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Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Did the same for Mudville. If you've got a pda version of your site available leave a link in comments - I want to compile a "Tactical" blogroll. If you don't have one, what better way to spend 5 minutes out of your weekend?
*For instance - the most recent post does not appear - not sure why yet.
Forgive me if I'm skeptical Hawk, but I've got to concur with Salamander here. Hollywood is in love with the idea of the military destroying the fragile human mind. Hell they couldn't even pull off a decent Gulf War flick without A) sending soldiers on a stupid treasure hunt (Three Kings) or B) glorifying the diary of a punk kid and terrible Marine (Jarhead).
We had to navigate through Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket before we were treated to We Were Soldiers. Maybe in another 30 years and another 3-4 crappy "military ruined my life" flicks we'll see a decent Gulf War II film.
And if we do, may I be the first to suggest turning Marines in the Garden of Eden into a screenplay?
Greyhawk, I don't know if I share your optimism. I will admit that with Hollywood I am gun shy, but looking at the trailer what we have is a movie that of the four main characters that come back, one becomes a nut job with a gun facing the police, one explodes in anger "you weren't there" at one in what looks like a series of dead-end jobs, one is having trouble being Mom again, and the leader (S.L. Jackson) looks to have a son who is being a spoiled anti-war pain in the a55. I hope you are right, but this has a 70s replay written all over it. I hope I am wrong.
How about a note on *why* we do all this, anyway?
Holly Aho, Soldiers' Angel extraordinaire and one of the busiest ladies in the MilBlog world has delivered a beautiful new baby girl--Vivianne Allison. Her four brothers are adjusting to having a sister... - FuzzybearLioness
"Home of the Brave" - looks like a possible winner - but I expect you won't have trouble finding a seat in any theater where this plays. Not the sort of "escape" Americans want - I say the box office will be less then that for Jackass II or Fahrenheit 9/11.
Patricia Brooks, a 68 year-old grandmother, is on a hunger strike. It's her way of protesting Operation Iraqi Freedom. If I were grandma, I would be a bit concerned about this:
Day after day Brooks becomes a little weaker, and during a recent interview she had difficulty focusing her attention.
No one, she said, including her son in Dallas, Ore., is trying to talk her out of her fast. (He did not return a reporter's phone calls.)
Some retired and currennt generals are blathering about the Magical Bigger Army again.
The 2000 Census lists
22.4 Million aged 40-44(1980 prime recruiting pool)
22.7 Million aged 35-39 (1985 prime recruiting pool)
20.5 million aged 30-34 (1990 prime recruiting pool)
19.3 million aged 25-29 (1995 prime recruiting pool)
18.9 million aged 20-24 (2000 prime recruiting pool)
in 1985 there were 22.7 million in the prime recruiting pool. In 2000, there were only 18.9 Million in the prime recruiting pool.
Let's take a closer look at the 18.9 million aged 20-24 shrinking recuiting pool.
10% are High School Dropouts - the Generals don't want high school dropouts.Source:Dept of Education/
If we accept the number of 12 Million illegals in the US then an additional 4% are illegal aliens.
Oops..thats 2.6 million more lost from the recruiting pool. Now we are down to 16.3 Million in the recruting pool.
The Generals want more trigger pullers, the odds of passing a law that allows woman to serve in direct combat positions are slim and none. So goodbye to a little bit more that 50% of the recruiting pool
That leaves 8.1 million left in the prime recruiting pool.
Let's divide the age range by 5 so we have a picture of how many potential triggers pullers enter the recruiting pool in a given year
That takes us to 1.6 million potential trigger pullers enter the pool each year.
If the Army manages to entice 1 in 20 to join the Army we could recruit 80 thousand per year.
Ohh wait, that is what the Army is already recruiting to just stay even with what it has.
If one wants to add another 300,000 trigger pullers in Iraq then they need to choose one or more of the following options -
A) Accept a Substantially Higher Percentage of High School Dropouts
B) Allow woman into direct combat roles
C) Enlist Illegal Aliens
D) Have a Major Economic Depression(worked wonders for WWII recruiting)
E) Use conscripts
The likelyhood that congress would vote for options B thru E is absolutely zero. The likelyhood that the Generals would be happy to go back to an illiterate Army by selecting option A is pretty close to zero.
I guess the only option left is to do the best you can with the troops you have until the Iraqi Security Forces are trained and equipped.All done!
...from Iraq, via Haider Ajina. (One of the stories I referenced in an earlier post.)
The Pentagon has relented somewhat to persistent requests from Senate Republicans who want timely notification of military medals for bravery in the war on terror so they can share the heroic achievements with the American people and counter negative press coverage.And one possible explanation for those objections:
The Pentagon now will notify lawmakers of a person's name, rank and address, as well as the award, but in just three categories: the Medal of Honor, the services' individual crosses such as the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, and the Silver Star. The military has awarded 400 of those medals for heroism in Afghanistan and Iraq, as of the spring. But Congress will not be informed of medals such as the Bronze Star or Purple Heart.
Mr. Santorum a year ago won approval of a nonbinding sense of the Senate resolution in the defense authorization bill to urge the Pentagon to publicize awards via Congress. But the measure failed to remain in the final bill negotiated with the House. A Senate staffer said the military services objected.
"The upside is to celebrate heroism, and that has a definite benefit for our society," Mr. Carr said. "The downside would be that facts shared in celebrating would increase the likelihood of the person or family being targeted."
This is the most sober discussion I've seen on this subject on the Internet.
Which, unfortunately, ain't saying much...
That linked article includes an anti-Rumsfeld quote from General Batiste, who has become the media go-to guy for anti-Rumsfeld quotes. The man is obsessed.
Case in point, the Washington Post just ran an article regarding a soldier who was under Batiste's command in Iraq, who shot a flex-cuffed civilian in the custody of another soldier. He was court-martialed, found guilty, sentenced, and dishonorably discharged, but now his father is trying to clear his son's name.
The Post interviewed Batiste. Here's what he had to say about the case:
The general who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and convened Edward's court-martial, retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, said he has faith in the military justice system. "If I were Dad, I would be focused on Donald Rumsfeld and his leadership, which took our great military to war without a strategy, with insufficient troops on the ground, which allowed chaos to rein in early 2004," Batiste said.Which I suspect is also pretty much what he has to say about this weekend's football games, or whether he prefers coffee or tea.
Let's get this fact on the table right up front: the presence of 150,000-odd US troops in Iraq has not deterred an al Qaeda invasion.
I doubt 500,000 would have either. Suicidal jihaddis, fueled by religious fervor, simply aren't concerned with the numbers. Their goal is victory in the long term, and many are quite willing to die in the short term. Most probably have no idea of the number of "Zionist Crusaders" in Iraq - and probably wouldn't believe the number if they did. Note that their recruiting tapes, videos, sermons, and internet diatribes never mention the "small" number of coalition troops in Iraq as part of the incentive to join the cause.
In short, we simply aren't fighting a numbers war - the enemy ain't got the numbers to hit our smallest outposts with any degree of success. They do have enough people to launch mortars and run like hell back into the mosque, or plant IEDs along convoy routes during the night. None of these folks would be doing anything different if they had three times the current number of US troops to target. In fact given those circumstances I'd say it's likely the numbers of insurgents might in fact be larger - with a higher percentage of involvement by actual Iraqis. (I grant that the half-million shooters solution might have stopped Sunnis from killing Shiites - and vice versa - but only by uniting them against us.) I submit this is all at least as valid (and provable) a hypothesis as any claim to the opposite effect.
What we'd have - had we put those half million shooters in early on - would be a half million shooters there today. And the same folks crying loudly about "not enough troops" would be crying loudly that Shinseki was a Rumsfeld stooge who didn't have the 'nads to point out that we were following the same recipe for disaster we used in Vietnam, or that the Russians used in Afghanistan. And the "trying to wage war on the cheap" claim would be replaced by "making huge profits for defense industry cronies".
At some point - hopefully in the not-too-distant future, we'll have the Iraqi forces trained and equipped to the best of our ability - at least to a point of diminishing returns. At this time we'll depart (a more complex process than most understand) or yours truly becomes anti-war right quick. But the "last plane out" will be fired upon, and Saddam (from his cell) , al Sadr, al Qaeda, John Murtha, and a host of others will declare victory. (This last bit bothers me not at all. Recall that Saddam declared victory after Desert Storm.)
One could argue that "we didn't have a plan" - but that's demonstrably false. We had a plan that like all previous war plans in the history of the world did not survive first contact with the enemy. But that's another debate altogether, and infinitely more valid then the shudda cudda woulda, too few troops blah blah.
There are some signs of hope - most not reported in American media (at least in election season). More on that later, as it's quite late, and I'm quite busy these days preparing to return to Iraq.
I gotta admit that during my time in DC in '02-'03 I didn't hear anyone say "the army will disappear and a dedicated insurgency campaign will show up with splodeydopes". None. The closest was guys like Michael O'Hanlon, who said we needed people for WMD destruction and security.
I still can't figure out what the unprintable happened for the Garner group. One datum: I casually mentioned (I was an LT at the time) the Garner organization to a different service's three star who was Plugged In right before this, during the World's Longest Rush To War. That three star didn't know anything about it and I wound up doing a little presentation, impromptu, for the man and his boss. This seems to me to be indicative of a Problem--but not one that Rumsfeld himself would have known about.
I still like Jason van Steenwyk's take on the not-enough-troops thing.
As noted here:
The Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's only aircraft carrier, will join the Northern Fleet by the end of the year after modernization, the Navy's chief said Wednesday.
The Navy commander also said that several Su-33 Flanker-D fighters assigned to the aircraft carrier would return to the ship after a brief technical overhaul. The vessel is capable of carrying up to 26 fixed-wing fighters and 24 helicopters.
"The Russian Navy will operate several aircraft carriers in future," Masorin said in February, adding that Admiral Kuznetsov would probably remain in service until 2030.
Secretary Rumsfeld has apparently made a startling admission:
"Well, I think that anyone who looks at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight has to say that there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is," Rumsfeld told CNN...Actually, I seem to remember Gen. Shinseki anticipated what was needed pretty well. I admit, I'm not a big Rumsfeld fan; as a CENTCOM staff weenie in 2003-'04, I didn't work directly with the Secretary, but I worked with people whose bosses got taskers directly from the SecDef in meetings, and none of them liked him very much either.
The Submarine Force had a similar personality in Admiral Rickover; quite a few people hold that while he was indispensible in the '50s and '60s, but had outlived his usefulness by the '70s. Likewise, I think history will judge that Rumsfeld was the right man for Afghanistan, but the wrong one for Iraq. (Of course, I recently finished reading Cobra II and Fiasco, so those books might have warped my fragile little mind.)
Standing by for incoming...
Anybody with so many alternate spellings can't be right.
al Qaeda, al Qeda, al Qada?
Clausewitz, Clausowitz, Clausevitz?
The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that women in a Kentucky National Guard unit posed nude for pictures with their M-16s and other military equipment, and if so, whether they should be sanctioned for bringing discredit to the military, officials said.
"This is not the kind of activity condoned by the command leadership of the Kentucky National Guard," he said.
The newspaper had been independently provided with a compact disc containing 232 photos of at least a half-dozen nude and seminude women in various poses, including kissing one another, posing suggestively with military rifles, and covering their breasts with American flag decals. An accompanying e-mail said the women photographed were from the Kentucky Guard.
The Editors at The New York Times write an over-the-top, emotional and dishonest critique of the pending Antiterrorism Bill.
The Editors say a cynical (and by implication, criminal) Bush Administration is driving Congress “over a cliff,” and by fear-mongering and intimidation, forcing them to pass “a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.”
This is a war we fight, not that that’s at all assumed or accepted by the NY Times. Yet, to the Editors, this is entirely about extending complete judicial, constitutional, and Geneva Conventions rights and obligations upon a class of detainees that don’t even fit criteria for legitimate Prisoners of War, let alone prisoners of US law enforcement entities.
It’s all “mindless politics,” with an evil Administration forcing “ghastly ideas about antiterrorism” upon an “irresponsible Congress.”
Dear Lord, what adjectives will the NY Times have left come their dreaded but much anticipated American Kristalnacht? (Or did that happen with the defeat of John Kerry in 2004, I might have missed it with all the public mourning.)
The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.According to the Times, we will make American Troops less safe – they’ll be without all that super strong, respected by Tyrants and Dictators Everywhere Geneva Conventions Bullet and Bomb Proof Armor. The Times laments that the Bill will do lasting damage to our nation of laws – despite that the Bush Administration has done far less in fighting this war than did FDR or Truman during WWII, Hoover or FDR during the Depression, and certainly, Lincoln during the Civil War. (I guess Lincoln’s suspension of Habeus Corpus did lasting damage too, but doesn’t lasting mean it doesn’t heal or correct itself after the war is won?)
If we had to fight WWII (or any prior war) by the rules demanded by the NY Times, and the Democratic Party and ACLU allies, we’d have lost. There would be no Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (there’d be no Jews left), and the sun would have set on Democracy and liberty and Western Civilization. The elites of Hyannis and Beacon Hill and Beverly Hills would no doubt be able to concentrate their love of humanity on non fossil fuels, solar and wind power, and the prevailing wages of the working classes, without messy concerns of National Security. Come to think on it, you can understand their sympathy for the 7th Century Jihadis. (“Finishing the job Hitler started.”)
(Much more commentary over at Dadmanly.)
Sheesh Grim, why can't you just make fun of his appearance like everyone else?
Years ago now, I wrote a piece called "Clausewitz and the Triangle" that I think holds up pretty well even now. For example, the points about Clausewitz's "culminating point of victory" are neatly reprised in this week's declass al Qaeda letter. This time, it's al Qaeda itself raising the concerns.
The Department of State is slamming Clausewitz because the real target is their chief enemy, the Department of Defense. The point we are meant to take away is that the military are largely fools detached from reality, and we should trust diplomats instead. As usual, they are more interested in the turf war in Washington than in winning the real war elsewhere.
The military, however, includes both Special Forces and traditional forces. Where is the component at State that understands anything other than their mainline orthodoxy? It isn't Clausewitz, but it's orthodoxy all the same. The military tolerates diversity of thought and inquiry, from the National War College to the hiring of contractors to provide independent thinking on sensitive matters like intelligence.
State's opinion is welcome, also, but if they think the military isn't interested in culture and history, they're not paying any attention at all. Half the people I've worked with as a contractor were hired precisely because of their expertise in Arab cultures, or because they were historians. State has to know that, because there is interagency sharing of information and analysis. That makes me think the whole attack is really about trying to win political points, and turf control.
Which, to bring us full circle, is one of the points from "Clausewitz and the Triangle." The political struggles within the US are one of the chief sources of friction we have to face. That goes for intra-executive skirmishes as well as the fights between the executive and the legislature, or the two main political parties.
Goldberg, waxing Buckley, nailed that exact point earlier today Dad:
When confronted with the assertion that the Soviet Union and the United States were moral equivalents, William F. Buckley responded that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as men who push old ladies around.
Heh, ain't that the truth.
Would any reader of this site be watching CBS Evening News? Perhaps unlikely. But a piece ran recently that was worthy of attention.
Natan Sharansky offered a powerful antidote to the hysteria that has overwhelmed any reasonable debate over definitions of torture and treatment of unlawful combatants, in a freeSpeech segment at CBS Evening News.
Mr. Sharansky has, in my opinion, “absolute moral authority” on the subject of torture, what it is and what it is not. This authority rests on his long, personal experience, suffering at the hands of a regime fluent in the many expressions of torture and repression, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Mr. Sharansky makes a point completely lost in the rhetoric of critics of this Administration:
Those who would use abuses at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay to accuse America of being no different than the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or Sadaam's regime have lost all sense of moral clarity.The many and strident critics of this Administration are unlikely to agree with, or even consider, Mr. Sharansky’s caution, having not forgiven him for making The Case for Democracy.
America is different because your citizens can protest without going to prison. America is different because your courts can defend rights and your press can expose injustice. America is different because your Congress can hold hearings and because your people can hold your leaders accountable. America is different because America is free.
Thank you for the reminder, Mr. Sharansky.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly.)
Hair? Dude. That guy's neck is out of standard...
He does have a purty poofy uniform. And here I thought he was a Prussian General, not a French Admiral.
Hair? Dude. That guy's neck is out of standard...
My first thought after reading it? "Harumph. Intel weenies." But you know me, I have more to say than just that.
There are certain years in our nation's history in which numerous "moments" occur in multiple chains of events that significantly impact the subsequent timeline. Such years are identifiable only in in hindsight - the reverberations of then-seemingly minor issues require time to expand, much the opposite way that reverberations of seemingly major issues du jour often tend to diminish with the passage of years, months, days, or even hours. I think just enough time has passed to identify 1998 as one such seminal year.
The connection between Iraq and the "war on terror" was obvious back then - at least for those of us fighting the war. Ditto the rising threat of Osama bin Laden - something that was occurring in plain sight. But no one paid much attention, as on the domestic front the impeachment of President Clinton stirred political resentments that would grow unimpeded by war and other international events to today's seemingly unprecedented level of rancor.
There are those among us who like to believe that history began in November, 2000, or September, 2001. Even some of us over age 12 probably look back on '98 as the good ol' days. In many ways they were - "peace dividends" and "dot com booms" still appeared strong - but in the midst of the party an ominous background noise was growing, even if not yet to a level of distraction.
As much as I hate to interupt this Clausewitz love-fest, Pinch Paisley of Instapinch has some excellent coverage of the final farewell to the F-14 Tomcat at Oceana Naval Air Station. This stuck with me:
As I tell my students during my Combat Identification lectures, if you see a Tomcat anywhere in the world now, it is Iranian and can be positively identified as a bogey - a hostile - a bad guy. No ifs, ands, buts or maybes about it.
Roger that dude.
Sorry Chap, I don't trust anyone whose hair is that far out of standard.
He must be part cat because people keep saying he's dead, then all of a sudden people talk Clausewitz again. My favorite article about this is by Christopher Bassford. It's subtitled "A Polemic".
More interesting references here, too.
Karl von C's usefulness died with the cold war, back when states fought other states according to his "trinity."
Those were the good old days John. One big lump of Soviet armor pressing down on Europe that we could lob tactical nukes at. Now we've got a bunch of would be mini-prophets with dynamite strapped to their chest bringing down a millenium of civilized warfare because the West and Israel hurt their feelings.
Or not. Depends on how many (and of what persuasion) of you guys choose to pop over to consider the issue of the applicability of the Clausewitzian Weltanschauung (woooo, big word, Donovan) to today's wars and rumors of wars, and the impacts thereon.
Vice those nice, neat, tidy Total Wars we as a military prefer because they are sooo much simpler. Anyone remember how easy and simple (in essence) the General Defense Plan for Germany was? Civilians? So what? We weren't going to live that long - it was gonna be the National Guard's problem when they showed up after REFORGERing in and mopping up what was left of Europe.
I promise, we aren't slinging words like that double-u thingy up there around
profligately a lot.
To Jesse Macbeth et cetera we add a Sargeant Chavez.
He's here to tell you about "9/11 Truth". He says he flew into Kabul in a C-5 that stopped bullets (wow! A bulletproof C-5!) two and a half weeks after 9/11. As part of a "Veterans For 9/11 Truth" thing.
Cue the Blues Brothers: "I hate Illinois Nazis."
And I just now got emails from the guys reading the NYT trying to school me on what the NIE "said"...
Finally. Without gratuitous self-promotion or accompanying body-count commentary, someone in the major media has begun to recognize heroes from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters as simply that: Heroic Americans honored as such.
MSNBC has released the first of what we hope will be many video segments honoring those who've fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first segment is on Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.
At ThreatsWatch, we will be building a page to host all of the vignettes in one place for archiving in our Faces of Courage section.
Perhaps we could send MSNBC an annotated link to BlackFive's Someone You Should Know. Please, encourage your readers to let them know that doing the right thing is greatly appreciated and that there is a need for more. Many, many more. Tell them by name.
Encourage MSNBC to produce and release more of these by emailing MSNBC at heroes (at) msnbc (dot) com.
I just finished listening to NPR’s National Security reporter basically making the lame assessment that, with only the key judgments available (vice the entire NIE), it wasn’t possible to conclude whether or not the media reporting the leaks as “Iraq has created more terrorism” is impossible.
Contrary to NPR, I think the conclusion is pretty obvious. I can’t get to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) site, they’re obviously overwhelmed, but based on the findings read in the NPR report, you can see the way in which anti-Iraqi war media would “connect the dots.”
These are paraphrased from memory:
Al Qaeda and their sympathizers are using events in Iraq to exploit rage among disaffected Muslim youth, and using the war in Iraq for recruiting efforts. A new generation of Jihadists are training themselves in terrorist techniques in Iraq.Since true believers know that George W. Bush has created the anti-US animus and turned the world, Muslims especially, against us, by doctrine that means any new terrorists were created by our war in Iraq. Since we don’t get any credit for killing terrorists or disrupting their operations – heck, we can’t even get credit for likely kills like OBL – logically that means Iraq has meant more terrorists and terrorism.
Foolish little men drive these issues, including the same disaffected Generals that the DNC has trotted out again this week to call Secretary Rumsfeld “incompetent.” By pretense or studied ignorance, they refuse to acknowledge that the Jihadis want to fight us all out, and they will grasp whatever symbol of offense that is at hand to motivate their followers. So it was for Carter, so it was for Reagan, so it was for Bush 41, so it was for Clinton, and so it is for Bush 43.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
On Friday, I had dinner with some wounded troops from Walter Reed.
A Coast Guard Helo doing 135MPH? Where is our Homeland Security expert? This just doesn't look right.
The U.S. Coast Guard officially assumed responsibility for air intercept operations ... Coast Guard HH-65C helicopters and crews will be responsible for intercepting unauthorized aircraft which fly into an air defense identification zone surrounding Washington.
Thanks to Castle Argghhh!!! for the link to Thomas P.M. Barnett's precise smack down on the partially released NIE report here, for it contains the thoughts of many of us who have had to deal with intel estimates:
This analysis is typical intell stuff: obvious, useless, and playing into a do-nothing mind-set that here says, "Do nothing to piss off the terrorists!"Hey, intel weenies and followers of the revelations of the NIE by the NYT and others- even the Pope can get the "terrorists" upset with a few choice words.
What really tees these bad guys up is that we exist. And are free. And are happy.
Stick that in your next report.
And read Barnett.
I found a picture of my father in 1945. He had just joined the Navy, and was home for a bit before shipping out to the Pacific on the USS Bedoing Strait (CVE 116). When I laid it next to one of mine from Afghanistan in 2004, I was struck by a similarity or two. See for yourself here.
Some bad things can happen......you might be outed as a fan of the USAF.
"The RAF have been utterly, utterly useless," Loden was quoted as having said, referring to two instances involving Harrier warplanes during close ground combat.I would love to have been in the office of his Battalion Commander's office when the call from London came in.....
"A female Harrier pilot 'couldn't identify the target,' fired two phosphorous rockets that just missed our own compound so that we thought they were incoming RPGs, and then strafed our perimeter, missing the enemy by 200 meters," he wrote, according to British news reports. An RPG is a rocket-propelled grenade.
In contrast to the Royal Air Force, Loden said, the U.S. Air Force had been "fantastic."
I am not sure why we are seeing this furor about Osama being dead. Everyone who follows "The World's Only Reliable Newspaper" has already been informed that Osama got caught last month. Just click below...
CLINTON:Ok, now let’s look at all the criticisms: Black hawk down, Somalia. There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Bin laden had anything to do with black hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of 1993.
Somehow I think the Iran-Contra hearings made sure that anyone who even had a clue as to what was going on in the Middle East retired or left the service. I seriously doubt that all the souls who had a clue are no longer living.
CLINTON: I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him(OBL). ....The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify.
Yep, after Iran-Contra....without expilicit congressional authorization...refusing is a good thing to do...because the politico's will sell you down the river otherwise.
I'm not a fan of black op's, or extrajudicial killings. I think they feed the conspiracy monster. I also think irregular forces can be enormously difficult to "turn off" when it is time to turn them off. I.E. Ho Chi Minh was an "Allie" in WWII.
Clinton wanted a black op to get rid of Bin Laden, which wasn't going to fly without congressional approval. Then he wanted a Special Forces repeat of "Desert One" which failed so miserably in Iran. If a POTUS isn't prepared to go on TV and explain that he wants to kick the crap out of group XYZ for reason ABC...we shouldn't be kicking the crap out of them.
Bush at least has been pretty consistant about telling the public about who we are trying to kill and why.
The WMD card was probably overplayed...but the press was just as interested in overplaying that card as Bush was.(A mushroon cloud over US troops as they advanced to Baghdad is sadly to say...a news producers wildest fantasy)
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Men held captive at this U.S. military base are confined to small cells, but their minds can wander far and wide by reading philosophy, history, murder mysteries — even Harry Potter.
Nonfiction — particularly philosophy, biographies and Arabic history — is most popular, the librarians say. But fiction is also big. Popular authors include Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American; Agatha Christie; and J.K. Rowling, who penned the Harry Potter series about an English wizard in training.
Not all is Muggles and Butterbeer for our erstwhile wizards:
Some detainees have tried to use books to pass messages to each other, comprising some of the 414 "unauthorized communications" that were intercepted at Guantanamo during the past year, military officials say.
Don't worry though, those writing clandestine message get their library privileges revoked...for a week.
And finally, not everybody is a fan of the young Hogwarts student:
In June 2005, an interrogator was observed trying to wear down a detainee by reading a Harry Potter book aloud. The prisoner turned his back and clapped his hands over his ears.
Having read Andrew Sullivan's increasingly lunatic rantings on the subject (Harry Potter, I don't know what he has to say about torture), I can sympathise.
Speaking of military-themed movies, anyone seen Flyboys yet? I proposed seeing it to the family this weekend - but one sharp daughter pointed out it may be a chick-flick in disguise ala the abysmal "Pearl Harbor". This review suggests otherwise, and I'm inclined to see it on the big screen rather than wait for DVD.
Anyone with a first-hand report?
Update: If the direct link to the review fails, here's the main page.
And here's a bio of Eugene Bullard, the inspiration for one of the characters in the film. He flew for France, but the US wouldn't have him.
This shell crater is part of the "first enemy shelling of a U.S. mainland military installation since the War of 1812." It occurred at Fort Stevens, Orgeon.
The answer as to who fired the shots is found here.
Check out this trailer for Frank Miller's 300 --a film version of his graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae.
Anyone who is remotely familiar with the Battle of Thermopylae will seriously enjoy this trailer.
Pop the champagne, plan the homecomings. This means VICTORY.
OBL is reported as being dead ....again..
Does it matter?
Retired Admiral Lyons makes a good pitch that the great purple albatros know as Goldwater-Nichols needs to be tossed to the dustbin of history.
The unhappy conclusion one must draw from an examination of the Joint Chiefs and the war in Iraq is that their historic function as the principal body providing military advice is defunct. The Joint Chiefs as a corporate body have become irrelevant.I'm sold....then again I knew that years ago when I was told that it was more important for an old Dept. Head of mine had to get his "Joint" ticket NOW on shore duty soaking up O2 in Norfolk as opposed to going back to Sea to a hard fill - a hard fill he wanted to do that would actually contribute to the war - and not build PPT slides that do nothing but justify a bloated Cold War staff structure....but I digress.
13th Sustainment Command - Expeditionary took over for 3rd Corp Support Command this week.
If I google around for 3rd COSCOM , I find a DOD transcript where the Commander of 3rd COSCOM commands "around 20,000 Soldiers".
If I google around for 13 Sustainment Command - Expeditionary, I find a Wikipedia Entry that puts the number of Soldiers in 13 SC(E) at around 6,000 Soldiers.
Do I need to add in the 25 ID Sustainment Brigade and the 1st Cav Sustainment Brigade and whatever the Marine Equivalent of a Sustainment Brigade is to come to the 3rd COSCOM "around 20,000 Soldiers"?
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is in town under the cloud created by his wholesale release of al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners as part of the deal made with the same crew in North Waziristan. An 'administration official' said, "We know they are releasing some individuals. The $64,000 question is: Who are they?"
When Pakistan's president arrives here on Friday, he will be grilled about his decision this month to release more than 1,000 prisoners, some of whom are suspected to be high-value Al Qaeda operatives.
Well, it's actually way more than 1,000. A knowledgable and reliable source is convinced that the original 2,500 figure is accurate. And they were released ahead of the news, not after, and are now lost to the ether. When the news originally broke, the reporting was 'released' in the past tense. Suddenly it's future tense? Hmmmm...
The problem for the White House is that America does not know which prisoners were released as part of a ceasefire agreement the Pakistani military signed with tribal leaders in the border province of Waziristan. Pakistani officials have yet to share the names with their American counterparts, according to an intelligence official and an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
I am not quite sure what to make of that, such a long time after the AQ/Taliban attackers and beheaders were released (Danny Pearl's murderers were among those released). I never heard anyone disputing the original 2,500 report a week ago.
So why now a 1,000 figure? And claims of not knowing who was released?
Is appeasing an in-town Musharraf or just playing nice on the short list of possibilities? Appeasing may be a strong word...but it sure is frustrating.
Another review of The Blog of War, this one up at The American Prospect.
Lt. General Trexler the 7th Air Force Commander has issued an ultimatum to the Korean government over the lack of a bombing range in Korea:
The U.S. Air Force stationed in Korea has threatened to withdraw if the dispute over a shooting range for U.S. jets isn't resolved in one month.
Speaking at the Gyeonggi provincial government office Thursday, Air Force commander Lieutenant General Gary Trexler said the U.S. might have to deploy its forces outside the Korean Peninsula.
The deadline for the ultimatum is October 20th, which is the date when the bilateral Security Consultative Meeting opens.
The old US Air Force bombing range in Korea was closed do to bogus noise pollution and environmental concerns by the Korean government. Strangely enough for some reason F-15s and F-4s in the Korean Air Force continue to have a bombing range I guess because they don't create noise polllution or environmental damage. The US Air Force has been sending crews to Thailand to train but along with many other issues in the US-ROK alliance commanders on the ground are becoming fed up with the incompetent Roh Moo-hyun administration which continues to run the alliance into the ground.All done!
Here’s the template so familiar to the New York Times, that their editors and reporters feel compelled to use it for every story about the military.
Strains are Severe!So is it any wonder, when you come to the end of an article based on this TemplateTM, that you find yourself asking, what was all that about?
But not so bad just yet.
We may have to take drastic action immediately!
But maybe not so drastic, and maybe we can wait a year or two, and do something about it in a couple of years.
The latest example of NYT mal-journalism was this scare-mongering report about ongoing considerations of additional National Guard activations to meet Active Duty military commitments.
Let’s walk through the template, shall we?
Strains are Severe (Lead paragraph):
Strains on the Army from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become so severe that Army officials say they may be forced to make greater use of the National Guard to provide enough troops for overseas deployments.But not so bad just yet (second and third paragraph):
Senior Army officers have discussed that analysis — and described the possible need to use more members of the National Guard — with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior adviser on personnel, David S. C. Chu, according to Pentagon officials.Note phrasing, “possible need,” and the caveat that any decision or implementation would not be urgent. Kind of undercuts the lead, doesn’t it? Note also the immediate mention of competing priorities and trade-offs. Reasonable criticism, of course, acknowledges that these kinds of complex considerations are realities for leaders.
While no decision has been made to mobilize more Guard forces, and may not need to be before midterm elections, the prospect presents the Bush administration with a politically vexing problem: how, without expanding the Army, to balance the pressing need for troops in the field against promises to limit overseas deployments for the Guard.
We may have to take drastic action immediately:
So many are deployed or only recently returned from combat duty that only two or three combat brigades — perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 troops — are fully ready to respond in case of unexpected crises, according to a senior Army general.Who of course, won’t allow attribution for his remarks. Perhaps he’s one of the Senior Army Generals who are eying a political career? Wow, our entire National Security hinges on the readiness of no more than 10,000 Guard soldiers. Pretty scary.
The alarmism of this anonymous assessment, as well as the opening lead, is further diminished by an assessment from the head of the Guard, but this is deep into the latter half of the story:
Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, the head of the Guard, said his forces would be prepared to meet current requirements and to send more forces if needed.But maybe not so drastic:
“Can I sustain that?” General Blum said. “I say the answer is, ‘Absolutely’ — if three things remain, three critical things.”
He said Guard members must continue to feel that what they are doing is important and that they have the support of the American people. Finally, he said, “We’ve got to give them some predictability or some kind of certainty so they can balance their civilian life, with their employers and their family, with their military service to the nation.”
Given the lengthy lead time required for calling up, training, equipping and deploying Guard forces, Pentagon officials said that if more Guard members were mobilized, it would probably be for a rotation that begins in 2008.Which underscores the real motivation for these anonymously floated stories, leaked power point slides, budget summaries, and other background noise. Budgets. Getting resources.
Even so, Pentagon and military officials said that it was unlikely that any decision on a Guard mobilization would be necessary for several months or even into next year, which would place any announcement beyond the November mid-term Congressional elections.
To take on a greater load in Iraq and remedy existing equipment shortfalls, the Guard needs $23 billion over five years, Guard officials say.
I know our National Guard Division mobilized, and while we received 110% of everything we needed and then some, we left a lot of mission essential equipment in theater to help the unit that took over after us. Along the way, we discarded a lot of obsolete equipment when we received the best and latest. And yes, getting us back to 100% fully mission capable will now cost some money. Deep in this story, it looks to me as if that’s 90% of what the data content of this story is about.
With the other 10% the packaging and spin that “puts it all in context.” The context of the TemplateTM, that is. The Army, to quote the hapless and befuddled Murtha, is “broken.”
So is it any wonder we wonder, what was all that about?
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly.)All done!
At the risk of giving too much attention to the people behind this film, supporters of our Military need to beware of a just-released propaganda piece, Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers. Produced by Brave New Films, the film is directed by Robert Greenwald, who in a similar vein produced a propaganda hit piece against Walmart, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed and Uncovered.
This film was brought to my attention by what I assume is one of the film’s publicists. A cursory review of the film’s website aroused immediate suspicion, further confirmed by postings on the site’s blog. These posts referenced all manner of coordinated events with Democratic Congress people, and are heavily laden with partisan invective about how the Republicans need to be “exposed,” and other evidence of proactive attempts to tie the film to Democratic Party talking points. (Culture of corruption, all about oil, Halliburton, real support for the troops, etc.)
Having deployed to Iraq, I am amazed and perhaps somewhat concerned over the breadth and depth of outsourcing in the Military. But I know that many factors played into this three decade old process, not how chummy President Bush or Vice President Cheney are with major military services contracting companies.
These corporations and companies that provide services for the US Military, or for that matter, implement projects for the Iraqi Government, are among the largest and most professional service organizations in the world. They employ many ex-military, they have been engaged to perform services the US Government has decided over time to outsource, and they are not war profiteers in any sense intended by the participants or political and financial backers of this propaganda.
Callimachus at Winds of Change recently reported some moving, first hand testimony
from his friend Kat, a Contractor who providing project auditing and oversight of development and reconstruction projects in Iraq. Kat expressed extreme frustration with media non-reporting of reconstruction efforts, and the failure of mainstream media (MSM) perceiving any newsworthiness of the tremendous amount of effort and good work being done, against high risks and extreme circumstances.
More commentary oevr at Dadmanly.
And one of the potential weapons systems for the LCS, the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System, is discussed.
My usual Friday aggregation here.
"Gentlemen, please go look at the News."
Kidnappers Using Victims As 'Suicide' Bombers
Insurgents booby-trap cars of abducted, Iraq officials say
By Associated Press
BAGHDAD — Insurgents are now using kidnapping victims as unwitting “suicide” bombers — seizing them, booby-trapping their cars without their knowledge, then releasing them only to blow up the vehicles by remote control, the Iraqi Defense Ministry warned Thursday.
It was unclear from the Defense Ministry's statement whether the insurgents are using kidnapping victims because they are having difficulty finding recruits for suicide missions. U.S. military officials have said insurgents often tape or handcuff a suicide driver's hands to a car, or bind his foot to the gas pedal, to ensure that he does not back out at the last minute. The remains of such hands and feet have been found at blast sites.
“According to our intelligence information, recent car-bomb explosions targeting checkpoints and public places have nothing to do with (traditional) terrorist operations,” the Defense Ministry said in its statement.
It said that first “a motorist is kidnapped with his car. They then booby-trap the car without the driver knowing. Then the kidnapped driver is released and threatened to take a certain road.”
The kidnappers follow the car and when the unwitting victim “reaches a checkpoint, a public place, or an army or police patrol, the criminal terrorists following the driver detonate the car from a distance.”
Lex has a well argued post. As a man who tends to fat without extraordinary effort, I have often wondered where the folks are who should be using the exact same arguments supporting, for example, that number of linguists thrown out of the military for failing the choke-n-rope.
There's more to the issue, of course, and Lex is not touching on that on purpose as he explains it. But the transparent nature of some of these stunts is pretty entertaining.
Now the Russians will have to target their nukes at a different Arlington eating establishment.
I recommend Hardees.
Got my first call from the Pentagon today arising out of some email advice I had given to an 0-5. Good times.
(It wasn't bad--just some attachments I had included in the original email didn't get included as the email went up the chain)All done!
Gays in the military? A "right to serve"?
Openly gay students Jessica Arvidson, Matt Hill Comer, Alex Nini and Stacey Booe tried to enlist in the U.S. Army this morning in an effort to challenge the 13-year-old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy as part of a 30-city project called the Right to Serve campaign.
They weren’t allowed to enlist and then took part in a sit-in along with several supporters inside the Army Recruiting Center on Merritt Drive in Greensboro.
Booe left the sit-in after police said there would be arrests if they didn’t leave. The other three students and five other supporters were taken away in handcuffs.
Oh, God, not that again.
Hey, I’m really impressed with this Hugo Chavez guy.
No really, he makes a lot of sense, and I think we should act on a couple of his suggestions immediately.
First of all, he accurately described the United Nations (UN):
Let's accept -- let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.So, he proposes that the UN be created anew:
And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.Best of all, he offers to move the useless, Anti-American entity to a locale much more hospital to the dictators, kleptocrats, sexual predators, and other corrupt elites who so thoroughly enjoy free reign and lawlessness in the Big Apple:
And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.This is a win win win situation! No more sulpherous reek for the Gentleman from Venezuela.
I don’t know if it will work – if we closed the UN in NYC, my guess is half of the Royal Court (UN delegates) would seek diplomatic asylum in the US just to stay in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, let us go ahead and create something more humble, and suited no doubt to our evil selves: a union of free and democratic governments to fulfill to true and rightful charter of the organization formerly know as the United Nations.
I’m with Chavez – get the UN out of the US.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
UPDATE: Okay, a day's worth of completely unrelated vitriol exhausts even my patience. Comments now closed. Thanks to any and all who tried to reason with the troll. WW, as ever thanks for your attention. Someday we must send a bill to your analyst for the outside consultations.
Former President Bill Clinton, interviewed by NPR and reported by Reuters, casually insults the US Government and President Bush.
"The president says he's just trying to get the rules clear about how far the CIA can go when they're when they whacking these people around in these secret prisons," Clinton said in NPR's "Morning Edition" interview, recorded on Wednesday.That just gets him started, he further alleges:
"If you go around passing laws that legitimize a violation of the Geneva Convention and institutionalize what happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, we're going to be in real trouble," he said.
More commentary over at Dadmanly.
LOS ANGELES - A man accused of collecting intelligence for Saddam Hussein's regime during the 1990s was indicted on charges of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, authorities said Wednesday.
William Shaoul Benjamin, 64, of Los Angeles also faces charges of making false statements and conspiracy, according to the FBI.
Codenamed "9211," Benjamin allegedly worked with the Iraqi Intelligence Service between 1993 and 2001, infiltrating groups and organizations considered hostile to Saddam's government and relaying information to his Iraqi handlers. Prosecutors refused to say which groups he allegedly monitored.
U.S.A. V. WILLIAM SHAQUL BENJAMIN Charges: 18 USC 371: Conspiracy 18 USC 951(a): Unrgistered Foreign Agent 18 USC 1015(a): False Statement in a Naturalization Citizenship or Alien Registery Matter
There is another famous Benjamin that makes news -
At the center of Code Pink is legendary leftist organizer Medea Benjamin, the 50-year-old mother of two widely credited as a chief organizing force behind the 1999 Seattle riots in which 50,000 protesters did millions of dollars worth of property damage in their effort to shut down meetings of the World Trade Organization. In addition to Code Pink, Benjamin’s San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange was the founding force for United for Peace and Justice coalition, the nexus of the anti-war protests.
by DJ Elliott, IS1(SW), USN(Ret)
The Facilities Protection Service (FPS) is an undertrained, ill-equipped, militia-inflitrated and uncoordinated force of 144,000. The FPS as it was originaly formed and trained was intended as a quick way to put "boots on the ground" and it has grown to a size greater than the Iraqi Army. They were unvetted personnel (officialy under MOI) under 27 different commands (ministries) that were given five days training, a pistol and a uniform. They are nothing more than rent-a-cops and they operate as 27 seperate para-military armies (militias) without adequate supervision, training or control. However, this force is in the process of re-training, reorganization, resubordination, vetting and redesignation that has been ongoing since the Fall of 2005.
On 20 Aug 2005:
"In Taji, Iraqi soldiers completed a Strategic Infrastructure Battalion "train-the-trainer" course. The 90 graduates will go on to serve as instructors at an Iraqi Army training base."
Those personnel were members of 4th IA Division (4IAD). The Strategic Infrastructure Battalions (SIB) receive the five week Iraqi Army (IA) Basic Training but, do not get the IA's follow up training. Instead they are partnered with a US or 4IAD Bn for field training, formed into Brigades (Bde) and transfered out to other areas. The personnel have already received specialty training from the ministry FPS that they belonged to previously. At approx 3400 personnel per 5-week class they are training 30-34,000 Strategic Infrastructure personnel per year (approx 12-15 Bdes). Training of SIBs is centered at Bayji and is the collateral responsibility of 4IAD (AOR-Salahaddin, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah provinces). At the current rate of training, the FPS will be replaced by SIB trained personnel by the end of 2010 (five year plan).
By 20 Jan 2006, per Multi-National Force-North (MNF-N) Brief:
"one strategic infrastructure brigade, 14 strategic infrastructure battalions..."
were in MNF-D Area of Operations (AOR). Yet the 17 Feb 2006 Quarterly Report only said (pg19) that:
"The U.S. Government is working with the Government of Iraq to improve infrastructure security, including the seployment of special Iraqi battalions along key supply and pipeline corridors and hardening of vulnerable infrastructure."
The 26 May 2006 Quarterly Report to Congress said (pg41):
"MNSTC-I expanded the train and equip mission from 4 to 11 Strategic Infrastructure Battalions (SIBs) on 29 Mar 06."
I believe that the quarterly report was only counting the SIBs at Category 3 (C3) and above while MNF-N was counting formations still in field training (C4). Also, the five-sided rubber-room (Pentagon) was probably only counting those units that Multi-National Securty Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) was funded to support. The remainder were on the Iraqi's budget. Since the trainers are Iraqi Army and the IA can provide used (hand-me-down) vehicles as they receive replacement HMMWVs and wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers (DZIK3/OTOKAR/Cougar), this is not a big problem for Iraqi Ministry of Defense/Ministry of Interior. Much cheaper than fixing bombed infrastructure.
As of 06 May 2006, (LTC Loomis, MNF-N Public Affairs Officer):
"There are 20 strategic infrastructure battalions in Iraq, 14 in our division area of operations. I believe they were established as a security force initially under the Ministry of Oil, then were transferred to the Ministry of Interior, and shortly before we arrived came under the Ministry of Defense for command and control. Partnership relationships between U.S. units and SIBs began with our arrival last fall. We have two strategic infrastructure brigades in our area of operations. I'm afraid that I don't know what the total count of strategic infrastructure brigade headquarters is across Iraq, just the two with which we are working."
The other six SIBs equal two other SI Bdes sent outside MND-N's AOR. Yet only 11 SIBs were listed by 26 May 2006 Quarterly Report to Congress. I am estimating that the Quarterly Reports are only counting SIBs that are Category 3 (C3) or better (and US funded) while MNF-N is including the SIBs in-training (C4) and Iraqi Government funded.
29 August 2006 Quarterly Report listed 11 SIBs (pg41):
"MNSTC-I expanded the train and equip mission from 4 to 11 Strategic Infrastructure Battalions (SIBs) on 29 Mar 06."
While later in the same report indicated an subsequent increase to 17 SIBs authorized (pg53): "17 SIBs being trained and equipped". Only one SIB was noted as C1. Remainder were at C2/C3. MND-N Brief (8 Sep) indicated 14 SIBs and two SI Bdes in MND-N AOR.
As they train them up, the Bdes/SIBs are reassigned to other areas. The majority of the SIBs in 4IAD AOR are in-training (C4). Those outside of 4th IAD AO are partnered, in-lead or independent (C3/C2/C1). Additional SIBs beyond 17 are apparently funded by Iraqi MOI/MOD vice MNSTC-I. The following SI Bdes and SIBs have been noted in reporting (all dates 2006):
- 1st Strategic Infrastructure Brigade:
Loc Bayji Feb, not reported in press/release since, Bn count unknown.
- 4th Strategic Infrastructure Brigade:
Loc Bayji Jul,
Probably the "4th Bde" from Salahaddin reported reinforcing Baghdad (Aug).
1st Bn is only Bn identified with 4th SI Bde (Jul).
- 5th Strategic Infrastructure Brigade:
Loc Kirkuk Feb, not reported in press/release since, Bn count unknown.
- 8th Strategic Infrastructure Brigade:
Loc in 4th IAD AO Aug.
2nd Bn is only Bn identified in press release with 8th SI Bde (Aug).
- Unknown assigned SIBs:
1st SIB: Loc Kirkuk Feb 3rd SIB: Loc Tikrit Mar
5th SIB: Loc Dibbis Apr 7th SIB: Loc Northern Salahaddin Feb
9th SIB: Loc Tikrit Apr 10th SIB: Loc Balad Mar
11th SIB: Loc Mushada/Bayji May (9 IAD OPCON)
12th SIB: Loc Bayji Jul 16th SIB: Loc Dawra May (6 IAD OPCON)
18th SIB: Loc Kirkuk Aug 20th SIB: Loc Bayji May
I have not seen any reported reduction in training. SIB personnel are not counted as MOD or MOI (they are FPS) and only funded/trained battalions are counted. I estimate that there are 8-10 Strategic Infrastructure Brigades. Brigade numbering appears consecutive and 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th Bdes have been reported. Each SI Brigade composed of 2-3 SIBs (Security Bns) and a Bde Special Troops Bn (HHC, HSC, Engr/EOD, Scouts, ESU). A total of approx 24-32 Bns is in the Strategic Infrastructure Force that is replacing the FPS personnel guarding the Oil Infrastructure.
This is just the start. The MNF-N (8 Sep 2006) brief indicated that they were expanding from Oil (MoO) to Electrical Infrastructure (replacing FPS in Ministry of Electricity):
"In addition to our forces partnering with the SIBs improvements have been made over the past year to safeguard critical infrastructure. Key oil facilities are more secure due to the increased physical hardening of these facilities. Walls now protect electrical plants and oil refineries, where before there were either none or inadequate protection. Valves up and down the many pipelines are being hardened, creating a less vulnerable system.
The Iraqis know this is their future. They have now created repair teams capable of rapidly moving to a site and conducting repairs once a line ruptures. The capabilities continue to improve.
Iraq recently resumed crude oil exports from the northern fields for the first time since the autumn of 2005. Crude oil production for the second quarter improved 18 percent to 2.2 million barrels per day, and exports improved by 20 percent.
Coalition and Iraqi army forces joined together to add multiple powers, outposts and headquarters structures, thus increasing the presence of security forces along the Baiji-to-Kirkuk and the Baiji-to-Baghdad power lines. All together, these efforts have doubled the electrical power available to Baghdad from the north and have allowed 7.6 million Iraqis to receive power."
Also, there have been press reports of possible expansion into guarding Mosques and shrines in place of Ministry of Culture in place of FPS (Azzaman, 6 Sep 2006):
"The government plans to set up new battalions of Special Forces to guard holy shrines in the country, according to a cabinet minister."
Compared to the FPS "rent-a-cops" currently guarding these sites, SIBs would look like Special Forces. The major difference in these Bdes/SIBs from the Iraqi Army is the repair and ESU (firefighting) elements built in as part of the training and the limited offensive training provided. The majority of a Bde/SIB mans static positions with "technical" mounted Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) at Bde level that includes the technical support personnel. The SI Bdes are composed of two static Security Bns in fixed positions up and down the lines (Oil/Elec) and at the stations (Oil/Elec/Shrines) with QRF and technical personnel in the middle for command/control, armed response, repair, firefighting, EOD, Engineer, medical and supply support. They are simular in structure to Iraqi Border Guards (with ESU/Techs added). QRFs are equipped with handown armored pickup trucks (technicals) and 6x6 trucks from the Iraqi Army and armed/trained as light Infantry (AKs/LMGs). The SI Bdes/SIBs have insufficient vehicles and training for mobile operations except for the QRF elements. Where SIBs are stationed subordinate to IA Bdes, the IA provides the QRF elements.
I estimate that the initial replacement plan for Ministry of Oil FPS is completing (8-10 Bdes) and that the Ministry of Electricity and Ministry of Culture are now the emphasis due to the targeting of the Insergency/Terrorists on the electrical (MNF-I Brief 14 Sep) and religious sites. As this continues, the 27 ministries' FPS will be replaced with MOI's SIBs. Operational control and training of SIBs will remain with IA until MOI training and command/control capability improves. This also consolidates internal security under MOI (eliminating the 27 competing Ministries' FPS) and provides for proper vetting to prevent hostile inflitration.
These are not "Commandos" but, they are an improvement over the "rent-a-cop" Facilities Protection Service they are replacing. The SIBs provide internal security static guard troops that free up the Iraqi Army and National Police for QRF and national defense. They also provide a potential reserve mobilization pool of static defense troops for any armed conflict (50-75 Security Bdes). The conversion of 144,000 FPS to this caliber is one of the many untold (un-sexy) unfolding success stories of the formation of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Quarterly Reports to Congress
6 Sep 2006 Azzaman Press
20 Jan 2006 MNF-N Brief
8 Sep 2006 MND-N Brief
14 Sep 2006 MNF-I Brief
Those who have been stationed in Korea can attest to the amount of third country nationals from Islamic countries that work in difficult labor jobs in Korea. With the amount of Muslims workers in Korea combined with the number of US military installations in Korea, it really was only a matter of time before the radicals would try something and it is good to see the South Korean authorities were ready:
Since 2002, the National Intelligence Service has investigated 107 suspects in connection with six cases involving Middle East terror organizations, the agency said in a report to a legislator made public yesterday. The intelligence service, according to Representative Won Hye-young of the Uri Party, said South Korea has not escaped involvement with terror attempts by radical Islamist groups. According to the report, the service learned in May 2005 that an Iranian organization linked to Hezbollah, named by the United States and a few other nations as a terrorist organization, had been involved in wire transfers of cash amounting to about 60 billion won ($63 million). The transfers had been disguised as trade transactions; it was not clear from the report if the money had been raised in Korea or had been routed through this country in an attempt to disguise its origins. One Iranian was sentenced to a year in prison here for violations of Korea's financial transfer laws. In May 2004, the report added, the spy agency learned that people linked to Jemaah Islamiah, another Islamist group, were arriving in Korea to set up a base of operations here. Eight Moroccans were denied entry and turned over to Moroccan intelligence in October. One Korean-American suspect was cited in the report; the agency said it and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2003 jointly tracked down a 30-year-old man affiliated with a Pakistani terror group. He was deported to the United States, where he received an 11.5-year sentence after being convicted of being a member of a terror organization and having received paramilitary training.
You may have read about how the newest issue of Time is trying to convince readers that recent Navy "prepare to deploy" orders may be a precursor to war with Iran. It turns out that there's a much less scary explanation.
From an interesting piece by Brendan Miniter on the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal (here titled "When Mirand Met Osama":
When I met with Mr. Hunter, it was impossible to foresee the kerfuffle over a letter that had not yet been written. But the chairman pointed out that it was a JAG (though not one of the officers who signed the letter), who persuaded him to support the president's legislation. In setting up terrorist tribunals the administration has two options. It can adopt the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the same body of law used to court-martial soldiers, in its entirety or with certain exceptions. This is the path Sens. Graham and McCain want the administration to take. Or it can write a new set of laws specifically designed to handle unlawful combatants.Somewhere out there the gods of law are laughing their heads off.
Before making up his mind on which direction the administration should take, Mr. Hunter asked military officials testifying before his committee a very simple question: If terrorists apprehended on the battlefield are to be tried under the UCMJ, when will the right to an attorney kick in? The answer, Mr. Hunter learned, is about when soldiers have a suspected al Qaeda operative "spread eagled over the hood" of a HMVEE. It was clear to him then that the legal code for military tribunals "has to be something custom made for the war on terror."
Soon, in a combat theater near you, the 82nd Airborne will be dropped into combat against terrorists. Additional aircraft will drop into combat the 666th Combat Defense Attorney Brigade (the legendary C-DABS). As each trooper in the 82nd lines up a shot at a terrorist aiming at him, one set of the 666th CDAB attorneys will file a motion with the Combat Field Judge asserting that the trooper is about to violate the rights of the jihadist at whom he is aiming. The trooper's counsel will point out the imminent danger faced by his client and will assert "self defense" - meanwhile, the jihadist is blazing away at the trooper, ignoring the temporary injunction papers being waved at him by the Combat Marshal.
Other members of the terrorist group are gunning down members of the 666th Brigade as they try to present their business cards and establish an attorney-client relationship. Eventually the terrorists run out of ammunition only to discover that their AK-47s have not come close to being able to damage the American military as will the legal system about to invoked on their behalf by American law.
CDAB deaths will always be high, but given the ever-increasing number of American law schools cranking out an endless stream of unnecessary attorneys looking for work, the losses will be quickly replaced.
As a proud and practicing Catholic, I fully support responding to threats to kill the Pope by reinstating the regimini militantis ecclesiae.
I have a bit of a problem. If you might have some suggestions onhow to assist a two year old with leukemia - in Kabul - please leave it in the comments here.
I sure hope I can help.
The conclusion of the US-Korea summit between President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and President Bush of the United States ended with the US and Korean presidents agreeing to hand over war time control of the Korean military back to South Korea. The issue of handing over war time control has led to massive pro-US protests in South Korea against the ruling government of the likes that has equalled past anti-US protests in Korea. Polls show that roughly 66% of the Korean population is against the hand over and wish to maintain a strong US-ROK alliance. The current Korean government is so unpopular that their party has lost all recent congressional elections and President Roh himself sits with an approval rating of 14%. So who exactly are these so called South Korean "progressives" who swept into power due to a wave of anti-Americanism in Korea in 2002 and have in only four years nearly destroyed the US-ROK alliance?
The United States, in the name of the over-50-year-long Korea-U.S. alliance, has profiteered politically, militarily and economically. The bones spit out by the film’s monster after it had eaten the victims were horrifying. Imagine the bones excavated from Nogun-ri and other places during documentary television programs on modern Korean history.
Using its superior strength, position and intelligence (i.e., information), the United States has trampled on the Korean Peninsula, monopolized it and devoured it. Despite this, people still praise the monster’s actions? Just like the monster in the film.
This is just a taste of the venom from this law maker against America. You need to read the whole article in it's entirety to really appreciate the anti-US hit job that it is. These types of views by ruling party lawmakers however, are not isolated to one person, check here, here and here for even more wacky statements from the ruling party lawmakers. Then to top it off President Roh himself has even encouraged anti-Americanism in Korea. On top of the blatant anti-US statements are the anti-US policies by the government to delay the Camp Humphreys expansion, the ridiculous camp environmental issue, subsidizing anti-US groups, along with a host of other anti-US policies put in place by the Roh government.
So due to his party's anti-US policies President Roh is getting the return of wartime control that he demanded, but Washington very cleverly has expedited the timeline for the hand over from 2012 to 2009 which means any cut backs and changes to the US-ROK alliance to meet the 2009 hand over date would start next year and any follow on economic fall out from this would happen on Roh's watch. Roh has been pushing for the 2012 date and was only able to convince President Bush to delay the 2009 hand over decision until the next military talks between the two countries. Either way the current US-ROK alliance is apparently over and the US is now trying to decide what form the US-ROK alliance should remain in if it is to remain at all.
The ultimate question for Washington is if the US should maintain an alliance with a government with an approval rating of 14% and apparently doesn't speak for the majority of the people in Korea anymore? With polls indicating strong support for a continuing US-ROK alliance should Washington just wait to deal with a more new government in South Korea more friendly to the US once the current progressives are probably voted out of power next year? I don't even think the US government has decided on this yet, but I wouldn't be suprised that in the coming months some major changes in the US-ROK alliance are announced.
Either way the debate currently going on in Korean society is very healthy because for to long the US has been bashed for years by opportunistic politicians and the media in Korea. If the US does pull out of Korea and leaves a security vacuum in South Korea, the Koreans only have themselves to blame.All done!
By KHALID AL-ANSARY and ALI ADEEB
New York Times
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - ..Twenty-five of about 31 tribes in Anbar... have united against insurgents and gangs that are "killing people for no reason," said the tribal leader, Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi.
"We held a meeting earlier and agreed to fight those who call themselves mujahedeen," al-Rishawi said. .... Those terrorists claimed that they are fighters working on liberating Iraq, but they turned out to be killers."
Al-Rishawi said that the 25 tribes counted 30,000 young men armed with assault rifles who were willing to confront and kill the insurgents and criminal gangs he blamed for damaging tribal life in Anbar.
Al-Rishawi estimated the insurgents have about 1,300 fighters, many of them foreigners and backed by other nations' intelligence services.
Everyone in Iraq remembers what happened to those who backed the losing side in the Shia and Kurd uprisings.
The folks in AlAnbar were never going to back the "American Horse". The introduction of Iraqi Army and Police in AlAnbar is finally beggining to show dividends. The tribes in AlAnbar are going to back the "Iraqi Horse", now that Iraqi has a horse(Army and Government)
Another small step in a very long journey.All done!
Who do you believe?
WASHINGTON — Army officials angrily defended the capability and competence of the service Thursday in response to criticism from a pair of House Democrats who said the fighting force’s readiness is dangerously low.
Outspoken war critic Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., and Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., on Wednesday again called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for what they said was his failure to keep the military properly staffed and equipped.
They also released a 12-page report compiled from their staff’s examination of Army reports and congressional information requests, which said funding shortfalls and poor planning have led to “the very real prospect that Army readiness will continue to erode, undermining its ability to meet the theater commanders’ needs …”
But Army officials called the detailed report inaccurate and the conclusion of the congressmen off-base.
One of the Code Pink protesters whines about me on his blog.
This week, he addressed us in Faux-George-C-Scott-As-Patton style, marred by the fact that he was recording himself talk. Short form of what he had to say in the midst of the usual talking points? He comes from a military family, he has friends and family in the military, and on the basis of this and his certainty that we were not wanted there because we were hurting the troops, he hoped that we would have some moral epiphany tonight and never come back. It sounded remarkably like a fundamentalist of any stripe giving the “please convert” speech before they do something awful to you, which may just be a prelude to the pro-war freepathon that will be happening in DC next weekend after Camp Democracy is over.
I attempted to say something to this young man, but both the other vigilers and the orator’s wingman intercepted me - so I just said it clearly enough that it would be picked up on his tape: that he was not going to get his message across by coming here under false pretenses, then telling us that we would listen to him, and attempting to take the moral high ground from a position of subterfuge. I identify with Sisyphus, what can I say.
The real story is that this guy started to approach me, then nearly pissed his pants when he found himself face-to-face with Major Pain.
Also, he's got his facts all mixed up. For instance, he either didn't hear (or intentionally omitted) the part where I revealed that I am an actual, real-life OIF vet -- just the kind of guy his group claims to be supporting. But I guess any mention of that would undermine his claim to victimhood status, since veterans are considered the ultimate victims by this crowd, and therefore worthy (at least in theory) of the utmost respect.
Then -- to top it all off -- he puts up another post about "Why I attend the (Walter Reed) Vigil." The post features a couple lines of text, followed by three videos, featuring...
wait for it...
Jesse MacBeth, Jimmy Massey, and some other poseur.
I swear I'm not making this up!
You've been waiting, and wondering when it would finally happen.
GEN. CHIARELLI: Just a little comment that I'd like to make.....when I went up to Maysan yesterday, I took a brief about six kilometers short of the border. And that particular area was the scene of a battle in the Iran-Iraq War less than 20 years ago......absolutely stunned when I was told by the British lieutenant colonel who briefed me that at this particular location, official counts were that 1 million people had been killed. And he indicated that if I had the opportunity to go down and talk to locals, they would tell me that it was really 3 million people had been killed in this particular battle.(Ed. Emphasis mine)
In our protected cocoon that we call America we recall the horrific battles of our history -
Iwo Jima ~ 26,000 killed
D-Day ~ 2,400 Killed(Allies Only)
Gettysburg ~ 7000 Killed
Hiroshima - between 70,000 and 140,000 Killed.
We still debate whether Hiroshima was an appropriate use of force. Hundreds of exhibits have been built and many books have been written about the victims of Hiroshima.
A million people died in a battle in Maysan Province, Iraq. There are no exhibits or monuments. There were no anti-war protestors marching in the capitols of the world. There were plenty of reasons not to get involved, or to support one side or the other. It would have risked a direct confrontation between the Soviets and Americans or it would have been too costly or too complicated or it was all part of some sort of conspiracy.....
Whatever the reasons were, the message to the average Arab was clear, their lives had absolutely no value.
On 9/11 a few dozen Arabs who place no value on American lives, killed thousands of Americans. Every Defense Minister in the Western World immediately sprang into action. Even the Russians offered Airfields and Rail Lines for our use. We had felt the hand of evil.
A million people died in a battle in Maysan Province, Iraq. and the world did nothing.
We can not tell a Billion people in the world that their lives are worthless and expect to sleep peacefully in our beds at night.All done!
You may remember reading this post a few days ago. Milblogger SC Eagle needs our help so that he can provide hospice care for his wife, Ellicia. Please go over and lend some support to this wonderful couple.
Make a donation here, send well wishes here:
CMR 416 Box 1441
APO, AE 09140-1441
"Q-ships" are today's topic at Sunday Ship History.
"The situation is good because the police want to work and the people want the police. People are sick of the terrorists, who endanger children's lives. They want to see children on the street again," adds Adnan
"Is there still violence? Definitely. But the situation is improving. There is still a lot of work to be done. It's still a battleground but we are really seeing progress any day," according to Lieutenant Colonel Pete Lee, executive officer of the Ready First Combat Team in charge of Ramadi.
There are also two Iraqi army brigades and nearly 1,000 police tasked with looking after security in the Ramadi district, which is home to nearly half a million people."What we did starting back in June is (we) completed the isolation of Ramadi, setting up outposts in the middle of the enemy camps," Lee says.
"Then we denied them sanctuary so that they have no place to relax. They ... As soon as we install a new camp, they challenge us for a week. Then we expand the battlespace... They cannot fight us and win face-to-face."
"We are at a potential turning point in Ramadi," ..They clearly want Al-Qaeda to go away. People are tired -- they live in a battleground. Sheikhs have been killed and that was a mistake(ed by AlQueda)
If AFP can find some positive momentum in Ramadi, which is terrorist cental in Iraq, then there must be some positive momentum.
If that wasn't sign enough of forward momentum in AlAnbar this weeks Baghdad Briefing had this to say -
In February of this year when that Marine unit came in and assumed control of the Al Anbar Province, there was approximately 1,600 Iraqi police. Today out there we have over 6,400 Iraqi police in uniform and serving. We have an additional 2,100 approximately right now that are actually in training, that are going to be added to those numbers, and we have another 300 waiting to go to training
Transcript hereAll done!
Army prosecutors have added a fourth charge of conduct unbecoming an officer against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a Fort Lewis officer who refused deployment to Iraq because he considers the war to be illegal.
The additional charge raises the potential prison sentence from seven to eight years, a Fort Lewis spokesman said. Watada now faces seven charges.
The latest resulted from a speech he made Aug. 12 to Veterans for Peace at the University of Washington. Watada said that "to stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."
Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Piek said that the video recording of Watada's speech was introduced at his Article 32 hearing at Fort Lewis last month -- the equivalent of a civilian grand jury hearing.
Watada's supporters criticized the charge as gratuitous and said it raises free-speech issues.
Keep talking, Ehren....
From the WSJ Opinion Page:
"Prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment," Adm. Harris told me in a phone conversation last week, reiterating a point he had made a few days earlier in a briefing for visiting journalists here. "What we are about is keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield. . . . The enemy combatants that we have here were captured on the battlefield or running from the battlefield, and they were engaged in combat operations against Americans, and in many cases killed Americans. What we're trying to do here in Guantanamo is simply keep them off the battlefield, because we know that many of them would go back to the fight."
In fact, Adm. Harris says, many of them have kept fighting even while in captivity. They are carrying out coordinated actions with the apparent goals of disrupting the camp's operations, furthering anti-American propaganda, and wounding and intimidating the servicemen who guard them.
One such action unfolded on May 18. Early that Thursday morning, guards patrolling the high-security Camp 1 (one of five numbered detention areas, with a sixth under construction) found two detainees who had attempted suicide. "One was found unconscious," Adm. Harris recalls, "and then another one was found a little later, frothing at the mouth, if you will. It looked like . . . poisoning of some sort." Both survived, although one took seven days to regain consciousness, and the other took four days. Neither had a prescription for any drug, "so they had to get the meds from other detainees somehow."
To prevent more suicide attempts, "the detention group commander ordered a shakedown of all the cells. He was going through each of the cells looking for contraband, looking for pills. He found some, throughout the day. He found some hidden around the toilet area; he found some hidden in the bindings of the Holy Quran." (Each detainee receives a personal Quran in his native language, which non-Muslim guards are forbidden to touch.)
Early in the evening, the search reached Camp 4, the least restrictive of the detention areas. Unlike in the other camps, detainees in Camp 4 are not confined to individual cells but bunk communally and congregate in fenced yards. This is where the detainees live who are most compliant with camp rules. But on that day in May, their cooperation came to an end.
A guard noticed a detainee who appeared to be trying to hang himself. "The detainee had put a sheet in the ceiling around the lights and built what looked like a noose and was putting his head toward that noose," Adm. Harris says. "The quick-reaction force rushed into that [cell] block to save the life of the individual they thought was trying to kill himself. When they got in there, the detainees had slickened the floor with feces, urine and soapy water," making it hard for the guards to keep their footing.
"They proceeded to attack the guard force. . . . The attack was obviously planned. They managed to get a guard down on the ground. They attacked him with broken light fixtures, with fan blades and with [security] cameras that they had torn off to use as bludgeoning weapons. In that process the NCOIC [noncommissioned officer in charge] made the call--a gutsy call--to fire less-than-lethal rounds at the detainees. . . . All that took about three to five minutes. . . . The disturbance was quelled. No one was seriously injured, either the guards or the detainees.
"But at the same time, detainees in two adjacent blocks erupted and tore up their blocks completely--tore down all the lights, tore up all the fans, tore down all the cameras, and all that kind of stuff. They didn't attack the guards, but they did manage to tear up the blocks." In only one Camp 4 cell block did the detainees not riot: "When the uprising, or whatever you call it, happened, they went back into their block very quietly and stood by the beds," Adm. Harris says. "Today, those are the only residents of Camp 4." When I toured the camp, I saw perhaps eight of them, dressed in white, lolling about their outdoor yard. The other blocks are being repaired and made more secure, at a cost to the taxpayer of about $800,000.
Camp 1 is also unoccupied, undergoing repairs owing to the discovery of another sabotage scheme. Cells in Camp 1 were equipped with spring-operated faucets, and the detainees "managed to figure out how to take that apart and . . . pull the spring out. The spring, when it's fully stretched out, is probably a foot long, and it can be used as a weapon to jab someone in the neck or to jab someone in the eye. They would take that spring and hide it in the waistband of their pants. . . . This is just another indication of the creativity that the detainees have as they plan things against us."
There's more, so be sure to read it all... HERE
Feel free to send the link to Sen McCain, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Warner, et al. and ask them if they think the "personal dignity" of Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca were respected?
Cross-posted with a personal commentary and rant... at Some Soldier's Mom
Sunnis turn on old al-Qa'ida allies Ned Parker and Mohaned al-Kubacy September 13, 2006 SUNNI leaders in al-Anbar province, long a bastion of resistance to the American presence in Iraq, are urging the American military to arm tribes against al-Qa'ida, which is viewed as the most powerful force in the area.
Mr Samarrai said that leaders from al-Anbar had made several proposals to the Americans, including arming the tribes to fight al-Qa'ida, providing teams of bodyguards for tribal leaders, clerics and politicians who opposed al-Qa'ida and making an intense recruitment push to build an indigenous army and police force.
and what do people living in the center of the administrative district comprising 75% of the land mass in AlAnbar think??
In the town of Rutba, near the Jordanian border, local people actually welcomed the US military’s decision in spring to wall off the city because it freed them from al-Qa'ida, according to one former resistance fighter.All done!
“Al-Qa'ida controlled Rutba, but we discovered they fought and killed more Iraqis than they did Americans,” he said. “The Americans have blocked off Rutba but now the people feel better because al-Qa'ida cannot enter.”
Jay Nordlinger gives us a plug in his latest Impromptu up at National Review Online:
A “milblogger” — a military blogger — alerted me to a new book, The Blog of War, giving us “front-line dispatches from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.” A cutesy title, but one that had to be hard to resist. I can’t tell you anything about this book, not having seen it. But I can tell you that milbloggers have been invaluable these last several years. We complain about the MSM? Yes, but we don’t have to be hostage to them, either.Thanks, Jay!
News is up!
"The News is at least THIS important."
Such a deal we've got for you....here.
Low miles, only driven on Sundays and after dark...
Well maintained. Garage included.
Qualified parties only...
UPDATE: And another farewell.
The U.S. Senate passes a Port Security bill. But...see here.
Why do I hear music in the back of my mind? Something from Kansas?
Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind
I broke out the progess in Iraq summarizing by administrative districts here
There are 102 Administrative Districts in Iraq.
9 are either under provincial Iraqi Government Control or scheduled to be within 30 days
39 are under Iraqi Army control answering to the Iraqi Government or scheduled to be within 30 days
30 are "In the Lead" under coaliton control
78 Administrative Districts have ISF In the Lead as Cat II or better.
24 Administrative Districts are left with Coalition "In the Lead"
Of the remaining 24 districts -
6 are in the "Korean Sector" of Irbil
8 are in the "British Sector" - 6 in Basrah province and 2 in Maysan province
10 are in the "American Sector"
3 are in MNF-N - 1 each in Ninewa,Tamin and Diyali
6 are in MNF-W
5 of the 6 are in the Iraqi 7th Divisions AOR which was the last Iraqi Division to be formed.
Then there is BaghdadAll done!
Yesterday was not a good one in Mons. General Jones called all of NATO together to ask for some more troops, heck just the ones that were promised earlier, and what did he come up with?
Nichts, rein, non niente, niets, nada, ingenting. Nothing.
Don't forget the Gunblogger Rendevous in Reno, Nevada, October 6-8. Today is the last day to register and get rooms at the group rate!
The Master and Mistress of Argghhh! will be attending this event, going to a blogmeet in the West this year, vice the one we went to in the East last year - and you only need an interest in guns and blogging to have an interest in this event - you don't have to be a gun blogger per se! C'mon, visit the website (that link up there) and see if ya don't really wanna go! We'd love to see old pals and meet new ones! Check the right sidebar at the Rendevous website to see who else is going to be there. We aren't up there yet - but hey, it say's it's incomplete...)
From the WashTimes today:
The U.S. Armed Forces will meet wartime recruiting goals for the fiscal year that ends in two weeks, military officials said yesterday.
Despite Washington's heated political debate on the worthiness of the Iraq war, frequent overseas war deployments and daily casualties, officials say a sufficient number of young men and women are signing up with the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in fiscal 2006 to maintain an active-duty force of about 1.4 million.
The Army, which has suffered the largest death toll as the chief provider of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, reports that it has exceeded a goal of 70,200 recruits by signing up 72,997 as of August. Officials say they expect to meet a Sept. 30 goal of 80,000 for the fiscal year.
And hey, the Army has had to make *changes* man. Real sacrifices, in order to make it happen!
Hitting the mark in a time of war has cost the Army more money -- and style. In June, it raised the maximum age for recruits from 38 to 42, and says it has attracted scores of veterans. And it relaxed tattoo rules. Now, body art can extend above the neck. "We learned more and more teenagers have tattoos, so we relaxed the tattoo policy," said Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.
The kids just aren't getting the message, are they (hat would be the anti's message)? Why? Because we aren't advertising accurately! Lookit the unfair kinda stuff we do (well, this is *actually* the Guard...) to sucker these kids in - no dead bodies, no ruined villages, nothing. No amputees scuttling around like maimed beetles. Because, lord knows, the VRWMC (Vast Right Wing Media Conspiracy) has been hiding all that bad news... well, that and we're letting 'em have tattoos, even if it makes the Sergeants Major apoplectic...
by Sgt. Jim Greenhill September 6, 2006. High school students from around the country ride down the Missouri River in a raft built by North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers from 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company during Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous activities. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.
Meanwhile, over in Navy Land... they're ripping off the Coast Guard for their ad campaigns...
As Frequent Commenter, Proud Coastie Dad, and supplier of Coastie Content Larry K observed:
There is a Navy Ad ( I believe it is appearing in Popular Mechanics at least) that looks like this…
Compare it to this picture and caption:
NEW ORLEANS (Aug. 30, 2005) - Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Beaty, 29, of Long Island, N.Y., looks for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina here today. Beaty is a member of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew sent from Clearwater, Fla., to assist in search and rescue efforts. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 2nd Class NyxoLyno Cangemi
Google the name Shawn Beaty and click on images and you can see this image is out all over as a USCG picture.
Of course, then there is *his* Navy ad...
For shame, sailors. For shame!
(by the way, just go to the Coast Guard website, click on the "Photo's and more" link, login (instructions provided) do a search on "Beaty" and that photo shows up... to include the fascinating first name of the photographer!
Cigar International honors all three. Keep clicking "next" on the slideshow.
According to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration, 170,000 people were displaced in the months following the Samarra incident. However, like the Wissam family, the ministry said on Sunday that some 40,000 Iraqis have returned in the past month because security is improving....However, analysts believe that the security situation has not really improved.
It's so hard to know which news to trust...analysts that say Baghdad is getting worse, or 40,000 people who thinks it's gotten good enough to move back there.
Neptunus Lex tells a great story, a humbling story from training days, that’s a must read.
Not to spoil a good story, but the moral’s right here:
Never come back without your honor, he said.How that fits in, you’ll have to read for yourself.
"Experts" -as is their wont- are concerned about this:
China would likely react with hostility to any attempt by the United States to build and sell eight submarines to Taiwan, The Day newspaper in Connecticut, reported.Yes, it will probably bend somebody out of shape.
Submarine experts said Monday that China would likely impose economic sanctions against the U.S, but this would not necessarily stop the Groton, Connecticut-based Electric Boat Co. from building them.
If there is money available and if the program is endorsed by the United States government, Electric Boat wants to design and build the ships for Taiwan," said John B. Padgett III, vice president of Electric Boat, the submarine-building division of General Dynamics.
I leave it to the Bubblehead Brotherhood to fill in details.
UPDATE: Some background info here.
Saddam Hussein blew a gasket at his trial yesterday after listening to the testimony of an Iraqi Kurd who survived his Operation Anfal genocide:
Hussein and the six other defendants sat silently in the courtroom as other witnesses related the horrors of Operation Anfal, the 1987-88 campaign to suppress a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq during which the prosecution claims about 180,000 Kurds died.
But when Hussein heard a lawyer describe Kurdish guerrillas, known as peshmergas, as freedom fighters, the ex-president bellowed: ``You are agents of Iran and Zionism. We will crush your heads.''
I'm not entirely certain that Mr. Hussein fully appreciates the gravity of his situation.
How very frustrating it must be for him, in the silence of his cell afterwards, to reflect that his head-crushing days are well and truly over.
Ah, well: sic transit gloria
Cross-posted at home.
This past Friday I went back to Walter Reed, hoping to get some more interviews with the Code Pink protesters. But Bruce Wolf, the Code Pink bouncer, was on to my game.
Bruce: Sir, please leave... I’m not trying to be fascist or something...
SMASH: No, hopefully not! Nobody wants that...
Bruce: But it’s making people feel uncomfortable... We’re not here to do interviews... What we’re thinking about, to be really honest, are the soldiers. You know, whether you believe us or not, that’s what we’re here for... when soldiers come out, we like to talk to them, because we know that they need to… I mean, it’s healthy for them. They can say whatever they want, but just to be able to speak their minds. We have no problem with that. We communicate, and they can tell us what’s going on. But, that’s 'cause we’re here for them.
So I leave the protesters alone.
About an hour later, two wounded soldiers from Walter Reed, P.D. and Mason, go down to talk to Code Pink. I catch them as they're headed back, and ask how they were received by the protesters.
Mason: They wouldn’t even talk to us! How are they supporting us, if they won’t even talk to us, or look us in the eye?
P.D.: The general attitude was, they were kind of pushing us out. Wouldn’t talk to us. Just blowing us off.
SMASH: Had you identified yourselves as soldiers from Walter Reed?
P.D.: Oh, yeah...
Mason: Oh, yes sir. We had told them all about our background. I served in Iraq. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq. We were patients at the hospital. That we were just curious... But that did not seem like a good answer to them.
P.D.: They were closed-minded. They have their beliefs, and they won’t even open their minds to what we believe.
SMASH: They weren’t interested in dialogue?
Mason: The majority of ‘em, ninety-nine percent of ‘em, didn’t even look us in the eye. Wouldn’t even turn and acknowledge our presence.
P.D.: Yeah, they wouldn’t even turn around and look at us.
SMASH: Do you feel that they’re being sincere when they say they support the troops?
P.D.: I don’t feel they are.
Mason: One or two, maybe. But the majority, no. Not at all. I mean, if you really support the troops, as we said before, you’d turn around and talk to us. Acknowledge us. You know, all these people here (indicates the pro-troops rally), we walked out, and they said "thank you," you know, "how are you feeling?" Those guys (indicates Code Pink) say, "Don’t talk to them." That guy (indicates Bruce) literally came out and said, "Don’t talk to them."
Is this what Code Pink calls "supporting the troops?"
More, including photos and audio, here.
A JO and I were discussing unmanned aerial vehicles. I said it wasn't computing power that we needed for autonomous flight, it was algorithms, and what we needed to do in order to, say, refuel a jet by itself wasn't going to happen for a good while.
Is about the first muslim in space - Anousheh Ansari:
(On 18 September 2006), Ansari will become the first muslim in space. Ansari will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and fly to the International Space Station as part of an effort to conduct experiments on human physiology in space.
Ansari was born in Iran, but fled with family to escape the madness of the Islamic Revolution. Arriving in the US as a teenager who spoke no English, Ansari eventually went on to earn a BS in computer science and electrical engineering at George Mason University before earning a master’s from George Washington.
Along with a brother, Ansari opened two major technology companies, serving as the CEO at the first, and chairman at the second. And for those who didn’t bother to check the links, here’s the best part: Anousheh Ansari is a woman. A self-made woman who paid her own way to space.
Here's why this is really good news.
Update: I had it wrong - there have been several Kazakhs in space via the Soviet program, and a male Saudi on a US space shuttle. Ms. Ansari may or may not be the first Shi'a, she is certainly the first Iranian, and absolutely the first muslim female.
She's also the first muslim this millenium. Ah, well.
This attempted attack looks like a poorly-executed "breach and blow" operation, similar (but not precisely similar) to tactics used by al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
This tactic uses a combination of a vehicle-borne explosive device (i.e. "car bomb") and small arms assault to "breach" the outer barrier of a secure installation. The main thrust of the attack, however, is typically a second (or multiple) vehicle-borne explosive(s) in the vicinity of the primary target: in this case, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
The key differences between this attack and previous attacks which were positively associated with al-Qaeda are size and execution. Al-Qaeda typically use multiple teams to breach the security at several locations, in order to complicate efforts to defend the primary target. They then follow up with one or more "big bang" explosions, typically using large trucks.
This operation, by contrast, looks like amateur hour. Various reports list three to five attackers, with three dead and one or two captured. That equates to only one (very light) "breach" and one "blow" team, barely adequate for the task.
Also -- and this is the dead giveaway -- the secondary bomb (if there was one) didn't go off. Richard Reid aside, no self-respecting al-Qaeda cell is going into an operation with a dud.
From the National Endowment for the Arts
On September 12, 2006, the much-anticipated literary anthology Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, will be published by Random House. Drawn from the acclaimed National Endowment for the Arts program and edited by the best-selling author Andrew Carroll, the anthology includes nearly 100 letters, poems, stories, and memoirs of service and sacrifice on the front lines and at home, culled from more than 10,000 pages submitted.
In 2004, the NEA created Operation Homecoming to help U.S. troops and their families write about their wartime experiences. Through this program, some of America's most distinguished writers conducted workshops at military installations and contributed to educational resources to help the troops and their families share their stories. In addition to those works published in the anthology, all of the writing submitted by the troops will be preserved in an open, national government archive.
I am honored to say that I have a contribution in this book... It leads the "Home Front" section of the book. You can read more about the book HERE.
Note that Andy edited the book pro bono and royalties from the book are going back into programs that support the military.
BAD NEWS UPDATE: It wasn't him. Nuts. Someday Mr. Hekmatyar, someday...
A great feat. A great day for Afghanistan and a great day for us.
"#&*#, they got me."
I remember the "luxury" I had a junior officer to second guess the "Old Man" on some decision or another.
I also remember the day when every eye in the room turned to me for a decision because I was now the "Old Man" and the responsibility was now all mine.
InstaPunk writes the lesson larger here in a "must read."
I'm making my lists now...
Five years to the day after the al-Qaeda attacks in America, the man who invited Usama bin Laden to Afghanistan in 1996 has been captured. Afghan and Coalition troops acted on intel that Gulbuddin Hikmatyar was in his compound and the Hizb-i-Islami commander and al-Qaeda ally was arrested in eastern Afghanistan today, reports are beginning to show.
This is a potentially huge development - if it proves true - in the Afghanistan theater, possibly taking Hizb-I-Islami out of the fight.
Mohammed at ITM has a fairly long post on blaming the victim here. A short passage caught my attention -
Those dictators and extremists always seek to keep a state of low-level confrontation and to keep the possibility for war open because their dominance over their people depends on their ability to create enemies and convince their people that those enemies are whom hatred and anger must be directed at.
The WaPo quotes an analysis of the situation in AlAnbar here that also caught my attention.
The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents.
IMHO The Tribal structures of AlAnbar survive based on a perverse relationship between perptual violence and security services. There would be no reason for the various merchants who have paid "Safe Passage" fees thru AlAnbar for thousands of years, to pay such fees if AlAnbar was a "Peaceful" province. There would have been no reason for Saddam to recruit and promote a disproportionate number of AlAnbar's sons into various security services if AlAnbar had been peaceful.
Various conflicts in the world go on endlessly, for seemingly no reason.
In a peaceful province of Iraq, with a functioning economy, what purpose does the tribe serve? If the state of Israeli was moved to Kansas, would it solve the Israeli-Palestian conflict?
Then there is the million dollar question, if the Casus Belli for a conflict is the need for conflict, how does one resolve the conflict?
USS Texas (SSN 775) officially joined the fleet on Saturday during a ceremony featuring the Ship's Sponsor, First Lady Laura Bush. This was a nice change of pace from the last time a ship was commissioned with the then-current First Lady as sponsor. The ship was USS Columbia (SSN 771) and the First Lady is now the junior Senator from New York. You get one guess as who whether or not she was able to fit time into her schedule to attend the commissioning of the ship she was sponsoring.
More on the commissioning over at my submarine blog.
Troops from the Fort Wainwright, Alaska-based 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team visited Sadr City, the teeming Shiite slum famous for its densely packed population and as the headquarters for radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr is the leader of a Shiite militia, known as Jeish al-Mahdi, that is said to be responsible for many of Baghdad’s sectarian killings.
Wow...talk about getting the Job Done!!!
What do L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame and former presidential press secretary Pierre Salinger have in common?
Find out here.
LtCol P hit one out of the ballpark here....
Ever hear of Superferry 14?
Some words of caution here.
And more work for the already hard working U.S. Coast Guard.
under a deal brokered by the White House and State Department Saudi Arabia will send 15,000 students to American Universities....One serious problem with stemming the creeping Islamification of America is that the Islamist campaign is being abetted by Republicans. This guarantees immunity from criticism by a large swath of the Right-wing media. I suspect that if Democrats were leading the charge toward formalized appeasement, more pundits on the Right would speak up.
Way back when Jimmy Carter was president. I lived in Saudi Arabia. Wearing a US Air Force Uniform. I spent everyday interacting with Saudi's, in an official capacity as well as in the normal course of daily life, I.E. Going shopping, eating a Kabob, walking to work etc..etc..etc..
Unlike most of the Americans in Saudi Arabia, who lived on the self contained compounds of the Arab-American Oil company. We interetacted with Saudi's of all stripes on a daily basis, and got to know them.
A pretty good sized chunk of the Saudi's we met wished their country would pull it's head out of the 14 century and be more like America.
Unfortunately, the religious fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia have a pretty big voice. Just as the religious fundamentalists in the US have a pretty big voice. Just as many of our politicians support policies because they need the support of the religious fundamentalists, so does the Saudi Royal family.
Bin Laden made it clear that he didn't want "Infidels" on Muslim soil. It is a problem for him, if a bunch of Americans are running around Saudi Arabia, making friends and influencing people, it is hard for him to continue preaching his hatred, without ignorance, his whole movement pretty much disappears.
The chances that 15,000 Saudi students are going to somehow Islamify 300 Million Americans is ludicrous. The chances that 300 Million Americans will Westernize 15,000 Saudi Students is a pretty safe bet.
But what the hell, why not perpeuate ignorance and hatred. Let's make it impossible for Saudi's to understand that America is a nation of great diverse opinions, and for Americans to understand the same about Saudi Arabia.
Let's just say Saudi's are all BinLaden wannabee's and have them say we are all Sgt Graner of Abu Graib fame wannabees. Then we can happily just get on with the business of killing each other.
Our missing AF Major has been found. Alive. Good. Remember - the Buddy System is your friend in these situations - to help make it *harder* to get snatched in the first place.
Ah, yes. If you could just get them to pay their coffee mess bill on time and not spend all their time on NIPR surfing po....ummm... non work related items - we could sure fight that war better.
Senator One, you are going to have to take the lead today at reviewing the Non-leathal Targeting List, Senator Two is going to fill in at the Joint Coordination Board for me while I debrief FITREPS.Yes, more - much more of the 3,000 mile screwdriver.
I'm glad to see this... if it results in a strict adherence to the awarding of medals for valor to truly valorous acts. I have been annoyed as hell at some of the figures for medals awarded during OIF... For instance, the number of Bronze Stars without valor device outpacing those with "V" In fact, just for the Marines, there are almost 4 times as many bronze stars WITHOUT "V" awarded to officers than to enlisted WITH "V" and about 10 TIMES as many for officers as enlisted w/o "V"... (see this Capt B piece on the numbers) I hope they sort that out as I can hardly believe that there are 4x as many brave officers doing valorous tasks inside the wire as there are enlisted doing valorous acts outside the wire... but that's just me (and I know there's a bunch of "Os" posting here that might disagree... )
The Department of Defense has begun a comprehensive review of military awards and decorations in order to ensure policies are consistent with the evolving nature of warfare.
This comprehensive review will lead to an administrative revision of the Department of Defense Instruction 1348.33-M, the Manual of Military Decorations and Awards.
A working group consisting of representatives from each Service, the Joint Staff and the Institute of Heraldry will form the core of the comprehensive review effort.
This comprehensive review of military awards is expected to continue over the next six to eight months and will involve but not be limited to the following:
-Honor and Valor awards with particular focus on clarity of criteria and processes.
-The "V" device and the Purple Heart medals in eliminating disparate qualification criteria among the military services.
-Expeditionary medals in regard to how the theatre of operations is defined.
-Iraqi and Afghanistan campaign medals with regard to subsequent awards of these campaign medals, with a goal of appropriately recognizing service over multiple tours in those theatres of operations.
"The evolving nature of warfare demands that we review policies; for example, in the case of expeditionary medals, we must review how we define the operating "box" - whether it is the theater of direct action, or whether is might extend far beyond" said David Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "For example, we must consider whether air support originating at great distances or different continents indeed represents expeditionary service for purposes of those awards."
"When it comes to valor awards, we must clarify criteria, including a review of boundaries that increasingly extend far beyond a particular combat zone, yet involve direct threats to American lives" said Chu.
And not wanting to be disrespectful at all, but there was a running joke among a certain just redeployed Army Division that if you wanted to earn a Bronze Star you had to be an officer or dead... I'm just repeating what I heard...All done!
Time for the News of Afghanistan
I Want You...to go read.
U.S. finds 'torture chambers' in Iraq Associated Press WASHINGTON - The senior commander of U.S. and Iraqi forces in northern Iraq said Friday that a small number of "torture chambers" apparently used for sectarian violence were discovered along the Diyala River.........were found in May or June
I watched the Pentagon Briefing today on the Pentagon Channel. Gen Turner was giving his "End of Tour" summation. As usually befits a portion of the numb skulls that show up for these briefings, they want to talk about the 'subject de jour' which has nothing to do with an 'End of Tour Summation'.
So lost on all but maybe one or two reporters, was the real news, the number of FOB's in MNF-N is now down to 11 from 31. The number of coaltion forces in the MNF-N AOR is almost half of what it was a year ago. Number of ISF battalions in the lead went from 1 to 35.
Nope, none of that real signifcant progress was newsworthy, the fact that a couple of torture chambers were found months ago, that's the story of the day.All done!
The Chick Fighter Pilots Association. 28,000 hits and climbing.
Lucky for me I'll wear khaki to work today. What a coincidence.
When the boat pulled into Brisbane we got the full force of the love and affection the Brisbane Aussies have for us US Navy types. One of these days I'll post about a port visit there--suffice it to say I know people all over the Navy who have lifelong friendships based on visiting Brisbane. Irwin's zoo and refuge was a day trip away from the pier; he and his family always welcomed the sailors in port with VIP tours of the place--for free. His family, like the other folks we met in and around Brisbane, took wonderful care of us sailors.
Most of us MilBloggers are proud -- justifiably, in my humble opinion -- of the positive reviews BLACKFIVE's just-released book "The Blog of War" (to which many of us contributed) has been receiving from both the MSM and our fellow bloggers.
Via OPFOR, Maj. Jill Metzger, a personnel officer at our airbase in Kyrgyzstan, went shopping with her liberty crew in Bishkek and is gone. For some reason, she broke off from her group and is now missing. Tic. Tic. Tic.
Whether you like it, or not.
The specific object of Jay’s criticism was Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, and a piece that appeared over the “holiday” weekend. (Work free perhaps, but I’m not sure I know what the holiday commemorates unless it’s “work” itself. “Let’s celebrate the honest value of work, here’s a day off.”)
Robinson, in objecting to use of the word fascist and depiction of our current struggle against Islamic terrorism as in any way akin to our struggles against fascism or communism, made the following claim:
Nobody wants to appease terrorists. But some people have a different idea of how to fight them. The president is right when he says this conflict is unlike other wars, but he seems to miss the essential difference: It has to be fought in a way that doesn't create two new terrorists for each one who is killed.Jay’s reply to this kind of thinking is worth quoting verbatim:
That’s what they always say: that, if you go after the terrorists, you are merely creating more terrorists. Even some of the best of us have said it (e.g., Naguib Mahfouz). This way, civilization’s hands are always tied — you can never act. Because if you strike at them, you are only multiplying them, you see.More of Nordlinger's critique, and additional commentary, over at Dadmanly.
If you are a Project Valour-IT donor, come by and read my review of Blood Brothers, by Mike Weisskopf, in case you missed Dadmanly's review or it didn't convince you. If you aren't a donor - read the review to see why you should be...
Next, If this statement below makes you go, "Huh? What's he talking about?"...
I suspect most Americans would not reflexively rate Canada, Bulgaria, and the pusillanimous Spanish as their greatest allies after Britain. I do wish they'd start....drop by and read this post.
Lastly, if you remember the horror and anger generated by the brutal murder/mutilation of Specialist Babineau and Privates Tucker and Menchaca - there is an update in which the Army investigators have cleared the dead soldiers of any involvement in the rape and murders in Mahmudiyah, for which they were apparently the victims of revenge. And you can get an update on the trial of the soldiers accused of the crimes. Just by clicking here.
A fire last night aboard the Victor-III class boat Daniil Moskovsky (K-414) reportedly killed two submariners:
"Most probably it was a short circuit [in the electrical compartment]," Russian Navy Commander Vladimir Masorin said.More over at my submarine blog.
Masorin said two sailors involved in extinguishing the fire died because they did not put on gas masks immediately. The other sailor was affected by carbon monoxide after his gas mask ran out of oxygen, but his life is out of danger already.
The crewmen were still alive when they were recovered from the compartment, but died before a helicopter arrived to take them to hospital, the commander said.
Masorin said the submarine, commissioned in 1991, missed its repair deadline, but its service life was extended as it was in good condition.
The Iranians have developed their own version of the FA-18 - only it's better! N'stuff.
TIME Magazine’s Michael Weisskopf has written a powerful account of the courageous rehabilitation of four patients at Walter Reed Hospital, from injuries sustained in Iraq, in his soon-to-be-released book, Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward 57.
Weisskopf, for those who don’t remember, was the TIME Magazine senior correspondent who embedded with the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad and survived a grenade attack. In a split section reaction, Weisskopf picked up and apparently tried to toss the grenade, certainly saving himself and three soldiers in the Humvee, losing his hand and changing the course of his life forever.
In the first person, Weisskopf relates his own experience as a combat casualty, and the unusual but well deserved honor of receiving treatment at Walter Reed’s Ward 57. He also writes with deep sympathy and understanding of several of his fellow patients, Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez, and Bobby Isaacs.
Weisskopf reports that, due to increased armor and advanced in military medicine, 3% of all casualties involve an amputation of a limb, roughly twice the rate from previous conflicts.
Blood Brothers vividly captures what might otherwise be a forgotten story of our war in Iraq, that of soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, and marines who endure horrific attacks, but must sacrifice limbs to survive. As such, it’s a must read for anyone who wants a full appreciation of the cost of our war in Iraq, and against the wider war on terror more generally.
I have written previously of some of the consequences of service in Iraq. My family and I have experienced first hand the sacrifices separation imposes on all of us. Mrs. Dadmanly has written movingly of the difficulties families can experience even after their soldiers are home.
I struggle with how to reconcile the tragic cost this multi-generational conflict will exact on many fine Americans, among our best and brightest to be sure, and the critical importance of our struggle against Islamofascism.
All wars exact a price, freedom isn’t free, and “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf,” to echo Mudville Gazette. Still, the price can be high, and highest of all, of course, for those who sacrifice most.
Which only means, we need to be sure of the enemies sworn against us, and certain of the targets of our wrath. The costs will always be high, but rarely are the risks of inaction as high as well.
I read through Weisskopf’s book, alert for any signs of politicizing these heroes, these who make the next thing closest to the supreme sacrifice, or of injecting the anti-war or anti-Administration bias I would expect from most journalists.
Weisskopf restrains himself admirably, giving only fleeting glimpses of his political orientation towards the war. The first, in an anecdote about avoiding a Presidential visit to the Ward (didn’t want to give the President a “photo op”), and the second in his explanation of how he “found no solace in sacrifice.”
Weisskopf describes himself as “increasingly skeptical of the US role in Iraq,” suggesting that “The unpopularity of US Soldiers should have been part of the story.” Apologetically, Weisskopf mourns the loss of his hand with the observation that, “there was no compelling public interest served by a profile on the American soldier in Iraq.” Weisskopf obviously regrets that he “had fallen into a snare known as embedding,” thereby losing his objectivity, and crossing the line “from observer to participant.”
Ironically, in the end Weisskopf rightly acknowledges the courage of his actions, the nobleness of his sacrifice, and the value of the life he now can lead, with greater appreciation of his value. Similarly, he also describes a later tribute in which he gladly accepts the public gratitude and appreciation of President Bush at a White House Correspondents Dinner. This time, Weisskopf explains, “where I held my own among my own, he paid me a great honor.”
Despite these reminders of the world from which Weisskopf embedded with the 1st AD, Weisskopf handles the “blood brothers” of his account with great compassion and insight. This is a most important book, a modern companion to the movie The Best Years of Our Lives.
Blood Brothers captures the painful struggles of the modern battlefield casualty, the colossal courage and steely determination that form the gritty necessities of life after amputation. Weisskopf has done these men and women high honor, and captures much of the inner struggle that accompanies each man’s rehabilitation program.
Weisskopf struggles with a nagging question throughout his account, whether he acted impulsively in grabbing the grenade that stole his hand, or out of courage and heroism.
With this struggle, the men of his account share his inner doubt. As do all of us who have served in war for our country. In this, Weisskopf captures something more than the difficult and wrenching story of perseverance over loss and limitation. He touches that place in every combat veteran, who says, “Those that stayed behind, that never made it out, they’re the real heroes. The rest of us survived.”
For our families, and for most of us, that was prize enough indeed.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)All done!
I've posted Baghdad Casualty Comparison Baghdad casualty July-August comparison as provided by MNF-I>here
It stinks that Buck Seargent's unit got extended, it's clear from the map that they are making a VERY SUBSTANTIAL difference.
Updated ISF "In the Lead map as provided by MNF-I here
As part of the CENTCOM program to push the military's story into more places, spaces, and Google, I've been offered the chance to interview a Marine doing Civil Affairs work in Iraq.
While I've got an idea of what I'd like to ask - I figured more viewpoints would provide a better spread of questions than a whole lot of detail questions about his weapons... (okay, I'm not going to be *that* bad) - but I'd like your input - whether by comments here, or email.
And if you're a troll of any stripe, or an anti- that's fine. You're invited to submit questions, too - just don't make 'em venal and asinine (which really goes for everybody, btw). This warrior is in a dangerous place, doing his best to get the job done, and we should treat him that way. He's a young NCO, so keep that in mind, and he's doing Civil Affairs work in Iraq. Asking him his opinion on attack helo operations in Afghanistan is going to be a little outside his bailiwick (however much he might have an opinion...).
This is all going to be email, and is going to go through the PAO, just like any interview conducted under official auspices. Which doesn't mean we won't get interesting answers, but does mean there's a filter in place that honesty requires be noted. And I'm fine with that.
Meet Corporal Sweet:
Cpl Sweet is from Meridian, Ms and is currently serving in Al Asad, Iraq as a Civil Affairs NCO with the 3rd CAG Det. The main goal of 3rd. CAG Det’s mission is to ensure positive relationships are built with the local Iraqi population. They currently have a trash project going on in the Military Housing Complex of city of Baghdadi, the MHC is an old housing complex that Sadam built and used for his elite Army Officers, this complex is now being used by Iraqi citizens of the area. They are refurbishing schools, and clinics to ensure a better future/ way of life for the local Iraqi civilians. They are also in the process for getting a road project approved in the city of Hit (pronounced Heet).
So - give 'em up! Official Business Castle Email is: johnbethd(at)yahoo.com
Are the Pakistanis playing PsyOps, or something worse?
Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.
The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.
If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."
I've got *issues* with Richard Clarke but, assuming this report is correct, I find myself in agreement with him.
"What this means is that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism director.
Cross-posted at my place.
Update: Bill Roggio has more. It's not good.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld underwent successful elective surgery to repair a shoulder injury described as "an old athletic injury" at a military hospital on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.
Rumsfeld, 74, underwent arthroscopic surgery lasting less than two hours to fix a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, a relatively common sports injury, said Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff.
The picture that went with the article:
Doc is right, The Blog of War is one great reason to come to the 2007 MilBlog Conference, which will take place on May 5, 2007. I think Matt and his contributors should have their own book-signing booth.
Thanks to Matt for pulling together some of the most powerful posts from the milblog community, and packaging them so perfectly. Visit Blackfive for more.
In which my co-blogger Daniel, former Marine, tries to declare a minor.
If you were going to pick let's say 5 subjects you would think were of importance when discussing the impact of 911, what would they be.? Would you put "American bigotry" in the top 5? Top 10? Even if it was, would you think this week is the time to put that out?
Well, the BBC does; and they are doing it on the BBC World Service. That way, everyone in the world will know that the "911 Story" the British taxpayer wants his money spent on - is a story about American bigotry.
You just can't make this stuff up.
Looking for reasons to justify a trip to DC next May? I’ve already talked my wife into going, she’s a history buff and the West Coast doesn’t have anything that can touch the museums in DC. Not to mention the great fellowship with other military bloggers like ourselves. But the real reason we should go?
Is to get as many autographs to fill your copy of The Blog of War as you can, 40 years from now, I’m sure one of us is going to be important and that book could pay for the trip itself. I couldn't think of a much better souvenir to show my grand kids in twenty years to say I was there (damn, I'm getting old, that could be in only 10 years)
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Guy Gabaldon, who as an 18-year-old Marine private single-handedly persuaded more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers to surrender in the World War II battle for Saipan, has died. He was 80.Gabaldon died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in Old Town, his son, Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Hunter Gabaldon, said Monday.
Using an elementary knowledge of Japanese, bribes of cigarettes and candy -- and trickery with tales of encampments surrounded by American troops -- Gabaldon was able to persuade soldiers to abandon their posts and surrender. The scheme was so brazen -- and successful -- it won the young Marine the Navy Cross and fame when his story was told on television's "This Is Your Life" and the 1960 movie "Hell to Eternity."
"My plan, as impossible as it seemed, was to get near a Japanese emplacement, bunker, or cave, and tell them that I had a bunch of Marines with me and we were ready to kill them if they did not surrender," he wrote in his 1990 memoir "Saipan: Suicide Island."
"I promised that they would be treated with dignity, and that we would make sure that they were taken back to Japan after the war," he wrote.
The 5-foot-4-inch Gabaldon used piecemeal Japanese he picked up from a childhood friend to earn the trust of the enemy, who believed his story of hundreds of looming troops. In a single day in July 1944, Gabaldon was said to have gotten about 800 Japanese soldiers to follow him back to the American camp.
His exploits earned him the nickname the Pied Piper of Saipan.
The private acknowledged his plan was foolish and, had it not been pulled off, could have resulted in a court-martial. His family suspected his initial disobedience -- though they say officers later approved -- might have kept him from receiving the Medal of Honor.
"My actions prove that God takes care of idiots," he wrote.
Born March 22, 1926, in Los Angeles, Gabaldon signed up for the service on his 17th birthday and arrived on Saipan on D-Day. His military career was cut short after 2 1/2 years by injuries from machine gun fire. He spent the years that followed running a variety of businesses, including a furniture store, a fishing operation and an import-export firm, and made an unsuccessful try for a California congressional seat in 1964
The al-Qaeda terror network on Monday denied claims by the Iraqi authorities that its second in command in Iraq, Hamdi Jamaa Faris Juri al-Saeidi, was captured by US and Iraqi forces over the weekend. Reports of al-Saedi's arrest had been invented by the Americans, al-Qaeda said in a statement. Al-Saeidi is alleged to have ordered the February bombing of a revered Shiite Muslim shrine in Samarra, that triggered a wave of ferocious sectarian killings in Iraq, and to have assumed the command of al-Qaeda, after its late leader in Iraq, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed by a military airstrike in June.
"Our enemies have invented this Crusader propaganda that merely spins lies and disseminates them though the apostate government of Iraq, with the sole aim of concealing its own failures," the statement continued, apparently referring to clashes on Sunday between US forces as Islamic militants Ramadi, in the volatile Sunni insurgent stronghold of al-Anbar province west of the capital, Baghdad, in which two marines died.
Hat Tip: Free Republic
This week, the Army announced an increase in the number of reservists on active duty in support of the partial mobilization, while the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps number decreased. The net collective result is 3,837 more reservists mobilized than last week.
At any given time, services may mobilize some units and individuals while demobilizing others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. Total number currently on active duty in support of the partial mobilization for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 95,403; Navy Reserve, 5,858; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 6,875; Marine Corps Reserve, 7,350; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 315. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel, who have been mobilized, to 115,801, including both units and individual augmentees.
A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel, who are currently mobilized, can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug2006/d20060830ngr.pdf .
ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (Sept. 3, 2006) -- As the American flag descended, the Iraqi sun rose.
Friday morning soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division assumed control of the Abu Ghraib prison from U.S. Army Task Force 134. Iraqi soldiers will provide security for the facility until the Iraqi Ministry of Justice dispatches its own security detail.
“Returning the empty prison to the control of the Ministry of Justice clearly says that enforcement of the rule of law is a cornerstone of the constitutional government of Iraq,” said Iraqi Col. Monam Hashim Fahed, the battalion commander of 2-4-1.
Marines from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 will remain with the Iraqi brigade for a short duration to serve as a training cadre assisting the Iraqi unit through the initial stages of their mission. Additionally, an RCT-5 military transition team that mentored the brigade for roughly the last year will continue to advise Iraqi commanders and supply any requested guidance.
“It highlights the continued responsibility of the Iraqis,” said Army Lt. Col. Scott Marley, the military transition team leader attached to 2-4-1.
“The significance is that the Iraqi military is taking the lead in a non-conventional mission,” added Army Capt. John Langford, the 29-year-old military transition team intelligence advisor from Auburn, Wash.
The American flag was lowered in a brief turnover ceremony and passed to Army Lt. Col. Stephen Quinn, the 44-year-old battalion commander of 3rd Battalion, 321 Field Artillery Regiment from Virginia Beach, Va., and the outgoing commander of Abu Ghraib security.
Monam, who flanked Quinn during the security turnover, expressed his gratitude following the ritual and assured those in attendance that Iraqi soldiers were prepared to undertake the formidable responsibilities.
“We have been in the city of Fallujah for two years. Our mission is to defeat the terrorists,” he said. “Our soldiers received very good training from the U.S. Army, Marines and Navy SEALS. We participated in the Battle of Fallujah…. And I promise, we’ll do our best.”
Quinn added that Marines noted the aggressiveness of the Iraqi soldiers in battling insurgents.
Several hours later, Army Maj. Gen Jack Gardner, the commanding general of Task Force 134 and overseer of all detainee operations in Iraq, arrived on the scene to determine whether or not all last-minute administrative issues were resolved.
Satisfied that the facility was fit to be transferred to the custody of the Iraqi government, Gardner and two representatives from the Iraqi Ministry of Justice signed several official documents, effectively handing over administrative control of Abu Ghraib prison to Iraq.
Iraqi MOJ representatives presented Gardner with an ornate sword and several other gifts.
Gardner in turn dropped two keys into the hands of one of the MOJ representatives and retired outside for yet another flag-lowering ceremony.
Gardner addressed the dozens of spectators and applauded the efforts of the U.S. servicemembers who served honorably at the prison after the ceremony was completed. He held the tri-cornered, folded American flag in his hands while he spoke.
Gardner then departed in his convoy, soon to be followed by Quinn’s security force.
“Today acknowledges that Iraq is the main effort,” said 1st Lt. Cameron Brown, a 24-year-old platoon commander assigned to G Company. “The U.S. is not Iraq’s future. The Iraqi army is Iraq’s future.”
Browne and his Marines will remain at the prison for a short period to facilitate the transition and to interface with the units in the surrounding areas.
“It’s easy to forget the significance of this in our exit strategy.”
Ground combat is not my area of expertise - but it is always interesting to watch a leader in action. I can't find a way to save the video, but I have the links here.
Not something you see every day - but one question I have - is it normal to use a bullhorn?
A milblogger and his family could use our prayers and support right now.
Thanks to AWTM for alerting me.
Apparently NATO doesn't have an accurate "kill count." That, according to the Taliban.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan The top Taliban military commander on Monday said that NATO's claims to have killed more than 200 insurgents over the weekend were propaganda and warned that his men would target journalists who reported "wrong information" given by the U.S.-led coalition or NATO.
"They are saying that they have killed 200 Taliban but they did not kill even 10 Taliban," said Mullah Dadullah, Taliban military commander for south and southeastern Afghanistan. "They are just destroying civilian homes and agricultural land. They are using the media to do propaganda against the Taliban."...
The journalists just can't win. We're fed up with them, so too are the bad guys.
"From today, I want to tell journalists that if in future they use wrong information from coalition forces or NATO we will target those journalists and media," Dadullah said. "We have the Islamic right to kill these journalists and media."
An "Islamic right to kill these journalists and media." Nice....
After 126 bodies surfaced in Dora in July, only 18 turned up in August, according to U.S. military figures. Murders, most often Sunni against Shiite or vice versa in this mixed neighborhood, dropped as well. Fourteen murders were reported last month, down from 73 in July. But in a country long on disappointment and short on hope, Dora represents only the embryo of progress
Same article, by same author, but different headline. An interesting concept, the headline presented to the rest of the world via IHT is different than the headline presented to Americans. Couldn't be that the NY Times is attempting to influence the outcome of the Fall Elections by deliberating slantng the news, that would violate journalistic integrity.All done!
It must have been a tough decision for Al Qaeda. Which American journalist should we mention in our new videotape? In the end, Sy Hersh got the mention. A couple of Brits were praised too.
“Azzam” names “sympathetic” personalities for whom he has messages for action; He asks journalist Seymour Hirsh to “reveal more” than what was published in a New Yorker article on the War: Obviously an open call by al Qaeda to M Hirsch to resume the attack against the US War on Terror. Then “Azzam” turn to two British journalists and thank them for their “admiration and respect for Islam” encourage them to do the final step: Convert. He names British MP George Galloway and journalist Robert Fisk. But more troubling in Gadahn’s tape was his direct call to Jihadists within the US Armed forces to work patiently till the time comes and they should continue to aggregate while escaping the surveillance of their military authorities. This theme, which I covered briefly in Future Jihad, is of great concern to US national security. The “Azzam” speech brings further concerns as to the credibility of this threat.
I wonder if praise from al Qaeda is a badge of courage, or a shield of shame?
NATO led forces kill 200 Taliban in Operation Medusa
I guess the Canadians Forces have responded in a timely and appropriate manner.
How are this ship
See here for the answer.
Since it's a lose-lose proposition, because our political and cultural foes will spin to the dark side regardless of how things like this progress... we should just do what the system prescribes:
Let 'em have their day in court.
An Army investigator has recommended that four soldiers accused of murder in a raid in Iraq should face the death penalty if convicted, according to a report obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.
Lt. Col. James P. Daniel Jr. concluded that the slayings were premeditated and warranted the death sentence based on evidence he heard at an August hearing. The case will now be forwarded to Army officials, who will decide whether Daniel's recommendation should be followed.
The soldiers, all from the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division's 187th Infantry Regiment, are accused of killing three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 on a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
And if the death penalty is the outcome, that's the outcome. The Feds haven't been feeding the execution monster much. And the military even less. There are nine guys on death row at Leavenworth currently and the last US military execution took place in April 1961. We've got guys on death row who've been there a long time. If these guys are convicted, and get moved to the head of the line... *that* will get tied up in the courts over the appearance of politics.
Nice to have an idea where the enemy wants to go. As set out here, the "Future Jihad in America" video from is "a sample of what is on the mind of Salafi Jihadists for the United States and the West." Or as Whalid Phares puts it:
The video tape issued by al Qaeda’s “as-sahhab” production, in which Ayman Zawahiri introduces Jihadist Adam Gahdan to the world as a senior speaker to the American people on behalf of the movement, should be taken seriously.Here's a hint where the war is headed:
In short, the “Azzam” video reconfirms clearly, in an English language that academic translators won’t be able to distort, that al Qaeda’s movement worldwide and in the United States is seeking total annihilation or conversion of the enemy: American and other democracies.You know, convert or die.
Marxist Idealogy and Islamic Fundamentalism share a common view that the seven deadly sins,
Lust,Gluttony,Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride can and should be exterminated.
Western Economic Models are based on harnessing the power of Greed over Sloth, and Pride over Envy.
The odd couple allies are the Republicans and the Religious Right.
Several commentators have noticed the apparently odd joining of Leftist radicals with Islamist forces (e.g. in the Stop the War Coalition). Most people have assumed this was an accident, where a reflexive anti-Americanism on the Left caused them to side with the Islamists without really examining their new cause.
In the New Left Review, however, Malcolm Bull has penned the first ripe fruit of this alliance (h/t Arts & Letters Daily. It's too bad he writes choked with academic jargon, because it obscures the fact that he makes some outright astonishing claims.
Decoded, it proves to be a synthesis of Marxism with Islamism, which -- of course -- sees Islamism as simply a tool on the inevitable march toward World Socialism. It is thus proper to support Islamist movements against the West, not just because they work against the West, but because they are positive steps toward the real goal of Communism.
An explanation follows the jump, but the short version is that it is a return to the doctrine of overthrowing the West through Revolution, an embrace of both terrorism and Islamism, and a declaration that the good man -- the true Socialist -- will be supporting the other side.
Among the remarkable claims in this synthesis:
1) America, far from being a force opposed to the development of Communism, is really performing the service Communist theories expected of the Vanguard of the Proletariat. We have established a transitional global state (with the aid of the other two of the "three-headed monster," European Colonialism and and the Soviet Union). That proto-golbal state is 'withering away' in the face of Islamist movements and liberal NGOs.
Engles would probably be shocked by the idea that America is the Vanguard of the Proletariat, but whatever.
2) One would expect a good Leftist to have some concern as to whether the dissolution of the global state led to a new civilization led by these "evolved" NGO types, or a collapse of civilization into warring tribes. Not so!
Glossing Engels, Rosa Luxemburg argued that: ‘society faces a dilemma, either an advance to socialism or a reversion to barbarism’; either ‘rebirth through social revolution’ or else ‘dissolution and decline into capitalist anarchy’. The antithesis may be misleading. On this analysis, the latter may constitute the only route to the former, for the disorder of civil society is not merely statistical. In descriptions of this environment, there is a remarkable rhetorical convergence. For Hegel, it is ‘a formless mass whose commotion and activity could therefore only be elementary, irrational, barbarous, and frightful’; for Sartre a ‘place of violence, darkness, and witchcraft’; Luxemburg imagines it as ‘shamed, dishonoured, wading in blood . . . a roaring beast . . . an orgy of anarchy’.In other words, barbarism is to be embraced, because it will in fact lead to socialism! Terrorism is a good sign, because the "only route" to social revolution is the wading through blood.
3) They haven't forgotten the US military, either.
[T]he seemingly quixotic ‘war against terror’ is in fact just as central to the contemporary world as its advocates claim. Any ‘war against terror’ is by definition not a war between states, but a war of the state against civil society. But this is not a war against the pre-existing structures of civil society that underlie the global state. The ‘long war’ is being fought by the global state against the dissipative structures generated by its own entropy. In which case, it may not just last forever, it may also have been going on for a lot longer than anyone suspected.So: The Islamist movement is properly considered as a civil society, whose members merely intend to establish a new form of civilization. This civilization, as per (2) above, is an advance for Socialism, and may be the only route there. The US "long war" is in fact a war against the establishment of that new, gobal civilization -- the one that may be Islamist in places, at first, but which will turn out to be Communist in the long run.
When he says that the long war has been going on longer than we suspected? Why, he is simply letting us understand that previous anti-Communist movements should be read as part of the same conflict. The US struggles against Osama bin Ladenism is exactly the same as our struggles against Castro, as the struggles against the Communists in Spain, as the struggles Marx faced on the barricades in 1848.
A responsible devotee of social revolution -- of the advance of civilization to Socialism -- should embrace a return to barbarism as perhaps the only road there. Terrorism is likewise to be embraced, as it is helping "wither away" the global state set up by the West, which is a necessary condition for Communism. Islamism is to be embraced, as it is a civil society against which the West is conducting a war.
There you are. The ripe fruit of which you spoke: Cloaked in academic jargon, Bull declares for the other side. He is for cleaving to the cause of the enemy, and rendering them support: for theirs is the righteous cause. History and spiritual evolution are on their side.All done!
One of the many urban myths regarding US GI's in Korea is that they get away with crimes against Koreans and escape Korean justice, by hiding behind the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and flying home to America. More than just people on the street believe this myth, I have met what I consider pro-US Koreans that are highly educated but believe this myth as well. That is how ingrained in the Korean psych this myth is, when in fact the complete opposite is what is true.
Here is an excerpt from the Stars and Stripes regarding proceedings involving two accused GIs in unrelated cases being tried in Korean court:
The 2ID international law representative has asked the Korean defense attorney in these cases to request a new translator for the next hearings, the e-mail stated. If the Korean defense attorney, who is fluent in English, feels the soldiers rights have been violated, he can reopen the case at the next scheduled hearings.
Jin did not return repeated calls to his office Wednesday afternoon.
During Wednesday's testimony, a Stars and Stripes translator heard the judge ask both soldiers, separately, whether they admitted to various aspects of their cases. The court translators, however, asked the soldiers only whether they were aware of those aspects. The soldiers answered yes to nearly every question.
U.S. Forces Korea personnel did not answer queries on what legal assistance the military provides its troops when they end up in the Korean legal system, whether the military can take any action if legal services are inadequate, and whether USFK has had translator problems in the past.
How's that for Korean justice for you?
One of the soldiers is from this recent infamous case of taxi cab theft when the GI and his friends were fleeing a Korean mob that assaulted them and began beating the hell out them and Acosta decided to hijack a taxi to get away. This is the punishment Acosta is looking at for his taxi cab hijinks:
Acosta is charged with assault, illegal use of a vehicle, property damage, drunken driving and driving without a license in connection with an April 15 fight outside a Dongducheon bar. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month jail sentence.
I'm sorry that it happened, Acosta told the court. I wish I could take it back. I just want to move on with my career.
Here is the story about the other GI in hot water:
Bohman is charged with assault in connection with his attempt to visit his girlfriend at a bar that hadn't opened yet for the evening. He admitted in court to pushing the bar owner after the owner grabbed him, and to running from the scene.
Officials said at least one of the 10 Korean men who gave chase was injured trying to catch Bohman.
Bohman testified that he didn't remember whether the men hit him when they finally dragged him to the ground.
I don't have a solid memory, he said. I don't know for sure if they hit me.
He admitted biting one man to prevent the man from hitting him.
I was just trying to get away, he told the judge.
The prosecution asked the judge for a one-year prison sentence for Bohman.
Now take a look at how much money these soldiers have already paid before even being convicted of anything:
Acosta has paid more than $9,000 in settlements to South Koreans involved with the case, while Bohman has paid more than $18,000. Financial settlements are a common practice in the Korean justice system and usually lessen potential sentences.
So one kid who got the crap beaten out of him by a mob including getting hit across the face with a pipe, has paid $9,000 in compensation money and is looking at 18 months in Korean jail, while another GI whose sole crime was pushing a bar owner after being grabbed first by the bar owner, and he then proceeded to get the crap beaten out him by a Korean mob and the GI has since paid $18,000 in compensation money and is looking at a year in Korean jail for that push.
Now what about the Koreans involved in these incidents? Surely they would be looking at some serious punishment like these GI's right? Hell no, in fact only one of the people involved with the Acosta mob beating received any punishment which was a $2,000 fine and this Korean guy hit the GI across the head with a metal bar.
However, the $2,000 fine wasn't really punishment because of all the money Acosta had to pay to this same Korean man who admittedly started the fight. So at the end of the day, the Korean assaulter made money from the incident while Acosta is looking at going to jail. This is really nothing new because Koreans have long been able to rape, assault, kidnap and even force US GIs to make coerced statements on national TV with impunity while at the same time claiming US GI's hide behind the SOFA agreement and fly away to America to escape Korean justice. The truth is that the US has been giving GIs to the Korean courts to face justice all the way back to the 1960's to include some being given the death penalty, while US GI's have yet to receive justice from Korean courts in many cases for crimes committed against them. The SOFA Agreement myth is still widely believed by many Koreans while on the other hand very few Koreans know about or care about the crimes committed by Koreans on US GIs. I guess it doesn't help when the Korean media perpetuates the myths with blatant lies about soldiers escaping Korean justice by hiding behind the SOFA as recently as last year, when in fact soldiers have been given to Korean courts since the 1960's.
I'm not saying the two GI's in question shouldn't be punished for their parts in what happened, but the punishment they are looking at is excessive in my opinion compared to similar situations I have personally witnessed Koreans commit crimes and they received no punishment. I have blogged before about taxi cab drivers trying to provoke incidents including shoving soldiers in order to create incidents. When is Korean justice going to hold these people accountable for anything? Heck if the GI is going to jail for a year for shoving a bar owner, than half of Korea should be in jail as well with all the fights I have seen between drunk ajushis. Just sit back and ask yourself, if Koreans committed these crimes, what punishment would they get?
The truth is Korean justice is not about justice; it is about extortion and appeasement. The extortion is the "blood money" payments to the "victims" and the appeasement is the fear of the anti-US groups in Korea. The truth is that no Korean judge could find a GI innocent especially in a high profile case and not be condemned and trashed as a traitor and lackey of the US by the anti-US hate groups in Korea. Korean pride triumphs justice. When has a US GI ever been found innocent in a Korean court? I do not know of one time when a US GI was found innocent. If you know of a time when a US GI was found innocent in Korean court I would really like to know because I sure haven't seen it. Then on the other hand when has somebody been found guilty of a crime committed against a US GI and sent to jail?
There are obviously times when cases such as the recent "Stuff 'em in Trunk Gang" where the GIs are obviously guilty with little extenuating circumstances that I have no sympathy for, but often incidents that go to Korean court where there are many extenuating circumstances get treated the same as if these guys were hardened thugs like the "Stuff 'em in the Trunk" gang.
So which side is really suffering from the big, bad, unfair SOFA Agreement? It surely isn't the Koreans, which means justice will remain hard to find for US GIs in Korea.All done!
Lex, I think - like two blind men describing and elephant - that we are describing different parts of the same creature. Something is out there. No question about that. It has been growing for awhile. Not sure where it will wind up, but the ripening is done.
If Barbara Boxer has her way.
Democrats in the U.S. Congress want to force a vote of no confidence on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the August recess.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., plans to attach a resolution calling on President Bush to fire Rumsfeld to the defense appropriations bill, CNN reported Friday.
Even many supporters of the Iraq war blame Rumsfeld for carrying out the invasion with too small a force and ignoring unrest until it blossomed into an insurgency. A speech he made this week to the American Legion national convention comparing opponents of the war to those who tried to appease Adolf Hitler in the 1930s reportedly outraged Democrats.
"This latest Rumsfeld rampage cannot stand," Boxer said. "By comparing critics of this administration's policies in Iraq with those who wanted to appease fascism and Nazism in the run-up to World War II, he is slandering the majority of the American people, who oppose the war in Iraq."
Whew, she's mad. Wonder if she was this mad when her collegue Dick Durbin compared the actions of our troops to those of Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin?
Remember the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes at Annapolis because at LT had a potty-mouth moment in front of a Midshipman, made and apology that was accepted, and was still going to a Courts Martial? Well, after the Midshipman Owens CM failure - Annapolis punted. Sent him to Admiral's Mast at the Washington Navy Yard, where he received a Non Punitive Letter of Reprimand.
Mark Wilkerson explains his decision to disappear. Well, sort of...
There were some interesting nuggets in the lengthy Killeen Daily Herald Story. First of all, I'm left wondering what Wilkerson's fellow soldiers think about this:
Wilkerson said he was happy about the prospect of seeing soldiers with whom he served in Iraq in 2003, adding that he respects, supports and honors every military veteran.
"They all worked with the highest level of professionalism, and I was honored to serve beside them in Iraq," Wilkerson said.
"With open arms" doesn't come to mind....
Secondly, this is quite interesting:
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native avoided answering questions about his life since Fort Hood. He has separated from his wife, who lived with him in Killeen. He mentioned odd jobs, but didn't elaborate.
An Internet search, however, found a site listing a soldier by the same name and rank participating in a 50-minute film, produced by New Spark Media & Arts that chronicles the life of the soldier on the run.
The Web site at www.newsparkproductions.org describes the film, dubbed A.W.O.L., as a work in progress that "takes viewers into the life of a young American soldier, who after a year-long tour in Iraq, defied his commanders and refused to return to Iraq for a second tour of duty."
"The documentary is a collaborative effort between the filmmaker and the soldier, who is currently keeping a video journal while in hiding," the site states. "The film has been in production since October of 2004."
And finally, can I just say that I don't understand these people who are always trying to "find themselves."
Wilkerson left for basic training in the summer after he graduated from high school and became a military policeman. One month after joining Fort Hood's 720th Military Police Battalion, he deployed to Iraq.
There, he had a crisis of faith. He questioned where God was, whether the American government had done the right thing and what he was willing to do for his beliefs, once he figured out what they were.
Since he returned from Iraq, Wilkerson has decided to learn more about current events and the world.
He has tried to answer his questions of faith.
"I'm still trying to get right with that," he said. "I've been spending the last year and a half trying to find my niche in life and discover who I am."
Apparently, I'm so NOT "hip".
Come to the Castle and render honors to a literally dying breed.
No, really. A real hero in Hollywood.
Follow Israeli Infantry in a night attack. It's long, but worth it.
Some of you vets will find your palms sweaty.
[Update: Looks like the link may have exceeded the bandwidth, or someone asked that it be removed.
Mebbe if you check back later it will work. You can try a right click and save as - that worked for me - but could also be because I've played it before and the file is stored on my machine (though I did flush the cache to check)]
Now you know why base security can get pissy if you don't lock your car.
Cars stolen from the US are linked to suicide bombings in Iraq. Shades of "Hoist on your own petard!' "Alternative capitalism" reprises selling scrap metal to Japan in the 30's only to have to sink it in the 40's... (No snarks about weapons sales and being shot at by your own stuff - different sourcing!)
One a completely unrelated note... What the helk *is* on 527's left wing?
PARKLAND, Wash. -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is searching for five people who allegedly attacked a uniformed National Guardsmen walking along 138th Street in Parkland Tuesday afternoon.
The soldier was walking to a convenience store when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside him and the driver asked if he was in the military and if he had been in any action.
The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.
“And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road[.]”
Generally such an act would fall under state criminal law. However, I got to thinking whether 18 USC 111 might have some applicability.
Section 111 prohibits "Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees." Here's the relevant portion:
(a) In General. - Whoever -
(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or
(2) forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as a person designated in section 1114 on account of the performance of official duties during such person's term of service, shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and in all other cases, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
For reference, Section 1114 includes members of the uniformed services. Accordingly, if someone assaulted a soldier who was on duty at the time, that would meet the standard of Section 111.
The issue here, however, is whether the attack on a uniformed servicemember, presumably not then "engaged in official duties", constitutes an assault "on account of the performance of official duties."
An argument can be made that this assault qualifies under the "on account of" language not only because the soldier was in uniform, but more importantly, because of the "baby killer" comments. Quite simply, it was "on account of" this soldier's status as a soldier (and performance of duties thereto) that he was assaulted.
So come on DOJ, get to it!All done!
Back in 2002 and 2003, the mainstream, anti-war left drew a lesson from the pages of Vietnam era protest and excess. They promised that this time, they'd fight against the war, but honor the warrior. In return, many of us on the other side of the argument conceded to them the presumption of good intentions, choosing instead to argue with their assumptions.
Is this compact fraying? And if so, what will be the consequences? More - much more - over at my place.
It's been known to end military careers, but what about congressional aspirations?
David Harris, a Democratic candidate for a North Texas congressional seat, is under investigation by the military amid allegations that he carried on a three-year affair with an enlisted soldier under his command in the Army Reserve.
Harris, an Iraqi war veteran challenging 11-term Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Arlington, is accused of "conduct unbecoming an officer" for maintaining a "close and continuing relationship" with a female Army sergeant from 2003 though 2005, a military investigator said.
AWOL soldier turns himself in.
A Fort Hood solider that went AWOL for two years surrendered on Thursday.
Army specialist Mark Wilkerson said he returned to face his fellow soldiers and superiors rather than live in constant fear.
Wilkerson disappeared just before his second deployment to Iraq.
He says he never left the country but won't say where he was.
There is no word on what Wilkerson's punishment will be. Others have served time in military prison.
Wilkerson has been keeping poor company.
Wilkerson recently traveled to Cindy Sheehan's war protest camp near President Bush's Crawford ranch, about 40 miles north of Fort Hood's main gate.