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Murtha, who returned Nov. 27 from a trip to Iraq, said the military situation there has improved ``substantially''
Thousands have known their own stories like this,
His son, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff, 25, had been killed in a December 2006 roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.Given the steady cant the average American hears, how would you expect the family to respond? Well, this response is the kind that comes from the America I know - though in this case a step above and beyond.
The younger Krissoff joined the Marines in 2004 with a background that might not have predicted a military career. He wrote poetry as a youngster and was an accomplished pianist.
Before graduating from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., he was captain of the swim team, in addition to being a whitewater kayaker and alpine skier.
Months later, Krissoff came to a carefully considered decision: He would honor his son by leaving a flourishing orthopedic practice, a comfortable life, to join the Navy as a combat surgeon.That will keep you humble, and thankful. Where do we find such men? Next door.
But his application for an age waiver was mired in paperwork.
So, on that August day in Reno, when Bush went around the room and asked if there was anything he could do, Krissoff spoke up.
Bill Krissoff never figured to be in a position to look President Bush in the eye and ask a favor.
But there he was, sitting in a room in Reno, Nev., with Bush and several other families who had lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I said, 'Yeah, there is one thing. I want to join the Navy medical corps and I gotta get some help here,' " recalled Krissoff, 61, who lives in California, near Reno.
Three days after that meeting, the Navy called.
His waiver had been granted.
Krissoff was commissioned as a lieutenant commander Nov. 18, and he expects to attend officer development school in January. Attached to the 4th Medical Battalion, he plans to join a combat surgical team and hopes to serve in Iraq.
From Miss Ladybug...
Operation Holiday Thanks
I was just watching E.D. Hill's "America's Pulse" program on Fox News Channel. Apparently, she had been contacted by viewers wanting to send holiday greetings to our wounded warriors. Working with her Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), she had made arrangements to get holiday cards to various military hospitals across the country.
The address to send these cards to (requested "ASAP") is:
Operation Holiday Thanks
c/o E.D. Hill
Fox News Channel
1211 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
There was so much misinformation regarding sending cards to WRAMC (including by FoxNews), this one should be passed around to everyone you know! Note that these cards are going to a "middleperson" and then on to the wounded, so don't delay!
On Saturday, December 1, military spouses will gather in Fayetteville, North Carolina to discuss the joys and challenges of military spouse life. Thanks to the generosity of SyncLive, a brand new web broadcasting site, you can watch SpouseBUZZ LIVE Ft. Bragg/Pope AFB on your home computer. All of the details can be found here.
A commander in chief cannot take as an excuse for his mistakes in warfare an order given by his minister or his sovereign, when the person giving the order is absent from the field of operations and is imperfectly aware or wholly unaware of the latest state of affairs. It follows that any commander in chief who undertakes to carry out a plan which he considers defectives is at fault; he must put forward his reasons, insist on the plan being changed, and finally tender his resignation rather than be the instrument of his army's downfall.
Napoleon, Military Matters and Thoughts (Maxim LXXII)
Of course, that might kill your career...
UPDATE: More here with this nice quote from Victor Davis Hanson in Update 2:
... there is dismal pattern: a mediocre functionary keeps quiet about the mess around him, muddles through, senses that things aren't going right, finds himself on the losing end of political infighting, is forced out or quits, seethes that his genius wasn't recognized, takes no responsibility for his own failures, worries he might be scape-goated, and at last senses that either a New York publisher or the anti-war Left, or both, will be willing to offer him cash or notoriety - but only if he serves their needs by trashing his former colleagues in a manner he never would while on the job.
How different from that advice given by Robert Townsend in his excellent book Up the Organization:
Admit your own mistakes openly, maybe even joyfully.The "Zero Defects" promotion system means that you learn to cover your rear while too often helping to point out mistakes made by others.
Encourage your associates to do likewise by commiserating with them. Never castigate. Babies learn to walk by flling down. If you beat a baby every time he falls down, he'll never care much for walking.
And it leads to some lousy leadership.All done!
Those of us who have been privileged to hold command in the US Armed Forces know the buck stops with us. If we have been very successful it is because of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, or Airmen working for us. If we were not so successful it was frequently because we failed to provide guidance, direction, and motivation.
Occasionally of course one is saddled with a set of circumstances that make any level of success difficult at best, but in the culture of the US Armed Forces one "sucks that up" and you do not go around after the fact blaming these external factors. The Company Commander that blamed his Battalion Commander, the Battalion Commander that blamed his Brigade Commander, even if it was true, might get some sympathy from his peers, but in the end will be held responsible for how his unit did.
So it bothers me that retired Senior Officers are running around pointing fingers at other people for the challenges they faced. If their subordinate commanders had done the same thing, they would have been run out of their officer.
Activities like this give more weight to LTC Yingling's article from last May.
This may be doing more to undermine the morale of the Officer Corps than long deployments.
We have not reached this point yet - mostly because unlike the UK we still have military hospitals - but also I hope because the balance of good people won't let this pass. Code Pink, ANSWER, et al - would they try it if they could get away with it?
Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.The Mother Country - I hardly know you anymore.
The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a rehabilitation session at a leisure centre, when two women demanded they be removed from the pool. They claimed that the soldiers “hadn’t paid” and might scare the children.
As we all suffer thru the 40,000 variations of what could grow wrong in Iraq now that more than a few things are going right I thought I would just excerpt this piece of unbelievable panic mongering by those that bring is the 'news'
via Daily Telegraph
New Scientist reports a worrying new variant as the cosmologists claim that astronomers may have accidentally nudged the universe closer to its death by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.
We've come a long way from 'If looks could kill' to apparently they can at a scale never before imagined.
DJ Elliot has a good piece over at the Long War Journal
An excerpt -
While the "surge" of five US brigades plus their accompanying support elements, about 30,000 US troops total, is the main focused of commentators when discussing the current situation in Iraq, the real surge in Iraq is happening behind the scenes.
While the politicos would have us all believe that it is their personal leadership upon which any country rises or falls..the reality is that the institutions of government...Army, Police, Schools, Hosptals, Courts, Garbage Collectors et al are what actually make Government work. By the time the 'Surge' of 5 US Brigades ends in July 2008...the Iraqi Army will have grown by 14 Brigades
Oh, sorry. I meant Sanchez.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, is scheduled to speak on behalf of the Democratic Party this weekend in support of a House war funding bill that would require President Bush to bring the bulk of U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of next year.I guess Wesley will have a new golfing partner now. Loser.
Sanchez, who has spoken out against the Bush administration's handling of the war and has assailed current war strategy as doomed to fail, plans to argue that the United States cannot win in Iraq with the military alone and that it is prudent to bring troops home to bolster national security.
Get out your old war college text books. Scales calls it.
I've just returned from a week in Iraq with Gen. David Petraeus and his operational commanders. My intent was to look at events from an operational perspective and assess the surge. What I got was a soldier's sense of what's happening on the ground and, although the jury is still out on the surge, I came to the conclusion that we may now be reaching the "culminating point" in this war.Yep.
The culminating point marks the shift in advantage from one side to the other, when the outcome becomes irreversible: The potential loser can inflict casualties, but has lost all chance of victory. The only issue is how much longer the war will last, and what the butcher's bill will be.
Whenever a deployment rotation has been announced, it was inevitable that military spouses and parents would grumble on private message boards and chat sites I frequent about people they knew who hadn't done even one deployment or had (again) put in for a transfer to a non-deployable or just returned unit as soon as rumors of a deployment started to swirl. It wasnt common nor are we talking large numbers of people walking the other way. Fewer places to go now...
Soldiers who haven’t been downrange yet had better hone their warrior skills because the Army wants to see more combat patches in the ranks.
The Army has targeted 37,000 active-duty soldiers who have yet to serve a combat tour after more than six years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Over that period, 59.4 percent of some 515,000 active-duty soldiers have deployed to the Central Command area of operations at least once, according to data compiled by Human Resources Command. Many of them have served three or four tours — some even more.
Another 33.4 percent have not served a war tour but are assigned to units with pending deployments; are not in deployable status because they are at basic training, school or other Army training; have medical or legal issues that keep them out of rotation; are serving as instructors, recruiters or drill sergeants; or are in transit or otherwise on hold.
But 7.2 percent, roughly 37,000 active-duty soldiers, have been identified by HRC as available for deployment and are facing transfer to operational units.
The rest HERE
It could be the worst movie I've ever seen" ... "[T]he out and out worst, most disgusting, most hateful, most incompetent, most revolting, most loathsome, most reprehensible cinematic work I have ever encountered." ... "It portrays the members of our Marine Corps in the most disgusting way imaginable." ... "This film is an atrocity. It is zero stars." ... "I honestly was close to vomiting when I saw the film." ... "It is a slander on the United States of America." ... "Everyone associated with this film ought to be ashamed." ... .
(in response to some comments about the link between brain injury and PTSD, I have added some links for reading... nothing too onerous. After the jump.)
There is some interesting conversation happening around blogs regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder … especially by Grim at Blackfive, Kat at Argghhh and then Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive. Kat started out the discussion by cautioning against throwing out the baby with the bathwater by those who might be too quick to disprove or diminish the statistics and conclusions being spun and wrung on suicide and PTSD… and Grim and Jim brought their own personal perspectives to the discussion about PTSD.
I am more familiar with the effects of combat-induced PTSD on young men than I could ever have imagined I would be and far more than I ever wanted to be. I believe as Grim believes that every soldier (and I use that term to include all branches of service who have served in combat… just ‘cause it’s simpler) has post traumatic stress and will exhibit symptoms of PTS whether they are willing to admit it or not. I also agree with Kat that not all those who suffer PTS will develop the chronic form of this condition rising to the “disorder” part of PTSD. I will, however, quibble with Grim that this is not an illness and that it is part of the “normal” human condition. It may be an anticipated response to severe trauma but I have a hard time believing any part of it is “normal”… at least as we are talking about severe and/or chronic PTSD.
I know that those who serve and who have served in combat like Grim and Uncle J have a personal, distinct and first person view of PTS/D. I know that they experienced one or more of the symptoms that make up this maddeningly imprecise condition. There is no one out there who can tell us why some absorb their experiences and seem so unaffected by them while others seem to be punished and pummeled by them… no more than we can explain why some people get cancer and others do not. I cannot speak to the medical aspects or the personal experiences of soldiers.
However, as I have for the past 3 years, I can only contribute to the discussion based on my experiences as a parent… and, in this case, as the parent of a child with severe and chronic PTSD. Like most guys he thought he could handle his reactions himself and that time would heal all wounds… and the constant admonition of those he trusted to “suck it up and drive on” shamed him into believing that his condition was “normal”. The son who resisted the label… who refused to admit he could not come home without a navigator and helping hand until he was almost lost forever to all of those who love him. We knew before he left that war would change him, but this was not change -- it was a slow and desperate destruction.
We watched his determination -- and his deterioration -- for more than a year and all we could do was keep suggesting that he see someone… that he talk to someone. We worried; we researched and read; we found every online article; found the DoD’s PTSD Treatment guidelines; we talked to VA counselors for information. We have a 5-inch file full of information on what works, what doesn’t, what was promising and what was quackery. I repeat what my good friend has said about her son even two years after his return from Iraq, “If he didn’t have the same face and the same name, I would swear that this is not my son.” It was that way with our son for a while, but with treatment -- that navigator and a good road map -- we now see much more of the son we knew… but there were a number of occasions that I wondered if the conversation I had just had with my son would be the last. He was one of those who left the battlefield but brought the battle home.
Now I know from personal experience that some aspects of PTS make their way into a person’s personality as they adapt to life outside a war zone. For example, I know a 60+ year old Vietnam combat veteran who still prefers not to sit with his back to the door of a commercial establishment -- the result of having done so just once in a Vietnamese bar and it almost cost him his life. He deals. Same with a number of Iraq war veterans: they scan; they drive faster than they should; they are uncomfortable with roadside debris. Understandable. My son is especially sensitive to yellow dump trucks on the road. These I find to be the “normal” assimilation of personal experiences into a soldier or veteran’s psyche.
What is not normal is when the experiences cannot be assimilated or accommodated in every day life after returning: anxiety, aggressiveness, anger, nightmares, depression. Any or all of these -- as a result of combat experiences -- can fester and corrupt the “normal” thought process. It results in a chemical imbalance in a person’s brain. There is no “talking yourself out of it”… it’s not just feeling “blue”… it’s not just bad dreams but horrors you relive anew every time you close your eyes. The more they seek to control the symptoms, the less control they actually have. Nor is self-medicating, excessive drinking and “cutting” (self-mutilation) normal.
I know what Grim is saying -- letting everyone who has served or is serving in combat know that there is nothing wrong with you if you are experiencing the effects of war -- it is normal to be affected… to be changed by those experiences. I just fear that these young men and women will think, “Well, if it’s all normal, what’s the big deal then?” I know that Grim is not suggesting at all that the responses I list in the preceding paragraph are what he considers normal and I agree with Grim that every single person who has served can “come home”… I just think that not all of them will make it home without some assistance.
What is the best part of all this? I’m not the only one talking about PTSD. And GUYS WHO KNOW are joining the discourse. So this is for Grim, Uncle J, B5, John, Chuck… those who have crossed the chasm but stay to build the bridge:
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way."
"This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."
-- Will Allen Dromgoole
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Grim... mild TBI can result in a condition called post-concussive (post concussion) disorder. I should have mentioned it in my piece... Here's some articles on that
here's a number on the link between TBI and PTSD... (I should note that the VA routinely does TBI screening (regardless of the Army diagnosis) if a veteran was exposed to concussive injury.)
my discussions with the fine folks at the VA indicate that in the past the Army strongly resisted (i.e., refused) testing for TBI absent serious [visible] head trauma; currently, when the Army agrees to testing, it involves CT and/or MRIs but not all evidence of TBI can be found on these scans (not to mention that it can take up to 6 months for closed head TBI to appear in scans if at all); EEG (bran wave testing) can be a diagnostic tool but is most useful on a comparative basis (one before, one after). HOPING the new Army TBI/PTSD Education Program helps to educate and remove the stigma...All done!
Sure...but they went in harm's way.
And one of them inspired this sentence:
The last warship from World War II came home Tuesday to the United States.
The original LCS, not much remembered today, except by a few, proud warriors, as set out here.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - With violence levels dropping across the city, Baghdad's hard-working ambulance drivers now find time to sit and sip tea instead of each rushing to four or five emergency calls a day.
I can just imagine the horrible headline coming soon...'Ambulance Drivers laid off due to lack of work'. This "Peace at Last" thing is having a terrible impact on the Death Industry. First underemployed grave diggers...now bored ambulance drivers...It's the Economy Stupid!!!
Especially when you start running out of options.
Two Americans who deserted the U.S. Army to protest against the war in Iraq lost their bid for refugee status in Canada on Thursday, and the Canadian government made it clear they were no longer welcome.Come on home Jeremy and Brandon. The weather in Kansas won't be too bad. Anyway, most of your time will be spent inside.
The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear appeals from the two men, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, over decisions by immigration authorities -- backed in two subsequent court rulings -- that they were not refugees in need of protection.
To hell with that idiot woman in Massachusetts.... my sitemeter is filled with people looking for ideas of things to send the troops. I know I'm running late on this post this year -- SO GET GOING!!
When to send... what to send... what not to send... some practical tips on mailings... and how to adopt a soldier, sailor, Marine or airman that might not otherwise receive something for the holidays... all at SOME SOLDIER'S MOM
Feel free to add suggestions for things to send in the comments here or at at SSM!
SECDEF is a pro.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that unless Congress passes funding for the Iraq war within days, he will direct the Army and Marine Corps to begin developing plans to lay off employees and terminate contracts early next year.That will get a phone call or two.
Gates, who met with members of Congress on Wednesday, said that he does not have the money or the flexibility to move funding around to adequately cover the costs of the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"There is a misperception that this department can continue funding our troops in the field for an indefinite period of time through accounting maneuvers, that we can shuffle money around the department. This is a serious misconception," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.
As a result, he said that he is faced with the undesirable task of preparing to cease operations at Army bases by mid-February, and lay off about 100,000 defense department employees and an equal number of civilian contractors. A month later, he said, similar moves would have to be made by the Marines.
A poll worker in Cambridge, Mass objected to a Boy Scout drive that solicited care package donations for deployed troops on the basis that the donation boxes were implicitly "pro-war" political speech. The executive director of the city's election commission agreed, ordering the boxes removed. The scouts had spent $1500 of their own funds in materials and flyers advertising the drive, which was twice approved by the election commission in advance of the November 5 elections.
That's a tough political message for impressionable young minds to grok. Here's a way to send a nobler one.
I share your concern - but I also have been wondering - since when has it become only a posthumous award?
Captain America Appears In Posthumous Comic For TroopsBut fear not, civilian fans of funnybooks. There's something special for you, too.
DALLAS - Captain America may not be back from the dead, but he's back - sort of.
Four months after Marvel Comics unexpectedly killed off the champion of liberty and the American way, he appears in a comic made exclusively for U.S. soldiers. He is seen on a videotape made before his death.
One million copies of The New Avengers: The Spirit of America, the fifth in Marvel's series for the military, will be available for free starting Saturday at military-base stores worldwide.
The star-spangled Avengers appearance is expected to create a demand for the comic, once word spreads among collectors.
"If you really, really want one, you need to know someone in the military," said Jim Skibo, director of support for the Dallas-based Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which is distributing the comic.
Spider-Man may spin a good yarn in comic books, but Marvel Entertainment Inc hopes that he finds the World Wide Web equally comfortable.The site is already available here.
The publisher said on Tuesday that it will start a Web site that will feature access to thousands of its comic books and the famous heroes who populate them, from Spider-Man and the X-Men to the Fantastic Four and The Avengers.
Marvel will charge subscriptions -- $4.99 a month if people sign up for a year, or $9.99 a month if they don't.
"This is a major new piece of my overall publishing plan," Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Publishing, said in an interview.
"It's a different entertainment experience, online versus reading a book."
Marvel plans to offer access to 2,500 comics, Buckley said. It will make 250 available for free to entice people to pay up, but for a limited time, a company statement explained.
The Digital Comics Unlimited site then will add 20 additional books a week, including a mix of new and vintage comics.
Among the older titles will be the first 100 issues of "Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Fantastic Four," as well as the initial 66-issue run of "Uncanny X-Men" and the first 50 issues of "The Avengers." It will feature other super heroes like the Incredible Hulk, Wolverine and the Silver Surfer.
I can add that I have it from reliable sources that the site isn't blocked to GIs in Iraq (yet - but give it time...), and that load times are reasonable.
Newer titles are available too. But some of us prefer the good ol' days...
..ahh, the good ol' days.
...good story: For Injured Soldiers, New Clothes From Volunteer Sewers.
And it's a page 1.
I'm pulling this from the Dawn Patrol, I think it should have some direct light.
From non other than (surprise) the New York Times
BY any conceivable measure, Frank Buckles has led an extraordinary life. Born on a farm in Missouri in February 1901, he saw his first automobile in his hometown in 1905, and his first airplane at the Illinois State Fair in 1907. At 15 he moved on his own to Oklahoma and went to work in a bank; in the 1940s, he spent more than three years as a Japanese prisoner of war. When he returned to the United States, he married, had a daughter and bought a farm near Charles Town, W. Va., where he lives to this day. He drove a tractor until he was 104.
But even more significant than the remarkable details of Mr. Buckles’s life is what he represents: Of the two million soldiers the United States sent to France in World War I, he is the only one left.
Ken Burns notes that 1,000 World War II veterans are dying every day. Their passing is being observed at all levels of American society; no doubt you have heard a lot about them in recent days. Fortunately, World War II veterans will be with us for some years yet. There is still time to honor them. But the passing of the last few veterans of the First World War is all but complete, and has gone largely unnoticed here.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Almost from the moment the armistice took effect, the United States has worked hard, it seems, to forget World War I; maybe that’s because more than 100,000 Americans never returned from it, lost for a cause that few can explain even now. The first few who did come home were given ticker-tape parades, but most returned only to silence and a good bit of indifference.
A few years ago, I set out to see if I could find any living American World War I veterans. No one — not the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or the American Legion — knew how many there were or where they might be. As far as I could tell, no one much seemed to care, either.
Eventually, I did find some, including Frank Buckles, who was 102 when we first met.
An extraordinary man, an extraordinary life. You must read the whole story.
I think many have been earned since September 11, 2001, but few awarded. Others agree.
BAGHDAD--Twilight brings traffic jams to the main shopping district of this once-affluent corner of Baghdad and hundreds of people stroll past well-stocked vegetable stands, bakeries and butcher shops.Answers below:
To many in Amariyah, it seems little short of a miracle.
Just six months ago, this mostly Sunni neighborhood was one of the centers of al-Qaida in Iraq operations. The district in western Baghdad was hit by more than a dozen bombings and shootings some days. Few people dared to venture onto the streets.
On Tuesday, women shopped and men drank tea in sidewalk cafes. Occasionally, U.S. soldiers walking the streets were greeted with salaams and smiles.
What is happening here reflects similar trends across Baghdad and parts of Iraq, where civilian and U.S. military casualties have dropped sharply in the past two months. But the speed of the turnaround in places such as Amariyah has taken almost everyone - including U.S. military forces in the area - by surprise.
"The progress that we made is almost unbelievable," said Capt. Brendan Gallagher, 29, of Columbia, Md., who serves with the Army's 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
U.S. Navy rendering aid to pirated ships off Somalia and blasting pirate skiffs.
More photos here.
Port Clinton, Ohio
A) Serve your country honorably
PORT CLINTON --U.S. Army Sgt. Travis McCleary might have expected a few friends and family members for his homecoming. He did not expect two police cars, three fire trucks, an ambulance and a handful of other vehicles to escort his girlfriend's car from Ohio 2 to Perry Street, then Madison and Second Street Wednesday evening.
B) Make life difficult for those that serve honorably
At least a dozen people were arrested Saturday as demonstrators rallied to protest military-cargo shipments at Olympia's port. Saturday's actions by police came one day after protesters halted two trucks from removing military equipment that had been unloaded from a ship coming from Iraq. The equipment was bound for Fort Lewis. Protesters blocked traffic downtown about noon by jumping in front of large trucks with cargo containers.
Hmmm...Option A ends up at your girlfriends...Option B ends up in a jail cell...decisions...decisions..
Somewhat surprising: the number of commenters who are surprised by the number of commenters who share their opinions. I think what we have here may be a glimpse of the actual majority of Americans - who read in the news almost every day that they are a minority (and Nazis, to boot).
And when reading this bit of utter ignorance...
Iraq films remain a difficult sell for audiences because of the swirl of confusion surrounding the rights and wrongs of the conflict, he added....I couldn't help but picture suicide bombers slaughtering schoolchildren...
"World War II was hugely romanticized in terms of its fiction. There were unambiguous villains, and the feeling we were fighting the right people over the right issues, as opposed to this war, which many people feel is misguided.
The suicide attack that was performed on an election center in one of Baghdad's districts (Baghdad Al-Jadeedah) last Sunday was performed using a kidnapped "Down Syndrome" patient.
A Shia Muslim from the Sadr City slums of Baghdad, Ahmed had joined the new Iraqi National Guard, only to be killed in his patrol car when a bomb planted by insurgents exploded.
The next day, as his family took his coffin for burial in the holy Shia city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, they were stopped at what purported to be a police checkpoint near the town of Iskandaria and ordered out of their minibus.
Insurgents wearing fake police uniforms shot and beheaded six of the mourners, including Ahmed's mother. Then they ripped Ahmed's body out of the coffin and decapitated him too.
BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden SUV killed at least 27, including an American soldier, late this morning in the deadliest insurgent attack in more than two months.
Many, if not most of the dead were children loitering and playing near U.S. soldiers at an impromptu checkpoint in Baghdad al-Jadida, a lower-middle class residential district populated by Shiites, Sunnis and Christians.
I watched a car bomb burn at a police check point in Tall 'Afar, the explosion killing no one but the people inside the car -- a man, a woman and two young children.
A suicide attacker steered a car packed with explosives toward U.S. soldiers giving away toys to children outside a hospital in central Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 31 people. Almost all of the victims were women and children, police said.
"It was an explosion at the gate of the hospital," a woman who had wounds on her face and legs told the AP. "My children are gone. My brother is gone."
With no room left at the hospital, emergency workers rushed victims to hospitals in Baghdad, about 15 miles to the north. And when the hospital morgue was full, the workers were forced to place the dead in the hospital garden so family members could find them.
A suicide bomber captured before he could blow himself up in a Shiite mosque late last week claimed he was kidnapped, beaten and drugged by insurgents who forced him to take on the mission. The U.S. military on Sunday said its medical tests indicated he was telling the truth.
Iraq films remain a difficult sell for audiences because of the swirl of confusion surrounding the rights and wrongs of the conflict, he added.I think it's pretty clear exactly who is "misguided". All done!
"World War II was hugely romanticized in terms of its fiction. There were unambiguous villains, and the feeling we were fighting the right people over the right issues, as opposed to this war, which many people feel is misguided.
Over the past three months, there has been a sharp and sustained drop in all forms of violence. The figures for dead and wounded, military and civilian, have also greatly improved.
All across Baghdad, which has seen the worst of the violence, streets are springing back to life. Shops and restaurants which closed down are back in business.
People walk in crowded streets in the evening, when just a few months ago they would have been huddled behind locked doors in their homes.
Everybody agrees that things are much better.
Answer: The BBC. (And you'll want to read the whole thing.)
Via Rand Simberg, who adds "How long will it take the Gray Lady and the networks to figure it out?"All done!
Named after one of these:
Made an historic first.
Helped carry on a guerrilla war.
A small salute to some forgotten men here.
Enjoy your Veterans Day!
I was re-reading Samuel Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations" recently. The book was best remembered for his politically incorrect statement that "Islam has bloody borders," which was taken as controversial by the multiculturalists then at the helm of the national dialogue, despite the fact that, you know: It does.
It holds up pretty well, and reminds me that while we're currently engaged in a "two-front" war, it's not the one that most of us think about when we hear those words:
The more immediate threat to our social cohesion in America, according to Huntington, comes from the multiculturalist attack on those principles of Western civilization and what he labels the “American Creed”: Liberty, democracy, individualism, equality before the law, constitutionalism, and private property.
We know what the multiculturalists want to walk us away from. It isn't clear what they'd like us to walk towards. And their timing could not be worse.
Today is the day that we honor, thank and remember our men and women Veterans, those of yesterday and those of today, those that came home and those that didn't, those that stood up and answered the call.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— John McCrae (1872-1918)
Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for our freedom and thank you in helping make this the greatest damn country on this planet.
Remember for many newly-returned troops, this is the first Veterans Day they will spend as veterans. This weekend, thank them and help us welcome them home.
For those that have been injured help us help them with Project Valour-IT - Voice Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops.
We, have been granted a reprieve, Valour-IT donations will continue thru Monday Nov 12
I want to thank all of our donors and team members for their generous support in this worth while program.
Others express thanks to our Veterans:
I love this quote by Lucianne Goldberg: “There are only two life forces that have offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American G.I.”
Google Finally Honors Veterans Day ; Having ignored Veterans Day since 1999, Internet behemoth Google has finally chosen to commemorate this holiday by decorating its logo.
Via email - Haider Ajina
Today November 11th is Veteran's Day. This is an opportunity to honor, recognize and thank our men and women who have served in the armed forces. Especially our men and women who have liberated Iraq, from the clutches of a brutal fascist dictatorship, and are now working tirelessly with enthusiastic Iraqis to bring Iraq into the 21st century. In free Iraq the law protects Iraqis’ lives, dignity and property. Free Iraqis’ religious practices, their free speech and their human rights is guaranteed by a constitution. Free Iraqis vote for their leaders, criticize them and live to tell about it. Free Iraqis are not systematically brain washed, not exiled, not tortured, not abused, not gassed and not killed by an abusive government.
Free Iraq’s economy is booming, commerce is flourishing, unemployment is plummeting, wages are rising, health care is improving, medicines are available, foreign investment is coming in. In free Iraq political debate is celebrated, free thought is encouraged, hundreds of newspapers have sprung up. In free Iraq, civil servants, teacher and doctors make 25 to 50 times what they used to. The number of vehicles on Iraqi streets has tripled in the last 3 years. Irrigation canals are carrying water again. Farmers are free to sell their produce in markets. The marshes have been 80-90% restored with wild life returning and Marsha Arabs returning to their old way of life. City folk are returning to their urban towns because they now have drinking water and power they did not have.
Iraqi schools have been modernized and rebuilt; school curriculum does not teach children to read by reading “I love Saddam”, curriculum no longer calls for bigotry, ethnic polarization and enticing violence and war nor is it anti-Semitic. History is not distorted. Just to list a few of the countless achievements in Iraq.
To all the men and women who have served and serving in Iraq, to all the families of those who have paid the ultimate price to all those who have suffered during their service in Iraq, my family’s and my deepest thanks, gratitude and pride both from my family in the U.S. and my family in Iraq for all the sacrifices, endurance and service for our great country and Iraq and the Iraqis. God bless all of you and keep you safe.
The Storeys, of Palmer, Mass., joined a growing list of bereaved families granted a private audience with the commander in chief. As Mr. Bush forges ahead with the war in Iraq, these “families of the fallen,” as the White House calls them, are one constituency he can still count on, a powerful reminder to an unpopular president that even in the face of heartbreaking loss, some still believe he is doing the right thing.Maybe it's just me, but I find it odd that the Times couldn't use the phrase “families of the fallen,” without a disclaimer that it isn't theirs.
There's a bit of re-writing of history too:
That official, who would speak only anonymously, said the “overwhelming number of families talk about the good their loved one felt they were doing.” This official said families were not screened; when Mr. Bush is traveling, the Pentagon finds local families for him to meet. And not all the meetings are cordial; two years ago, one mother, Cindy Sheehan, emerged from her audience with Mr. Bush complaining that he had been dismissive of her, and went on to start a political crusade against the war.Actually, Sheehan fabricated a claim that the President had refused to meet with her. She changed her story only after the truth was revealed:
On a CNN Wolf Blitzer Late Edition broadcast Sunday, U.S. Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) both told Blitzer that in the furore created by the protest that they believe President Bush should personally meet with Cindy Sheehan. She is the mother of a soldier son killed in Iraq in April 2004, and leader of a protest march now camped near the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas.Actually, that was a lie, too:
After returning from commercial break, Blitzer told his guests that CNN had just received a news bulletin from the White House. The bulletin said that Bush had met previously with Sheehan in the summer of 2004. Both Senators and Blitzer withheld further comment on the matter during the remaining segment of the show.
Later that day, Cindy Sheehan herself appeared on CNN Sunday with Blitzer and said she did meet with Bush in Seattle with fifteen or sixteen other families.
She defended her current protest by saying, "The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting."
"'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'
"The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.
"The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.
"For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.
For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.
"'That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,' Cindy said."
Today is the 232nd birthday of the Marines. “Ooh-rah”
Wounded Marines receiving treatment at Landstuhl, including one who was in a wheelchair recovering from a roadside bomb blast, also attended the ceremony, which drew a standing-room-only crowd of soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians to the hospital’s auditorium.
“Having the ceremony at the hospital is our way of showing our wounded Marines here how much we appreciate what they do,” said Marine Sgt. Scott Bullard, who now is with Marine Force Europe but formerly worked as a Marine liaison at Landstuhl.
A massive cake decorated with the Corps’ eagle, globe and anchor was wheeled up to Marine Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr., commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe. The cake was then sliced with a sword.
From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the Shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marines.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze,
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job--
The United States Marines.
By Mary Baskerville
Or: "How the War was Won (Part one)"
On November 2, First Lt. Walter B. Jackson was award the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation's second highest award for valor in combat. A google search shows no one in the media outlets other than the Army Times has published the story.
First milblog panel today is From the Front.
Gordon from Acute Politics
Media is present today. I saw a brief shot of our John Donovan on television this morning.
Updates to follow below:
Chuck began blogging out of a frustration from the big news stories being brushed under the rug in favor of Brittany/K-Fed news.
Tim began blogging after the Abu Ghraib story broke. He wanted to comment on stories like Abu Ghraib and square news reports with what he actually saw on the ground.
Gordon started his blog when he was sitting in Kuwait bored. Got some visitors and it morphed into a bigger blog than he anticipated.
Jack began blogging after discovering Wizbang. Didn't start off being a milblogger, but more about current events (gas prices going up, family, etc.). Later settled down and focused on military issues/affairs.
Is their a stigma with being a blogger among your peers/chain of command?
Chuck - Absolutely not. Blogging doesn't affect job and vice-versa...
Tim - Flew under the radar for a while. Started interviewing guys in company, then a lot of guys wanted to give interviews. FoxNews found out about his site and he did an interview with Neil Cavuto while on leave. Guys saw it back in Iraq and wanted to know what was going on, then Command found out about his blog, but was not a problem.
Gordon - Had good and bad experiences with blogging. Luckily, Badger6 was his commander, so.... Was nice to have him as CO because he could bounce ideas off of B6. As for command, he had to disclose it under the Army guidelines, so they knew.
Jack Army - Blogging from Iraq was a challenge. Felt that his CO was a bit sour on blogging, but JA made it clear that he wouldn't blog about anything they didn't want out there and he wouldn't talk about anyone in his unit without talking to them first. He wanted his guys to hear about things from him first.
Next topic: How about the Army "crackdown" on blogs?
I have to step out of the room, but check in at SpouseBUZZ where Sarah is continuting to live-blog this panel.All done!
History Channel is doing Milblogs this weekend and here's the schedule.
Friday, November 09
Saturday, November 10
Monday, November 12
Monday, November 12
And the Blurb from the Website
Explore the impact of blogging as a new medium for immediate and raw information. In the midst of modern day combat examine the unfiltered and raw evolution of military blogs and bloggers. Listen as soldiers who during their recent Iraq deployments reflect on the important connection they had with their blogging and how the band of military bloggers has revolutionized the way we understand combat. Experience firsthand, unfiltered accounts of the pain, the hardship, and even the simple beauty found in Iraq; stories that often go unseen in the media's coverage of the war.
Have a great weekend everybody, I'm off to go use my free pass to Knotts (it's free for military this month)
Last night I attended the MAG 16’s Marine Corps Ball celebrating 232 years of faithful service to our country. Let me tell you a secret, I always get stage fright going to these things. Must be something I’ve carried over from being so nerdy in high school. I always complain about going till I get there and have without fail, have had a great time.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Navy Birthday Ball and let me tell you, I haven't been to a Navy Ball that even comes close, the Marines know how to get down and party. This ball topped all of the other balls I’ve gone to by far. Great crowd, everybody was on the dance floor and having a good time. The food was excellent and the ceremony went flawless. You could tell every body wanted to be there.
Well I could tell stories but I hear that a picture is worth a thousand words, I have 68,000 words over here.All done!
Joe Lieberman speaking 'Truth to Power'
But there is something profoundly wrong—something that should trouble all of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.
"Remembering Vietnam" documentary will screen tonight, Nov 9 - 5pm EST/8pm PST on the Smithsonian Channel on DirectTV. It will also be live streamed on Sunday, Nov 11 on the Smithsonian Channel site at 9pm EST / 6pm PST.
Here's a teaser
This looks to be an excellent program you don't want to miss.
We Will Never Forget!
We've just started the first MilBlog panel: Hey, What's a Milblog? Panelists are Steve Schippert, Bill Roggio, Uncle Jimbo and Eric Egland. I'll add to this post during the panel (will update below).
Update: Sorry, Mrs. G - having image uploading issues, so looks like you folks won't get photos....
The question on the table right now is, "Can you think of defining moments for milblogs?"
Egland: The creation of such sites as Blackfive
Uncle J: Michael Yon dispatches
Roggio: Eason Jordan
Schippert: Mix of Yon and Eason Jordan
AWTM and I are listening to the panel and working on our own list: DoD engagement of bloggers and, um....milbloggers meeting with The President of the United States!
Now, the panel is talking Beauchamp.
Roggio needs some intervention - he's thinking about starting a blog on his blog (we're a weird lot, are we not....).
Eric, who is running for Congress, is now talking about how milblogs really give the military community a voice.
Defense contractor is in the audience and asked the panel how they feel about defense contractors reaching out to milbloggers. Roggio replies - feel free to reach out, but be prepared to take the hits too. Don't assume we're going to tow the company line.
Next Panel is up: To Blog or Not to Blog: Milbloggers, the DoD and the White House. Panelists are Matt Burden, Michael Totten, Jack Holt and Claude Chafin.
Question - DoD and the White House were "late to the party," meaning they didn't understand the power of the New Media. What was the original reason for outreach to bloggers?
Holt: There were a lot of stories that didn't rise to the level of a story in the mainstream media. There was a knowledge gap and stories out there that didn't have full context. Noticed that the blogosphere had subject-matter experts, a level of knowledge of military affairs. Reached out to some bloggers (Roggio and Yon) and they wanted to be embedded, which broke the ice and opened the dialogue, which led to engagement of bloggers.
Burden: Jack Holt's office really reaches across both sides of the aisle, inviting all sorts of bloggers to participate.
Totten liked embedding by himself. Thought that was better than an orchastrated event with lots of people. No dog-and-pony-show this way.
Holt: Embeds were "doing the job" so they just let em roll.... The job means witnessing. DoD felt they needed independent witnesses to what was happening and for whatever reasons, some journalists wouldn't or couldn't go. Embeds were perfect.
Chafin: White House saw that milbloggers were telling the stories that you didn't find elsewhere. Especially, the family stories (I'll throw a SpouseBUZZ plug in here - Sarah is liveblogging this for SB).
Burden: Presidential meeting was a good boost for him.
Totten: Embed is a valuable, enlightening thing to do. You cannot get the important stories unless you embed. Not for daily news, you can't do it. Frustrating for him to see the MSM focus on the big bang-bang. Knows a lot of reporters want to embed but the editors will not let them.
Burden: Some journalists don't want to embed because they believe it takes away their objectivity. This is what he recently heard at a conference of journalists at Brown University.
Chafin: Now that the President met with milbloggers - nobody else has a reason not to.
Holt is talking about the blogger roundtables.
SomeSoldiersMom asked about the DoD's process - are the bloggers selected based on topics or is everyone invited to every roundtable?
List is probably about 100 bloggers or so and the opportunities to participate are sent to everyone on the list for each roundtable. Bloggers can choose to attend or not attend.
For Totten: Member of the audience asks if he has had any interaction with NGOs. Short answer is no.
For Jack and Claude: Seems your target audience is domestic. Are you targeting a foreign audience?
Holt: Not targeting any audience, just providing access. Notes that when something is published on the web, it's available worldwide, though.All done!
As some of you may have noticed, we are no where near our goal of $240,00. Ambitious as it is, we have managed to raise these these high numbers in the past. Currently all 4 team totals come to approx. $55000.00, plus donations outside competition brings overall total to about $85000.00
Although these current numbers may look impressive to some, we are still dealing with those troops who were wounded the first half of this year. I'm told that "Valour-IT is not going to survive the next 4-5 months without raising more than we have so far. Giving out from 30 to 100 laptops per month since June, Valour-IT is in more demand than ever. We literally scraped the bottom of the barrel with our last delivery of laptops, and Soldiers' Angels has said they cannot allocate any more funds for us until March 2008."
Obviously this means we need to give Valour-IT some more exposure. Besides just posting about it on your blog, make some kind of a challenge.
Some teams have a three friends challenge that's is a great idea.
This poor doggies fate lies in your hands.
and others are threatening a cute kitten if you don't donate.
So I suppose you might want to donate or you may be singing a song like this:
The point is have fun with it. Whether a challenge or offer, we just need to get attention to Valour-IT, and please keep politics out, this is a non-partisan project.
Soldiers' Angels is offering the following gift to donors who give more than $25 to Valour-IT through the team competition this military-style challenge coin marked for each of the team service branches (Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine). Donors will automatically receive the coin appropriate to their team donation. However, donors must use a team button to receive a coin (no cost to Valour-IT; SA is paying for the coins).
Other options to get the word out is to contact your local TV, newspapers, and radio, promote our auction, where we have a signed original caricature by John Cox and a original autographed Day by Day, Chris Muir Print, a Peter Pace (CJCoS) Challenge Coin , Suzanne Brockmann has generously donated a new copy of this rare, out of print book.
and other cool memorabilia.
Many Bloggers are at the Blog expo where I hope Valour-IT will get a mention.
Express to your readers, what better way to support our injured troops, to show they believe in their recovery, giving them confidence, dignity, self-expression, some connectedness with those who will help them, find a new equilibrium in their world-turned-upside-down, and to their future than to give them a laptop that they can operate regardless of the depth of their injuries. Give a soldier something he/she can use to do things for themselves like email family and friends, pay bills, or take college courses online.
Please, help us help them.
If you'd like to join a team it's not too late.
We have been having bugs with the widgets and they don't seem to work on a few blogs but they can be found at the fundraising page.
So if you place one on your blog be sure the donation button works, (that kinda crittical). If you find you're having problems with it please use the team link of your choice.
Here are the team links:
Project Valour-IT, run by non-profit <strong>Soldiers' Angels Foundation, has provided over 1500 voice-activated laptops to severely wounded military personnel in conjunction with DoD CAP. For more information, see the project website at www.soldiersangels.org/valour . Soldiers' Angels is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which has provided aide and comfort to thousands of members of the armed forces and their families through care packages, help for the wounded at military hospitals and support for military families.
note: No animals will really be hurt in this competition; this is a joke peopleAll done!
...the Microsoft Above and Beyond Award Winner! Patti is the founder of Soldiers Angels, an amazing organization that goes above and beyond for our troops.
Soon after Patton-Bader began sending care packages to her son in Iraq in 2004, she started a group of volunteers to “adopt” soldiers and send care packages. This group has now grown to 100,000 members, which have sent tens of thousands of care packages and hundreds of thousands of letters to make sure no soldier is forgotten while serving. Her Angels have also helped those who have been wounded with First Response Packs directly at the Combat and Support Hospitals. They provide comfort to those who are now in our military hospitals here at home and help provided comfort and aid to military families in need.
Many projects have been developed thru Soldiers' Angels, Blankets of Hope, Valour-IT, Operation OutReach, for military families in need and so many more worthy projects, all which started with one woman whose motto is “May no soldier go unloved.”
If you like to donate to Soldiers' Angels you can online here
By snail mail here:
Project Valour-IT Fund
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, Ca 91104
I start 400 day orders today It will be January or so before I reach the CENTCOM AOR. I am sure you can all understand that I may be a bit vague on the details/times/dates. Ha.
I am not sure what my 'net access will be like, as I will be working with the IA (and possibly living with them too). I will post what and when I can. But for now, I will leave up the new "Donut of Misery"
A hack at the Associated Press reports skepticism, when the "cruiser" (his word) arrived. Having gotten the ship type wrong, he notes that Libya is one of the countries holding "deep reservations." As if that would be surprising.
And that some anonymous U.S. State Department personnel are concerned.
...has irritated more foreign service officers than just Consul-At-Arms. And I link to a blog post with a complaint. But in DoState's case, the gripe goes on their own .gov blog!
Princeton, N.J.- Professor Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, considered one of the world's leading authorities on the Middle East, will chair a newly formed professional academic association, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). Prof. Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University will serve as the Vice-Chairman of the association's Academic Council. Other charter members include Dr. Les Gelb, Prof. Victor Davis Hanson, Prof. David Landes, Gen. Cevik Bir, Prof. Robert Lieber, Prof. Fedwa Malti-Douglas, Sec. George Shultz, and Prof. Kenneth Stein. ASMEA’s website can be found at: www.asmeascholars.org.
ASMEA's goal is to encourage and promote the scholarly and dispassionate study, through multiple disciplines, of these important and so often misrepresented regions. It will advance both research and discourse in these fields by offering its members new opportunities to publish and present ideas to the academic community and beyond. ASMEA will offer its assistance to established as well as new scholars in the field, including un-tenured faculty and senior graduate students.
At the announcement, Lewis stated: "Because of various political and financial pressures and inducements, the study of the Middle East and of Africa has been politicized to a degree without precedent. This has affected not only the basic studies of language, literature and history, but also has affected other disciplines, notably economics, politics and social science. Given the importance of these regions, there is an acute need for objective and accurate scholarship and debate, unhampered by entrenched interests and allegiances. Through its annual conference, journal, newsletter, and website, ASMEA will provide this. It will seek to improve the education of the next generation of scholars and leaders upon which our future depends."
Lewis summarized: "It will respond to the burgeoning interest in these and related fields by helping to address problems individually and in a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary fashion.”
So, when a new nonpartisan organization is announced, one that prides itself on removing ideology from scholarship, how is it covered? Why, with a slant, of course.
Seeking to change the direction of Middle Eastern and African studies, a new scholarly organization was announced Thursday — with some big name scholars on board and some tough criticism for the discipline. The biggest scholarly names in the new group, Bernard Lewis of Princeton University and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University, are associated with support for the Bush administration’s view of the Middle East, a decidedly minority opinion within Middle Eastern studies.
The use of "Bush administration" irked me. It was deliberate, those folks know anything with "Bush" in it will provoke an emotional (and often irrational) response. If it had a place in the story, then fine... I'm not arguing for sanitized news here. But this was about a bunch of professors trying to expunge politics from scholarship, not forming policy.
Read the comments, too. It would have been nice if folks waited a few months before passing judgment.
I was apathetic to the kind-of-annoying fact that Boston sports have become as trendy as hip-hop. That was until last Sunday, when the Patriots whupped my Skins 52-7 and (in the same effing day) the Red Sox made my World Series game 5 tickets useless when they swept the Rocks in four. I cried.
If y'alll knew the awful odyssey I had to go through for those tickets, you would've cried too.
As for the linked post, that dude had me at "a perfect storm of douchebaggery."
AP/Philidelpia Inquirer: U.S. death toll for year in Iraq could set record
Saw that one coming from a ways away (or maybe I gave them the idea...).
But the story does acknowledge the recent drop. I think attempts to over-hype this particular number will be seen as feeble, but it does fit the emerging "sure we won, but it wasn't worth it" narrative.
The Queen Mary and a lot of other ships.
Oh, and the "Philadelphia Experiment."
Tied together here.
because sometimes, in a clearly defined battle of good vs evil, you have to take a stand.
Hey, you missed the best shot there. IAVA goes to war!
testing 123 testing
To answer the question in comments, those who do not know Julliette she is also known as Baldilocks, she's joined the milblog ring very very early on. However she's considering shutting down her blog so we invited her here, but she's having difficulties login in and I trying to figure out why. I hope she considers continuing her blog because she's a finalist in the 2007 Weblog Awards, Best of the 251-500 blogs. Go vote for her.
I'll introduce her properly once I figure out why she cannot login, anyone out there have some idea?
My outrage-o-meter pegged out a long, long time ago. But in case yours hasn't, Zombie offers this:
And there's more lovely photos. Many, many more.
Well, off I go. Off to enjoy a Friday evening with that terrorist husband of mine.....
General Odierno briefing charts afer the jump.....
I've also got a great deal on a Bridge and some Ocean Front property in Kansas if anyone is interested..
A great American has passed.
Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., the commander and pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in the final days of World War II, died today at his home in Columbus, Ohio. He was 92.Sadly, even in death - the hate of CodePink, ANSWER, MoveOn.org and DailyKOS will follow you.
His death was announced by a friend, Gerry Newhouse, who said General Tibbets had been in decline with a variety of ailments. Mr. Newhouse said General Tibbets had requested that there be no funeral or headstone, fearing it would give his detractors a place to protest.Fair winds and following seas.
However, if all the sensational press (indeed, redundant and oxymoronic) succeeds in getting Blackwater booted from State's protective details (not that Green Zone goblins really need a protective detail to walk to the chow hall and back, but I digress), then expect some more CLUEs to emerge (Closeup Looks Underneath Enemy) and a few more heads to roll, all courtesy of Sayyid Jihadi. In the prayer room. With the scimitar.
Because after all, who is going to raise their children if they take a head gainer down the marble palace stairs after being unable to sleep due to the combat hell trifecta of mocha frappe doubleshots, frigid a/c, and spongy mattresses?
No shi'a, there they were...
The memos, often referred to as "snowflakes," shed light on Rumsfeld's brusque management style and on his efforts to address key challenges during his tenure as Pentagon chief.
Yet a new era in dead tree journalism...when all else fails...beat a horse thats been put out to pasture.
When I first saw the article that spawned my interest in the sending of Foreign Service officers to Iraq I felt a mixture of annoyance and amusement. It was annoying that professional Foreign Service Officers need to be directed to the largest foreign policy chance of our day. The professional association’s representative made it amusing with his excessive protesting about how Foreign Service Officers were perceived, a “he doth protests too much” sort of amusement.
Then when Consul-at-Arms responded both in comments here and his own blog, I felt a response was necessary to respond to at least one legitimate criticism of my original post and then note his other critiques lacked substance. I thought that would be the end of it.
But now I am fully irritated at the Foreign Service of the United States.
Yesterday there was a town hall in Foggy Bottom were Foreign Service Officers could ask questions regarding these directed assignments. It turned into a complete bitch session.
t's one thing if someone believes in what's going on over there and volunteers, but it's another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment," [Jack] Crotty said. "I'm sorry, but basically that's a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?"
"You know that at any other (country) in the world, the embassy would be closed at this point," Crotty said to loud and sustained applause from the about 300 diplomats who attended the meeting in a large State Department auditorium.
In my earlier post, I quoted Mr. Kashkett, the professional association representative as say “we are not cowards.” It seems Mr. Kashkett had not yet surveyed his constituency to find out whether a yellow streak ran through them; because Mr. Crotty and his admirers clearly are cowards.
A death sentence? From being sent to Iraq?
From March 19, 2003 through yesterday, October 31, 2007 exactly six US Government, non-military employees have been killed in Iraq. This includes Department of Defense civilians, Department of State, CIA, Commerce, and Federal Law Enforcement.
A State Department official’s chance of being killed in Iraq is almost nil. In a review of the State Department website, I was able to determine two State Department officials had been killed in Iraq. Foreign Service Officer James Mollen and Diplomatic Security Officer Edward Seitz were both killed in 2004.
In addition to being cowards and unwilling to implement the foreign policy of the United States; these diplomats cannot even do basic analysis. Of 1200 that have served here, 3 or 0.25% have been killed.
Mr. Crotty believes he needs to “believe in the specific mission” to come here? When he signed up for the Foreign Service did he think all of US Foreign Policy was being handed over to him to determine?
At the ceremony where a plaque honoring Messrs. Sietz and Mellon were unveiled, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a special day for those of us in the Civil Service and in the Foreign Service of the United States. We understand when we enter the Diplomatic Corps that diplomacy has always been a hazardous occupation. We travel to all parts of the world, in times of war and peace, in times of civil discord and in disaster. We have two plaques in this State Department entry hall, at either end of the hall, and as John said, they testify to the very tragic fact that since the founding of our country, 218 Americans have died in service to the United States. In 1780, William Palfrey, an American diplomat, was lost at sea on a diplomatic mission.
And many others since then have given their lives, have lost their lives to disease, to natural disasters and to war. We remember them today and we honor them. And we also remember and honor all Americans who serve overseas on behalf of our country, often in very difficult and dangerous circumstances as our colleagues serve today in Baghdad, in Kabul, in Bogota and in dangerous places around the world.
Mr. Crotty and his admirers should decide whether that is the sort of service they entered into, or whether they are really just enjoying an extended junior year abroad.
Serious Foreign Service Officers are needed in Baghdad to facilitate reconciliation; serious Foreign Service Officers are needed in the provinces to run the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The biggest Foreign Policy issue of the day and the Foreign Service is AWOL.
My apologies to Consul-at-Arms, but his Foggy Bottom comrades with their tonsils at present arms aren't engendering too much sympathy from me at this point, especially in light of their latest Halloweenie boo-hooing:
Several hundred U.S. diplomats vented anger and frustration Wednesday about the State Department's decision to force foreign service officers to take jobs in Iraq, with some likening it to a "potential death sentence."
Well, every job is a "potential" death sentence -- if you happen to die while on the job. Sometimes even being Chuck E Cheese requires body armor.
"Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone," said Jack Crotty, a senior foreign service officer who once worked as a political adviser with NATO forces.
Sure, incoming can ruin your day I suppose, but I'd really only be worried if the outgoing started coming back in.
"It's one thing if someone believes in what's going on over there and volunteers, but it's another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment ... Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?"
Silly government worker, global villages are for kids. Haven't you heard who's running for Nanny-in-Chief?
If my heart were capable of human emotion, it might bleed a little for these hard-knock lifers. But sadly, no.