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There are many very odd pairings in history, but one seeming mismatch put the following together.
And it worked. Sorta...
President Bush announced Friday that he's going to withhold his signature on the Defense Authorization Bill, supposedly over a concern with a section allowing people to sue the Iraqi government for Saddam-era events. While this could result in an interesting Constitutional question ("Can the President really use the pocket veto when the Senate technically remains in session?") it interests me that the Administration didn't say specifically ahead of time that they'd veto the bill if it came with the Iraq litigation clause. The main effect, until Congress can pass a bill the President will sign, will be to reduce the COLA for active duty troops from 3.5% to 3%.
I guess I long for the days when a Republican administration was at least supposed to be competent, and would have been able to figure this out ahead of time. (My time at CENTCOM disabused me of any notion that this particular one is overrun by competent political appointees.)
CDR Salamander is right, and Burkett's book is spot on here. Yes, like any large populations, the military has people with problems or bad choices or failed lives--but that should not, must not, define us like it unfairly did for the Vietnam vets. Suicide is worth preventing, but perhaps the policy prescription isn't the right one...
Rozelle has been a public face in the crusade to allow severely wounded servicemembers to continue their military service. He has called for cutting-edge medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as policy changes.
“I helped change the model of how we take care of our veterans,” Rozelle said. “At one time, we'd patch them up … get the infection under control … send them to the VA and send them back home and let Mama take care of them, and, you know, that was a great model back in the 70s, but it doesn't fit our population.”
The average age of today’s military amputees is 35, Rozelle explained. Another statistic he likes to mention is the suicide rate among amputees from operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom: zero.
“Out of 701 amputees, all 701 are still alive today, and we're very proud of that,” Rozelle said.
A week earlier, Scott Smiley had been a lieutenant in charge of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team platoon in Mosul, Iraq. He'd graduated from West Point, made it through Ranger school and hoped to serve in special operations.
Yet in April 2005, he was barely conscious - the victim of a suicide car bombing that sent shrapnel into his brain, leaving him temporarily paralyzed and permanently blind.
Within days of Smiley's arrival at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, a civilian social worker encouraged his wife to fill out forms to medically retire him.
"Instantly, this thing inside me was like 'No, this isn't right,'" Tiffany Smiley, now 25, recalled. "It was just this gut feeling."
Through weeks and months to come, as Scott Smiley's body healed, as he learned how to walk with a cane and read Braille, he and his wife were told by doctors and therapists in Washington; Tacoma, Wash., and Palo Alto, Calif.: Your Army career is over.
Smiley - earnest, outgoing, quick to poke fun at himself, devoutly religious - has proved them wrong.
Taking advantage of the Army's new willingness to consider allowing seriously injured soldiers to stay in uniform, and with the backing of superiors all the way up to a three-star general, Smiley has settled into a job at Fort Monroe's Training and Doctrine Command.
I agree. And one of those taboos is to say, with a kind and friendly tone, "No, facts are more important than emotion."
Though there are very real individual cases, as a whole we need to stop making it sound as if everyone who is a veteran is walking around in need of meds in order to keep from killing themselves, killing others, getting drunk, taking drugs, or winding up on the street. Those who serve/served do kill themselves, kill others, get drunk, take drugs and wind up on the street. They also are pedophiles, rapists, fisherman, farmers, business men, pastors, doctors, lawyers, and Indian Chiefs. We also should feel that it is OK not to associate being a veteran with societal ills that are shared, in roughly equal percentages, among the general population.
Yes, there is a lot of back and fourth about the mental health issues WRT veterans. The reason is that people are starting to push back. Pushing back because they don't want to end up like previous generations of veterans who the general population thought, wrongly, were damaged goods. The facts say otherwise.
If people have not already, they need to read B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley's book Stolen Valor. Yes, it is about the Vietnam War generation, but the lessons apply here as well.
We all have specific examples, but we should be careful not to take the specific and apply it to the general. WRT the suicide issue itself, the best write-up I have read in awhile specific to The Long War is by Michael Fumento from this NOV in The New York Post. He is a former paratrooper who has been embedded as a reporter three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan, and has the numbers to back things up and put the problem in perspective. In response to the CBS smear job on Veteran suicides,
Last month, the Army released a report finding that the suicide rate among these GIs in 2006 was 17.3 per 100,000 troops - rather lower than CBS's rate for veterans. Why would soldiers who were recently on active duty be killing themselves at a much higher rate than those still serving?
More important still, the Army study corrected for some key demographic facts - notably, that the military is largely male and that men are much likelier to commit suicide than women are. Among civilians who match the overall age, gender and race profile of the U.S. Army, the suicide rate was 19 per 100,000 - higher than for the troops.
Another problem shows up when you look at the repeated studies of the 700,000 or so vets of first Gulf War - which have found no increased suicide rate. The same is true of a massive 2004 study of Vietnam vets.... a powerful implication of the CBS presentation - namely, that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major cause of these suicides. (That's what those interviews with the wives helped show.)
Now, PTSD is quite real; I suffered it after my trial by fire in two fights and the wrong end of a nasty ambush in Ramadi, Iraq, all within two days. But multiple research groups have found that PTSD is way down the list of factors that drive both veteran and active-duty suicides.
In fact, a huge VA study of more than 800,000 subjects (released just weeks ago) compared suicide rates of depressed veterans with or without a PTSD diagnosis. It found a suicide rate of 68.16 per 100,000 person years for those with PTSD versus a rate of 90.66 for those without PTSD. (The researchers theorized that this was because PTSD sufferers are likelier to get treatment, including psychotherapy.)
As for long-term effects of experiencing combat, a 1998 study of Vietnam vets concluded: "The traumatic experience of combat makes only a small contribution to the report of current physical health problems."
Ultimately, there's no credible evidence of any increased suicide rate for vets or evidence that PTSD is anything but a minor factor in the suicides that do occur. (And if you don't believe that, CBS has some documents on President Bush's National Guard service they'd like to sell you . . . )
Of course, suicide is always a tragedy; whatever the rate among veterans, it would be good to reduce it. But success will require an agenda that puts the well-being of these heroes above crass media sensationalism and political causes.
Soldier Mom, I appreciate your concern and it may derive from personal experience - but I can't join in with you on this. There are enough people out there that want to paint us all as "troubled." I don't want to feed that mythology.All done!
The Veterans Health Administration estimates there are about 1,000 suicides per year among veterans receiving care through VHA, and as many as 5,000 suicides per year among all living veterans. It matters little whether the numbers bantied about in the media on Veteran or military suicides are right or wrong or twisted or spun, because we all know someone... or all have heard of someone... a veteran... with problems that may or may not have anything to do with their war experiences... young men and old men with depression... a relationship that has failed... debt and other financial problems... unemployment... isolation... health problems... a combination of all of these... perhaps you witness the warning signs... or perhaps you've seen excessive drinking and other forms of self-medicating trying to ease the distress but which solved nothing... there are those veterans who live on the edge of the abyss of a permanent solution to a temporary situation -- no longer able to see the larger picture.
We have come a long way in being able to discuss the dark side of our minds: stress (post-traumatic or otherwise), biploar disorders, insomnia, depression, anxiety... the list is lengthy. And while suicide is a topic that has only been whispered about in hushed and shameful tones, the biggest myth has always been that we should not talk about it... a taboo... forbidden.
The VA -- recognizing that Veterans are a special risk group and seeking to reverse the trend of rising rates -- earlier this year launched enhanced suicide prevention measures as part of a joint venture between the VA and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention hotline and it now has an immediate prompt that says, "if you are a U.S. military veteran, please press 1 now." The call is then routed to New York where a staff of specially trained counselors are available to immediately help veterans through the crisis... who have special knowledge of what a veteran goes through.
And it's not just talking to the veteran until he or she no longer feels suicidal that day: the veteran is immediately entered into the VA Medical system (if they weren't there already) and cross references their location to find them the closest facility to get them immediate help.
At the VA medical center nearest our home, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator relates a story of receiving a call from a young Veteran in a neighboring state who returned from Iraq and was beset by a series of personal problems and losses. Through the new information system, they arranged for the young man to receive emergency care through his local community hospital and later was transferred to the VA Hospital in Phoenix. When the Coordinator visited the veteran, he told her that he honestly had every intention of killing himself that night; she knew that he'd be dead if not for the intervention and care he received with one phone call.
It is estimated that this program has already saved nearly 100 Veterans. It would be worthwhile if it saved only ONE.
More people die every year by suicide than HIV or murder. People need to take notice. It's the only way we can make this change. So let us now talk openly and candidly about suicide... and its prevention.
Please help spread the word! HERE are buttons & banners and the codes for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. On my blog, I added a tag line below the button that says, "Veterans, press "1".
Help Save a Life. Help Save a Veteran's Life. Maybe more than one.
x-posted at Some Soldier's MomAll done!
In case you have not seen it yet, generally bad news all the way around. She wasn't perfect, but in a nation short of leaders that don't have a beard and a funny hat - bad news.
Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack.
Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb.
At least four supporters of Pakistan's former premier Nawaz Sharif were killed and another 12 wounded in the capital, Islamabad, when gunshots were fired on an election rally.
People ``fired on our workers who were gathering for an election public rally,'' Siddique-ul-Farooq, a spokesman for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said in a phone interview today. Farooq said supporters of Nawaz Khokar, a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-i-Azam, the party backed by President Pervez Musharraf, fired at the rally.
A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.
The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."
Yes, you read that correctly. The LACK of organized military rape is also a devious Israeli military scheme. Well, at least it's comforting to know that our own academics aren't the most ideologically retarded lunatics in the world. I was starting to get worried.
(h/t Best of the Web Today)
THE SANDS OF CHRISTMAS
I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
and looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.
The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Dolphins lost by six.
And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.
The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
and so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.
I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.
And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
eight hummers ran a column right behind an M1A.
A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens,
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.
They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.
Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.
There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.
They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament-- they lacked a Christmas Tree.
They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
the only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."
I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried.
I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.
There's nothing wrong my little son, for safe we sleep tonight,
our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,
to worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.
He looked at me as children do and said its always right,
to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write.
And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
to thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote,
God bless you all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.
The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay.
©Copyright December 2003 by Michael Marks
Author's Note: Christmas tugs at the heart more so than any other time of the year and in 2003 I found myself watching the news and reflecting on the young men and women facing a very different Christmas than those we knew here at home. Once again, I wrote with the hope of sharing how much America appreciates the service that keeps us safe, and how much we pray for the safe homecoming of all who serve.
Merry Christmas... and Thank You for your service.
A Pan American Airlines rest stop which had to import water with a "large lagoon in the centre, which was well filled with fish of a variety of species among these were some fine mullet."
And "A Magnificent Fight."
A lesson in heroism in the face of overwhelming odds and not much hope for relief.
I was asked to review a new book about US Soldiers in the Global War on Terror. The Fighting 69th is a bout a New York Army National Guard battalion.
Writing about the military experience in general and combat specifically is a tricky matter. Write too cynically and the piece will make the experience appear to be a nihilistic drive into dark; write too heroically and war is falsely painted as glamorous. The good combat writer portrays both the horror of combat and the nobility of ordinary Soldiers in extraordinary circumstances. Fortunately for the reader author Sean Michael Flynn delivers the goods in The Fighting 69th.
...when I always seem to get all pseudo-poetic and stuff. Just think Dr. Seuss with a raging case of PTSD and a locked and loaded M-4.
2007: a somewhat rhyming year-in-review:
Through a plethora of triple-starred, quadruple-holds-barred sissies/ Did it take to finally unearth GW’s own present day Ulysses/ A Patton cum Grant, no Westmoreland come lately/ None of that tell us what we want to hear and we'll reward you accordingly/ The Surge'on General/ Surge Projector/ Aka, Insurgency Home Wrecker/ Dismantling AQI via PowerPoint and a cordless Black & Decker/ His team of Ph.Ds in ass kickery deemed precisely the trick/ The Petraeus ex machina of this overbudget war flick
And speaking of projects ending in multimillion $ zeros/ Where are the Duke Waynes to honor today's military heros?/ From the stalwart Bruces and Sinises/ Not even a paltry movie-of-the-week?/ Yet stuck with Best Dramatic Feces/ From the likes of DePalma, Redford, and Streep/ Patriotic producers: Indeed the most endangered of left coast species
But Americans vote with their pocketbooks/ And not simply through polls/ May Hollywood's only war casualties/ Cut them straight to their souls/ Their investment in the latest cinematic antiwar crop/ M1 tanks at the box office/ Full metal ticket sales flop
You can find the whole thing in all its monstrosity HERE.
Oh, and the pic that precedes it was sort of my attempt at artsy-fartsy combat photography. I had to lay on the ground in the middle of a Baghdad street in order to capture that shot. I just need to figure out what the heck the imagery is supposed to convey. I know its deep somehow, but how? My gut tells me its some kind of statement about the media's role in the war being just as destructive to our efforts as any I.E.D. That interpretation seems to gel pretty well with this stanza:
Stay tuned for The War (as mostly seen on TV)/ A blurred reality cooking show with fancy sat-com IEDs/ Long-range ballistic missives straight from the mêlée to your telly/ Improvised Exploitive Dispatches/ Fresh dread made up daily/ All the sedition that'll fit the morning edition/ Reporto ergo sum/ From their position... On the way... Click/ Send/ 'BOOM!'
Yeah, I'm going with that one until I hear something better.
One last thing (almost forgot)...
WELCOME HOME GREYHAWK!All done!
Everything that you need to know about the way that the press covered the war in Iraq over the last year may be found in three articles by Time magazine's Joe Klein. The first was from April of 2007 and entitled, "An Administration's Epic Collapse." By September, the administration was "Hiding Behind the General" and by December the administration had vanished entirely from the portait of the magazine's Person of the Year Runner-Up: General David Petraeus.
Consistency is not required of those who only report on reality. It is a signal virtue however, in those who would shape it.
The conservative South Korean presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak yesterday won a landslide victory in the Korean presidential election. Lee is the former CEO of Hyundai Construction and is known as the "Bulldozer" because of his capacity to get things done. Before running for president Lee was elected as the mayor of Seoul where he left office with high approval ratings because of the urban renewal campaign he instituted to beautify the city along with improving mass transit in the city thus reducing traffic.
Now Lee has gone on to Bulldoze the competition in the presidential election by crushing his liberal rival Chung Dong-young by receiving 48.7% of the vote compared to Chung's 26.2% in the polls. The South Korean presidency is one five year term that is currently occupied by President Roh Moo-hyun who was elected in 2002 on an anti-US platform. In the past five years he has been directly responsible for the crumbling of the US-ROK alliance and the appeasement of North Korea. Chung another well known anti-US demagogue, was Roh's hand picked successor to succeed him and his massive defeat in the polls is a clear sign that the South Korean public has tired of the decade of liberalism on the peninsula with Roh Moo-hyun and his predecessor Kim Dae-jung.
Lee Myung-bak is admitedly pro-American and is friendly with President Bush and has vowed to take a harder line with North Korea. However, this election had little to do with Lee's pro-US stance or even North Korea, and more to do with the improving the sagging Korean economy. With the Korean economy front and center in Lee's campaign don't expect him to give to much attention to the North Korea nuclear issue or relations with the United States until his economic policies are implemented.
However, before Lee can implement anything he has to survive one last ditch attempt by the current ruling Korean leftist government to jail him. Earlier this year Lee was cleared of corruption charges involving a stock manipulation scheme he was supposedly involved in. A government investigation cleared him of all charges but just days before the election, with Chung trailing big time in the polls, the Korean President announced that another probe into Lee was being opened. To further show the desperation of the Korean left, liberal law makers in the parliament literally stormed the parliament building with chain saws and provoked a brawl with conservative law makers.
Lee is scheduled to take office in February thus the Korean left has until then to try to convict Lee of corruption and prevent him from taking office. If this happens another election would have to be called which would have no clear front runner and give the Korean left a better opportunity to retain power. Interestingly enough all these events unfolded after a visit to the Korean Blue House by the chief of North Korean intelligence was uncovered.
The election may be over but the fight for power isn't. However, if Lee Myung-bak does take office it will one more US friendly leader taking power of a major US ally which is a good thing for America.All done!
The Army Reserve PAO is looking to interview Army Reservists who blog.
Just make sure before you say yes, your blogging is in conformance to the Rules! No point in setting yourself up to fail.
We return you now to your regularly scheduled high quality news and commentary!
...from one soldier to another.
Once again I woke early, in the quiet watches.
And glanced at the quiet watch on my wrist. 12:30 - but quick mental math told me it was... damn! 20:30! Late late late...
No, wait. There's the clock on the nightstand, and it says 04:30. In the morning haze I had done the wrong math. All was well. Not only was I now awake and aware, but I was awake and aware at roughly the proper time. Jet lag's ass was half kicked within hours of ending a trip of 24 hours plus - inluding a time-stopping westward jaunt above the clouds and across the Atlantic flown in the endless twilight of a seven hour sunset. So much for days of long nights and long shadows...
Now outside the hotel room window it is pre-dawn dark. But it is also America. Soon the sun will rise and so will an aircraft taking me on the first of two short hops home.
"Homecoming" - The Mudville Gazette Christmas Special, 2007
With special appearances by (alphabetical)
Rachel Smith, Miss USA 2007
The Winthrop University Men's Basketball Team
And a cast of thousands.All done!
happy to contribute to the effort for world peace
This group session of sexual healing, aka The Big O, is designed to be an "instantaneous surge of human biological, mental and spirtual energy" that organizers hope will reduce levels of violence, hatred and fear around the world during this, the longest night of the year.
This will rank among the best pick up lines ever: "Hey, baby... wanna go back to my place and work for world peace?"
Sometimes, you just can't make this stuff up!
A concept Lt. Gen. Kearney will soon become very familiar with.
After months of congressional pressure, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation of an Army general who tried to bring murder charges against U.S. troops.
The investigation, requested by Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican, will probe whether Lt. Gen. Francis H. Kearney III overstepped his bounds and/or compromised legal proceedings in two Afghanistan incidents, one involving Marines and the other involving two Special Forces soldiers.
The general's orders, to redeploy a Marine unit and probe the soldiers, were first reported in The Washington Times in October.
"I am troubled by the premeditated-murder charges levied against Master Sergeant Troy Anderson and Captain Dave Staffel" of Special Forces, said Mr. Jones, in an October letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. "Based on his own statements, Lieutenant General Frank Kearney directed that charges be brought against these two American heroes despite the fact that the two soldiers were exonerated by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.
A music theme seems to be developing today. Jammie Wearing Fool has information on how you can help secure some funds for the Army MWR by watching Clash of the Choirs and voting for the Oklahoma City Choir. Two Ft. Sill Soldiers are part of the Oklahoma choir.
SyncLive will broadcast a "Salute to the Troops Holiday Show" on Friday, December 21 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The show will feature several artists from To the Fallen Records, a military-exclusive record label.
If you have an internet connection, you can watch the show live.
Below is some information I received via email:
Some of the brightest talents from To the Fallen Records’ roster will be on hand to perform their unique songs live for this exclusive webcast, where the musicians will access SyncLive’s incredible opportunities to expose themselves and their original music for free to a global audience. TTFR Artists include soldier-songwriters Austin Poole, a Marine Corps veteran and multi-talented rocker; Arkansas native and singer/guitarist Cliff Hudson, whose experiences in Iraq resulted in the touching tribute “Send My Love”; multi-instrumentalist and Navy veteran Joel Port, a prolific songwriter who logs time in two bands; guitarist/vocalist Prevo Rodgers, Jr., an Army National Guardsman who wrote the inspiring “Veterans Hands” after returning from Iraq; and Ted Painter, a decorated veteran whose South County Band has been steadily building a buzz in the Massachusetts area with its eclectic folk/rock/country sound.
These live performers will be joined on SyncLive by their TTFR labelmate and fellow soldier John Dobbins, whose pre-recorded set was taped specifically for this exclusive performance from his current base in Iraq, which does not allow live broadcasts from its location. Dobbins’ appearance is especially poignant, as the young Army gunner and Purple Heart Medal recipient is currently in the midst of his second tour of Iraq and is also the composer of “Tribute to the Fallen,” a song that sums up the military label’s purpose with deep and genuine emotion.
Our friend "Dave" is on his way home from Iraq -- this most recent deployment done. As he says, he's one of the lucky ones that get to come home for Christmas. So I'd like to share this open letter from us to Dave and his family:
We are so delighted that you have come home safe to your wife and children. They have missed you every single minute you have been away!
We'd like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for serving this Great Country. Thank you for accepting that you would miss all those minutes and hours and days with those you cherish most in life. We are so sorry for the holidays and birthdays and anniversaries you have missed (once again), but we understand as we know you understand, "that some must go to fight..." Thank you for being willing (all these years) to leave the comforts of your home to work for noble ideas and causes... and not just because someone gave you orders. We have a new grandchild and there is great, great comfort in knowing that there are armies (and air forces and navies) of people like you that stand guard to protect him... and us.
Thank you for taking care of your troops and making every effort to see that everyone of them made it back to their wives and children... and their Mommas. Thank you for fighting the good fight. Thank you for doing your job so well!
Thank you for working with the Iraqis to improve their lives and for believing that it can be done... for not listening to those in our government who day in and day out told you that you could not win, would not win... and did -- and still do -- everything in their power to steal the successful Mission from you.
Thank you to your inspiring wife and your children... for even after all your years of service, they still find it a miserable experience when you are away. They carried on and I know, Dave, how proud you are of them all, but don't fool yourself thinking those frequent calls made up the distance. Their smiles this week... the frequent hugs... the renewed laughter... will tell you all you need to know.
So welcome home, Dave. You are their Hero... and ours, too!
x-posted at Some Soldier's MomAll done!
They were not greyhounds of the sea. They were not sleek battleships or part of the fast carrier force.
But... they (and the men who manned them) were giants in their deeds.
I thought not. I have just been getting ready to deploy to Iraq. Lots of holidays breaking up the training - including an upcoming two weeks for Christmas/New Year's Day.
The British chieftan Calgacus said of the Romans that they "will make a desert and call it peace."
But Rome had nothing on the Mongols.
Because, well, I'm just wondering.
Protests from female soldiers have led to the Swedish military removing the penis of a heraldic lion depicted on the Nordic Battlegroup's coat of arms.Funny things can happen when the clueless panic.
The armed forces agreed to emasculate the lion after a group of women from the rapid reaction force lodged a complaint to the European Court of Justice, Göteborgs-Posten reports.
But although the army was eventually happy to make the changes in the interests of gender equality, the artist who designed the insignia was less than pleased.Maybe they would prefer this Navy classic - but maybe not.
"A heraldic lion is a powerful and stately figure with its genitalia intact and I cannot approve an edited image," Vladimir A Sagerlund from the National Archives told Göteborgs-Posten.
Sagerlund blasted the army for making changes to the coat of arms without his permission.
"The army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Once upon a time coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown," said Sagerlund.
Somebody got the topic about sizing and shaping the U.S. Navy of the future started and the discussions are just gearing up at Information Dissemination, CDR Salamander, EagleSpeak and Steeljaw Scribe.
You can join in the fun, too!
What's your fave?
(1) Major Combat Operations
(2) Shaping Force, or
(3) Balanced Force
Which one is the straw dog?
Politically devastating ad content in the following video. I think the GOP candidates should just play this at every debate rather than actually opening their mouths and chasing away even more voters with silly playground arguments like who's hired more illegal aliens to trim the hedges at their mansions.
First, Michael Yon has enough time to write advice columns on DSLRs, and now retired MG Batiste has come in from the cold. My stars and garters, he has left VoteVets and is hanging out with Pete Hegseth from VetsForFreedom. My eyes must be telling lies, because Batiste is putting his name to this.
First, the United States must be successful in the fight against worldwide Islamic extremism. We have seen this ruthless enemy firsthand, and its global ambitions are undeniable. This struggle, the Long War, will probably take decades to prosecute. Failure is not an option.Fun times. Fun times.
Second, whether or not we like it, Iraq is central to that fight. We cannot walk away from our strategic interests in the region. Iraq cannot become a staging ground for Islamic extremism or be dominated by other powers in the region, such as Iran and Syria. A premature or precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, without the requisite stability and security, is likely to cause the violence there -- which has decreased substantially but is still present -- to cascade into an even larger humanitarian crisis.
Third, the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country.
Fourth, our strategy in fighting the Long War must address Iran. Much has been made this week of the intelligence judgments that Iran has stopped its weapons program. No matter what, Iran must not be permitted to become a nuclear power. All options should be exhausted before we use military force, but force, nonetheless, should never be off the table.
For the true insomniac, I opine on one of this week's kerfuffles about intel. I used almost as many words as Franklin Foer took to say "Oops", too.
Two South Korean Marines were walking back to their camp after completing a guard shift on an island outpost near the Demilitarized Zone with North Korea when a speeding SUV struck the two soldiers from behind. The driver of the SUV proceeded to exit the vehicle and attack the two Marines with a knife and steal their weapons, ammunition, and grenades before speeding off in the vehicle. One of the Marines died and the other is in critical condition at the hospital.
A manhunt was launched for the killer and his vehicle was later found torched in a field outside a city an hour south of Seoul. The torched vehicle was found to be stolen and it is suspected that the killer has accomplices that are aiding his escape. For those that don't know, Korea has strict gun control laws and it is extremely difficult to get weapons into the country. In the past criminal gangs have launched attacks against ROK soldiers to gain weapons to commit crimes such as bank robberies with.
This attack is different because it appears to be sophisticated because of the fact that the killer knew the guard change times and had an elaborate escape plan. Due to the timing, Korean media speculation is mounting that the attack was launched by pro-North Korean agents seeking to gain weapons to assassinate the leading conservative presidential candidate. South Korea's presidential election happens in about two weeks and the conservative candidate Lee Myung-bak is leading by a large margin in the polls and has promised a tougher stance in relations with North Korea. Threats of assassination attempts against Lee have circulated for months. Just last year two crazed South Korean leftists attacked and nearly killed the then leading conservative candidate Park Geun-hye.
The suspect's vehicle in this recent incident was dumped in an area that is only a short drive from where Lee Myung-bak was making a public campaign stop. Lee was taken by security from the area before making his public appearance and has currently canceled all campaign events until the killers are captured. The South Korean military remains at the highest state of alert that has only been issued in the past when prior North Korean agents had infiltrated the country.
Pictures and a whole lot more information can be found here.
By the President of the United States of America
When it mattered most, an entire generation of Americans stepped forward to protect our freedom and to defend liberty. Their devotion to duty and willingness to serve a cause greater than self helped secure our future and our way of life. Liberty prevailed because of the sacrifice of these courageous patriots, and America and her allies preserved a world where democracy could flourish. Our Nation remains forever in the debt of these brave Americans.
From the unprovoked attack at Pearl Harbor grew a steadfast resolve that has made America a defender of freedom around the world, and our mission continues as our men and women in uniform serve at home and in distant lands. Today, as we defend our Nation's founding ideals, we pay special tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, honor our veterans of World War II, and celebrate the liberty that makes America a lasting symbol of hope to the world.
The Congress, by Public Law 103‑308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
Today is that day.
that has noticed that no one wants to see the trash Hollywoof (no typo) is putting out about the war??
After noting the abysmal (not even dismal -- but abysmal) numbers for the most recent war (or more accurately, anti-war) movies, Brendan Miniter notes in his OpinionJournal (the WSJ Editorial page online) today:
But Americans haven't lost their taste for war footage. They've just found a better place to see the type of war film they actually enjoy watching. Some of the hottest videos on YouTube are of actual battles that have taken place in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is footage that often hasn't made its way onto the nightly news or CNN--although some of it has--but it's largely unadulterated film that shows American soldiers in action, bringing the full weight of American military might to bear against the enemy. And in most of these films, it's clear who the enemy is.
The piece goes on to review some of the more popular YouTube videos that, in terms of viewership, are... eh, blowing the Hollywood feature movies out of the water.
Miniter finishes with a sentiment I seem to have read once or twice:
That many of the videos showing up on the Internet are just as or even more compelling to watch than what Tinsel Town throws up on the silver screen is both an indictment of Hollywood as well as an opportunity. It's of little mystery now what kind of war films consumers want to see. Most of them involve the good guys winning.
Here (with spelling errors intact) is an absurd comment left under Michael Toten's first report from Fallujah:
Your no Micheal Yon, and your reporting seems to be all over the place. Are things better or not in the town? Seems like you give it a "Wow, I'm not in harms way since the surge helped the country, how many ways can I say things are bad over here, but not as bad. I suggest these readers go to someone who goes out on combat missions he's attached to with the ground pounders, and get a real feel of reporting. Micheal Yon.I don't want to promote any discussion of the relative merits of the various bloggers who've actually come to Iraq to cover the war first-hand - I greatly admire them all, and I've yet to find any who weren't worth reading. The more the merrier, as they say; after all, there are a million stories to tell over here - plenty to go around. But I wanted to highlight this for two reasons: one, to provide the link to Totten's Fallujah report (which should be widely read) and two, to point out something most readers here have probably seen but not noticed: two of Yon's most recent posts have actually been advice columns on suitable cameras for deployed reporters. That's not a knock on Yon - his latest report from Mosul is an outstanding look at a city that (like Fallujah) has vanished from the American news of Iraq, and it too is a must-read.
[COL Stephen] Twitty commands US operations in Ninevah and his brigade has kept control here with what amounts to a skeleton crew. We’ve had only one battalion in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, all year. In other words, less than 1% of our combat power has held one of the most challenging cities in Iraq for an entire year.Sort of reminds me of this quote from Totten, regarding Fallujah:
There are only 250 Marines in Fallujah, a city of about 350,000, right now. Last year, there were 3,000 Marines. Because the city is pacified, troops that were here can join the additional surge forces that are clearing and holding more volatile areas.Which can be done, because...
...any insurgent who shows up and announces himself in public won't be rolled up "eventually." He'll be arrested by the Iraqi police within minutes.As someone else recently said...
But I'm not a fan of death metrics. Up, down, and chaotic - an exceptionally low month means it will be quite easy for the next month to be higher - a helicopter crash could do it.So once again, Michael Totten:
But interspersed throughout the above are the < i>right numbers, the real indicators of victory in Iraq. Civilian tips leading to terrorists and their weapons caches...
But few people are paying attention to what those of us who are here fighting this war might have to say. Everyone is focused on the death metrics, and everyone is wrong. Call it "hearts and minds" or people fighting for their lives and futures who do not fear turning to us for help and helping us in return without fear of retribution from an enemy falling fast - these are the numbers that tell the tale. These are the numbers that indicate something worthwhile. These are the numbers that will drive the death metrics further down and keep them there.
It wouldn't be quite right to say Fallujah is safe. You do not want to come here on holiday. But I'm a lot safer here as an American than any terrorist or insurgent would be.Most of Iraq is even better. Which is why Yon, who does indeed spend a lot of time over here with combat troops, still has time to write about cameras. That's a good thing.
Meanwhile, back in America 48 percent of respondents to a Pew Poll feel that the military effort is not going well, and 44 percent feel we are losing ground to the insurgents.
The Brits have been shrinking their armed forces for a long time now. Someone just noticed the RN isn't doing too well numbers-wise and is complaining about it.
The document's findings come at a time of mounting pressure on the Prime Minister, who has been heavily criticised over claims that as Chancellor he failed to fund the military adequately.
Last night, Liam Fox, the shadow Tory defence secretary, said: "We have come all the way from Lord Nelson to a part-time defence secretary, with the consequence that the Royal Navy now finds itself in the most degenerated state in which it has ever been. Labour has done what none of this countries' enemies have been able to do: bring the Navy to its knees."
Why do I get the feeling CDR Salamander would get a kick out of creating a graphic like the one on this article for the USN?
Iowahawk discovers the first draft of Franklin Foer's New Republic explanation as to why they published stupid stuff. Bad words are used.
The showdown between DoD Secretary Robert Gates and Congressional leadership over war funding has all the sense of last cards being played.
This isn't just the usual political theater. The Secretary is attaching consequences to actions.
He's threatening their pork!
Walter Cronkite still at it after all these years.
His victory is not an option blathering is here.
Walt, all the killing that when on in Souteast Asia when the US was there was indeed horrific. Unfortunately, the killing that went on after we left was arguably worse. Killing doesn't stop just because one has turned his back to it.
Of course in the case of Major Network News Anchors...if there is no US involvement in the killing, then for the most part you are saved from the unpleasant chore of reporting the killing.
Walt...before you flap your gums further I would suggest you ask Margeret Thatcher why Western Europe has had 70 years of peace and then ask a Vietnamese Boat person what compelled him to get into a boat not fit for a bathtub and sail out into the open sea. (Hint - one will tell you the presence of American Soldiers was responsible, the other will tell you the absence of American Soldiers was responsible)
I can see a lot more "Big But Sightings" over the next few months. Maybe we can give it a name or descriptive phrase. Hmmmm.
How about, "Jennifer Love Hewitt showed up again today."
You could use it in such places as, "Did you see Jennifer Love Hewitt on Meet the Press?" or "James Webb threw Jennifer Love Hewitt all over Mike Wallace."
Just an idea.
aka Re: first Murtha...
I share your enthusiasm for the trend,
Immediately prior to denigrating the achievement of the troops over the past few months, Webb offers the requisite preface to any such attack..."I don’t want to take anything away from the performance of the United States military" - which seems to be the magic phrase for members of one particular political party that apparently protects them from any potential backlash from doing it anyhow. You can see the BIG BUT coming like a slow-motion train wreck, because these days such a claim is like a piercing siren with twelve flashing lights warning that the speaker is going to do exactly that.
Of course, most politicians are a bit too astute to offer the actual word
I don’t want to take anything away from the performance of the United States military tactically when they’ve been put into a situation.Well, yes, we have people in Iraq who are on our side, and are working with us to a common goal. I think Michael Totten's quote from a Fallujah resident offers the best counterpoint to Webb (or others of his persuasion):
Butthere are a lot of other pieces to this, and al-Anbar is a classic example.
"Security is good now because the coalition, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi police all work together," said an Iraqi fruit stand owner. "One hand does not clap."And it honestly disturbs me that a guy like Webb probably can't read that quote without feeling a bit of dismay.
Numerous factors contributed to our military success here, the surge and the awakening movement are two of the most significant. Neither would have succeeded without the other, and yes, the awakening movement came first*. I'm not sure exactly why acknowledging that would be seen as slighting the accomplishment of the Americans here - but Webb seems to feel very strongly that it does.
Feh - let's cut out the bull shit. That's the very point he's trying to make. Short version: Iraq is less violent now than last summer, but this isn't due to efforts of US troops. US troops were given a job that was too tough for them by our political opponents who also failed to give them training and equipment. We don't want to deny credit to the troops for that drop in violence (in fact deep down we actually know we're being complete assholes) but we must or else the foundation of our position erodes to nothing.
And oh, by the way, bring the troops home.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a statewide emergency. Helicopter rescues were being launched for stranded hikers and some homeowners trapped by flooding, state emergency management officials said.
Mudslides halted north-south Amtrak passenger train service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Wind gusts of more than 100 mph were reported along the Oregon coast, with the highest reading at 129 mph at Bay City, the Weather Service said. Gusts hit 81 mph at Hoquiam, Wash., it said.
For the last four hours...I have been sitting on my deck...enjoying the unseaonably warm tempatures. A bit of rain has been coming down...but outside of that...life in the Pacific NorthWest has been grand today. But you know...we are having RAIN in Seattle...and it isn't even the weekend.
MR. RUSSERT: But many Democrats have said, “We want to stop the funding for the war, period.”Oh, my stars and garters! It must be lonely in MoonbatLand when the tide pulls back.
SEN. WEBB: And I think that’s just not a winning formula.
Looks like some have realized that the USS Victory isn't sinking after all and it is time to climb back on board. Who is next I wonder?
Logistics and coastal warfare, as it once was.
Hey, it may have inspired a toy:
As set out here.
The New Republic launches chaff to attempt to "resolve" the Scott Thomas Beauchamp issue. Hot Air calls it a "14 page, 10,000 word essay that puts up more smoke than a forest fire". Instapundit says "Amidst a cloud of ink, TNR retracts and flees the scene." (They shoulda retracted a long time ago, but never mind.) Patterico told them so, too. And CY, which has owned this story, says "stay tuned". Don Surber appears in the comments there and says:
After 30+ years in the newspaper business it still amazes me how childishly peevish journalists are when caught fictionalizing their accounts. His homophobic epithet thrown at Matt Sanchez is the sign of another lib who never graduated, emotionally, from 4th grade.
My own read of the kiloword mea minima culpa is that TNR has no one, no one, there who really understands the military. There are reasons, for example, that the investigating officer wouldn't be volunteering to talk via Public Affairs, or why that officer would be doing what he did, for instance. It's also not as though there are no military people in journalism or anything.
The long arm of the Nagl reaches into Afghanistan.
Army officials say they've made great strides this year providing troops with Afghanistan-specific training before they reach the combat zone -- including counterinsurgency seminars for officers and scenario exercises for foot soldiers. But the Army acknowledges that some troops fall through the cracks. "There isn't enough time between being told that they're going and getting them through the training," says Lou Gelling, deputy commander of the Army's battle command training program. "That's the reality of it."
Have you read about the latest in the long running Pew poll? Well, after reading a few scattered reports - my puzzler started itching. Thunk I to me, "Why are they so quick to go to the death toll numbers and a series of 'yea, buts....."
My good buddy Paul just made it back from a truly hellacious Iraq tour with our old Alaska airborne unit. He's a sporadic blogger at best, but a prodigious writer and one seriously awesome human being.
Check him out, welcome him home, and be sure to tell him I said hello from the lower 48.
Just for grins, here's a shot of him from the bad old days in the 'Stan. I love that picture...