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Well Noonan, we have these guys , who are a Special Tactics team that frequently operates with Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Special Forces in "direct action".
And these guys who go off base everyday to all the little villages surrounding the area. They've worked closely with the 332nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal flight to identify and dispose of weapons and explosives in the area. More on them here
Because the Army and Marines have been stretched so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force, like the Navy, has been providing ground personnel.
About 5,000 Air Force personnel are doing traditional Army and Marine Corps jobs, such as driving or protecting supply convoys and disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when they are detected. For that reason, the Air Force has added a couple of weeks to basic training to give recruits added lessons in ground combat skills and the use of personal weapons. That's a major change in the service's culture - and in the dangers that its ground personnel face.
Of 51 uniformed Air Force personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 25 died in aircraft that crashed or were shot down. The rest have fallen to IEDs or other causes on the ground.
The Air Force has "front line combat troops?"
MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT - News) formally delivered the 100th F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter to the U.S. Air Force in ceremonies here today. The milestone aircraft (Air Force serial number 05-0100) will be assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.That last line being especially ironic - because in order to pay for the planes the USAF is cutting the pay of it's front line combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"The F-22 is a testament to the skills of engineers and technicians from more than 1,000 companies across America," said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-22 Program General Manager Larry Lawson. "This delivery marks a significant milestone for the U.S. Air Force and the F-22 program. The Raptor is providing top cover for America and our allies. We have developed the most capable fighter in the world, which is exactly what the men and women defending us deserve."
1. WE HAVE COMPLETED OUR ANNUAL REVIEW OF CURRENT SDAP AUTHORITIES AND CONSIDERED NEW AREAS FOR INCLUSION. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS NECESSITATED A MORE STRINGENT LOOK AT ALL RULES IN THE SDAP PROGRAM.
3. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF RULES ALREADY BEING PAID AT SPECIAL DUTY RATING SD-1, THE FOLLOWING SDAP RULES WILL BE REDUCED ONE SDAP LEVEL ($75 PER MONTH) EFFECTIVE 1 OCT 2007:
1- MILITARY TRAINING INSTRUCTORS, 3-COMBAT CONTROLLER, 4/5/6-24 SPECIAL TACTICS SQUADRON, 8-SERE, 9-ACADEMY MILITARY TRAINING NCO, 12-PARARESCUE, 16/17/18-TACTICAL AIR COMMAND AND CONTROL, 19-SDAP PROJECT 02, 20/21-SDAP PROJECT 01, 24-PARACHUTING INSTRUCTORS, 25-FREE FALL PARACHUTING INSTRUCTORS, 28/29-ALL OTHER RECRUITING ASSETS THAT DO NOT QUALIFY UNDER RULE 27, 30-AVTEG FT BRAGG, 31-FLYING CREW CHIEFS, 32 & 34-ENLISTED WEAPONS DIRECTOR, 36-FUELS SPECIALISTS, 37-COMBAT WEATHER FORECASTER, 38-TEST PARACHUTE PROGRAM, 39-PHOENIX RAVEN PROGRAM, 40 DEFENSE ATTACHE, 41-COMBAT WEATHER FORECASTER, 42/43/44-AF OSI AGENTS, 45-AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, 46-AIR TRANSPORTATION, 47-FIRST SERGEANT, 48-COMMAND CHIEF MASTER SERGEANTS/CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT OF THE AIR FORCE.
NOTE: BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE ENTITIES COVERED BY THE RULES MENTIONED IN PARAGRAPH 3 STILL MEET THE REQUIREMENTS AND INTENT OF THE SDAP PROGRAM, ENTITIES PREVIOUSLY PAID AT THE LOWEST SDAP LEVEL WILL CONTINUE TO BE PAID AT SD?1 LEVEL.
Mr. De Palma wants you to know what's really going on in Iraq.
"The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," he told reporters after a press screening.
"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.
I found this part particularly interesting:
"IT'S ALL ON THE INTERNET"
Halfway between documentary and fiction, "Redacted" draws on soldiers' home-made war videos, blogs and journals and footage posted on YouTube, reflecting changes in the way the media cover the war.
"In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war," De Palma said.
"It's all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it's not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment," he said.
Yes, De Palma - it's all out there on the Internet. Why don't you give it a more thorough scan? You could start with the frontline blogs from Iraq. You could move on to the frontline blogs from Afghanistan. It's all out there, but somehow I doubt you really want to see it "all."
The Patriot Guard, along with a group of very vocal Army wives remained at the intersection, cheering for the troops and urging passing motorists at the busy intersection to show support as well.
Jerry Deon, Senior Ride Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders, said they had been tipped off by a posting on the Westboro website and he quickly emailed his group of riders to convene on the site and block off the protestors with their bikes and American flags. After what he called a “couple of uncomfortable situations” for the Westboro protestors they decided to leave.
An almost continuous din of automobile horns could be heard from the passing cars in response to the sign-waving group of Army spouses who turned out.
One last News of Afghanistan for me - hopefully some of my co-bloggers at my site will carry on - and a switch over to my new AOI - Iraq. See what I mean here
You guys are going right?
Military.com will be sponsoring the milblogging booth and panels, here are the details as released by the Expo folks this morning.
I just received the latest info from Andi and the folks at Military.com. This is an all star lineup. The panelists will include Matt and Uncle Jimbo from Black Five, John Noonan from Op-for, Tim Boggs, and many more.
Michael Yon has agreed to do a live video feed from Iraq (as long as we can get the technology to work).
You have to hear Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss tell the story about how Project Valour-IT run by the amazing ladies at Soldiers Angels was created after Captain Ziegenfuss suffered wounds to his hands in Iraq.
Here are the panels:
HEY, WHAT’S A MILBOG?
Moderator: Christian Lowe
Thursday, November 8 (1:30 – 2:30)
TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG:
MILBLOGGERS,THE DOD AND THE MEDIA
Moderator: Ward Carroll
Thursday, November 8 (2:45 – 3:45)
FROM THE FRONT
Moderator: Ward Carroll
Friday, November 9 (10:15 – 11:45)
MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE HOMEFRONT
Moderator: Andi Hurley
Friday, November 9 (1:30 – 2:30)
A sincere thank you to Military.com for sponsoring the Milblog track and to Andi, John Noonan, Ward Caroll and others for helping put this all together. You don’t have to be in the military or have family serving to appreciate what these amazing individuals have done. In fact you are a civilian you owe it to yourself to attend at least one of these sessions while you are at BlogWorld.
This thing isn't military exclusive, we're just a small part. But if you're someone who uses, reads, or profits from blogs or the online community you're going to want to be there.
Cross posted at my dumb blog.
This year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous will be donating all money raised to Project Valour-IT. Major Chuck Ziegenfuss of TC Override will be our Guest of Honor.
For more information on the Gun Blogger Rendezvous check the Rendezvous site,
and the Mr. Completely blog.
Any publicity you can get out that would encourage Gun and/or Milbloggers or readers/commenters to attend would be greatly appreciated.
It is a small and informal event that allows everyone to get to know everyone else, so you get to put a face to the bloggers you've been reading! It's a great lot of fun hanging out with an amazing bunch of folks!
SWWBO and I went last year, and intend to go this year - though the job situation (mine, not hers) may get in the way, with a TDY complicating things.
And since we're talking guns here - how many of you are meeting the standard? Or am I having to carry some of you slackers, too?
The U.S. Coast Guard marks a milestone: 1,000,000 lives saved!
Top Ten Rescues:
Thank a Coastie today!
See also here.
UPDATE: Due to a fat finger error, the post on my homepage failed to properly credit the author of the "Top Ten List" who is Coast Guard Chief of Public Affairs Jim McPherson. I have since corrected the problem, but want to set the record straight.
I was contacted yesterday by a representative of the Transition Training Academy - an public/private partnership between the Department of Labor, Naval Hospital Balboa and Cisco that's working here in San Diego to help wounded troops pick up their lives through providing enhanced IT skills and Cisco certification.
Worth spreading the news, I think.
A couple of weeks ago, I pointed to a clever Marine wife. Today, I'll tip my hat to two very clever Army wives.
Part one is here.
Wearing the Black Flag (2)
There are a number of different types of military helicopters in service in Iraq, and a good-natured rivalry among those who fly the various frames. Ask an Apache guy about a '60 - he'll tell you it's a "training aircraft". Ask anyone about a '58 and you'll get a response that includes (or consists entirely of) this: "bait".
But no one disses a medevac crew.
It's a myth that poor weather conditions shut down flying. The reality is that flying becomes riskier.
In aviation there is an obvious inverse relationship between visibility and risk. The shorter the distance you can see, the greater the risk of travel. This is true of travel on the earth's surface, too, but surface travel is generally confined to two dimensional space and very specific routes (roads).
Travel above the surface brings a third dimension to the equation, and while "routes" still exist there are no marked roads, and when visual contact with the surface is lost life can become very interesting for those on the trip.
Drive down the highways of America during a blinding storm or a heavy fog and you can slow down (assuming you aren't suicidal) to the point where risk is diminished to an acceptable level. You can even stop and wait for improvement.
Slowing down in a combat zone makes you easier to shoot. Stopping means you're a sitting duck.
So when conditions demand it, routine missions are put on hold - but for situations with troops engaged with hostile forces or in case of urgent medevac requirements the birds can fly. So when the call came in there was a bird ready to launch, and a crew ready to go, and a clock ticking away.
There are a number of locations from which such a mission can launch, but one by one they reported conditions that day - bad, bad, bad, worse, really bad, and bad but better then those. I was standing in the TOC at the latter.
No one disses a medevac crew.
When U.S. soldiers are in garrison they wear a full color American flag patch on the shoulder of the Army Combat Uniform. In a combat zone that patch is replaced with a black version. Attaching the black flag is a simple act, but profound. It is done without ceremony, and after enough repitions without conscious thought. But it symbolizes a passage from a relatively safe environment to one where few would go.
If you would ask one of the thousands of Americans who perform that act on a daily basis in Iraq you would probably get a curious look as first response. After all, you've asked them to explain something fundamental, and it's often the most basic things that are most difficult to put into words. It's what we do. But go ahead and ask for more detail.
Now you'll get into the realm of commitment. Every member of a team depends on every other member of the team. No one wants to let his brothers down. It's more individual pride then collective behavior, though there's a bit of that involved too. There's been a real effort in America over the past few decades to eradicate this sort of thinking, individual pride and group will to succeed against a common foe. There's been concerted effort to describe their cause as a hopeless lie, and their fellow soldiers as killers and failures and rejects and fools. But in spite of those efforts there are still a few Americans to be found who will wear their nations flag on their sleeves and walk into places where few would go for even the clearest of reasons.
Why? If you have to ask, you couldn't possibly comprehend the answer.
But here is something they know with certainty. Should something happen, should the lowest among them require urgent care, the effort to provide that will be something unmatched in history. Every man around them is trained to render life-saving aid on the scene, and if the situation calls for it helicopters will be dispatched to get them by the fastest possible method to the nearest possible medical facility.
There is a procedure to request that assistance - inside or outside the wire, a code to shorten the message to the briefest possible transmission. Man down, location, and assessed level of urgency. There is nowhere in the code time or space to discuss rank or station. Medevac crews are always ready, within minutes a standby bird will launch.
Of sweet little Andi banging her head to Let the Bodies Hit the Floor at a Drowning Pool concert make anyone else grin like an idiot?
My husband and I recently attended a Drowning Pool concert. If you looked around the audience, you might think that we were a bit out of our element. A soldier and his wife in a room full of twenty-something head-bangers, but in reality, we had never felt more at home.
airforcewife and I recently interviewed Drowning Pool about their support for our troops. Drowning Pool is part of the USO entertainment circuit. They played in Baghdad on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and are currently working on putting together another USO tour, which they hope will take them to Afghanistan and Iraq, and they will soon be visiting troops at Walter Reed.
Before the show, my husband and I were able to meet and chat with the band, and they could not have been more gracious to us. Ryan McCombs told us that his trip to Iraq "changed him forever." Ryan was talking to my husband about how hot it was in Baghdad when they were there. When someone asked him if he was hot, he said, "like I'm gonna complain, I'm wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt and look at these guys in their uniforms and body armor."
While the meet-and-greet was wonderful, I was shocked, pleasantly shocked, at what happened during the concert. After the band played a few songs, Ryan McCombs gave a heartfelt speech. He began by asking everyone to raise their hands if they are related to, or know anyone, who is now serving in defense of "the red, white and blue." He then went on to say, and I'm paraphrasing, "These men and women put their lives on the line so that we can have the freedom to come here tonight and listen to some music. We have the easy job, they have the tough job. Next time you see a soldier on the street, next time you see one in the airport lugging their bags around, next time you see them anywhere, it only takes three seconds to extend your hand and thank them for what they do for us. It's not that hard and it's the least we can do." Then, the band played "Soldiers," the song they wrote for our troops when they returned from Iraq. In fact, Drowning Pool recently renamed their tour the "This is for the Soldiers tour." We don't hear enough of this kind of support coming from celebrities, and it's music to the ears (pun intended) when we do.
Military spouses are known to be intensely loyal to businesses that support them. A lot of businesses compete for our dollars, and we like it that way, because it's all about giving our money to people who appreciate us. For all you spouses and troops out there, Drowning Pool is the real deal when it comes to supporting our troops. Might want to pick up a copy of Drowning Pool's latest album, the one that features "Soldiers" or maybe go see them in concert if they're in a town near you. It' would be money well spent.
I gave the band gifts from the SpouseBUZZ Team. Small, inexpensive gifts, but a little something to thank them for their unqualified support of our husbands. Drowning Pool music is now a staple in this household.
Oddly enough, this burning ship, modern for its day, was a sign of the beginning of the end for the old Navy and the beginning of a whole new world order.
And its designer played a major role in opening doors to that future.
But the bear died.
Sort of explained here.
I'm past questioning anyone's patriotism. Over at the Huffington Post, blogger Martin Lewis writes an open letter asking for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to relieve the President of his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief:
General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.
You can relieve the President of his command.
Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.
You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.
I mean lunacy like "that's crazy." Certifiably. Off the hook. Jibbering. Tending towards the straight jacket.
And, yes. Yes this would be a good time to step away from the keyboard. And up your meds.
This is what passes for enlightened, educated, and thoughtful commentary from the Left. The lack on understanding and thought by Martin Lewis at HuffPo just left me gobsmacked.
General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.They must be running out of ideas to bring about defeat in time for the next election.
You can relieve the President of his command.
Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.
You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.
The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.
you have the legal responsibility - under Article 134 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice - to protect the troops under your command by relieving the President of his MILITARY command.
If you have reason to believe that the President is responsible for "disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and for "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital" then you have the obligation to act.
In addition to relieving him of his command as Commander-In-Chief, you also have authority to place the President under MILITARY arrest.
ArmyLawyer, get together with DocInTheBox and find Mr. Lewis' meds please.
At one moment the Left thinks the military if full of goose stepping, fascist, rapists - and next they want us to have a coup.
Baird: A Reason for Hope in Iraq Washington, D.C. - The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.
As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future. Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.
I would note Congressman Baird represents Olympia, Washington..home to these people.
BAGHDAD, Aug. 23 -- An insurgent attack Thursday on a Sunni sheik who has cooperated with U.S. forces escalated into an extended street battle involving the sheik's militiamen, local villagers and Iraqi forces, according to police and the U.S. military. Thirty-two people were killed and 15 kidnapped, police said.Which somehow - according to the WaPo "reporter" - proves that Iraqis are intimidated by al Qaeda.
Residents of a village near Baqubah, 35 miles north of Baghdad, apparently heard the initial commotion and took up their weapons to fight the attackers, who were members of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, a spokesman for the U.S. military units north of Baghdad.
"The villagers came together and started fighting off al-Qaeda in Iraq," Donnelly said. "It's another sign of people not putting up with" the group's violence. Police gave a similar account of the villagers' reaction.
The sheik who was killed Thursday was reported to have been a local leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a Sunni militia that was founded as part of an effort to force a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq but lately has come to consider al-Qaeda in Iraq as its real enemy. Since June, U.S. commanders have announced alliances with the brigades in many parts of the country.
The attack underscores a key difficulty for U.S. forces in maintaining the support of Sunni militias, which generally oppose Iraq's Shiite-led government and whose long-term goals remain unclear. As more Sunni leaders are attacked, American commanders are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade others to join the effort.
Not a fair fight. We know what Murtha did - what about Lt. Gen. Mattis?
Lance Corporal Sharratt gets about the best apology one can get - a letter from Lt. Gen. Mattis, USMC.
Gen. Mattis quoted former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said that combat is an "incommunicable experience" and that "detached reflection cannot be demanded in the face of an uplifted knife."Mench.
"Marines have a well-earned reputation for remaining cool in the face of enemies brandishing much more than knives," Gen. Mattis said, noting the "brutal reality" of daily life in Iraq.
"Where the enemy disregards any attempt to comply with ethical norms of warfare, we exercise discipline and restraint to protect the innocent caught on the battlefield. Our way is right, but it is also difficult."
Gen. Mattis stated that an exhaustive investigation showed Cpl. Sharratt "acted in accordance with the rules of engagement" in Haditha, and he noted that by dropping the charges, Cpl. Sharratt could "fairly conclude that you did your best to live up to the standards followed by U.S. fighting men throughout our many wars, in the face of life or death decisions made by in a matter of seconds in combat."
Michael Totten offers kudos to journalists:
Hundreds of Iraqi Yezidis, members of an ancient religious sect heavily influenced by Persian Zoroastrianism, were murdered last week in the most deadly terrorist attack in the world since September 11, 2001. Fuel tankers packed with explosives were ignited in a refugee camp near the town of Kahtaniya, just outside the Kurdish autonomous region. Officials say the death toll has surpassed 500. The American military says this is the handiwork of al Qaeda. They’re probably right: this has their fingerprints all over it.Well, it's been a while since anybody has had anything nice to say about journalists.
American commander General David Petraeus recently warned that terrorists and insurgents may use the media as a weapon and stage massive, headline-grabbing attacks as a way of showing the surge is a failure. If this massacre was indeed a part of that strategy, it has failed. Journalists aren’t playing along.
(Pause for effect, 4... 3... 2... 1...)
THE PARADE of political tourists to Iraq in recent weeks, during which easily impressed pundits and members of Congress came to be dazzled by the wonders of the troop surge, probably ensures that this murderous adventure will continue well into the next presidency - even if the Democrats win.He cites a recent NY Times op-ed, too...
For example, Kenneth Pollack, a top national security adviser in the Clinton administration whose 2002 book, "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq," convinced many Democratic politicians to support the war, now finds renewed optimism after the surge. In a July 30 New York Times op-ed column, "A War We Just Might Win," which he coauthored after spending eight days in Iraq, Pollack gushed, "We traveled to the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul. This is an ethnically rich area, with large numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen. American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Reliable police officers man the checkpoints in the cities, while Iraqi army troops cover the countryside."
So much so that a town 40 miles northeast of Tal Afar was the scene, on Aug. 15, of the deadliest attack of the war - a quadruple bombing left 250 dead and 350 wounded, and most of the buildings in ruin. What about those "reliable" police officers and Iraqi army troops whose presence in the area Pollack found so reassuring? If Pollack was asked about that on any of the talk shows that routinely feature him as an expert, I have not found the footage.
Although my attention is becoming more fixed on my upcoming deployment to Iraq, I have not forgotten Afghanistan.
Note to Opus readers: The Opus strips for August 26 and September 2 have been withheld from publication by a large number of client newspapers across the country, including Opus' host paper The Washington Post.
According to a news story...
We assess that changing the mission of coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) from establishing a safe haven would erode security gains achieved thus far," the report states.
The NIE also concludes that Iraq's internal political struggles, ongoing sectarian violence and terror threats leave the country in a precarious situation for the next six-12 months.
Hmmmm... should be a blockbuster 19 days before Gen. Petraeus speaks...
Read the new 10-page NIE "Prospects for Iraq's Stability: Some Security Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive" HERE
Nuance. It's a far cry from the protests of the Vietnam War era. Or even the rallies in New York and Los Angeles in the run-up to the Iraq war that turned out thousands. Antiwar activists and Democrats say this is the crucial month to turn up the heat on Republican lawmakers. A decisive moment looms--the Iraq progress report from Gen. David Petraeus is due in September--so the strategy is to win over enough Republican votes in the Senate in particular to pass a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops......
But some of the recent events in New Hampshire and Maine drew only a dozen folks. One recent New Hampshire morning rally was positively a bust. Attendance? Zero.
Protesting for Genocide doesn't seem to be as popular as some folks would have us believe.
There are two basic concepts being touted on the left:
This completely refutes a recent optimistic analysis of the war by Brookings Institute scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack because they were only there for 10 days while the GIs have been there for over a year.
These seven GIs represent the majority view of American soldiers - viewpoints that have (until now) been stifled by the government and the media.
(Note that these assertions ARE NOT MADE BY THE AUTHORS OF THE ORIGINAL OP-ED.)
As for the first point, one could make an argument that anyone trying to make some broad determination from these two examples must do so after spending about 10 minutes reading each one, and that the time spent in Iraq by the authors has no bearing on the validity of either report.
If you care to argue against that point above, I'll point out that by your own logic the hundreds (if not thousands) of man/year experience levels of the sum total of all milbloggers who've ever served in Iraq trumps any argument you could ever hope to make. Actually reading them would pretty much put argument two to rest also, but the folks making either of the arguments above really aren't likely to acknowledge the existence of such a large group of people whose reality conflicts so sharply with their imaginations.
For an illustration of those misconceptions, here's the "Progressive" view of the US military at war - comments generated at "Think Progress" in response to that Times op-ed:
Everyone already knows the truth, yet they continue to act surprised. This is not news.
Mark my words: regardless of anything that happens, things will only get worse in Iraq. The situation cannot be unfu(ked.
Comment by Marcus Aurelius -- August 19, 2007 @ 12:24 pm
they need to go a bit further, and call for mutiny, because this administration won't stop.
Comment by darla -- August 19, 2007 @ 12:39 pm
Kudos to the 82nd. It's about time that the soldiers start speaking out. Unfortunately the consequences for them is going to be grim. They are risking their lives by speaking out. Remember what happened to Pat Tillman. Expect more "friendly fire" deaths in the near future involving the brave soldiers who choose to speak out.
The thing that galls me the most about the situation in Iraq is all the Sargents and Generals who keep sending their soldiers into hopeless situations where the chances are good that they will be killed. Don't these people have any loyalty to their troops or has the Bush Crime Family so bastardized the military that all the officers must swear an oath to King George, their troops be damned.
Comment by bilbobaggins -- August 19, 2007 @ 12:53 pm
I understand your frustration, but please keep in mind that military personnel are trained to accept one thing above all else: The mission comes first.
Your personal feelings cannot interfere with following orders, even if you know that you will die as a result. (That's why they came up with the term "suicide mission", because they knew that there would be times when someone would have to give his or her life in order to complete the mission.) If you have any beef at all, it should be with the president who ordered them on this mission, not the NCOs and Officers tasked with carrying out their orders.
Comment by Wayne A. Schneider -- August 19, 2007 @ 1:03 pm
Well, we all know that Betrayus' report (written by the WH will totally refute this story.........After all, they would have so much better intelligence (?) than anhyone actually on the ground, in harm's way.
Chickenhawks are the most dangerous things that our troops are facing right now. It's all about politics and money!
Comment by upside00 -- August 19, 2007 @ 1:20 pm
A good officer won't sacrifice his troops unnecessarily, and good generals won't order good officers (or even not so good officers) to put their troops in the middle of a firestorm unless it's the only way to accomplish a greater mission.
Seeing as how our "mission" has become so blurry that nobody quite knows what it is anymore (most suspect the mission has become "hang on until this can become somebody else's mess"), we have a situation where good officers have to choose between sacrificing their troops for somebody's political legacy or mutiny (which, during wartime, can be punishable by death, according to the UCMJ).
I suspect that some WILL say "enough is enough", despite the penalty. But probably not many.
Comment by missmolly -- August 19, 2007 @ 1:30 pm
It really is too bad that GDumbya and Darth Cheney are not war veterans. It's not because they would be better at conducting the Iraq fiasco today. It's because they both would have been fragged within a day of arriving in-theater back then . . . and their stupidity would not be imposed upon us today.
Comment by tom -- August 19, 2007 @ 1:41 pm
If you're a woman, *especially* an un-married one... Fuzzybear Lioness lays out the pluses of working in the military community.
Castle Argghhh! blogger and retired NJARNG helo pilot Bill is working as a contractor in Pakistan, training Paki Cobra pilots.
His dispatches paint a different picture of Pakistan than what you normally see in the MSM. Here's his latest.
There are two types of electrical power interruption here in Shangri-La -- planned and unplanned.
An example of the first type: a typed note -- "Our engineers will be performing normal maintenance on the generator. This is an emergency which will take three or four hours" -- slid under the door during the blackout. You track the messenger's progress down the hall by counting the number of objects he bumps into in the dark, then listening for the *skkkt* of paper sliding on tile and retrieving and reading same by flashlight.
An example of the second type: *thwoooom -- papppffffft!*
One of us contractorslug pilots never had the advantage of acquiring military rotary wing flight time, so he also never acquired the military rotary wing flyer's habit of keeping a flashlight within easy reach (it only takes one total electrical failure during a night flight to instill the habit). One of the Shadows observed that John's room (I'll call him John because three of the guys here are named John and you don't know any of them from Adam, anyway) was the only one without artificial illum during one recent blackout, so the next morning, he brought a candle to John's room.
Shadow: "For power failure, sir."
John: "Well, thanks, but there aren't any candle-holders in the room. If it falls over, it'll start a fire, and when the power is off, the fire alarm won't work -- there'll be a *big* problem."
Shadow: "Do you have matches, sir?"
Shadow: "Then there is not a problem."
And he walked out.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
A quick background brief -- both North and South Waziristan were granted a semi-autonomous status by the Pakistani government in return for keeping a lid on al-Q and the Taliban. The current dust-ups (since February, anyway) are a result of those organizations refusing to be kept lidded.
Monday, "Taliban spokesmen" (unnamed in the article, but definitely not "pro-Taliban tribal spokesmen") declared that the modus vivendi (see the background brief) in South Waziristan was null and void. South Waziri tribal council chiefs slapped the spokesmen's noses on Tuesday and reminded them that it was the tribes, not the Taliban, who made the agreement with Islamabad and it was the tribes, not the Taliban, who would announce any change to the status quo. And, since the alternative is a full-blown confrontation with a central government which already has 90,000 troops on their turf, the tribes prefer to keep the status as quo as possible.
Pashtuns will tolerate some failings in their guests, but they draw the line at creating a nuisance which draws attention from iron sights.
In the Op Area: Pak Cobras in North Waziristan conducted gunship raids yesterday, pounding the daylights out of terr strongholds around Miramshah with the objective of making local Taliban sympathizers realize the jirga's pronouncement of zero-tolerance for terrorists wasn't just political lip-flapping. An aerial op outside Mahsud in South Waziristan -- a four-ship tag-team -- hit three al-Q staging areas Tuesday; ground followup found fifteen late members of the Uzbek tribe. There's also an ongoing ground sweep in SW to recover fifteen troops captured by pro-Taliban terrs who ambushed their convoy (they were travelling in civilian vehicles, unarmed). There were sixteen survivors, originally, but one was found the next day, beheaded, outside the airfield the Cobras were using as a refuel/rearm point. The terrs are demanding the release of ten of their brethren scooped up in Islamabad and intel reports from locals focused Army attention on the Mahsud region.
The three most-recent VBIED incidents against guard posts in the Northwest Frontier Provinces involved high-end SUVs rather than junkers or the traditional white minivans -- the bombers figure an expensive vehicle is less-likely to arouse suspicion at the checkpoints. Judging by some changes I've seen around this area, the troops already got the word on that.
On the Street: Security forces penetrated a nascent terror cell in Islamabad, arrested two organizers previously connected with the Red Mosque and charged them with training and launching suiciders -- local police arrested two of their trainees separately (and rapidly) in a nice display of interservice cooperation.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
On the front page of today's paper (Really-Early Edition). Maulana Merajuddin, chief of the tribal council for Mahsud (the same council delivering the Talib Smackdown on Tuesday), announced the "militants have agreed to the unconditional release of the fifteen kidnapped personnel." Sole condition of the "unconditional" agreement is that the Cobras remain on the ground during the release proceedings.
My guess is that the troops were local militia going home on leave (civilian cars and no weapons, remember?) and had relatives who leaned on the council, who quietly reminded the "militants" that their continued well-being depended on whether or not the council considered them guests or nuisances.
Like I said, Pashtuns will tolerate *some* failings in their guests...
If that piques your interest, you can catch the rest of his dispatches here, Postcards from the Edgy.
Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing women that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Hum, seems two people are sharing a birthday today.
As for Sen. Kerry (D-MA), who served in Vietnam in case you didn't know, he sees things - well - follow the links above and see for yourself.
MNF- I :
Citizen sacrifices life to thwart suicide bomber
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – An Iraqi man saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians when he intercepted a suicide bomber during a Concerned Citizens meeting in the town of al-Arafia Aug. 18.
The incident occurred while Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were talking with members of the al-Arafia Concerned Citizens, a volunteer community group, at a member’s house.
“I was about 12 feet away when the bomber came around the corner,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, of Los Altos, Calif., acting platoon sergeant of Troop B, 3-1 Cav. “I was about to engage when he jumped in front of us and intercepted the bomber as he ran toward us. As he pushed him away, the bomb went off.”
The citizen’s actions saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians.
Kane felt the loss personally because he had met and interacted with his rescuer many times before the incident.
“He was high-spirited and really believed what the group (Concerned Citizens) was doing,” Kane said. “I have no doubt the bomber was trying to kill American Soldiers. It was very calculated the way the bomber tried to do it. If he hadn’t intercepted him, there is no telling how bad it could have been.”
Kane believes the citizen is a hero.
“He could have run behind us or away from us, but he made the decision to sacrifice himself to protect everyone. Having talked with his father, I was told that even if he would have known the outcome before hand, he wouldn’t have acted differently.”
Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, the commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 3-1 Cavalry, echoed Kane’s sentiment.
“I spoke with the father,” Gilbert said. “He said he has no remorse in his son’s death because he died saving American Soldiers.”
Later that night, the Concerned Citizens group contacted the local National Police director, Lt. Col. Samir, with the location of the al-Qaeda cell believed to be responsible for the attack. The National Police immediately conducted a raid that resulted in four arrests.
Despite the citizen’s death, Gilbert is encouraged by the cooperation between citizens and the Iraqi National Police.
“The effort of the Concerned Citizens group has made the area much safer,” he said. “They are proud of who they are and their area, and want to get rid of the terrorists in their area.”
Gilbert also praised the Iraqi National Police’s role in eliminating insurgents in the area.
“The cooperation between them and the Concerned Citizens has been key,” Gilbert said. “The NP has done a great job of responding to the tips they have been given by the group.”
Gilbert said he believes the area is improving because of the efforts of local citizens. The death, while unfortunate, demonstrated how close many in the area have become with the American Soldiers operating there.
“I consider many in the town friends, and I know they feel the same,” Gilbert said. “This is a tough situation, but we’ll move on and try to prevent things like this from happening again. I’ve talked with his family and told them how brave their son was. This is a huge loss for everyone involved.”
This NY Times Op/Ed from a group of 82d Airborne NCOs is well written, thought provoking, and worthy of more than a quick read. While I disagree with many of their conclusions, the facts they present in support are indeed fact. The authors are clearly well-informed from personal observation and external sources, but in most cases the therefore that follows many of those facts is where we part company.
We are indeed working to straighten out a hell of a mess in Baghdad, and any number of things can foil our objectives. In fact, failure is easier and quicker than success, our failure can bring success to others (is, in fact, prerequisite to their success as they currently envision it) and not all of these "others" are ready to develop new definitions of personal or group success more compatible with ours. (Or at least, definitions of "success" that can be achieved following our success rather than only after our failure).
But, in fact, that's exactly what's happened in most of al Anbar, and during the bloody campaign to get there such an outcome was far from obvious. (Such an outcome is far from a done deal now, too, but at least it can be mentioned without drawing sneers.) It's entirely possible that all hell may still break lose there. But it seems (at best) that the general population has had enough of al Qaeda and their ilk and are willing to cast their lot with us, or (at worst) have finally realized that the best way to get rid of us is to let us finish and leave - after gaining whatever edge they can against their future rivals from us before our departure. (Said edge being training, money, weapons, and perhaps a bit of thinning of the rival herd before we depart.) One can't rule out some middle ground between those two possibilities.
That being the case, our best hope is that prosperity (or at least being on a recognizable path thereto) will prove incentive to keep the peace without the presence of American guns. Said peace being more conducive to such prosperity, a positive spiral can develop, and we're beginning to see the early indications of that spiral now in Anbar as months of positive developments have at least resulted in people noticing the positive developments and in turn developing at least some semblance of hope.
Again - any number of things can still go wrong in Anbar - but three (or even two and perhaps one) years ago very few people would have been willing to bet on the situation being as favorable as it is today. (It was in fact in August of last year that the Anbar Awakening got the spiral going* - though it was the result of events occurring throughout the previous year.)
Which brings us back to Baghdad today. With a larger and more diverse population the problems are magnified. And even something that appears to be the beginning of an upward spiral can in fact turn out to be a complex, chaotic and well-tangled knot. But we have learned from the Anbar experience, and are actively pursuing similar means to ends in the big city. Believe it or not, the people of Baghdad are well aware of what's happened in Anbar too, and don't see that example as a disaster to be avoided at all costs - in fact, the opposite is true. (Perhaps some other time I'll tell you about the debate over whether the term "neighborhood watch organizations" applied to the multiple groups of various size we're working with throughout Baghdad and the belts is appropriate...)
But there are bad guys sprinkled through that population. Which brings us to a passage from the Op/Ed I believe deserves a close look.
In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a "time-sensitive target acquisition mission" on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse -- namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.That's an ROE (Rules of Engagement) complaint, and I've heard it voiced (usually less eloquently) many times before. Without addressing the validity (it is a valid complaint to a degree, but ROE can be thought of as a system comprised of many components - some of which are human beings with a reluctance to kill other human beings) it's worth noticing the tacit acknowledgment that we are, in fact, waging a war like no other before, and have been since March, 2003. We could have left no two bricks in Baghdad connected even before the tanks rolled into town - instead we elected to execute as precise and surgical a war as military technology allows. The hope, of course, was that a population tired of the oppressive rule of a despotic leader would flourish once that leader was removed, and that we would be able to draw down to a small contingent of American troops within a reasonable time. That first assumption hasn't so much been proven wrong as proven to be still theoretical in the face of an onslaught of thugs from various quarters of the region (including Iraq) bent on sowing enough chaos** to keep it that way. The second assumption hinges on the first - and thus we remain in larger force than any would have liked.
As for those years of occupation, no matter how much some folks (for clarity - obviously not the authors of the Op/Ed) would like to believe we are an oppressor, this is not akin to the Roman subjugation of the barbarians of Europe or the French experience in Algeria (The latter - rather than the oft-cited Vietnam comparison - being the true model for the left's desired narrative of America in Iraq) or anything else in the sweep of history between. Thus, ironically, our "soft" (and it isn't soft - we are killing people) approach has earned us accusations of Nazi-like behavior from all the usual suspects.
Will it work? I think the very possibility that it might is what so terrifies those in and out of Iraq who've invested heavily in "no". Their tactics will change (are, in fact, changing) to meet the new realities on the ground. That they will do so is not evidence of our failure - no matter how many people they kill to make their point. (Killing them all and letting Allah sort them out is demonstrably not difficult.)
Likewise, "Killing them all and letting God sort them out" - like simply quitting and walking away - is an undeniably easier path then the one on which we are currently embarked. But for some reason, some Americans love doing things the hard way.
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it, and if one finds the prospect of a long war intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of victory."
* link also available here as (hopefully) temporary problems are preventing view of archives.
** link also here.
*** link also here.
Apparently, after payment of a ransom, the Danish merchant ship Danica White has been released and is under escort away from Somalia.
As in most things. you will get more of what you are willing to pay for.
U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge on Tuesday was asked why his colleagues in Congress are tearing down the troops because of the war in Iraq.
About 50 soldiers and spouses ate lunch with Etheridge at the Pegasus Inn, the 82nd Aviation Brigade’s dining hall on Fort Bragg.
One of the military wives told Etheridge that every time one of his peers in Congress makes a statement against the war, that person is tearing down the soldiers.
“I can’t stop people from making their comments, but I understand what you are saying,” Etheridge said. “I don’t agree with them.”
Etheridge, a Democrat from Lillington, represents the 2nd District, which includes Spring Lake and parts of Harnett County. He assured the wives that every member of Congress supports the troops.
“They may not express it the way they should,” he said.
Wonder if he'll do that again...
It has been a tough few years (or decades depending on who you are) for those who have hope for the Severn School for Wayward Boys and Girls. The new Sup, Vice Admiral Fowler, looks like he is moving out of shoal water.
"This is not just a college scholarship program," Adm. Fowler said. "The taxpayers have paid money to develop officers here, and it's my job to ensure we minimize those distractions."Very nice. More please.
The date probably doesn't matter because I can't hear you I'm not listening I can't hear you I'm not listening I can't hear you I'm not listening yayayayayayayalalalalaldadadadada I can't hear you...
A majority of Americans don't trust the upcoming report by the Army's top commander in Iraq on the progress of the war and even if they did, it wouldn't change their mind, according to a new poll.So neener neener neener.
For the record - here's the General:
Q: ...And secondly, your recommendations in September, are you willing to countenance the idea that you may have to say to the president, this is not working, we should pull troops out, or are you more likely to say things are not going well, here are the adjustments and strategies we need to make?To make things more interesting September 11 only exists on our infidel heathen great satan calendars. A few days after that and the Ramadan deathfest begins (whenever the first sliver of the new moon is visible in Mecca). It will be my second Ramadan here. Good times.
GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, on the latter one, I mean, I have an obligation to some wonderful young men and women in uniform, and a lot of civilians, by the way, who are serving in Iraq and who deserve a forthright assessment from the folks at the top about the situation on the ground, and that's what I'm going to provide.
The U.S. commander in Iraq predicted yesterday that some of the extra troops President Bush is sending could make an impact and start returning home by late summer, an optimistic note in contrast to skepticism of the plan back home.April:
Earlier this year, top Democrats in both houses of Congress refused to attend a bipartisan briefing offered by General David Petraeus to discuss the challenges in Iraq. Next week they’ll have another chance when the General comes to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers in the House and Senate on our progress in the Global War on Terror.However:
General Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to be the U.S. commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq. He has a clear track record as a straight-shooter and as someone who gets things done. So one has to wonder why next week’s important briefing almost didn’t happen. According to Roll Call, when the Pentagon tried to schedule the briefing through House Democrats they were declined – twice – because Democrats were originally “too busy” to schedule anything.
WASHINGTON - Hours before the House of Representatives narrowly passed a $124-billion bill to fund the war in Iraq, the commander of the multinational forces there delivered a classified briefing to Congress.And then:
But at dueling Democratic and Republican news conferences after Petraeus' closed-door meeting with the House, it seemed as if the members had attended different briefings.
The White House Scales Back Talk of Iraq Progress(Note that "September" and "late summer" - from the January link - are actually the same thing, and nothing - outside of some headline writer's imagination - was "scaled back".)
WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.
Mr. Cusack has said his desire to make the film was born out of anger at the decision by the Pentagon to ban publication of photos showing flag-draped coffins returning from battlefields.What a douche.
This post is almost exactly two years old:
There are two types of Iraq war veterans that have a tremendous appeal to the anti-war crowd - the fictional and the dead. Both types have a common, irresistible trait - others can claim to speak on their behalf.
"Congress is not in session because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, very much the week leading up to that Saturday, September 15th."
A new Gallup Poll finds Congress' approval rating the lowest it has been since Gallup first tracked public opinion of Congress with this measure in 1974. Just 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 76% disapprove, according to the August 13-16, 2007, Gallup Poll.
That same trope about young soldiers only enlisting due to economic blah blah blah also closely fits Burkett's Stolen Valor description of the Vietnam narrative of what a soldier was. More and more I think that book was not just history but also a playbook for today.
I'll be interested to see how GinMar (reservist who saw combat in Iraq, spends an enormous amount of time discussing feminist issues, fits sorta under angry left) takes this one.
Andi, there's even a little bit more to wrinkle one's nose at, if you ask me.
Allison Samuels writes of her 24 year old cousin returning from a tour in Iraq, her family’s anxieties in her absence, and relief with her safe return home. Here’s how she introduces us to her ordeal – not her cousin’s, but Samuels:
For our family, the months of living on edge began in June 2006, when Alexia Cain was given orders to ship to Iraq. She’d enlisted in the Army months before, frustrated by the lagging job market after graduating from college. For the three years prior to that, images of fresh-faced soldiers heading off to war had been a constant on my bedroom television set. Many of the faces that flashed on the screen somehow seemed familiar in that “I-know-I’ve-seen-you-somewhere-before” way, and I prayed that those I may have known—-or didn’t—would have a safe journey there and a safe return home in mind, body and spirit.Far be it from me to challenge the objects and particulars of a military family member’s anxieties about their loved one in combat. But as a National Guard soldier rather advanced in years myself, who deployed to Iraq with the NY Army National Guard, I know from first hand experience that many of our soldiers in Iraq are not “fresh-faced” by any means. Our average age was about 38, and while anti-war agitators and other partisans like to talk about “our boys and girls” serving in Iraq, that’s a caricature that’s not very accurate.
Be that as it may, I watched a lot of television footage on Iraq –less while I was actually mobilized and deployed – but still a fair amount. I saw many more of the “less than stereotypic” soldiers in many of these reports. I got to think that reporters often went out of their way to get footage of the overweight, and over-aged. Again, I don’t want to throw down a gauntlet or anything, but I think Samuels created that imagery for the purposes of her article.
Note too the implication that Samuels cousin joined the Army because she couldn’t get a (safer) job in the “lagging job market.” I’m kind of curious about the existence of such a job market, especially for a college graduate in a big city metropolitan area. In this article, Samuels plays correspondent on in what has the flavor of a diary entry or essay, rather than a news feature, so perhaps no need to fact check. I wonder if Samuels cousin would explain her choice to serve as out of “frustration” with her employment prospects. Just curious.
Samuels goes on to explain how difficult her cousin’s service was the family, and what happened when grim reality fell upon them:
As a family, we all knew Alexia could be sent to the war-torn region at any time, but we also prayed that some miracle would happen to change her fate and that of so many others. It just had to. But it didn’t. Our family had never sent anyone to war before, and so the ordeal of the next several months was completely alien. Some mornings I would eagerly turn on CNN as soon as I opened my eyes, to watch the latest news on the war. Other mornings I couldn’t bring myself to listen to one more word. Though NEWSWEEK regularly features articles on the war, I bypassed them in search of lighter fare. It was as if by not seeing the images, I could hold fast to my fantasy that all was right in the world and Alexia was safe and sound at her home in Atlanta, still dreaming her adolescent dreams of marrying Kobe Bryant.Sarah questioned this very remarkable assertion that some 50-75 female soldiers in Iraq have been raped by Iraqi insurgents. If such a report has actually appeared in print, it would be far from remarkable that it would have appeared in the NY Times. On Page One. In screaming, Pearl Harbor sized headlines.
Reality was, of course, much more grim. There were images of soldiers with lost limbs learning to walk again on prosthetics. I’d read reports of some female soldiers allegedly being raped by Iraqi insurgents—some 50 to 75 rapes, according to The New York Times. Alexia assured us that several male soldiers had volunteered to walk her home after she stood post at night. But that reassurance still couldn’t erase the images of assaults, bombs and corpses.
That would be if any such report actually appeared. To my knowledge, none has.
(For the NY Times article Samuels might have been thinking of, and more commentary, stop back over at Dadmanly.)
The hard-line opinions on weblogs are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of reporters.
We'll Mr Reporter....I just got home from spending a week with someone who has been a News Reporter/Editor for 50 years. Someone very well respected in the journalism community.
Somehow we got into a discussion about Government...I'm not a fancy University Educated man...but I know who Thomas Hobbes is and have a basic understanding of his theories.
Hobbes laid out the philosophical and moral basis for what is now commonly referred to as Modern Western Civilization.
Quite honestly, I wouldn't let a mechanic "diagnose" what is wrong with my car unless he had an understanding of the theories behind what makes it go. If the mechanic doesn't know why a car works...he surely can't offer meaningfull theories as to why it is not working.
Yet there I was...discussing Government with an Editor/Reporter of 50 years who has been reporting on "what is wrong with Government for 50 years, did not know who Thomas Hobbes was,(To said editor/reporters credit she looked it up)
I don't know what blogs you read Mr Reporter...but the posters here know who Thomas Hobbes is...and I'm certain that all the posters at all the blogs I read know who Thomas Hobbes is.
I suggest you take a poll of your newsroom...more will know who Karl Marx is than Thomas Hobbes...Hobbesian Theory is alive and well...Marxist Theory proved to be unworkable. Wouldn't the world be a better place if reporters understood why?All done!
All a-twitter to release a series of "gritty" and "hard hitting" anti-war movies while American forces are still engaged in combat overseas, Hollywood's Film Actors Guild once again goes boldly where angels would disdain to tread:
"Antiwar movies are coming out now because public opinion has crystallized against the war," (Brown University policy and media expert Darrell) West says.
"It's safe for Hollywood to make these kind of movies without risking much of a backlash. There's always a risk when you make an antiwar movie in the middle of the war that people are going to be ticked off," he says. "But now, with two-thirds of Americans thinking that the war in Iraq was a mistake, it's the perfect time to release these kinds of movies.
"There's been a tremendous change in American public opinion over the last two years. In 2004, Bush was re-elected based on the war on terrorism, but now the administration is seen as having mangled foreign policy and put the country into a mess. So it's safe to take on the administration in a way that it would not have been two or three years ago."
Sure, a lot of the other things she said I have issues with, but I liked this line - mostly because it must give Sen. Reid a tummy ache.
“We’ve begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar Province, it’s working,”I'll take it. Just proves that when it comes to politics - she is, well, a Clinton.
"I'd agree that "long range indirect psychoanalysis" is going too far"
Samson may, it is thought, have had antisocial personality disorder. The Bible tells of his lies to his parents, his cruelty to animals, his torching the Philistine fields, his frequent brawls, and his unremitting bragging after killing a thousand men, actions fitting the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. A person with antisocial personality disorder was once called a sociopath.
I'm just hoping Beuchamp doesn't get to the "killing a thousand men" part of his narrative.
...when a GI Joe was a GI Joe. Kids loved him and nobody examined his psyche? Those were the days...
I feel badly for GI Joe. Who knew an identity crisis was on the horizon? I certainly hope this team can deliver a product which does not offend the sensibilities of all the sensible people out there who might otherwise be insensed. Whew....
Oh, it would also serve everyone well to make sure that our complex, hybrid GI Joe is well-trained in SERE (survival, evasion, resistence, escape) skills. We can't afford to have another one caught and paraded around on television for propaganda purposes. Not good...
Hat tip: Who else?
Not getting the play it should, something important happened in Iraq - France just bought in to success.
Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, heard appeals from Iraqi leaders for French help as he paid a visit to Baghdad that underlines the thaw in Franco-American relations since Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded President Chirac.At this point, we don't need a French Division or two - what we need is strong support to the Iraqi government and its institutions on the international stage.
Dr Kouchner, who made his name as a leftist human rights campaigner, arrived unannounced in Baghdad last night on the first trip by a French Minister since Mr Chirac mounted a global front against the 2003 invasion.
FM Kouchner holds a lot of weight with many in the IC who are at best on the sidelines WRT success in Iraq. We should smile and say thanks.
Will General Petraeus deliver his report to Congress on September 11, and if so, whose idea was that?
Update: From today's White House press gaggle:
Q And the second one is, there's been some confusion about the whens, hows, wherefores of the Crocker-Petraeus testimony to Congress. Can you say when they're going to testify before Congress and under what conditions?
MR. JOHNDROE: Yes. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will testify in open hearings on the Hill. Administration officials are reaching out to Hill leadership today to discuss with them the potential dates for that testimony. Given the tight schedule leading up to September 15th and the congressional recess with Rosh Hashanah coming up, the likely dates for testimony are September 11th and 12th.
Q That's really just because of the tight schedule and not because it's September 11th?
MR. JOHNDROE: That's right. Congress is not -- as of right now, based on the last we checked, Congress is not in session because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, very much the week leading up to that Saturday, September 15th.
Still doesn't answer the question, though.
If you screw up badly enough in journalism, sometimes a journalist or two starts working on you. Brendan Miniter whacks the New Republic.
Update: Via Hot Air, some pushback from INDC and Captain's Quarters. I'd agree that "long range indirect psychoanalysis" is going too far, and that the more important issue is the truth of the articles and the system issues that caused the article to show up in the first place.
The Navy gave up its hunt for three missing aviators this afternoon and declared them deceased after searching the ocean off North Carolina for them since Wednesday night.As SJS says, "A tough, heartbreaking business this can be."
The second is a brief remembrance of those young men.
The third describes a VAW/VRC community Memorial Fund as a means of honoring fallen aviators by taking care of their survivors.
Guy in Army ROTC at Princeton gets invited to hang out for the summer with an alumnus. Guy's blogging about the trip.
Said alumnus is running military ops in Iraq...
Well, this drawing has a passing relationship with the topic discussed here, though I doubt she saw much sea duty...
Physician, heal thyself:
...a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post far more potentially-harmful than blogs do.Noah Schachtmann: "Um, no."
The audits, performed by the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell between January 2006 and January 2007, found at least 1,813 violations of operational security policy on 878 official military websites. In contrast, the 10-man, Manassas, Virginia, unit discovered 28 breaches, at most, on 594 individual blogs during the same period.
There are many more Army web sites and web pages available for review on traditional Army web sites than there are BLOGs and BLOG pages, therefore because of volume alone, it must be expected that there will be more violations found on the traditional web sites.
Me: Gosh, I can't decide which snappy one liner to use...
1. A helpful link.
3. Oh, by the way - that's just the Army web sites. Who knows what treasures await on the pages of the other three...
4. Heh - I'd better be safe and never quote an offical public web page here.
5. All the above.
Cross posted at Mudville
Tonight on SpouseBUZZ Talk Radio, airforcewife will interview author Brad Thor. Thor writes novels that take place during the Global War on Terror. I haven't read any of his books, but airforcewife has read all of them and she told me something quite interesting,
In Thor's last book, Takedown, the main character falls in love with a woman whose face had been disfigured by an IED. She has returned to the GWoT to keep on fighting. In his latest book, The First Commandment, she is the endangered love interest.
Which reminded me of something I've read in several comment sections lately. Coincidence, or has Scott Thomas Beauchamp been reading Brad Thor? Yeah, a real stretch, I agree. Interesting nonetheless. In any event, airforcewife says she plans to ask Thor about the similarities.
Click here to listen live. The interview will take place between 9:00 - 10:00 p.m. EDT.
Update: airforcewife asked Thor about the fact that some commenters on various blog sites have wondered if Beauchamp was reading Thor novels. First time Thor has heard of the chatter. Thor says he's going to check into it. You can listen to the audio file below. Beauchamp talk is about 45 minutes in, so you can fast-forward.
On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley paid a visit to President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in Washington, D.C. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit with the President and suggesting that he be made a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and Have Great Respect for your office. I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs a week ago and expressed my concern for our country. The Drug Culture, The Hippie Elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc do not consider me as their enemy or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I Love it. Sir I can and will be of any Service that I can to help the country out. I have no concerns or motives other than helping the country out. So I wish not to be given a title or an appointed position, I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large, and I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages. First and Foremost I am an entertainer but all I need is the Federal credentials. I am on the Plane with Sen. George Murphy and We have been discussing the problems that our country is faced with. Sir I am Staying at the Washington hotel Room 505-506-507. I have 2 men who work with me by the name of Jerry Schilling and Sonny West. I am registered under the name of Jon Burrows. I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent. I have done in depth study of Drug Abuse and Communist Brainwashing Techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing, where I can and will do the most good. I am Glad to help just so long as it is kept very Private. You can have your staff or whomever call me anytime today tonight or Tomorrow. I was nominated the coming year one of America's Ten Most outstanding young men. That will be in January 18 in my Home Town of Memphis Tenn. I am sending you the short autobiography about myself so you can better understand this approach. I would love to meet you just to say hello if you're not too busy.
It is ironic that Elvis died of the very thing he seemed so adimately opposed of. Seven years after this meeting Elvis is found dead of a apparent drug over dose.
From 1972 - 1975, Elvis was involved in prescribed medications, and that went from use to abuse. For example, Elvis was 165-168 (pounds), '72 until '74; '75, about 200; '76-'77, 255. These were results of medications prescribed by doctors that Elvis took on a regular basis. This use-to-abuse scenario, a scenario that was probably, in that era, not considered a problem, since they were perscribed by a doctor.
Had Elvis lived, I have no doubt he would have eventually went into politics, but then he may not have become so beloved and the MSM none too kind.
Elvis admired law enforcement officers and collected the badges of police departments he visited. In Los Angeles on a secret getaway from tensions at home in Memphis, Elvis became inflamed with the desire to be deputized by the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangersous Drugs (BNDD). He inveigled his friend Jerry Schilling to join him on a quick trip to Washington. Bodyguard Sonny West would fly in from Memphis to meet them. Elvis asked Schilling to take out some cash for the trip, which Elvis ended up giving away to soldiers returning from service in Vietnam.
Of course it's no suprise he was a big supporter of our military
Elvis and the U.S. Army
On January 4, 1957 Elvis reported to Kennedy Veterans Hospital in Memphis for an army pre-induction physical. On January 8, 1957, his twenty second birthday, the Memphis Draft Board held a press conference and announced Elvis would be classified 1A and would probably be drafted sometime that year. At the time the U.S. was not involved in any conflicts or wars. With the news of Elvis's forthcoming induction, the Navy and the Air Force offered bids for his services - the Navy offering to create a specially trained "Elvis Presley company" and the Air Force thinking it would be good for him to tour their recruiting centers. Elvis turned down their offers, not wanting any special treatment. He was going to serve like a regular G.I.
Elvis was assigned to the Third Armored "Spearhead" Division, whose motto was "Victory or Death". His unit was stationed in Friedberg, Germany. His troop train left Fort Hood for the Brooklyn Army Terminal where, on September 22, 1958, Elvis boarded the U.S.S. Randall and sailed for Germany.
Elvis went on maneuvers and performed all the regular duties as required. (Some say he did more than what was required to ensure that no one get the idea that he was getting any special treatment or had a "star" ego.) One maneuver took his unit to Grafenwohr, near the Czech Republic border, for field training and weapons proficiency tests. While serving in Germany, he earned medals for marksmanship and in February 1960 he received his sergeant's stripes.
Just prior to his return, in an interview in Germany for Armed Forces Radio and Television, Elvis was asked about being in the field rather than entertaining in a service club. His response was, "... I was in a funny position. Actually, that's the only way it could be. People were expecting me to mess up (laughs), to goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn't take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering, but to myself."
When Elvis entered the Army his pay went from $400,000 to $78 a month. Elvis was discharged from the Army on March 5, 1960, with his final check from the service for $109.54.
In 1960 he starred in the movie "G.I. Blues." The film was about a young Army soldier stationed in Germany. Elvis made a number of movies over the years with a military theme. He never forgot he was a veteran and if you go to Graceland you will see his military memorabilia on display.
I was an Elvis fan that enjoyed all of his movies as a little girl and had several 8-track tapes. He was right up there in my book.
Thank you Elvis for your service to our country, for the music and for having a heart of gold.
Thank you, thank you verrry much.
Update: Seems Elvis accomplished alot more than influencing music and culture, Elvis's greatest achievement: as a cultural immune response to totalitarianism.
I don't know if y'all have seen this or not, but the video is pretty darn good.
I've always found the story of Hansel & Gretel a little disturbing -- that a father should intentionally lose his children in the woods -- not once but twice! -- at the behest of the stepmother and that these "lovable" children stay in the cottage made of cake & chocolate for days while the wicked witch (who wanted to eat the children) was burned to death in the oven... and then they steal the witch's money, find the stepmother has died, the father is forgiven and they all live happily ever after. (What the hell was supposed to be the moral of that fairy tale??)
Be that as it may, I wanted to make the reader think mostly just of the children finding their way home after a harrowing and hellacious ordeal...
Noah signed out at Battalion at 10:43AM EDT this morning. He said leaving the Army was bittersweet (although the way he has been treated by some recently, more sweet than bitter.)
The rest of the story of this Hansel the Soldier and Gretel the wife... and our other Hansel the Sailor... over at Some Soldier's Mom
Bob Calvert, host of "Talking with Heroes" began this wonderful program on the internet in December of 2005.
Talking with Heroes is a voice for our military, their families and those who support them. We share first-hand accounts straight from the personal interviews with the men and women serving in our nation’s Armed Forces. These men and women are helping people worldwide, and that includes our own citizens right here at home in the USA.
We broadcast LIVE every Sunday Night on the stardustradio.com internet network at 7pm CST. Our guests include men and women in our military who are willing to share their experiences, as well as leaders from military support and veterans groups, ministries, companies, entertainers and others who help and support our troops and their families back home.
Since Dec. 2005 Active Duty Military Personnel from all branches of the military have shared their positive stories with our listeners. We will continue to give a forum for those mostly untold stories. Military Support and Veterans Groups, Companies, Organizations and others who support our troops and their families also have an opportunity to share their stories.
In October 2006, and again in Jan 2007, Calvert took the program over to Iraq. All of the interviews are currently archived on the website under the "Past shows/archives" section for all Americans to listen to. ["Talking with Heroes"]
And now Bob Calvert accompied by Jim Martin, CEO of Altitude Sports and Entertainment Cable Company, are heading back:
Soon you will be hearing more stories as Jim and I go back to Iraq again. Keep an eye on this Blog as FBL, the veteran Soldiers' Angel and blogger, posts our messages here for you and all Americans to read while we are gone. When we get back, millions will have an opportunity to hear the audio stories we will have collected.
And we will be depending on each and every one of you to help us get the word out.
A special thanks to Patti and Jeff Bader and Soldiers Angels for being the main sponsor of this upcoming trip to Iraq. And thank you to all those who have been supportive of this project, some for short periods of time and others from the very beginnning back in 2005.
To all of our troops be safe... stay alert..]
You can hear the most recent interview with Soldiers' Angels here
[FbL adds: Bob will be spending most of his trip outside the "Green Zone," joining patrols and meeting with military personnel and Iraqis at/near outposts throughout Iraq. I'm sure he'll have some great stories to share as he travels]
Don't miss this opportunity to watch our heroes talk about the progress being made in Iraq.
Thank you for your support
Cross posted at Mudville
Robert sends the following:
As we come upon the eve of the 2nd year of Remembrance of the death of my beloved son, SGT Mike Stokely, KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq, I wanted to do something to remember this event. I am a little tapped out on words as I am so busy coordinating the last minute push to have a successful car and motorcycle "Ride to Remember..." in his honor on August 25, 2007. I am driven to have a successful event, not just to honor Mike and raise money for a scholarship in his name at his college, but to set the stage to do this in coming years and use the proceeds to honor each and everyone of the other 25 fallen GA National Guard Soldiers from Georgia's 48th Brigade Combat Team GAARNG with a scholarship in their name and memory.
At the road dedication ceremony last October 6, Abbey produced a video on the lap top at home as a tribute to Mike. The song "American Soldier" by Toby Keith is set to photos Abbey selected as a tribute to her beloved brother and fallen hero, SGT Mike Stokely. Toby Keith most likely will never know who Abbey Stokely or Mike Stokely are, or just how much this song means to a younger sister who lost her American Soldier, Hero and Brother in war. He certainly couldn't envision how many times I have replayed Abbey's video tribute and cry each time, for the words and his melody are so "Mike" to me. To say the least, American Soldier is a fitting song chosen by Abbey to sum up Mike's life as a soldier with but one exception - he never got to have children with his high school sweetheart (Niki) who he married just ten days before he went to Iraq. Mike Stokely was a great husband, and would have been a gr eat Dad. Obviously, he was a great brother. As a dad, I can say he was a great son as well as a most dear friend.
I would hope Toby Keith wouldn't mind this use of his song. I wish that one day I might have the brief chance to thank him in person and tell him the real "value" of his song and what it means to me and our family. But, for now, I'll just say thank you Toby Keith in cyberspace.
Now, I'll turn it over to 15 year old Abbey Stokely and invite you to take four minutes and go to the YOUTUBE link below, and see an up close and personal view of what the cost of freedom is to our family - A Lifetime of Love
It is no wonder we remember with honor and and on August 25 we will "Ride to Remember..." Mike Stokely, www.mikestokely.com .
When asked what I would say to those who built the bomb that killed Mike, my answer is "They would have better served their cause by leaving him alive to have come home to a family who would have gone on to live ordinary anonymous lives. Instead, by their acts which caused Mike's death, an enemy has brought our family and entire generation of friends alive for the cause of freedom, without bitterness, anger, or bent for revenge, as we Remember with Honor what Mike Stokely gave. We have not wavered, we shall not retreat, nor shall we forget."
proud to be the dad of Wes and Abbey Stokely and
proudly remembering my beloved son, SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah
USA E Troop 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG
I'm an Army Wife, but I gotta say, those Marine wives are, well, witty....
"Brian, there's a festival down the street this weekend. Says here the Marines will be there to show off their vehicles and weapons. Oh, and the Navy will be there, too. I guess to show off their....Marines!"
Jim C. at "Thinking Right" is sponsoring a letter-writing campaign for a deployed Marine battalion, the 1st of the 1st Marine Regiment. He's about 20% towards goal, and some details can be found over at my soap box.
When I was on a ship at war in 2003, we’d already been at sea for what seemed like forever when the kinetic phase of OIF kicked off. We were all gratified though the way the country had rallied round to support us. We received “Any Sailor” letters in the mail, and huge posters signed by folks from all over the place, sent to us from scout troops and classrooms and church youth groups. The logistics airheads in Kuwait were clogged with “any soldier/Marine” letters, too.
We were busy of course and sometimes we looked at those letters a little quizzically - they seemed to come from a place so very different than where we were at that it was as though the people who had written them existed in a separate universe. But they reminded us that there was a place where people could be innocent of long hard days at sea and dangerous work in the skies above a foreign battlefield yet still keep us in their thoughts and prayers.
It occurred to me then that we had in a way traded away our innocence to protect theirs, and that this was a worthy thing to do. Those letters and posters were deeply touching to all of us. We looked at them and smiled at them tenderly for a moment, and then we set our faces to our work and went back to war.
Then, our own work done at last, we came home and there were tens of thousands of San Diegans who showed up along the harbor roads and piers to wave flags and cheer us. Fire boats and tugs sprayed water hoses in the air in celebration. We had not yet begun to hear Lee Greenwood songs cynically - irony was still dead. At home, TV commercials showed soldiers returning through airports to the applause of strangers.
They don’t much get that anymore. The work is no less dangerous.
Go to Jim’s place, please. Write a letter. Tell your friends.
It'd be a kindness.
From the esteemed (oh man, I know he'd hate that) Michael Yon's latest dispatch Three Marks on the Horizon (my emphasis):
False advertising is afoot. I write these words from Indonesia, soaking wet, having just returned from photographing rice paddies in a pouring rain, wearing a Florida Gators shirt. That means there is a green alligator on my chest. While supporting my team, my shirt perpetuates the myth that alligators are green, when in fact they are black when wet, gray when dry.The mantra that “there is no political progress in Iraq” is rapidly becoming the “surge” equivalent of a green alligator: when enough people repeat something that sounds plausible, but also happens to be false, it becomes accepted as fact. The more often it is repeated—and the larger the number of people repeating it—the harder it is to convince anyone of the truth: alligators are not green, and Iraqis are making plenty of political progress.
There may be little progress on political goals crafted in America, to meet American concerns, by politicians who have a cushion of 200 years of democracy. Washington might as well be on the moon. Iraqis don’t respond well to rules imposed from outside their acknowledged authorities, though I have many times seen Iraqi Police and Army of all ranks responding very well to American Marines and soldiers who they have come to respect, and in many cases actually admire and try to emulate. Our military has increasing moral authority in Iraq, but the same cannot be said for our government at home. In fact, it’s in moral deficit because many Iraqis are increasingly frightened we will abandon them to genocide. The Iraqis I speak with couldn’t care less what is said from Washington but large numbers of them pay close attention to what some Marine Gunny says, or what American battalion commanders all over Iraq say. Some of our commanders could probably run for local offices in Iraq, and win. To say there has been no political progress in Iraq in 2007 is patently absurd, completely wrong and dangerously dismissive of the significant changes and improvements happening all across Iraq. Whether or not Americans are seeing it on the nightly news or reading it in their local papers, Iraqis are actively writing their children’s history.
You must read the whole thing if you really want the truth of what is transpiring in Iraq.... Aye, there's the rub: IF YOU WANT THE TRUTH...
P.S. I don't even have to be in Iraq to know how true this statement from Yon is (hell, Michael -- they don't have any moral clout IN the USA and we think it's a circus act... both sides of the aisle):
Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act.
But more importantly, I believe Yon when he says
The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to overstate.
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Ones that would be acceptable to Rosa Brooks, even.
'Raider' medics recognized for skill, bravery under fire
By Pfc. Nathaniel Smith
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. PAO
BAGHDAD - They often are the first people who arrive to render aid when Soldiers are wounded in combat. They are combat medics and have saved numerous lives while serving in Iraq.
Spc. Nicholas Roden, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Moline, Ill., and Spc. Nicholas Bryant, a medic with Troop B, 1-4 Cav. from Baltimore, are two such professionals whose skill was recognized at an award ceremony July 20 at Forward Operating Base Falcon.
The two received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor device for their actions with their respective units while on patrol in southern Baghdad's Rashid District.
Roden, who works with the 1-4 Cav. personal security detachment, and his convoy were exiting a hostile area when he got word over the radio someone had been hit. The moment he heard, he said there was only one thing on his mind.
"Get to my casualty and take care of him," he said.Roden did get to the wounded Soldier, despite having to cross an intersection that still was taking fire. For Bryant, the method of attack was different, but his reactions were no less impressive.
When his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, he immediately grabbed his aid bag and rushed to the stricken vehicle. After assessing the situation, he realized what he had to do. He removed his protective gear and crawled under the truck only to find his comrade was beyond help. Upon treating a casualty inside the truck who had his leg broken in three places, Bryant remained inside the vehicle as it was being lifted by a crane to stabilize his wounded patient, preventing further injuries.
"I just got a surge of adrenaline when I saw somebody hurt," Bryant said. "You don't think about yourself, you just worry about them. I just wanted to get them out as fast as I could."
Staff Sgt. Grant Pratt, the medical treatment noncommissioned officer for 1-4 Cav. from Dillon, Mont., said it was nice to see the medics recognized. "It makes me feel good because usually medics don't always get honored for the job that they do," he said. "For our medics to be the only guys (being recognized) right now in the squadron, it makes me feel good for our guys."
Staff Sgt. Jacob Perez, the medical evacuation noncommissioned officer for 1-4 Cav. from Corpus Christi, Texas, said Bryant's and Roden's recognition reflects highly on his unit. "I think it makes us look great," Perez said. "We pretty much are the best medical platoon within the entire brigade, and everybody knows that."
The Raiders' medical platoon put in a lot of hours prior to deploying, and Bryant and Roden's actions are reflective of that, their NCOs said. "We trained almost on a daily basis. Instead of sending these guys home, we were doing classes, we were training," Pratt said. "We knew we were coming here. We trained hours and hours and hours every day." "We know what to expect and what's going to happen. There's a bunch of guys fresh out of basic and advanced individual training," he added. "We weren't going to let them be focused on the basic book knowledge of a medic. We knew that it's far more advanced than that."
Bryant and Roden have been honored for their hard work and uncommon actions under fire, but if you ask them, modesty is all you'll get. "I appreciate it, but I was just doing my job," Bryant said. Roden added, "I appreciate it, but I'd rather have my friend back." Such humility is expected from the two medics, Pratt said. "It's a testament to their character. They are very humble guys," he said.
"We've made our guys understand that their job is more important than patches or awards and all that stuff, and they understand that more than a lot of people out here who can't wait to get a combat patch or who are chasing a combat medical badge or combat action badge or infantry badge," Perez added. "They just go out there looking for stuff. Our guys do their job, and they're good at their job.
"If somebody wants to recognize them for valor, that's great, but it's not going to go to their head and they're not going to change their job in any way."
Well done, soldiers!
"We've made our guys understand that their job is more important than patches or awards and all that stuff, and they understand that more than a lot of people out here who can't wait to get a combat patch or who are chasing a combat medical badge or combat action badge or infantry badge," Perez added. "They just go out there looking for stuff. Our guys do their job, and they're good at their job.
More importantly, I think - well done, Staff Sergeant Perez. Getting the job done and coming home is more important than merit badges, however deserved they may be.
Got a suspicious boat with a possible diver near a cruise ship in Long Beach Harbor?
Good security practice, it seems to me, would suggest that security forces be on the scene before the suspect boat leaves the area.
That's not what happened. Story here:
U.S. Coast Guard divers inspected the hull of a cruise ship docked in Long Beach Harbor Sunday after several people reported having seen a small, suspicious boat floating nearby, authorities said.
Cruise ship officials called the Coast Guard at 11:30 a.m., after one of four people in the 18-foot skiff went into the water and pulled himself back out, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Andrew Munoz said.
It is illegal for unauthorized people and boats to come within 100 yards of a docked cruise ship, Munoz said.
The regulation was implemented to avoid possible terrorist attacks on cruise ships.
The small boat and its occupants were no longer at the scene by the time police, firefighters, lifeguards and Coast Guard officers arrived.
Eleven divers inspected the hull of the ship with the aid of a remote-controlled, submersible camera as the ship's 2,576 passengers boarded.
A little more here.
If Al Qaeda is running tests, they found a weak spot. A ship with 2,600 passengers and a large crew makes a spectacular target.
UPDATE: Added image
Is this another evil genius Rovian Plot?.
Mr. Rove, who has held senior posts in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president's term in January 2009.
"I just think it's time," Mr. Rove said in the interview. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family." Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio
Michelle imagines how things would be if he had resigned a year ago.
Now who does Bush listen to? ... Cheney?
What say you?
She partially sank herself to do her job. "Stealthy" for her day.
Cleared the way for President Lincoln to visit Richmond.
And maybe was named for a "spitting devil" or a "spouting meadow."
A unique footnote to naval history as set out here.
The nature of the American public has always been isolationist all the way back to Jefferson and observations about "Foreign Entanglements". The Post-WWII American role as "The Worlds Policeman" is a burden the American people would rather not have...as such...America becomes the best candidate for the job.
Actually, Pelosi is right on tack with her colleagues. Their new attack will be on the Iraqi Government, who had the nerve to take a vacation instead of trying to solve the various issues confronting them. Note also that this new attack is scheduled to officially launch just as soon as the US Congress gets back from vacation.
Of course, the US Congress won't be able to officially condemn the Iraqi Parliament for failing to pass legislation - any attempt to put the matter to a vote would result in hopeless deadlock and failure.
(Or perhaps not - if they attached a few hundred billion in pork...)
All due respect to Military Spouses... after all, I count a few as good friends of mine... but this kind of got my hackles up:
Bill Would Memorialize Military Spouses
When it comes to honoring the sacrifices and contributions that military spouses have made to national defense and our country, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-VA) intends to make sure there is no generation gap and that no spouse is left behind.
Last month, Rep. Drake introduced H.R. 3026, the Military Spouses Memorial Act of 2007, which would "establish in our nation's Capitol a memorial commemorating the selfless sacrifice of military spouses from 1776 to the present day." The monument will be intended to recognize the strength and courage of all military spouses, including survivors, and tell their story to all generations.
I have said it for all the years my sons have been in the military and have heard the same complaint from virtually every military mom I have ever spoken with: military moms (actually, military parents) are an afterthought to the various service branches. Even the website for Noah's unit when it deployed in 2005 said... "and parents might find this site useful, too." As if when our children joined the military or married we somehow lose interest in their lives and their well-being.
And while I really do admire how hard military spouses have to work at all they do -- especially during deployments -- I think we should save our war memorials for those who fight in those wars... and if the members of Congress really want to pay homage to military spouses, then use the tax dollars they propose to spend on a "memorial" to instead pay the military husbands/wives a better salary, make sure they all have access to the best health care, give them modern and convenient housing, schools for their children that are second to none and make sure those who fight have the best weapons and protection money can buy... and be sure the wounded are ably cared for and compensated... THAT'S how you honor military spouses.
But build a statue in the nation's Capitol?? I will support the Spouses Memorial endeavour after they build a monument to Military Moms... and then the one for Military Dads. After all, not every Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor and Coastguardsman has/had a spouse, but every single one of them has (or had) a Mom. Come to think of it, so did those military spouses... where do you think they learned to support their military spouse?
x-posted at Some Soldier's MomAll done!
Is it really true that another 9/11 would really unite us? Sure, it's nice to point to Desert Storm as a "good" war that everybody and their mother can get behind. But beyond the exceedingly brief psychological satisfaction of a 100 hour war--what did we accomplish?
It's even more cynical to say that a "new 9/11" is needed to unite us when the type of war that unites us doesn't actually accomplish any long-lasting strategic victory.
Even our present "good war" in Afghanistan ain't exactly uniting people. I imagine that, if we weren't in Iraq, that the general public will for our continued presence in Afgh. would be at about the level that Iraq is at now.
Public will is hard to maintain. Iraq is the most recent and hence, the most comfortable focus for a flagging public will. No Iraq, it'd be Afgh. and somebody would be saying the same: that to "save America, we need another 9/11."
News agency Reuters has been forced to admit that footage it released last week purportedly showing Russian submersibles on the seabed of the North Pole actually came from the movie Titanic.
Apparently, the Russians were not even trying to dupe Reuters...they were just broadcasting a "dramatization" on Russian State TV, and Reuters mistook it for actual live footage. Maybe Elvis is alive after all.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander said Russian bombers never got within 300 miles (500 kilometers) of Guam this week and did not fly over the U.S. territory as a Russian air force general claimed.I hope our pilots remember the "Hawaiian good luck sign" to pass on to any Bear pilots they might see.
Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard disputed that U.S. fighters intercepted the bombers. The admiral said the Russian aircraft never got close enough to the Pacific island or the massive U.S. military exercises being held nearby, to warrant such action.
"U.S. planes went to an orbit point in preparation for an intercept that never occurred because the Bears didn't get close enough," Willard said in an interview Thursday using a slang term for the Russian planes.
Sadly, The Wicked Witch of the West hasn't gotten the memo.
Last weekend was the 2007 Soldiers' Angels Conference, and the highlight of the event for Angels was a party at the Brooke Army Medical Center's (BAMC's) Fisher Houses in which 78 Valour-IT laptops were distributed to wounded Soldiers and Marines. This brings Valour-IT's total laptop distributions to over 1200 in two years, and an additional 22 laptops are on standby at BAMC.
Valour-IT was able to distribute the 78 laptops at once thanks to a $150,000 grant [warning, PDF file] from the San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAF), which is by far the largest donation Valour-IT has ever received. The money must be used exclusively in Texas, but that will free up other donations to be applied to locations around the country. SAAF has five million dollars to distribute and this was the first round of grants. Valour-IT received the largest grant of this round (about $80,000 of it remains at this time).
In related news, Circuit City has been working with Valour-IT for some time now, helping us to stretch our donated bucks. They negotiate with their major suppliers to get the best dealer incentives and bulk rates available at any given time and pass that savings directly on to us. This has enabled Valour-IT to distribute relatively high-end laptops to deserving veterans for under $600 each. So, representatives from Circuit City were on-hand at the party to coordinate distribution, and even set up decorations beforehand.
It was quite an impressive sight to see so many laptop boxes stacked up together, and so very gratifying to watch wounded soldiers pulling up in their wheelchairs with smiles on their faces and computer boxes in their laps. At BAMC, Valour-IT is blessed to work hand-in-glove with hospital caseworkers who identify a patient's need for a laptop and refer the info to us. This means that patients are less likely to "fall through the cracks," and are usually quickly identified if they are in need. In fact, the caseworkers themselves distributed the laptops.
Valour-IT is another result of average folks banding together to make a difference, getting beyond petty politics and government bureacracy to get something done and do it right.
Thank you Fuzzybear for heading up this project and making it what it is today. Valour-IT has come a long way in the two short years it's been formed and you are a big part of that success.
...no, not Robert Novak - retired General Wesley Clark.
Where exactly does "criminal" show up in the Geneva Conventions? And isn't "unlawful" a synonym for "criminal" in any event?
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this, John, if you have the time and interest to comment.
Here's the core (as always, you should follow the links and read the whole thing and judge for yourself, not just the excerpt):
Treating terrorists as combatants is a mistake for two reasons. First, it dignifies criminality by according terrorist killers the status of soldiers. Under the law of war, military service members receive several privileges. They are permitted to kill the enemy and are immune from prosecution for doing so. They must, however, carefully distinguish between combatant and civilian and ensure that harm to civilians is limited.
Critics have rightly pointed out that traditional categories of combatant and civilian are muddled in a struggle against terrorists. In a traditional war, combatants and civilians are relatively easy to distinguish. The 9/11 hijackers, by contrast, dressed in ordinary clothes and hid their weapons. They acted not as citizens of Saudi Arabia, an ally of America, but as members of Al Qaeda, a shadowy transnational network. And their prime targets were innocent civilians.
By treating such terrorists as combatants, however, we accord them a mark of respect and dignify their acts. And we undercut our own efforts against them in the process. Al Qaeda represents no state, nor does it carry out any of a state’s responsibilities for the welfare of its citizens. Labeling its members as combatants elevates its cause and gives Al Qaeda an undeserved status.
If we are to defeat terrorists across the globe, we must do everything possible to deny legitimacy to their aims and means, and gain legitimacy for ourselves. As a result, terrorism should be fought first with information exchanges and law enforcement, then with more effective domestic security measures. Only as a last resort should we call on the military and label such activities “war.” The formula for defeating terrorism is well known and time-proven.
Clark chooses to ignore the salient point that motivated the whole "unlawful combatant" category.
In fact, he ignores the reason for the insertion of the term "unlawful" into the debate.
The inadequacy of the Conventions (and other Law of Land Warfare agreements) in dealing with non-state actors who act... as de-facto states. Who wish to be states, however nebulous and fuzzy their ideas on the subject are. Al-Qaeda's intent is to first re-establish the old Caliphate (a state) and then to extend it's dominion, by word and sword, until the globe is the Caliphate.
Al-Qaeda fighters *claim* to be soldiers, act as soldiers in many respects, but toss over those distinctions that the Conventions use to separate combatants from non-combatants, even as they may wish to cloak themselves in the protections afforded by the Conventions, while denying them to their opponents.
In other words, they look and act as non-combatants, until they suddenly reveal themselves to be combatants. The traditional law of land warfare actually almost allows for the essentially summary execution of people who behave like that. See "spies and saboteurs."
Clark ignores the fact that the terrs have information of a militarily useful nature, which cannot be gotten at if we accord them the normal protections due a detained civilian murderer.
Nor can we necessarily properly prosecute these people in open court because much of the evidence needed to convict has military and security concerns attached. And, as we've seen as we've let these guys go - a significant number of them "re-offend." By attaching the combatant label to them, we can, under the usages of war, detain them for the duration of the conflict.
All knotty issues, with real concerns attached, from *both* sides of the issue.
But Clark just blows all of that off as essentially irrelevant.
Oddly enough - I agree with him in most aspects, just not in his breadth and scope.
His formulation works, really... if you are aggressive in the law enforcement aspect (think IRA and Basques) up front and continually - but they fail to be useful when it gets to the point where.you.commit.the.military to the fight in significant ways - in other words, when the terrorism ceases to function at the level of criminal nuisance and reaches the level of armed conflict.
In other words - I agree with him. Until the situation is such that it truly is a war. When you get to that point, the existing rules are insufficient, as they didn't take into account non-state entities acting as sovereign entities, yet not. That's where we find ourselves, and we have to find a way to account for that.
That there is room to wiggle and for discussion, certainly. That's how the system works.
And, as evil as people wish to portray us - we've not adopted the German, Russian, or French historical solutions to the problem - nor did we ever consider them. But sometimes, listening to he rhetoric, such subtleties and distinctions are seemingly lost.
That's my take.
Buzz Patterson versus the hotheaded John Soltz.
"Mr. Manners" this one is not. But that doesn't really matter. What really matters is that he served in Iraq. In case you didn't know.
via Powerline our favorite propaganda rag TNR chronicles a war ravaged soldier and his road to Suicide.
I won't argue that war doesn't create substantial mental health stressors for its participants(If your struggling with 'getting right' get help), because it does.
I won't argue that Military Mental Health care is the best money can buy, because it isn't.('If you're thinking about blowing your brains out...go to the nearest hospital, military or otherwise, if tri-care won't pay..there are plenty of patriotic Americans who will help you find a way to pay")
I will argue statistics -
Suicides of Military Personnel are essentially statistically unchanged since 2002, 119 suicides/million active duty personnel.
Full Stats -here
The military has a slightly higher suicide rate than a statistically similar age group. The military also is disproprotionately male, and males are 7 to 8 times more likely to commit suicide. (Woman tend to make poor attempts)
If TNR wants to do a story a story on an alarming crisis in Suicide rates they should start here.
Women who receive implants for breast enhancement are three times more likely to commit suicide, according to a new report that offers a sobering view of an increasingly popular surgery.All done!
MaryAnn has a pretty good summary of Soviet Propaganda in her post Against All Enemies.
Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels.
A US Democracy is a ripe target for "Leader Intensive" propaganda. Rarely is the leader elected by more than a single digit margin. That leaves 40% of the electorate quite happy to hear about the 'evils' of the leader they didn't vote for. The 'other' party is quite happy to magnify those 'evils' as well.
Soviet Style propaganda (they may have written the book...but there are more than a few plagiarists) generally takes the form of framing an issue around the competence of the proponents, rather than framing an issue around the arguments for or against something.
In th 50's Joe McCarthy was sounding the alarm that US public opinion was being unduly influenced by agents of the Soviet Union. The Question of whether McCarthy's premise was true or false was never really answered. McCarthy's tactics and techniques were attacked. Anyone who would claim that Commie's had infiltrated Hollywood were branded as McCarthiites, and frowned upon. (History would show that the Moscow reporter for the New York Times was filing reports that were well beyond pure fabrication) .
it is not hard to spot Soviet Style propaganda. It will always have a veriafiable grain of truth, and almost always be framed in such a way as to discredit the leader of a cause rather than a cause.
Korea was "Trumans war".
Kennedy's war became Johnsons war became Nixons war. We hear a lot of chatter about how the current course is the wrong course and that the war is 'Unwinnable'. If Iraq is unwinnable...then what were the odds for winning WWII??
The major media, and especially the DC based media is obssessed with the political horse race in Washington...they are more than happy to be complicit dupes in a skilled propagandists efforts to frame something in terms of the "Propoents" and "Oppenents' of specific action, regardess of the merits of the action.
Analysis pieces that spend more ink on the word "Bush" or "Blair' or 'Maliki' than actual analysis are examples of the pinnacle of Soviet Style propraganda successes. Don't spend a lot of time actually discussing merits...keep the fact that 49% of the voters who voted against Bush will willing accept any premise that paints Bush in a bad light as true.
In the last few days we have been treated to a string of propaganda about the "Malliki Government Collapsing". We haven't been given any details that would normally be associated with a collapse of a Government. We would expect to see stories of mass desertion in the Iraqi Armed forces, Civil Servants and Police not showing up to work, hospitals closing etc. etc. One could easliy argue that the Iraqi Government has a long way to go before it gets fully on its feet....but no evidence is presented that the Iraqi Government is performing any worse this week than last week or the week before. Yet another classic propaganda piece.
The Soviets needed Roosevelt in WWII...so his popularity remained relatively high ensuring vicotry on the Western Front. The Soviets didn't need Truman...which insured a stalemate in Korea as Trumans popularity plummented.All done!
There is an end to everything, to good things as well. The proverb dates back to about 1374 (Chaucer). First attested in the United States around 1680. The word 'good' was added much later. 'Everything has an end' and 'Everything comes to an end' are variants of the proverb." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman
I'm referring to the end of one of my favorite blogs, who's owner also authors here, Andi's World. A sad and bittersweet decision made by Andi:
This has certainly been one of the most difficult posts I've ever had to write. After some long and thoughtful deliberation, I've decided to close Andi's World. I love this blog, with a passion, primarily because this blog has afforded me other, better opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our troops and their families. Opportunities that are more of a priority for me right now than providing daily, unimportant commentary here, and opportunities which allow me to make a tangible contribution to the military community, of which I'm a proud member.
Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think when I started this blog that I would meet so many incredible people, and become involved in so many worthwhile projects. I am grateful every single day that I decided to begin blogging.
When I founded SpouseBUZZ, I knew it could be an important resource for military spouses, but I never dreamed it would be considered a lifeline for so many. I know from experience that the cyber-world can successfully distract, entertain and support military spouses as they embark on that often-lonely, often-dark and often-scary journey called deployment. Hardly a day goes by that a military spouse doesn't comment or email to thank us for SpouseBUZZ, which makes the hard work worthwhile.
At Ft. Hood, I held the hand of a young, teary-eyed Army wife who told me that she needed what we offered. In San Diego, more tears flowed, more hearts were touched and more lifelines were established. I cannot overstate how important the work at SpouseBUZZ is to military spouses who are, increasingly discovering the value of non-traditional, unofficial sources of support, like blogs. Now would be a great time to tip my hat to my fellow spouse bloggers who work daily to entertain, assure and support military spouses.
From the moment I stumbled upon Mudville Gazette, quite accidentally, I knew I wanted to be a part of such an exciting and important community, and I thank all milbloggers, whose collective efforts have served to give this community a much-needed voice, for their work.
I love working in an environment which focuses solely on offering support to military families and doesn't dwell in politics or whether or not we should be in Iraq. SpouseBUZZ is just such an environment and it is growing by leaps and bounds.
You can read the rest here and say your farewells and give her plenty of well wishes.
Do not fret, Andi will not be leaving us, here. She needs a place to vent and this is the perfect place. But I suggest if you really want to keep up with her, you visit her and the other military spouses at SpouseBUZZ, you won't be sorry.
...they brought ass.
I wonder if that was the long-overdue "spring offensive"?
Our Man in the 'Stan is not the only deployed Denizen of Argghhh! Co-blogger Bill the Rotorhead, retired Army helo driver, is "Somewhere in Theater" training local Cobra attack helo pilots. Bill is easily the best writer of the three marquee players (I'm just prodigious, and produce a lot of Gun Pr0n) and his stuff is always worth reading, as it's informative and drolly funny.
His dispatches from the field are archived under "Postcards from the Edgy"
How about we execute one right now?
Remember the convoy ambush in Afghanistan that the MSM (and, in the end, command) had a hissy about - resulting in the deportation (hey, call it what it was) of the Marine unit? It matters not if the JTF commander truly thought the Marines had over-reacted or he was just bowing to the political realities at the time - the Taliban, with the able assistance of the Press and others, was able to effect the removal of that unit.
Over at Castle Argghhh! we have a Correspondent in the 'Stan:
I’ve got some stuff I’m putting in the next letter about civilian casualties and the information war. I’ve attached some interesting info from Dr. Gleyn Bledsoe, a U of Washington guy and Vietnam veteran who works over here with USAID providing alternative livelihoods to poppy farmers.
You may not remember the name Marko, buts it’s a town where a US Marine convoy was shot up, and when they were accused of indiscriminately killing civilians the unit had to leave the country. Dr. Bledsoe was about 200 meters away when this happened. I’ve attached the Taliban release (sent out amazingly fast), the Seattle Times article, and his letter back to the Times (which they didn’t print.)
When I asked him if it was OK to forward this with his name attached, he said “sure, what are they going to do, send me to Afghanistan ?”
The reaction of the Talibs to the event was swift, with this posting on their website:
In a sacrificing attack 2 vehicles of NATO invaders were demolished in Nangrahar Zabiahulla/Mujahid
This morning at 9:00am a Mujahid of Islamic Emirate performed a sacrificing attack on a convoy of NATO invaders on Jalalabad -Toarkham highway in Nangrahar province.In result 2 tanks were demolished and all troopers were killed or wounded. After the incident invaders fired on civilians and martyred or wounded a number civilian.
We must mention that this not the first time that invaders fired on civilian and martyred many civil people when Mujahideen performed the sacrificing attack on them.
Heh. I'd note that they don't mention the innocents *they* "martyr" when they send in the "sacrificing attacks" now do they? And it's the civilians that do most of the sacrificing in those attacks, methinks. Of course, it's okay if the Talibs do the martyring of the civilians - after all, they're just sending 'em to Paradise, right? How, oh, medieval Christian of them, eh?
U.S. forces blamed for civilian deaths
By RAHIM FAIEZ
The Associated Press
BARIKAW, Afghanistan -- An explosives-rigged minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines that U.S. officials said also came under fire from militant gunmen Sunday. As many as 10 people were killed and 34 wounded as the convoy made a frenzied escape, and injured Afghans said the Americans fired on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away.
U.S. officials said militant gunfire may have killed or injured civilians, but Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and wounded Afghans said most of the bullets were American. Hundreds of angry Afghans protested near the blast site, denouncing the U.S. presence here.
As the Americans fled, they treated every car and person along the busy, tree-lined highway as a potential attacker, said Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
"I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction," Ahmed Najib, 23, who was hit by a bullet in his right shoulder, said of the U.S. forces. "I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans."
Lt. Col. David Accetta, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said gunmen may have fired on U.S. forces at multiple points during the escape. He said it was not yet clear how the casualties happened, though he left open the possibility that U.S. forces had shot civilians.
"It's not entirely clear right now if the people killed or wounded by gunfire were killed or wounded by coalition forces' gunfire or enemy attackers' gunfire," he said.
The accusation that U.S. forces killed or wounded so many Afghans was likely to cause an uproar in a country that has seen an untold number of civilians killed by international forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. A high-level delegation was appointed to investigate.
The story continues - but this is sufficient for our point.
Here's your chance to participate in an InfoOp. Our Correspondent in the 'Stan, with the permission of the author - sent us this letter to the editor that the Times chose not to publish.
So, as our little InfoOp, we *will* publish it.
What Really Happened at Marko on March 3?
I am a Seattle Native working on economic development in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan and currently residing in Jalalabad. I keep in touch with the new in Seattle thanks to the Seattle Times daily email for which I wish to thank you. Today, March 5, you ran an Associated Press article entitled U.S. Forces Blamed for Civilian Deaths by Rahim Faiez. That article disturbs me in that it is unnecessarily inflammatory, very biased, and not very accurate. It unjustly makes out American Marines who had just been attacked as a bunch of out of control killers firing wildly without discretion as they escaped that attack.
What really happened? Three US Marine up-armored humvees were returning to their base in Jalalabad. While passing thru a market place in a rural village, a mini-van, laden with explosives was driven into the small convoy and was detonated by the suicide bomber driving it. The Marines then came under fire from a number of positions along side the road. It was obvious that the intent of the bomber was to disable the vehicles and the gunmen to kill those that survived. The Marines returned fire as they drove rapidly away. One Marine was wounded. When the battle was over, 8 civilians were killed and 34 others, including a Marine had been wounded. The several bullet impacts on the escaping vehicles attested to the fact that they had been fired upon by gunmen; a fact that the AP reporter failed to mention. The attack seemed to have been a rather well planned one, and it appears that the planning included manipulation of the news as is often the case with both Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The statement by district chief Katawazi that the Marines “treated every car and person along the busy, tree-lined highway as a potential attacker” is an accurate one. They have no other choice. The vehicle that had attacked them was not a military vehicle; it was a civilian Toyota mini-van just like the ones many of your readers drive everyday. The vehicles used in these attacks are always civilian vehicles, most commonly 4-wheel drive SUV’s, mini-vans and sedans. Of course, the AP reporter also neglected to mention that the bomber had attacked and detonated his bomb in the middle of a crowded village’s market area with quite obvious disregard for the civilians in the area and does not even mention that these were amongst the total killed and wounded. Such a revelation might have distracted from the sensationalism he was seeking.
What did the Taliban have to say about the attack? The following is from their web page (http://www.alemarah.org/ ) “This morning at 9:00am a Mujahid of Islamic Emirate performed a sacrificing attack on a convoy of NATO invaders on Jalalabad -Toarkham highway in Nangrahar province. In result 2 tanks were demolished and all troopers were killed or wounded. After the incident invaders fired on civilians and martyred or wounded a number civilian.” They also failed to mention that the “sacrificing attack” was done in a village amidst a number of civilians. As for the “2 tanks” that were demolished and all of the killed or wounded troopers; it appears that they have trouble with accurate reporting too.
Attached is a photo of the blast that was taken by one of our engineering crews who were working in the area and were about 200-300 meters from the blast when it occurred. As you can see from the resultant smoke plume, it was not a small explosion.
Again thank you for the daily Seattle Times via the internet. I would hope in the future, though, that the Times hold its news sources to higher standards of accuracy and not permit itself to be used as a propaganda organ for the likes of the Taliban.
Dr. Gleyn Bledsoe,
For those interested, a larger format version can be had here.
That's it! Thank you for participating in our little demonstration of an Information Operation.
My soldier son is coming Home...
He opted not to prosecute a formal appeal of the PEB decision and accept the initial disability rating... for many reasons -- not least of which were the experiences of other soldiers on medical hold who learned the hard way that if you appeal = you will be punished.
As if that weren't insult enough, Army Transportation is arriving to pack and move their possessions a week before they have to vacate the Army housing (they expect the soldier and his family to sleep on the floor and buy meals out???) and they are being made to leave their Army housing five full days before his orders allow them to leave the base (they were told to get a hotel or bunk with someone else.) I kid you not. I wish I were. Noah and his pregnant wife will sleep on an air mattress on the floor first at their home and then at the home of another disabled soldier.
Recapping his journey at Some Soldier's Mom
To your question: Were there any truth to what was being said by Thomas?
Answer: An investigation of the allegations were conducted by the command and found to be false. In fact, members of Thomas' platoon and company were all interviewed and no one could substantiate his claims.
As to what will happen to him?
Answer: As there is no evidence of criminal conduct, he is subject to Administrative punishment as determined by his chain of command. Under the various rules and regulations, administrative actions are not releasable to the public by the military on what does or does not happen.
Strictly speaking it's either administrative or it's punishment. Not both. (though you can do both).
NJP is nonjudicial punishment. I.E. not enough to warrant a court-martial, but still "criminal" (violative of the UCMJ) in nature.
If there's no criminal misconduct, then there'd be nothing to charge to support NJP. PAO probably just misspoke.
This is a furball of a story...
As the Military and Progressives panel came to an end, a young man in uniform stood up to argue that the surge was working, and cutting down on Iraqi casualties. The moderator largely freaked out. When other members of the panel tried to answer his question, he demanded they “stand down.” He demanded the questioner give his name, the name of his commander, and the name of his unit. And then he closed the panel, no answer offered or allowed, and stalked off the stage.
Wes Clark took the mic and tried to explain what had just occurred: The argument appears to be that you’re not allowed to participate in politics while wearing a uniform, or at least that you shouldn’t, and that the questioner was engaging in a sort of moral blackmail, not to mention a violation of the rules, by doing so. Knowing fairly little about the army, I can’t speak to any of that. But it was an uncomfortable few moments, and seemed fairly contrary to the spirit of the panel to roar down the member of the military who tried to speak with a contrary voice.
I know I would not decide to show up at yK in uniform...A.L., you want to take a stab at this?
Update: Yeah, when you spend all your time dancing on that line it looks a little weak when you complain about it, eh? If it's a standard in one political direction it should be a standard in both. It hasn't been since Kerry testified to Congress about all those "war crimes" in his raggedy looking half-uniform.
After a thorough investigation that lasted nearly a week the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division has concluded that the allegations made by Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp, the "Baghdad Diarist", have been "refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false"
Authorities are questioning three men after pulling them from a submersible vessel in the East River in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to reports from ABC affiliate WABC.The linked article has a picture and a video of the craft.
The men were captured near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in downtown Brooklyn, near the massive cruise ship the Queen Mary 2, just after 11 a.m.
The intent of the three men being held by police remains unclear, but the initial indication is that it did not appear to be terror-related. They have not been identified by police and no charges have been filed.
The orblike vessel, with a circular hatch on the top for entering and exiting, remains moored in the East River in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. It was equipped with oxygen tanks, WABC reported.
Normally, I'm not much of an alarmist, but this one doesn't smell kosher. I really can't think of any non-nefarious reasons someone would want to sail a vessel like that around New York, and drug-smuggling doesn't really make sense; you could just drive your load around the city. If they didn't find anything, maybe this was a dry run? I don't like to ethnically profile anyone, but if it turns out the "Sailors" have Middle Eastern names, I'm gonna say this could be the tip of something much bigger.
I'll be updating this story, if needed, over at my submarine blog The Stupid Shall Be Punished.
Update: Never mind. It was just guys being guys.
Most readers here are familiar with Vets For Freedom
Some respond to them with malicious, full of hate, tripe:
The troops do not deserve respect
RE: The troops do not deserve respect
Re: The troops do not deserve respect
And some are just evil, BUWAHAHA
RE: The troops do not deserve respect
If you'd like to be a part of Vets for Freedom, more information can be found here:
In September, General Petraeus will report to Congress on the status of the mission in Iraq. At that time, members of Congress will decide whether to continue the mission and defeat Al Qaeda, or abandon the mission and surrender to America’s enemies. The stakes could not be higher.
It is absolutely crucial that veterans have a voice in September's debate. And therefore we're asking every Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who believes in the mission - and supports our fellow soldiers and Marines still serving - to converge on Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 18th.
We plan to have hundreds of veterans on Capitol Hill ... and hope you'll be one of them.
The Commander of the Walter Reed Healthcare System has started a blog, which is a good thing. Let's hope posting is frequent and substantive.
H/T: @ Walter Reed.
What may be my last look at the News for quite some time. Korean hostages, Afghan blogging, tourism and jirga-mania.
OK not really.
Congressman David Dreier joined us in the first hour this morning, and touched base with Dennis on a few issues, including the possibility of reinstating the draft.
Thomas Lifson of AmericanThinker.com spoke with Dennis in the middle hour.
Robert "Buzz" Patterson was today's final guest; he elucidated the themes brought forth in his book War Crimes. He also highlighted military blogs such as the Mudville Gazette, and outlined the essence of what has been brought to bear under General Petraeus to improve the situation on the ground in Iraq.
A.L., the logic becomes internally consistent when the only important thing is opposition, right?
Error? Mistake? He was off by an entire country and something like nine months?
This is what TNR terms an "error," a "mistake"? And when they "fact-checked" this beforehand, how did their "rigorous editing and fact-checking" miss the fact this took place in another country, before actual deployment?
I'm reminded of Steven Wright's joke: "The other day I was... oh wait, that was someone else."
Could happen to anyone, really. Common mistake.
Best part about all this Beauchamp nonsense:
If Beauchamp is telling the truth, he's committed some serious (possibly criminal) misconduct.
If he's lying, ditto.
Guess it's a question of what preconceptions his supporters want to bolster when they defend him.
In related news, I found myself in the curious position of having to argue, on a lefty blog, just why mocking an IED victim, desecrating human remains and 'cornering' a Bradley to intentionally kill stray dogs might be a bad thing, possibly warranting some action.
There's an odd sort of disconnect here. The left feels the need to defend Beauchamp as one of their own because his stories do such a good job of dehumanizing even this thoughtful, literary, sensitive young man (so the theory goes). Damn them, Bush's war is so horrible that even this aspiring Hemmingway gets turned into a monster. Or at the very least, one that condones/fails to report monstrous behavior. So when people call into question the various facts of his claims--we'll they're just trying to put this poor soldier down.
So now instead of being able to "speak truth to power"--he is silenced. SILENCED!
And it's become a weird Bizarro world flipside where the milblogging community is arguing that Beauchamp's conduct is rather not nice and the left is arguing that "hey man, shit HAPPENS in war. WAR!"
Milblogger, Baldilocks has the details
More to come...
The horrible tragedy of the Minneapolis Bridge disaster is Bush's fault.
Otto Pernotto, a sponsor of the 2007 MilBlog Conference, schools officials in the advantages of the new media here.
Looks like this is one of those periodic maintenance issues, like women or gays in the military or bringing back the battleships or diesel submarines and so forth.
Back when Phibian did his thing in early February I responded with a long discussion here, with appearances by Major John and Consul-at-Arms and Chaotic Synaptic. Being me and not Noonan, however, instead of a big ol' Weekly Standard article I got eleven blog hits. (That is of course the sole reason I am not crowing "Navy was there first as usual"--no Big Media presence. Or paycheck.) I still think the post is salient, though, with this theme weaved in there:
Once I sat at dinner with a crusty elderly retired admiral. He asked what I was doing–I told him about going to school for international relations after being a sub bubba–and he remarked, “I went from engineering to people too, and it’s better doing it in that order rather than the other way around.” I think he’s got a point.
As a ROTC guy who had to suffer a CO who called "Brigade, Seats!" and talked about the academy during every single meal on board ship (oh, I gots stories abut this one), I'd think a more entertaining question to stir up a discussion is "whither the academies". If Noonan put that in wherever he usually publishes he'd get a few more excited comments...All done!
Actually it looks like I will have my own quarters, south-a-ways. I may be joining Greyhawk in Iraq come the New Year or thereabouts. Right now I am just pulling up to the entrance ramp to the Road to War. More to come in days ahead...
Hey, cowboy-up there Shipmate! You're in good company - I hit on the same subject in FEB.
I have always thought, along with others, that the USNA and NROTC official bias towards technical degrees was wrong-footed, short sighted, and not creating the intellectual diversity we need. So does Andrew Exum.I got about the same reaction.A former Army officer and Middle East analyst has called on the nation's service academies to trade in their focus on engineering for a more modern curriculum on international relations.Exactly right. We need experts across the field of study. I don't know about you, but my Wardroom is adrift with engineers who have never used their education - but also have never read a great work, cannot find the Spratly Islands, don't understand that "Old Europe" nations like Belgium are younger than the U.S., and do not know the difference between Arab Saudi Arabia and Persian Iran.
Andrew Exum, who led combat units in two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq, said the engineering coursework required at the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., is a holdover from the 19th century, when that was the direction of future warfare.
Pakistan has a population of 160 Million.
The stripped down bare minimum occupation force would be 5 soldiers/1000 population.
So we will need 800,000 soldiers for the occupation force.
The entire Army and Marine Corp adds up to 690,000.
Pakistans active duty military is more than 619,000 plus reserves of 500,000.
We can forget about getting "UN" troops to help because the largest contributer of UN Peacekeepers is....wait for it...Pakistan.
Unlike Iraq where we could stage the invasion from land, Pakistan would have to be an amphibous invasion.
IMHO Mr Obama is a complete idiot or under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.
For writing this piece in the Weekly Standard on how the Service Academies may want to tweak their math heavy curriculum, and start offering BAs to their cadets.
Yeesh. I've gotten emails from engineers who liken this to slapping their mothers.
Discussion at OPFOR.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama has a plan.
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.
The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.
"Let me make this clear," Obama said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."