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The Senator's suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting, and it is shameful. The members of the United States military are plenty smart, and they are plenty brave; and the Senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology.
I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
Wynton has engaged. He's locked horns with John Kerry ‘Swiftboats' The Democrats.
The military bloggers are already in Def Con 1.
The snide, hyper-elitism dripping from Kerry's words is arresting. But swirling beneath the surface of his comments is something deeper, something conservative critics have long identified and attacked among those they say belong to the "Blame America First" crowd, as former U.N. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick so artfully once put it.
And that is this: What, if anything, will liberals fight for? What threat, if any, would be worthy of sacrificing one's educated comfort in order to use aggressive, American military power?
As said to Wynton in an email regarding his article and the politicization of the War on Terror...
Words mean things. We should all be listening intently.
The stakes are too damn high. Consider this:
I say enough. Enough already. They are telling us precisely who they are. The podium can be pounded all day long, but words mean things.
Note: I feel compelled to say that it matters not what color your jersey, Blue or Red. It matters not what letter it bears, 'R' or 'D'. What matters is the security of this nation, the single responsibility solely tasked to the Federal Government of the United States of America in its Constitution. We are engaged - not by our choosing - in a war that will span many election cycles and perhaps many generations. It will not be won by ceding the indispensable weapon of 'Will' to the enemy who so clearly seeks to destroy us.
Defeating the enemy and National Security should be of primary concern. All else - Social Security, Abortion, etc. - are but debates about the luxuries that this security provides for. Period.
How could I have missed the opportunity?
If it weren't for George W. Bush, Kerry'd be able to say what he really means. Instead,
"It's that damned...Johnson!"Details here.
For those who miss the reference, click here.
Today’s John Kerry news. The man can’t help himself. He has to get body parts moving, one way or the other. Either he gets his foot caught in his mouth, or his hindquarters get a swift kick, or both at the same time. You have to wonder if he works for Karl Rove.
Here’s again is what he said, courtesy of MILBLOGGER Andi:
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”Here’s his right this minute rebuttal.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.Okay, Senator Winter Soldier. I’m an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) III Veteran, enlisted, smart as hell and twice as angry. I’ll lecture your sorry behind.
You are a disgrace. You offend the uniform you wore with such disdain, and you denigrate the service of your betters who have served in the military, without the dishonor you showed, during Vietnam, immediately thereafter, and in your complete dishonesty about your record then, and your votes as a US Senator related to Iraq.
We are not “stuck in Iraq.” Don’t want to take National Security seriously? That’s your prerogative, but don’t ask to represent me, in any fashion. Your party has chosen to abandon any responsibility for Iraq or the wider war on Terror, after voting time and again to approve of actions taken by this President you loath and insult.
You voted for it, before you voted against it. And now this. Even if you believe the idiocy that comes out of your mouth, do you have any idea what a moron you sound like? How much you manage to enrage your fellow veterans?
If you can’t buy a clue, keep your clueless hole shut. If not for our good, for your own.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly.)
The week before critical US midterm elections, and the architects of a couple of high visibility public relations (PR) campaigns must be pretty satisfied.
Yes, Al Qaeda and the Democrats have every reason to be pleased.
Let’s talk declared enemies first. That’s right, Al Qaeda and their Media War.
These guys know what they’re doing, it’s pretty hard to argue with their success. They have an avowed PR Campaign, and captured documents reveal a complex and multi-faceted information operations (IO) effort, aimed at the instruments of Western media and their willing (if unwitting) practitioners.
What a result they’ve achieved.
All the news outlets are trumpeting “highest in a year” US Soldier deaths in Iraq, the very month before midterm elections. They did better than they hoped, no doubt, not just beating the year’s best, but moving ahead of the psychologically significant 100 per month figure. And coverage has been wall-to-wall, almost universal across all major media outlets, print, radio, TV, and cable.
Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette highlights a highly successful “Astroturfing” campaign, in which activist groups with a political agenda simulate a “grassroots” effort by “disillusioned” active duty soldiers against the war. Except, this grassroots effort was orchestrated by others that then “recruited” the military front-men required, as reported by the NY Sun (almost exclusively). Hence the term, “Astroturfing.” As described by Wikipedia:
In politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots" support.Furthermore, as reported by Greyhawk and Blackfive, major media and responsive columnists have willingly transmitted Al Qaeda propaganda, without contrast or rebuttal, and without any acknowledgement of sources or evaluation of credibility. One suspects, since the source was not the Pentagon, no reason to suspect press manipulation, right?
The goal of such campaign is to disguise the agenda of a political client as an independent public reaction to some political entity —a politician, political group, product, service, event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach," "awareness," etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual pushing their own personal agenda through to highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations.
Al Qaeda has every reason to be pleased with their PR campaign to turn the US electorate against the war and change the political equation in Washington.
As for the Democrats, let’s review their PR campaign.
(For that review, go check out Dadmanly. No need to take up space here.)
Feedback on an earlier post:
Saw your comments on the Nature of the Enemy weekly update. We've just begun working on the Nature of the Enemy in this office, and any feedback -- even if it's negative -- is appreciated.
First of all, it is weekly, so the information is designed to be a quick read of brief blurbs on what is going in the global war on terror. Each day of the week, we send out a different product and post it on the net -- all of which can be accessed here, http://www.defenselink.mil/home/dodupdate/index-b.html. One deals with heroes in the global war on terror, another on recent news in Iraq, another summarizing what goes on in DoD each week. If the document was 10 pages as you suggest, I fear most people who receive it in their inboxes would delete it immediately.
Second, the audience of these products is diverse. We want to target those who are not as well versed in the goings on in the Global War on Terror. Those who well understand "the nature of the enemy" -- people like yourself as demonstrably indicated by your posts -- understand the stakes in this war. In short, you don't need convincing. Those who do not know anything or very little about the enemy's strategy, tactics and history are less likely to understand why this war must be won. We send it out to media, people around the building, and to staffers on Capitol Hill to establish a basic lexicon from which we can all proceed.
Any thoughts or input you may have would be greatly be appreciated.
Keith M. Urbahn
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Did John Kerry take a swipe at the men and women of our armed forces? A thread on Free Republic claims that Kerry said the following:
Tonight's "John Ziegler Show" on KFI 640AM in Southern CA played a clip from Senator John F Kerry's appearance at Pomona College with candidate Phil Angelides, Democrat for CA governor.
At the event, Kerry had this to say about our brave military volunteers:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Old habits die hard.
I've tried numerous times to download the audio file, but to no avail. If anyone else is able to do so, please verify in the comment section.
Update: I like this clever comment:
"You know, marrying rich women, if you make the most of it, if you court hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Paris doing street mime for loose change."
There, that's better.
Its time again to kick the other services butts!Go below and donate to Valour IT for the Marines! Why be Army strong (whatever) when yoiu can be with the Few and the Proud?
PATROL BASE STEELERS, Iraq (Oct. 18, 2006) - Marines of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment used combined arms to muscle over the enemy when they were attacked by insurgent fire here Oct. 20.
The said the operation included suppressive fire from a rooftop here, a ground assault by Marines in the nearby city and an air attack on an insurgent stronghold.
I got a recorded phone call from Jack Murtha today.
Some blathering about how he is a war veteran that understands something or other.
Jacks obviously has never been to one of my families picnics.
I must say...Jack helped me....I was considering a vote for Senator Cantwell.
Her opponent is a political unkown. Jack helped me decide.
Jack helped me to decide to help folks that need a ride to the polls get a ride to the polls.
Jack helped me decide to donate another few hundred bucks to various candidates.
Jack helped me to decide to put a sign up in my yard.
Jack, I was having a very nice lunch with the Mrs. The Mrs. and I don't often have an opportunity for a nice lazy lunch alone and undisturbed.
What is it that you do not understand about DO NOT CALL.
I thought that I'd break out some of our campaign posters early. This one will be up at OPFOR tomorrow.
My logic is undeniable. Treat yourself. Join Team Air Force.
Update: Uh oh, one of OPFOR's Marine bloggers has betrayed me!
I spotted this on a neighborhood veterans' memorial in San Diego this weekend:
This is what we're fighting against here at home: an enemy without the courage to show his face.
Valour-IT is a continuation of fundraising by other means.
Here's your proof.
The crap I have to put up with....
We're here earlier than the other guys...but that's because we prepare the battlespace. First in, last out.
The Air Force? They just showed up early because they had a tee time and got lost.
Hey, you think we could get all the services' thermometer thingies up on the top this week? It might be, ah, useful...All done!
It's that time of year everyone! Let me be the first to kick off the Valour-IT fundraising shenanigans by linking the Team
Air Force Zoomie donation button.
Let's buy some laptops!
Kind of off topic, but I was talking to my sons about warplane names this weekend, and I decided that while the B-2 "Spirit" is probably the lamest recent name, there will probably never be another name cooler and more appropriate than the "Spitfire". Any thoughts from the airdales?
In the entry below I linked to a film clip - in the later part of it, some soldiers relate their proudest moment of their service. What is/was yours?
The Army provides a 12 minute explanation of "Boots on the Ground." I just left a meeting of several hundred Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers a few hours ago. When this film clip was shown, there was stone silence when it ended. A profound message for those of us who have been given the honor, the privilege, and the responsibility to leader Soldiers.
"I scream, you scream, we all scream about how much we hate George Bush."
The Center for International Policy(A Fenton Client), works towards a more "sensible policy towards Cuba". It is run by William Goodfellow.
William Goodfellow is married to Dana Priest.
Dana Priest is national security and intelligience correspondent for the Washington Post (reg required).
I'm making up for some lost blogging time as you may see, one of the best military deals on the west coast. This is from their website. Check out the Silver Bullet, no, not the one I give silly, the ride at Knotts! (if you don't know what a silver bullet is, ask any Sailor or Marine)
Veteran's Tribute - Nov. 1 - 23 Knott's annual tribute to our Military, past and present. FREE admission for Veterans or current serving military personnel and one guest with proper I.D. presented at turnstile. Plus purchase up to six additional tickets for just $10.95 each! Ends November 23, 2006
And thank them for the support while you're there.
The contrasts abound. A while back the commander of a U.S. battalion (a relatively small unit) in Iraq suggested his troops all send letters to their home town papers to counter negative press and tell what they were really doing over there. Most of the troops who bothered to participate at all sent the sample letter the commander had prepared. Because this wasn't a professionally organised, media insider effort, they probably didn't realize that most "small town" papers are actualy parts of chains run by large media outlets, so they were actually sending multiple letters to a relatively few organizations.
The similarities in the letters from this unit were identified almost as soon as they appeared. The media ran with the story of the commander who had forced his troops to participate in what the media (and others) declared was an obviously coerced astroturf campaign.
Contrast that story with the "Redress" story - small unit in Iraq coordinates (in a bumbling, misguided, but true "grass roots" effort) to get the word out about the real story and makes unexpected negative headlines. But when the left wing machine engineers a major "astroturf" campaign designed to appear to be a "grass roots" movement of the troops it garners world-wide publicity with complete buy-in by that same media.
Want more? Military hires PR firm to get accurate stories favorable to the coalition into the Iraqi media - scandal erupts. But whenever possible the American media willingly participates in manipulative political ploys intended to dupe the American public.
Sheehan's Crawford encampment has swollen in the past week, as other antiwar protesters have flocked to Texas. Members of CodePink, a women's antiwar organization, have pitched their tent near Sheehan's.By the way, the depths of this are pretty amazing. You might recall country-rock has been Steve Earle attempting to resurrect his career by appearing "on tour" with Cindy Sheehan last year. Guess what firm handles his PR? All done!
TrueMajority -- an antiwar group founded by Ben Cohen, one of the creators of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream -- hired Fenton Communications, a Washington public relations firm that has worked intermittently with Sheehan over the past year to coordinate media coverage.
With this help, Sheehan has courted coverage from the traveling White House press corps with a news conference. A schedule of when relatives of other military casualties in Iraq are expected to join Sheehan here was distributed to reporters. Her team is coordinating an antiwar rally planned for Saturday.
Joe Trippi, the political consultant behind former Vermont governor Howard Dean's early success in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary race, hosted a conference with Sheehan for liberal Internet bloggers, hoping their online dispatches will draw even wider attention.
On Saturday, Sheehan launched a TV ad campaign hoping to achieve what her roadside vigil so far has not: a second chance to directly tell Bush about the devastation she has experienced since her son's death.
Declared "obsolete" shortly after it was introduced. It went on and on.
Helped to sink the Bismarck, destroy 37 U-boats, defeat the Japanese at Midway and derail the "Tokyo Express."
Rescuer to some, night terror to others.
In various forms it served for over 40 years.
Maybe it had nine lives.
What was it?
Find out here.
I would suggest that people should take a look at their Sunday Newspaper, and take a look at the Fenton Communications client list.
Then just mark each story as to whether it is a story that is favorable/unfavorable to a Fenton Communications client.
Draw your own conclusions as to whether a single public relations firm, elected by no one, who most Americans have never heard of, has too much influence on American public discourse.
Here's a project I can support whole heartedly:
Imagine telling the members of an entire generation they could receive a free college education at any school that accepted them — Cal State, Harvard, the Sorbonne — courtesy of Uncle Sam. Throw in a monthly stipend and textbooks. After graduation, there are government-backed home loans, no money down — buy a house cheaper than renting. Throw in subsidized business loans, farm loans, job training, medical care and up to a year's worth of unemployment checks.All done!
What insane politician would ever propose such a costly boondoggle, such outright social engineering? It would be the most enormous, far-reaching, life-changing government program in the history of the world.
And so it was. We know it today as the original GI Bill.
Today's unthinkable was yesterday's matter of course. FDR and Congress adopted the humbly named Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 with bipartisan fervor. The stated goal was simple: to help 16 million veterans and their families resume their lives after the scourge of World War II.
But this investment in the nation's future powered far more than a return to the status quo. It transformed the nation and the very nature of the American dream, opening up the colleges, raising suburbs out of bean fields, creating a new middle class and providing the medical, engineering and scientific prowess that conquered long-feared diseases, ushered in the Information Age and helped win the Cold War.
There was never anything like the GI Bill. There's nothing like it on the horizon. And that's a problem.
Today's veterans are getting shortchanged. Instead of a full ride to any college, the modern GI Bill's education support tops out at $36,000 for a four-year degree — barely enough to cover the average state university and well short of UCLA's $19,500 annual tuition, room and board. Forget about the private colleges once covered by the GI Bill — $36,000 would pay for only a year at many of them.
Reservists and National Guard troops in Iraq receive even less — only 27% of the education benefits that regular troops receive. President Bush has opposed closing this gap, considering it a budget buster. Indeed, in a quest to minimize projected war costs, the administration used prewar statistics to craft its budget for another pillar of the GI Bill — healthcare. Now veterans hospitals caring for the wounded of Iraq and Afghanistan are $3 billion short.
But this is not simply a story of slighted veterans, scandalous as that may be. This is a story of a United States no longer investing it its future. The GI Bill was an engine of opportunity for all of us. It powered U.S. prosperity after World War II, turning a nation of renters into a nation of homeowners, transforming college from an elite bastion into almost an entitlement and making a tiny middle class into America's leading demographic.
The "greatest generation" endured depression and war, but its members also ended up our most privileged generation, gifted with more government largesse than any group in history. More than 7 million veterans took advantage of the education benefits alone for college or trade schools. This proved a costly but sound investment: For every dollar paid out under the original GI Bill, there was a $7 return to the economy in terms of increased earnings, consumer spending and tax revenue, according to a 1988 congressional study.
Three presidents — George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter — dozens of congressmen, 14 Nobel Prize winners, giants of literature, Broadway and Hollywood and hundreds of thousands of teachers, doctors, nurses and businessmen got their starts with the help of the GI Bill. "Biggest piece of legislation the country ever passed," says former Sen. Bob Dole, a war hero and GI Bill beneficiary. "Maybe we need something like it again."
Which begs the question: What happened to the Washington that created something so magnificent? Why do we no longer expect — or demand — greatness from Americans' joint enterprise, our government? In the 1960s, before Watergate and Vietnam, most Americans believed that their government usually did the right thing. Now we've accepted Ronald Reagan's old formulation about the nine most dangerous words in the English language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." How ironic that a member of the GI Bill generation would sell his countrymen on that idea. But it's not a truism; it's self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect our government to fail, and it meets our expectations.
The original GI Bill was powerful because it touched a whole generation, and the ripple effects washed over the entire nation, not just veterans. Today's GI Bill reaches less than 1% of the population. It is no longer an engine for greatness, and Americans desperately need such an engine. We have always been the nation where the children can expect a better life than the parents; we no longer believe this is likely.
Before he died, FDR offered a solution that did not require a world war and a military draft. He proposed a program of national service, in which young people earned education, medical, housing and pension benefits. Not just veterans but all young people. It was, in essence, a peacetime civilian GI Bill — an investment in the future and in civic service. Polls suggested a receptive public, but the idea died with Roosevelt. President Clinton tried a modest resurrection with his AmeriCorps project. Much more is needed.
Would such a program be expensive? Absolutely — about what we've spent so far on the war in Iraq. But spending hundreds of billions at home to generate opportunities for future doctors, scientists, teachers, leaders and productive, healthy citizens would be a far sounder investment, with a proven rate of return. Where would you rather spend your tax dollars?
In an era in which college is a skyrocketing financial burden for many families, when homeownership is less affordable than ever, when the nation is losing its competitive edge in advanced degrees and when the American dream so generously nurtured after World War II is under siege, it is time to expect greatness from our government once again. Our children deserve it.
Edward Humes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, most recently, of "Over Here: How the GI Bill Transformed the American Dream" (Harcourt, 2006).
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain NewsThe night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."
Go read the rest of Final Salute.All done!
Antimedia's post is a good Hutto bio.
And it turns out we've met a guy before in the same division of the same ship who also got all antiwar all of a sudden in May of 2004.
The other day I picked up John Mayer's latest studio release, “Continuum”. The first song on the CD is entitled, “Waiting on the World to Change” and it irked me a little, so I decided to pop in and comment over at Some Soldier's Mom
Part of my mini-rant includes, "If you’re just going to sit around “waiting on the world to change” then you have no one to blame but yourselves when it doesn't (change)."
Go on... I haven't given anyone a rant in a while... and as my rants go, it's a mild one...
A North Korean spy ring has been uncovered in South Korea and it’s members are really not surprising:
Authorities are holding a U.S. citizen, Michael Chang (44), who they say was trained as a spy in North Korea between 1989 and 1993, became a member of the ruling Korean Workers Party, pledged allegiance to the party, and spied for the North for 10 years. The National Intelligence Service and prosecutors on Thursday also alleged that a former member of the minor opposition Democratic Labor Party’s central committee, Lee Jung-hun (42), and businessman Sohn Jung-mok (42) were persuaded by Chang to join him in spying for the North and until recently provided classified information to North Korean agents.
The Seoul Central District Court issued arrest warrants for the three former student activists on Thursday. The NIS is expanding its investigation and also arrested the vice DLP secretary general Choi Ki-young and another former student activist identified as Lee (42) the same day.
By using the DLP’s political organization and cover, the spy ring’s tentacles stretched throughout just about every anti-US movement in Korea including the violent Camp Humphreys expansion protests:
The DPL vice secretary general has reportedly taken a leading role in pro-North Korean activities. He played a key part in organizing protests against the move of U.S. Forces Korea headquarters to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province and was also involved in demonstrations condemning the government’s support for the UN resolution sanctioning North Korea in the wake of its nuclear test. Party sources said Choi showed more interest in issues like the abolition of the National Security Law and anti-American protests in Pyeongtaek than questions of public welfare. He also participated in candle light vigils over the killing of two middle school girls by a U.S. Army vehicle some years ago.
Lee Jung-hun also leaned toward a pro-North Korean ideology of national liberation when he was a member of the DLP’s central committee. National liberation, along with proletarian democracy, was one of the two major ideological strands among student activists in the 1980s. Since former student activists of the national liberation faction reportedly took a more active part in protests against free trade talks with the U.S. and the move of the USFK base, there is speculation linking the espionage scandal to the organized anti-American movement.
The spy ring has also been linked to the USFK environmental issue and even to trying to influence the recent election for the mayor of Seoul. Here is a report from One Free Korea:
A new report, not yet available in English, claims that North Korea used the Fifth Columnists of the “Il Shim Hue” to help the ruling leftist Uri Party in local elections last May. The report, based on leaks from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, claims that North Korea used Il Shim Hue (rough translation: The One-Minded Hundred) to direct the Democratic Labor Party throw its votes and support to the Uri Party to prevent the GNP candidate, Oh Se Hoon, from winning. Oh won, defeating Uri Justice Minister Kang Kum-Sil.
North Korea also directed Il Shim Hue to assemble detailed dossiers on South Korean politics: politicians, civic groups, issues, parties, you name it. One particular issue that concerned them was how South Koreans reacted to North Korea’s recent nuke test. The NIS claims that Il Shim Hue members canvassed popular sentiment about the test throughout South Korean society. Recent polls show a substantial minority (but thankfully, still a minority) blamed America for North Korea’s nuke test, something the ruling party eagerly latched onto.
Another huge shocker: North Korea had plans to infiltrate environmental groups to use them to inspire more anti-American sentiment. You may recall the recent South Korean film, “The Host,“ a monster flick loosely based on a 2000 incident in which a civilian mortician on a U.S. Army post dumped a small amount of highly dilute formaldeyde into the Han River. The incident became a huge story in the South, and “The Host” inspired some icky and unhinged anti-American comments from one ruling party legislator, which neither the legislator nor his party have retracted, to my knowledge.
I and other K-bloggers have long chronicled the anti-US hate groups activities in Korea so really none of this is surprising to me. You can read more about my postings on the Camp Humphreys relocation issue here and the USFK pollution issue here.
The anti-US hate groups have been doing everything possible to stop the USFK relocation because the North Korean puppet masters do not want the US forces along the DMZ and in Seoul to be relocated further south on the peninsula and outside of North Korean artillery range. So they turned to their “activist” groups in the south to stop the relocation by playing towards Korean pride and trying to portray USFK as bullies because of the relocating of farmers to expand the base. The vast majority of the farmers took the compensation money and moved but the anti-US hate groups latched on to a handful of farmers as cover to launch their violent attacks on Camp Humphreys and have delayed the relocation.
The pollution issue is the second front in stopping the USFK relocation. These “activists” claimed that the vacated Second Infantry Division bases were heavily polluted and were a danger to the civilian population if USFK did not pay to clean the bases up. The estimated costs to clean the bases by the “activists” was a completely unrealistic number they knew USFK would never pay. For those who have never served in Korea, the USFK camps are literally an oasis of green in the middle of dense urban cities. The camps after the Korean war were located on the outskirts of Korean cities but the camps have now been swallowed up by the growing cities which are a sign of Korea’s amazing development since the war. It is partly because of this development that USFK wants to relocate the camps to the sparsely populated Camp Humphreys area. If anything the USFK camps are the cleanest piece of land in the surrounding communities and some have been designated to become parks when handed over; yet the anti-US hate groups have successfully used this issue to further delay the USFK relocation.
However, none of this is anything new. Even before the USFK relocation issue surfaced the anti-US hate groups jumped on other anti-US issues in order to create a wedge between the US and the general South Korean population to great success. In fact this spy scandal has to be the worst kept secret in South Korea. The real scandal is why didn’t the ruling government do anything about it a long time ago? How high up the political ladder does this spy ring extend? The authorities do allegedly have a list of more possible spies that they intend to investigate:
However, the progressive party cannot but concern the aftermath, as its several leaders are scheduled to visit Pyongyang next Tuesday. DLP spokesman Park Yong-jin said the visit plan would not change, but some political watchers say they wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the visit would be cancelled.
Politicians of the 386 generation are also keeping a close eye on the case, as the prosecution secured a list of some 386 generation figures’ names at Chang’s house.
The 386 generation refers to those who were born in the 1960s and participated in pro-democracy struggles in the 1980s, and many of them are regarded as core members of the Roh administration.
Chang’s list had six figures’ names, including Choi. Four figures among the five arrested are also in the 386 generation, all except Chang. Because he is acquainted with many other members of the 386 generation, the case may develop into the largest spy scandal since 1997.
How far is the Korean government going to allow investigators to dig? This may just be the tip of the iceberg.All done!
Yesterday (October 27) morning I sent an email to Jennifer Glick, "owner" of the Appeal for Redress web site, and Director, Information Services, for Fourth Freedom Forum. My first question for her was to ask why her group wasn't listed as a sponsoring organization for the site. Given the group's mission, It seems like this is something they would be proud to be involved in.
I suspect it's because they want this to appear to be a "grass roots" campaign, rather than the orchestrated effort of several well-funded leftist organizations and political groups ("astroturfing") that it actually is, but unfortunately, I haven't received any response from Ms Glick, so I can only speculate.
But today I noticed the registration information for the site has changed.
Where before it read as follows:
Domain Name:APPEALFORREDRESS.ORGIt now looks like this:
Registrant Name:JE Glick
Registrant Street1:803 North Main Street
Registrant Postal Code:46528
Domain Name:APPEALFORREDRESS.ORGChanged 27-Oct-2006 17:26:40 UTC - they didn't waste any time covering their tracks after receiving my email. All done!
Last Updated On:27-Oct-2006 17:26:40 UTC
Registrant Name:Michael McPhearson
Registrant Organization:Veterans for Peace
Registrant Street1:216 S. Meramec Ave.
Registrant City:St Louis
Registrant Postal Code:63105
I’ve been watching on how the military I beefing up the numbers of people to handle the wartime workload. On paper it’s looking good, everybody but the Navy Reserve is meeting their recruiting goals (they’re 1500 down). Being at the tip of the spear and going into harms way the way, the Army and Marine Corps are staying ahead. They’re offering huge bonus’s to their service people and bonus’s for people to cross from blue to green without losing rank.
Meanwhile the Navy and Air Force are getting smaller and smaller chunks of that financial pie because we’re not on the front lines and aren’t getting all of our gear revamped. And since the Navy isn’t at the tip of that proverbial spear, do you know who’s suffering the most?
While the Army medics who are doing basically the same job as we do are getting huge bonuses, us corpsman aren’t getting squat (at least the Fleet Marine Force corpsman), even the Marines we go with getting good bonuses. On paper our numbers look good, in some cases we’re above what’s required but there doesn’t seem to be a change in actual numbers from no to the numbers used before the war. In reality we’re sending close to one in a half times the medical people forward per unit then they get in peace time. Where are these extra people coming from? We’re borrowing people from the hospitals and the non deployed units to fill in those deployed holes and leaving their coworkers to take up the slack. Which tasks us as individuals to be deployed forward more then the people we actually cover.
This sticks out more when you get a large group of sailors an Marines in the same room in the post deployment briefs. When the chaplain asked who had been over 3 times or more, most of the medical people raised their hands with a handful of Marines in a group of 200 or so. The Corpsman who replaced me? It’s his forth time.
Of course you could say, “Hey, why don’t you cross over and go green?”
That’s not the answer either; I’ve hung out with some of those Striker guys who have been extended. They’re not happy campers, there’s a reason why they’re getting the huge bonuses and there are some things that money can’t buy, that is if you’re smart.
What I’m saying is that there is something broke in the system that I’m working for. Navy Medicine is goes everywhere the Marines go and we’re going forward and getting shot up as much as our brothers. We’re doing a extra large workload with fewer bodies. Our piece time numbers are being used for a wartime mission and we’re hurting. When we come back to the states, we’re working harder then ever, there’s more training taskers and we’re losing corpsman who only have a few years to retire because they can’t handle the high Op tempo and having such a high work load. I’m not one of them because I actually like my job (most of the time) but I see the signs all around me. Work isn't fun anymore.
The medical department is scarred and I think there are going to have to make some huge changes before we’re back in shape.
Cross posted at Doc in the BoxAll done!
Astroturfing (via wikipedia):
In politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots" support.And that's what's occurring with the "Appeal for Redress" web site.
The goal of such campaign is to disguise the agenda of a political client as an independent public reaction to some political entity —a politician, political group, product, service, event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach," "awareness," etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual pushing their own personal agenda through to highly organised professional groups with financial backing from large corporations.
The missing piece of the puzzle was actually available from the start:
Yesterday, a company that does public relations for the liberal activist political action committee MoveOn.org, Fenton Communications, organized a conference call for reporters and three active-duty soldiers to unveil the soldiers' anti-war group Appeal for Redress.That's from the October 26 New York Sun - kudos to the only reporters in the crowd who had the guts to tell the truth about this. As of this writing, over 200 newspapers have carried the story; The Boston Globe, al-Jazeera, The Washington Post, ABC News, Reuters, The (UK) Guardian... but none of the stories acknowledge the orchestration of the event by Fenton Communications. Instead, virtually all of them detail the "grass roots" effort of the troops. Even without the Sun story, the mere fact that this appeared simultaneously in multiple "big media" outlets is evidence enough of such a campaign. In the pre-internet days this wouldn't be so obvious, but in these days of instant global communication the life cycle of such a story should hardly exceed 24 hours (and wouldn't have in the past without active media participation). But if you're among the few tech savvy and information hungry people interested in not taking such slickly-packaged information at face value, here are the facts about "Appeal for Redress" in order of discovery here.
A staff member at Fenton Communications who requested anonymity said his company was approached last week by a longtime peace activist and former director of the anti-nuclear proliferation front known as SANE/Freeze, David Cortright, to publicize Appeal for Redress. Mr. Cortright is now president of an Indiana-based nonprofit group, the Fourth Freedom Forum, and his biography on the organization's Web site says he helped raise "more than $300,000 for the Win Without War coalition to avert a preemptive attack on Iraq in 2002–03."
The site is registered to J.E. Glick, of 803 North Main Street, Goshen, Indiana. A quick check of online white pages reveals that's the address of The Fourth Freedom Forum. (You can also read about the group here). This would seem to confirm the point in the Sun story quoted above:
A staff member at Fenton Communications who requested anonymity said his company was approached last week by a longtime peace activist and former director of the anti-nuclear proliferation front known as SANE/Freeze, David Cortright, to publicize Appeal for Redress. Mr. Cortright is now president of an Indiana-based nonprofit group, the Fourth Freedom ForumAnd Jennifer Glick (J.E. Glick), actual "owner" of the Appeal for Redress web site, is listed in the Fourth Freedom Forum contact page as Director, Information Services.
The Fourth Freedom Forum's opposition to war pre-dates Iraq and Afghanistan. They are a well funded, very professional organization. But the group is not listed among the sponsoring organizations on the Appeal for Redress web page. (Those groups are Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace.)
It would seem the Fourth Freedom Forum wants to hide it's activities behind some groups and individuals seen as more credible to this particular cause. (I think "front groups" is the usual term.) But it was easy to find the real owners of the "Redress" web page (I originally noted the failure to do so on the part of one of the reporters who carried this propaganda to "the next level" - but have since come to believe that among journalists this was actually common knowledge that they saw fit not to include in their stories), so the "staff member at Fenton Communications who requested anonymity" (ironically, given the breathless press accounts, the only actual whistleblower in this story) may or may not have needed to be so concerned about being revealed.
(Update: registration of the site has been changed. Fourth Freedom is working quickly to camoflage their involvement in this project.)
Back to the growing number of groups and individuals behind this campaign in a moment. But first, a look at the activist career of Jonathan Hutto, the "front man" of this organization.
In the initial media coverage of this story he was described as "a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site a month ago." But that's a humble description of a well-traveled man. The full truth - while easy to discover - is a bit more complex.
Initially I speculated that he had been "recruited" after the publication of his letter to the socialist propaganda e-newsletter "GI Special" on 26 September, 2006. The origin of the "Redress" web site project - "about a month ago", according to the news coverage - would fit this time frame. (Background on that publication here - and read that link for a profile of "GI Specials" creator, Thomas Barton, yet another of the "fellow travelers" on the periphery of this story.)
But I may have been wrong on that "induction". Independent research by Robin Boyd at Newsbusters reveals additional facts:
Then there is the issue of the spokeman for "Appeals for Redress" featured in the media reports. Jonathan Hutto is described as a Navy seaman based in Norfolk VA who set up the website a month ago. But the media failed to report on Mr. Hutto's less than pro-American background.Let's put all that in an easier to follow chronology:
According to his own writings, Hutto "enlisted in the United States Navy in January of 2004" after "working at non-profit organizations and an unsuccessful stint at teaching 5th grade post graduating from Howard University in 1999." The non-profit organization Hutto worked for was Amnesty International - not your typical voluteer organization. In 2002, Hutto was Membership Program Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of Amnesty International.
In 2001, Hutto was a speaker at The Fight against Police Violence: from Cincinnati to PG County, Maryland. Hutto's co-speaker at the event was Glova Scott of the Socialist Workers Party. The speech was posted on The Militant website.
1999-2004: Hutto works for "non-profit organizations", including Amnesty International
2002: Hutto has risen to the position of Amnesty International's Membership Program Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region (seen here - with megaphone - "rallying the troops"). When his university considered honoring President Bush he wrote a letter opposing the decision.
2003: The United States invades Iraq. Hutto is involved in anti-war demonstrations.
2004: Hutto joins the Navy, and serves as a Mass Communications Specialist and Photographer aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
Summer, 2006: He is recognized as the Theodore Roosevelt's outstanding "Blue Jacket of the Quarter (BJOQ)"
Hutto, a native of Atlanta, joined the Navy two years and six months ago, and has been a member of TR’s Photo Lab for two years.
“Being selected as BJOQ gives me a strong sense of accomplishment,” Hutto said. “It feels good to have the vote of confidence in my abilities from my chain of command.”
As assistant 3M coordinator for Admin Department, Hutto spends a lot of his time performing maintenance and making sure Admin Department’s spaces are in top shape. Hutto hopes to make third class petty officer off of this past advancement exam, and wants to earn his surface warfare qualification.
October 26, 2006: Fenton Communications holds a media teleconference to announce the launch of the "Appeal for Redress" web site. News stories that follow describe Hutto simply as "a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site a month ago."
It would appear that among his other accomplishments, Hutto is very skilled at web page design.
Now let's get back to our look at the growing number of groups and individuals involved in this month-old effort begun by "a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va."
A review thus far:
TrueMajority -- an antiwar group founded by Ben Cohen, one of the creators of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream -- hired Fenton Communications, a Washington public relations firm that has worked intermittently with Sheehan over the past year to coordinate media coverage.TrueMajority and Ben and Jerry's are also Fenton clients, by the way.
2. Fourth Freedom Forum, (another of Fenton's clients), is the actual "owner" of the Appeal for Redress web site. According to the NY Sun, it was David Cortright, president of the Fourth Freedom Forum (and author), who approached Fenton to represent Appeal for Redress.
3, 4, 5 - The groups actually listed as sponsoring organizations on the web page: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace. Of those, only Military Families Speak out is a listed Fenton client.)
Now back to the Sun for more (hyperlinks added):
Still, the counsel retained by Appeal for Redress, J.E. McNeil, runs the Center for Conscience and War, an organization whose mission is to defend the rights of conscientious objectors.That's a pretty powerful "grass roots" team so far.
Ms. McNeil said yesterday that she first got in touch with some of the soldiers in Appeal for Redress through a military hotline the Center for Conscience and War runs for active-duty servicemen to find out what rights they have. According to the center's Web site, the group's lobbyist is Pat Elder, a co-founder of the D.C. Area Anti-War Network, which has organized civil disobedience demonstrations against military recruitment offices in shopping malls.
Actually, it's nothing of the sort. But if you pick up one of the 200-odd newspapers with an article written by one of the reporters invited by Fenton Communications to help launch this project, you'll read that it is just that, a "grass roots" project started by a " Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va." Nothing will be said about who provided the story, the countless groups behind them, or the countless groups behind those groups.
And if you visit other web sites and forums, you'll see posts directing people to "tell their friends in the military about this great site launched by active duty military guys". If you are in the military, it's likely you'll soon get a chain email telling you the same. This is all part of the organized "astroturfing" process.
If, on the other hand, you are reading this post, you may wonder what you can do to counter that. The answer is simple, though perhaps not easy. Join a very real "grass roots" campaign. We have no lawyers, we have no slick professional PR firms, we certainly don't have the kind of big bucks available to this crowd - and we definitely don't have a thundering herd of reporters ready to write whatever we tell them to.
In short, we are a real grass roots community. And here's what we need to do. For the record - I'm all for my fellow troops speaking their minds, but I'm not in favor of them being duped by Socialist organizations hiding behind false fronts - "astroturfing". And that's what's going on with the web site called "Appeal for Redress".
If you want to fight back, spread the word to as many people as you can, via forums, email, or phoning the editor of your local paper - especially if they've already carried the initial press release disguised as news. Tell them what's happening, and give them this link: http://www.mudvillegazette.com/milblogs/2006/10/27/#006854 which will bring them right to this entry page.
And keep coming back - we'll keep doing our best to expose anyone who would attempt to use our fellow troops with deceptive tactics like these.All done!
Come join us for a military funeral in small town 'Murica.
Writer and Blogger Cathy Seipp has a wonderfully breezy, near-insider’s reflection up at National Review Online, discussing the efforts of The Los Angeles Times to remain relevant in a changing media environment.
Seipp claims responsibility for coining Spring Street to describe the LA Times, similar to how Grey Lady describes their New York City counterpart. Seipp demonstrates long familiarity – no doubt breeding considerable contempt – for the Times, and passes along several common criticisms for the LA paper. A couple in particular caught my attention:
Many of the complaints about the Times’ new front-page redesign dwell on how the page looks too similar to USA Today. I stand behind no man when it comes to my distaste for USA Today — when I stay at hotels offering complimentary issues of the traveling salesman’s broadsheet, I always ring up the front desk to demand, “Take it away, take it away, take it away!” — but cynics take a different view.In light of all the recent discussion about journalism, embedded or otherwise, and MILBLOGS, I would draw a similar conclusion about mainstream media (MSM) in general.
A TV writer and former magazine editor I know, for instance, once told me he cancelled his L.A. Times subscription to get USA Today instead, which really seems pretty crazy. He added that he just wants the following three questions answered when he reads his morning paper: 1) How are the Dodgers doing? 2) Rain today? 3) What’s on TV?
“Those are the only three answers I want from American journalism,” he noted. “USA Today is perfect.”
(Further commentary at Dadmanly.)
Anti-war elements really grasp at straws when it comes to finding credible military dissenters (Jesse MacBeth, Jim Massey, etc).
I honestly believe that any posting author on this blog could instantly achieve fame and fortune in these circles simply by speaking out against the mission. There's no standards with the anti-war community. If you wear the uniform and disagree with the war, your opinion automatically discounts the overwhelming number of soldiers who support it.
Here’s just a taste:
While it is an obvious thing to do to honor our dead soldiers, the joy of a book like this — and of the milblogs it gives a snapshot of — is to introduce you to very real words of our living ones. They are a very real manifestation of Whitman:What a great review. AL, posting at Winds of Change, also encourages buyers of the book to follow up by sending a little note to some interested parties:
“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear. …”
Fewer and fewer Americans know soldiers as the tradition of military service slips into history. Buy the book, meet some, and listen to them.
And when you buy the book, take a moment to send an email or letter to both the White House and the Secretary of Defense, asking why it is that midlevel Pentagon bureaucrats are choking off the ability of our troops to blog and of our bloggers (see this from Michael Yon) to cover the troops:Thanks, Marc. We’re pleased and proud to have you on the team. Wish we had more like you.
I do not recognize your website as a media organization that we will use as a source to credential journalists covering MNF-I operations.
LTC Barry Johnson
Some things speak for themselves. The war doesn't, and we need the voices of Blackfive and his band of bloggers, and of Michael Yon, and of all the men and women serving to try and comprehend what's going on over there.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
Al Jazeera coverage here.
US troops call for Iraq pulloutYesterday 118, today 200. I expect ultimately there may be 655,000.*
More than 200 men and women from the US armed services have joined a protest calling for American troops in Iraq to be brought home, organisers say.
According to a White House reporter, the original count was 65:
Q Tony, quick -- there's 65 active duty troops that are coming out with a letter today, saying they think the occupation should end, and they're saying that -- this is part of the military whistle blower. Any reaction to that?Would like more information on that Fenton Communications connection - if accurate this certainly implies something much more than the "grass roots" action portrayed in the press. But we already know that. (And it also implies the press knows that their stories are misleading.)
MR. SNOW: Well, number one, it's a Fenton Communications job, which means clearly it's got a political edge to it. But number two it's not unusual for soldiers in a time of war to have some misgivings. I believe at least two of them have served in Iraq proper, active duty. We don't know how many have actually served --
Q I think the majority of them have.
MR. SNOW: But let's say they all did. You also have more than -- you have several hundred thousand who served in Iraq. You have reenlistment rates that have exceeded goals in all the military. You've had a number of people serving multiple tours of duty. And it appears that there's considerable --
Q They don't have much choice.
MR. SNOW: Well, no, I mean they do have choice. If you've got a chance to sign up or not sign up, and you decide that you're going to sign up again and go serve in Iraq, it means it means something to you. And so I believe that there is also -- you get 65 guys who are, unfortunately -- no, not unfortunately -- 65 people who are going to be able to get more press than the hundreds of thousands who have come back and said they're proud of their service.
*Including illustrious names like Colonel Mustard, General Disorder, and Private Parts.
Update: Many questions answered here.
Don't look if you want to believe "All Is Lost".
Looks like the Pentagon is fighting back against misleading MSM reports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says he can clean up Iraq sooner than the most optimistic U.S. timeline yet proposed:
Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday he could get violence under control in six months, half the time U.S. generals say they need, provided Washington gave him more weaponry and more say over his own forces.That kind of leadership is exactly what is needed in Iraq - I say we give him what he wants, get out of the way as much as possible, and see what happens in six months.
"They think building Iraqi forces will need 12 to 18 months, for us to be in control of security," Maliki said, referring to remarks two days ago by U.S. commander General George Casey.
"We agree our forces need work but think that if, as we are asking, the rebuilding of our forces was in our own hands, then it would take not 12-18 months but six might be enough."
"I am now prime minister and overall commander of the armed forces yet I cannot move a single company without Coalition approval because of the U.N. mandate," Maliki said.
"I have to be careful fighting some militias and terrorists ... because they are better armed than the army and police," Maliki said. "The police are sharing rifles."
Asked what kind of Iraqi forces he wanted, Maliki said: "I'm not talking about modern tanks or modern warplanes and missiles ... I'm talking about having a well-trained army, swift and light on its feet and at the same time with medium weapons."
By the way, why wasn't this the biggest headline story of the day?
Holy cow! I picked the wrong week to be in MINIMIZE!
There are a few more, but you get the point: if you sort and group together all these points, you get some interesting trends about information.
The site is a fraud.
That web site is registered to one J.E. Glick, of 803 North Main Street, Goshen, Indiana. A quick check of online white pages reveals that's the address of something called The Fourth Freedom Forum. (You can also read about the group here). Their opposition to war pre-dates Iraq and Afghanistan. They are a well funded, very professional organization. Jennifer Glick is listed in the group's contact page as Director, Information Services.
But The Fourth Freedom Forum isn't among the groups listed as sponsoring organizations on the web page. Those groups are Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace.
It would seem the Fourth Freedom Forum wants to hide it's activities behind some groups and individuals seen as more credible to this particular cause. (I think "front groups" is the usual term.) Too bad the AP reporter who wrote this now obviously bogus but credence-enhancing line:
Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site a month ago, said the group has collected 118 names and is trying to verify that they are legitimate service members....in that rather lengthy advertisement-posed-as-news story for the obviously failing effort didn't bother to do the 5 minutes worth of digging I did to discover it's absolutely not true.
Hutto, who has never been to Iraq, was probably recruited for this project following publication of his letter to the socialist propaganda site "GI Special". (Background here - and you really ought to read this last link.)
Update: I may have been wrong - it looks like Hutto was "active" even before his military days:
Then there is the issue of the spokeman for "Appeals for Redress" featured in the media reports. Jonathan Hutto is described as a Navy seaman based in Norfolk VA who set up the website a month ago. But the media failed to report on Mr. Hutto's less than pro-American background.Funny that a guy with those credentials would join the military one year after the beginning of the Iraq war.
According to his own writings, Hutto "enlisted in the United States Navy in January of 2004" after "working at non-profit organizations and an unsuccessful stint at teaching 5th grade post graduating from Howard University in 1999." The non-profit organization Hutto worked for was Amnesty International - not your typical voluteer organization. In 2002, Hutto was Membership Program Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of Amnesty International.
In 2001, Hutto was a speaker at The Fight against Police Violence: from Cincinnati to PG County, Maryland. Hutto's co-speaker at the event was Glova Scott of the Socialist Workers Party. The speech was posted on The Militant website. Hutto’s article, "Rebuilding the GI Movement", appeared in Thomas Barton’s GI Special on the Al-Basrah Iraqi Resistance website.
Or maybe it's not funny at all.
Update: Many questions answered here.
In Soldier Voices Part One, I reported that I have been mulling over diverse viewpoints of both supporters and opponents of our efforts in Iraq. I am concerned over feedback from boots really on the ground, lower ranking enlisted soldiers and officers.
In the midst of these reflections, I came across another kind of viewpoint, that of an embedded journalist. He doesn't share the predominant MILBLOGGER view -- not to speak for all of us -- of mainstream media (MSM), perhaps because he's a part of it.
But I get ahead of myself.
Blackfive linked, as I did, to Michael Yon’s piece on censorship and Michael Fumento’s piece on embedding. His links prompted journalist and veteran Carl Prine, to dismiss Fumento’s reporting as ill-informed, contrasting Fumento with Yon, who’s inability to get embedded Prine views as a shame (as do we all).
Prine was a Veteran Marine, then an investigative reporter, who after 9/11, re-enlisted as an Infantryman (MOS 11B). Those facts alone must make Prine almost unique within his profession. He’s a prize winner to be sure, no doubt tenacious, and quite skilled as a reporter.
For excerpts from Prine's comments, and the sparring that takes place between Blackfive and Chapomatic, you'll have to make a visit over to Dadmanly.
One detail more I will share, likely of interest to many here:
Follow-up within comments on the links above revealed that the Military Reporters & Editors Convention starts today (10/26) in Evanston, IL. Looks like Blackfive and Prine will attend, and Prine reports that Yon is speaking on Saturday, October 28th, along with Bill Roggio. Keynote addresses include Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post and Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, KS.
Take a beautiful ship, mix in some goofy thinking and - presto, chango - the ship is now "a building whose shape [and coloring] resembles a ship." Details of this idiocy here.
I have spent considerable time lately mulling over diverse viewpoints of both supporters and opponents of our efforts in Iraq, and their implications for what I acknowledge as the Global War on Terror (GWOT), whatever terms are used to describe it. I am especially troubled by several, increasingly discordant strains of feedback coming from soldiers.
No, not the feedback packaged by General Officers enticed by fulfilling media, publishing, or partisan expectations, but feedback from boots really on the ground, lower ranking enlisted soldiers and officers.
Here’s one viewpoint that gave me pause, reported by James Taranto, in today’s Best of the Web at Opinion Journal (via Instapundit). Taranto passed along a letter from a Sergeant (SGT) involved in Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection within the 4th ID, with apparently extensive contacts among other HUMINT analysts within the 4th ID area of operations.
Here's how our good HUMINT SGT describes his background on Iraq:
I'm stationed slightly northwest of Baghdad in a mixed Sunni/Shia area. I'm a sergeant in the U.S. Army on a human intelligence collection team. I interact with Iraqis on a daily basis and I help put together the intel picture for our area of operations. I have contacts with friends, who are also in my job, in every area of operations in the Fourth Infantry Division footprint, and through our crosstalk I'd say I have a pretty damn good idea of what's going on in and around Baghdad on a micro and intermediary level.This soldier believes in and supports his mission, but the rest of his letter (as quoted by Taranto) is anything but positive, and his prescirption to fix things startling.
I wrote heavily in favor of this war before I enlisted myself, and I still maintain that going into Iraq was not only the necessary thing to do, but the right thing to do as well.
This SGT sounds a lot like many of the young SGTs who worked the Intel mission for us. Their experiences are real, “ground truth,” and their perspective is important. It’s a slice, and an important one.
Which was a part of my ongoing reflection on these discordant voices.
More on what this HUMINT SGT relates and recommends, my own perspective and commentary, back at Dadmanly.
A day early. I have an insidious conspiracy to crush American Democracy to participate in...er, a leader's conference of the ILARNG to attend.
"Frau Kanzler, Is there anything about those dratted pictures?"
"I am afraid so, Herr General"
Interesting thought on how the military works from the piece cited by Major John:
Still, Silliman said, he sees little wrong with troops speaking out on their own time so long as they are not senior-ranking officers needed to carry out the president's orders.
Stillman must know of a new leisure class in the lower ranks who have litttle to do with war fighting but have lots of time to engage in political "protests."
When I read this I about choked. I do not for one minute think that this group is simply going to quietly pass on these "signatures" to Congress. Bull$#&@ - they will use it to very publically flog their anti-war efforts. If this ain't something wrong being done by the "antiwar groups", then it is certainly out of bounds behavior for any active duty soldier.
Any damn deluded fool that says the dark night of fascism has decended on Amerikkka should look at this and wonder what would have happened to such people in, say Argentina of the late 70s, early 80s... here, and now, they get fawning coverage by the AP.
MSNBC has released the third video segment honoring those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This segment is on Staff Sergeant William Thomas Payne, who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions.
To view this video, or the first two, visit our Faces of Courage section at ThreatsWatch.org - or click the image of Staff Sergeant Payne above.
Help us to encourage MSNBC to produce and release more of these by emailing MSNBC at heroes (at) msnbc (dot) com.
At least this is fun if you know what REFORGER and POMCUS are...
Now, if you're an aviator, you might find this disturbing... but the rest of us will just see the poetic justice. Oh, hi Lex!
Do we tell folks that they are safe BBQ'ing their hotdogs and marshamellows. All is fine?
Do we tell them they are in danger of being blown to bits?
Or do we actually "Trust The People"?
My earliest memory is October 1962...when my Dad showed up with a truckload of concrete blocks...and enough food and water to last months.(Something about living near the sub base at Groton and rushing cubans)
A quarter of century of pretense, has almost certainly not served the nation well.
Time to open the vaults of truth.
I had the same thoughts: we need more information to evaluate the claim.
"Evaluate the claim?" some may ask. "You don't trust the military?"
Yes, indeed, I do -- I don't think they'd say anything that wasn't true, at least according to the view of the part of the bureaucracy that puts it out. Still, everything they say is treated as suspect by the population we need to convince. It's not enough to make claims. You've got to prove it.
My guess as to why it's short is that the information is improperly classified/FOUO/"unclass but sensitive"/whatever. Probably there are multiple gov't agencies involved, which complicates the business of getting permission to put it in the clear.
I wouldn't be surprised, for example, if CIA's Open Source Center found the websites that DOD is citing. OSC does a lot of great work. Oddly, given that they are reviewing things that are "Open Source," they aren't available to the public. Not just the analysis isn't, or pieces that would reveal how we collect from open sources -- almost nothing they do is. Few who haven't worked for the government, or certain parts of academia, know it exists.
That's really a shame, because OSC is one of the best and most successful parts of our intelligence apparatus -- and most of what they do really could be made available to the public. The public would be much better informed about what the world is really like, if this data was out there. Most of it is published in newspapers, put on the radio or TV, etc -- broadcast, that is to say. There's no real reason it shouldn't be available. The translations are paid for by taxpayers, after all, and something that has been openly broadcast is not secret.
In the case of the maps, I assume some bureaucrat decided that we didn't want people to know what we've decided we're interested in reading. Doubtless even getting the two graphic maps published was a fight, because somebody said 'Well, then they'll know we're monitoring them, and that will change their content...' and someone else said, 'They posted it on the internet. They can't have expected we wouldn't see it,' and so forth.
Probably it took a month or more to get even this much approved. We aren't even told whose maps these are. The maps are color-coded, but the importance of the colors to the plan is not explained.
(Best guess about that: Green is obviously lands thought to be Islamic, as green is the color favored by Islamic movements. I'm guessing that black is for places considered to be 'historical dar al Islam,' but not currently so -- Spain, India, parts of Thailand. Purple and red I take as a notion about the degree of difficulty moving Islam into those areas, with red areas being relatively easier. Yellow appears to be lands never subject to Islam, nor likely ever to be, like the lands of the Russians and the Chinese.)
To return to the web of classification-and-almost-classification:
If that's the problem, this really is the best we can do. Until we streamline declassification in a serious way, we have internal blocks to information flow. It's not going to get any better. There are too many people with the authority to block up information, and therefore to stop any part of the government -- including the military -- from disseminating it.
I think that streamlining is a very important thing to do anyway, for political reasons associated with having a republican form of government -- how can we judge our representatives, both elected and civil service, lacking key information? We need a way of making sure important secrets are kept, but that things which are no longer important are pushed out into the clear as quickly as possible. We ought to know.
OSC's work should be made available to the public anyway, with certain exceptions (we don't need to give away our analysis of the pieces; we don't need to give away our methods when they aren't obvious; etc). That would be a major boon to the information war right there -- making sure that Americans outside the bureaucracy know what's being thought and said worldwide, and are free to discuss it. There's a lot to be learned, and no good reason I can see for not letting people get on with learning it.
This isn't a problem for the government alone. It affects us all. We would do better to all be as informed as possible. The only way to do that is to keep secrets as infrequently as reasonable. There are a lot of smart people in America who aren't in the government. If they had access to more and better data, they just might come up with something.
Imagine if Ernie Pyle's World War II headline had read, "More Troops In Germany Means More Targets For Hitler".
Imagine if Winston Churchill had said instead, "Don't sign up. Don't ever, ever sign up."
Thankfully, neither of them could muster the self-loathing necessary to utter or pen such vile, defeatist notions. We need them now. More than ever.
If anyone in the media business ever wondered why there are MilBloggers and why we are so passionate about what we write, I would suggest that those individuals not look outward at us for explanation. Rather, look inward, please.
One need not read the article. It deviates not from the headline displayed above.
So many in the media have routinely and regularly carped that there are not enough troops in Iraq and front-paged any figure of note that would profess the same, often passing commentary as news. Now, sending more troops is not the key to victory, but just the key to more death at the hands of an invincible, invisible enemy that apparently stands ten feet tall.
Are we to believe that our brothers and sisters land in Iraq and waltz aimlessly through the streets waiting to be picked off as defenseless twits on an afternoon stroll?
Is there not one redeeming quality left in America - much less its professional fighting forces - that some care to recognize?
Is this the best that the journalists, writers and editors of a national daily publication can muster? I know they can do better. I've read one recently, and was so impressed that I felt compelled to leave the USA Today a comment, something I believe I have never done. But it was a commentary column and appropriately placed in the Opinion section. The headline chosen for the above article [More troops means more targets for snipers in Iraq] clearly indicates that the article is commentary under the guise of hard news. (Note the url - http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-10-24-sniper-targets_x.htm) It appears not primarily intended to impart fact, but rather to sway or impact the reader.
I maintain with assertive conviction that which I addressed at the first MilBlogger Conference:
The American public would be far better served by military subject matter experts in a journalistic environment than by journalistic experts in a military environment.
The common media response in defense has been that such placement would generate biased reporting.
To that I say: Read the headline above and come back to the argument when there are arrows in your quiver.
Quantico, VA -- "Battlefields seldom change," I thought as I walked the perimeter of the Marine basic course and observed the deep foxholes, outposts, barbed wire, fields of fire, wet, alert young warriors, ankle-deep mud and always, the smell of gunpowder.
Here, John Glenn, Chuck Robb, and my cousin, former Navy Secretary Jim Webb, learned the basics of leading men and winning in battle, as did California's Governor Pete Wilson and tens of thousands of other patriots who joined up to serve with America's finest. None of the Vietnam-era presidential hopefuls passed through this crucible; they all dodged the draft to serve a high priority -- themselves.
At Quantico , Marines learn not just to kill, but to lead, to think and to absorb standards that stick with them for life. Character is forged in an environment where perfection is not good enough, where duty, honor and country are forever grafted onto their belief systems. That's why so many Marines lead the way in almost every pursuit in this land.
There's little difference between the current crop of Marines and the "Devil Dogs" I first met as a ten-year-old shoeshine boy in 1940. Then, too, they were sharp, salty and proud -- and they liked to keep their mahogany shoes glistening, which was good for business. They were not in the Corps because it was a job. They had joined up because for them, it was a near-religion, a compelling call to serve their country.
As I watched the kids who still have that calling dig in, I thought, "Nothing has changed since before Pearl Harbor ." The faces are still young, the minds eager, the bodies rock hard and the equipment clean and serviceable, though worn and old...very old.
The big difference between Marines and the Army, Air Force and Navy, is the Corps runs on the smell of an old oily rag. They're the poor cousins of the other, richer services. Col. James T. Conway's total annual budget for putting almost 3,000 officers through basic school is a lean $967,031 per year. The Army's "kiddieland" at Fort Bragg, built to baby-sit serving soldiers' offspring (71% of the family-oriented U.S. Army is married), costs five times as much; a month's per diem (hotel and food) for 300 USAF fighter jocks in Italy -- who are too princely to sleep on cots in tents as Marines do -- is about $1 million a month; the cost for a headquarters in Naples to deal with ex-Yugoslavia is $8 million a year, and boy, do the staff weenies there live high on the hog.
The Corps gets only six percent of the defense budget. This pays for 12 percent of the active forces, 23 percent of the active divisions, 13 percent of the fighter/attack aircraft and 14 percent of the total reserve force.
It doesn't take a whiz kid to figure out this is one hell of a lot of bang for the defense buck. Marines don't waste defense dollars. They're into lean meat, not blubber. Quality of life to leathernecks isn't pampering and frills, but a resupply of ammo on the high ground.
Defense Secretary William J. Perry knows his budget will be halved by the year 2000, leaving us with a broken defense machine. The Pentagon has got to trim now to be able to fight later.
Perry should find out how the Corps can do so much with so little, and ask: Why do Marine pilots sleep in tents next to their planes while Air Force pilots live downtown in plush hotels? Why does the Army have 200 major generals for only ten divisions? Why do Marine sergeants serve as navigators aboard Marine C-130 aircraft while majors do the same job in the Air Force? Why does the Corps have one officer to every nine Marines when the Air Force ratio is 1 to 4, the Army 1 to 5 and the Navy 1 to 6? Why does the Pentagon have more people now for a force of only 1.6 million than it had in 1945, when the force was 13 million?
The Corps is one hell of a defense bargain. Pound for pound, in these days when cost-effectiveness is so critical, the Corps provides by far the best value at the best price.
"If we do not protect our troops, why should they protect us?" - Major Frank Stolz
"Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
-- J. N. Mattis, Major General, U.S. Marines Commanding General's Message to All Hands, March 2003
Monday was the anniversary of the Beirut bombings ('round here we don't need to ask "which ones"?).
241 GIs died that day. But it wasn't the single largest one-day loss of life suffered by the U.S. military in the past three decades. That event occurred two years later, at Gander.
Sometimes things work in odd synchronicity. A year ago, when I wrote of the 20-year anniversary of Gander, I somehow ended up also writing about the caliphate, and those who were sneering at the threat. Their basic premise: that threat was overblown, much as communism was during the cold war - a tactic used by the capitalist oppressor to enslave the ignorant working class through fear.
There may be some useful information at that second link for those who are tired of hearing that sort of talk and would like to reply to those who attempt it. But be advised that facts and numbers won't sway the die-hards, those whose feelings about a subject are already set.
Milbloggers aren't completely one-dimensional. Some of us can sing.
Not me though. Unless showertime renditions of The Dukes of Hazzard theme song counts.
Funny you should mention that...
I recently received an email from CENTCOM Public Affairs* pointing me to a new product they're making available via their web site. It's called "Nature of the Enemy", and it presents information gained from open-source material available on the web.
Here's the latest issue (pdf). Take a look at it before you read the rest of this post.
Well, that didn't take long, did it? And that's precisely what's wrong with this effort. When I first saw it I assumed I was looking at a cover page for a document that was going to provide me some good information, that they (as with any grocery store checkout lane magazine cover) were teasing me with little blurbs about the intriguing content within.
But surprise - in this case, that's all she wrote. I can only speculate why this is so. Takes to long to staff it through 10 layers of bureaucracy? Started as a full story but was edited down to nothing by those successive layers? Meant to post a 10 page document but only posted the cover?
Or maybe this product is designed for people who get all their news from those same checkout line magazine covers. Perhaps this is the DoD's concept of the amount of information the average American can digest. (That may be true - but the average American isn't online looking for information like this, and the above-Average Americans who are want something with some substance.)
This, my friends, is another of the many reasons why we're losing the information war. One of the most ironic aspects of it is that this is the same DoD that was recently chastised for attempting to plant stories in the Iraqi media to influence public opinion.
I sure hope we're not spending big taxpayer bucks on this crap.
(*Like many bloggers I get unsolicited email from DoD components, both political parties, several political action groups, and other organizations savvy enough to court the blogosphere. Since I'm more interested in finding and presenting data that isn't available on 500 other sites I generally don't find much useful in these mass mailings - but I do look.)All done!
General Pace -
Look, this is a long, long fight. This is an enemy that has told us they have a hundred-year plan.
They put it on their website. They've told us they want to go and establish a caliphate from Spain to Indonesia, and from there they want to attack the rest of the free world. It's not me saying that, it's them saying that.
We were in this war, arguably, in 1979. We understood we were in a war on 11 September of 2001. We're in this war primarily right now in Iraq and in Afghanistan, but when we are complete and successful in assisting the Iraqi government and in assisting the Afghan government, we are still as a nation going to face decades of individuals and cells and groups that want to destroy our way of life.
Guess which news broadcaster has been banned from frontline access to the nation’s forces.
(Wait - first guess which nation...)
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A sailor pleaded guilty Monday to abducting and killing a Marine corporal he thought had been involved in a gang rape. The rape turned out to be a lie, but the truth surfaced too late.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Cooper Jackson, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to premeditated murder, kidnapping, impersonating a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of Cpl. Justin L. Huff, 23.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to spare him a possible death sentence.
A Marine lost his life because of two pathetic losers.
Federal agents had testified at his Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation, that Jackson had been fooled into falling in love with a woman who called herself Samantha and made up a story about being raped by servicemen.
"Samantha" turned out to be Ashley Elrod, a 22-year-old hotel clerk on North Carolina's Outer Banks, who testified that she lied about being raped. She said she "might have" told Jackson that one of the Marines was named Huff or Huffman, and she said Jackson called her after Huff was killed. Elrod has not been charged.
I hope Ashley Elrod doesn't sleep a wink for the rest of her life, same goes for Jackson.
No doubt most of you have already heard NY Times Public Editor Byron Calame's explanation of "The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program" ("once-secret" before and after they published it, by the way)
I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press — two traits that I warned readers about in my first column.But only we here at MilBlogs can recognize that quote in it's original form:
"It's just... that damn Johnson!!!"
RAMADI, Iraq – The Iraqi Army assumed responsibility of an area in northern Ramadi today. The 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Colonel Kareem, officially assumed battle space at 11 a.m. today at a ceremony on forward operating base Blue Diamond. .
“We will serve with honor,” Colonel Kareem reminded his Soldiers. “We have been given the great responsibility of being in charge of this area.”All done!
Task Force 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment has been partnered with 3-1-7 IA for the past five months and has witnessed the unit’s development. “This is a big step,” said Lt.Col. Daniel Walrath, Commander Task Force 1-6, “[They] are increasing their battle space by three fold [and] will develop concepts and plans of operation for northern Ramadi.”
Task Force 1-6 will continue to provide the Iraqi battalion support, but are confident about their progress. Colonel Kareem reinforced to the Iraqi Soldiers that they will continue to learn from their Coalition partners and make Ramadi a safer place.
The battalion recently proved their capabilities during a validation operation which resulted in the capture of four anti-Iraqi forces. The occasion marks the second battalion in two weeks Ramadi to assume battlespace and is an important step in the continuing development of the Iraqi Army and represents the future security of Iraq.
See this. Just more evidence that we are disspirited and don't care.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf begins - 62 years ago today.
"Crossing the T" in the Surigao Strait, Taffy3 off Samar and much more in the last great naval surface action.
...the Army has recently taken steps to crack down on our most unfiltered source of information from the front: soldier bloggers. As milblogs get shut down, embeds become even more important. Tragically, recent reports have pinned the number of embeds in Iraq at around ten. That's too few. There would be eleven if Garver would let Yon back in, twelve if he'd let me back too, and many more if he demonstrated a willingness to work with alternative media. There is no shortage of independent journalists eager to risk their lives to report on U.S. troops; there is only a lack of will on the part of the military to grant us access.
We simply must wrap our heads around the realities of this new war. And the most prominent of those new realities is this: the media has become more important than entire fleets of warships and divisions of armor.
We either start playing to win on this front or start preparing to lose.
Found via Chap's links below, and definitely not stupid.
Good links in their side bar, too.
You have to give credit where credit is due.
These liquid highways can also serve as an avenue for insurgents to traffic their goods, be it improvised explosive device materials or people. In northern Diyala Province, there is a man-made lake in the village of Hamrin that could serve as a quick getaway for insurgents.That lake is ~ 9NMx2NM and the river that runs into it parallels the Iranian border and the outflow goes through Baquba all the way to Baghdad. If the Navy won't cover the inland RED SLOC, the Army will do some "backyard" engineering and git'r'done.
"We serviced the engine to make sure everything ran," said Staff Sgt. Phillip Kitchen, team chief, Service and Recovery Section, Dragoon Troop, 2-9 CAV. "The prop that was on it when we got it was destroyed, so we had to re-do the prop; sand it down, grind it down, make it better. The boat had a hole in it so we had to patch the underside of the boat so that it wouldn't leak in."
Has to be one of the most overmanned "patrol boats" I have ever seen. Bravo Zulu to the Army. In the time it took to defeat Imperial Japan, the Navy is still training and relearning a fundemental skill. Hold on in the Duraboat fellas! We'll get there...maybe...probably not.
I don't think so:
Coming under united international pressure, Kim Jong Il reportedly apologized for the Oct. 9 nuclear detonation and said he wouldn't test any more bombs.
That doesn't mean Kim can afford to show any weakness to a home crowd who live in an officially enforced siege mentality and are long accustomed to blaming their desperate living conditions on outside forces — mainly the United States.
"No matter how the U.S. imperialists try to stifle and isolate our republic ... victory will be on the side of justice," Choe Thae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, told a rally of more than 100,000 people, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
The North also held firm to its demand that the U.S. lift financial restrictions that have strangled Pyongyang's access to banks abroad as a condition to return to disarmament talks.
Washington has repeatedly rejected that request, and appears even more unlikely to alter its hard-line approach to the communist nation in the wake of the nuclear test — leaving the potential for the crisis to escalate further.
"If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks," Kim was quoted as telling a Chinese envoy, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo daily reported.
North Korea is just implementing one of the oldest terrorist tactics in the book and just like with the terrorists the media is doing everything it can to aid Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il is not apologizing he is just trying to appear conciliatory to save face for China, but also to make the US seem unreasonable because he says they are the ones threatening North Korea and implementing the financial sanctions on him thus causing the nuclear crisis. If the US would just be conciliatory like him and give up the sanctions they would return to talks.
This approach is much like the terrorists in Iraq when they say they want to negotiate with the US, but the US won't negotiate with them or meet any of their concessions in order to end the insurgency, but at the same time the terrorists are launching death squads to kill civilians and planting as many IEDs as possible to influence next month's US mid-term election. The terrorists do this because they want to make the US seem unreasonable by not negotiating with them when in fact the terrorists have no intention of negotiating with the US to begin with. This tactic is about as old as the ceasefire tactic used by terrorists when they need time to rearm, reman, and resupply themselves which the media always seems to aid them with as well. Tora Bora, Fallujah, Lebanon ring any bells?
I say the media is complicit in this because they rarely challenge these claims. For example in the AP article I linked to there was no mention that the US financial sanctions on North Korea have nothing to do with the nuclear crisis; they were implemented due to North Korean counterfeiting and money laundering. This just seems like an important piece of information that the AP article just some how left out.
Than again if the media actually challenged the claims of terrorists and dictators than that would effect their access to them; how else would you be able to get video of US soldiers being killed by enemy snipers to air on the news in order to increase ratings?All done!
One U.S. Navy ship handled sea planes, Talos, Tartar and Terrier missiles and had Aegis and VLS.
It was the only one of its kind.
Read about her here.
Testimony in the Article 32 hearing for Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan concluded at Fort Meade this past week.
If you have no idea who he is, that's because the case has drawn virtually no attention from any media outlet beyond the "local paper". That's true for most legal proceedings, but Lt Col Jordan's case involves crimes that drew more worldwide attention than perhaps any case in history. He's the first officer to be charged with crimes at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
You won't hear much about it because the hearing - and (depending on the hearing's outcome) the subsequent trial - removes one of the media's favorite claims about Abu Ghraib. "Only the junior troops are being prosecuted."
Even though several officers' careers were destroyed with reprimands, that claim has been true until now. But it's also a specious accusation, because until guilt of the actual perpetrators of a crime is determined, you can't punish their supervisors for their failures that might have led to the crime. To have punished from the "top down" would have been to effectively declare the junior troops guilty before they ever had a trial. (Yes - it was quite obvious they were guilty - but I'm talking court of law guilty here, Constitutional rights, etc.)
But this obviously logical order of business - without which due process for the junior troops would be impossible - initially leaves the prosecution open to claims of "only going after the little guys". In some cases that claim is more accurate than others, but in the Abu Ghraib case, it is not - as is being demonstrated in a room strangely empty of the many reporters who worked so hard to establish it.
How? We killed off military history.
If a free society is ignorant of war, how can it possibly remain free of the boot of the tyrant?
If any society is ignorant of war, how can it possibly remain itself and at peace, save the peace of the dead?
The conservative National Review has commentary at its Phi Beta Cons blog; a search reveals several posts about the subject here. The commentary includes a vigorous defense at Ohio State, an American Heritage blog post and a rather passionate critique.
-- -- --
from his 3rd deployment to Iraq... Drop by and send some welcome home wishes... at DocInTheBox
When I first read Greyhawk’s commentary, I hadn't noticed the mention of my (yes, tongue in cheek) desire to "spend my drills scanning MILBLOGS."
And then I thought two things.
What if MILBLOGS take on an OPSEC watch, and on our own, start looking for (or at least making note of) OPSEC violations, "over the top," or other I/O vulnerabilities?
And what if we approached DoD as a group, and offered to advise, develop guidelines, and work with those they've officially tasked to monitor BLOGS?
The hook for them, is they get to meet some of the most pro-military guys, Greyhawk and B5 and Smash, they elevate their own "get it" quotient by a factor of 10, and they provide a mechanism to coordinate offensive and defensive I/O.
We get to proactively influence DoD response to MILBLOG challenge.
That’s an idea I think we need to discuss.
Somebody’s watching the violence carefully, and asking when the next Improvised Explosive Device (IED) will detonate.
Only, we’re talking France. Okay sure, the next IED will be the first, but at the moment it appears that some among the violent Islamic youth don’t just want to cause mayhem. They want to kill French police.
How easy will it be for a determined French Jihadist to get a hold of the munitions or explosives material for an effective IED?
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
Jules Crittenden picks up on the story of potential MILBLOG censorship in today’s Boston Herald.
It’s hard for anyone with any time in service to argue with his introduction:
When something good is happening in the military, you can rely on someone high up and behind the lines to try to kill it. Slowly. Bureaucratically. Bleed the life out of it.Crittenden uses as example a 2005 post from Michael of www.adayiniraq.com, which conveys the kind of immediacy captured by many of today’s MILBLOGGERS. Crittenden also mentions The Blog of War as Matthew Currier Burden’s (Blackfive) to capture those battlefield accounts.
That is what is happening to milblogging, the Internet phenomenon that lets soldiers in Iraq tell us what they see, do and think.
Crittenden’s piece pretty much passes on the warnings that have been floating among MILBLOGGERS, without much additional information. He shares our concerns, but also notes hopefully:
There is still a wealth of information on the Web, where information is like water, and we can only hope it will find a way.I think we can do more than hope. Many of us can act.
Readers can do their part, as Crittenden suggests:
Go to sites such as www.blackfive.net and www.milblogging.com, and discover the world of milblogging, while it still exists.I would only add, visit also all the great folks at MILBLOGS, Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette. And of course, Dadmanly, but you already knew that.
From 1981. Pretty much "the playbook" for today.
It was no wonder that correspondents writing to win the approbation of other correspondents in that insidiously collegial atmosphere produced reporting that was remarkably homogeneous. After each other, correspondents wrote to win the approbation of their editors, who controlled their professional lives and who were closely linked with the intellectual community at home. The consensus of that third circle, the domestic intelligentsia, derived largely from correspondents' reports and in turn served to determine the nature of those reports. If dispatches did not accord with that consensus, approbation was withheld. Only in the last instance did correspondents address themselves to the general public, the mass of lay readers and viewers.The author was a reporter who was in Vietnam in the '60s, but he wrote this in 1981.
The "Viet Nam Syndrome" is compounded of a variety of symptoms, none unique in itself, but unprecedented in combination and devastating in their totality. Wars have been badly reported in the past. Facts have been mis-stated, and their interpretation has been biased. Emotions have been deliberately inflamed, and reporters have ridden to fame on waves of misrepresentation. But never before Viet Nam had the collective policy of the media—no less stringent term will serve—sought by graphic and unremitting distortion the victory of the enemies of the correspondents' own side. Television coverage was, of course, new in its intensity and repetitiveness; it was crucial in shifting the emphasis from fact to emotion. And television will play the same role in future conflicts—on the Western side, of course. It will not and cannot expose the crimes of an enemy who is too shrewd to allow the cameras free play.
As long as the "Viet Nam Syndrome" afflicts the media, it seems to me that it will be virtually impossible for the West to conduct an effective foreign policy. It is apparently irrelevant that the expectations of paradise after Hanoi's victory evoked by "the critics of the American war" became the purgatory the Indochinese people have suffered. Just as many denizens of the antebellum American South did not know that "Damyankee" was really two words, an entire generation in Europe and the United States behaves as if "the dirty, immoral war in Viet Nam" were an irrefutable and inseparable dogma. Merely equate El Salvador (or any other American intervention) to Viet Nam—and not only the American public but all "liberal" Europeans will condemn it without reservation. That is all they need to know. In its final effect—what has over the last decade been called "the paralysis of political will"—it will make it especially difficult for the United States to honor any political commitment anywhere in the world where small and threatened nations may expect American support for their independent existence. Before they fall to an aggressor, they will have been victimized by "the Viet Nam Syndrome."
(Via Power Line)
Much more here, including some solid (and some not so solid) ideas on how to make sure reports from Iraq are put into their proper context.• .05% of soldiers in Iraq were accused of any misconduct toward Iraqis in the past year.This kind of context could have been given to the article’s author before the story ran or to others after the fact. While even one case of misconduct is a tragedy, the above context puts a new complexion on the problem. The military no longer is a bunch of barbarians pillaging the Iraqi countryside. It is now clear that while there has been some abuse, the vast majority of our men and women in Iraq are doing a great job under very dangerous conditions.
• 15% of New York’s Police Department is accused of some misconduct during the year.
• .003% of military patrols have resulted in investigation.
• .16% of NYPD patrols result in investigation.
• Remove the incidents committed by one terribly led unit of prison guards (800th Military Police), and the military’s performance improves by more than 100%.
• In an environment at least 850 times as deadly as New York City, with a force of tens of thousands of teenagers who have no police training and who are working in communities where they do not even know the language, the U.S. military has done its policing job with 1/300th of the complaints that NYPD receives annually.
• On a per patrol basis, the military is 50 times less likely to receive a complaint than the NYPD.
• In the past year, New York City has lost one officer in the line of duty, or .002% of its force.
• Over the same period, the U.S. military in Iraq lost 842 or .7% of the in-country force (and 5,000 more wounded).
The military, that is, the people in it at high levels, believe these things to be true:
1. The mainstream media is primarily objective, not fundamentally politically motivated, and their purpose is to report the facts.
2. Our side is fighting for a just cause, and we are winning our battles. This is not an easy thing to do.
3. Blogs or anything else on the internet are an unkown entity and therefore a threat. They aren't objective or professional like the old media.
4. The mainsteam media is the best way to get a message to the masses.
The problem is that while these things are ingrained into our military culture, only 2 and 4 are true.
A future generation of military leaders will (maybe) understand the new media better. Of course, by then it won't be new, and something altogether different might be the best hope for "getting the word out". If so, it will be looked upon uneasily, and avoided as much as possible.
I say "maybe" above because in military culture, the path of least resistance to the top is to do things just like your boss does things. This is why item 1 above is still an article of faith generations after we should have known better, why item 3 applies to anything new or different, and why we're always training to win the last war.
Yet another General officer attacks the war in Iraq. (Or at least, that's what the Guardian wants you to think.)
Regardless of my headline (at the link), the media strategy isn't really failing. At least not yet. As I've noted before, fabricating quotes from senior officers is a proven (and growing) media ploy. Once the original lies are broadcast, the response of the outraged victim can be:
A. ignored while the earlier fabricated quotes are repeated
B. framed as "backing down" from his earlier statements
C. portrayed as retracting his statements as a result of pressure from above
D. A, B, and C
And if enough people stand up to be counted with the Brigadier and express their outrage at his treatment in the media, the media will be able to declare a massive conspiracy and denounce an oppressive regime or culture that denies free speech and fosters a chilling effect on freedom of the press. They hold all the cards.
Which is why we need new media. Which is why you are here.
Addendum: A few more reasons why this paticular strategy appeals to the media:
One - the defense departments/ministries or individuals can't respond by refusing to talk to the media at all or an "obsession with secrecy" or "oppressive policies" will become the storyline.
Two - as more "mis-quotes" are used, a "growing dissension in the ranks" storyline can develop in which the sheer number of stories is used to substantiate the validity of the theme - even if every individual case is a lie.
Three - at some point one of the thousands of flag officers on active duty may actually say something (off the cuff, out of anger, or actual opinion) that fits this "failure" theme. He/she won't have to be portrayed as a "lone voice."
Four - a half dozen retired generals are waiting to be interviewed about how some of their active duty counterparts are starting to echo their "concerns".
This will happen - probably soon. Just be aware of what you're seeing when it does. The damn shame of the matter is, as Salamander said earlier in this discussion: "it is a shame that the important things he says are being lost as a result." These are people whose opinions matter, who know what they're talking about, and who should be heard. Instead, they are being used.
Hopefully we'll be able to identify any signal in the noise.
"...especially when they don't get paid well."
From The Radio Patriots:
Constitutional Public Radio is honored to join Buzz Patterson in this 7-day-long benefit auction for Army Spc. Reid Stanley and Ellicia, who is battling cancer of the brain, breast, and lungs. SC Eagle, stationed in Germany, was deployed to Afghanistan, and now faces another, more personal war, one with Ellicia's life in the balance. They have three young children. And mounting expenses.
Spc. Stanley is also a milblogger, who writes A Storm in Afghanistan.
Auction proceeds will help defray the Stanley's rising bill load.
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — A [U.S.] federal judge ruled Thursday that United States courts did not have the authority to prohibit allied military forces in Iraq from transferring to the Iraqi government’s custody an American citizen who has been sentenced to death.The individual in question is Mohammed Munaf, and here's his story:
Mr. Munaf, who was born in Iraq and became an American citizen in 2000, traveled to Iraq in March 2005 to act as an interpreter and guide for three Romanian journalists. The journalists were kidnapped and held for 55 days.And here's the basis for the U.S. judge's ruling:
After they were freed, Mr. Munaf was detained and accused of being involved in the kidnapping, and on Oct. 12 he was sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge.
The judge, Royce C. Lamberth of United States District Court, ruled that the man, Mohammed Munaf, 53, was not being held directly by the United States, but by the multinational force that was created by United Nations resolutions. As a result, Judge Lamberth ruled, Mr. Munaf has no recourse to American courts.All that according to the NY Times, in which a similar case with a conflicting result is also cited.
I'm a bit surprised his story - or the previous case - hasn't gotten much attention in the media. And I'd like to hear from some of our legal eagles on ramifications, precedent, applicability to military members, etc.
Having been overlooked for the most part, there's little information online about this case. But here's some of that little:
At the time of the kidnapping a group identifying itself as the Muadh bin Jabal Brigade had threatened to kill Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian if Romania did not withdraw its 800 troops from Iraq.And here's something for the conspiracy theorists:
But an investigation by Romanian officials led them to accuse Munaf and Omar Hayssam, a Syrian-Romanian businessman, of masterminding the kidnap purely for financial gain.
Munaf maintains his innocence. Just weeks ago, it appeared he would be set free. Munaf’s attorneys say the presiding judge promised to dismiss the charges after he concluded there was no material evidence to support a conviction.That last bit from one of his attorneys. All done!
But then came a strange intervention. Two US military officers appeared in court to advocate giving Munaf the death penalty. One of the officers claimed to be acting on behalf of the Romanian embassy and said Romania “demanded” Munaf be put to death. The two officers then held a private meeting with the judge – without the defense in the room. When he returned, the judge ruled Munaf was guilty and ordered his execution.
The Romanian government says it did not authorize any US official to speak on its behalf and that it is not seeking the death penalty.
Here's an excerpt from one of Major General Caldwell's briefings from Iraq this week. If you were a news editor, what headline would you write for a story about this?
Violence and progress do coexist here in Iraq. The violence continues against security forces and innocent Iraqis during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Traditionally this is a time of great celebration; it has, instead, been a period of increased violence, not just this year, but during the past two years as well. The violence is indeed disheartening.Consider the General's message, and try writing your own headline encapsulating what he said. Then read the actual headlines from around the world here. Whoever comes close to the real examples has a bright future in journalism.
In Baghdad alone, we've seen a 22 percent increase in attacks during the first three weeks of Ramadan, as compared to the three weeks preceding Ramadan.
In Baghdad, Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence. We are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how to best to refocus our efforts.
In regards to this spike in violence during Ramadan, it's no coincidence that the surge in attacks against coalition forces and subsequent increase in U.S. casualty -- casualties coincide with our increased presence on the streets in Baghdad and the run-up to the American midterm elections. The enemy knows that killing innocent people and Americans will garner headlines and create a sense of frustration.
However, the coalition will not be deterred from establishing an Iraq that can provide for its own security and govern itself. That goal is achievable with a combination of both tough security measures by coalition and Iraqi security forces and a political process that recognizes that 11 or 12 million Iraqis voted for a unity government.
Towards that goal, the coalition continues to support and train an increasingly capable and determined Iraqi security force. This past weekend, Iraqi security forces independently successfully provided security for hundreds of thousands of Shi'a pilgrims who thronged the Iraqi city of Najaf in a peaceful commemoration of the death of the first imam. The event was carefully organized, with city services responding to the massive influx of pilgrims from all across Iraq and neighboring Iran.
Iraqi security forces set up and operated checkpoints and patrols throughout the Najaf province, ensuring the safe passage of these pilgrims. Their ceremony went off as planned, without any incidences, according to the Najaf provincial government officials.
This is the third holy pilgrimage in as many months that involved Iraqi security forces on their own planning and executing security for the movement of millions of worshipers here in this country.
The Neutrality Act law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Aug., 1935. It was designed to keep the United States out of a possible European war by banning shipment of war materiel to belligerents at the discretion of the President and by forbidding U.S. citizens from traveling on belligerent vessels except at their own risk. The demand for this legislation arose from the conviction of many Americans that U.S. entry into World War I had been a mistake.(emphasis mine)
We will never know what the World would look like today if the Neutrality Act had never passed.
We will also never know what the World would look like if the Neutrality Act had never been repealed.
There was no shortage of people in 1935 absolutely convinced that US participation in WWI has been a mistake, and any future particpition in any foreign wars would be an even bigger mistake.
After all, the warring tribes of Europe had been at war with each other for the best part of a thousand years...and would probably be at war with each other for the best part of the next thousand years. The Europeans were incapable of living in peace with each other.
By the end of 1945..a mere ten years after the Neutrality Act...it was determined that the only way the Europeans would ever live in peace...would be to park 250,000 US Soldiers in the center of Europe forever.
Was the mistake of WWI American involvement as was believed in 1935, or was the mistake the rush to the exit, as believed in 1945?
I know it’s far too late to influence potential movie-goers, but I wanted to comment on the extraordinary movie I saw last night at the local neighborhood discount movie house. Mrs. Manly has been very reluctant to see it, and we wavered on letting Little Manly see it, and almost missed it in moviehouses until we saw it this week at the local low price theater.
Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center.
As a movie, it’s probably less impressive than the story it could have told.
I hoped to see some glimpse of what went on inside the Towers. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking about what Rick Rescorla was doing in Tower Two in the minutes leading up to the Towers’ collapse, evacuating tens of thousands, going back for more. (For a great account of Rescorla, a tribute to his many acts of courage and devotion to duty, see Mudville’s Rick Rescorla Was a Soldier.)
As Rescorla evacuated thousands, as NYFD responders streamed in and out of the Towers, officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno were among a team of Port Authority Police that deployed to the disaster scene, and were organizing and equipping themselves at the base of the Tower, and preparing to climb into eternity.
Through the most miraculous of circumstances, McLoughlin and Jimeno managed to survive the collapse of both towers and agonizing hours trapped in the massive debris field of the WTC.
McLoughlin asks himself during his entombment, “What good did we do?” They answered the call, and catastrophe fell upon them before they could complete their mission. The two were the only survivors from the small team (6 or so?) assembling on the concourse that morning.
As an account of the survival of the two Port Authority Police officers rescued from the living hell that was Ground Zero, it’s an honorable and emotional tribute, to these men and their families, and to all those who toiled in sorrow and mourning on that twisted, hopeless pile.
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
Poland and Germany are at it again. No one killed yet, but boy are they seeing who has what proper stamp on their papers.
After a scrape in Polish waters over duty-free alcohol and cigarettes, the Polish Coast Guard fired warning shots at a German cruise ship.Sad commentary on the state of European blood feuds - we have shots fired all over the place and no one is dead, flayed, or gibbeted on the ramparts. They do want to look at your papers. Yes, your papers.
Polish plainclothes customs officials boarded the ship in the German port of Heringsdorf to have a closer look. They waited until the ship had entered the port of Swinoujscie (NB: that is Swinemunde for you Germanophiles out there. Check the map, natch, to most Germans that is occupied Pomerania) before making their move... the two Polish customs officials presented questionable identification and demanded to inspect the ship's alcohol and cigarette supplies. The captain, Heinz Arendt, thereupon elected to turn his ship around and bolt for German waters. He was apparently concerned, in light of the customs raid, that the ship's entire stock of goodies would be
confiscated were he to land at the port. ... that three to four shots were fired on the ship from a hand-held weapon. ... kidnapping charges were to be filed against Captain Arendt. Charges have already been filed against the Germans for attempting to dodge customs and hindering customs officials from doing their jobs.
Au contraire, counter the Germans. The Polish customs officials did not have the appropriate identification. As such, the officers are being charged with being in Germany illegally and for forcing their way into parts of the ship where passengers were not allowed.
When is this speech going to end? I want to go read the News!
I just finished smoking a nice cigar and thought about our recent couple AnySoldier Combined Federal Campaign Charity drives we did recently. It was a good time but one thing began to burn my butt. The amount of ignorance I was met with because of the many people that don’t know about AnySoldier.com or for that fact any troop support sites at all.
Kinda pissed me off. With the dog butt CNN (Communist News Network) putting footage of scumbags sniping our joes all over their site I couldn’t figure out why we would put that kind of dog shit on American news and not some sort of advertisement for the support sites for our freaking troops in harms way!
Anyone who says that invading Iraq was a mistake is full of it. Conversely, anyone who says it was a fantastic idea is making an equally dubious claim.
If we accomplish what we set out to accomplish, Iraq will be remembered as the first controversial step in a long term, chess-match solution for winning the Long War.
If we fail and withdraw prematurely, and leave a breeding ground slash power vacuum...then -and only then- can Iraq be considered "a mistake."
Call me naive, but I'm still a believer.
Jonah Goldberg makes a big concession, but cautions that acting to somehow “reverse” the mistake might be an even bigger misstep.
His big concession? The war in Iraq was a mistake:
Truth is truth. And the Iraq war was a mistake by the most obvious criteria: If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq in 2003. I do think that Congress (including Democrats Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller and John Murtha) was right to vote for the war given what was known — or what was believed to have been known — in 2003. And the claims from Democrats who voted for the war that they were lied to strikes me as nothing more than cowardly buck-passing.Mark at Decision ’08 objects to Goldberg’s premise:
The failure to find weapons of mass destruction is a side issue. The WMD fiasco was a global intelligence failure, but calling Saddam Hussein's bluff after 9/11 was the right thing to do. Washington's more important intelligence failure lay in underestimating what would be required to rebuild and restore post-Hussein Iraq. The White House did not anticipate a low-intensity civil war in Iraq, never planned for it and would not have deemed it in the U.S. interest to pay this high a price in prestige, treasure and, of course, lives.
Goldberg says if we knew then what we know now…but you never know then what you know now. That’s an absurd argument. Hindsight is not a policy.For the White House to have completely anticipated all of the risks, costs, benefits, and other turns of events, the President and his military and international advisors would need to possess a precision of hindsight from a future vantage point that is, of course, impossible. It’s a kind of magical thinking.
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
Now comes word of a "cloaking device"---here.
Another bit of Star Trek science?
Ahmadinejad declares Israel a "counterfeit and illegitimate regime that cannot survive," while continuing his headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, a North Korean general tells Diane Sawyer that unless Bush backs down on his rhetoric, "wawr wiwr be inevitabawr."
Kidnappers of an Italian freelance photographer in Afghanistan say they will release their hostage in exchange for Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who caused a brief firestorm when he was forced to flee the country or face the death penalty for converting to Christianity. Rahman was granted asylum in Italy.
Reporters without Borders:
"A journalist is neither a spy nor a bargaining chip," the media groups said. "We call on the Afghan and Italian authorities, and all those who might be able to contact his abductors, to do everything possible to help bring about his release."They are hoping an internet petition drive will help.
I hope there aren't any mil-bloggers out there unscrupulous enough to try to artificially inflate their hit counts by intentionally putting in keywords that might attract the Army blogwatching team's attention...
If you had solid evidence that al-Qaeda supports your opinion on Iraq, and wants to use you to further their ends, would you go along with them?
(I suppose you could say you were being courageous, you know, in supporting the enemy because it's how you naturally feel, not because you support them per se, you see, because otherwise the terrorists will have won...)
MilBogger Phil Carter, just back from Iraq, has a must-read in the New York Times. (Sunday edition - almost missed that.)
I was deeply involved with moving, and didn't realize he had finished his tour. Welcome home, Phil. (His blog here.)
It should be pointed out that the stated purpose of the Guard unit is to review for OPSEC violations, and to notify webmasters when such violations are found. If that's all there is to it, I'm all for it. Dadman, you and I have both been to Iraq, and I'd bet we'd both respond in exactly the same way if we found a map of our FOBs on some idiot's web page. It would be criminal negligence on the part of the DoD to not set up some sort of watch dog unit for just that purpose*.
The problem is that "the military" doesn't understand the internet as communication medium - a symptom of the military's disadvantage in communication in general. There's fodder for a doctoral thesis there, so I won't go deep for a blog post. But consider this: it took the military, as an institution, several years to even realize there were milbloggers. By the time they had, blogs probably looked very big and very, very scary to them. Communication via the internet really can't be controlled, and something that can't be controlled is anathema to a well-trained military mind. (Anathema definition here for our Pentagon readers.**) So even though the military already had extensive guidelines and regulations governing OPSEC violations via any and all communications media, they felt compelled to create new rules restating that the all-encompassing old rules applied to all forms of communication including blogs. This of course pisses off non-military people (especially bloggers) who think the rules are something new and dangerous to free speech - and encourages some who know better to claim they are anyway in order to sell books*** or piss off people by convincing them that Republicans are Nazis and Iraq is a lost cause and adding comments about "Rumsfeld's penchant for secrecy" - on and on ad nauseum. (By the way, which SecDef was it that didn't have a penchant for secrecy?)
However, just as they were years too late discovering blogs, the military also seemingly haven't discovered that blogs represent about one tenth of one percent of the potential threat. MySpace pages, chatrooms, YouTube, and countless other personal and public web pages are used and read on orders of magnitude above and beyond what weblogs are. I suspect (actually I hope) that the real problem here is that "blogs" is now military shorthand for "anything anyone puts anywhere on the web". (In fact, if you read the sometimes-mentioned-in-this-discussion Army training on blogs****, you'll find that most - perhaps all - of the OPSEC violations cited didn't occur on blogs at all, but on other open web sites.)
In a nutshell, I want the military to ensure information that can get me killed isn't widely available via open sources on the web or elsewhere, but I've seen absolutely nothing to give me confidence that the military is capable of doing so. Over at his site Damanly says (in somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion) that he'd "love to spend my drills scanning MILBLOGS…". But you see, he's one of the military's leading experts on weblogs, so that will never happen in a million years. What they're going to do is get some guys to sit at computers and respond whenever a bell rings because an automated process has detected too many instances of the initials "FOUO" in a web site.
*Oh, by the way, when milblogs are outlawed only outlaws will have milblogs. That's been my stated position on that topic for some time. With each new misguided action on the part of the DoD, a few hunded voices that should have been heard in the war on terror go silent, but this doesn't phase the criminally stupid.
**Sharp readers will recognize my insults to the Pentagon as a test to see if there's any negative response from the dwellers therein.
***Not a reference to The Blog of War, so support milbloggers and buy a copy, before Rumsfeld orders them burned..
****Sorry - that training is not in the public domain.
Blackfive harbored concerns about potential DoD censorship of MILBLOGS, which in part motivated him to initiate what became The Blog of War:
One reason that I wanted "The Blog of War" published was to preserve several excellent military blogger entries from blogs that were either shut down by the military or the author decided to shut down in order to avoid trouble with the military (The Questing Cat, Armor Geddon, Training For Eternity, This Is Your War, A Day in Iraq, etc.).Andi of Andi’s World posted on this the other day, and both Andi and Blackfive link as well to Noah Schactman’s Defensetech article. Andi quotes Schactman in her piece, and I have to wholeheartedly agree with their takeways:
In my opinion, milbogs have been far more effective in countering the mainstream media than the Department of Defense, and I'm not sure why the DoD has yet to realize their value and embrace their effectiveness. I'm not qualified to make a judgment on Rumsfeld's "penchant for secrecy," but I do agree with Noah's bottom line.My opinion on this has shifted.
So you would think that the Defense Department would be doing everything it could to encourage positive coverage of the war –- to bring stories of brave American troops, risking their lives for Mideast democracy, to the Internet browsers everywhere. But Rumsfeld's penchant for secrecy -- and the military's fear that even the smallest, most innocuous detail about American operations could give insurgents the upper hand –- has scuttled this crucial media mission.
As I mentioned here, I'm hopeful that the DoD is coming around to the idea that milblogs are useful, and have a place in this information war. I hope I'm right. If I am, I hope it's not too little, too late.
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
Or that's what he's telling his friends in China, anyway.
North Korea has informed China that it is prepared to conduct "as many as three additional tests" following the first nuclear experiment Oct. 9, CNN television reported Wednesday.
Quoting U.S. intelligence analysts and officials, CNN and Fox News said U.S. spy satellites have detected activities which could be preparations for nuclear explosion tests at three North Korean sites.
CNN also said that latest U.S. intelligence show that North Korea's missile sites remain at a "very high state of readiness," and Pyongyang could use them "in the next several days."
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the North Korean military has told China that it intends to conduct a "series of underground nuclear tests."
Since Kim only has a finite amount of fissionable material, let's hope that he has several more fizzles.
But my site is down for maintenance, just in case you were concerned.
Hey, who knew? And to think I left my copy of The Feminine Mystique at my last Pilates class.
"The military is not a conservative organization," said Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness (CMR). "It is on the cutting edge of liberal social change."Now, before you click here to get the whole thing; I will give you on hint. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
Almost makes you think of the old poem, "Hickory, dickory, dock."
You can't see this $2.3 billion dollar ship,'cause it's invisible ...sorta..
See the bird? The bird wants to be Lugnut's friend.
"Hello, Lugnut!" says the bird.
"Hi" says Lugnut, "what's your name?"
"You can call me Wingnut. Let's play!"
(Milblogs Jr. - for the childen)
Just when NATO and the West need to show resolve and strength; a very bad decision by the French at a very bad time for a very bad reason.
France plans to withdraw around 200 special forces from southern Afghanistan at the start of next year following a recent upsurge of violence, the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported on Sunday.NATO just took over AF. The Italians and Spaniards are on wobbley legs, the Germans are nervous, most of NATO is hiding behind caveats in the North and West, and the Canadians and Dutch are having second thoughts. With the exception of a SOF element here and there; only the US, UK, and Canada are doing any fighting. Yes Senator Kerry, we must work with our allies on everything. They are such a strong rock to build your national security on.
Nine French troops have died in fighting in Afghanistan and Le Journal du Dimanche said the relatively high death toll had played a part in the decision to withdraw the forces.
"...when I picked up my new stateside driver's license the other day, I simply said "yes" to the donor question - I never thought to ask who the recipient might be...
In short - I don't have a problem with the potential results of my decision. But what the hell is wrong with the Germans?"
I've got to echo your puzzlement over the German beef (har) with organ donation 'Hawk, what gives?
Although I wouldn't care if my bits and pieces went to a German, just so long as they didn't turn my plumbing into delicious sausages.
Over at Hit and Run:
Organ donation is so controversial in Germany that half the country's doctors won't cooperate with the organization that links donors and recipients. Doctors who do perform transplants are harassed, and the donation rate is among the lowest in the Western world. But donation rates are far less dismal at the U.S. military base in Landstuhl--and as Americans die on the base from injuries inflicted in Iraq, their organs are ending up in German bodies.The source report is from the Salt Lake Tribune:
In 2005, the U.S. military medical center provided more organs than 198 of the 206 hospitals in the DSO's central donor region, according to the agency's annual report...I'm an organ donor myself, and an Iraq vet who will probably be back there all too soon - and I've been stationed in Germany. I'm not convinced the Germans are "virulently" opposed to the US in Iraq. Many may be, but so are many Americans. And when I picked up my new stateside driver's license the other day, I simply said "yes" to the donor question - I never thought to ask who the recipient might be...
German transplant officials fret about exposure - especially in regards to the arrangement they keep with Landstuhl.
There is, they acknowledge, an uneasy irony to the program: Germans are virulently against the war in Iraq.
"We do not pretend that this does not complicate things," said Dietmar Mauer, a supervisor in the DSO's regional office in Mainz.
Mauer would prefer the Landstuhl agreement were kept a secret, for fear of derailing the program.
In short - I don't have a problem with the potential results of my decision. But what the hell is wrong with the Germans? The Tribune says that in Germany, "organ transplantation is as socially sensitive a topic as abortion in the United States."
Oh, goody, interdiction. Everyone's favorite topic. Quick thoughts:
Normal interdiction law, as set out here makes it clear that interdiction is legal under certain conditions. For example,
It is legal for the United States and other willing nations to stop and search foreign ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD) within their territorial waters, which extend 12 miles from their shorelines. But legally interdicting ships sailing in international or hostile waters will likely require some modifications to current international law, legal experts say.Perfectly legal, then for all nations interested in complying with a UN resolution to stop and inspect any North Korean ship that the inspecting country has reason to believe may be carrying WMD as it enters the inspecting nation's territorial waters.
But stopping ships at sea in international waters for inspection, is a different kettle of fish (or fissionable material, in the case of certain WMDs) ... Stopping ships at sea, unless authorized by international agreement, is pushing the envelope of war-like behavior such as blockades.
China is simply saying they will follow regular international law as their form of cooperation and is not presently interested in expanding that law or, apparently, in inspecting ships outside of Chinese ports.
On the other hand, North Korea is still technically a belligerent in a war, so ...
"The navy of a combatant state could blockade the ports of an enemy state, if the blockade was applied to all ships and was effective."
See, clear as mud.
Ambassador Wang Guangya confirmed China will comply with the Security Council's call for inspections of cargo going into or out of North Korea.
But Ambassador Wang made clear that China, a permanent member of the Security Council, does not interpret those sanctions as requiring interception and interdiction of North Korean ships on the high seas.
"Inspections yes, but inspections are different from interception and interdiction," said Wang Guangya. "I think, in that area, different countries would do it in different ways, but this is a Security Council resolution, under Chapter Seven, Article 41, and, therefore, the resolution has to be implemented."
What the hell is this guy talking about? Is this lame diplomatic nice-speak? Are the Chinese on-board with this resolution or not?
Forgive me for the frustration, but anything short of a tight-fisted international stranglehold on this pudgy little Nork bastard is going to put me in a most unpleasant mood.
Eagle, feel free to chime in with something Swabby-ish and comforting.
Army Lawyer - what is going on here?
Civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart was sentenced this afternoon to 28 months in prison on a terrorism charge for helping an Egyptian sheik communicate with his followers on the outside.
The 67-year-old Stewart, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, smiled as the judge announced his decision to send her to prison for less than two-and-a-half years. She had faced up to 30 years in prison.
Stewart's defense lawyer, Elizabeth Fink told the judge just before the sentence was pronounced: "If you send her to prison, she's going to die. It's as simple as that.''
Stewart was convicted in 2005 of providing material support to terrorists. She had released a statement by Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind sheik sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in plots to blow up five New York landmarks and assassinate Egypt's president.
Talk about unraveling progress - what a disgrace!
After Vietnam, the dominoes did not fall. What that tells us about this war
I'm just listing off the top of my head which pro-west countries realligned with the Soviet Union -
Various Central American Countries
I'm trying hard to remember which Dominoes didn't fall before Reagan and Thatcher stopped the slide.
Maybe I'm suffering from Alzheimer's, but my recollection was that the Soviets proxied there way through out the world with relative impunity.
Some people just don't "get it."
I served in the United States Army for four years during World War II, so I never feel I have to worry about sounding unpatriotic when I’m critical of something my country does.
Right now, I don't understand why we think it is OK for us to have nuclear weapons but it isn't all right for some other countries to have any. I don't think any country should have a nuclear weapon. And that includes ours.
Thankfully, these people aren't in charge of anything more substantial than a typewriter.
John Bolton: Winner. I’d like to hear John Bolton’s critics deny that, as with Resolution 1695, he has wrung far more effectiveness from the U.N. than we had come to expect. Not only should we confirm this man, pronto, we should clone him. Madeleine Albright never got results like these.
The United States: Winner. We got everything we really wanted here:
* help constricting Kim Jong Il’s financial arteries
* the right to search his ships and planes.
* an embargo on the purchase and sale of heavy weapons and WMD components.
* something to hurt Kim Jong Il and his loyalists — the ban on luxury goods.
* the real capacity to investigate, monitor, and enforce all of the above, including pursing them to Iran.
Make sure you read the rest of the winners and losers.
John Bolton has been an amazing UN ambassador and you would think his effectiveness would over ride the political partisanship that seeks to deny him of his confirmation. However, this same effectiveness will probably only make his political enemies even more determined to tear him down.
Can an over 50 year old ship be of some use in today's world? See here.
RAMADI, Iraq – The 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Staff Colonel Mustafa, officially assumed its area of responsibility at 4:30 p.m. in a ceremony here today.
“This historic event marks the first battalion in the entire 7th Iraqi Army Division to assume the lead in its own [area]. This is a great achievement for a battalion that is less than a year old and is serving in Ramadi, one of the most contested cities in Anbar,” according to Colonel Sean MacFarland, Commander, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
"This memorial lies in sight of Arlington National Cemetery, where so many of those fallen airmen are buried. This memorial also lies in sight of the Pentagon, where our nation came under attack. It is a fitting location. Under these magnificent spires we pay tribute to the men and women of the Air Force who stand ready to give all for their country. And looking from this promontory to a place once filled with smoke and flames, we remember why we need them."Story here.
Complete text of dedication speech here.
Hello Major Pain,
I am not sure if I am emailing the right person, but here it goes... if not maybe you can tell me who to contact. I typed in a few words and came up with your site... I didn't know that it was there. I knew about the anysoldier site, but not the anymarine site. I am the mother of SSG Bryan Fluharty. First, I want to thank you for posting it... second I am wondering if you could help me come up with a way to get the story out and also update you on what has been happening. Bryan now has his children back... Children's Services took them away from mom last weekend and he got the call to come to Louisiana. There are pictures of them and updates on this website... V.O.I.C.E.S. Home and check out Chelsie's Letter It is a heartbreaker.
This isn't over by far, he has hearings coming up the end of the month there is Louisiana and is told there will be more...and hopefully the kids will be able to stay here, stay in school, and not have to attend the hearings. There is another scheduled for here in November, but we are told it may be canceled... again.
There are also some senators getting involved in making some law changes so others don't have to go through this. A very special lady, Kim Willmon has been emailing away and has had some very positive response. Senator Nick Gautreaux was especially helpful in "rescuing" these children and has been speaking to Senator Marc Dann's office here in Ohio. There are some others also from other states who are climbing on board too.. this should have never happened, those kids should have never been sent back to endure being "dragged by their hair and beaten." I am very proud of my son being able to hold it together to make sure he would be able to be here for his kids, I don't know how he did it. Yes I do, he did it FOR THEM.
These law changes would benefit not only other children but service members as well... and it is the right thing to do. Please feel free to contact me if you would like with any suggestions. I truly would appreciate anything you can do to help make all of their V.O.I.CE.S. heard. Thank you for everything you have done, including serving our country.
Well, that explains it...
Man, I hear the folks they interviewed weren't even Iraqi, they were Swedes.
Which I suppose is the reason that almost all of the 650,000 Iraqis killed were named "Bork."All done!
A long-term foreign presence in a country can be unnatural. This has happened in several places with large foreign presence. The economies remained unreformed and distorted to some extent. Educated young people can make more money as drivers for foreign workers than as doctors and civil servants. Despite good intentions and the fine work of humanitarian workers individually, there can be unintended adverse side effects.
Two of the four provinces in the British Sector are under Iraqi provincial control,DhiQar and Muthana.
Maysan has 6 adminstrative districts, the Iraqi 10th Division is in the lead in 4 of those districts.
Basra has 7 administrative districts, of which only one has been turned over to the Iraqi 10th Division.
Contrast that with the Polish Sector, whose 5 provinces, Najaf,Karbal,Babil and Wasit have all been turned over to the Iraqi 8th Division.
To look at the extreme case, compare the UK retaining the "In the Lead" status in 6 of 7 adminsitrative districts in Basra with the US situation in AlAnbar, where the Iraqi 1st Division is in the lead in 3 of 9 administrative districts.
Any parent who has ever taught a child to drive knows that at some point their "continued presence" in the car does "more harm than good". Any child who has ever been taught by a parent to drive will be more than adamant that Dad's continued presence in the car did more harm than good. Mom,Dad and the child all have differing opinions of when that should be.
The goal is an independent Iraq.All done!
Greyhawk, it is a shame that the important things he says are being lost as a result. I think it is very helpful for everyone concerned if they listened to General Dannatt in his own words. At the BBC, he answers the questions about the cheery picked interview and broader issues. You can hear him here and here. The spin from Left and right on this has been interesting to me to no end. Over at my place and The Commissar's I have tried to get discussion about what General Dannatt has said in his own words, but no one seems to want to do that. They just want to use it as a political club to pound the war, or attack anyone that wants to talk about what he has said. Very frustrating. He is spot on in so many of the things he says, but all the talk is about the spin - because the press cannot, as you state, just report what is said in an honest way. Shame. Harumph. Election years.
He does a good job with the barbs from the BBC interviewer. Once again, everyone should listen to him - in the first person. From Left and right, there is something there for everyone. The General's motivations are spot on for everything he said - though you won't read about it, you have to hear it directly from the man. Listen to him a couple of times and you come away with a lot of respect for him.
Britain's most senior soldier has backed away from his remarks that the British Army's presence in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems." Gen. Richard Dannatt was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying that troops should be withdrawn from Iraq "soon."You'd think that if it could prove they weren't liars they'd release the transcript.
His statements, which appeared to run contrary to British government policy, sparked a political storm. Gen. Dannatt says that he meant that a phased withdrawal over two or three years is needed.
The Daily Mail, known for its frequent opposition to the government, has refused to issue a transcript of its original interview with the general. Prime Minister Tony Blair said he fully supports Gen. Dannatt, though he said he agreed with the interviews the general gave this morning, not the one that appeared in the newspaper.
But as with the Frist story earlier this month, the fact that the report is a lie won't be mentioned in future coverage. It's a pretty slick trick - change the meaning of what someone says by omitting a word or sentence here or there, then when they respond by saying what they actually said, claim they are "backing off" their earlier statements. You can even make-believe they did it out of fear of the administration (Bush or Blair).
Sleaze journalism at it's worst.
This cracked me up. Where else but San Francisco?
Fleet Week farewells
Editor -- Thank you, Fleet Week. My preschool-aged daughter, having heard your airplanes overhead all week, is now completely traumatized and afraid to go outside. She just heard a commercial airliner in the sky and ran inside shrieking, shaking, and trying to close all the windows and doors. We tried to have a fun family weekend enjoying free music in our park, but it was ruined by the thundering sound of those hateful airplanes overhead, forcing her (and most of the other children I saw) to throw her hands over her face and cower.
If there is ever an opportunity for me to vote on any proposition keeping this ridiculous event and huge waste of resources from marring the skies of my city again, you can bet I'll be the first in line to get it voted in. DEMETRA DELÍA
Okay, if the "hateful" airplanes dropped a JDAM onto their hippy jamfest....maybe I could understand Demetra's point. Heh, everything is such a drama with these people.
By the way, those hateful airplanes "marred the skies" of Demetra's city again this week, running NORAD directed combat air patrols over the Golden Gate after the plane crash in NYC.
Hotel Tango: 4 Mile Creek.
I interviewed live this morning on the local Fox Affiliate, Fox 23, for their Daybreak Program, with a five minute interview running around 7:40.
The video of the interview is already up at their website. I don’t know if there’s a problem with the link or that the video is blocked where I am at present.
Daybreak Hosts Diane Lee and Mark Baker did a great job, were very animated, showed genuine interest, and otherwise gave me lots of room to talk about my experiences, and of course, plug the book. Diane even read a portion of my piece from the book, which I thought was very nice.
If anyone actually gets the video to run, you’ll have to let me know how it looks and sounds. It felt like it went fairly well, the Mrs. and Little Manly were very impressed – Little Manly missed his bus watching the segment and Mrs. had to run him off to school – but we know they’re big fans!
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)
Some cheerleaders for the recent study claiming over 600K "excess deaths" in Iraq since March 2003 have been complaining that people who recognize the study's conclusions are complete crap aren't providing a critique of the study's methodology. Well, in this post at my home blog, I do just that. Here's an except:
They also tried to verify each death; amazingly, in 90% of the cases they families of the "dead" were able to provide a death certificate. The problem with this is that the surveyors didn't record the names of the dead for comparison later. In the West, this might not be a problem, but it's different in the Middle East. Arab culture is built around the extended family; therefore, many people are likely to say that someone who had died (especially a "heroic" death) would have lived in their home. This is especially true when Iraqis know that Americans often pay "blood money" to the families of those who died accidentally in coalition attacks. So here's an Iraq family, and these Americans come to their door and ask if anyone has been killed lately by Americans. How do you think they'll respond?More here.
Once again, it's that time. Time for News.
"Yes, everyone, the News is up!"
Boy, I wouldn't want to be on his staff this AM.
The presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems" and they should "get out some time soon", the head of the British Army has said.The question is; is he right? If he doesn't have the right idea about what is happening in the British sector, who does? At least in the South, have they reached the point of diminishing returns?
"I think history will show that the planning for what happened after the initial successful war fighting phase was poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning," he said.That is fair, but on both sides of the Atlantic - politicians are wondering when they will "loose control" of the messages coming out of "their" Flag Officers.
"The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East.
"That was the hope, whether that was a sensible or naive hope history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition."
As British Prime Minister Tony Blair's time at the helm of the United Kingdom's government embarks on its final days, it appears others are becoming more bold in their public misgivings about the conduct of the War on Terror.
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett launched one of the British government's sharpest attacks on Guantanamo Bay on Thursday, saying the U.S. prison camp was ineffective and damaging.
"The continuing detention without fair trial of prisoners is unacceptable in terms of human rights. But it is also ineffective in terms of counter-terrorism," Beckett said at the launch of her department's annual human rights report.
"It is widely argued now that the existence of the camp is as much a radicalizing and discrediting influence as it is a safeguard to security," she added.
If imprisoning terrorists serves to readicalize others, color me in favor of motivation. 'Martyrdom' serves to radicalize as well. Perhaps we should just fold up tent and not **** them off any more and appeal to their peaceful, tolerant side...
Britain's new army chief called for a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, warning that the military's presence there only exacerbates security problems, according to an interview published Thursday.
Gen. Richard Dannatt described British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Iraq policies as "naive," declaring that while Iraqis might have welcomed coalition forces following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the good will has since evaporated after years of violence.
The British military should "get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems," Dannatt said in an interview with the Daily Mail released on the tabloid's Web site. "Whatever consent we may have had in the first place" from the Iraqi people "has largely turned to intolerance," he was quoted as saying.
Patience, al-Qaeda, patience. Soon Bush will no longer be the American Commander in Chief, either.
A confluence of words and events is serving to confirm my long held dark fear that it is going to get much worse before it ever gets better.All done!
According to some U.S. officials, we already have the man responsible.
A new HBO documentary, The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl, leaves the question unresolved; it focuses on the intersecting lives of Pearl and Sheik, the man convicted of the crime, but also cites unnamed U.S. and Pakistani officials who blame Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for the murder.
Now, several U.S. officials tell TIME that KSM's role in the Pearl murder appears more direct than previously acknowledged — and that the Bush Administration plans to try him for it. The officials tell TIME that KSM confessed under CIA interrogation that he personally committed the murder. Moreover, when he faces a military tribunal at Guantanamo, perhaps as soon as next year, the U.S. plans to charge him not only with the 9/11 plot, but also with direct responsibility for Pearl's death.
One former U.S. national security official tells TIME there is no doubt that KSM personally wielded the knife that killed the Wall Street Journal reporter. This official says that Ahmad Omar Saed Sheik insisted under interrogation that taking Pearl's life was not at first part of the kidnap plot — though Sheik also told his questioners that Pearl's kidnappers could never have released him because he was Jewish. But as the scheme unfolded, someone senior to him in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, known as "the fat man," took control of the operation and beheade Pearl.
I think I know what the Canadians had to deal with...
I stumbled across a story of the problems the Canadian military is having with marijuana. No, it's not what you think:
Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet (three metre) high marijuana plants.The story continues with what happened when the Canadians tried to burn down the offending forest while some of their troops were downwind.
General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defence staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.
"The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily. It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices ... and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he said in a speech in Ottawa.
A remarkably fluffy interview with Lynndie England (she of the man-ass pyramid). Lest one gets the impression that she and Graner were operating some grand conspiracy on orders from Don Rumsfeld himself as opposed to one sadistic shitbag and one dingbat chick:
But England refused to give him up. In March 2003, she went with Graner and another soldier to Virginia Beach. During the trip, Graner took pictures of himself having anal sex with England. He also photographed her placing her nipple in the ear of the other soldier, who was passed out in a hotel room. Soon, it became their new game: Whenever Graner asked her to, England would strike a pose.
"Everything they did, he took a picture of," says Hardy, her lawyer. "I asked Lynndie why she let him. She said, 'Guys like that. I just wanted to make him happy.' She was like a little plaything for him. The sexual stuff, the way he put her in those positions, that was his way of saying, 'Let's see what I can make you do.'"
To think that the efforts of so many good and honorable people were rendered almost null by a friggin' Jerry Springer episode.
Oh there's more:
During that time, Graner instigated another kind of amusement: sexually charged weekly theme parties in the barracks. "Naked Chem-Light Tuesday," he called it. A Chem-Light is a light stick used by soldiers that's akin to a flashlight, containing hydrogen peroxide and a fluorescent dye packaged in a small plastic tube. Break it open, and the stuff glows for hours. One night, Graner pulled his shorts down, poured the contents of a Chem-Light onto his penis, and walked around naked.
And pose for more pictures. In a supply room, Graner takes a shot of England performing oral sex. England adds a flourish for the photos: a thumbs-up sign. In another photo, England is standing near a detainee, Hayder Sabbar Abd, a 34-year-old taxi driver, as he is being made to simulate masturbation. Again, she gives a thumbs-up.
Apparently, John Murtha has had enough.
A year ago when I presented my plan for Iraq, I did it to provide leadership and protect our troops. The Republicans have spent their time name-calling while the situation for our troops in Iraq gets worse.
They've tried to smear me, other veterans, Democrats, you and anybody who stands up to them. Well, let me say one thing right now: screw them. Those gravestones at Arlington cemetery don't say Democrat or Republican on them.
Major John. I'm with you. They did an outstanding job with that ad. Right tone at the right time.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton put forth her positions on Iraq today in the New York Daily News.
No obvious moon-battery here, and reasonable sounding. She’s made some good points, she’s someone to at least hear out, doesn’t it sound?
Forgive me for a certain skepticism about how genuine are Sen. Clinton’s convictions about the threats to National Security, how she would lead as Commander in Chief, how she would direct Iraq policy differently than the Bush Administration.
More importantly, how would she make judgments between the eternally opposed perspectives of the CIA, the State Department, and the Pentagon? Does she even recognize that these three spheres are in covert (and often overt) battle with each other? Is she already a party to the internecine warfare?
One clue is here prescription, described as “Step 2: Diplomacy:”
The second thing that needs to happen is an international public gathering of the parties in the region. Right now, we have sort of private conversations with all these different groups, with the exception of Iran and Syria. So we talk to the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, the Turks — but we're not bringing them to any kind of resolution about what they will publicly do and get them on record in a way that we can then bank on.Here we go again. All we need is an “international public gathering of the parties in the region.” Kind of sounds like a UN solution, doesn’t it? Sen. Clinton maintains that the reason all of our various private and public conversations with all these interested parties (excepting our sworn enemies of course), is one of a failure in “bringing them to any kind of resolution.”
So, there is no understanding. The Turks are massing troops because they're scared to death about the Kurds and the infiltration. We know what the Iranians are doing. The other Sunni countries are playing their double game. And we're basically sort of watching it.
Our failure to have even backdoor talks with Iran and Syria with respect to Iraq and everything else in the region is, I think, another in a long line of mistakes on the part of the Bush administration.
Has the Junior Senator not had a chance to get briefed up on the UN and other natter-ma-bob organizations? Can she really be that naïve?
The problem is with her premise, which fails on multiple counts. Nations conduct international diplomacy as a helpful but largely irrelevant backdrop for whatever practical steps they take behind the scenes. Nations lie, cheat, misrepresent, and try to manipulate foreign and domestic public opinion. Communist Dictatorships and other autocratic and fascists regimes, do it at orders of magnitude more.
The Senator Clinton, in just the next breath suggests that, despite our neglect in opening private conversation with them, “We know what the Iranians are doing.” Senator, might you go ahead and state what that is? I know I know, but I sure would like to believe you do. I don’t, because I know by not saying, you don’t really believe whatever you’d say, and whatever you’d have to say publicly, you wouldn’t agree with at all.
Backdoor talks with Iran and Syria? Unless that backdoor talk runs along the lines of, “this shotgun is loaded and the next time you step out of your yard into mine, you get both barrels,” dear Lord, I’m not interested. This sounds an awful lot like John Kerry’s “I’ve talked to a lot of foreign leaders” type of foolishness.
(More commentary, and an unexpected Frank Capra reference, over at Dadmanly.)All done!
...must, I say...
Follow this link. Don't forget to read the comments.
With respect to the Ministry of Interior forces, two of the 18 Iraqi provinces now have already assumed Iraqi control in their province. What that means is that the police forces in that province are capable of maintaining domestic order without routine coalition support, and in Muthanna province and Dhi Qar province that is happening. I would expect to see six or seven Iraqi provinces under provincial Iraqi control by the end of the year.
The combined population of DhiQar and Muthana provinces is roughly the same as Kosovo(roughly 2 million). I would note the continued presence of roughly 17,000 "Foreign Troops" in Kosovo 7 years after initial deployment.
While the provincial security forces and governments of AlAnbar and Baghdad continue to struggle the rest of the provinces are getting their acts together at a reasonably quick pace by international and historical standards.All done!
Part III of Cassandra's series, treating the judiciary, is here.
I had to read this two or three times to make sure I read it correctly. At this stage of the election cycle, Senator Durbin had this to say about Iraq.
The security situation in Iraq has improved somewhat since his last visit, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Saturday.Don't think it will make the front page of the NYT, but wow.
"Before, I was confined to the Green Zone. Things have improved to the point where we're able to travel outside the Green Zone. We went to the Sunni Triangle today and met with Marines," Durbin said in a conference call with a half-dozen reporters.
"It is, I think, a more secure environment than I felt a year and a half before, but the battle of Baghdad is still raging.
It really was only a matter of time before Jimmy Carter surfaced again due to the latest North Korean crisis. Carter has surfaced this time in a New York Times editorial which like other editorials from those involved in the failed 1994 Agreed Framework blames Bush for the current nuclear crisis:
Responding to an invitation from President Kim Il-sung of North Korea, and with the approval of President Bill Clinton, I went to Pyongyang and negotiated an agreement under which North Korea would cease its nuclear program at Yongbyon and permit inspectors from the atomic agency to return to the site to assure that the spent fuel was not reprocessed. It was also agreed that direct talks would be held between the two Koreas.
The spent fuel (estimated to be adequate for a half-dozen bombs) continued to be monitored, and extensive bilateral discussions were held. The United States assured the North Koreans that there would be no military threat to them, that it would supply fuel oil to replace the lost nuclear power and that it would help build two modern atomic power plants, with their fuel rods and operation to be monitored by international inspectors. The summit talks resulted in South Korean President Kim Dae-jung earning the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his successful efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.
His White House contact walked into a on going policy meeting with President Clinton and his top advisors to inform Clinton of Carter's call. Clinton was about to give a go ahead on a military force build up in Korea along with increased sanctions that would ultimately lead to possibly a naval blockade if North Korea did not give up their nuclear program. Does this all sound familiar? It should because it is 1994 all over again today, we just need Carter to go to Pyongyang, and hopefully this time he will stay there.
Carter's announcement was a bombshell to the White House because somebody acting as a private citizen had taken control of US foreign policy and the White House appeared to be by standers. People in the meeting actually called Carter's actions of cutting a deal without White House approval as "near traitorous" and Clinton actually put out an order for people in the meeting to not engage in Carter bashing to media despite their private feelings.
Clinton's instincts initially was that the North Koreans could not be trusted and only understood force to get them to quit their nuclear program, however Carter's actions made it politically impossible for him to take action against North Korea when Carter publicly announced on CNN that he had prevented war by cutting a deal with Kim Il-sung. Attacking a country after publicly announcing that you cut a deal with them never goes over to well internationally or domestically for that matter and Clinton knew it and he was forced to deal.
Additionally the deal was cut with Kim Il-sung who Clinton and even I believe may have been acting in good faith at the time when he agreed to end his nuclear program and allow in IAEA inspectors if the US gave him aid and built two light water reactors. Kim Il-sung I think was beloved by his people enough that he would have been able to survive any reforms that would have opened up the country. Thus he saw this deal as opportunity to feed his people and provide them energy, which in turn allowed North Korea to then focus their limited resources on rebuilding a post-Soviet Union economy.
However, Kim Il-sung died a month later after striking the deal with Carter. Was this just coincidence or did Kim Jong-il have something to do with it? I for one wouldn't be surprised if Kim Jong-il and others in the military who wanted the nuclear bomb and resisted opening the country did away with Kim Il-sung and installed Kim Jong-il because he promised to implement the Songun (military first) policy which would ensure the elite status of the North Korean military within North Korean society.
Something else I found disingenuous about Carter's article was his claim that his 1994 deal led to the 2000 inter-Korean Summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il. Carter made no mention of the fact that the summit only happened, not because of Carter's 1994 deal, but because of the $156 million dollar bribe that Kim Dae-jung authorized Hyundai to give to Kim Jong-il in order for the North Koreans to agree to host the summit.
The dishonesty only continues in Carter's editorial:
But beginning in 2002, the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil, threatened military action, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants and refused to consider further bilateral talks. In their discussions with me at this time, North Korean spokesmen seemed convinced that the American positions posed a serious danger to their country and to its political regime.
The dishonesty in this article only gets worse:
Six-nation talks finally concluded in an agreement last September that called for North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and for the United States and North Korea to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize relations. Each side subsequently claimed that the other had violated the agreement. The United States imposed severe financial sanctions and Pyongyang adopted the deeply troubling nuclear option.
So what does Carter suggest to end the current stand off? Well implementing pretty much the 1994 Agreed Framework again:
The other option is to make an effort to put into effect the September denuclearization agreement, which the North Koreans still maintain is feasible. The simple framework for a step-by-step agreement exists, with the United States giving a firm and direct statement of no hostile intent, and moving toward normal relations if North Korea forgoes any further nuclear weapons program and remains at peace with its neighbors. Each element would have to be confirmed by mutual actions combined with unimpeded international inspections.
You have to give Carter credit for one thing, he is persistent in wanting to implement failed policies.
As you can see there were various factors that led to the failed 1994 Agreed Framework. Was it Clinton's fault? Even though the policy failed I don't see it as being Clinton's fault because due to the circumstances he had no choice but to cut the deal. This issue has taken on it's current political context solely because of next months elections. None of this rhetoric is helpful in actually resolving the crisis but since when have politicians cared more about solving issues over protecting their own political power?
So what do I think it going to happen? Kim Jong-il counted on sanctions before he decided to test his nuke and knew that the international community would condemn him including China and South Korea. Even though he would be condemned for the test, Kim Jong-il gambled that China and South Korea would still protect him from sanctions that would lead to the end of his regime like a naval blockade. I would love to see a naval blockade because I doubt the North Korean regime would last a year if a naval blockade is implemented. However, all signs are that the South Koreans and Chinese will not support a blockade and I find it unlikely the US would implement a blockade without a UN Security Council Resolution.
So what does this mean? Well it means that North Korea will get hit by increased sanctions, but China will keep the oil flowing and the South Koreans will keep the food and fertilizer coming in because neither country wants to deal with a collapse North Korea. China doesn't want a possible war or a humanitarian crisis to threaten their hosting of the 2008 Olympics and the South Koreans do not want to pay both the financial and social costs that reunifying with North Korea would cost plus the possibility of war would devestate the peninsula. Plus the North Koreans will be allowed to keep bringing in hard currency through their weapons sales, counterfeiting, and other illicit activities without a naval blockade, which means that the Kim Jong-il regime will survive with more time to develop and perfect their nuclear weapons, while our political leaders aided by the irresponsible US media continue to play politics and blame each other for the crisis, which is just what Kim Jong-il counted on.All done!
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Marines spent most of their day recently searching and clearing the Souk District in the city. The district has a reputation for attacks on Coalition Forces by anti-Iraqi Forces.
Marines from C Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 helped clear the district during an operation in Fallujah’s Souk and uncovered a weapons cache during the search.
The Souk District is primarily made up of small businesses and residential blocks. Local Iraqis use the area constantly for consumer goods, which range from items sold at electronic stores to the produce available at fruit stands.
Hundreds of buildings, many several stories tall, lie in the district woven with narrow side streets and tight alleys. People flood the streets here on a daily basis to buy their necessary goods, but insurgents use the area to their advantage.
“It’s a very complex part of the city, a maze of shops and stores,” said Lt. Col. Christopher A. Landro, the battalion’s commander from Kennesaw, Ga. “You could literally turn a corner and be lost in an area you had never seen before.”
The Marines moved into the area before most Iraqis were awake. After shops opened, they moved into sectors in the heart of the souk. Although many were surprised to see the Marines coming out of buildings, they knew why they were there.
“When we go into the souk it is almost a guarantee that we will come in contact with insurgents,” said 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Frederick O. Lohse, an assaultman, from Ridgefield, Conn.
Fighting off insurgents is a common event here, but the Marines were looking for more than the insurgents themselves. They were searching for anything the insurgents could hide in the area.
Marines located a small weapons cache in a glassware shop in the early stages of the operation. The owner was not around, and the Marines cut the door’s lock, finding ammunition, ski masks and false documents.
“We have found this kind of stuff in some weird places before, and this was no surprise for us,” said 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Angelo Vella, a machine gunner, from Lincoln Park, N.J.
Those who were present met the Marines at their doors, while others sat in front of their homes to watch the forces conduct the operation.
Locks were cut and stairs were climbed, leaving no area uncovered by the Marines.
“That is what is key about these kinds of operations,” said 46-year-old Landro. “We can get into every nook and cranny to search.”
Although the Marines found only one cache, they sent a message to the insurgents who operate in the area.
“We showed them that we can go anywhere that we need to go to conduct our missions,” said 30-year-old Cpl. Marshall R. Collins, fire team leader, from West Hartford, Conn. “The insurgents want to keep us out, and we showed them that you can’t keep us out.”All done!
This is a great story of how love and loyalty overshadowed the vile Westboro Baptist Church.
Baghdad resident Omar from Iraq the Model:
When the statistics announced by hospitals and military here, or even by the UN, did not satisfy their lust for more deaths, they resorted to mathematics to get a fake number that satisfies their sadistic urges.He's right - in inflating their claims beyond any level a reasonable person could believe they've trivialized the issue of actual deaths in Iraq - an issue that's far from trivial. Read the whole thing (which of course includes comments from American leftists telling Omar - in Baghdad - why he's wrong).
This fake research is an insult to every man, woman and child who lost their lives.
Damn fine responses, all. Too bad you'll be seeing those other numbers cited from now until infinity. (Or until next year's release of the six billion figure...)
Speaking of infinity, I'd like to apologize for the harsh tone of my comments on the original post. It's just... that damn Johnson...
Oh hell, there I go again. And with a tip of the hat to Dadmanly, I propose we adopt the phrase "sorry man... it's just... that damn Johnson! as our own slogan for just such occasions. One - it fits, and two, even if you don't know the reference it just sounds funny anyhow.
WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A California-born convert to Islam, accused of making a series of al Qaeda propaganda videos, became on Wednesday the first American charged with treason since the World War Two era, U.S. Justice Department officials said.
According to the charges, Gadahn appeared in five videos broadcast between October 2004 and Sept. 11, 2006, giving al Qaeda "aid and comfort ... with the intent to betray the United States."
"Gadahn gave himself to our enemies in al Qaeda for the purpose of being a central part of their propaganda machine," Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told a news conference.
Remember the Democrats coming out and complaining that John McCain was playing politics by him criticizing former President Clinton's failed 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea? So what do the Democrats do? Continue playing politics themselves of course; with former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Perry writing this blame Bush editorial in the Washington Post:
North Korea's declared nuclear bomb test program will increase the incentives for other nations to go nuclear, will endanger security in the region and could ultimately result in nuclear terrorism. While this test is the culmination of North Korea's long-held aspiration to become a nuclear power, it also demonstrates the total failure of the Bush administration's policy toward that country. For almost six years this policy has been a strange combination of harsh rhetoric and inaction.
President Bush, early in his first term, dubbed North Korea a member of the "axis of evil" and made disparaging remarks about Kim Jong Il.
I guess Perry would prefer the Bush call Kim Jong-il the Dear Leader instead of the tyrant that he is?
Some of you may remember that Perry also wrote an editorial before the July NK missile tests in the Washington Post advocating a bombing campaign against the NK Taepodong missile before it could be tested. Perry like many former Clintonites are trying to rewrite history. Their policies were a failure then and their advice is a failure now.
Just think about if the US followed Perry's advice before July's missile test. A bombing campaign against NK would validate the very reason Kim Jong-il proclaims for needing both a ICBM and nuclear programs; to protect the country from US aggression not to mention possibly causing a second Korean War which the US would have clearly been the aggressor. Additionally the US would have never gathered the valuable intelligence of the failed test. The US didn't totally know the NK ICBM capabilities, now the US does. It is the same thing with the nuclear test. The US now knows that the NK nuclear program is not as advanced as the North Koreans would want you to believe. Plus the NK actions have driven a wedge between China and North Korea which a bombing campaign would have never done. If anything it would bring the two allies closer together against US aggression. Now this is not the case after the nuclear test because China is actually seriously considering backing a UN resolution that would allow a US naval blockade of North Korea. Do you think a bombing campaign would have brought this close cooperation with China about?
So what does Perry advocate in the wake of the nuclear test, when his bombing campaign policy would have been an obvious failure? Well I really don't know because the article is all blame Bush with no policy alternatives. Maybe he learned from his last article that blaming Bush is safer politics than actually providing alternative policy ideas.All done!
A very interesting interview with the Secretary of the Army can be heard here.
Or, "Lancet Nonsense." Both fully descriptive. Looks like we were all on the same wavelength. Here's an excerpt of my take, full version at the bottom link.
The Associated Press reports on the latest Public Health propaganda crafted by the partisan duo of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the British Medical Journal, The Lancet:
Deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003," Dr. Gilbert Burnham, lead author of the study, said in a statement.For those who don’t recall, these are the same folks who, using an equivalent “methodology,” suggested that over 100,000 Iraqi Civilians were killed in the initial Coalition Invasion. These claims at the time of their earlier report were widely discredited, and their methods rightly derided.
The study by Burnham, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and others is to be published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet, a medical journal.
Here’s how their survey is described by AP:
For Burnham's study, researchers gathered data from a sample of 1,849 Iraqi households with a total of 12,801 residents from late May to early July. That sample was used to extrapolate the total figure. The estimate deals with deaths up to July.You don't have to be an "expert" in social scientific "method" to recognize crap when you see it.
The survey participants attributed about 31 percent of violent deaths to coalition forces.
Much like polls in general, anything based on anecdotal evidence is going to be hopelessly biased and potentially orders of magnitude from reality. Even if we take these researchers at their word that they "checked 92%" of death records, how did they ensure they didn't double count? Did they keep a copy and reconcile no dupes? In a tribal community, many "families" would claim the same family member as "one of their own."
I remember clearly when the earlier report came out from these researchers. Then, it was clear that any “insurgent” who managed to die away from the location of combat would almost surely be counted as a “civilian” casualty, as the Al Qaeda in Iraq and Baathist holdouts we were fighting at the time purposely hid their identities and wore no uniforms. Many injured and killed were showing up at Iraqi hospitals and morgues, mis-identified as “civilians.” Call it an early prototype of the same public relations and deception efforts that Hezbollah would later professionalize.
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
These jihadists are amateurs. Doc Russia and I here suggest rubber bayonets as teething rings for newborn Marines-to-be. (See the comments, and congratulations).
The Defense Statistics Agency has released a new report on Casualties and Evacs here
As of Sept 30th
Wounded - No Evac Required - 14,414
Wounded - Evac Required - 6,273
Demographics of Wounded Here
Army - 13,358
Marines - 6,650
Navy - 446
Air Force - 233
Officers - 1,199
Senior Enlisted - 6,584
Junior Enlisted - 12,904
Male - 20,687
Female - 418
Pre-invasion mortality rates were 5·5 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 4·3–7·1), compared with 13·3 per 1000 people per year (10·9–16·1) in the 40 months post-invasion.
According to the CIA Fact Book
The average death rate for
Afghanistan is 20.34/1000(est)
Hungary is 13.31/1000(est)
The World is 8.67/1000 (est)
The EU is 10.10/1000 (est)
US is 8.26/1000 (est)
Pakistan 8.23/1000 (est)
But Iraq stood miraculously at 5.5/1000 (est).
He escaped, he rejoined the fight, he died.
I guess we both got what we wanted - he got "martyrdom" and we get a dead terrorist piece of *&^%. Anyone still wondering about determination - theirs or ours?
Your choice: read the American media or read al Qaeda's "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America".
Or both - but hopefully not one without the other.
Senator Jon McCain has come out guns a blazing at the Democrats and Hillary Clinton:
"I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard.
"The Koreans received millions and millions in energy assistance. They've diverted millions of dollars of food assistance to their military," he said.
Guess what? The Democrats accuse him of playing politics:
"He must be trying to burnish his credentials for the nomination process," said Kerry, who labeled McCain's comments "flat politics and incorrect."
"The truth is the Clinton administration knew full well they didn't have a perfect agreement. But at least they were talking. At least we had inspectors going in and we knew where the (nuclear fuel) rods were. This way, we don't know where the rods are, the rods are gone. There are no inspectors. Ask any American which way is better," Kerry said.
I guess it is okay for the Democrats to play politics but McCain can't because the news networks have been filled with Democrats engaging in Bush bashing all week.
This is what the Clinton camp had to say:
Sen. Clinton's spokesman dismissed McCain's criticism and argued that it was time for a new policy from the president.
"Now is not the time to play politics of the most dangerous kind — with our policy on North Korea," Philippe Reines, spokesman for Sen. Clinton, said in a statement. "History is clear that nothing the Bush administration has done has stopped the North Koreans from openly testing a nuclear weapon and presenting a new danger to the region of the world."
What is interesting about this is that Clinton's staff was drawing up war plans to bomb North Korea's reactor when Jimmy Carter showed up in Pyongyang and brokered the deal that led to the 1994 Agreed Framework. The Agreed Framework failed because their was not enough inspection standards in place to stop the North Koreans from continuing their nuclear program covertly. So basically all the free aid they received allowed them to divert resources to aid their nuclear program. Clinton acted in good will hoping that the North Koreans would reciprocate, but they didn't which isn't necessarily Clinton's fault because he had to try to engage the North Koreans before launching a war. I for one can understand trying diplomacy before launching a war.
However, the US should know better now that the North Koreans cannot be trusted to uphold a bargain without strict inspection standards that the North Koreans will not allow. The Democrats demands to hold bi-lateral talks means that they want Bush to cut another deal similar to the 1994 Agreed Framework that has already failed once. Why should Bush implement this failed policy again?All done!
The Washington Post has taken to New Fiction Book Reviews on Page A12 today with Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000. I don't have the stomach tonight to systematically dismantle this unadulterated piece of garbage (though I will tackle the article) propped up by the Washington Post, but will at least forge the way for those Iron Gut MilBloggers who are about to grind their teeth into powder. Mine are on their way, so please forgive the ranting tone of what follows.
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred....
...Of the total 655,000 [!!!] estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.
The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are being published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet.
Now, we are supposed to line up and accept this as 'scientific'? That the global media machine somehow missed 500 deaths per day and that it took a gaggle of eight physicians to shed light on death unseen?
Oh...it gets better...
The method used is something called "cluster sampling" where "randomly selected households" are asked a sort of 'mortal exit poll' on how many people in their family have died since the 2003 invasion. Visions of the 2004 exit polling reports that predicted with absolute certainty a landslide victory for the eventual losing candidate comes to mind as one reads the "sampling" used to extrapolate the numbers.
The survey was conducted between May 20 and July 10 by eight Iraqi physicians organized through Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. They visited 1,849 randomly selected households that had an average of seven members each. One person in each household was asked about deaths in the 14 months before the invasion and in the period after.
The interviewers asked for death certificates 87 percent of the time; when they did, more than 90 percent of households produced certificates.
From a sample of "1,849 randomly selected households," we are to believe a number like 655,000? Stunning boldness rivaling that of the Zarqawi himself.
And 90% of those asked had death certificates? Where were they randomly polling, at the morgue itself? Who issues Iraqi death certificates? And now we are getting somewhere... Who knows more about Iraqi deaths (from which to potentially 'randomly sample' families)? Perhaps "eight Iraqi physicians organized through Mustansiriya University in Baghdad"? A Baghdad university would select doctors from which city? Perhaps the most dangerous one in Iraq? To where might they venture out to 'randomly sample'? In a dangerous country, there is comfort in familiarity...even if it is Baghdad.
Precisely how the polling Iraqi physicians were "overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health," as the story states, is beyond me. Did they perhaps oversee how randomly the households were chosen and from where? Seems Mustansiriya University did the organizing.
But Columbia University's Ronald Waldman assures us that the 'scientific' cluster sampling method is "tried and true," and added that "this is the best estimate of mortality we have." Well that's wonderful analysis, Dr. Waldman. At 500 deaths per day, as this 'scientific report' claims, the Marine in me thinks that this instance of "cluster sampling" looks a whole lot more like a "cluster-somethingelse." It might be the best available, but at one point in time a large stick was the best hunting method. It didn't make it 'good.'
Of course, there are more upstanding members of the global intellectual community prepared to assure us that indeed 500 Iraqi's have died of wounds suffered each day for the past three-plus years.
This viewed [sic] was echoed by Sarah Leah Whitson, an official of Human Rights Watch in New York, who said, "We have no reason to question the findings or the accuracy" of the survey.
Well of course Human Rights Watch doesn't question the findings. Just look at the numbers! It's a political goldmine for them. But Whitson can't stop there. What she says next will absolutely floor any objective observer.
"I expect that people will be surprised by these figures," she said.
Ya think? Please, Ms. Whitson, do qualify that remark if you would be so kind.
"I think it is very important that, rather than questioning them, people realize there is very, very little reliable data coming out of Iraq."
Very little reliable data coming from Iraq...perhaps including this Mortal Exit Poll??? Since there's apparently so little reliable data coming out of Iraq, why start questioning numbers now?
Gilbert Burnham, a Johns Hopkins physician and epidemiologist, is "very confident with the results." He cites the consistency of the poll's pre-invasion death rates found that were similar to pre-invasion death rates cited by others, including the CIA's World Factbook, that "attests to the accuracy of his team's results."
But if those 'randomly' polled are concentrated in the Baghdad vicinity and other post-invasion high-conflict population centers, such as Fallujah or Ramadi, those findings cannot be extrapolated across the whole of the Iraqi population. Of course the pre-invasion numbers would be similar before the onset of hostilities. For that matter, one wonders if the eight doctors ventured north to ask the Kurds for pre- and post-Saddam violent death rates.
And, appropriately, this look at the MIT-sponsored study should conclude with its empirical data.
Of the 629 deaths reported, 87 percent occurred after the invasion. A little more than 75 percent of the dead were men, with a greater male preponderance after the invasion. For violent post-invasion deaths, the male-to-female ratio was 10-to-1, with most victims between 15 and 44 years old.
And there you have it. From 629 deaths exit polled we can 'scientifically' extrapolate a reliable 655,000 who have died that otherwise would have lived but for the US invasion in 2003.
The bad guys have a new recruiting approach, too.
MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, monitors Islamist web sites and provides trranslations as part of its Jihad and Terrorism Studies program. Here's a recent example from Hamas:
How to Raise Your Son to Be a TerroristMore at the link, here's just one of the pictures:
On Sunday, October 8, 2006, an Islamic website posted a series of images produced by the Izz al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, titled "How to make his [sic] son terrorist." 
The images show various methods which are supposedly effective in imbuing children with terrorist aspirations.
This is not a joke.
What did this ship have to do with Australia's worst naval loss?
Find out here.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2006) – The Army announced start of its communication and education efforts to assist the Army family to communicate to the Nation its new advertising campaign – Army Strong – to an audience of Soldiers, Army civilians and family members today.For those with access to Army Knowledge Online--there is a 4.9MB preview video of the campaign. The video is excellent with some great music (think Gladiator)
Basically the campaign is: The Army endows a unique brand of strength to its Soldiers, a strength that is mental, emotional and physical; a strength the Army is capable of finding and forging.
I.E.: There's strong, and then there's Army Strong.
Gone are the ads and images of frail looking individuals using the Army to find their strength, this campaign starts with the strong--a much better approach than the "My, Myself, and my Army" stuff of years past.
There are some very good lines in the video including:
The strength to obey,
[soldier saluting a drill sergeant]
And strength to command
[clip of General Casey in full gear running]
The strength to build,
[shot of engineers building a bridge]
And strength to tear down
[clip of Abrams crashing through a river]
My favorite part is:
"The strength to get yourself over,"The campaign goes public on 9 NOV. But check out the video if you can.
[clip of soldier scaling an obstacle]
"And the strength to get over yourself"
SEOUL, South Korea - A North Korean official warned that the Communist state could test-fire a nuclear missile unless the U.S. acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.That would be unfortunate indeed - and perhaps my title would unfortunately be re-written to read "away with words".
“We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes,” the unnamed official said Monday, according to a Yonhap report from Beijing.
“That depends on how the U.S. will act.”
A photo accompanying the story is captioned: "Protesters set fire to a banner with photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, October 9, 2006."
The NY Times notes an Army success story:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 — One year after the Army failed to meet its annual recruiting goal by the widest margin in two decades, the Pentagon is to announce this week that the ground forces, and the rest of the military, all reached their targets for recruits in 2006.Even the shortfalls weren't very short:
For active-duty forces, the Army signed up 80,635 people in the 2006 fiscal year, which ended at midnight on Sept. 30, topping its goal of 80,000. The Navy recruited 36,679, after setting a goal of 36,656. The Marines enlisted 32,337, with a goal of 32,301, and the Air Force recruited 30,889, topping its goal of 30,750.
Across the reserve component, the Air Force Reserve recruited 6,989 people, well over its goal of 6,607, and the Marine Corps Reserve topped its goal of 8,024 by signing up 8,056. The Air National Guard reached 97 percent of its goal, signing up 9,138 people, beneath a target of 9,380, and the Navy reserve attracted 9,722 people, just 87 percent of its goal of 11,180.
The Army National Guard approached its goal of 70,000 by recruiting 69,042, while the Army Reserve hit 95 percent of its goal, recruiting 34,379 of a goal of 36,032....though some recruits did benefit from the oft-noted waivers:
The Army has been criticized for raising the allowable age for recruits to 42, from 35. General van Antwerp said no more than 500 new soldiers were in that category.You'll find the full on-line story here - if you prefer the print version it's buried on page 19.
Update: Don't miss Glenn and Helen Reynolds podcast interview with Army Secretary Francis Harvey on recruitment, retention, and force structure. Great comments from the Secretary on "lower standards", the draft, and more.
Cassandra of Villanious Company has decided to take a whole week to respond to a piece I wrote last week called "Time for a Change," which argued that the fundamental institutions of our Federal government are breaking. It also looked at how they might be fixed. Cassandra wishes to explore some of the ideas in greater detail than a single post. This is surely a useful undertaking given the depth of problems discussed and the seriousness of the proposed remedies.
Part I is here, and treats something I didn't examine in detail at all -- the question of the military's stability and force structure. I thought that might be of interest to several of you. In keeping with the "seminar" idea put forward by the Castle, I'd like to suggest that we all get over to VC and read what she has to say.
First of all some are not even sure if this explosion was even a nuclear blast:
“We have assessed that the explosion in North Korea was a sub-kiloton explosion,” said the intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. He added, “We don’t know, in fact, whether it was a nuclear explosion.” He spoke as intelligence analysts in Washington were in the early stages of assessing the explosion.
A one-kiloton blast would be extremely small for a nuclear weapon. But regardless of the size of the blast, the North Korean announcement reverberated throughout the world of diplomacy, and seemed likely to be felt in American domestic politics as well. There were suggestions, moreover, that the Communist state might be preparing a second test.
I for one think it was a nuclear test, but they may have intentionally detonated a smaller blast because they may have less nuclear material to set off an explosion than people think; so no use wasting what little they have in a nuclear test. It could also have been a failed test in some regards which may explain why they may be preparing for a second test.
France has been even bold enough to say that the test might have failed:
France estimated it as merely the equivalent of about 500 tons of TNT, and did not confirm that it was the result of a nuclear device, The Associated Press reported.
Russia tends to think the test was a success:
Russia’s defense minister, Mr. Ivanov, said that the Russian military had confirmed the test and estimated its force at somewhere between 5 and 15 kilotons — much larger than estimates from South Korea.
Predictably nations around the world have condemned the North Korean nuclear test. Even Venezuela condemned the nuclear test, however one country didn't:
Iran, which is already at odds with the United Nations Security Council over its own nuclear program, stood out from the general mood of condemnation. Its state-run radio today blamed pressure from the United States for North Korea’s decision to test, A.P. reported, calling it “a reaction to America’s threats and humiliations.
Pressure? Like enforcing US counterfeiting laws and allowing North Korea international aid so they can use their scarce resouces to build nuclear weapons? How would Iran like the North Koreans counterfeiting their money? If anything the US has been more than tolerant for too long of North Korea. I do think this test is not good for Iran because if quick and decisive action is taken on North Korea the global community may wrap Iran into any resolutions to come in stopping the development of nuclear weapons there as well.
Here is what the US President George Bush had to say:
President Bush on Monday said North Korea's claim that it has tested a nuclear weapon is a threat to international peace and said the world "will respond."
"The transfer of nuclear weapons to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States," Bush said. "And we would hold North Korea fully accountable to the consequences of such action."
Bush said the U.S. was still trying to verify North Korea's claims that it had tested a nuclear weapon on Monday.
Here is what US Democrats had to say:
Senate Democrats quickly condemned North Korea, but they criticized the Bush administration as well.
The Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, assailed North Korea for its “reckless and counterproductive actions.” But he asserted that the Bush administration has been in a “state of denial” about North Korea, in part because the administration has been “distracted by Iraq and parayzed by internal divisions.” A comprehensive review of American policy toward North Korea is essential, the senator said.
Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said the administration had “wasted the last five-plus years sitting on the sidelines” and must now use its influence with China and South Korea to bring the North to the table. Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said the administration “must go into diplomatic overdrive” and work with its allies in the region. And Senator Charles Schumer of New York said that, in addition to undertaking a diplomatic offensive, the United States must develop nuclear-detection devices as soon as possible.
“North Korea going nuclear shows how much we need allies to succeed in the war on terror,” Mr. Schumer said.
"State of Denial" is new the Democratic catch phrase after the name of Bob Woodward's new book critical of the Bush Administration. I guess the "Culture of Corruption" catch phrase just wasn't cutting it anymore. So what review of policy do these Democrats want? Give Kim Jong-il his pay day that he has been demanding? That was tried in 1994 and didn't work. Then of course Senator Kennedy uses the other Democratic catch phrase, "work with our allies". If there is any issue that the US government has worked with allies on, it is this one. The US has consistently made it a policy to deal with North Korea in the context of the six party talks so that regional allies in the area were involved in resolving the crisis. Now the Democrats are coming out and saying we need to work with our allies when before they were blasting Bush about not holding bi-lateral talks with Kim Jong-il. Then Schumer talking about developing nuclear detection devices I can only assume he is referring to nuclear detection devices in all of the US ports so North Korea can't send a boat into New York and nuke it as absurd of a scenario that, that is. As usual the Democrats offer no ideas only criticism and demagoguery.
So what should the US do? Well you can post your opinion and read many others over at the New York Times Blog. The responses are definitely all over the place from people wanting to attack North Korea, which is easy to say when you wouldn't be the person crossing the DMZ to do it, others saying that Bush will nuke North Korea in order to win more votes for the Republicans, more saying that Bush created this nuclear crisis to win votes as well, and a host of other Bush conspiracy theories. Others believe that if the US would just give up their nuclear weapons then no one else would want to possess them. Bottom line most of the responses are America is bad and it is all Bush's fault. Expect more of this chorus from the left.
I for one think this is a success of US policy if you are for the policy of North Korean regime collapse. I have been advocating calling Kim's bluff and it worked with the missile tests in July because now US intelligence now knows North Korea's ICBM capabilities are not advanced as thought as well as now knowing that the NK nuclear program is also not as advanced as thought with this smaller than expected test. Kim Jong-il showing his hand may be a sign of the regime getting desperate for an aid deal and is thus increasing the stakes. The winter time is coming in North Korea after the nation was hit with severe floods that ruined much of their crop harvest this summer. The threat of famine is very real and the increased US and international sanctions is hitting the regime hard. I think regime collapse is a real possibility in the next two years if the US continues to be successful in cutting off aid into North Korea. However, if the appeasers get their way, and th aid is not cut off the Kim mafia state will more than likely survive, perfect their nuclear and ICBM capabilities, the gulags will remain full, and expect another crisis to happen again as soon as Kim needs more aid. If nuclear brinkmanship worked in 1994 and then worked again now, why wouldn't it work yet again with another US administration? At least this is what Kim Jong-il is counting on and he may be right.All done!
Podcast reminded me of what an amiable guy Scott is...when he isn't doing wardrobe checks.
"One of these days we've got to start a milblogger podcast."
Please. Charlie and I were all over this before he was deployed. He *says* he'll be able to podcast from in-theater, but I'm somewhat skeptical. Wanna be a guest Hawk?
You can listen to our four archived podcasts here.
One of these days we've got to start a milblogger podcast.
This past Friday, The SGT Mike Stokely Memorial Highway was dedicated. The lovely Kat was in attendance and she provides some details.
Current open source first reports (meaning they're likely wrong) has something around half a kiloton explosion in North Korea. If so, that's a damp squib. Not one I'd like to be sitting on when it goes off, but a fizzle nonetheless.
Putting the damp squib in perspective: The conventional test a few months back near Vegas to test things was bigger than the DPRK explosion. The ones that were expended in war were about a dozen kilotons or so, according to the guess at Wikipedia. (Wiki's yield guess for the Nork splork was a bit higher but you get the idea.)
So: sounds like their bombs are as good as their missiles.
Or their soju.
But DPRK's interested in making them better. Except for the soju.
Kim Jong Il just blew up his best bargaining chip. The key objective of the Six-Party Talks has been to convince Kim that it was against his best interests to develop a nuclear arsenal. In return, the other parties (China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.) were prepared to provide various incentives and aid, including a heavy water nuclear reactor, oil and food aid. Well, now Kim has made his position clear. He's going to have nuclear weapons, and there's nothing we can offer that will change his mind.
rth Korea has successfully tested a nuclear bomb. From CNN:
North Korea on Monday claimed it has performed a successful nuclear test, according to that country's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
South Korean government officials also said North Korea performed its first nuclear test, the South's Yonhap news agency reported.
The apparent nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) in Hwaderi near Kilju city, Yonhap reported, citing defense officials.
"The field of scientific research in the DPRK (North Korea's official name) successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9 ... at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation," KCNA reported.
Late Sunday in Washington, a U.S. military official told CNN that "something clearly has happened," but the Pentagon was working to fully confirm the report.
Senior U.S. officials said they also believed the test took place, citing seismic data that appeared to show one.
South Korean intelligence officials said a seismic wave of magnitude-3.58 had been detected in North Hamkyung province, according to Yonhap.
"The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA (Korean People's Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability," KCNA reported.
I'm not at all surprised that the tested a nuclear weapon, I'm just surprised they tested it so soon. I figured they would at least wait a few months a dangle the threat of testing a nuke in order to see if Washington would be willing to deal. I have always figured the US would not offer Kim Jong-il the bi-lateral deal he has been demanding and I guess Kim must have figured the same thing and has decided to go ahead and test now.
So what does this all mean? Here is my theory.
North Korea has never had any intentions of giving up it's nuclear program, the failure of the 1994 Agreed Framework only confirms this. The North Koreans were happy to appear to give up their ambitions of wanting nuclear weapons in return for international aid while covertly working on them any way and playing nice to the international community. Things changed with the Bush Administration. President Bush's policy is that the North Koreans will not receive US aid unless it thoroughly without a doubt ends their nuclear weapon program. Bush wasn't about to cut a deal just to keep the North Koreans quiet and out of the headlines and pass the problem to a future presidential administration that would allow the North Koreans to continue to receive aid while at the same time covertly working on their nuclear weapons program. If Bush had cut a deal with the North Koreans and let's say a Democratic president takes power in 2008 and the North Korean nuclear issue came up again what do you think that Democratic Administration would be saying about the deal Bush cut with the North Koreans? They would say it is a failure and that is one of the reasons why Bush isn't dealing.
Now why do the North Koreans want nukes so bad? The North Koreans want nuclear weapons to ensure regime survival from any chance of outside attack. The threat of an outside invasion of North Korea is null and void if they have the ability to nuke Seoul or Tokyo, two of the world's largest cities. Keep in mind that they do not have that capability yet because they have not miniaturized their nukes to fit on one of their missiles. It probably won't take them too many more months to do it though. So the positives from this test from Kim Jong-il's perspective is that he has gained the country international prestige, moved closer to ensuring regime survival at least from international attack, and has won heavy favor from his generals by allowing them to detonate a nuclear weapon.
So what are the potential negatives for Kim? The worst threat would be an attack on North Korea from the US. If an attack on North Korea is just a bombing campaign to destroy his nuclear facilities than this would actually be a positive for him because then he could play the victim of the evil US imperialist card, roll out footage of civilian casualties on CNN, and use the attack to prove his point of why he needs nuclear weapons. So a limited attack on his country would be a major win for him. However, a full scale military attack to remove him would obviously end with his removal. I think this possibility is not likely because a second Korean War would lead to hundreds of thousands of South Korean deaths, hundred of missiles would land on Japanese cities potentially killing thousands of Japanese, and US military casualties would number into the thousands. The casualties from a second Korean War would easily dwarf the number of casualties from the current Iraq War. The highly mountainous Korean terrain is not conducive to the American military. Many battles would be fought by dismounted infantry in hill fights; this is what would lead to the thousands of casualties not to mention the potential of chemical and biological weapons being used. Bottom line any war with North Korea would be a destructive blood bath that the American public is not ready to fight. So this option is pretty much out the window and Kim Jong-il knows it.
The next negative for Kim Jong-il is threat of increased sanctions on his country. He knows that more sanctions are sure to come but is counting on China and South Korea to keep him a float. Kim may be reasoning that China is not willing to cut aid to his country that would lead to it's collapse because of the refugee and humanitarian crisis that would instantly engulf China before they host the 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese consider the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as their coming out party to the world that the Chinese are now truly a global superpower. War and a humanitarian crisis in China could threaten the games that the Chinese have worked so hard to prepare for. Thus Kim Jong-il figures the Chinese will talk tough just to appease the international community but will still give him the aid he needs. Kim also figures that as long as the leftist Roh Moo-hyun administration is in power in South Korea he will still keep getting aid from them as well though as I've mentioned before possibly the US worked out a deal with the South Koreans to stop aid to the North in return for the support of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General if the North Koreans conduct a nuclear weapons test. With these two countries still providing him aid he knows his country can with stand any further sanctions that would hit the country. Maybe a couple more million people from the North Korean peasant class will starve to death but judging from Kim's track record he really doesn't care. He is only concerned about bringing home the money and power to the military and his regime elite in Pyongyang.
So there are the positives and the negatives and obviously the positives for Kim outweigh the negatives and that is why I felt he would test the bomb; once again the only thing I was surprised by was the timing.
So what happens now? China will probably talk tough, but we will have to actually wait and see if they do anything tangible such as implement real sanctions on the North Koreans. I expect the same thing from South Korea but they will keep the aid going into North Korea. New Japanese Prime Minister Abe will have the hawks in Japan demanding that Japan also develop nuclear weapons which would create an arms race in northeast Asia with possibly South Korea than wanting to develop nuclear weapons as well. The US will get more sanctions implemented on North Korea and pressure China and South Korea to do the same. The US will also continue to to downsize USFK and I expect the hand over of war time control to still happen in 2009 despite the nuclear test. The Democratic Party in the US right now are pissed off that this October surprise out did their own Foley-Hastert-Woodward-leaked intelligence reports, October Surprises before the US mid-term elections though the Democrats will of course claim that Bush is to fault because to them he is at fault for everything. The Republicans on the other hand are all smiles right now since they will probably gain votes from this test and Foley is out of the headlines. As far as the UN, especially with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon taking over expect nothing, but a resolution implementing increased sanctions and of course lots of rhetoric because that is what the UN is good at.
While all of this is going on North Korea will continue to get by on what little aid it gets and continue to perfect their nuclear weapons technology in the hopes that they can become the Pakistan of northeast Asia.
Note: Cross Posted Here.All done!
If this test was the real deal, its less interesting about what America will do in response but how China and especially Japan react.
How quickly does the Japanese Constitution get overhauled and Japan starts to assert itself in a military sense in NE Asia?
What could the Chinese do to check the emboldened Kim Jong-Il and co.?
Whether out of loyalty to his defense secretary, or out of a stubborn reluctance to acknowledge Rumsfeld's failings -- and therefore his own -- Bush seems determined to keep Rumsfeld in the Pentagon.blah...blah..
Finally, there is one candidate who is as qualified as he is unlikely to ever get the job: Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser under Carter.
Let's see...when Zbig was the head honcho what did we have....
We ended support to the Shah so that "A man of the cloth"(Ayatolloh Khomeini) could bring peace to the Middle East.
An Afghan-Soviet war that eventually left an estimated million dead.
An Iran-Iraq war that eventually left an estimated million dead.
But hey...Carter got a Nobel Peace Prize for solving the Palestinian Crisis....
Sesame Street has the best summary of the Carter National Security Team
Fantasy play, a magical part of early childhood, may be an experience shared by several children, or it may involve a child by herself—using her imagination to transform a block of wood into a car, for example, or a doll into a sleeping baby. But in all of its forms, make-believe is a vital part of childhood development, particularly during the preschool years.All done!
Update: My predictions about what will happen now can be found here.
Here's my conclusion to Andi's post: I think it's within the standard promotion scheme, the man's work is possibly too recent to affect the board, and the implication that Something Sneaky Is Happening is without any proof. Possible? Sure. Likely? Doubt it.
I think the article on the lawyer is missing some important data. I'm uninclined to talk about another shipmate on active duty, and don't know the man anyway, so let me discuss your implied point by discussing what "up or out" means in this context. I'm writing this with no knowledge of the man or his work and only passing knowledge of who this Hamdan guy is.
I have gone to many retirement ceremonies this past year for wonderful officers, submariners who got passed over for promotion twice (partially because they were commissioned when we were going to 100 subs and now we have--what? fortysomething SSNs?). They are to an individual good men. None made it to CDR. It happens. It's not necessarily a Grand Conspiracy.
Read on to get inside baseball details.
Navy promotion boards are statutory boards. They have certain laws that have to be followed. I am of the personal opinion, despite not personally being deep selected for six star admiral, that the process is as fair as humans can make such a thing. (Fitness reports have more variability, which the boards depend on, but my point stands.) Humans, of course, foul up everything they touch, so the promotion process isn't perfect.
If a man is getting out "because of up or out", that means he's failed to select for promotion twice. A lieutenant commander can be allowed to stick around to retirement with a board under current rules. So, I assume the guy mentioned didn't make it last year, and didn't make it this year.
According to the BuPers web site, the Navy selected 9.38% of its above zone LCDRs to promote to commander. Less than one out of ten JAGs passed over once made CDR.
The previous year, an in zone JAG LCDR had a 62.5% chance of being selected. That's close to top half-bottom half selection. If a guy wasn't in the top half last year there would have to be something spectacular in the record to propel him to the top nine percent this year.
This year's board was held in March; the fitness reports were due in by the end of October 2005. Unless this particular fellow was working on his current law case in October (I don't know) and the nature of it was in his fitness report or a letter to the board written by the officer to the board (attachments are OK) or as positive information (not negative) from a board member who happened to know what the guy's working on, there is no way for the board to even know about this to make a decision.
Finally: Navy guys, if you care about such things take a look at the board membership on the BuPers web site. I don't know those JAGs; can't speak for them. Those I do know on that board are honorable. Those that I know on that board include ones who would not stand for knowingly screwing over a guy because of controversy.
So. My conclusion: Guy was passed over twice. Second time is a lot harder than first. The information about the noisy case might not have been in the board, and noisy cases do not automatically mean the guy on the case is superb (even the marginal guys are great officers; they're picking superlatives here). Board included members who have moral courage.
I don't buy the claim of shenanigans.
(Off topic: It is generally difficult for a senior rating officer in one service to write a punchy fitness report for a guy in a different service, by the way. OPRs are not FITREPs are not et cetera. Sometimes this can hurt a guy. I'm not saying this was the case, and have no information either way, just mentioning it to my joint brethren here in case they ever get in a joint situation involving reports. Find a good writer in that service, because a badly written FITREP can kill your career!)
-- -- --All done!
The Navy lawyer who went toe-to-toe with the Bush admininstration regarding military tribunals will soon be leaving the Navy.
The Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay has been passed over for promotion and will have to leave the military, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, 44, will retire in March or April under the military's "up or out" promotion system. Swift said last week he was notified he would not be promoted to commander.
He said the notification came about two weeks after the Supreme Court sided with him and against the White House in the case involving Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was Osama bin Laden's driver.
"It was a pleasure to serve," Swift told the newspaper. He added he would have defended Hamdan even if he had known it would cut short his Navy career.
"All I ever wanted was to make a difference — and in that sense I think my career and personal satisfaction has been beyond my dreams," Swift said.
The Pentagon had no comment Sunday.
"Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, the Pentagon's chief defense counsel for Military Commissions. He added it was "quite a coincidence" that Swift was passed over for a promotion "within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion."
Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said Swift was "a no-brainer for promotion." Swift joins many other distinguished Navy officers over the years who have seen their careers end prematurely, Fidell said.
"He brought real credit to the Navy," Fidell said. "It's too bad that it's unrequited love."
Over at LGF, another look at that photo of a Canadian soldier from the DNC website. Seems the photo may have been (ahem) appropriated for use without compensating the photographer. No doubt this sort of thing is justified under the concept of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" - but if I were the photographer I'd be a bit angrier than he seems to be in his email to LGF.
Three cheers for our Canadian brothers, by the way - they've been giving the Taliban hell in Afghanistan.
While the mainstream media headlines stories from a girl who says she met a bunch of guys in a bar who claimed to be Gitmo guards and bragged about beating up detainees, Patterico publishes (on his blog) a five-part interview with an Army nurse who worked at Guantánamo. His story is a bit different - but it's first-hand, from someone who spent more time on duty than at the club.
Now that's funny there, eh?
I supose that's the Donut of Misery on their lapels - didn't know that was actually an authorized badge.
(Bumped - great discussion going- as expected.)
ONE OF MY QUESTIONS about the war effort in Iraq is why we lost momentum -- as I noted before, the old saying is that you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them, and we've been sitting on them in Iraq instead of taking the war effort to our enemies, many of whom are outside of Iraq. Mohammed of Iraq the Model has a lengthy discussion of that very topic. Excerpt: "The insurgents, terrorists and militias operating in Iraq depend on foreign support for money, training, technology and in some cases men. Moreover the influence of foreign interference is clear even in the political arena in Iraq through the numerous political crises the country had faced. Thus, this war will not see an end unless America revives the preemptive war strategy and start chasing the enemies and striking their bases in the region, especially in Syria and Iran."Read the rest, which includes an email that makes several points I've seen made in comments here. I have my own thoughts on this, basically about the shaping of perception, and whether the DoD, CENTCOM, et al do (or even perhaps can do) a very good job of countering perceptions that have been shaped. (Have we lost momentum? Or has America lost track of our momentum? If so, hving been AFK for the better part of three months should I blame myself?) Okay, kidding on that last point, but I'm very much interested in useful feedback on the first two, and one thing I've noticed here (at least when a certain troll is successfully ignored) is an abundance of exactly that from multiple sources on most worthy topics.
That seems right to me, and I don't understand why the Bush Administration has let the momentum grind to a halt.
Some years ago the TV series M*A*S*H popularized the fictional experiences of a group of medical professionals in Korea during the war. Every week Americans shared the struggle of Captain (Dr.) Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, U.S. Army, to heal the wounded of a war he perceived as pointless. It was his determination to heal those he could heal - at great personal sacrifice - that Americans found laudible, of course, and whether the viewer was pro- or anti- war in general (a largely theoritical issue in those peaceful days) such a position was undeniably admirable, perhaps even more so to those who harbored their own personal doubts as to their own ability to live up to such an ideal.
But screw all that, the dawn of a new day is upon us. Last month:
The US Army paid $184,000 for Mary Hanna to go to Tufts University School of Medicine for four years, and in exchange she agreed to serve four years of active duty and another four in the reserve after becoming a doctor.She's not just seeking an excuse from serving in Iraq - her lawyer insists that Hanna's beliefs prevent her from even treating soldiers on American soil.
But just before Christmas, as she was nearing the end of her anesthesiology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Hanna, 30, of Somerville notified the Army that her religious beliefs were now ``incompatible with military service."
...the Army refused Hanna's request after considering conflicting opinions from priests, a psychiatrist, and military brass about whether Hanna was opposed to war or trying to evade service.
But yesterday, the day before Hanna was scheduled to report for duty at Fort Bliss, Texas, a federal judge stepped in and prohibited the Army from forcing Hanna into service, at least until Oct. 10.
US District Judge Nancy Gertner scheduled an Oct. 5 hearing on Hanna's assertion that the Army violated her constitutional rights by denying her conscientious objector status.
That scheduled hearing has now been completed (swift justice indeed!), and Dr. Hanna is now free to treat (or not treat) whomever she pleases - at substantially more pay than the relatively meager salary of a US Army Captain:
An anesthesiologist whose medical training was financed by the Army must be discharged from the Army Reserve as a conscientious objector, a federal judge ruled yesterday.Although not required to do so by the court, Hanna's attorney said his client will repay the government the money it spent on her education, plus interest.
Dr. Mary Hanna, for whom the Army paid approximately $184,000 to attend the Tufts University School of Medicine, had been scheduled to report to active duty Tuesday at Fort Bliss, Texas. Last December, as she neared the end of her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Hanna notified the Army that her renewed religious beliefs were now incompatible with military service.
An Army review board last month rejected Hanna's request after considering whether Hanna, a captain, objected to service in the armed forces on sincere religious grounds, or whether she sought to evade her commitment.
In yesterday's ruling, US Judge Nancy Gertner discounted as ``irrelevant to impermissible to unsubstantiated" the conclusions of an Army chaplain who urged, in part, that Hanna's application be rejected because her Coptic Orthodox faith does not teach pacifism.
``I find that the Army improperly denied Hanna's application for CO status," Gertner wrote.
Hanna, 30, of Somerville, had enlisted as an undergraduate at UCLA in 1997. She received an Army-paid scholarship to attend medical school, and in exchange she agreed to eight years of service -- four years of active duty and four years in the reserves.
As part of the application process, she declared that she was not a conscientious objector. In her application for objector status last December, Hanna said a revitalization of her Coptic Orthodox beliefs, which included pacifism, prevented her from fulfilling her commitment to the Army.
Gertner ruled that the Army review board had no ``basis in fact" for rejecting Hanna's application on Sept. 15 by a 2-1 vote. The judge wrote that the board had relied heavily on an Army chaplain who concluded that the Coptic Orthodox Church endorses military service, and that Hanna was inconsistent because she worked at a hospital that performs abortions.
In voting against Hanna's application, the president of the review panel wrote: ``Applicant has shown that she is a devout Coptic Christian but has failed to show that she sincerely meets the CO criteria. Her statements are logical but lack passion and sincerity. They appear as repetitious rather than personally held beliefs."
According to the chaplain assigned to the board, the statements of a priest that the Coptic Orthodox Church ``does not teach pacifism leads me to believe that there is more to Capt. Hanna's position than merely religious conviction. Also, her timing is too convenient with the completion of her schooling and her entry" to active duty.
Hanna's lawyer, Louis Font, is no stranger to this type of case. Having successfully gained CO status himself during Vietnam he now works closely with "anti-war" groups in representing Iraq-era deserters.
You can read a biography of Judge Gertner here:
Honored in the spring of 2002 by the American Bar Association as a "Human Rights Hero," Gertner was an activist even as a college student; she was president of the Undergraduate Association at Barnard, and joined marches and protests against the Vietnam War.All done!
Gertner never thought that she would be picked for the federal bench, believing that her advocacy in civil rights and other controversial cases would eliminate her from consideration.
"I was the reverse of those who keep their heads down for years in order to preserve their chances on the bench," she said.
Her work on behalf of women, minorities, and the poor caught the attention of her Yale Law School classmate Bill Clinton, whom she had known, along with Hillary Clinton, at Yale. Gertner and Mrs. Clinton had been close and the two stayed in touch over the years.
In 1994, Clinton nominated Gertner for the U.S. Federal Court, District of Massachusetts. She had a powerful patron in the confirmation process -- U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a lifelong supporter of civil rights.
This is what I'm talking about.
You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don't represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life. Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us. America is our home and will always be our home. Its interests are ours, and its people are ours. When you talk of killing of Americans, you first have to kill 6 million or so Muslims who will stand for every American's right to live and enjoy the life as commanded by God.
By growing a beard, shouting some religious slogans and misquoting and misusing some verses of the divine scriptures, you cannot incite Muslims to do things that are contrary to our religion. Yes, you even fail to understand the basic Islamic principles of life and living. Islam demands peace in all aspects of life, Islam demands respect for life. Islam demands justice.
What you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, India or other parts of the world is anti-human and anti-divine. You are an enemy of Islam as much as you are an enemy of America. You must understand that God who entrusted you with life is the same God who spelled his spirit in every human being regardless of his or her religion or ethnicity or nationality or status. You are violating him.
We feel totally disgusted with your action and we condemn you without any reservation. Don't come to our mosques to preach this hatred. Don't visit our Islamic centers to spill the blood of innocents. Don't think that just because we share the same religion, we would show some sympathy to you. You are not of us. You don't belong to the religion whose followers are trying to live a peaceful life for themselves and others serving the divine according to their understanding. In our understanding of faith, you appear as anti-divine and anti-human. We reject you now as we rejected you yesterday.
Oh, and note this:
Aslam Abdullah is director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.
I like this guy already. This is the kind of stuff we should be seeing on Little Green Footballs; there's just not much of it. Natan Sharansky called it preference cascades--it's hard to speak your mind when someone will kill you for doing so.
(Original newspaper source here)All done!
May I suggest sending reps from a different institution Salamander?
And that's just supper marchdown. You should see em on parade :)
Ben Stein places the Washington scandal du jour in a different light here.
Everything, every blessed part of my American life, my glorious life as an American comes down to this: far better men and women than I am offer up their lives to keep me and 300 million like me, alive, well, and free.
Ungh. I can see USMC veins popping out of foreheads all over the place......I think we need some West Point trained officers at Annapolis. This is just pathetic. You know what Vince Lombardi said about fundamentals....
Yep, Charles is in charge.
The article Andi linked to leaves out a detail or two included in other reporting of the story:
The Marine, a paralegal who was at the U.S. Navy station in Cuba last month, alleges that several guards she talked to at the base club boasted of routinely hitting detainees.That doesn't necessarily add or detract from the validity of the sworn statement, but it provides a further context for how/when/where the alleged boasting took place.
She said some Marines invited her to the base club Sept. 23. She didn't see them but a group of at least 15 sailors invited her to join them. She said she spoke with the sailors for about an hour, during which she had one drink, and that the sailors did not appear drunk.
UPDATE: The version of the story linked from Drudge adds another "detail":
The lawyer sent the statement on behalf of a paralegal who said men she met on Sept. 23 at a bar on the base identified themselves to her as guards. The woman, whose name was blacked out, said she spent about an hour talking with them. No one was in uniform, she said.Again, standard disclaimers apply.
Driving in to work I caught the end of an NPR interview with William Langewiesche, a journalist who has reported from Iraq since 2003. The subject: Haditha - Langewiesche has just published an article on the topic in Vanity Fair.
I was actually surprised at what I heard, Langewiesche has done as fine a job of capturing most of the key issues, and he's successfully managed to distance himself from the situation without abandoning his humanity - most "war reporters" fall short at such endeavors, if they ever even bother to try. I disagree with a few of his fine points and conclusions, but most of my complaints are semantic in nature - a word change here or there and I'd be in complete agreement with what he said and wrote. (But then I'd not have been challenged by his ideas, and what's the use in that?)
Side note: if you, like me, are on the internet more and more frequently via PDA or similar device, you'll be glad to know that Vanity Fair formats automatically for your device. I'm amazed at the number of web sites that don't - or don't even offer a PDA option - they should know better. (Webmasters take note.)
Excerpt below - don't click if you're easilly offended by the way young Marines sometimes actually talk. (This excerpt contains the only such examples in the piece, by the way.)
The enlisted men of Kilo Company rarely philosophized. Many had joined the Corps in response to the September 11 attacks, now four years past, but the emotions that once had motivated them had been reduced by their participation in an enormously bureaucratic enterprise, and by the tedium of war. Fine—they were probably better soldiers for it. These were not the taut warriors portrayed in action movies. As they shed their helmets and body armor, they emerged as ordinary five-foot-nine-inch, 150-pound middle-class Americans, sometimes pimple-faced, and often sort of scrawny. Some of them were mentally agile, and some quite obviously were not. By the stringent standards of the U.S. military, they were not always well behaved. At Sparta Base there was a bit of illicit drinking, a touch of pornography. There are rumors about the use of narcotics as well. But the unit's morale was good enough, largely because the men had become close friends. They liked motorcycles, they liked cars, they liked guns. They especially liked girls a lot. Some could not speak without fuck. For instance, they fucking did not want to be in Iraq. Not anymore, if they ever did. Those who were returning felt they had come back way too fucking soon. And no, they did not respect the Iraqi culture—who the fuck would? Iraqi men wear man-dresses. Iraqi men think everyone wants to eye-fuck their precious wives. Iraqi men kill their own people, then turn around and kill Marines. It's fucking bullshit. God should paintball the genuine bastards so the Marines could then blow them away. Sometimes on the streets of Haditha it seemed like every man would get splattered.This insightful story examines Haditha in some detail, from the very narrow POV of participants on both sides to the broader context of the larger war - all of which serves to define as well as humanly possible the myriad challenges confronting the newest recruits and the top Generals in Iraq today.
But the Marines did not sit around Sparta Base and worry this to death. They talked about other things, their exploits, their party binges, the really dumb moves of their friends. They laughed and gave each other hard times. They gave each other names. When they mounted their patrols, they went up and down the designated streets and did their jobs as they were told. Be polite and have a plan to kill everyone you meet? Yes, sir, roger that, and on streets like these that would mean shooting the guy from up close, sir, at any false move on his part—is that what you mean by a plan? If the counter-insurgency mission in Haditha seemed half-cocked, so did any real chance for success in Iraq, but that was for others to decide—not for the soldiers who had to carry out the fights. The Marines of Kilo Company were well-intentioned guys who took pride in their conventional battlefield skills and, partly as a result, now just wanted to go home. As a group they were not like people who join the police for the satisfaction of hurting others. They were more like people who join Outward Bound. Until the killings of November 19, there is no evidence that in Haditha they abused the fucking Iraqis even once.
Rest here.All done!
Friday News...I barely could concentrate on it. A saintly person in Khandahar has hooked me up with my most desired Afghan substance...opium, nah - heroin doesn't hold a candle to Alokozay Tea!!!!
As per Schippert's request, the YouTube link is up. You can embed the video
in on(?) your own blog now.
Please consider fowarding fowarding, emailing, or posting on this incredible series. MSNBC done good!
Do you embed IN your blog or ON your blog? The word "embed" implies "in," but "on your blog" rolls of the tongue easier. Sheesh. This reminds of that one Simpsons...."me fail English? That's unpossible!"
The language still escapes me, why the hell am I blogger?All done!
MSNBC has released the second video segment honoring those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This segment is on Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, who was awarded the Silver Star for her actions.
To view this video, or the first, visit our Faces of Courage section - or click the image of Sergeant Hester above.
Help us to encourage MSNBC to produce and release more of these by emailing MSNBC at heroes (at) msnbc (dot) com.
(If you would like the original WMV file to pub on your own site, I can email it to you at your request [steve (dot) schippert (at) threatswatch (dot) org]. Noonan may have it YouTubed soon again, as well.)
If they would show this dynamic map of the last few thousand years of history in that nasty part of the world instead of a few minutes of boring in-chop briefs - we might all be better off. To this day I have commissioned officers who do not understand a Persian is an Iranian who is not an Arab who is unquesionably not a Turk, and would not buy a Berber lunch if a Maronite paid for it. Pictures are good.
I missed this September 22 Reuters story about transcripts it obtained of an interview Maj. Sam Carrasco gave military investigators in March regarding events in Haditha, Iraq. Events which thrust John Murtha into the limelight after he decided to become judge and jury.
LOS ANGELES, Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Marines were so locked in battle with Iraqi insurgents on the day 24 civilians were killed in Haditha that a U.S. Marine officer considered bombing a house where the insurgents took refuge, he told investigators.
Maj. Sam Carrasco, who was overseeing troop movements in the area when two dozen men, women and children were shot in Haditha, said he believed at the time the civilians died in cross-fire between Marines and insurgents.
Carrasco was not at the scene of what Iraqi witnesses say was a massacre by U.S. troops, but was questioned by military investigators over his report of the November 2005 killings.
Reuters obtained a transcript of an interview Carrasco gave two investigators in March. Reached on Thursday, Carrasco declined to comment, citing the investigation.
Read excerpts from the transcripts here.
I don't fully understand what effect, if any, this report has on the alleged slayings, I'm sure it's but one piece of a much larger puzzle. Unlike Murtha, I'm waiting for all the facts to be presented, but I wonder if we'll soon find that the claim by Murtha that there was a cover-up, is false.
Murtha, who like Warner is a former Marine, said that there was a preliminary investigation by the military but that "it was stifled." Until Time's report appeared in March, four months after the incident, he said, "There was no serious investigation."
But, according to Carrasco:
Carrasco said after he learned of the civilian casualties he reported them to a superior. There were U.S. troops and insurgent troops and Iraqi troops, he said, "And there was civilians caught in the middle.'"
"I said, 'I do not know if they were killed by the (bomb) blast, how many got killed by the (bomb) blast. I do not know how many were killed in the cross-fire, but it is fair to assume that this has been a bad day if there is dead civilians in the battle space.'"
Carrasco told investigators he had never considered the possibility that war crimes could have taken place in Haditha until a Time magazine article months later.
"At that point, at the end of November ... I just, Roger that, next operation," he said. "Let's talk about the memorial service for Terrazas. Let's try to keep our boys alive. Let's try to do our jobs to the best of our ability and focus on the next operation." (Additional reporting by Adam Tanner)
Perhaps some of you military strategists can parce this Reuters story and offer your insight.All done!
...is nonetheless sealed. Anyone want to start a pool?
Sky News is reporting that al Masri, Zarqawi's successor, is dead.
Al Qaeda Leader 'Killed'
Updated: 09:02, Thursday October 05, 2006
The new leader of terror group al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al Masri, has been killed.
Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al Muhajir, took control of the group on the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
Like his predecessor, Masri was killed by US forces, the Iraqi government announced.
Nothing from CENTCOM yet, other than this:
Coalition forces detained a former driver and personal assistant of Abu Ayyub al-Masri along with 31 others during a series of 11 raids targeting al-Qaida in Iraq activities in the Baghdad area Sept. 28.
This is the second close associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri captured in September, also believed to have been one of his personal drivers. Intelligence indicates his participation in the 2005 bombings of the Sheraton and the Al Hamra hotels in Baghdad that killed a total of 16 people and injured 65 others.
Let's see how this one shakes out today.
Update: The U.S. is denying the original report. Blast!
Navy stuff - sea lanes are in the news again as set out here.
China needs its sea lanes, it does.
Another Ehren Watada.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Handcuffed and clad in camouflage fatigues, Army Spc. Agustin Aguayo arrived back in Germany on Tuesday after going absent without leave for 24 days and missing his unit’s deployment to Iraq.Full story here.
Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on where we go from here, in a must read today, posted at Pajamas Media.
Only one excerpt, fire for effect:
At some point all these retired generals need to simply quiet down and think. In World War II, Nimitz or Eisenhower never blamed the Secretary of War or FDR for the mistakes on Iwo Jima or the Kasserine Pass. Instead, they called in their top brass, drew up a plan, followed it, and then presented a successful fait accompli to their civilian overseers. In other words, our four-stars need to summon their colonels and majors in the field, draw up a military strategy that ensures our political aims of seeing a stable consensual Iraq, and then win. Blaming Bush, or faulting Rumsfeld is a waste of time; figuring out as military officers how to achieve victory over a canny enemy is all that matters.This is the best answer possible to stuck on stupid critics like Captain Roly Poly Bius and his obliging band of retiring Generals, so intent on hanging Secretary Rumseld in effigy (or in person).
The Air Force doesn't want it's troops wearing combat badges earned while serving with other services. (A crime some officials might see as akin to wearing a pledge pin on your ROTC uniform...) They are considering one of their own - but action on such matters is rarely swift.
But the Air Force isn't really concerned with troop morale or retention these days:
...attendance on the exhibition floor at the annual Air Force Assn. conference last week was sparse.But Wynne has reassuring words for would-be beneficiaries of Air Force procurement dollars:
In one of the association's most somber gatherings in years, top generals joined with airmen, officers, defense contractors and military analysts to consider what could be the service's last big increase in spending for the foreseeable future.
The mood was further subdued in the wake of the Air Force secretary's decision to slash the number of airmen by 40,000, or about 12%, as a way to free up about $4 billion to help pay for new fighter jets.
"We believe it is our duty to make sure that if there is only one remaining airman, he will have the best equipment to fight the nation's fight,"And perhaps that one last airman will be allowed to wear combat badges, too.
Looks like the Air Force Memorial is being finished right on time.
Some bloggers, commentators and politicans are increasingly convinced we are at war with some kind of monolithic Islamic conspiracy. Such an impression, while understandable given the cirumstances, is utterly incorrect.
We instead face a grave challenge that is startling in not only its diversity of dangers and circumstances, but the sheer multitude of opportunities for cooperation, proxy conflict and success in a truly global and active global struggle against terrorists and their supporters. More here.
North Korea is at it again:
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that “the field of scientific research” in the North will conduct a nuclear test in the future “under conditions where safety is firmly guaranteed.” The statement was published simultaneously via Korean Central Television Station, the North’s only nationwide TV network, the official Korean Central News Agency and Korean Central Broadcasting Station at 6 p.m. The ministry said the present situation, “in which the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle” North Korea has reached a stage “beyond extremity,” with the result that the North “can no longer remain an onlooker to the developments.” The statement says the U.S.’ “extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel [the North] to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering its nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defense.”
It will be interesting to see what excuses the South Korean government comes up with next for the North Koreans. I'm sure it will be among the lines of, "It's all America's fault" and "Oh, yeah Japan too!"
Well here is what the US government has to say about this:
The United States warned a North Korean nuclear test "would pose an unacceptable threat to peace and stability" and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations raised the issue during a Security Council meeting. The council agreed to hold further discussions on Wednesday after consulting capitals.
Here is my some what informed opinion of what to do. I look at this declaration of conducting a nuclear test as a sign of success. Why you ask? Because it is causing the North Koreans to show their hand. If the US gave into the North Korean demands before July's missile test or worse bombed North Korea the US would have never known how far behind the North Koreans were in developing a ICBM that could hit the US. Now the US does know. Plus the US gained a huge political win because the world could no longer deny North Korea's hostile intentions and a new resolution was passed that placed additional sanctions on North Korea.
The US should take the same stand on the nuclear test, let them show their hand. Worst case scenario is that the test is successful and the US gains an even stronger political advantage on the North to even further isolate the regime. A nuclear test may even be enough for the South Koreans to finally quit making excuses for the North and finally scrap the failed bribery program called the Sunshine Policy. The best case scenario is that the test fails and American intelligence analysts can make a good determination of how far along in nuclear weapons development the North Koreans really are. Plus the US would still gain a stronger political position because a failed nuclear test is still a sign of hostile intentions which will still lead to increased isolation of the North Korean regime.
Now what about the timing of this? It was well known for the last couple of months that North Korea has been making preparations for a nuclear test. I think the announcement of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon becoming the next UN Secretary General led to the North Korean announcement just to take Ban out of the international headlines. The North Koreans have a long history of doing this; just look at recent history. Seoul gets the 1988 Olympics and North Korea bombs a South Korean airliner. Seoul hosts the 2002 World Cup, North Korea attacks and kills South Korean naval personnel in the Yellow Sea. They could also be using this to test Ban about what stance he would take with North Korea on issues such as the nuclear program and human rights once he is the Secretary General.
However, with anything concerning North Korea who the hell knows what their up to, but I know one thing appeasement or a milistary strike would be playing right into Pyongyang's hands.All done!
We've got a special sneak peek of Marines in the Garden of Eden: The Battle of Nasiriyah up at OPFOR.
Richard S. Lowry, the author, was also kind enough to provide us with of his research photos from the battle.
We've got a new blogger over at OPFOR, a Marine captain who has just finished his fourth(!) deployment.
We were trying to find him a blogging handle, and he said "let's keep it simple, just register me as 'Capt B'." I chortled.
Note to the real Capt. B: You can rest easy sir, your namesake is secure.
At the risk of giving ammunition to a certain troll who frequents MILBLOGS, I have to say I’m beginning to budge on my previous view on troop levels in Iraq.
I’m not entirely convinced that more troops earlier would have substantially improved outcomes or diminished violence, but I find it hard to argue with the logic of an “on-the-ground” military observer, one with no axe to grind, no book to sell, and no objection to the war’s genesis.
First Lieutenant (1LT) Pete Hegseth, as credited by the Opinion Journal, “served as an infantry platoon leader and civil-military operations officer in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division.”
Critics who use any passing call from disgruntled Generals or other booksellers or partisan opportunists invariably argue disingenuously. On record against the war, they echo calls for more troops, or to impose a draft. They do so to gain political advantage in the hopes of making victory less certain, and hype dimming prospects to to reinvigorate the fight but to hasten the surrender.
Not so 1LT Hegseth:
I volunteered to serve in Iraq because I believe in our mission there. I share the president's conviction about the Iraq war--we can and must win, for the Iraqi people, for the future of our country and for peace-loving people everywhere. But I'm frustrated. America is fighting with a hand tied behind its back. Soldiers have all the equipment we need--armored humvees, body armor for every body part, superior technology, etc.--but we simply do not have enough troops in Iraq, and we need them now.
I also understand calling for more troops is contrary to conventional thinking inside government and the military. Supporters of the current approach argue sending more troops would further inflame anti-American sentiment, incite more violence and retard independent progress. My experience suggests otherwise. American troops are tolerated, even welcomed when they effectively provide security; but their presence is cursed when it does not accompany progress. Violence persists not because American troops are present, but because our presence is futile. Many local leaders asked us, "How come the most powerful country in the world cannot defeat local criminals and thugs?" They suggested our failure was part of a larger conspiracy to keep the Iraqi people suffering.I fear that 1LT Hegseth correctly diagnoses the present situation. I don’t agree that this has been the case since the Coalition first toppling the Hussein regime and its brutal oppressions, but I think it may be the case now.
(Further commentary over at Dadmanly.)
If you haven't heard of him already:
Chris Adlesperger, Marine Private First Class, MOH nominee. Hero.
On Nov. 10, 2004, in 30 minutes of close combat, Marine Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger, a soft-spoken, religious young man who loved poetry and art, attacked an enemy stronghold in Fallouja, Iraq, and killed at least 11 insurgents.
He killed them with his M-16 and with his grenade launcher. He killed them at such close range he could hear the blood gurgling in their mouths and noses.
He killed insurgents who were heavily armed and probably high on drugs — and who had just killed his close friend, Lance Cpl. Erick Hodges.
He protected two wounded squad members from attack and saved innumerable Marines.
When it was over, Adlesperger’s face had been bloodied by shrapnel and he had bullet holes in the sleeve and collar of his uniform. He refused to be evacuated until Hodges’ body was recovered.
“It was a tremendous bit of fighting,” said Col. Patrick Malay, the battalion commander. “He was a quiet kid, but he was remarkable. He was one tough bastard.”
You know what to do.
We have been supporting the Evacuation hospital at Balad, Iraq for several months. Now we've made contact with the Main Hospital there. This is the largest military hospital in all of Iraq, and they need our help.
Be sure to read Balad: First Step of a long Journey Home http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2006/09/balad-first-step-of-long-journey-home.html
Here are some requests I've received just in the past week:
I work in the front line ER smack dab in the middle of the Sunni triangle and we barely have time to breathe. Not only do we take care of our fellow soldiers but we take care of anyone that comes into our ER via Blackhawk, ambulance, Humvee or being carried on the shoulder of their battle buddy. –Senior Airman Darenda S.
I work in the hospital here and see many, many Soldiers and Marines wounded. We see as many as 13 new patients a day! I want to help do some thing for them, because when they get to us, the field medics have cut their uniforms off to get to the wounds. Where I am stationed, there is little to buy at the PX for them, so maybe you could help me out.
Thank you for our support, there are a lot of people who don't agree with our mission or with this war on terror and it's so nice to receive thanks and praise for what we do. It also makes me proud to be an American and proud to be supporting this mission. –Airman First Class Naomi H.
We have a Physical Therapy clinic, Optometry, Urology here. We are the only facility in Iraq that deals with Brain and Neuro injuries. We have the best brain surgeons in the Military. – Senior Airman Shannon G.
Just standard size pillows and pillow cases are fine, color doesn't matter the troops seem to like the super hero characters...LMAO! We get them and they either leave with the troops when they are flown out or get ruined and have to be thrown in bio hazard. So we go through sheets, pillows and cases a lot. Bath Towels any colors, we use those so the soldiers can take showers here. – Senior Airman Shannon G.
Here's what they need most right now:
Bath Towels - New, any color, unwashed
Fitted and Regular Sheets – New, unwashed, twin sized, any color - (even super hero)!
Pillows – New - Standard sized with pillow cases – New, unwashed, any color
If you can help with any of these items, please PM me or email me at rogerfg22 at yahoo.com
Tactical Medical Support Director
Remember that bad boy?
Russia is making noises about revisiting their Wing in Ground program as noted here.
Back to the future?
If he is writing in OpinionJournal, it is worth a read. Sure, it is the whole "do we have enough troops..." line of thought - but this guy seems to be asking in a very honest way - from the first person. Though 1LT Hegseth isn't your standard issue 1LT.
Even the security situation inside the city improved. Previous summers in Samarra had been extremely violent, but the summer of 2006 was different. Days passed without a significant attack inside the city. Less than 150 Americans, along with Iraqi counterparts, controlled a town of over 120,000 Sunni Arabs through targeted raids and sniper operations. One local insurgent even begged city leaders for amnesty in exchange for good conduct. Our unit killed or captured hundreds of insurgents, knocking the wind out of the local insurgency--but never crushing it.
I believe, as the president noted, that "the safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad." Why then do we have just enough troops in Iraq not to lose? Most of the people I've spoken with since coming home--those both for and against the war--believe we must finish the job in Iraq. Americans understand a defeat in Iraq would have horrible consequences for America and its allies for decades to come. America has the capacity to win and the will to support a winning strategy.
Why then are we pursuing a bare minimum approach?
While many U.S. troops in Iraq are bracing for an increase in terrorist attacks coinciding with the Islamic holy month, other soldiers, including officers, are cringing at new requirements that include "sensitivity classes" on how to "understand Ramadan and the Islamic culture," reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
"I am disturbed by a trend here that is occurring as we serve here in Iraq," one Army major told the premium online intelligence newsletter edited by the founder of WND. "I am a Christian and so are most soldiers here, as they would probably identify with that religion if not practice it."
He tells the story of one of his men, performing the duty of guarding civilian Iraqis working on a U.S. military base. When it was time for lunch, the soldier was told he could not eat because the Army wanted to be sensitive to the fasting Iraqis.
"I understand the concept," said the officer. "But isn't that forcing us to learn about Islam and even practice its principles? Who cares if Muslims want to fast. We don't force a guy not to eat. This is the equivalent of forcing our soldiers to practice Ramadan fasting."
There has been no fast from terrorist violence in Iraq this Ramadan.
You may want to tune into Hannity & Colmes (FOXNews) NOW (9:05 p.m. EST). The previews look interesting. An old FBI undercover survelliance tape of Cut-N-Run Murtha, and a Cindy Sheehan book-signing gone bad. Looks to be an action-packed hour...
The redheads are raising money for the families of the Pendleton Eight. Click here for info on how you can help.
FOB KALSU, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 2, 2006) – Iraqi officials and Multi-National Division – Baghdad leaders transferred responsibility of Forward Operating Base Duke to Iraqi security forces during a press conference Oct. 1.
The transfer of the FOB follows an Iraqi in the Lead Ceremony during the past week in which Iraqi security forces assumed operational control for the northern Babil province and security of the cities of Al Iskandariyah, Haswah and Al Khudi from 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT.
MUQDADIYA, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 2, 2006) – Iraqis assumed control over a larger portion of their country during an Iraqis in the Lead Ceremony at Forward Operating Base Normandy Oct. 1.
The ceremony symbolized the 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division’s assumption of control of the northern region of Diyala Province in and around Muqdadiya. The region was formerly under the control of the 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Lightning.
Two Milbloggers recently wrote about their phone calls to home. Pretty emotional stuff. AWTM writes about both here.
The worst kept secret of the US-ROK alliance is out:
The Eighth U.S. Army command, which is in charge of U.S. ground troops stationed in South Korea including the core Second Infantry Division, is highly likely to be disbanded, it emerged Friday. Asked about the chances that the Eighth will be dismantled, USFK Commander Gen. Burwell Bell did not deny the possibility and indicated it will undergo a transformation. He said its role has completely changed to RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration) and is "radically different” than it was in the Korean War, when it served as fighting headquarters. Bell said no matter what decisions are made about the army’s future, they have nothing to do with conducting wartime operations on the Korean Peninsula.
On top of this development if Korea wants to keep any presence at all, the Pentagon is saying they better start paying their fair share:
If Korea maintains its share in the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea at the current level, it will be unable to keep the number of USFK troops it wants stationed here, U.S. defense department official Richard Lawless warned Wednesday. The Pentagon’s under secretary for Asia and Pacific affairs made the remarks at a hearing of the House International Relations Committee on Thursday, saying Korea’s financial contribution is 10 percent short of what is required now. Lawless said the USFK was now being bled white despite already having shed excessive flab and some essential flesh. Korea and the U.S. annually renegotiate their share in the U.S. forces upkeep and every year find it harder to narrow their differences.
So the ball is really in the Korean's court now because their amount of cost sharing is what is going to really determine how much of a US presence remains in Korea.
The Air Force will be staying though I think the recent compromise on the bombing range will be an issue again in the future. Than as far as a ground presence General Bell made it clear that the only remaining combat troops on the peninsula the 2nd Infantry Division will be removed. General Bell also made it clear that the mission of the US Army personnel that would be left in Korea would be for assisting the ROK in intelligence gathering and Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, & Integration (RSOI) or in otherwords support personnel responsible for maintaining the logistics chain of bases on the peninsula that would aid any US deployment of troops to Korea.
To train these logistics units left on the peninsula I see the military probably deploying Stryker Brigades and Marines to Korea on annual exercises to not only train the US support personnel, but also to maintain close contacts and training with the ROK Army. Despite the political relationship between the US & Korea the military relationship has always remained strong and it is in the US's interest to keep it that way.
The current plan appears to be a solid one that would allow the US to free up more combat troops for world wide deployments while still keeping enough of a force presence on the peninsula to deter a North Korean attack. Plus the remaining troops would be consolidated further south on Camp Humphreys and away from the DMZ and out of Seoul. This moves all US troops outside of North Korean artillery range and out of the highly populated capitol city of Seoul, reducing USFK's force footprint. This plan will ensure continued US influence on the peninsula to ensure the stability of Northeast Asia overall. There hasn't been a war in Northeast Asia for the past 55 years because of one reason, the US military. It appears Washington wants to keep it that way.
However, there is one wild card out there, the South Korean government. Remember we may not have seen the last of the bombing range issue and the Camp Humphreys expansion hasn't been completed yet either. These are still issues that can flare up again that will require South Korean governmental leadership, and one thing that is in short supply in the current South Korean government is leadership. Stay tuned.
Cross Posted at the ROK DropAll done!
Kenny's Dad brought this to my attention...
Saturday, September 30, 2006
By GEORGE WERNETH
On Easter Sunday of 2005, death nearly found Army Spc. Kenneth D. Bosarge on a road in western Iraq. An improvised explosive device detonated by insurgents as he manned a machine gun in an armored vehicle left him with some 30 shrapnel wounds.
The Grand Bay man lost his right eye, became deaf in his left ear, and sustained nerve damage in both arms and his neck.
His dream of a long career in the Army had ended.
Bosarge, 25, said he is proud of his service in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division and proudly continues to support President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the war effort. Still -- as he waits at Fort Stewart, Ga., to be processed out of the Army -- he ponders a question: Who is going to help him now that he can no longer serve his country?
Read the whole story HERE...
I f you know of someone who might be able to help Kenny, contact info is in the story...
Ironically, the first spending bill passed after the heralded and praised earmark transparency bill doesn't have a single lawmaker owning up to an earmark.But in addition to the 2.2% pay raise it does fund photon research in New York.
70 Medal of Honor recipients. USS Constitution.
Honor and Courage.
More details here.
His Majesty's Trawlers off the North Carolina coast hunting submarines in 1942 and a British Cemetery on Ocracoke.
More information here.