.
I've posted a map of Iraqi Civilian Casualty Density as provided by MNF-I
IS AN INTERNATIONAL FORCE the solution for Lebanon?
Carter-era CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner has an article in the July Proceedings (not online) asking, "Do We Need Carriers?" - a subject touched upon by this article in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.
Turner argues that other, cheaper ships, equipped with large stocks of computer and satellite-guided missiles, could deliver as much combat power as a carrier without risk to pilots and other airmen.
“All weapons systems have their day and we move on,” Turner said in an interview. He worries that “military people have a tendency to stay with what’s tried, true and proven” without fully studying alternatives, he added.
Totally off the subject of war and whatever else is on the agenda
but this is totally cool, specially for the active military guy. Would like to get one for Christmas but that's too far away, so I've already ordered it.
So riddle me this....
WTF is this Airman doing???
If you guessed "airborne field sobriety test," good try.
Answer plus punch & pie below the fold.
During an evaluation for acrophobia, Airman Basic James Pelletier touches his nose as he performs a test of balance atop a ladder attached to a utility pole at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on Thursday, July 13. Airman Pelletier has been selected for the communications career field, one of six Air Force career fields requiring the evaluation on the fear of heights before continuing to technical school. Airman Pelletier, in his second week of basic training, is assigned to the 322nd Training Squadron.
Sorry, no punch and pie (sucker!).All done!
I'm musing and doing a bit of ranting...
I also sit stunned at the sheer number of missiles and the weaponry available -- via Syria and Iran -- and the COST. I ponder this with respect to Hamas as well, and it compels me to ask: How many hospitals could have been built with the money? How many schools? Roads? Homes? Clinics? How many infant deaths could have been prevented with a Women-Infants-Children’s nutrition and pre‑natal care program? How many businesses could have been started with the money? How many factories and manufacturing facilities could have been built -- places to make things and be the linchpins of a sustainable economy? How many Palestinian or Lebanese youth could have been sent to college? How many could now be teachers? Doctors? Lawyers? Statesmen and diplomats?
The rest over at Some Soldier's Mom
I think it's work safe, but some people may have other opinions.
So, what do Jonah Goldberg, torpedoes, Destroyers, Mexico, and I have in common?
The Armorer goes adventuring!
I'm also shilling for links to the posts documenting the return of the Rodgers. Mr. Ward Brewer, the leader of our merry band, wants this story to be spread by the blogosphere, and is eschewing the MSM (we are bringing a documentary film crew).
If you'd like to be on the distro list for the posts related to this project, drop me a line at johnbethd*at*yahoo.com and I'll add you to the distro. Anyone - not just milbloggers!
I'm also looking for bloggers near Mobile, Alabama who would be able to be there 15-18 August when the Rodgers is expected to arrive. You could score a trip out on the Coast Guard cutter with her former crew members who are going out to meet her when she arrives.
Here's one for the water-borne MILBLOGGERS...
Austin Bay posts some expert military analysis on the recent attack on the Israeli corvette, INS Ahi-Hanit, enlisting Kirk Spencer and Trent Telenko, who’s analysis Bay compiles in this report. Here’s a summary of the discussion.
(UPDATED with earlier Milblog links and correction of reference to "French armaments," based on some ignorance on my part.)
On July 14, 2006, an anti-ship missile fired from Lebanon struck the Israeli SAAR-5 Missile Corvette INS Ahi-Hanit. Reports are mixed as to exactly what kind of missile struck the INS Ahi-Hanit.Initial reports centered in an armed UAV as being the culprit based on Hezbollah propaganda. (snip) Haaretz.com reported another ship, a Cambodian flagged merchantman, was struck and sunk shortly after INS Ahi-Hanit was hit. The merchantman was 60 km from the coast and 44 km down range from the INS Ahi-Hanit and was hit by the missile that missed/was decoyed from the INS Ahi-Hanit. Both Debka and Defense-Update.com are reporting a “High-Low” missile attack was conducted on the INS Ahi-Hanit with the initial C-802 being set for a higher trajectory to draw out the INS Ahi-Hanit’s electronic defenses and chaff while a second sea skimming missile came in behind it and activated its seeker while it was almost on top of the INS Ahi-Hanit.Milblogs covered much of this ground earlier, as Eagle1 points out, here, here, and here.
The difference between the accounts is that Debka says the first C-802 was set for a “pop-up” trajectory and dove into the sea while Defense-Update.com says the second missile was a TV guided Chinese C-701, also known as the Kosar in Iranian service.
The C-802 series missile is clone of the rocket powered French Exocet missile upgraded with a turbojet to give it performance comparable to early marks of the US Navy Harpoon anti-ship missile.
We are of the opinion that the missile strike was indeed “high-low,” as both sites described, but we think it involved two C-802 missiles. The use of missiles of two different types implies two different launchers trucks being coordinated by radio under Israeli UAV and signals intelligence surveillance nets. The simpler and safer operational mode would be a single truck launcher with two C-802’s.We are also in agreement with it being two C-802 missiles, but not necessarily with the same-truck launcher scenario. The reason for the agreement is the damage done to the ship -it was a bit much for a 29kg warhead.
When we see advanced armaments used in the service of terrorists, we can suspect a couple of several possibilities. Either the these weapons have been sold directly to Hezbollah, or Iranian armaments have been made available to Hezbollah, or used on their behalf.
Given the military sophistication of this attack, it is virtually certain that this was conducted by Iranian military personal or technicians. Hezbollah would lack the technical training or expertise with such a weapon system. These are not a terror weapons, after all, but precision guided, anti-ship munitions. Not useful at all at killing innocent civilians.All done!
I need a read here, because from my ‘lil brain – this isn’t kosher.
1. You were a 3-star, but you were fired by your boss and retired before you had enough time in to retire as a 3-star...therefore, you were retired as a 2-star.
2. Problem 1: You are in a Memorial Day Parade in full uniform wearing 3-stars. (see TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART II > CHAPTER 45 § 772(c).
3. At the same time, you are running for the U.S. House of Representatives.
4. Problem 2: You make a speech after the parade, in uniform.
Questions. Is he out of line 0, 1, or 2 ways….or more? Is he unquestionably in violation of one or more USC, walking the line, or safely inside the lines? From here, at the least, it just looks ugly (..and am I out of line asking a retired Flag Officer if he is out of his mind...rhetorically of course).
This time from CBS and The Weekly Standard....
By Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and a former paratrooper, embedded twice in the Sunni Triangle:
I've been over there doing my own war taping and he's right. The movie is a desperately-needed antidote to the mainstream media-produced baloney broadcast daily into our homes that rarely includes anything but (1) bombs exploding in Baghdad; (2) bombs exploding in Baghdad; and above all (3) bombs exploding in Baghdad.
The whole review HERE
and while you're on that page, check out the 2 minute video of Lucien Read discussing his time photographing the Marines entitled, "A Marine's Life in Iraq"
Charlie Moore, a CNN Senior Producer, has a blog entry about a "tour" given to western journalists by Hezbollah... Quite an interesting little story... but no surprise to many who read here at MILBLOGS...
12:50 p.m.: Anderson is doing a few more stand-ups about our story that's quickly become less about Hezbollah and more about their crude propaganda machine when the "family" emerges from the bunker behind us and joins their friends in the street. They're laughing, talking loudly, and gesturing with their hands, mocking anger. I really should learn Arabic. Anderson does another stand-up about the group now standing behind us.
12:55 p.m.: We pile into our van and are now driving out of the Hezbollah-controlled neighborhood. It feels like we've just left a haunted house: Slightly frightening at first, but ridiculous by the end.
You should rad the whole blog entry... HERE
and don't forget to browse the comments left... some are just truly unbelievable...
Andi over at Andi's World has a great little intro (and links) to the DC Freepers taking on Murtha and the moonbat crowd... Buzz on by...
Looks like the "Dear Leader" has new love in his life besides firing missiles:
North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il has taken his former private secretary as his new companion, after his purported former wife died of cancer two years ago, reliable sources said yesterday. The marital status of Mr. Kim, who turned 64 in February, has never been officially confirmed, but it has been widely believed that three women have been treated as his wives. "I heard Mr. Kim has lived with a woman named Kim Ok, who served as his secretary, as Ko Yong-hi died two years ago," said a South Korean government source privy to information on the North's ruling family. "She is virtually North Korea's first lady," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Kim Ok, 42, has frequently accompanied the North Korean leader on inspection visits to army bases and industrial complexes, and sat with him when he met visiting foreign dignitaries, the source said. The woman also traveled with the leader when he made a secret visit to China in January, received a cordial reception as the North's first lady and exchanged civilities with Chinese leader Hu Jintao, he said.
All well wishes for a happy marriage for the Dear Leader, if you could possibly have any, can be sent here.
Any old Cold Warrior can tell you. When you see these guys on one side,
..you get on the other. Simple. Allons-y Israel, allons-y!
Human Rights Watch just came out with a report titled "No Blood, No Foul", which they say consists of "Soldiers' Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq". The report seems to consist mostly of interviews with three supposed soldiers, two of which go by pseudonyms: Sergeant "Jeff Perry" and "Nick Forrester", supposedly a Sergeant with the 82nd Airborne. The third is the more-well-known Tony Lagouranis, described as "an Army interrogator at the rank of Specialist with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion", who's given out lots of interviews. He's frequently described as "retired" after four years in the Army, but I couldn't find any accounts of how he may have gotten injured to get the early retirement.
The part of the article the initially struck me was the explanation HRW gave for why they seem to be more concerned with "forced exercise" and "sleep deprivation" than things like electric drills used on eyes and joints, beheadings, and mass executions. Here's what they say:
Human Rights Watch is aware that U.S. forces in Iraq are fighting armed groups who themselves have shown little willingness to abide by international humanitarian law. As Human Rights Watch has detailed in previous reports, Iraqi insurgent groups routinely violate international humanitarian law, carrying out abductions and attacks against civilians and humanitarian aid workers, and detonating hundreds of bombs in bazaars, mosques, and other civilian areas. Human Rights Watch has previously stated that those responsible for violations, including the leaders of these groups, should, if captured, be investigated and prosecuted for violations of Iraqi law and the laws of war.OK... so we can expect a report on abuses by the terrorists to come out when?
But the activities of these groups are no excuse for U.S. violations. Abuses by one party to a conflict, no matter how egregious, do not justify violations by the other side. This is a fundamental principle of international humanitarian law.
Some long-range planning that can make the short term planner's job easier - Behold the LMSR.
I can't understand why anyone would dare to question the objective, Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporting
of The Washington Post and the New York Times. I mean, it's not as though their Senior Pentagon correspondents are publishing book-length screeds with titles like FIASCO: The Military Misadventure in Iraq, a book whose front cover has a flag-drapped dead soldier plastered across its face, and whose book description gleefully promises readers "a spellbinding account of an epic disaster."
"Yippie!" scream patchouli-smelling hippies everywhere.
I mean, let's be fair. It's not as if reporters at the New York Times, are writing books that expose our national security secrets.
I support these "journalists'" First Amendment rights to the hilt. But can we please dispense with the banal canard that these so-called Senior Pentagon correspondents are "serious" journalists who "objectively" pursue only the story?
Maybe that's asking too much. Perhaps we should just heed the wisdom of David McCullough and be grateful that this crowd wasn't around during the Revolutionary War.
Saddam has been hospitalized on day 17 of his hunger strike.
Doesn't he know about ice cream shakes and Jamba Juice?
Hansford T. Johnson, we hardly knew ye. A federal lawsuit's forthcoming for fraud.
I can't wait for the blast from Phibian.
If they love Lebanon and Hezollah so much why don't they go back?
A crowd of approximately 5,000 people marched down the city streets of Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday afternoon to protest against Israel's military action in Lebanon.
The peaceful and well-organized demonstration was made up of members of Melbourne's Lebanese community, socialists, pacifists and concerned citizens waving the flags of Lebanon, Palestine, Hezbollah Australia and other militant Islamic groups.
and need some time to re-arm...
Militant groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to stop firing missiles at Israel at midnight Saturday, saying they hope Israel will follow suit and stop attacks against them, senior Palestinian officials said.
The unilateral cease-fire is aimed at ending an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began June 28, three days after militants raided an Israeli army post, killing two soldiers and capturing one, 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the officials said on condition of anonymity because the agreement was reached at a closed meeting.
and I see no mention of the return of Cpl. Shalit... that started the "Israeli offensive" (since Hamas struck first, shouldn't that be "Israeli DEfensive"?) Hope Israel says "no" until the Cpl. is returned (but of course, that will be one more "the Israelis are being unreasonable" item.) IMHO, Hamas should not be allowed to dictate the terms of the cease-fire... they should be made to return the soldier AND stop firing missiles... Just sayin'.
I'm taking next week off for travel to an exotic locale.
This photograph is relevant.
AA Action view from Hornet 14 May 1945 of kamikaze exploding over John Rodgers and is about to splash. NARA 80G331623.
More to follow.
(Eeeep! Did I get the dimensions fixed before Mrs. G caught me?)
I've been seeing a minor re-fight of the realist-versus-idealist viewpoint at my place. But Tigerhawk moves that discussion aside for something more important...and it's by Rick Santorum. I must admit I had not expected this speech from Santorum. Excerpts don't do it justice; the whole speech is worth it.
Heh. I hate piously sanctimonious field grade officers. Yeah, I know, that means I'm punching myself a lot.
You are a holder of the Medal of Honor. On the advice of your superiors, you donate your Medal to a Divisional Museum, for safekeeping and preservation.
Over the years, you go visit the museum and you get the Medal and wear it for ceremonial occasions.
Then your age and infirmities put you in a position where you can no longer do that.
You're dying, and you'd like to wear your Medal again before you die.
And some piously sanctimonious field grade a$$hat says:
‘Tulbahadur Pun’s medal has been donated to the museum by his regimental association. We have a duty of care to ensure this medal is available to the public to see and it is secure.’
As if, in the cosmic scheme of things, the "Public" truly gives a flying flip in this regard. My guess is, Major Davies, if you were to poll the public as they filter through the doors, they'd be aghast at your attitude.
I'm sure there are rules and regulations to be followed. I have no doubt of that. I used to be a US Army paid military historian with staff responsibility for what amounts to a regimental museum here in the US.
And I would have found a way to get that Medal back to the guy whose name is on the back of it. I might have had to do a little fundraising to go to the extreme of actually sending someone with it, to bring it back, but I would have moved heaven and earth to get that Medal (in this case, a Victoria Cross awarded to a Gurkha soldier) back to its named recipient.
In this case, Honorary Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun, VC, of the 6th Gurkha Rifles.
As the author of this post notes:
It’s a shoddy way for an old, dying man to be treated, after the part he played in our eventual victory. This man is one of only 12 VC winners still alive, so you’d think he’d be granted a little more respect and honour. I have e-mailed the Major at the museum with a link to this article and I will let you all know what his response, if any, is. Whilst I appreciate heritage being preserved, this all smacks of red tape, callous neglect and short memories. I simply can not accept that the logistics of reuniting Mister Pun with his medal one last time are unachievable.
In this country, when Sergeant Alvin York through poverty sold his Medal of Honor, a subscription drive was raised to re-purchase the Medal and restore it to him.
Surely something similar can be done (and I would argue Major Davies should be doing it) to grant Lieutenant Pun a chance to wear the Victoria Cross with his name on it.
Shame, Major Davies, shame for giving such a staff wallah bumf-driven reply.
Should you wish to share your thoughts with the museum on the subject: firstname.lastname@example.org
Turn on the television and within seconds of the first report on the Israeli-Hizballah fighting, one hears of the civilian toll in Lebanon and the world cries for cease-fire. Civilian losses are heartbreaking. Yet, it must - MUST - be placed within the proper context of an enemy which embeds himself more deeply within his own civilians (as a matter of strategy) than American journalists embed themselves within their own military.
Nasrallah, the cat with nine lives, acknowledged that a Hizballah rocket killed two Muslim children in Nazareth. The difference is that they are "martyrs," as he described in an apology to the family. The difference between Israel (and the West) and the enemy we face (choose a group or theater) is that the enemy Islamists employ civilians for their usefulness - their own as human shields in search of propaganda value in the West's own media, and Israel's as targets (Haifa, Sderot, etc).
Think clearly. The Middle East's most lethal military machine has been relentlessly hammering a relatively large swath of territory from the air and via incessant artillery barrages. Yet, as unfortunate as each one truly is, only 300 civilians in over a week have been lost fighting a ruthless enemy that entangles himself among them for protection.
The alternative is to disengage and thereby subject Israeli civilians to slaughter undefended as the world - without much consideration - effectively seems to value one set of civilians (not intentionally targeted) more so than another set of civilians who undeniably are targeted.
For perspective amid the cries (nay, demands) for Hizballah's preservation (commonly referred to as 'cease-fire'), must ask yourself one simple question:
Israel is advising Lebanese to evacuate southern Lebanon hinting (warning?) of a ground invasion? and now reports are that Hezbollah is blocking Lebanese from leaving the southern area -- effectively holding them as hostages (human body armor?) And Hezbollah is promising that they have "surprises" in store giving rise to talk of WMD... longer range missles? a massive attack on Tel Aviv? more kidnapped soldiers? and now Lebanon's government has said that if Israel invades with ground forces that they will have no choice but to commit their military to join with Hezbollah to repel the Israelis....
How far down do you think the spiral goes?
Additional ships to perform NEO as posted here.
Include a Saudi Ro-Ro ferry and an Italian ship.
A year ago when I heard that Oliver Stone was making a movie about what started it all, 911 and the World Trade Center, well, I about had a cow. I was wrong. Details and video trailer here, but this is a bit from Cal Thomas
I have a long list of favorite patriotic movies, including "Victory at Sea," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Sands of Iwo Jima," but Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" is right up there with the best of them. It is one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving, God Bless America films you will ever see.Now, if we could just get him to make on of the U.S. Light Horse in late 2001....
...Whatever one thinks of Oliver Stone, the man knows how to make movies. This is one of his best. It deserves an Oscar in so many categories. It also deserves the thanks of a grateful nation. Go and see it beginning Aug. 9 and make him a large profit so he might consider inspiring us again, as his predecessors so often did during Hollywood's Golden Age.
"Hey, Viper! Is the bomb release the *white* knob or the *red* knob?"
"Oh, nothing. Just curious."
B-52 mistakenly drops bombs on nearby lake
KANOPOLIS, Kan. - Corey Armstrong and his friends got some company while swimming at Kanopolis Lake on Wednesday - nine practice bombs dropped by accident from a passing B-52 bomber.
"I just saw them, when they hit, it was four splashes pretty much at the same time," said Armstrong, 16, of Salina. "The bomber started flying in circles after that."
Lt. Col. Jeff Jordan, commander of the nearby Smoky Hill National Guard Range, said the bomber dropped the bombs by mistake while on a training mission. He said the plane is based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Jordan said the bombs, all of which apparently hit the water, were filled with concrete, not explosives, and didn't pose a threat to the public.
He said the base in investigating why the bombs were released.
H/t, Larry K, who lives in the shadow of the Guns of Fort Riley.
IRAQI ARMY, MND-N SOLDIERS LAUNCH OPERATION GAUGAMELA
Release Date: 7/20/2006
Release Number: 06-07-02P
Description: KIRKUK, Iraq (July 20, 2006) – Thursday morning, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Bastogne Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division simultaneously surrounded and entered the cities of Hawija and Riyadh, just west of Kirkuk, searching for suspected al-Qaeda terrorists as combined Operation Gaugamela (gaw'guh-MEE-luh), gets underway.
The ongoing operation, requested by local Sunni Arab leaders, follows a series of terror attacks in the area, and comes as there are reports indicating the presence of al-Qaeda terror cells in the area. In the past five weeks, 31 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks in the region and just three days ago six policemen were killed in Hawija.
In Hawija, Bastogne Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces surrounded the city, blocking off escape routes, as another combined force air assaulted into the market in the heart of the city. The units are cordoning off the area and searching for terrorist forces. Meanwhile, Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces surrounded the village of Riyadh, approximately 10 miles away, and are also searching that city.
Operation Gaugamela is named for the battle in which Alexander drove the Persian army from the city of Gaugamela.
They understate it a tad.
Darius III: Approx. Various estimates are given... The size of Darius's force is not accurately documented - estimates range from 45,000 cavalry and 200,000 infantry to 200,000 cavalry and 800,000 infantry with around 200 scythed chariots and 15 war elephants.
Alexander: Around 150 infantry and 1,000 cavalry killed and wounded.
Darius III: Depending on who you read - just about everybody. 300,000 is a figure tossed around a lot (which makes that low estimate of troops for Darius a bit troublesome unless there was some double-counting going on...).
If you want some more detail on the original Gaugamela, try Wikipedia. Be nice if we could split Iran.
If the MSM spin any harder they'd screw themselves into the floor.
Despite complaints that the effort to evacuate many of the estimated 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon is moving too slowly, 53 percent of poll respondents said they believed the United States has done a good job evacuating its citizens. Twenty-nine percent said the job was poor, and 18 percent were unsure.I think the question itself is absurd.
Other interesting results:
Forty-five percent said they disapprove and 38 percent said they approve of how President Bush has handled the conflict
Sixty-five percent said the United States should not play an active role in attempting to solve the issue.
Forty-five percent said they would favor the presence of U.S. ground troops as part of an international peacekeeping force on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
Thirty-five percent said the violence had increased their concerns about a homeland (US terrorist) attack.
Fifty-seven percent said they had more sympathy for Israel, 4 percent sympathized with Hezbollah.
I had to do fast math - but assuming the poll is representative this implies there are around 12 million Hezbollah sympathizers in America.All done!
CAIRO, Egypt — One of Saudi Arabia's leading Wahhabi sheiks, Abdullah bin Jabreen has issued a strongly worded religious edict, or fatwa, declaring it unlawful to support, join or pray for Hezbollah, the Shiite militias lobbing missiles into northern Israel.
U.S. builds capacity to move people out as noted here. Recurrent press theme: "Why did it take so long?"
Part of the answer:
Responding to criticism that the Pentagon has been slow to organize the evacuation of up to 25,000 Americans compared with the evacuation of Europeans by their governments, Whitman said the emphasis has been on security. American citizens are tempting terrorist targets, and the operation -- which got underway Sunday when the State Department requested the insertion of an 18-man planning team -- takes into account safety "first and foremost," he said.Another part is that logistics, especially involving ships, takes time. I'll bet that not all of the Americans being evacuated in arrived in Lebanon on the same day. And the U.S. doesn't keep empty ships bobbing about waiting for refugees...
"The goal here is a safe, orderly organized disciplined evacuation of American citizens," he said.
DoD photo of USS Nashville (LPD-13) by Chief Petty Officer Dave Fitz, U.S. Navy.
UPDATE: Australia has had some trouble getting its people out:
All Australians will share their relief and hope that the thousands trapped in Lebanon can soon be rescued. Until now, the rescue mission by the Australian Government had been chaotic. A ship that was supposed to be chartered by Australia had been "double-booked". This sequence of events, however, cannot be blamed entirely on the Government. It was after all, as Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said, a war zone. But surely, given that acknowledgement, more could have been done earlier.It's my understanding that the Canadians outbid the Aussies for the "double-booked" ship. A relatively clear statement of the situation is set out here:
The Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says the failure so far to get a chartered ship in shows just how hard it is.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: And it's complicated by a number of factors. First of all, the whole issue of chartering ships is reasonably chaotic, secondly even when you charter a ship it's very hard the ship into the port. And that's partly because the security situation sometimes is bad and the Israelis recommend against using the port at certain times. And secondly the port's facilities have their limitations.
LOUISE YAXLEY: But he's not giving assurances that any of the ships Australia is trying to charter will steam into port.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: We have chartered, we have contracts to charter ships to arrive in Beirut on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and if all of those ships are able to get into Beirut, and that a very big qualification - if they are - we will have enough capacity to take out around 6,000 people. And that will probably be more than we need, but we're not sure that we will get these ships into Beirut.
LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Downer says he understands the frustrations, but says all nations are facing the same problems.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: Some nationals have got out, but the same controversy, I'm afraid, has erupted in every country. It's just very, very difficult to get people out. I mean, some people have got out, some haven't.
Elements of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Group have landed in Beirut to provide security for noncombatant evacuation operations.
Now we just wait for the complaints from the evacuees that the Marines "took too long to get there," or "were scaring the chlidren with all their guns."
My bookings were always handled by the Practical Joker Dept. If this is where all that karma went.... good.
RAMADI, Iraq -- Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Musser is just one of many Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment patrolling the streets of one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq while wearing 50 plus pounds of armor under a scorching sun.
And he and his comrades are doing it with no complaints.
On June 20, Musser and other Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company L, conducted snap vehicle check points during a patrol in the capital of Al Anbar province. Marines were on the look out for suspicious activity while disrupting insurgent movement through the city.
“We just went out and did some snap VCPs and patrolled the area to get a feel for the local population,” said Musser, a 20-year-old from Manchester, Pa.
During the patrol, Marines were vigilant of each road and the passengers in the vehicles they passed. At a moment’s notice the humvees came to a halt and Marines hopped out of their armored vehicles to search for possible threats.
“The Marines checked the vehicles to see if Iraqi citizens were carrying anything that could harm or put coalition forces in danger,” said Lance Cpl. William A. Staley.
“We want to keep a strong presence out there,” said Staley, 24, of Lockport, N.Y. “Most of the population cooperates and doesn’t give us any problems, despite the language barrier.”
Even with a high sniper and roadside bomb threat, Staley has a simple approach when involved in vehicle check points.
“Get it out, check it out, and get it over with,” said Staley.
However, patrolling the mean streets in Ramadi does have its rewards.
“The kids come out and cheer us on and wave at us,” said Musser, “We give them some candy, soccer balls and other knick knacks. They’re friendly to us so we’re friendly to them,” he added.
On top of countless vehicle check point patrols, Marines have conducted hundreds of mounted, dismounted and ambush patrols, along with counter sniper operations and entry control point operations.
“They also train and operate with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Infantry Division as well as the Iraqi Police,” said Capt. Reginald J. McClam, the battalion’s assistant operations officer.
“It’s the young Marines ensuring the local populace has some kind of future and is not disrupted by insurgent activity,” said McClam, 32, from Garner, N.C., adding Marines are taking the risk to clear improvised explosive devices so the local population doesn’t have to deal with them.
Marines with 3rd Bn., 8th Marines have also conducted several assessments to determine the quality of life support assets needed for the people of Ramadi, such as electricity, water and sewage.
McClam spoke highly of the Marines saying they are conducting a classic counter insurgency fight like true professionals.
“They exhibit exceptional maturity,” he said. “I’m most proud of the Marines.”
Now the battalion has reached the half way mark of its second deployment to Iraq, and is looking forward to returning home to Camp Lejuene, N.C., this fall.
“I’m anxious to go home see my wife and kid,” said Staley, a mortarman currently working with 3rd Platoon searching citizens during check points. “When you reach that half way point it usually goes a little quicker or slower depending how you look at it. It’s been pretty good so far, it could always be worse,” he said.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William T. Corso, a corpsman for the platoon, is also eager to get home, but he isn’t letting that get in the way of his mission.
“We have accomplished many things out here and we’ve done plenty of operations. We are really trying to work hard for the people of Ramadi,” said Corso, 21, from Sanford, Fla.
“The glass is now half full, but there is still plenty of time for stuff to happen, so we can not let up now,” he said.
The level of violence in western Ramadi has reduced significantly due to the efforts of Lima Company and 3rd Bn., 8th Marines. There is now an Iraqi Police station and the Iraqi Army operates in their own battle space which they patrol day and night.
A fateful day in Beirut, Lebanon. One Marine, Clayton Smith, remembers.
I lost a friend LCpl Johnny Copeland on that day in 1983, I retired from the Marine Corps in 2002 and there is seldom a day goes by that I do not think what would have become of Johnny, if he would have retired from the Corps, Who he would have married what he would have named his children. I imagine these feelings are multipied 241 times by friends and family of all those brave men, the Marines, Sailors and Soldiers who lost their lives to the first mass terrorist attact against America, please let's not forget...
There's a way you can help honor the victims of that terrorist attack. Click here for details.
Killer Of 2 U.S. Soldiers Dies In Firefight
Jordanian said to be behind kidnappings at checkpoint
By Associated Press
BAGHDAD — The man behind the killing and mutilation of two U.S. soldiers died after a clash with security forces, Iraq's national security adviser said Tuesday.
Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie also said authorities arrested three leaders of the Omar Brigade, a group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The death and the arrests did little to slow the tit-for-tat killings between Sunni and Shiite militants. In the latest, a Sunni suicide bomber lured Shiite laborers into a van Tuesday and blew it up, killing 53 people.
Al-Rubaie said Diyar Ismail Mahmoud, a Jordanian also known as Abu al-Afghani, died from wounds suffered in a firefight with U.S.-backed Iraqi forces. He did not say when or where the clash occurred.
A U.S. military spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, confirmed al-Rubaie's statement but refused to elaborate on it.
The bodies of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston and Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras, Ore., of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, were found June 19 not far from a checkpoint on the Euphrates River south of Baghdad, where they were seized three days earlier. A third soldier, David Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass., was found dead at the checkpoint.
The three were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment — the same unit as five soldiers and one former Army private now facing charges in the alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl in Mahmoudiya in March.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella of extremist groups, claimed in an Internet statement that the three soldiers were killed in retaliation for the alleged rape-murder. U.S. officials had no evidence to substantiate the claim.
The suicide attack Tuesday took place in Kufa, a Shiite city 100 miles south of Baghdad, where the attacker summoned men to his van on the promise of jobs, then detonated the vehicle on a bustling street. Local officials said at least 53 people were killed and 105 wounded.
Police imposed a 24-hour driving ban in Kufa and Najaf to prevent further attacks.
The blast occurred one day after suspected Sunni gunmen killed at least 50 people, most of them Shiites, at an outdoor market in Mahmoudiya, 75 miles to the north.
Since the attack, police have found 19 bodies in different parts of Mahmoudiya, all possible victims of reprisal killings.
A United Nations report said Tuesday that nearly 6,000 civilians were slain across Iraq in May and June, an increase in deaths that coincided with a surge in sectarian attacks.
The spate of sectarian killings has discredited the unity government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which took office May 20.
The killings have occurred despite a much-heralded security plan for Baghdad, which was unveiled last month.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite, has called on all political groups to band together to halt the violence, warning last week that this could be Iraq's “last chance” to avoid civil war.
The country's biggest Sunni Arab political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, deplored the attacks in Mahmoudiya and Kufa and called for an urgent meeting of political and religious leaders “to get Iraq out of this dark tunnel.”
U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman was in Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss ways to improve oil and electricity production — the second Cabinet member to visit in as many days.
In other violence, a bomb hidden in a bag exploded near a Sunni mosque in Baghdad, killing one and wounding seven.
With the Freedom Bird en route, I felt it was an apropos moment to unload all my excess verbiage. (It was either that, or torch it all in the burn barrel).
Into single digit territory now. Try not to miss me too much.
The following consists of my unreleased b-sides from over the previous year; the black sheep of my unfinished work that otherwise would have been doomed to the Seventh Circle of Hell otherwise known as deep recesses of my computer hard drive. In a few cases, perhaps there it should have remained. But I made the time to write it; the least you can do is read it -- I don’t think that’s asking a lot. It is in this vein that I submit to you the Best of the Rest of American Citizen Soldier:
I dunno about the other service academies, but there's this one school tucked in the foothills of the Shenandoah, my precious....
.....the Veeerrrrrrrrrry Military Institute!
Or Virginia's Mentally Insane, as Chuck Z calls it.
VMI has become a case study for the proper assimiliation of females into the military academic ranks. I highly recommend Dr. Laura Brodie's account of the process, Breaking Out: VMI & The Coming of Women.
The unending nightmare at Annapolis goes on. Sad to watch something you love kill itself with at the best case a poison of PC, poor staffing, and wrong ideas; or worse the cancer of moral cowardice. What good is all the shiny stuff, if there is rust at the core? Why happily paint the barn, when your rootstock is rotting? I’m running out of metaphors. Please tell me things are better at West Point? I know USAFA is in the same boat as USNA….any luck at USMA?
About 3:40 a.m., the woman sent a series of badly spelled instant messages from her desktop computer to her boyfriend, asking him to come back and saying she wanted "to cuddle." "But you slapped me," he replied, ... when he walked into a midshipman's room where the woman was present, she asked Whittle whether he wanted a lap dance. When he said no, Whittle testified, she yelled an expletive at him. ... she admitted to "binge drinking" despite being underage, consuming alcohol while using the prescription painkiller Vicodin in Bancroft Hall, and renting an off-campus house - ... The witness also said she would occasionally drink while on guard duty and would be absent from her post for as much as 40 minutes at a time.
The woman said that in exchange for truthful testimony, she had been given immunity by the academy from any judicial or administrative punishment. … The accuser was also given immunity for her testimony.
Leadership, leadership, leadership. Donde esta? Want to know what the Judge has to say? Follow this link or go to the jump.
A military judge stopped just short of throwing out a rape charge against former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens, Jr., hinting that had the decision been up to him, he would have acquitted the Naval Academy midshipman.
Outside the presence of the jury -- which is how challenges to evidence or objections are argued in military court -- Cmdr. John Maksym said Owens' civilian attorney "eviscerated the alleged victim during cross-examination" in a manner that was "difficult to endure."
"A reasonable jury could find substantial reasonable doubt as to Owens' guilt as to the [rape] charge, based on the credibility, or absence of credibility, of the alleged victim," he said, referring to the 20-year-old female midshipman who has accused Owens. But the judge denied a motion to dismiss the charges, saying the jury would decide.
Cmdr. John Maksym, the Navy judge who has shown a colorful streak throughout the five days of the trial, sharply criticized a Naval Academy victim advocate today. He said the woman, Lt. Maureen Brown, exceeded her responsibilities as an advocate by acting as a "cheerleader" for the female midshipman during the investigation of the Owens case.
The Navy judge supervising the rape court-martial of former Naval Academy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr. chided military prosecutors on Thursday for having "weak facts" and "anemic witnesses."
Maksym drew early attention when he lectured Rempt for sending e-mails to academy personnel that "insinuate guilt."
If you had the $160Mil for this:
The Bush administration has decided not to offer free credit monitoring to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel whose personal information was on computer equipment stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst in May.
Rob Portman, the White House budget director, wrote House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) yesterday withdrawing the administration's request for $160.5 million to pay for a year of free credit monitoring and citing the June 28 recovery of the stolen laptop and external hard drive by police. The FBI said it had a "high degree of confidence" that thieves had not accessed the files containing the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of millions of veterans and active-duty military personnel.
"On the basis of the FBI's analysis, the administration has concluded that credit monitoring services and the associated funding will no longer be necessary," Portman wrote.
Cool, I already had free credit monitoring because I reported I might be the victim of identity theft and the credit agencies automatically did it for... free. But that's a different gripe.
How about you give the VA the money anyway? For... oh, I dunno, Veterans Affairs stuff like... health care? Fund that PTSD treatment? Y'know, mission-type stuff. You had $160 million for a CYA clean-up...
I know, I know, I'm just a greedy vet.
Read the WashPost article here.
First off - all the usual caveats about self-selecting surveys (they tend to skew because people who feel strongly one way or the other tend to select, vice the ones who care a lot less).
No huge surprise - the officers and the enlisted have, um, *differing* perceptions of things. I think the most interesting data are those for the junior officers - they have officer attitudes, are closest to the action, and have not yet been fully acculturated to caution.
Seventy-four percent of Stripes military readers in Iraq who responded to a readership survey said fighting the war for America was “very” or “somewhat” worthwhile. About a quarter of the respondents said it was “not very worthwhile” or “not worthwhile at all.”
Here's a little bit about the disconnect:
While half of the respondents between the ranks of E-1 and E-6 said their unit’s morale was somewhat low or very low, 82 percent of the commissioned officers who responded said they believed their unit’s morale was high or very high. The percentage of these officers rating their unit's morale as somewhat low or very low was 15 percent. Seventy-four percent of readers with ranks from E-7 to E-9 plus warrant officers rated their unit’s morale as high or very high.
This is the bit that I think is perhaps most useful - the junior officers, who are closest to the action yet should be invested in victory, so to speak - are not as sanguine about things in Iraq as their bosses are.
At the same time, although they rated their morale high, the junior officers, O-1 through O-3, were less inclined than others to feel that conditions in Iraq had improved compared to when they first arrived. Forty-eight percent of these officers believed conditions in the country had improved; 44 percent felt the conditions were the same or worse. Sixty-seven percent of enlisted believed conditions had improved, while 69 percent of officers O-4, or major, and above believed conditions had improved.
As a pulse check, fodder for further data collection. What say you guys (yer generally smarter'n me and lots of you are still serving)? Not that the self-selection bias won't reflect here, too...
If you can get to it, you can read the whole thing here (oddly enough, from behind the firewall at Fort Leavenworth, you can't *get* to the Stars and Stripes website, while I can from home and the corporate office).
Cross-posted at the Castle.
Israel's got a few initial guys on the ground in Lebanon.
ABC News reports:
At daybreak Wednesday, a small number of Israeli troops were operating just across the border inside southern Lebanon, looking for tunnels and weapons, the Israeli military said without providing any more details.
The incursion came a day after Israel indicated that it might send large numbers of ground troops into the southern Lebanon, but Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman denied Wednesday's operation was part of any such operation.
"What is going on at the moment is a number of Israeli ground troops very near to the border on the Lebanese side, trying to destroy some Hezbollah outposts," he told CNN.
"This is an operation which is very measured, very local," he said. "This is no way an invasion of Lebanon. This is no way the beginning of any kind of occupation of Lebanon."
-- -- --All done!
Missing WWII Airmen Identified
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that nine servicemen missing in action from World War II have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are 1st Lt. William M. Hafner, Norfolk, Va.; 2nd Lt. Arthur C. Armacost, III, Cincinnati, Ohio; 2nd Lt. David R. Eppright, Warrensburg, Mo.; 2nd Lt. Charles F. Feucht, Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Technical Sgt. Raymond S. Cisneros, San Antonio, Texas; Technical Sgt. Alfred W. Hill, Temple, Okla.; Technical Sgt. James G. Lascelles, New York, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. William C. Cameron, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Staff Sgt. Wilburn W. Rozzell, Duncan, Okla. All were members of the 63rd Bombardment Squadron, 43 Bombardment Group.
The individually-identified remains of Armacost, Cameron, Hafner and Lascelles will be buried July 19 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. as are the group remains representing all nine crewmen. Cisneros, Rozzell, Feucht, Eppright and Hill were buried elsewhere.
On November 4, 1943 Hafner and his crew took off in a B-24 Liberator from Dobodura, Territory of New Guinea. The men were on an armed reconnaissance mission over the Bismark Sea. A few hours into the flight Hafner sighted a convoy of Japanese ships and was told to shadow the convoy and report back. Four hours later the crew radioed from the B-24 that they had made three direct hits on the convoy and destroyed the target. That was the last radio contact with the crew.
In March 2002 a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was contacted by a local government official through the U.S. Embassy. The team was exploring unrelated WW II aircraft crash sites in Papua New Guinea. The official turned over aircraft data plates, human remains and three ID tags which had been found at a crash site in Morobe Province.
During the excavation of the site in Aug.-Sept. 2003, the team recovered additional remains and personal effects including identification tags and bracelets. The remains were submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL). Specialists at JPAC and AFDIL used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains of these servicemen. Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed their identification.
Israel has a naval blockade of Lebanon goinig on.
What's that mean?
And why are they doing it?
Some thoughts here.
Blockades are an old naval tactic.
As opinionated I am on the matter, my present occupation precludes me from talking too much about the efforts by some in my profession to block Wm. Haynes' nomination to the Fourth Circuit.
I don't have to spell it out, you can imagine the possibilities.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Federal agents conducting a sweep aimed at illegal immigrants detained 58 civilian workers Tuesday as they tried to enter Fort Bragg with suspected false or fraudulently obtained identification, officials said.
Almost all of them were construction workers, officials said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, U.S. marshals and FBI agents worked with the military on the sweep, which was conducted between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. when most of the thousands of soldiers and civilian workers who live off the post enter the gates.
How many of you remember the open-post days? Those days are gone forever. Unfortunately, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Here comes the Sixth Fleet:
The Pentagon has ordered five military ships and thousands of Marines and sailors to help transport U.S. citizens out of Lebanon, a move that could sharply speed up the evacuation as fighting continues.
The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit were ordered to head to the area to help evacuate thousands of Americans...
Two other ships were also ordered to join the Iwo Jima -- the amphibious transport dock USS Trenton and a High Speed Vessel Swift, a catamaran with an aluminum hull.
The Swift may turn out to be the secret weapon of this evacuation. It's basically a high-speed catamaran ferry that can probably carry a couple hundred passengers comfortably to Cyprus at a cruising speed of 42 knots (about 48 mph).
She might not be as ritzy as a cruise ship, but at that speed the trip should take only about two and a half hours.
The sincerest form of flattery?
Though he's a committed Islamist activist in a movement that denounces the United States for supporting Israel and occupying Iraq, Shorah proudly sports what has become the latest trend in Palestinian street wear: US military apparel. "This is the new fashion in the market," says Shorah. "It's a show of force, because the US army is powerful. It's a symbol of strength and of our refusal to put down arms."
The trend is not limited to clothing. At barber shops across the West Bank and Gaza young Palestinians are demanding what's known as a "Marines," meaning a high and tight crew cut, the kind that is mandatory for US Marines.
Similarly, Abu Sim, a rank and file gunman in the Popular Resistance Committees' armed wing, has wrapped the barrel of his Kalashnikov with desert camouflage padding, another nod to US military fashion.
"I saw a US Marine sniper on TV doing the same thing," he says. "It's natural to copy the US military because they are powerful and so are we."
Em... Thanks? I guess?(Cross-posted at the home 'drome)
Anybody out there got any knowledge of customs and courtesies of the Mexican Navy? I'm going to be spending a week with them shortly, and would like to show proper respect - for example, I know what to do when boarding a US man-of-war, but am curious about similar customs with the Mexicans.
Drop me a note via the email on my blog, or leave a comment here with an email contact, please.
Thanks in advance!
As a reward for your input... or no input: Know Your Enemy: Hezbollah.
Mohammed from Iraq the Model - on the Wall Street Journal's web page:
BAGHDAD--In spite of what we are facing here every day I find myself, just like many others, so attached to following what's going on between Israel and Lebanon and that's mostly because of the close resemblance between the two cases.
In both cases we see a weak government suffering to control a powerful militia that is challenging the will of the rest of the country and engaging in a proxy war making the people suffer the results of regional conflicts that in no way can benefit their country.
The other reason why I'm closely following this ongoing crisis is that the powers involved in this conflict between Lebanon and Israel are closely connected to the powers fighting in Iraq and we here believe that the battle over there will have an impact on the situation here in one way or another.
Others may have posted this during my absence - but even if so, it's worthwhile to post again: NARRATIVE NOMINATING SSG DAVID BELLAVIA FOR THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING OPERATION PHANTOM FURY.
It includes a cameo by Time magazine's Michael Ware, and carnage beyond belief (just when you think it couldn't get more amazing, the handy Gerber tool appears...)
Bellavia blogs here.
All great heroes have a quote like this one:
“I think it's very difficult to stand here and say I'm a hero when I'm standing on my own legs and I can hug my own wife and pat my son on the head and give him a big hug and kiss with my own arms,” said David. “My son means everything to me, and the men I was privileged and honored to serve in combat are my surrogate kids. When I hear them cry and I hear them scream out in pain it's really difficult to take and it's really hard.”
Bellavia's tour of duty is over and he's home for good, but as far as he's concerned, his responsibility to his men isn't over.
“I'm gonna’ try to help out my brothers at Walter Reed right now with no legs,” said David. “The wives that left their husbands over in Arlington Cemetery and explain to some of these kids when they're old enough what their daddies did that they're patriots and they're heroes, and I miss 'em every day.”
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Mickey Spillane, whose Mike Hammer private eye novels generated a post-World War II storm of literary criticism for their level of sex and violence and made Spillane one of the bestselling authors of the 20th century, died today. He was 88.More:
The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mr. Spillane enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and became a fighter pilot. To his dismay, he was stationed in Florida and Mississippi for the duration of the war, training others to be fighter pilots.He did all right for himself after the war -in fact, he "owned" the Private Eye genre.
As reported here:
Three Vietnam War veterans who sued over a documentary about Sen.And, yes, I know people dismiss their lawsuits all the time. Lawyers can be very expensive. On the other hand...
John Kerry's anti-war activities have dropped their lawsuits, leaving just one court fight pending over the 2004 film.
Filmmaker Carlton Sherwood says the withdrawal of the lawsuits shows they were frivolous complaints filed by Kerry operatives to try to block the film's release in the final weeks of the presidential race.
"We've always believed that Kerry controlled these lawsuits," Sherwood said Monday.
The 42-minute film, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," charges that Kerry's actions as an anti-war activist after his tour in Vietnam harmed American POWs. It also questions the veracity of reports by some veterans about U.S. atrocities.
Sherwood continues to press his defamation suit against Kerry and campaign aide John Podesta, which charges they conspired to block the film's release by labeling him a "disgraced journalist" and "Bush hack." The Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. canceled plans to air the full documentary on its stations before the November 2004 election.
Lawyers for Kerry and Podesta have asked a judge to toss Sherwood's suit, arguing their actions were protected political speech.
America Supports You profiles Project Valour-IT. Thanks to everyone who helped this program become a reality.
My heterosexual blog partner Charlie is deploying.
As posted here the U.S. has chartered the cruise ship "Orient Queen" for NEO. USS Gonzalez (IDDG-66) to escort.
Given that the number of foreign nationals requiring evacuation will likely reach into the tens of thousands, a cooperative sealift effort involving several nations now appears to be the most likely scenario.
The French ferry initiative is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect the British, Italian and American navies to provide additional sea and airlift, with possible cooperation from other Mediterranean nations.
The President of the United States engages in some private (oops, no it wasn't!) straight-talking.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A microphone picked up an unaware President Bush saying on Monday Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit" and that his secretary of state may go to the Middle East soon.
Of course, the writer and editors had their own fun, intentional or not, didn't they?
That noted, the sheepdog in me says the wolf population in that particular neck of the woods could use some thinning. Not that this couldn't bubble over into something larger, but all those Sunni Arab nations aren't going to mind seeing some Shias working for non-Arab Iran get spanked - even by the Israelis. There's been no sleep at CENTCOM this week, and little prospect for any anytime soon, either.
You can read the rest here.
Seven Canadians, all members of the same Montreal family, were killed in an Israeli air strike in Lebanon yesterday.Might get crowded on and above the rooftops of Beirut this week.
News of the deaths swept quickly through Quebec's 50,000-member Lebanese community as the Canadian government stepped up plans to evacuate tens of thousands of Canadians from the war-torn region.
"It's as if that bomb landed in Montreal-North," said one relative, referring to the city borough with a heavy concentration of Lebanese.
Update: A sobering thought from Soldier's Mom in a comment to Smash's post on this topic: "I do not want to know where this goes if there is even one missle fired at us or the British..."
I think a hostage situation is the more likely crisis (there may even be some willing potential hostages - i.e. Hezbollah sympathizers with foreign citizenship) but who knows. In either event I think the US response would be cautious, and unsatisfying to those who are currently clamoring for the Big War. The US - and the rest of the world - had best stay focused on keeping this war small, and planning for the aftermath. If Hezbollah is effectively eliminated, we can "win" by then eliminating the conditions that let them thrive. Difficult, but not impossible.
A look at Hezbollah and it's leadership, along with some speculation on the next few days of combat, and the possibilities in the aftermath of Israel's attack.
After the shooting stops someone's going to have to pick up the pieces - it won't be Israel. Syria and Iran will certainly do it if no one else will.
A military assessment team has arrived at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
U.S. security teams landed at the American embassy just outside Beirut on Sunday to plan the evacuation of some of the estimated 25,000 U.S. citizens living in war-torn Lebanon.
Witnesses said two helicopters flew in from over the Mediterranean and landed on the embassy grounds, located on a fortified hilltop in the north Beirut suburb of Aukar.
"The arrival of the teams is an important first step in facilitating the safe departure of Americans who want to leave Lebanon," the embassy said in a statement.
This team is not the first wave of an airlift, but likely has beeen sent to assess the situation on the ground, survey likely sites for an evacuation by air or sea, and coordinate with the embassy staff and security detachment.
Also, the British appear to be similar preparations:
The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was being prepared last night to sail to the coast of Lebanon to rescue British people stranded by Israeli airstrikes.
Des Browne, the defence secretary, ordered preparations for an urgent evacuation. An estimated 10,000 British citizens and up to 15,000 dual nationals are in Lebanon, which has been bombarded for four days in an escalating crisis triggered by the abduction of two Israeli soldiers.
Illustrious was being readied for the mission in Gibraltar and will be joined by HMS Bulwark, an amphibious assault warship.
Given the large number of people likely to require evacuation, I wouldn't rule out a joint British/American NEO task force.
Uncle Jimbo at BlackFive points out that he's aiding the enemy. My question is -- if a third country national who is aiding and abetting Madhi operations in Iraq is killed, does that constitute collateral damage just because he happens to be a journalist employed by our domestic media? Or is it simply a righteous kill?
Second question: is there any good reason we shouldn't, the moment we encounter him in a non-firefight context, arrest him and extradite him to the Iraqi government, should they wish to consider charges?
I just crawled out of a 96 hr+ info hole (not even a newspaper) and I miss all the fun. If you have not already, read and follow the links by Bubblehead and Eagle1 below. I'll put out more on CDR Salamander tomorrow (today being BlogSabbath and all...I cheat here) (UPDATE: here is the Monday AM quarterbacking....errr...report) but here is the Phibian Executive Summary:
1. This is not a "bolt out of the blue." The C-802 Daddy was the SS-N-2 Styx that took out a Israeli destroyer in '67 and that Israel learned how to defeat 50+ of in '73. The C-802 and its diverse family of variants, builders, and seeker heads are not the cutting edge of Anti-Surface Missiles (ASM). To the contrary, they are deadly (exploding warhead or not) but they are on the "easy" edge of the "hard to easy" world of ASMs. SS-N-22 is hard.
2. The most telling quote in this can be found over at Bubbleheads hovel (can't find the source link, but I can be blind, am in a hurry, and I trust Bubblehead),
Brigadier-General Noam Page of the Navy said in a press conference Saturday that the Navy was unaware that a missile threat existed in the sector, and that the boat's crew had acted accordingly.Classic. That is from the same book as, "Our torpedoes will work just fine.." or "There are no enemy submarines in this sector..." or "Their fighter aircraft do not operate this far from shore..." Never assume your threats away. The missiles were in Lebanon; they were/are a threat. Full stop. However......
Go to the jump for the rest of the ES.
3. There also may be some fog-of-war going on here. From Harretz,
The Saar-5 class is equipped with very advanced defensive systems. However, these were not in operation at the time of attack, partly because of the number of IAF aircraft operating in the area. It was feared that if the system was in operation, it would mistakenly identify friendly aircraft as enemy targets and engage them.Sounds like someone made a call. Take a small risk of and ASM strike against the more likely risk of shooting down your own aircraft. With the SeaWiz....tough call. OK, don't have it in auto, but what about the Barak? Donde esta su "Isreali SLQ-32?"
Anyway; for the professional. Like the '71 Indo-Pak war, the Falklands, and the Persian/Arabian Gulf shipping war of the '80s - watch this close. Important lessons to learn and take onboard. The next time a ship has a "it ain't there, don't worry about it..." coming its way, you may be on the bridge. Ready? How is your DC training? How long will it take you at 0200 on the 5th day of patrol to bring weapons to bear? Is that enough time? How will you know?All done!
Paras storm town to lift siege by TalibanThe British Press hasn't developed the fine skills of defeatism mastered by their American cousins.
BRITISH forces yesterday launched their biggest offensive yet in southern Afghanistan to relieve soldiers under siege in the Taliban stronghold of Sangin.
Three hundred members of 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, took part in the dawn raid, which started with Apache helicopter gunships securing a landing area so that five Chinooks could fly in troops.
Early reports suggested that they had taken the town with only minor casualties including one man shot in the shoulder, though fighting was continuing.
There was a great angle that could have been used to turn this story into one of defeat too:
The operation was launched as British soldiers holed up in a mud-walled compound in Sangin for the past three weeks were in danger of being over-run. Last week they spent five days without food because it had become too dangerous for helicopters to fly in.I suspect had this been a US story it would have gone something like "After five days of combat with no food or water beleaguered soldiers at Base X were all but overrun by a well-armed, tough, and determined opponent by the time a last-ditch effort to relieve them barely made it's way to their lines. Parents of the troops expressed anger at an Army that seemingly abandoned them there, starving, surrounded, and expecting to die.
Paratroopers under siege in the small compound made desperate satellite telephone calls last week to wives and parents, saying they were coming under Taliban attack twice a day and had run so low of supplies that they were “looking for scraps”.
‘We keep killing them but they just keep coming. They have heavy guns and cannon. It’s like the Alamo’.” Said one soldier, his voice still shaking from the assault.
Congressman Y is demanding a full investigation. "The Amercan people whose sons and daughters blah blah blah blah war based on a lie."
The headline on this London Sunday Times story certanly isn't an example of British understatement, but the story is worth noting: Hug An Insurgent: US's New Plan To Win In Iraq
Over at Eagle1's place, there's lots of discussion on whether or not Iranian Revolutionary Guards were actively involved in firing the C802 missile that hit the Israeli ship (the Eilat-class corvette INS Ahi Hanit). I'm not so sure this is a smoking gun; there's no reason to believe that the Hezbollah terrorists couldn't have launched it themselves with training from the Iranians (especially since one of the two missiles missed, and hit an Egyptian ship further downrange). It looks to me like the Israelis got overconfident, which is why they didn't have their anti-missile systems turned on. Continuing to believe that their enemies don't have the technical sophistication to operate modern weapons could lead, IMHO, to further intelligence failures. I discuss this a little more at my home blog.
Only the US and Israel, according to Cassandra -- who makes an excellent point...
The Red Cross is unbelievably charitable in its treatment of Hizbullah, given its past treatment of Israeli captives:What we are dealing with in Hezbollah, as with the great pirate fleets of yore, are transnational bandits who obey no law inconvenient to them. They are neither soldiers nor really criminals, but outlaws in the old sense.Stillheart said the ICRC was working constantly to reunite captives with their families. "We will never give up. We are still working to help the three missing Israeli soldiers from the  Sultan Yakoub battle and Ron Arad. They are constantly on our mind," he said, while admitting that the ICRC's efforts had been to no avail.1982. That is ... what? Twenty-four years later? Does M. Stillheart really believe these men are alive? That they are being "humanely treated?" I'm sure they've been on his mind though.
The word outlaw brings to mind the cattle rustlers and gunslingers of the Wild West, but it comes to us from a much earlier time, when guns were not yet invented but cattle stealing was. Outlaw can be traced back to the Old Norse word ūtlagr, “outlawed, banished,” made up of ūt, “out,” and lög, “law.” An ūtlagi (derived from ūtlagr) was someone outside the protection of the law. The Scandinavians, who invaded and settled in England during the 8th through the 11th century, gave us the Old English word ūtlaga, which designated someone who because of criminal acts had to give up his property to the crown and could be killed without recrimination.Our Federal judiciary is hesistant to admit that there is anything beyond its jurisdiction, let alone something that is actually outside the wider field of law. Yet there is, whether they like it or not, and whether they will admit it or not. Human power is always limited.
The "Common Article 3" reading is, however plausible, wrong. Nevertheless, it is the law until we change it. When considering how to do so, our Congressmen ought to adopt this view: that these outlaws, like pirates, are entitled only to a hearing to determine their status. If they are found to belong to one of these outlaw bands, then they are outlaws indeed. What we do with them ought to depend only on the question of what our interests require.
They are otherwise entitled to the same protections they will give our servicemen, or such civilian hostages as they choose to take, or such "enemy" children as they find in their power -- that is, none whatsoever.All done!
I don't have any inside information on this, but there are strong indications that the U.S. government is about to execute plans to evacuate non-essential personnel and other U.S. citizens from Lebanon.
From FOX News:
The United States estimates 25,000 Americans live or work in Lebanon, but officials assume far fewer would choose to leave if they could. The State Department said it was working with the Pentagon on a plan for helping American citizens leave.
From the State Department:
The Department of State continues to work with the Department of Defense on a plan to help American citizens depart Lebanon. As of the morning of July 15, we are looking at how we might transport Americans to Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, Americans can then board commercial aircraft for onward travel. Commercial airlines provide the safest and most efficient repatriation options to final destinations.
The most likely means of evacuation would be by helicopter from a pre-arranged location (the airport, the embassy, or a large athletic field) to ships waiting offshore (most likely the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, currently in the Red Sea), and then further transport by ship or helicopter to Cyprus.
For more information on how Noncombatant Evacuation Operations are planned, organized, and executed, see Joint Warfighting Publication 3-07.5, "Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Noncombatant Evacuation Operations."
Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs) are conducted to assist the Department of State (DOS) in evacuating noncombatants, nonessential military personnel, selected host-nation citizens, and third country nationals whose lives are in danger from locations in a host foreign nation to an appropriate safe haven and/or the United States. NEOs usually involve swift insertions of a force, temporary occupation of an objective, and a planned withdrawal upon completion of the mission. During NEOs, the US Ambassador is the senior authority for the evacuation and is ultimately responsible for the successful completion of the NEO and the safety of the evacuees. The Ambassador speaks with the authority of the President and serves as direct representative on site.
Evacuation operations are characterized by uncertainty and may be directed without warning; situational awareness and correct appraisal of the changing political and military environment are key factors in noncombatant evacuation planning. Alternative plans should be developed for permissive, uncertain, and hostile environments. The geographic combatant commanders are responsible for planning and conducting NEOs to assist the DOS. Once requested, approved, and directed, the combatant commander will order supporting, assigned, and/or attached forces to conduct evacuation operations. It is imperative that the Ambassador’s evacuation plan and the joint force commander’s (JFC’s) plan for the NEO be supportive, coordinated, and fully integrated.
The military has "canned plans" for NEO from just about every location that you could imagine, but these situations are often fluid and require a great deal of flexibility and improvisation.
Interesting bit of trivia: one of the ships in the Iwo Jima ESG, which would likely provide support for this operation, is the USS Cole.
A little fun from a training area at Fort McCoy. Oh, and yes, yes it is very hot here.
Maybe someone already posted this and I missed it, but Bin Laden went and got himself some loser who couldn't cut it in America and is now parading him around in jihadist videos as "Azzam The American".
On a dark weekend underway, this one is worth a good laugh or three if Al-Qaeda is this desperate to take this joker in.
While the reports are still relatively early (and therefore suspect), the allegations are that a Chinese designed, Iranian-made anitship missile, perhaps a C-802, is what struck an Israeli SAAR-5 corvette.
Some sources in Israel assert that the C-802 almost insures that Iranian forces are involved in Lebanon.
More here, including links in the comments to additional information.
GH, Tom Friedman (who i don't ordinarily enjoy because he's annoying beyond belief with his constant need to oversimplify EVERYTHING) is spot on answering that question:
Why don’t the silent majorities punish these elected Islamist parties for working against the real interests of their people? Because those who speak against Hamas or Hezbollah are either delegitimized as “American lackeys’’ or just murdered, like Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.
The world needs to understand what is going on here: the little flowers of democracy that were planted in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories are being crushed by the boots of Syrian-backed Islamist militias who are desperate to keep real democracy from taking hold in this region and Iranian-backed Islamist militias desperate to keep modernism from taking hold.
It may be the skeptics are right: maybe democracy, while it is the most powerful form of legitimate government, simply can’t be implemented everywhere. It certainly is never going to work in the Arab-Muslim world if the U.S. and Britain are alone in pushing it in Iraq, if Europe dithers on the fence, if the moderate Arabs cannot come together and make a fist, and if Islamist parties are allowed to sit in governments and be treated with respect — while maintaining private armies.
The whole democracy experiment in the Arab-Muslim world is at stake here, and right now it’s going up in smoke.
I'm all for Israel taking this war to Syria and even Iran, but punishing Lebanon for being unable (and understandably unwilling) to control Hezbollah is bollocks. Where was NATO or even Egypt or Pakistan to help modernize and train Lebanon's military to one day be able to control the country, including the Hezbollah dominated South?
In Iraq, Shiite slumlord Muqtada Sadr condemns the Israeli actions in Lebanon.
But what matters in Shiite Iraq is what Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has to say. Thus far, not much.
Best of luck to both.
Moving this back up top... If you're depressed about the situation in the Middle East, well here's a way to make yourself feel better by doing something to help wounded soldiers & marines who just want to GO SURFIN'!!
Since my original post I have learned that Derrick was wounded in Fallujah... and he and the guys at Brooke Army Medical are (their words, not mine) "SO STOKED" that they might get to go!!!
Derrick McG learned to surf early and he did it often. Surfed all his life. He loved it. He thought a lot about those big waves and the cold water while serving as a Navy Corpsman in the waterless, hot and dusty sand of Iraq. When he lost his leg in an IED explosion, he couldn’t reconcile that he might never surf again.
When Derrick approached Janis Roznowski, the Director and Founder of Operation Comfort about going surfing, she told him that if he could find someone who could teach amputees how to surf then she and the organization would raise the money to take them. So Derrick did some looking and he found Rodney Roller of the Association of Amputee Surfers -- Ampsurf.
Now Operation Comfort is planning to take 20 amputees to Pismo Beach August 15-20 for a five day surf clinic and for a Thursday stay at a beachfront resort. Two professional surf schools will teach these military hero amputees how to surf!
Of course, they haven't raised enough money yet to take them all, so GO HERE TO MY PLACE TO SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP>
Andy McCarthy asks "How's That Democracy Project Going?"
Reader James asks (in John D's post):
I wonder if there have been any instances of (presumably) grateful Iraqis offering their daughters in marriage to American Marines & soldiers.
I don't know about Iraqis, but an old Sergeant Major I knew from my VMI days was "given" a 14 year old girl while serving in Turkey.
He traded her for a rug though.
Oh and I'm back, btw.
...I thought I would drop in and leave this little bit on info for Lieutenant Watada (since he's *also* in the area).
Below child molesters are spies and people who take the paycheck and benefits then refuse to deploy to combat situations. Yolanda Hewitt-Vaughn was treated like dirt and everyone looked down on her.
If you'd like to read where that little tidbit came from - drop by Castle Argghhh! and read it here.
Froggy rounds up links to Lebanese blogs.
...the issue ahead of us if that of Hezbollah and Hamas being wielded as instruments of provocation by Syria and Iran to stir up another national liberation conflict and mobilize us all for the march to hell, with many of us applauding all the way. In this regard, the Assads’ success in imposing this new round of conflict upon us all is going to doom us all.Start at the top and scroll. (Note, the blog has a soundtrack - don't be surprised when it starts playing.)
Even more Lebanese bloggers (via Star from Mosul):
And more here.
Still more: an email from an American in Beirut. Yes, the Embassy will be overwhelmed during such a crisis. And yes, there are plans to evacuate American citizens in such events, but apparently the person he spoke to was unaware. I'm speaking of noncombatant evacuation operations - AKA "NEO" - which generally involve the US Marines or SOF guys. It's telling that such an op hasn't been ordered for Beirut, but no doubt somebody somewhere is "standing by."
Here's the instruction manual.
Anyone who has been stationed in Korea and especially Yongsan should really go and check out this photograph of Yongsan in the 1940's. Pretty amazing picture when compared to today. Additionally read this great link about the history of foreign occupation of Yongsan Garrison in Seoul:
The headquarters of the ``Chosun (Korean) military command’’ were located in the Yongsan area on the grounds now occupied by the 8th U.S. Army. The Yongsan area attracted the attention of the Japanese military as early as 1894 _ perhaps because of its proximity to the Han River, which provided the easiest medium of communication in that pre-railway age. When a Japanese brigade arrived in Korea in May 1894, it camped at Yongsan, laying foundation for the long tradition of a foreign military presence in the area. From the 1910s, Yongsan already housed barracks, military installations, and officers’ accommodation. Incidentally, Yongsan was also the place from which the first airplane ventured into Korean skies. In 1913, Lt. Narahara of the Japanese Navy designed and tested an experimental airplane. The test flights took place at the training grounds of the Japanese forces in Yongsan.
Here is a sobering stat if you are a Korean, from 1884 until today there hasn't been a year when Korea hasn't had a sizable foreign military presence on their soil.
Comments from Israeli officials, as reported in the New York Times (emphasis added):
...Israeli officials said there would be a long campaign to restore the country’s security, both along its southern border with Gaza and its northern one with Lebanon. The Israelis want to restore their military credibility with the Palestinian militants and the Hamas government in Gaza and with Hezbollah, and say they intend to make the current campaign painful for both sets of antagonists.
The Israelis say they want the message to get across to Syria and Iran, the countries widely considered to be the main sponsors of Hezbollah and Palestinian militancy.
A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, Gideon Meir, told reporters on Thursday that Israel had “concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the kidnapped soldiers to Iran,” but he gave no specifics or source for the claim. “As a result,” Mr. Meir said, “Israel views Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the main players in the axis of terror and hate that endangers not only Israel, but the entire world.”
Israeli concerns that the soldiers may be moved out of Lebanon are a prime reason for its efforts to blockade the country and prevent air traffic, Mr. Meir said later.
In Germany, President Bush and Chancellor Merkel addressed reporters. While the main topic was a response to Iran on nuclear issues, the Israel/Hamas/Hezbollah issue was also discussed. Full text here, portions on Israel below.
We also addressed the very disturbing situation in the Middle East, and it fills us with concern and we have also stated clearly that everything needs to be done in order to come back to a peaceful resolution. We need to remind all of us again how this escalation started, with the kidnaping of a soldier, through rockets -- for the firing of missiles against Israeli territory. And we can only urge all parties, appeal to all parties to stop, to cease violence and to also release the kidnaped soldier, and to stop this firing of missiles at Israeli territory.President Bush:
We would like to appeal to the powers in the region to see to it that further escalation is warded off, and that, first and foremost, the root causes of this conflict are removed. And only in this way will a negotiating process become possible again. We have every interest in seeing the Lebanese government be strengthened and this government being able to pursue its policies in a sensible and secure environment.
We talked about the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli issues with Hezbollah, and our common desire to work together to help bring peace to that troubled region.
My attitude is this: There are a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace. And those of -- who are peace-loving must work together to help the agents of peace -- Israel, President Abbas, and others -- to achieve their objective. You got to understand when peace advances, it's in the terrorists' interests in some cases to stop it. And that's what's happening.Questions and answers followed:
We were headed toward the road map, things looked positive, and terrorists stepped up and kidnaped a soldier, fired rockets into Israel. Now we've got two more kidnapings up north. Hezbollah doesn't want there to be peace. The militant arm of Hamas doesn't want there to be peace. And those of us who do want peace will continue to work together to encourage peace.
Q A question addressed to you both. You talked about the Middle East, and what is your assessment of the military action of Israel in Lebanon? The French Foreign Minister already said it is disproportionate. Does that give you cause for Europe or the United States to intervene?All done!
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: ...Well, as to the violence in the Middle East, particularly as regards Lebanon, I think that one needs to be very careful to make a clear distinction between the root causes and the consequences of something. So we started here from a case of kidnaping of a soldier, and one of the other root causes also is the activity of Hezbollah. And it's most important for the Israeli government to be strengthened, but it is also clearly shown that these incursions, such as the kidnaping of soldiers, is not acceptable.
And the parties to that conflict obviously have to use proportionate means, but I am not at all for sort of blurring the lines between the root causes and the consequences of an action. There has to be a good reaction now, not from the Israeli government, but from those who started these attacks in the first place.
PRESIDENT BUSH: -- to help calm the situation, we've got diplomats in the region. Secretary of State Rice, who is here, is on the phone talking to herf counterparts. I'll be making calls.
I gave you my initial impression earlier, and that is that it's a sad situation where -- when there is a very good chance for there to be a two-state solution enacted -- that is two states living side-by-side in peace -- it's really sad where people are willing to take innocent life in order to stop that progress. As a matter of fact, it's pathetic.
And having said that, Israel has a right to defend herself. Every nation must defend herself against terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent life. It's a necessary part of the 21st century.
Secondly, we -- whatever Israel does, though, should not weaken the Siniora government in Lebanon. We're concerned about the fragile democracy in Lebanon. We've been working very hard through the United Nations and with partners to strengthen the democracy in Lebanon. The Lebanese people have democratic aspirations, which is being undermined by the actions and activities of Hezbollah.
Thirdly, Syria needs to be held to account. Syria is housing the militant wing of Hamas. Hezbollah has got an active presence in Syria. The truth of the matter is, if we really want there to be -- the situation to settle down, the soldiers need to be returned, and President Assad needs to show some leadership toward peace.
To answer your question about the involvement, we will be involved diplomatically, and are involved diplomatically.
Q Does the Beirut -- the attack on the Beirut airport, does that concern you, and are you concerned about triggering a wider Middle East war?
PRESIDENT BUSH: As I mentioned, my biggest concern is whether or not actions taken will weaken the Siniora government. Democracy in Lebanon is an important part of laying a foundation for peace in that region. We have worked really hard to get Syria out of Lebanon -- U.N. Resolution 1559, and it's follow-up Resolution 1680 were manifestations of the work of the international community to get Syria out of Lebanon. We've always felt that a democracy in Lebanon is important for the Lebanese people, and it's important for the region.
So the concern is that any activities by Israel to protect herself will weaken that government. And we have made that -- or topple that government -- and we've made it clear in our discussions.
Having said all that, people need to protect themselves. There are terrorists who will blow up innocent people in order to achieve tactical objectives. In this case, the objective is to stop the advance of peace -- which is a remarkable statement, isn't it? Willing to kill to stop peace.
We have a good chance to get a two-state solution, two democracies living side-by-side in peace. It is a clear and achievable vision. There is a way forward called the road map to achieve that vision. What will prevent that vision from being achieved is -- are terrorist activities, and that's what you're seeing taking place.
In my view, Iran and Syria are engaged in "all out war" although the form is currently asymmetric war by proxy.
Since the goals for Iran and Syria include the complete destruction of Israel and, at least, the neutering of the United States, I consider them to be seeking "total" victory. I would argue that this includes the removal of any restraint on their ability pursue their national or extranational interests (perhaps in re-establishing the Caliphate?).
And, though their approach is not masses of tanks and waves of aircraft, they are fighting on their schedule and within their capabilities. They are subordinating everything to the war effort. Thus, it is, in my view, "total war." It is not being fought like previous wars. It is being fought on several fronts.
Iran is "continuing politics by other means" through its surrogate actions. Walid Phares has identified four goals Iran wants to gain through this current effort at misdirection (or a feint?):
1. Iran is concerned about the nuclear crisis and wants to deflate the issue away.But these concerns are but a small part of the larger war which includes support of terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and pieces of the Iraqi "insurgency."
2. Syria is concerned about the Hariri murder investigation and wishes to postpone its results.
3. Hizbollah is concerned about the call for disarming its militias and therefore decided to flare up the conflict with Israel.
4. Finally, Hamas was sinking in crisis with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. Thus a Jihad against Israel was the solution.
In addition to the attacks on civilians and other indices of total war, the war continues with propaganda, perhaps including tripe like this which asks one part of the Iranian goal, "Imagine a world without Israel."
If your goal is total destruction of another state and you have announced that goal and taken steps to make it come true, then it smells like "all out war" to me. "Death to the United States" is a goal, not just a chant.
What is currently happening may be just a skirmish or it may be the beginning of a bigger battle. But it is part of a larger whole. An "all out" war, in my view.
RIYADH, July 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Thursday blamed "elements" inside Lebanon for the violence with Israel, in unusually frank language directed at guerrilla group Hizbollah and its Iranian backers.
Saudi Arabia, home of the Wahhabi's, siding with the Joooooos? I think the worlds terrorists have pretty much undermined any "moral" support they ever had.
Think the US would ever respond as forcefully to the kidnapping of American soldiers?
I doubt we'll see all-out war here, or any significant escalation (beyond whatever level Israel decides to take this) at all. Israeli/Arab wars are generally named by the number of days it takes the Israelis to win, and its neighbors are well aware of that. They switched tactics to prolonged terrorism years ago for just that reason. As for the Persians, while the Mullahs may be mad, they don't want the outright whup-a they know Israel would inflict upon them.
There's been discussion as to how this might impact the situation in Iraq. It will be interesting to see whether the non-Iraqi "insurgents" elect to stay fighting the Crusader or if they head for the hills (of Lebanon or elsewhere) for the latest round of war against the Jew. My guess is they will go with whichever they perceive as the softer opponent, while simultaneously declaring it the greater threat in order to save face. (For the record, I expect that will be us.)
And while many refer to Israel's "two-front war", apparently it's lost on one and all that it is the Jihaddis who are now facing a three-front (Israel-Iraq-Afghanistan) shooting war (albeit low-intensity) against the Crusaders and Jews.
But if their own publications are to be believed, this is exactly the "Savagery" the terrorists want. Those same manuals also indicate that "escalation" will come in the form of more terrorist attacks in locations removed from those current hot spots. It only takes a handful of goons to achieve that.
But all-out war between Israel, Iran, Syria, and whoever? Fugadabowdit.
Does anyone have a copy of the PowerPoint slides from the class where they train us military folks to dehumanize the enemy? I've somehow missed that training - but I've only been in a little over 20 years.
The accused is honored. Sorta. A nice speech but no permanent space of honor, of course. I bet they didn't even give him a new sword when they broke it.
Dreyfus might well be remembered in a world where the accusers of Pantano know the warfighting effect...
Some background on the rockets being used by Hezbollah here. Any guesses on the main source?
Did you guess "Iran?"
Help yourself to a cigar.
News of bombings and murders sells papers - or so the theory goes, so it's no surprise those fill the headlines on any given day. But that's certainly not the full story, and Amir Taheri offers a progress report on Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's reconciliation plan.
With the media focused on the continuing terrorist campaign in Iraq, a number of political developments that affect the big picture in that country have gone largely unreported. These developments started with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's decision to think the unthinkable and come out with a national reconciliation plan.Much more at the link, including discussion of Iraq's plan to gain support from it's Arab neighbors. All done!
Regarded as anathema by those nostalgic of the former regime, the concept of reconciliation also sounded alarm bells among Kurdish and Shiite communities that had suffered under the Ba'ath. According to sources within the new Iraqi government, sections of the coalition that supports Maliki in the National Assembly (parliament) were also opposed to reconciliation in any form. At one point last May, two key groups within the coalition even threatened to walk out if Maliki insisted on the plan.
But Maliki managed to isolate the critics within his coalition, with the discreet but decisive support from Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, the primus inter pares of Shi'ite theologians in Najaf. By last week, the only Shiite group still opposed to the reconciliation plan was the entourage of Muqtada al-Sadr, the young firebrand mullah with a base in the slums of northeast Baghdad.
Winning Kurdish and Shiite support for the plan, however, was just the first step. Far more difficult was to persuade the Arab Sunni minority, some 15 percent of the population, to come on board.
This is because, contrary to common perceptions, the Arab Sunni community is divided into dozens of groups, often based on tribal loyalties, with no overall leadership. One result of that division is that each group, anxious to appear more hard-line than the others, contributes to what amounts to an auction on radicalism. It tooks weeks of negotiation, often conducted through tribal intermediaries inside Iraq and in neighboring Jordan, to achieve a breakthrough.
By last week, 22 Arab Sunni armed groups had agreed to join the process initiated by Maliki. According to Akram al-Hakim, the minister in charge of national dialogue, the groups that have come on board account for a majority of those who have been fighting in the four Sunni provinces since the autumn of 2003. At the same time, a group of 18 senior officers of the former regime's army have met with President Jalal Talabani to seek ways of bringing hundreds of Arab Sunni cashiered officers and NCOs into the new Iraqi army and police.
Excluded from the process are the Salafi armed groups, mostly led by non-Iraqi Arabs, who treat Iraq as nothing but a battleground in which to wage war against both Shi'ites and "Crusader-Zionists" led by the United States. The Maliki government has decided that the only way to deal with such groups is to crush them.
The drumming gets louder:
No one should have any lingering doubts about what’s going on in the Middle East. It’s war, and it now runs from Gaza into Israel, through Lebanon and thence to Iraq via Syria. There are different instruments, ranging from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon and on to the multifaceted “insurgency” in Iraq. But there is a common prime mover, and that is the Iranian mullahcracy, the revolutionary Islamic fascist state that declared war on us 27 years ago and has yet to be held accountable.UPDATE: Austin Bay has analysis here
Heh. Have you read the WaPo coverage of the speech?
On a slightly different topic, Ambassador Khalilzad's speech wasn't just a current State of Iraq message - it was also a road map for forward progress. Reconciliation of now-warring factions is a key element of that plan, and a key element to reconciliation will be amnesty for former combatants. The issue raised a minor firestorm in DC when first mentioned a while back, but given that Khalilzad discussed it at some length at CSIS I'm guessing the offer is very definitely on the table (somewhere)...
Also, a greater sense of realism has set in among Iraqi political leaders. Sunni Arab leaders are realizing that nostalgia for their past dominance is not the basis for a realistic political strategy. Shia Arab leaders are coming to see that seeking vengeance against other groups for Saddam's crimes or attempting to exclude Sunni Arabs from playing a role in government is not a realistic option. Consequently, a growing understanding exists that reconciliation with most elements of the current armed opposition is both possible and essential for stabilizing Iraq, as evident from the fact that some insurgents have asked to be armed by the Iraqi government in order to fight the foreign terrorists.Get ready for amnesty, and given that it's part of a negotiation, be prepared to make concessions in how broad you think that amnesty should be. Furthermore, given that in America the loyal opposition will use this opportunity to bolster their "tough on national security" credibility (or just as part of the ongoing Bush is stupid/evil theme) you can bet that you'll be hearing a lot about the issue in the future - and most of what you hear will be wrong.
As the Iraqi government and reconcilable insurgents come together, the question will arise of granting amnesty to those who have committed violent acts in the current conflict. Iraqi leaders understand that every war must end and that ending wars inevitably requires amnesties of some kind. A broad amnesty was issued at the end of the American Civil War. Many other recent internal conflicts have ended with broad pardons or amnesties. Recent examples include El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, and Indonesia. Afghanistan has implemented a process to allow all but a few former Taliban to renounce their past and to reintegrate into Afghan society.
I understand that some in the United States reacted negatively to the concept of granting amnesties. We will work with Iraqi leaders to find the right balance between reconciliation and accountability and to ensure that the sacrifices of those who died or were injured in the liberation of Iraq are honored. There will not be a double standard that grants amnesty to those who killed soldiers in the Coalition but not to those who killed Iraqis. The American people can rest assured on that point. The biggest honor for soldiers and civilians who sacrificed to end the threat from Saddam's regime and to liberate the Iraqi people is for the cause of a democratic Iraq to succeed and for those Iraqis who initially fought this change to accept the new order.
I'll stick with my comments from the last time the issue arose.
What exactly should the Iraqi's do? Should they track down each and every person who ever planted an IED, arrest them and provide a fair trial and execution? While I understand the impulse to "destroy the enemy"... I support a "defeat the enemy" tactic - and I'm quite certain victory won't be determined by who gets the last kill.All done!
From the department of incredible timing: Glenn Reynolds has an (audio) interview with Senator McCain.
...about a variety of hot button topics: Immigration (which got a pretty lengthy treatment), the Second Amendment, blogs and campaign finance reform, leaks from the CIA and other intelligence agencies and, of course, earmarks and PorkBusters.
Helen also asked him about rumors that he's considering Condi Rice or Jeb Bush as a 2008 running mate, and whether he'd support federal legislation banning gun confiscation of the sort that happened in New Orleans after Katrina.
Just another indication that this may be the beginning of the end of the US-ROK alliance:
According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, military authorities requested the U.S. to sell it four Global Hawks in 2008 at last year¿s SCC in Hawaii in order to secure independent surveillance ability on North Korea. Korea requested this several times. However, last June, the U.S. put out a not for sale policy and have rejected Korea's requests.
So why would the US deny this system to our so called "blood allies" the South Koreans? You shouldn't have to think to hard:
The U.S. is thought to have rejected the request for fear that the core technology might be leaked. Some are known to be worried that confidential information collected on North Korea using the Global Hawk might be leaked to the North.
But look who the US is selling the system to:
The U.S. refusal to sell the Global Hawk has set back the South Korean's military's plan to introduce a high altitude UAV system until after 2010, and if the U.S. continually refuses, the whole system could fall apart.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said, While continuously requesting the U.S to sell us the Global Hawk, we are also developing a domestic mid-altitude UAV system. However, the mid-altitude UAV system development will be possibly completed around 2015. On the other hand, Japan received consent to buy the Global Hawk last June, and it has already secured budgets and commenced preparations to introduce the Global Hawk into its system.
It is becoming more and more apparent that South Korea's incompetent government is going to create the thing that they fear more than the North Korean threat and that is a fully militarized Japan. South Korea has only itself to blame for the beginning an arms race in northeast Asia and the normalization of Japanese military might with their coddling of North Korea and anti-American policies. It is quickly looking like the legacy of President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea who leaves office next year, will be the beginning of the end of the US-ROK alliance which has brought the greatest prosperity and security the country has ever had, a belligerent and nuclear armed North Korea, and a rearmed and militarized Japan ready to conduct pre-emptive strikes on the peninsula. Quite a legacy indeed.
In 2000, I took what was then the unusual step of voting in the Republican Primary (in Georgia, you have to choose one primary or the other on election day) so that I could vote for McCain. I don't think I could easily vote for him again -- only on an occasion when the alternatives were all notably and demonstrably worse -- because of his willingness to impose limits on the freedom of political speech. His remarks on the First Amendment, noted here, are I think a worthy reason to be concerned about his devotion to keeping the President's oath of office:
I know that money corrupts.... I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt.My point here is that you don't have to go very far for convincing reasons to vote against McCain. That being true, it's astonishing that even the professional 'hired guns' of American politics go as far as they do where he is concerned. I don't understand why they do and -- worse -- I don't understand why it works. Why should such a statement be useful in swaying public opinion in your direction?
What does it say about the country that such statements often work?
The nuts came out back in 2000 during his campaign for that reason. Expect more nuttiness over the next whatever period of time...
A diary on Redstate opines that John McCain should not be president because he "has continued his practice of cooperating with the adversary, even to the exclusion of his nominal allies."
The evidence of this: McCain's breaking under torture while a POW.
This could get ugly quick.
U.S. government has a response I agree with in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli Druze on the Lebanese border.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this unprovoked act of terrorism, which was timed to exacerbate already high tensions in the region and sow further violence. We also hold Syria and Iran, which have provided long-standing support for Hezbollah, responsible for today's violence. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers," reads a statement released by the White House press secretary.
"Hezbollah's actions are not in the interest of the Lebanese people, whose welfare should not be held hostage to the interests of the Syrian and Iranian regimes. We reiterate the international community's insistence that all parties in the region fulfill their obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1680, and cease all support for Hezbollah," the statement continues.
Hezbollah has American blood on their hands and we have a debt to repay, by the way.
Worst case, maybe: IS against SY => IR declares war against IS, maybe US, might have nukes ready at the end of the month where the 12th imam comes out => regional conflict and worse...
-- -- --All done!
Once again, somebody associated with Iran invokes the "oil weapon" of closing the Strait of Hormuz, as noted here. The best line in the piece? Try this:
...it seems that Iran has actually enough power to block the Strait of Hormuz by sinking several big ships in the main channels of the traffic (although most of the traffic separation lines are in the side of the Strait which are technically, i.e. according to the international law of Seas, part of Oman's Territorial waters.Oh, those technicalities of "international law of Seas!"
Is that a war drum beating in the background? Or is it just me?
Instapundit and Jimbo at Blackfive linked to The Belmont Club's transcript of a speech delivered by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) July 11, 2006.
Here's an excerpt from Khalilzad's speech:
Whatever anyone may have thought about the decision to topple Saddam - whether one supported it or not - succeeding in Iraq is now essential to the future of the region and the world. Most of the world's security problems emanate from the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. Shaping its future is the defining challenge of our time. What happens in Iraq will be decisive in determining how this region evolves. Therefore, the struggle for the future of Iraq is vital to the future of the world.
The New York Times slanders the US military, again, in an outrageous editorial, with which it likewise slanders an “administration that tossed aside the Geneva rules years ago.”
I’m in the military that the Times Editors so thoroughly despise and disparage at every opportunity, and I can tell them this: No military on the face of this earth more thoroughly complies with both the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions, than the US Military.
The Times suggests that the Bush Administration can’t be trusted with abiding by the Geneva Conventions:
The administration has professed its allegiance to the humane treatment of prisoners and to the rule of law before. But repairing the constitutional balance of powers and America’s profoundly damaged global image demand more than lip service.Al Qaeda propaganda at its finest. More than lip service, indeed it is. The Times endorses the outright falsehood that the US Military, as a reflection of official US Policy, rejects the rules and obligations of the Geneva Conventions.
As proof, they have spent the better part of the last 5 years pointing to one incident or another of supposed violation. All conducted by individuals, reported by superiors (NCOs and officers), investigated by the military, and punished as appropriate. All under a microscope of dedicated propaganda and partisan point-taking by bitter political opponents of the President, and their media enablers such as the Times.
The latest statement by Department of Defense (DoD) officials states that “prisoner policies already generally complied with the Geneva Conventions” because they always have. Soldiers take the Geneva Conventions and similar standards in the Laws of War quite seriously, and orders or directives to violate those standards would create a loud groundswell of rebuke and public insubordination within the military.
There have been some discussions, debate, and reasonable steps taken to expand tools and techniques of interrogation as they apply to a class of enemy combatants that are neither prisoners of war, nor definable by current Convention articles, much less recognizable as signatories or adherents of international treaty.
Outside of some judge advocate corps (JAG) purists who argue on fine points of military legalese, no serious observer questions the difficulties and contradictions in affording criminal or military justice protections to possible terrorists detained in a battle space, not abiding by rules or conventions. The thought of affording these detainees with what may be highly classified evidence against them, information they can use to thwart interdiction efforts against their fellow Hirabah.
Global terrorism is a grave and evil threat to our way of life, to civilization itself all over the world, as recently evidence by the horrible bombings in Mumbai (Bombay).
If anything, the US Military is a peerless exemplar of how to fight such a threat with honor, humanity, civility, and professionalism against a determined enemy that evidences none of those things. The very few exceptions prove the rule.
Not that the Times is paying attention. They’re too busy carrying water for the Hirabah public relations and propaganda effort.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
WÜRZBURG, Germany — After spending most of its storied history in Europe after World War II, the 1st Infantry Division is going home.More detailed history here. (Hollywood version - a classic - here.)
The legacy and lasting effects of those years were remembered during a departure ceremony for the division headquarters Thursday at Leighton Barracks.
The division has been headquartered in Würzburg for the past 10 years, and was also based here right after World War II. Since 1917, when it became the Army’s first division, The Big Red One has played a part in major European conflicts and beyond.
Division soldiers helped turn the tide during World War I, when the French army had been decimated, and the allies were asunder. They spearheaded the World War II assaults in North Africa, Sicily and on the beaches of France on D-Day. Members of the 1st ID fought in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and embarked on peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. Finally, the division deployed to Iraq during the current conflict.
The 1st Infantry Division will return to Fort Riley with a ceremony, a Division change of command, and other events scheduled for July 31 and Aug. 1.
In case anyone wants to read the actual memo... it's HERE
Reiterating what Army Lawyer noted so well, the acquaintance that forwarded the link said the following:
The first paragraph of the memo merely repeats the finding of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision that Geneva Convention Common Article Three applies to the conflict with al Qaeda, and that the Department’s military commission orders were inconsistent with Common Article Three. The memo then repeats the Department’s understanding that all its existing Department orders, policies, and directives, aside from the military commission procedures, “comply with the standards of Common Article 3.”
Then, the memo directs all recipients of the memo to ensure that all DoD personnel adhere to the standard of treating detainees humanely, and to review all relevant policy directives, regulations, policies, and practices “to ensure that they comply with the standards of Common Article Three.” Contrary to the media reports, there is no order in this memo that the Department reverse its policy and now apply Common Article Three to all detainees. There is no order that detainees will now be treated any differently than they have in the past. This memo is not a change in policy because it already is the policy of the United States to treat detainees humanely and “in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.”
This policy comes from no less an authority than the President himself. Memo from President to Vice President, et al. regarding Humane Treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees ¶ 3 (Feb. 7, 2002). In fact, the Department memo specifically recalls the President’s policy promulgation. As the DOD memo notes, if DOD personnel were to comply with all existing policies, orders, and directives, including directives related to intelligence interrogation, detainee debriefings, and tactical questioning, then their actions would comply with the standards of Common Article 3 because such policy direction already complies with Common Article 3.
I'll note that ¶ 5 of the 2002 memo directs such humane treatment... The President's 2002 memo is HERE
Okay, Homer I am not, but yes... Buck Sargent is now on record as having written a P-O-E-M.
(My apologies to Russ Vaughn for butchering his AO)
The times they have ‘a change-ed since our granddads were lauded, Their excellence, their fiber, their cause never doubted. Did they know what it was to be disparaged by journalists, Protesters, college kids, Red-diaper activists?
Bygone is the era of the Stars and Stripes raised,
Our flag flown in triumph along V-day parades.
‘Twas a rite placed in stasis lest talking head cases,
Deplored our galling lack of cross-cultural graces.
Whomever says a week of guard duty is boring and completely unproductive is only correct on the first point.
>The Pentagon has decided in a major policy shift that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions, according to two people familiar with the move.
The FT has learned that Gordon England, deputy defence secretary, sent a memo to senior defence officials and military officers last Friday, telling them that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions - which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners and requires certain basic legal rights at trial - would apply to all detainees held in US military custody.
This memo likely will change nothing as it was already the policy to treat detainees consistent with CA3. What was prohibited before is still prohibited. What was allowed before is still allowed. (At least insofar as treatment goes--the legal process is left to Congress to determine).
There is much less than meets the eye to the Pentagon’s announcement today that enemy combatants at Gitmo will be accorded Geneva Convention protections. It is not an announcement (as it is being misconstrued in some places) that al Qaeda detainees are now considered honorable prisoners of war. What DoD is saying is that they get Common Article 3 protection, which is minimal: they are entitled to be treated humanely, which was already U.S. policy, and – consistent with what the Supreme Court has ruled – they may not be subjected to military commissions as currently designed. No one really thought the administration was going to decline to comply with the Court’s ruling, so how this marks a “Big Shift,” as the New York Times’ headline proclaims, is beyond me.
McCarthy has a "wishlist" for what now should happen on this front:
(a) Announce that the United States is withdrawing from Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, with the explanation that (1) as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, the president is supreme in the area of foreign policy, a role the Framers and the Geneva Conventions themselves give courts no role in; (2) it was never contemplated that Common Article 3 provided rights for international terrorist organizations, which is why the world understood the 1977 Protocol I Additional was necessary to accomplish this; (3) the United States — through its competent foreign policy organ, the executive branch — has never accepted, much less ratified, Protocol I; (4) by interpreting Common Article 3 to accomplish what the United States expressly declined to accept in Protocol I, the Supreme Court has turned Common Article 3 into a treaty the United States would never have ratified; and (5) the Geneva Conventions, by their own terms, provide for disputes to be worked out diplomatically and do not create judicially enforceable rights for individuals, so the Supreme Court has actually provided BETTER rights for international terrorists than for honorable prisoners of war who are unquestionably covered under the treaty — that is unacceptable.
(b) Reaffirm that prisoners will be treated humanely — neither tortured, nor subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment — as has been U.S. policy, regardless of Common Article 3.
(c) Announce that the administration would, of course, honor the court's regrettable ruling on military commissions. No further trials of detainees will occur while it works with congress on a mutually agreeable military commission trial system — with the understanding, however, that congress has already implicitly approved of the system that is in place when it enacted the DTA. The DTA is plainly designed to let those commissions go forward, which congress, of course, would never have done had it disapproved of the system. Meanwhile, consistent with the laws of war, enemy combatants will continue to be held at the discretion of the executive branch until hostilities are concluded, however long that may take.
(d) Announce that the President hoped that, if Congress and the administration took the time and care in the middle of a war to enact legislation to design a new system for detainee trials, the Supreme Court would this time defer to the institutional competence of co-equal branches who, under the Constitution, control the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, rather than ignoring an act of Congress, as the court did with the DTA.
Works for me. All done!
Oh this should be fun.
Beginning shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the military lawyers warned that the administration's plan for military commissions put the United States on the wrong side of the law and of international standards. Most important, they warned, the arrangements could endanger members of the American military who might someday be captured by an enemy and treated like the detainees at Guantánamo.
But the lawyers' sense of vindication at the Supreme Court's 5-to-3 decision is tempered by growing anxiety over what may happen next. Several military lawyers, most of them retired, have said they are troubled by the possibility that Congress may restore the kind of system they have long argued against.
Donald J. Guter, another retired admiral who succeeded Admiral Hutson as the Navy's top uniformed lawyer, said it would be a mistake for Congress to try to undo the Supreme Court ruling. Admiral Guter was one of several senior military judge advocates general, known as JAG's, who after objecting to the planned military commissions found their advice pointedly unheeded.
Remember where we're at, some lawyers in the military disagreed with other lawyers in the DoD and Administration. (thereby giving rise to ridiculous tactics used against William Haynes, former DoD general counsel and now 4th Circuit nominee) Neither of which, by mere virtue of their positions, are necessarily right. That being said, when the main argument in favor of expanded CA3 protections is reciprocity, you're missing the forest for the trees:
"Our central theme in all this has always been our great concern about reciprocity," General Brahms said in an interview. "We don't want someone saying they've got our folks as captives and we're going to do to them exactly what you've done because we no longer hold any moral high ground."
Our slavish adherence to some hackneyed notion of what Common Article 3 means does not protect our soldiers IN A COMMON ARTICLE 3 CONFLICT. The very nature of a CA3 type conflict (i.e. insurgents, irregulars, terrorists, civil war, etc) negates any attempts to argue for reciprocity since only one side is bound by (by law) to the restrictions of Common Article 3.
CA3 is, and has always been, a one-way obligation meant to impose norms on the only side in the conflict that was a signatory to the Conventions. The other side are not signatories and are under no legal obligation to provide reciprocity. CA3 exists only to enable signatories that are NOT part of the CA3 conflict to impose some obligations on the state that is involved in the CA conflict.
Claiming that not abiding by CA3 means we lose "the moral high ground" means nothing since the people you are fighting in a CA3 conflict are under no obligations anyway. Reciprocity works when you're fighting France, or some other signatory state. (i.e. a Common Article 2 conflict). It doesn't realistically apply outside of that framework. If we start ignoring Common Article 2 and it's attendant protections, then you can make the reciprocity argument. Until then, this is just bad legal analysis that was once in uniform.
As a mother, I know this would help me if I had a child who died...
Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, Iraq's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, served as keynote speaker and thanked the mothers for the sacrifices their sons and daughters have made for his country.
"We were a country without hope," Istrabadi said. "The intervention of the United States in my country has been a lifeline for us. It has restored hope for us that our future will be very different from our past."
Hearing laughter in Iraq's streets again and no longer feeling the need to cringe when admitting their heritage is part of what America's intervention has given back to his country, he said.
"These are not small things. These are things for which this country, and you as individuals and your children, have earned our tremendous gratitude," Istrabadi said. "Words of thanks truly seem to me to be insufficient to convey to you the thanks of a country, a grateful nation, which has lingered too long under tyranny."
Iraq's gratitude to the United States and the families who have sacrificed personally "will be eternal," he said.
While I may be young and pretty, I'm pretty damned old for the business I'm in. But while we're on the subject of real old guys and lessons learned, visit these old guys who are pretty damned interesting.
Military authorities have filed capital charges of premeditated rape and murder against four of the five active-duty soldiers accused in an attack on an Iraqi family in March. The four soldiers could face the death penalty if convicted. The main suspect - allegedly the killer of all the victims and one of two actual rapists - had been discharged and is facing federal (not military) charges.
It won't happen, but I'm not opposed to turning this lot over to the Iraqi government for trial. If they can handle the Saddam case they can certainly handle this one too.
Did you know that you can get the inside of your cheek swabbed or give a little tube of blood and actually save someone's life? Go to Blackfive and read more on the drive to save Navy Seal Justin... or perhaps someone else...
And Chaplain Bjertness of the 1/125 Strike (deployed) needs some things for Humanitarian Aid... Go HERE for the list and address...
We've discussed this here before - the Army shuffled its recruiting goals this year, setting lower quotas for the winter (school) months and higher for the summer months this year than last. Some - myself included - expressed concern over whether the summer quotas would be met. (Others, not including your humble scribe or any other author here, thought the exercise was a ploy to generate good looking numbers, percentage-wise, for most of the year.)
But so far, so good.
Military On Pace To Meet Recruiting Goals For This Year
The Army exceeded its recruiting goal for June, staying on track to meet its target of 80,000 new soldiers this year, the Pentagon announced Monday. Active-duty components of the other services — the Air Force, Marines and Navy — also met or topped their monthly goals. All are on pace to meet their goals for the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
The Army signed up 8,756 recruits in June, 2% above its target of 8,600. "We have made our goal 13 months in a row," said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
....oftentimes there is a serious disconnect between what is being discussed on TV and the reality of combat as experienced by our troops on the ground in Iraq.
While the nature of modern media coverage is partly to blame for this discrepancy, some of the fault lies with the current upheaval in military thinking. U.S. military doctrine is running far behind the technological, geopolitical and economic shifts wrought by globalization and defense intellectuals have rushed to fill the gap to help the Pentagon make sense of the new world. To outsiders, a bewildering array of terms have been created – OODA Loops, NCW, 4GW, Three Block War, PNM Theory, Global Guerillas, Strategic Corporals, EBO – that seek to provide commanders with insights and combat advantages.
Curious, I wanted to find out what professional soldiers thought of all this intellectual effort on their behalf. The Small Wars Council is a superb discussion board associated with The Small Wars Journal, edited and published by two Marine veterans, Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle. Most of the participants in discussions are active duty personnel or experienced veterans, though diplomats, journalists, scholars and interested amateurs are also welcome. I posed a question to the board:
“How, if at all, have these theoretical exercises impacted what you do? Do you value these intellectual paradigms relative to your personal experiences?”
There follows some well-thought out responses, proof positive of the rich home of ideas and debate the Small Wars Council has become. Mark closes the post with a call to action:
Bloggers and scholars can help the troops here most by acting as a filter for what is often an unmannageably large mass of open source information and reducing it to concise, clear and accurate messages. Information can only turn into knowledge when communication and comprehension are in play - the troops are not just short on the information they need but time for reflection as well. We at home have the luxury of such time so let's try to assist those who do not.
Well, it looks like Soldier's Mom was correct.
Today, the Lansing State Journal ran an article about the MSgt. Javier Camacho
meeting Mrs. Mary Kennedy, the mother of Pfc. Adam Small, for the very first time.
Quoth Mrs. Kennedy:
"It was something that, as a mother, I had to do," Kennedy said. "I had to find that guy and thank him for what he did."
With the middle ground being pulled away, after awhile what used to be discussed in the background is starting to be talked about in the clear. If you don't have other nations taking terrorists seriously enough to put them in jail after we give them over to them, and there is not system in place to keep them off the battlefield for the duration of the conflict - when do you reach the tipping point of, "Well, we could take those guys sleeping in that house prisoner - or we could call a LGB on them and call it even. What do you think?"
Ralph is thinking about it.
Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal. We've imposed rules upon ourselves that have no historical or judicial precedent. We haven't been stymied by others, but by ourselves.Yep, I know, its Ralph - but Ralph isn't the only one talking about it.
The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia (the latter provision covers honorable partisans - but no badges or armbands, no protection). Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law.
Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial. Severity, not sloppy leftist pandering, kept warfare within some decent bounds at least part of the time. But we have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom.
Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.
Love this quote from the story:
Determining the best player in Thursday's NFL supplemental draft -- talented but troubled former University of Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks -- hasn't exactly drained the brainpower of NFL scouts.Note that Hall used his GI Bill benefits to earn a degree in physical therapy - looks like he may have a fine sports-related career in or out of the NFL.
Neither has the task of identifying the best person in the special summertime lottery -- onetime University of Texas fullback Ahmard Hall.
This quote from Hall is worth noting:
"In meetings with scouts, they ask a lot of questions, but the one area they don't ever bring up is the character thing. I'm proud of that. I think teams know that, if they draft me or they sign me to come to their camp, they aren't going to have to worry about any issues of that sort, you know?"We'll soon see if character counts for anything in the NFL. On the plus side, I believe the former Sergeant wouldn't want to be a member of an organization where it doesn't.
Insurgents have posted an Internet video showing the desecration of the bodies of two American soldiers in Iraq.
The Jawa Report has an edited (but graphic) version of the video, along with still images. You can read the coverage of the story there without seeing the pictures or video - they are at the bottom of the post following several warnings.
For what its worth, the video does not depict the murder of the soldiers, who I suspect were killed in the initial attack. The fact that the actual killings aren't on the video indicates this is likely - insurgents generally don't miss such an opportunity. That there are four insurgents in view in the video implies there weren't enough to carry off the third victim, whose body was found at the scene of the original attack.
A message with the video says the soldiers were killed out of revenge for the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl in March, a crime allegedly committed by members of the same platoon. I suspect that too is an insurgent lie, they made no such claim when the soldiers were originally taken, and the story was unknown at the time. In fact, US Soldiers first revealed the details of the rape and murders - not the insurgents.
But if you've read The Management of Savagery you'll recognize many of the elements of this story as coming directly from that document. The bad guys were certainly handed a propaganda victory here, but while the alleged acts of the accused soldiers offered a golden opportunity to the enemy their playbook details exactly how well managed it was.
My thoughts on a response are here.
The North Korean regime is now coming out and demanding that the US unfreeze their assets in a Macau bank as a prerequisite for restarting the six party talks:
The deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the UN on Friday reiterated the North will return to six-party talks on its nuclear program only when the U.S. unfreezes Pyongyang’s assets in a Macau Bank. The U.S. chief negotiator in the talks, Christopher Hill, commented Sunday that if Pyongyang implemented its promise under an accord to dismantle its nuclear program, it would effectively have the same amount -- US$24 million -- in its hands. Hill added the North’s demand makes no sense.
Nothing North Korea does or says makes sense in a way we would comprehend. If the North starts to dismantle its nuclear program under the accord reached in the six-party talks last September, South Korea reciprocates with 2 million kw of free electricity or US$20 million worth of energy week after week, according to Hill’s estimate. But North Korea is adamant it will only talk again when the U.S. lifts sanctions so Pyongyang can get its hands on a paltry $24 million frozen in the Banco Delta Asia. By any standards this is absurd.
The North is estimated to have spent $6 million to make the seven missiles it shot into the sea on Wednesday, initial development costs not included. In other words, the North wasted a quarter of the money it so desperately wants back on the missile test. The World Food Program has earmarked $102 million for food for 1.9 million North Koreans over the next two years. That means the money spent on the test would have fed 200,000 starving North Koreans for a full year. But Pyongyang went ahead with the launch in a harebrained attempt to get the dear leader’s bank account back at the cost of food for its own people.
The problem is that free energy does not fatten the Dear Leader's and his lackey's bank accounts like unfreezing the assets in the Macau bank. This and the human cost of conducting the missile tests tell you all you need to know about the North Korean regime.
Now this is impressive:
Every six minutes and 20 seconds for just under 21 hours, Air National Guard Capt. Dan Schilling parachuted 486 feet from the rusted steel of Twin Falls' Perrine Bridge into the depths of the Snake River Gorge.The organization he was raising money for, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, has a website that you can visit.
With a 60-ton crane lifting him from the gorge floor and a team of sleepless parachute packers outfitting him for each jump, Schilling jumped 201 times between 8:10 p.m. Friday and just after 6 p.m. Saturday.
His effort set a new world record for the most BASE jumps in 24 hours. BASE is an acronym for the buildings, antennae, spans and earth used as a platform for daredevils in this extreme sport.
Schilling, who commands the Oregon-based 125th Special Tactics Squadron, took on this challenge to raise $20,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization that awards full college scholarships to the children of special operations soldiers who have died in battle.
More on the story can be found at my home blog.
Let's hope so. The man would be an asset to any club he joins.
Might be a good idea to have that "Most Wanted" list at the ready.
Blue Star Chronicles takes on Ethan Hawke. BSC wins, hands down, in my book.
Navy uses Vietnam river rats to train its new Riverine Force as reported here:
Thomas Cutler's combat experience on a patrol boat in Vietnam is more than 30 years old, yet it couldn't be more relevant to today's Navy.I nominate this program for the "Best Use of Old Guys" award.
Cutler, 58, is among a group of Vietnam vets informally advising the Navy as it reconstitutes river patrols. The Navy wants to extend its reach into the shallow brown waters of deltas and rivers, often the frontline in the war against terrorists and insurgents. Next spring, the first sailors since the days of the Vietnam-era swift boats will relieve Marines on river patrols protecting Haditha dam in Iraq.
"It is dangerous," says Cutler, an author and former naval officer. "But you don't go into the military to knit socks."
...there are times when I will transcend service rivalry - even for graduates of the Severn Yachting Club.
Family, Navy team up to find marrow donor Navy SEAL from Spotswood was recently diagnosed with leukemia BY MARY ANNE ROSS Correspondent SPOTSWOOD - A young man who fought for his country is now battling for his life.
And on July 15, local residents will have the opportunity to help him do just that.
Justin, whose last name is not being disclosed at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, is a Navy SEAL and former Spotswood resident who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The Navy is turning to Justin's hometown community to help him find a bone marrow stem cell donor who could save his life.
The whole article is here. If you're in the area and blog - get the word out. If you don't blog, spam your friends with the article. A very little effort on your part by going into the registry (I'm in the DoD Database mentioned, so I've *already* done my bit - and obviously can't help Justin) can make yoiu someone's angel of mercy.
H/t, Dr. Zubov of Banter in Atlanter.
O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is twice that of the American soldier. If the Americans suffer one tenth of the casualties the Russians suffered in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee and never look back. That is because the current structure of the American and Western armies is not the same as their structure during the colonial era. They have reached a stage of effeminacy that makes them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time, a weakness they compensate for with a deceptive media halo.Essential milblogger reading: The Management of Savagery (also translated as The Management of Barbarism) is an "al Qaeda handbook" authored in 2004 by Abu Bakr Naji and found on al Qaeda web sites. It's been translated by William McCants of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. McCants' work was commissioned by the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard, and is available here.
You may want to first read "Stealing Al-Qa’ida’s Playbook" at the same link. If it's after 1000 ET when you read this, a better place to start might be this NPR interview with McCants - but its not available until then.
I've put the translated table of contents in the extended section.
Update: Here's the drect link to the NPR piece, Jihadi Thinker Emphasizes the Media's Importance. That pubic relations angle is just one of the themes of Savagery, there are numerous other topics of note.
Preface: The order that has governed the world since the Sykes-Picot era
The Illusion of power: The centrality of the superpowers as a function of their overwhelming military power and deceptive media halo
First Topic: Definition of “the management of savagery” and an overview of its historical precedents
Second Topic: The path for establishing an Islamic state.
Third Topic: The most important principles and policies for implementing the plan of action and achieving, in general, the goals of the stage of “the power of vexation and exhaustion”; and, in particular, the goals of the stage of “the management of savagery.” (by the permission of God)
Section One: Mastery of the art of management
Section Two: Who leads, who manages, and who authorizes the fundamental administrative decisions?
Section Three: Using the time-tested principles of military combat
Section Four: Using violence
Section Five: Achieving power
Section Six: Properly understanding the rules of the political game of our opponents and their fellow travelers, and striking a balance between confrontation and cooperation in accordance with sharia politics
Section Seven: Polarization
Section Eight: The rules of affiliation
Section Nine: Mastering the security dimension: Surveillance and infiltrating adversaries and opponents of every kind
Section Ten: Mastering education within the movement just as it was in the first age of Islam
Fourth Topic: The most important problems and obstacles that we will face, and ways of dealing with them
(1) The problem of the decreasing number of true believers
(2) The problem of the lack of administrative cadres
(3) The problem of loyalty to elements in the preceding administration
(4) The problem of infiltration and spies
(5) The problem of secession or sudden about-face of individuals, groups, or regions who completely change their loyalty (How do we make sense of it and how do we deal with it?)
(6) The problem of excessive zeal and the problems that accompany it
Fifth Topic: Conclusion: Are there other solutions that are easier than this solution?
First Article: The battle of patience
Second Article: The struggle between the human soul and the Sunna of God in
Third Article: Our men and enemy soldiers under fire
Fourth Article: Universal laws adhered to by the elect and others
Fifth Article: Our method is a mercy to all beings
Sixth Article: Crisis of terms…"benefit" and "harm" as examples
Seventh Article: Polarization and wealth
The bumper-sticker thin anti-Bush national security policy offered by Rubin is only immediate, only political.and neither do I. Here is a sample:
Democrats can justifiably argue their goal is to reverse the Bush administration's premature diversion to Iraq. If nothing else, such a debate would focus attention on the Bush administration's failure to finish the job in Afghanistan.I hope a more powerful Democrat comes up front and offers something better - soon. They must have an "A Team" working this issue, because JR's ideas are strictly "B Team" spin.
By marrying good policy with good politics in this way, the Democrats can help win the war on terrorism and help themselves at the same time.
Next time, the Democrats should try a different strategy. Instead of calling for troop cuts in Iraq, they should call for transferring forces and resources from Iraq to Afghanistan.
By forcing a debate on transferring American forces back to Afghanistan, the Democrats can avoid the trap of allowing Republicans to claim they are weak. They can argue that their proposal is not a withdrawal from the front, but rather a deployment to an equally important front where American leadership can make the difference in securing a long-term victory.
Given North Korea's affinity for violating agreements and telling the rest of the world to screw off, perhaps Pres. Bush's example ( I loathe Kim Jong Il! ) should inspire us to bring the full bear of our soft power, our moral outrage and our ingenuity in doing everything we can to break his regime down and foster and support resistance in North Korea.Now you're talking. :)
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a wide spectrum of evidence shows that a significant number of North Koreans are not brainwashed slaves to a nightmarish regime. Joshua, who served as a JAG in USFK from 1998-2002, has a terrific breakdown of anti-regime resistance at the Korea Liberator./
Opposition to Kim Jong Il is as old as the regime itself. I’ve met a number of ex-North Koreans, from a soldier who once served on the opposite side of the DMZ while I was an American soldier in South Korea, to a man who had joined other students in Pyongyang to sow anti-Kim Il Sung leaflets in the late 1940s (he left town, one step ahead of Kim Il Sung’s police). During the Korean War, U.S. forces discovered an indengenous, anti-Communist guerrilla movement fighting against Kim Il Sung’s army, near the mouth of the Yalu River. The U.S. supported and advised these “White Tigers,” who grew to a force of 22,000 by war’s end. The U.S. promptly betrayed them on signing the Armistice.
While the options of the US in helping to forment resistance are limited, we can still do far more than we are this point. James Forsyth at FP Passport points out the tragedy inherent in how all of us (Americans, Japanese, Europeans, etc) view North Korea:
If you approached random wonks on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington's think tank row (and home to FP), and asked what concerns them in the world, you'd get a fairly standard response. In some order: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Darfur, AIDS, and climate change. Before July 4th, North Korea wouldn't have instantly sprung to mind for most people, your correspondent included. But forget for a second Kim's nuclear ambitions and just think about what he does to his own people. Here's a regime so barbaric that people are burned at the stake with their own relatives lighting the fire. If that wasn't enough, it also tests chemical weapons on its own citizens detained in concentration camps. ............................................... In a few months, this current crisis will have simmered down and the Hermit Kingdom will return once more to the back of our minds. All of which makes one realize quite how hollow our recitation of the mantra "never again" really is. As Applebaum wrote, sixty years from now "no one will be able to understand how it was possible that we knew of the existence of the gas chambers but failed to act." The real tragedy of North Korea is that we only really think - or care - about it when Kim Jong-Il fires off one of his missiles.
Given North Korea's affinity for violating agreements and telling the rest of the world to screw off, perhaps Pres. Bush's example ( I loathe Kim Jong Il! ) should inspire us to bring the full bear of our soft power, our moral outrage and our ingenuity in doing everything we can to break his regime down and foster and support resistance in North Korea. Its becoming increasingly clear that anything short of this effort makes a terrible mockery of both our national security and the ideals that we strive to live up to.
Any new ideas or proposals to improve our current anti-regime activities (i.e. our successful anti-counterfeiting campaign)? We've got some intrepid thinkers here at MIl Blogs....
A little ship history here.
And if you flew a Hawker Sea Hurricane off a CAM, you never had to worry about Landing Signal Officers...
Of course, this was a little before Lex started learning how to fly at P-cola. Well, maybe a lot before...
OK: the Philippines gets two separate entries (though really the Moro problem is complicated enough that it arguably deserves to be two or three separate entries on its own).
But what about Thailand? There are zero mentions of Thailand in the summary PDF. There's been a bloody separatist insurgency in Thailand that raged on during 2005, as it did in earlier years and does still. It's got all the usual elements: a separatist ethnic group (ethnic Malay Muslims), a definable homeland (the southern provinces of Thailand, which are majority Malay Muslim whereas the rest of Thailand is majority ethnic Thai Buddhists, with only minority Thai Muslims and ethnic Chinese), ethnic cleansing, accusations of government oppression/overreach, etc.
What's the threshold that the Philippines' conflicts have crossed, but that the Thailand one hasn't?
By the way, Hawk, the problem you mention apparently gets its own Appendix.:
Appendix 2C, by Neil J. Melvin, considers Islam, conflict and terrorism. With the end of the cold war, religion has increasingly been viewed as a key element in many of the world’s conflicts. In recent years, and particularly after the events of 11 September 2001 in the USA, radical Islam has been identified as a source of violence, including terrorism. While some observers have seen in the growth of religious extremism a ‘clash of civilizations’ in which Islamists are taking a leading role, recent research has shown a more complex picture of Muslim societies and their relationship to the rest of the world. From this perspective, internal transformation and conflict within the Muslim world as a result of globalization is promoting the emergence of new, dynamic and, in some circumstances, violent movements that are often opposed to traditional Islam. The diversity of contemporary Islamist movements and the variety of factors that shape the role of Islam within conflict suggest the need for more sophisticated development of security policies intended to prevent and terminate conflict involving individuals and groups linked to the Muslim world.So there you are -- we need a more sophisticated approach. Which is fair, I suppose, given that I was just arguing that the Moro problem by itself is pretty complex, and may really be two or three separate problems.
No interstate conflicts were active in 2005, for the second year running
In recent years, Africa has provided pointed illustrations of the negative impact of weak governance and conflict on economic development—as in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Zimbabwe—and of how strong the turnaround can be when governance problems and conflict are resolved
IMHO The fundamental difference between Iraq, Germany and Japan at the end of the conflict was that the civil governments of Germany and Japan were left intact and Iraq didn't have a functioning civil government.
We have Infantry Brigades, Armor Brigades, Air Wings as deployable modular components. What we need is Brigade sized Civil Affairs "Governments in a Box" if we are ever going to solve the failed state problem.
If we don't solve the failed state problem, we can never solve the non-state actors problem.
The institute's recently released Yearbook 2006, drawing from data maintained by Sweden's Uppsala University, reports that the number of active, major armed conflicts worldwide stood at 17 in 2005, the lowest point in a steep slide from a high of 31 in 1991.But one interpretation of that statistic is that wars simply ain't what they used to be...
...the face of conflict is changing, they say, and free-for-all violence in such places as the Congo can defy their definitions.So while an increasingly small percentage of the world experiences the horror of 21st-century armed conflict, most of the world confronts the great challenge of defining just what those conflicts are - and how to respond to them. In fact, arguing that issue is the closest thing to combat 90% (or more) of the world's population will ever know.
“To say conflict as a whole is in decline, I could not draw that conclusion,” said Caroline Holmqvist of Sweden's Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The linked article provides a list of the world's 17 conflicts. Along with Afghanistan and Iraq, any good Soldier of Fortune should still be able to find gainful employment in Myanmar, Burundi, Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, Colombia, Peru, Turkey, Israel/Palestine, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Nepal, and two insurgencies in the Philippines.
The 17th is "the global U.S. campaign against al-Qaeda".
The article divides these conflicts into the regions where they occur - Asia, South America, Middle East, etc. - and presents various hypotheses for the decline in wars in recent years. Both discussions may be useful, but they're also a great way to ignore the very obvious gorilla in the living room. But I suppose pointing out that Islam is somehow involved in the majority of the world's wars and almost wars would be boorish and thuggish, so I'll refrain too.
Here's to peace in our time.
Ban terrorists from Iraq: Iran By Edmund Blair in Tehran July 09, 2006
IRAN, accused by the United States of stirring up an Iraqi insurgency, said overnight that "terrorist" groups should be stopped from entering Iraq because they created an excuse for foreign troops to stay.
"It is necessary to stop the crossing of terrorist groups into Iraq who aim at creating insecurity, hatred and differences, and pave the way for the presence of foreign forces in Iraq," Mr Ahmadinejad told the foreign ministers in Tehran.
He did not say from where or how the groups were entering.
Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up...
From The Australian HERE
Evidence of Broader Plot Found in Guantanamo Suicide Investigation
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — An investigation into three apparent suicides at the Guantanamo Bay prison has found that other detainees may have helped the men hang themselves or were planning to kill themselves too.
The detention center's commander, Navy Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, said in an affidavit that investigators believe "the suicides may have been part of a larger plan or pact for more suicides that day or in the immediate future."
FOX STORY HERE
Chuck Z teaches the class on Liberia. All the lessons are beautiful, but especially the one with the feather duster -- and the one with the spring and the blue duct tape.
SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- The trial of 19 alleged al Qaeda members had been designed to showcase how serious Yemen was in the fight against terror. But the Islamic militants, accused of plotting to assassinate Westerners and blow up a hotel frequented by Americans, were all acquitted for lack of proof, the presiding judge ruled Saturday.
Prosecutors had failed to provide "adequate evidence that the defendants were plotting attacks against foreigners or planning to assassinate Americans in Yemen," the verdict said.
Critics say the decision points to the Yemeni president's bid to win the radical Islamic vote ahead of elections in September.
Several of the defendants did confess to having been in Iraq to fight U.S. troops there and had Iraqi stamps on their passport, the court heard. "But this does not violate [Yemeni] law," the judge said.
"Islamic Sharia law permits jihad against occupiers," he said.
Mohammed al-Maqaleh, an expert in Islamist affairs who frequently appears in Yemeni media, described the verdict as a "shock."
"The judiciary is collaborating with the Islamist extremists and this verdict is politicized," al-Maqaleh said on the telephone. He said it was another sign that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was trying to drum up support from Muslim radicals ahead of the coming presidential elections.
Saleh has long-standing ties with Islamic militants, who have stood by the administration since the 1980s. They sided with his northern government in the 1994 civil war and the successful battle against secessionists from the secular south.
CNN HERE and notice al Jazeera considers it an "al Qaeda plot" Does it really need quotes, boys? Not surprisingly, the Reuters story is identical to alJazeera's story... wondering who is parrotting who (or is that whom?)
After reading of the gathering of gutless wonders in Canada, I'm suggesting a protest boycott of the event by all Vietnam veterans and those who decided to go to jail for their beliefs.
Others are invited to join in if they desire.
I expect a massive number of boycotters to miss the speeches of the various "luminaries."
Probably won't get much press coverage, though...
Update2: Like this citation for SGT Sammy L. Davis:
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Battery C, 2d Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: West of Cai Lay, Republic of Vietnam, 18 November 1967. Entered service at: Indianapolis, Ind. Born: 1 November 1946, Dayton, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Davis (then Pfc.) distinguished himself during the early morning hours while serving as a cannoneer with Battery C, at a remote fire support base. At approximately 0200 hours, the fire support base was under heavy enemy mortar attack. Simultaneously, an estimated reinforced Viet Cong battalion launched a fierce ground assault upon the fire support base. The attacking enemy drove to within 25 meters of the friendly positions. Only a river separated the Viet Cong from the fire support base. Detecting a nearby enemy position, Sgt. Davis seized a machine gun and provided covering fire for his guncrew, as they attempted to bring direct artillery fire on the enemy. Despite his efforts, an enemy recoilless rifle round scored a direct hit upon the artillery piece. The resultant blast hurled the guncrew from their weapon and blew Sgt. Davis into a foxhole. He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warnings to seek cover, Sgt. Davis rammed a shell into the gun. Disregarding a withering hail of enemy fire directed against his position, he aimed and fired the howitzer which rolled backward, knocking Sgt. Davis violently to the ground. Undaunted, he returned to the weapon to fire again when an enemy mortar round exploded within 20 meters of his position, injuring him painfully. Nevertheless, Sgt. Davis loaded the artillery piece, aimed and fired. Again he was knocked down by the recoil. In complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Davis loaded and fired 3 more shells into the enemy. Disregarding his extensive injuries and his inability to swim, Sgt. Davis picked up an air mattress and struck out across the deep river to rescue 3 wounded comrades on the far side. Upon reaching the 3 wounded men, he stood upright and fired into the dense vegetation to prevent the Viet Cong from advancing. While the most seriously wounded soldier was helped across the river, Sgt. Davis protected the 2 remaining casualties until he could pull them across the river to the fire support base. Though suffering from painful wounds, he refused medical attention, joining another howitzer crew which fired at the large Viet Cong force until it broke contact and fled. Sgt. Davis' extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.UPDATE3 (7/9/06): More information, including photos, about SGT Davis here.
And, so far, the boycott is working, as tens of thousands of Vietnam and other veterans have not gone to Canada for the draft dodger reunion.
Greyhawk beat me to this by a few minutes...
I can't believe that these people are actually celebrating shirking their duty... and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes in speaking with the families of those that were called in these guys' places... They're calling it "Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion."
CASTLEGAR, British Columbia -- For Craig Wiester of Minneapolis, fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war meant losing a country, a way of life - and his father.
"He felt it was a man's duty to go when his country called," Wiester said Thursday at the opening of a four-day reunion and peace event to honor U.S. draft resisters who fled to Canada and the Canadians who assisted them.
Wiester, a native of Ohio, said his father, a World War II veteran, despised the Vietnam war but "wouldn't admit to any of his conservative friends ... that he hated it" and was even more upset when his son decided not to report for military service.
Learning that his father had called the FBI and his draft board, he fled north and lived for eight years in Montreal.
This is what he says about attending his first "reunion"
"I decided this was important for me. This was a way of validating that experience," he said. "The question is why are we dishonored still in American society?"
Validate the experience? And you wonder why you are still dishonored in American Society? Well, if he has to ask the question, I figure he wouldn't score high enough on the ASVABs to serve in today's military ...
Speakers and participants include former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, 83, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972 who lost to Richard Nixon; former California state Sen. Tom Hayden, an anti-war student activist during the 1960s; and Arun Ghandi, grandson of Mahatma Ghandi.
If not, it's not too late to head to Castlegar, British Columbia for "a four-day reunion and peace event to honor U.S. draft resisters who fled to Canada and the Canadians who assisted them."
Organizers were expecting hundreds of draft resisters and their Canadian supporters to attend the gathering, which includes workshops and panel discussions at Selkirk College and the nearby Brilliant Cultural Center in this town about 120 miles north of Spokane, Wash.
Speakers and participants include former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, 83, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972 who lost to Richard Nixon; former California state Sen. Tom Hayden, an anti-war student activist during the 1960s; and Arun Ghandi, grandson of Mahatma Ghandi.
What would our puldaeggi-munching army comrade think about the new Bruce Cumings/Meredith Woo article in the NY Times this week? (Early Bird readers: It's on Friday's EB.)
(The article's pretty even-toned, actually, considering.)All done!
William C. Horvath, charged with "being a fugitive in possession of firearms or ammunition", told his probabtion officer he had been a Marine, and found himself facing additional charges.
MISSOULA, Mont. - A man who lied to his probation officer about having served in the military was ordered to stand outside the courthouse wearing a sandwich board that says: "I am a liar. I am not a Marine."I'd like to think a similar result would have been achieved even if the judge had not been a vet, but I'm not sure that would be the case.
William C. Horvath, 35, of Whitefish, pleaded guilty to making false statements, a felony.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy sentenced him to four months of house arrest and four years of probation. He also ordered him to stand outside the courthouse for 50 hours wearing the sandwich board with the message.
On the back, it must read: "I have never served my country. I have dishonored veterans of all wars."
Molloy, a veteran himself, also ordered Horvath to write letters of apology to newspapers, the U.S. Marine Corps, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in Kalispell. The judge said Horvath must admit in the letters that he lied repeatedly about serving and being wounded.
And this should sound familiar to milblog readers: after the USMC denied he had ever been a member, Horvath furnished his probation officer with evidence (including photographs and decorations) of his "service". But in those photos he was wearing his uniform improperly.
While digging around for more background in my attempts to understand John Batiste's latest case of Rummy Derangement Syndrome, I came across this bit by Jed Babbin over at RealClearPolitics. It brought up the question: are the Revolting Generals engaged in healthy questioning of what is going on, Monday AM Qtrbacking, flogging a book, or engaging in election year generalship. Now, Jed isn't a neutral in this battle, but he brings up some ugly things going on in the background.
Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks's new book, "Fiasco: The American Adventure in Iraq" will be released in less than three weeks. From the publicity surrounding it we can conclude that Holbrooke did leak a big Dem political op, and that Blankley may have been prescient in thinking to apply the Uniform Code of Military Justice to any active duty officers involved.Ungh. I knew it looked too organized and lock-step. Head to the jump for more.
Ricks - wittingly or not, and Holbrooke intentionally - may be fomenting a confrontation between the administration and the military that would not otherwise exist. Politics and the military are combined at our risk. Like church and state, they cannot be combined without conflicting with our system of governmentHe reminds us of the questions none of the Revolting Generals have answered.
How many of the generals now cooperating with Ricks and Holbrooke and the Democratic Party resigned rather than obey orders that conflicted with their conscience? None. That is the best measure of the credibility of these men and the writers who rely on them....and I may ask - how many of them kept quiet so they could retire with the stars they were wearing. "Time in grade" and all. Harumph. All done!
Reported as Navy, environmental groups settle on sonar:
The settlement prevents the Navy from using the sonar within 25 miles of the newly established Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument during its Rim of the Pacific 2006 exercises, and also imposes a variety of methods to watch for and report the presence of marine mammals.
Am I correct to be getting frustrated here, or is my perspective of the current atmosphere back in the States as skewed as most libs are about the war?
Overcoming Postbellum Depression
So let’s take stock of where we find ourselves at this point: Saddam’s regime has been toppled, his prodigal sons killed, himself pulled out of a hole in the ground, a new constitution approved by the people, a consensual government installed, an army and police force reconstituted from scratch that has quietly assumed responsibility for most of the country, a new prime minister who has been all but Churchillian in his tenacity to reclaim the high ground against the insurgents who’ve threatened his homeland with perpetual ruin, a people who’ve courageously refused to be goaded into civil war despite the encouragement of every pundit in the world to just go ahead and do so, U.S. losses after three years still less than were vaporized in three hours on Blackened Tuesday…
I should have known we couldn’t possibly win this fight.
In the "old days" I commuted through tunnels from suburban NY via NJ to NYC... and yes, it was one of my nightmares...
But here's what ticks me off AGAIN
However, from breaking news, it seems that -- once again -- some a$$hat on the inside decided to LEAK the details of this CLASSIFIED investigation to the media before they were ready to close out the home grown cell and some a$$hat newspaper or other media outlet decided to publish the details!!! Grrrrrr...
For more on what it's like to ride in those tunnels, HERE's what it was like for me...
...relatively rare rifle day at Castle Argghhh! Come take a gander.
You would have to be high not to read the news.
Cmdr. John A. Maksym said the e-mails -- written by the academy staff, approved by Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt and sent to faculty, students and alumni -- represent the "appearance of unlawful command influence."Watch this and take notes. Politics and agendas are a cancer to the UCMJ and military justice in general....all the way back to Dreyfus.
"The reality is some of these are rather damnable e-mails ... "They insinuate guilt. They suggest it. They're simply badly written." ... "I am disturbed by these e-mails," Maksym said. "This is not the way this is supposed to be done." ... "Your primary duty . . . as convening authority is to be completely impartial," ... "This is almost like a trial by . . . public affairs," he said. "He didn't need to send these out." ...
To be fair, VADM Rempt has a very tough job, and has painted himself in a corner. Having the right Staff is critical as a back-up to give a Flag Officer the right options to choose from - and provide you the facts and background you need. The more we find out about what is going on at Annapolis, the more I am convinced that a complete house cleaning needs to go on there - starting with the Staff. IMAO, part of the problem at Annapolis is that VADM Rempt has been very poorly served by his Staff. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Agenda priority at Annapolis is a huge problem. Who is making the decisions to assign Staff, and the reasons they are assigned, is, I bet, another.All done!
This nice graphic is from here. It's part of the "North Korea Advisory Group Report to The Speaker U.S. House of Representatives" from November 1999.
Expandable version of graphic here.
UPDATE: Whole lotta Europe in that outer ring.
So, now that we know the TD2 was pointed at us, can we at least sneer a bit at our enemies? We did rather more than that to Japan for their surprise attack on Hawaii, once upon a time.
Conservative Felipe Calderon narrowly wins Mexico presidential election. HERE
But it's a squeeker...
With the 41 million votes counted, Calderon of President Vicente Fox's National Action Party had 35.88 percent, or 14,981,268 votes, to 14,745,262, or 35.31 percent, for Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party. The two were separated by 0.57 percent, or 236,006 votes.
...over at the Castle, there has been a touch of confusion of 1LT Watada's accomodations should he be convicted.
The NORK Kabuki dance is fun and all - but everyone needs to watch the Southern Flank. A steady, calm, growing, friendly Mexico is one of the most under-reported POL/MIL national security issues around...IMAO. No great nation does well to have a basket case, as Mexico has been for most of its history, as a neighbor. With the vote going between both camps in a FL 2000 like show, watch it. Close. By 0900-1000EST we should have a better picture. For now, it looks good.
Why mention this on MilBlogs? Ponder the Macro issues of national security if Mexico goes south. Ponder.
From the article I linked below:
[Watada's] active-duty obligation was supposed to end in December, but he was extended until next year, when his unit is scheduled to return to Fort Lewis.I'm sure his newfound objection to our "illegal war" was purely a coincidence.
The Army filed three charges today against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy with his Stryker Brigade unit to Iraq last month.
Eric Seitz, Watada’s attorney in Honolulu, said if Watada, 28, is convicted at a court-martial of all six charges, he could face a maximum penalty of 7 1/2 years in jail and a dismissal from the Army.
One of the charges Watada faces is “missing the movement” when his Fort Lewis, Wash.-based unit deployed to Iraq on June 22. About 4,000 soldiers from Fort Lewis’ 3rd Stryker Combat Brigade Team deployed to Iraq, its second combat tour in two years.
Seitz said in another charge the Army claims that Watada made contemptuous statements against officials, citing Watada’s statement about President Bush’s justification for the invasion. Watada was quoted in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on June 8 as saying, “At that time, I never imagined that our leader could betray the trust of the people over something as serious as war.”
Seitz said in a third charge the Army alleges that Watada, an artillery officer with Fort Lewis’ 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, made “disloyal statements.”
In those statements Watada said the war was illegal and immoral and that Americans mistreated Iraqis.
It sounds like Watada is facing only four charges but multiple specifications (the military equivalent of multiple counts for the same charge--like 3 counts of armed robbery).
For reference, Article 87 (missing movement) reads in relevant part:
Any person subject to this chapter who through neglect or design misses the movement of a ship, aircraft, or unit with which he is required in the course of duty shall be punished as a courtmartial may direct.
Article 88: Contempt Toward Officials:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a courtmartial may direct.”
Article 134 is a general article that prohibits "disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, [and] all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces". The elements for a charge of Disloyal Statements are:
(1)That the accused made a certain statement; (2) That the statement was communicated to another person; (3) That the statement was disloyal to the United States; (4) That the statement was made with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection toward the United States by any member of the armed forces or to interfere with or impair the loyalty to the United States or good order and discipline of any member of the armed forces; and (5) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
Article 133: Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman:
“Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
This is explained in part as:
Conduct violative of this article is action or behavior in an official capacity which, in dishonoring or disgracing the person as an officer, seriously compromises the officer’s character as a gentleman, or action or behavior in an unofficial or private capacity which, in dishonoring or disgracing the officer personally, seriously compromises the person’s standing as an officer.
As I said, it looks like 4 charges but at least a couple specifications for one of them. Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't see the fifth and sixth charges mentioned in the headline.
I am not sure why Watada hasn't been charged with desertion (Art 85). I suppose it's because desertion requires intent to permanently remain away from one's unit/place of duty. Here, Watada has merely refused to deploy with his unit. Presumably if the unit came back or deployed to someplace other than Iraq, he'd be willing to join the unit. That's the only thing I can think of.All done!
The article Wynton cited is missing the viewpoint of two important folks: the good people running military education organizations like Navy College Office and DANTES, and the actual, you know, people getting the degree. It's hard to get anywhere near the whole picture without looking at the buyers of the product and the people who enable the military people to use that tuition assistance. I don't know why they didn't think of such.
Well, yeah, I probably do.
I attached some points below.
I won't be able to attend the online symposium thingy--work beckons.
First things first: My impression is that companies such as Phoenix and Central Michigan have been in the market for a while and figured it out. Distance education (which much of this is) has a low completion rate; the organizations that succeed at keeping people from dropping out do well in that sector of the education market. Other schools have been entering the market quickly, and not as successfully. The administrators I talked to about distance education that were doing it well treated their practices as trade secrets--didn't want the competition to catch up to them.
That tuition assistance model helps a lot in reducing dropout rates. So does the support and sense of obligation to complete from the chain of command (they invested time in you, so you have a social obligation, too). Before anyone can even apply, they have to go through the counseling sessions run by the service's office (for Navy, Navy College Office). Here's the blurb:
Service members are reminded that enrolling in a distance learning program without PRIOR approval of your Service's voluntary education program - Education Center, Navy College Office, Reserve ESO, or State ESO - may result in denial of tuition assistance or other educational benefits.
On line tools like this one are a great help; actually, although the two programs I've been in or am applying to aren't on this list, I know of no better or more comprehensive list of accredited distance education programs anywhere on the Web or off. Troops-To-Teachers is a great idea, too; Spouses-To-Teachers sounds good as well.
Navy was getting the beat down last year because they reinterpreted the law about TA to mean 12 credit hours a year (IIRC). It's kind of hard to get a degree with 12 credit hours. The on ship programs like PACE were good, but one can get more than one class done per six month deployment using other methods--if you kill off your other hobbies, like sleep, for a while.
Also not mentioned in the Chronicle article were things like Old Dominion University's master's program for nuclear trained officers, Fletcher's GMAP II program for DoD civilians, and other initiatives that work well, make money for the schools, but aren't on the DANTES list.
Spook86 at In from the Cold has some relevant thoughts from an intel view:
Over the next few days, the MSM is likely to cast the North Korean missile launchers as something of a propaganda coup. ...You know, read the whole thing. And ignore the hand-wringing in DC and the MSM.
But if Kim's missile spectacular was a "success" in that respect, it was also a colossal failure on other, equally important levels. For almost a decade, Kim Jong-il has wanted a platform that can put a satellite into orbit, or (if used an ICBM), threaten the United States.Today's TD-2 failure reminds everyone that the TD program has been almost a complete bust... North Korea can't afford any more failures on the scale of the 1998 TD-1 launch, or today's failed effort.
That's because ballistic missiles are Pyongyang's most important product--and one of their few viable sources of hard currency... With today's TD-2 failure, those customers are still waiting, and may look to other sources for the technology. Fewer missile sales would represent another blow to North Korea's already-bankrupt economy, and slow the pace of upgrades for Pyongyang's own missile forces.
I thank Steve for his kindness, but I'm not sure why the two approaches -- ridicule, and taking a back seat to Japan/ROK -- are not compatible. Furthermore, I think they mesh well with the approach GIKorea favors.
The DPRK's main interest is in forcing the US into bilateral talks, so that it can make demands on an apparently equal footing, and without having to satisfy Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and South Korean interests as well. None of those nations are entirely happy with the DPRK. China and Russia, normally considered to be "in the DPRK's corner" to some degree, have engaged in a few demonstrations of annoyance during the process: China shut off the DPRK's oil for one whole day, allegedly due to "malfunction"; China and Russia's recent joint exercise featured a massive amphibious landing, which was considered by many a threat to both Taiwan and the DPRK; and China has increased the number of heavy military units on the border.
The DPRK missile launch appears to have intended to force the US to do just what Albright wants -- negotiate directly. We can refuse to do that, and indeed ought to refuse to do so. The six-party talks are in our interest.
The "point and laugh" approach, however, is still highly useful as a part of that approach. If the point is to not let North Korean muscle-flexing extort bribes, it is good to notice verbally how puny those muscles are. A strong shaming of the North Korean government might discourage future such acts, because they will not wish again to look stupid and weak in front of the other nations they have to move.
Nor does it mean putting the US "ahead" of Japan or South Korea. The DPRK wants bilateral talks. A US official can scoff at the attempt to force us into talks of that sort, and point out that the US won't be forced by a nation that can't keep its missiles in the air. A message of ridicule is not one that demands we take the lead. Indeed, insofar as it closes off the possibility of bilateral talks to the DPRK, it leaves them looking to China and South Korea (not so much Japan, but also Japan) as their only hopes of saving face.
I have been following closely the media coverage of today's extra fireworks extravaganza courtesy of the North Korean government and I have found the coverage quite interesting. What I find most interesting is the number of former Clinton era officials out on the news programs trying to rewrite history. I have seen Sandy Berger and Madelline Albright out saying that the Bush administration needs to take a diplomatic approach and engage the North Koreans like they did. Better yet she was telling Larry King we need to get the UN involved. Like that would really scare Kim Jong-il into behaving.
Let's look at this for a minute. The Clinton era government gave into North Korean demands in the early 90's and what did they have to show for it? Well more billigerence. The North Koreans continued secretly with their nuclear program and test fired a Taepodong1 over Japan in 1998, not to mention the mulitiple mini-spy sub incidents that led to the deaths of numerous South Korean civilians and military personnel.
I think the Bush administration has a very strong case that their current policy in regards to North Korea has actually created better behavior from the North Koreans without giving up anything to them.
The media is trying to create today's test fire into some kind of failure of the Bush administration's policy towards North Korea where I look at it as a total success. North Korea is used to acting billigerent and getting payed off afterwards to behave, which they do for a little while before acting up again looking for their next pay off. The Bush administration will not pay them off and during the past month the North Koreans have been threatening to fire these missiles if the Bush administration doesn't give them the one on one talks and aid they demand.
Bush ignored them and called their bluff. Since Bush called Kim's bluff, Kim was pretty much forced to fire the missiles to save face and to keep the persona of the crazy unpredictable dictator up. However this test allowed the US to see what the North Korean's ICBM capabilities really are which is not very good. This is very bad for the rocket scientists in North Korea today, but great for the US because Kim's hand has been greatly weakened because the US now knows North Korea currently does not have the capability to strike the US which reduces his bargaining postion with the US. Plus the launch gives President Bush the firepower he needs to push through the National Missile Defense program which many liberals having been wanting to dump.
Now with the US bargaining position improved the best thing to do is to stay calm and not to give any impression of giving into any North Korean demands due to these missile tests and continue to push forward with the US missile defense program and let Japan play the bad cop with the North Koreans. Japan has various means leveraging economic sanctions on North Korea. Most notably was the suspension of the ferry service between Japan and North Korea. This may not seem like a big deal but this is actually a big hit on the North Koreans and the Japanese know it, because many of the Pachinko gambling parlors and opium drug trade in Japan is run by North Koreans living in Japan and hard currency is sent in bags from Japan to North Korea using this ferry.
Something else the US needs to prevent doing is ridiculing the North Koreans. Ridiculing their launch failure would only cause them to feel compelled to do something really provocative to save face such as attacking a South Korean patrol boat or creating some kind of confrontation on the DMZ. It is important to remember that any provocations the US makes towards North Korea the South Koreans ultimately end up paying for in blood.
Playing it cool now and then later restarting the six party talks is the best course of action for the US. You can't restart the talks now because it looks like you are giving into North Korean billigerence which only encourages more but by restarting the talks later the North Koreans will probably be more willing to discuss a deal more favorable to the US because of the North Koreans' weakened bargaining position after this weekend's failed missile tests.All done!
I'd be interested in reactions to this piece by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Apparently they will be hosting an online colloquy this Thursday, July 6th, at 12 noon Eastern Time. Having some milbloggers join in and mix it up might be interesting and even create some blog-worthy exchanges.
This is one of those rare moments when I must respectfully disagree with Grim.
There is little room for ridicule, at least not in any official manner, though the missile's failure is amusing in light of Kim's very public -and rediculous- chest pounding. More though, it is saddening considering how many meals were squandered in its wake while so many North Koreans quite literally starve.
As mentioned in a comment to an earlier entry by Eagle1, our response should be close to nill. Ignore the extortion attempt and let South Korea and Japan mete out the condemnation. Call it diplomatic solitary confinement of sorts for a regime that wants nothing more than attention and the crisi-driven leverage it lends to extort.
Remember how WH Press Secretary Tony Snow characterized NoKor's threat of nuclear war to a reporter (paraphrasing): "It is a theoretical threat about a hypothetical condition that has not yet happened, if you get my drift." Expect a continuation of this dismissal from the White House.
As far as letting the North Korean people know how little respect, and fear, their government has earned, I doubt seriously that the people we would desire to reach would A) hear or B) fairly give a damn one way or the other. They just survived a NoKor winter and many are concerned no farther than the next meal for them and their children.
With respect to the latest edition of The Adventures of Kim, consider another look at it here:
North Korea is not testing the missile as much as they are testing US and Japanese resolve, fishing for reaction. While North Korea has threatened the US with nuclear war, the United States has essentially dismissed the North Korean threats. This does not serve the extortion-minded communist regime’s strategy well.
As James Na noted in The Seattle Times, North Korea’s entire missile crisis gambit could backfire on them by eroding whatever appeasement exists in both South Korea and Japan. They are likely overplaying a familiar hand of international extortion. For this reason, the United States reaction to today’s Scud missile launches will likely be somewhat muted, keeping in line with the course taken thus far, allowing South Korean and Japanese reaction do the heavy lifting. The next 48 hours will tell just how much North Korea has overplayed its hand, if at all.
Remember Carlos the Jackal?
He told the court his human rights were being violated because he never got the full luxurious Gitmo treatment accorded to less-glamorous Taliban-style terrorists. Instead, he was stuck in a French jail with only French accommodations … like his own TV set, two hour daily walks, a hour in the exercise room, twice-weekly visits from a doctor, once-weekly visits from a priest, a window to see daylight, a washstand and his own bed. But it wasn’t good enough compared to what the Zarqawi types got at Gitmo and he wanted more.
And the crazed (and free) lunatics call Gitmo a torture center...go cry to Carlos. But the money quote is right here:
During the 1990s, while Bill Clinton was turning away a Sudanese offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, the French took up them up on their offer to fork over the Jackal, who was hiding in Sudan. The French gendarmes flew in and quelle surprise! hauled The Jackal back to Paris in a sack.
Take it from this Soldier's Mom, no words will be necessary when that mother meets MSGT Camacho... he will know that he has her undying gratitude... It will be all tears and smiles... and hugs. I, for one, want the MSGT to know that Mrs. Kennedy and I are glad that such men as the MSGT serve.
Our friends over at PowerLineBlog kindly asked me to offer some reflections on Home of the Brave.
You can read them here.
I just received the best 4th of July gift ever: a call from MSGT Javier Camacho, a Silver Star recipient whom Cap and I feature in Home of the Brave. MSGT Camacho was calling to let me know that tomorrow he will be meeting the mother of PFC Adam Small, Mrs. Mary Kennedy, for the very first time. MSGT Camacho saved PFC Small's life when he braved tremendous enemy fire to muscle open the jammed hatch of PFC Small's Bradley, even as the vehicle's weapons began to cook off.
"I'm a little nervous about meeting Mrs. Kennedy," he said. "It will probably be an emotional day. I don't know what I should say."
Somehow I don't think MSGT Camacho will need to say much of anything. I think he's said more than any of us ever could.
The main thing I think we need to include in our response is severe ridicule. We should be broadcasting international coverage of how their "most advanced" missile failed a few seconds after launch into North Korea on every wavelength.
The President should make a statement to the effect of, "We had planned to test our missile defense system on their long range missile, but the thing fell down on its own before we could even target it. What a disappointment." That should also be broadcast into North Korea, along with jibes from major military leaders both here and from Japan.
We need to do whatever we can to let the people of North Korea know that their government's "military first" policy, for which they are starving in their millions, has led to utter failure and the sneering disdain of the world. North Korea has a shame-based culture. Let's let them know how little respect, and fear, their government has earned.
Updated information here.
Now, what will be the West response? We must not reward this behavior...
early reports say longer range... but probably not ICBM
damn wingnut (as Col. Hunt called him this morning)
UPDATE: Now reports say they tried to launch the long-range missle but the launch failed... and apparently now a 4th missle...
no 4th missle... but 3rd was apparently long range and failed 40 seconds after launch...
First reports indicate a couple of short range missiles fired by the North Koreans, apparently surface to air, which have crashed back into the sea.
Our prayers our with the crew for a successful mission.
This isn't a day to take anything from anyone. We're Americans. Even our soiree-going editors eat scorpions for fun.
There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.
This is the legacy of July 4th, 1776. No challenge we face is too difficult for us not to be able to overcome with our faith and dedication to the ideals millions of our forefathers toiled, fought, suffered and often died for.
Screw you and your editorial decisions.
...and still playing the rebellious teenager. Yay us!
H/t to all the "been there, done that, got the t-shirts to prove it types" - and an extra tip of the hat to those of you about to go get your first, or add to the collection!
And for those of you *in* the box - hurry back safe, we're drinkin' all yer beer, *but* we're kicking Jodie's a$$ so s/he'll lay off yer sweetie!
John of Argghhh!
Yes, Happy Birthday. And if Natalie and people like her don't get it, I sure feel sorry for them.
And thank you to all our military and our veterans.
So HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and God Bless, America.
This should be an easy post to write, but somehow it isn’t. Despite the fact that we’re living in times of prosperity unimaginable even twenty years ago, there’s still a kind of fin de siecle feeling in the air, a feeling filtering down somehow from our elites. Peggy Noonan wrote a dreary piece some months back about how families are taking their children to the mall to buy them one more pair of faded jeans - not that they need any more jeans, mind: It’s just that they’re doing what we can while they can. Getting it while the getting’s good. As though it might soon be over. We’re at war overseas. We seem to be at war with each other. What’s to celebrate?
Come on over to my place, and I'll tell you.
A slight bit of gaming workmanship caught my attention this week. While sipping myself to full consciousness with Mrs. Dadmanly one morning this weekend, I came to the following insight.
Little Manly owns a Playstation game, I believe it’s Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. I will remember that title I think, because the Lad polished off the entire game, all levels, within his first two days of summer vacation. Not.his.money’s.worth. But then, as he paid for it himself, who am I to complain?
One of the levels involves flying in a formation of Liberators I believe. (Would that be B-24s, my historically unchallenged friends?)
Among the many added environmental touches in these games are dialog and other atmospherics that add to the realism, or impact.
That morning I overheard a commander in the game sternly instruct my son at the controller, “Don’t take evasive action, don’t break formation.”
(To continue reading, go to Dadmanly's companion site, Gladmanly.)
In 1670, the Welsh privateer Henry Morgan recaptured Old Providence Isle. In the 1620s, Providence had been a haven for privateers raiding the Spanish Main, but the Spanish sent a fleet to capture it, after which it was renamed Santa Catalina. Henry Morgan had participated in its recapture once before -- it made an ideal base for raiding -- but in 1670 he left a garrison to hold it for him. He seems to have intended to establish a free state there, a land for freebooters that owed loyalty to no king. However, he got distracted by the plunder and reward of his sack of Panama, and never got around to reinforcing his claim. Spain recaptured it.
This is the model we face with al Qaeda. They have a notion of what they view as the ideal society -- an Islamic Caliphate. Because they believe it is universal to all mankind, it does not matter where the Caliphate exists. If it perishes for a time in one place, it can be erected in another. If they are driven out of Somalia, they may go to Afghanistan; if driven out of Afghanistan, they may return to Somalia, or go set up shop in southern Thailand, or Indonesia, or Mindanao isle.
There's a lot about that model that is admirable, and genuinely free -- fighting men choosing their own way, and holding it with the strength of their arms. If they would only quit killing innocent women and children, and asserting a right to rule over you and me as well as themselves, they would find me reasonably well disposed to their claims on places like Mindanao (which is a fine place to have a claim upon, if you've a mind). Until they do that, we will find that we have to fight them in every corner of the world. They genuinely do not care whether they hold their Caliphate in Kabul or Africa. Neither do I, in point of fact, so long as they won't try to hold it in Georgia or Tennessee. Until we kill enough of them to force an agreement on that one point that matters, we'll be chasing them around the world. So be it, if it must be so.
As the subtitle of Bobbitt’s piece suggests, “We haven't absorbed the lessons.”
The lessons unlearned include continuing to view our extra-state enemies as aspiring Nation States.
I think Bobbitt describes the situation perfectly. This rehashes my earlier criticism of Michael Hirsh in Newsweek, whereby flawed and incomplete analytic frameworks lead to inaccurate analysis and misjudgments. I first posted on some of the reasons for this in the context of how our Intelligence Analysts displayed similar or at least analogous patterns of analysis.
Bobbitt alludes to the same illogic that bedevils Hirsh and his sources within the Intelligence community, whereby the absence of attacks are taken as proof that the threat was exaggerated. Is it not rather more likely that the demonstrable examples of broken plots and failed attempts reflect success against an enemy that was all too capable, were we to go back to ignoring the threat?
I use the term “extra-state” at the top of this post to try to isolate this phenomenon of state-support of non-state modern terrorism agents and entities.
In network terms, there is the “Internet.” This describes, however minimally, a network of many external servers and platforms that exist between networks. An “Intranet” is a network internal to an organization, similar to the Internet, but distinctly imilited within an organization or platform or series of platforms.
Increasingly, network architects and managers refer to an Extranet, or a locally managed and maintained external network, available outside of an organization but nevertheless managed distinctly separate from and contained within the broader Internet.
Okay, non-techies, shake your head and refrain from going all glassy-eyed, I here tie it back to our discussion.
The Extranet allows an organization to take advantage of the openness of the world wide web, and use those resources as an extension of your own resources and capabilities. This gains you advantages without additional expenditures. You lose some control, but gain a “force multiplier” in a sense. (That got your interest back, didn’t it?)
International terrorist affiliations like Al Qaeda (and proponents of its Wahabist philosophical underpinnings) act like a kind of geopolitical Extranet for cash rich but resource limited agents of mayhem. Whether Mullahs in Iran, America haters in Central America, or the psychopathic subjects of marionette parodies in East Asia, all can access the Terrorist Extranet as an extension of their foreign policies, intelligence and military operations. At very low cost, with “plausible deniability,” as was said in a former generation.All done!
This online radio premiers tomorrow. Looking forward to tuning in ... though Kit & Heidi (from EuphoricReality) are on late... They are fine tuning the tuning today so you can listen to their casual conversations... HERE
I can always count on Mark Steyn to strip away vast layers of pretense, and offer up the core of an issue, and likewise always with wit.
His Sunday Chicago Sun-Times piece more than met my expectations, this time dealing with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ill-considered Hamdan decision:
There are several ways to fight a war. On the one hand, you can put on a uniform, climb into a tank, rumble across a field and fire on the other fellows' tank. On the other, you can find a 12-year-old girl, persuade her to try on your new suicide-bomber belt and send her waddling off into the nearest pizza parlor.Much of the commentary and public statements by those who view Hamdan as a “triumph” reveal these dreamers as so many “Alices-In-Jihadland.”
The Geneva Conventions were designed to encourage the former and discourage the latter. The thinking behind them was that, if one had to have wars, it's best if they're fought by soldiers and armies. In return for having a rank and serial number and dressing the part, you'll be treated as a lawful combatant should you fall into the hands of the other side. There'll always be a bit of skulking around in street garb among civilian populations, but the idea was to ensure that it would not be rewarded --that there would, in fact, be a downside for going that route.
The U.S. Supreme Court has now blown a hole in the animating principle behind the Geneva Conventions by choosing to elevate an enemy that disdains the laws of war in order to facilitate the bombing of civilian targets and the beheading of individuals. The argument made by Justice John Paul Stevens is an Alice-In-Jihadland ruling that stands the Conventions on their head in order to give words the precise opposite of their plain meaning and intent. The same kind of inspired jurisprudence conjuring trick that detected in the emanations of the penumbra how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution cannily anticipated a need for partial-birth abortion and gay marriage has now effectively found a right to jihad -- or, if you're a female suicide bomber about to board an Israeli bus, a woman's right to Jews.
I agree whole-heartedly with those who argue that the US must uphold a higher standard, that our military must fight a civilized fight, that there are vital national interests in preserving the highest ideals in how we fight, and how we operate in a post-9/11 world.
The difference between me and my fellow Milbloggers, and this passel of Alices, is that we Milbloggers know that the US and its military have always have upheld those higher standards, notwithstanding isolated violations by individuals, and only very rarely, those who represent official government policies.
For more commentary, check out the expanded post at Dadmanly.
Philip Bobbitt, author of The Shield of Achilles, has a piece in the London Spectator called "We haven't absorbed the lessons." He argues that no one is familiar with al Qaeda, and that European readings of it as being similar to the IRA, ETA, or other earlier terrorist groups are dangerously mistaken. The worst of these, he says, is the reading that says that there is no al Qaeda at all... that, as al Qaeda lacks the old cellular or battalion structure used by earlier nationalist terrorist groups, they must not really exist.
He also notes the degree to which the suicide note of the leader of the 7/7 bombers echo media and academic talking points on the war.
It's a good piece, worth reading today.
John Hinderaker at Powerline sets of a perfect example of what I think of all this. The answer goes back 40 years to JFK. I am stealing bandwidth with the below, but I don't think Powerline will object (I have an email out to ask for forgiveness as it takes less time for permission). For the whole speech and transcript go here. Otherwise, click the below for the meat of the matter.
Meat quote at Extended Entry.
Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security-and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.
For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.
The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning. Had we been engaged in open warfare, they undoubtedly would not have published such items. But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security. And my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted.
That question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will. But I would be failing in my duty to the Nation, in considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities, if I did not commend this problem to your attention, and urge its thoughtful consideration.
On many earlier occasions, I have said-and your newspapers have constantly said-that these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.
I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.
Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America-unions and businessmen and public officials at every level--will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to this same exacting test.
And should the press of America consider and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery, I can assure you that we will cooperate whole-heartedly with those recommendations.
Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.All done!
Pfc. Matthew J. Mongiove assigned to the 10th Mountain 4th Brigade, supporting the 561st Military Police Company, provides security for the Canadian Mobile Training Team (MTT) on May 16, 2006 in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. The Canadian Military Police out of Spin Boldak provides refresher training to the border patrol police who patrol the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. (U.S Army Photo by Sgt. Andre' Reynolds) (Released)
Blue Star Chronicles has up a post about a conversation she had with a US soldier.
Who avers that Nobody Cares About Soldiers. (They should read more milblogs..., but that's a different issue)
Go, read. How 'bout you guys and gals serving? Overstated? Understated? Message mixed?
The ultimate tragedy of the Iraq war was not only that it diverted the U.S. from the knockout blow against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan—the deaths of bin Laden and Zawahiri would likely have persuaded most jihadis it was wiser to focus on the near enemy
Hirsh and others that focus on "Intelligience Failures" are missing the larger strategic question.
What is it that Bin Laden hoped to achieved on 9/11?
If we take Bin Laden at his word, than he wants to establish and Islamic Caliphate.
To get to an Islamic Caliphate, he needs to control Mecca.
Osama's strategic plan would have been as follows(IMHO)
1) Big attack on the US - demand removal of US troops from the Holy Land of Mecca
US responds just as we did in half a dozen other places, removing our troops from Saudi Arabia or alternatively, attacking Saudi Arabia and tramping our infidel boots thru Mecca, which would enrage the entire Muslim world, either way, it would have been a win for BinLaden
2) Infiltrate fighters and munitions into Saudi Arabia thru Iraq. Good 'ole Saddam had plenty of munitions and no love for the Saudi's since they didn't let him keep Kuwait.
3) Take control of Saudi Arabia - the US would be unable to rescue it, as most of the 9/11 Bombers were Saudi's.
Bottom Line, the "Stans" are tactical objectives for BinLaden. In order to have a Caliphate, one needs Mecca. In order to get to Mecca, one needs at least free passage thru Iraq.
A Free Republic thread claims to have exclusive information about the Marines and Sailor who are being held in connection with the murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdaniya. Some of the information, if true, is good news. Some of it, not so much.
Newsweek offers the latest in a series of variations on the theme of bad intelligence and exaggerated threat, with Michael Hirsh’s story on The Myth of Al Qaeda.
Hirsh runs through a litany of what he construes as mis-identifications and mischaracterizations, largely based on a few Libyan exiles and Ron Suskind’s new book, "The One Percent Doctrine."
I’ll skip the Jihadi gossip, read Hirsh’s piece for the flavor of it. But here’s how he concludes:
The ultimate tragedy of the Iraq war was not only that it diverted the U.S. from the knockout blow against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan—the deaths of bin Laden and Zawahiri would likely have persuaded most jihadis it was wiser to focus on the near enemy—but that Iraq also altered the outcome of Al Qaeda's internal debate, tipping it in bin Laden's favor. "Iraq ended that debate because it fused the near and the far enemy," as Arquilla puts it succinctly. America ventured into the lands of jihad and willingly offered itself as a target in place of the local regimes. And as a new cause that revived the flagging Al Qaeda movement. It is, no doubt, bin Laden's greatest victory.Except, of course, that Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda managers think the opposite, based on intercepted documents and communications.
I am really curious about the credentials of these foreign policy and security “experts” who come out of the woodwork with fortuitous 20/20 hindsight assessments that, incidentally, back up what seem like absurd assessments when they sat in positions of influence.
Zarqawi was a strawman, Al Qaeda wasn’t really a threat, we created international terrorism, Al Qaeda was a bunch of bumbling, failing would be Jihadi James Bonds, with no appreciable following or organization. We made them into the threat they became.
Except, of course, that these failing bumblers managed to orchestrate a massive, coordinated terrorist strike over several years, including getting operatives into the US, through flight schools, and coordinated horrific attacks against the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and a probable target of either the White House or Congress. (Only this last effort unsuccessful, save the destruction of Flight 93 and every soul on board.
Western Intelligence misread or misidentified the exact roles and importance of individuals operating in a clandestine, tightly controlled, and impenetrable terrorist organization. This underscores the great difficulties of gaining intelligence against such a non-state adversary, rather than diminishes the threat posed by the organization.
Hirsh seems to fall victim to that most common of analytic blunders, assuming that what small proportion of information available should somehow be construed as representative of the (missing) whole.
A quick example. On a battlefield, intelligence sensors might pick up evidence of scattered reconnaissance elements across an area wide enough to suggest the presence of a Division sized enemy. An analyst can take limited intercepts and indicators, compare it against a template of what such an organization would look like, extrapolate the missing information, and posit the Division.
If he mistakes unit boundaries, he may be lumping disparate elements into a whole, and he instead has several Divisions in front of him, rather than one. In the same manner, if a mistake has been made on type of units in evidence, he could be seeing elements of a Regiment, Brigade or even a Battalion.
Intelligence Analysis is as much art as science, and much like the reporters who try to glean the “real story” out of isolated data points, the analyst can exaggerate what data he has or overextend patterns of analysis into the area of the unknown (the “gaps”) in ways contrary to what is really the case.
Could the West have exaggerated the threat? Possibly. But more likely, armchair critics with an agenda, with 20/20 hindsight, can always point at what didn’t happen, and say, “it wouldn’t have.”
An alternative explanation is, that aggressive analysis and interdiction prevented it, as one might argue, we have done in preventing another Al Qaeda attack on US soil.
Arrests and reports of broken plots would seem to suggest such efforts were underway. Rather than point to the absence of attacks as proof that the threat was exaggerated, it is rather more likely that the demonstrable examples of broken plots and failed attempts reflect success against an enemy that was all too capable, were we to go back to ignoring the threat.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)All done!
This is something that we should get in on:
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research recently began funding a new research area that includes a study of blogs. Blog research may provide information analysts and warfighters with invaluable help in fighting the war on terrorism.Emphasis mine. The story goes on to say that they'll be studying "the content of the blogs as well as what hyperlinks are contained within the blog." This sounds pretty much like what we do for free, although we don't have a cool acronym for it like they do (AOBLAIWLTDRCI).
Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, senior scientist, and Dr. Mieczyslaw M. Kokar, president, Versatile Information Systems Inc., Framingham, Mass., will receive approximately $450,000 in funding for the 3-year project entitled “Automated Ontologically-Based Link Analysis of International Web Logs for the Timely Discovery of Relevant and Credible Information.”
I say we offer to study weblogs for the next three years for the low, low price of $400K, and see if the Air Force takes us up on it. They'd save money!
We're ashore for a "diplomatic" port call in Otaru, Japan.
Having fallen asleep for a few minutes during Brazil-France (I have to watch the games here in NE Asia in the early morning), 54 of my shipmates and myself in the berthing were kicked out because of the toxic gas leak below decks. Mustering in the workcenter to crowd around the TV for the last 30 odd minutes, wouldn't you know it, between evacuating our berthing and making it up to the shop, we miss Henry's goal that makes the biggest upset of the Cup a reality?
(Thank you to Rupert Murdoch and the other people who helped make it possible for us to watch the games on AFN.)
Noted here, Osama bin Laden has another audio out, talking about Somalia:
The 19-minute recording calls on all Somalis to back the Council of Islamic Courts militia in its bid to build an Islamic state in Somalia.
"We will fight [US] soldiers on the land of Somalia... and we reserve the right to punish it on its land and anywhere possible," the speaker says.
"We warn all of the countries in the world not to respond to America by sending international troops to Somalia."
...a smidge over a year ago, Chuck Ziegenfuss of From My Position - On The Way!, , well, let him tell it in his own words...
Yesterday marked the 1st anniversary of me getting my ass splattered all over the lower al-Abarra province.
Since then, Lieutenant Colonel (at the time Major) Kareem saw to it that the son of a whore who set off that IED was brought to justice. He took the attack very personally. He is one of the very few people I met in Iraq that I would loved to have hosted here in the US, or even taken my family to visit in a few years. Unfortunately, he was killed by another son of whore later that year.
The Lieutenant Colonel Kareem's of Iraq will be the people who give the average people hope - and the courage to forge a new Iraq, free of the murdering son's of whores.
But other things have happened in this year. I came to truly appreciate and understand the depths of love, and inner strength that my darling wife has. The trauma I suffered physically and emotionally cannot begin to compare with the ordeal she faced in putting me back together again. When she finally smartens up and sees what a rat bastard I am, I’ll miss her.
Indeed, most of us think that, Chuck! ;^) Of course, that's true for most Warrior Spouses, including mine.
Chuck concludes with:
My life would be very different now if I’d never been wounded. It’d be normal, or relatively so. But I think that through all of the turbulence that we’ve seen this past year, I’m a better husband, father, and soldier for what I’ve experienced. All things considered, a normal life now is what we make of it.
But you'd be depriving yourself if you didn't go to Chuck's place and read the rest.All done!
The Navy Expeditionary Combat Command has run into a finance problem and some concerns they are trying to take over a Marine Corps mission area with a revised Navy Riverine force, as reported here (and posted about initially here):
The NECC unifies existing Navy functions, such as naval construction (better known as the Seabees), logistics, ordnance disposal, diving and salvage, as well as maritime protection. But the program’s creation of a riverine force, capable of fighting on river waters, is stirring up controversy on the Hill.An article on Riverine training here. with a quote from Captain Michael Jordan, commodore of the 1st Riverine Group.:
Traditionally, the Marine Corps, the Navy’s land component, has provided the riverine forces, and several lawmakers are concerned that the Navy is trying to duplicate something the Marines specialize in. (ed: ? emphasis added)
“It made me question whether they are going to develop another Marine Corps,” Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, told The Hill.
Being a capable land force with ability to fight up rivers in inland areas “was the only historical reason for the Marine Corps,” Hefley said. “The Marine Corps is not a separate branch” of the Navy — it’s part of it, he added. “Just bring more people into the Marine Corps.”
Rear Adm. Don Bullard, the NECC commander, is adamant in pointing out that his newly minted command is not duplicating Marine Corps capabilities but that it works in “close concert” with the Marines.
The NECC “is a high-end defensive force focused on anti-terrorism and force protection,” Bullard said in an interview. “The naval infantry is the Marine Corps, [but] they welcomed it.”
“We looked at where we needed to be and [saw that] we needed to expand and bring new capabilities like the riverine force,” Bullard said.
But the House Armed Services Committee took a drastic approach toward the new command in the 2007 defense authorization bill. The authorizers stipulated that the Navy cannot spend any money from its operation and maintenance accounts for the NECC until the Navy meets 100 percent of its requirements for ship and air operations as well as maintenance.
The House also requires the secretary of the Navy to submit a report with the annual budget request certifying that the requirements are met.
There is a school of thought that says future wars will be similar to that in the Middle East, with small, mobile forces needed on land and on inland waterways. In that kind of war, missions for deep-draft ships - a bluewater Navy - besides aircraft carriers can be limited.
"Certainly, there's a lot going on in blue water (still), and certainly the Navy has a mission there," said Jordan. "But (brown water) is an area in which the Navy can flex its muscles and make a difference."
The NECC is designed to encompass up to 40,000 sailors, according to Bullard. Members of the Reserve will make up 45 percent of the force, he said.Marine Corps Protective Association at work or what? All done!
“We have an NECC unit of some type in every state of the country,” said Bullard. “When you look at Congress, [lawmakers] have constituents in their state.”
Halftime - England and Portugal are nil-nil.
Beer is high on the list of things I'll miss about Germany. If you've never had an authentic German beer, you owe yourself at least one.
I imagine a few folks are here for the first time for the World Cup were eager to discover just how well their own homeland brews stood up to the local product. But if they purchased their first in-country sample of grog at one of the world cup venues they probably found themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.
As one of seven U.S. sponsors at this summer's World Cup in Germany, Anheuser-Busch paid $40 million for "pouring rights" at 12 stadiums across Germany, something Germans and tourists have had trouble swallowing.(Warning to hard-core Bud drinkers: that web page link above will drive you to drink - or not.)
Simply put, Germans hate Budweiser. Weeks before the inaugural games kicked off the Cup, Germans were furious at the prospect of having to drink what they refer to as "dishwater" at stadiums. Germans even set up a Web site with an image of an American Eagle vomiting beer to lampoon the American brewer and express their disgust.
"Human dignity is inviolable," reads the Web site, quoting the German constitution. The Web site goes on to call Budweiser "an insult to all true beer lovers" and an "insult to your tongue."
But if you think FIFA's slight of US troops was extreme, just read what they did to a group of fans from the Netherlands:
Soccer's governing body — the Federation Internationale de Football, or FIFA — did little to improve Budweiser's standing when it forced thousands of Dutch fans to watch the first round Holland-Ivory Coast game in their underwear. Close to a quarter million Dutch fans have purchased orange-colored shorts to support their team, shorts that carry the logo of the Dutch beer, Bavaria.Adding new meaning to the phrase "going Dutch". (However, according to this report, only men had been forced to strip.)
In a contentious move to protect Budweiser's rights, FIFA officials forced Dutch supporters to remove their shorts.
"It's ridiculous," said Sjoerd Schreurs, a Dutch fan quoted by The Guardian in London. "I took my trousers off. I managed to chuck them over the fence to some friends. But another official spotted them and took them away."
No word on whether they drowned their shame in Budweiser.
I love the World Cup, by the way. In fact, the England - Portugal quarterfinal is about to get underway. Time to pour a Guinness and enjoy the game.
...and looking for something to obsess on today - and you have an interest in old military technology, drop by the Castle and take a shot at our Whatziss? for the day.
First, just let me say that this isn't a post "attacking" Hamdan's JAG lawyer, LCDR Charles Swift -- his job was to defend his client the best way he knew how, and judging by the fact that he won a Supreme Court case, I'd say he did his duty to the utmost.
Today's Seattle P-I has an article about how LCDR Swift was passed over for promotion last year, and is in danger of having his military career be "essentially over" if he wasn't selected "above zone" in the FY-07 O5 Staff Corps Selection Board. I expect that when the Board results do come out, and if LCDR Swift isn't among the 2% or so of Above Zone officers who do get promoted, we'll see more stories about how he was "punished" for doing his job. As he says, though, the "die was (already) cast some months ago" with respect to this promotion.
LCDR Swift's supervisor had this to say about why he might not have been promoted last time:
Swift's first supervisor at the Office of Commissions was Col. Will Gunn, who said Friday that he gave Swift two annual fitness reports and "I gave him very high ratings overall." Asked whether he thought politics might have played a role in Swift being bypassed for promotion, Gunn focused on Swift's atypical career as a military lawyer. "Charlie has spent a lot of time as a litigator, a trial advocate. That's really unusual in the JAG. You find that people in the more senior ranks have moved around and proved themselves in a variety of settings." Most of Swift's career has been spent in the courtroom. "While Charlie is a brilliant guy, a tenacious litigator, he does not have all the blocks checked like some other folks have," Gunn said. He called it a "breadth-of-experience" issue.
The board results are already at the SecDef's office, and should be out in a couple of weeks. Based on the historical numbers, he probably doesn't have much of a chance, but maybe the Board did decide to give him another chance. What I do know is that if I had ever been brought up on charges, I would have wanted someone like LCDR Swift to be my JAG. While some of us might not agree with the arguments he made to the Court (I personally do agree with them), I think we can all agree that he did his duty with honor, and is a credit to the U.S. Navy.All done!
...World Cup? Oh, that interests me as much as the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals kind of guy - but -
Anti-Americanism Has Reached A New Low by James Dunnigan June 30, 2006
Anti-Americanism has reached a new low. FIFA, the international sports organization for football (soccer to Americans) refused to allow U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (and warships at sea) to view any of the current World Cup games being played in Germany. The U.S. AFN (Armed Forces Network) has no budget for sports programming, and usually gets a free feed for major sporting events, in the same spirit that movie studios and TV networks provide free access to their product for troops in combat zones. FIFA demanded money, and would not budge on that. While soccer is not a major sport in the United States, it's estimated that a quarter or more of the troops are fans, and would enjoy seeing some of the World Cup matches. However, once this situation became known, several wealthy Americans stepped forward to correct the situation. The first one to make a move was media magnate Robert Murdoch, who ordered his Fox Network to make arrangements, and pay whatever FIFA was demanding, to get the soccer games to the troops, as soon as possible. This was accomplished in 24 hours.
BTW - I actually support the FIFA in that it's their product, they can do what they want and we can draw whatever conclusions we wish and modify our behaviors to suit - I would no more compel them to give their product away than I would do so to General Motors.
This is about High Fiving those who *did* make it possible for the troops to catch the games.
H/t Jim Dunnigan of Strategy Page - and Rupert and whatever other wealthy 'Muricans stepped up to the plate.
Oops. Meant to leave the comments open. All better.
Around the sphere two themes are rising to the fore out of Hamdan: (1) that the applicability of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is huge and (2) that Congress can fix the problem of the military commissions.
Al Qaeda are NOT POWs. The Court did NOT grant AQ detainees POW status. The Court only said that one single provision of the GC applies, that being Common Article 3. That provision sets a base minimum of protections for all persons detained in applicable conflicts. So, contra Allah, the fact that CA3 applies doesn't make the current interrogation techniques per se unlawful. Oh, I don't doubt that there will be allegations a-plenty attempting to argue that seeing a Specialist's boobies is an "outrage on personal dignity" on par with murder and mutilation. But my own opinion is that such suits won't get anywhere.
The real problem, again, is the court's unwillingness to accept the President's determinations per Article 36 of the UCMJ of how the commissions are structured.
Briefly, Art 36 says that such commissions should basically follow court-martial proceedings, but the Pres can deviate from those proceedings "where practicable." The President has made such a determination, the Court didn't accept the justification (and seemed unwilling to entertain any such justification).
Accordingly, the Court determined that such commissions must marry-up almost identically to court-martial proceedings. Including all its protections and (presumably) rules of evidence and whatnot.
This leads into the second rising meme that "Congress can fix this." Well, perhaps. But realistically speaking, Congress is unlikely to try to reinvent the wheel. What would their reference be for such military commissions? Either domestic criminal trials or court-martials.
Section 303: Authorizing Military Commissions: Authorizes the president to establish military commissions for the trial of individuals for offenses provided in this title.
This addresses the Court's problem (unwarranted, IMO) that Congress had to specifically authorize military commissions prior to their establishment by the president. How the AUMF can enable the President to use all necessary means of force to conduct a war, yet somehow not be able to administer the war is beyond me. But anyway, that question is answered for the Court here.
As to the biggie, what procedures are to apply, the proposed act has this:
Section 312 & 313: Criminal Prosecution Procedures: Provides that Military Commission procedures will be the same as the current procedures afforded by detainees under the current system.
Hopefully this would pass muster with the Court, but who knows. And why do I say "who knows?"
But if this doesn't get sufficient votes, what then? More likely they'd try to pass the buck and give the President the authority to make such variances to the court-martial procedure as he sees fit. Well, that was tried and the Court said "nyet."
Look, Congress can be notoriously lazy. I have little hope that a Congress so divided can come up with anything remotely workable on this issue.
Heck, even when they can get together and pass the Detainee Treatment Act, which was supposed to prevent Hamdan from even getting to the Court, the Court said "we don't care." So even if Congress does pass something semi-substantive, I'd be surprised to find the Court look favorably on such a determination.
This leads back into the applicability of Common Article 3--if its applicability matters, it's in this scenario:
Granted, that's a long way down the pike, but that's why the worrying about interrogation techniques is misplaced, it's having multiple Moussaoui-type trials that's the bigger problem. All done!
SCOTUS rules that CA3 applies and that current mil commissions are a no-go.
Congress attempts to fix this by amending the UCMJ to allow for "military commissions, detainee edition"
Case comes up before SCOTUS and court rules that Congress's version violates Common Article 3's requirement that sentences be issued "by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."